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VENUS RISING

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KAZAKHSTAN World’s most unlikely tennis nation

SWISS ON A ROLL Federer’s Davis Cup target

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BEHIND THE SCENES WITH A TENNIS SNAPPER COMPREHENSIVE RESULTS AND RANKINGS

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www.tennishead.net TEAM TENNISHEAD Publisher Bridget Marrison Creative Director Stephanie Peat Gear Editor Michael Beattie Publishing Executive Jo Carter Sub Editor Lee Goodall Contributors Sarah Brown, Mats Merkel, Patrick Mouratoglou, Paul Newman, David Sammel, Courtney Nguyen Consultant Editor Jez Green

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In an issue that is focused on red clay it should come as no surprise to find Rafa Nadal on our cover. The man who has won the Coupe des Mousquetaires eight times has such a remarkable record at Roland Garros that you could be forgiven for thinking you know all there is to know about the Spaniard. On page 40, however, Paul Newman, Tennis Correspondent of ‘The Independent’ and one of our regular contributors, unearths 100 facts about the amazing man from Majorca of which you may not be aware.

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What happens when a Grand Slam champion and former world No 1 is struck down with a debilitating illness? On page 34 the American writer Courtney Nguyen assesses what the future may hold for the extraordinary Venus Williams. If you are a player thinking of enrolling at an academy and are tempted by Patrick Mouratgolou’s set-up just outside Paris you may like to know in advance about his plans to re-locate to the south of France. On page 68 Patrick shares his vision for what he hopes will be Europe’s biggest and best academy. In the second instalment of our acclaimed racket reviews, gear guru Michael Beattie takes to the court to road-test rackets aimed at club players. If you’re thinking of an upgrade don’t part with a penny until you have read Michael’s informative assessment of what’s on offer this season. And if you are keen to get your hands on a racket signed by Rafa, go to tennishead.net. You might not want to play with it as it carries the signature of a man whose name may be engraved on the trophy at Roland Garros for a record-breaking ninth time. BRIDGET MARRISON, PUBLISHER FOLLOW US ON

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W W W.T E N N I S H E A D. N E T 3


A S IG N ED R A FA N A DA L R ACKET

CONTENTS JUNE 2014

40

20

RAFA NADAL 100 THINGS YOU NEVER KNEW

MONICA PUIG

48 SUBSCRIBE TODAY See page 6 for details.

GALLERY 22 SNAP SHOTS KAZAKHSTAN

Stunning photos from Miami

72

WIN 59 GRASSCOURT TICKETS BNP Paribas Tennis Classic and The Boodles

80 BABOLAT RACKET BAG Our star letter wins every time

83 HEAD HEALTH GEAR BAND Sports bracelets for body and mind

PLANNING YOUR TRAINING PROGRAMME

84 SIGNED RAFA RACKET Money can’t buy this A-list prize

92 BABOLAT AEROPRO DRIVE RG Rafa’s racket of choice

BIG READ 08 HAWKEYE Federer’s Davis Cup bid

13 INSIDE OUT Mike Frey, Photographer

16 LOCKER ROOM Pablo Carreno Busta

20 HOT STUFF Monica Puig

34 VENUS WILLIAMS Winning is not everything

40 RAFA NADAL 100 things you never knew

48 KAZAKHSTAN The world’s most unlikely tennis nation

54 ROLAND GARROS 2014 Our guide to the in-form players

114 ACTION REPLAY Nadal v Federer Rome 2006 4 W W W.T E N N I S H E A D. N E T

54 ROLAND GARROS 2014

16 PABLO CARRENO BUSTA


PAGE 86

RACKET REVIEWS 94

CUSTOMISING YOUR RACKET

ACADEMY 64 FRAME BY FRAME Rafa’s forehand

66 LEARN FROM THE PROS Eugenie Bouchard’s backhand

34

VENUS WILLIAMS

68 PATRICK MOURATOGLOU Big plans for the Academy

72 PERIODISATION Planning your training programme

75 BRAIN GAME Calming your nerves

76 NUTRITION Eating to recover from injury

“THAT’S WHAT MAKES THIS GAME SO ENJOYABLE, IS THAT IT’S NOT EASY” l lia ms Venus Wi

66

78

78 MATS MERKEL The demands of clay

80 ASK TENNISHEAD Our experts answer your questions

GEAR 83 GEAR NEWS Choosing a racket with Prince

86 RACKET REVIEWS Weapons for club players

92 PRO SHOP Kit you’ll want to get your hands on

93 JELENA JANKOVIC Why she loves her Prince

94 LEAD WEIGHTS Customising your racket

EUGENIE BOUCHARD’S BACKHAND

TRAVEL

76

98 FRENCH HOLIDAY Tennis fun in Bergerac

RESULTS AND RANKINGS 102 ATP & WTA TOUR Comprehensive Results

108 SINGLES WORLD RANKINGS Men’s and women’s top 100

110 TEAM TENNIS NUTRITION

THE DEMANDS OF CLAY

Doubles results W W W.T E N N I S H E A D. N E T 5


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SPOT LIGHT

BRINGING YOU THE BIGGEST VIEWS AND OPINIONS

SWITZERLAND CHASE DAVIS CUP GLORY

“[Stan and I] bounce ideas off each other, but usually I take the lead” ROGER FEDERER

Following victory against Kazakhstan, Federer is one step closer to the elusive trophy oger Federer is doing his best to stay as super-cool as usual, but there can be no doubt that the 32-year-old Swiss is getting excited about the prospect of winning the one big trophy missing from his collection. Federer has claimed more Grand Slam singles titles than any other man in history, spent more weeks at the top of the world rankings and won more prize money than anyone else, but he has never won the Davis Cup. With the new Australian Open champion, Stan Wawrinka, at his side he knows this year could be the best chance he will ever have of leading his country to their first success in the competition. After Switzerland’s quarter-final victory over Kazakhstan in Geneva – which was achieved despite a shock defeat for Federer and Wawrinka

R

8 W W W.T E N N I S H E A D. N E T

in the doubles against Aleksandr Nedovyesov and Andrey Golubev – the team are just one win away from reaching the final for only the second time in their history. On the country’s only previous appearance in the final, in 1992, Marc Rosset and Jakob Hlasek were outgunned by a formidable United States team comprising Andre Agassi, Pete Sampras, Jim Courier and John McEnroe. In this year’s semi-finals Switzerland will have home advantage in September against Italy, who ended Britain’s hopes of reaching the last four with a 3-2 victory in Naples. Assuming Federer and Wawrinka are fit and well, the Swiss will be clear favourites to reach the final, in which they would also fancy their chances against either France or the Czech Republic.


Roger Federer carrying the Swiss flag during the Olympic Games Opening Ceremony and with Stan Wawrinka with their doubles gold medals in Beijing, China in 2008

Federer, nevertheless, is playing it cool. Asked after the victory over Kazakhstan how the Davis Cup ranks in his plans for the rest of the season, he simply said: “We have other priorities from now on, which are the Masters 1000s coming up and the clay-court season. Then we’ll see when September rolls around.” Nevertheless, the fact that Federer has played in both of Switzerland’s Davis Cup ties so far this year is a sure indication that the competition is one of his priorities. Between 2005 and 2013 he appeared in only nine of the 19 ties Switzerland played as he juggled representing his country with his individual career. The Davis Cup, moreover, provides a rare and welcome chance to compete in front of a home crowd. “It’s great to be playing in front of a crowd

“IT’S GREAT TO BE IN FRONT OF A CROWD THAT’S 95% SWISS... THERE AREN’T MANY SWISS IN THE WORLD!” which is 95 per cent Swiss,” Federer told Daviscup. com, the competition’s official website. “It’s unusual because there aren’t many Swiss in the world. So when they do appear I’m happy that they show their colours and enjoy it.” Federer has appeared in one previous Davis Cup semi-final, against Australia in Melbourne in 2003. Australia were leading 2-1, Federer having secured Switzerland’s first point by beating Mark Philippoussis, when the final was decided by the fourth rubber. Federer won the first two sets against Lleyton Hewitt, only for the Australian No.1 to

© PAUL ZIMMER

© PAUL ZIMMER

NEWS

TENNIS NEWS

produce one of his most memorable fightbacks to claim victory for the home team. Federer and Rosset had earlier let slip a two-sets-to-one lead against Wayne Arthurs and Todd Woodbridge in the doubles. Switzerland lost to France in the quarter-finals in 2004, but it was another 10 years before they won again in the World Group, against Serbia in this year’s first round. Federer has always been fiercely patriotic. Two of his proudest moments were when he carried the Swiss flag at the opening ceremonies for the Athens and Beijing Olympics. He was invited to be the standard-bearer for a third time in London two years ago but stepped aside to let Wawrinka have the honour. Although he has never won an Olympic gold medal in singles – the closest he came was when Andy Murray beat him in the final at Wimbledon two years ago – he did win gold alongside Wawrinka in the doubles in 2008. The latter triumph in Beijing led to one of sport’s more bizarre victory celebrations, with Wawrinka lying on the ground and Federer holding out his hands as if warming them by a log fire – a tribute to how hot Wawrinka had been in the competition. In those days it might have been unusual for Wawrinka to outshine his partner, but today the Australian Open champion is the higher-ranked player and the only one of the pair who holds a current Grand Slam title. Federer, nevertheless, remains the boss. Asked before the Kazakhstan tie who takes charge on the court when they play together, Federer replied: “Probably a bit more me, but we do discuss things about tactics, where we’re serving. We bounce it off each other, but usually I take the lead. I think one of the players always has to.” ■ W W W.T E N N I S H E A D. N E T 9


HAWKEYE

[STATS]

THE NUMBERS GAME Significant patterns and percentages from the ATP and WTA tours MOST CLAY LA COURT TITLES AMONG ACTIVE WTA TA PLAYERS ANABEL MEDINA GARRIGUES

ANABEL MEDINA GARRIGUES

10 SERENA WILLIAMS

10

World ranking for Gustavo Kuerten when he won 1997 French Open

PRIZE MONEY ON OFFER AT ATP EUROPEAN CLAY-COURT EVENTS IN SPRING 2014

FLAVIA PENNETTA ENNETT

8 7

MIRJANA LUCIC

€13,419,365 Mirjana Lucic: 15 yrs, 56 days (1997 Bol) Longest women’s French Open final

Steffi Graf def. Arantxa Sanchez (1996), 3 hours 4 minutes (6-3 6-7 10-8).

82.54%

MARIA SHARAPOVA

85.03%

85.53% MONICA SELES

JUSTINE HENIN

STEFFI GRAF

90.1%

93.98% CHRIS EVERT

Youngest player to win a WTA TA event on clay

CHRIS EVERT

WINNING PERCENTAGE ON CLAY (WTA) 79.8%

79.9% KEN ROSEWALL

GUILLERMO VILAS

81.4% IVAN LENDL

BJORN BORG

86.3%

93.4 %

WINNING PERCENTAGE ON CLAY (ATP)

RAFAEL NADAL

31

Years since France had a men’s singles champion at Roland Garros

GUSTAVO KUERTEN

umber of aces served on clay by Nicolas Almagro before start of 2014 season (ATP leader)

10 W W W.T E N N I S H E A D. N E T

Henri Leconte's world ranking when he reached 1992 French Open semi-finals

MARIA SHARAPOVA

2,254

NICOLAS ALMAGRO

200

© RAY GIUBILO

3 66

Courts with retractable roofs at the Madrid Open

9

© RAY GIUBILO

1

3 4 5

VENUS WILLIAMS

Stats from WTA and ATP


RETURN TO SENDER

Join the tennishead community online or get in touch by post or email to share your news and views! tennishead magazine, PO Box 70948, London, SW19 9GL // Email: admin@tennishead.net

POST BAG

Happy 36th birthday Tommy Haas. What an incredible accomplishment to perform at such a high level for so long. Sure would like to know the details of his workout and fitness regime.

BEST FOOT FORWARD

→ The art of volleying is almost lost on the singles court. There are too many baseline rallies in the modern game. Why not make it compulsory to come into the net after the first serve? For players to be true champions, they should be able to do it all.

“Even though I lost, I appreciate my monkey.” Eugenie Bouchard consoles herself with a new cuddly toy

YOUR OPINIONS ON THE GLOBAL GAME facebook/tennishead

ANDREA PETKOVIC

SAY WHAT?

John K

Venus is a fighter and a good role model for any aspiring athletes. Go Venus!

message @tennishead

With a little luck Tomas Berdych could have a Grand Slam title this year. He’s in great shape and pretty stable.

“Flirty Sour”

Michaela P

“It’s an individual sport, so you can relate to what they do, except we don’t punch each other in the face.”

Dominika Cibulkova is going very strong lately! Has already some important scalps under her belt! Calluy

So happy for your win. Welcome back @mhingis. Missed you so much.

Great forehand and a good personality. With a couple of years of experience and an improvement of his serve I can see Dominic Thiem in the top 10.

Priya

Renato

Sheila

Grigor Dimitrov reveals his favourite flavour of Sugarpova sweets

Novak Djokovic compares tennis and boxing

“I have to put an end to the catsuit on me. I mean, I’m 26 already, so I think those days are over.”

LINDA NATHAN, SYDNEY

tennishead’s

MURRAY’S MINT

→ Andy Murray will always be a good example to young players as he always plays fairly. No cheating or gamesmanship. A great role model and we will soon see him at the top of his game. ANGELA BINNIE

TWITTER WORLD RANKINGS Cover star Rafael Nadal remains the most popular tennis player on Twitter with nearly six million followers, although he's some distance behind popstar Katy Perry, who has an eye-watering, mind-boggling 52 million devotees...

No.1

Nadal

Rank Player

Twitter ID

Followers

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

(@RafaelNadal) (@serenawilliams) (@DjokerNole) (@andy_murray) (@delpotrojuan) (@MirzaSania) (@rogerfederer) (@andyroddick) (@venuseswilliams) (@gugakuerten)

5,933,429 4,161,943 2,876,321 2,876,231 1,922,713 1,663,634 1,526,202 1,215,636 1,088,462 992,492

Rafael Nadal Serena Williams Novak Djokovic Andy Murray Juan Martin Del Potro Sania Mirza Roger Federer Andy Roddick Venus Williams Gustavo Kuerten

Maria Sharapova thinks she’s too old to pull off the catsuit

“It was a glass roof, so all my dirty underwear was in full view. It wasn’t nice!” Sergiy Stakhovsky recalls when Michael Llodra played a practical joke on him

“I didn’t sleep because I was afraid for my life.” Sloane Stephens evaluates coach Paul Annacone’s driving

W W W.T E N N I S H E A D. N E T 11

NEWS

LETTERS


INSIDE OUT

MIKE FREY

TENNISHEAD PHOTOGRAPHER AND DIRECTOR OF ADVANTAGE MEDIA NETWORK

MIKE FREY “We love photography and we love tennis. We believe that is a highly compelling combination” MIKE FREY

How shooting the planet's best players has taken Mike around the globe hen we set up AMN as a tennis content agency and then launched tennishead, we thought our readers would want to see unique photos rather than photos repeated from other national media. So, I hit the road and since then photographing tennis has taken me all over the world. My favourite tournament without a doubt is Wimbledon. The long summer evenings with the endless shadows give so many great photo opportunities and when the incredible light is combined with dark green backgrounds with no advertising, it is photographic heaven. I use Canon equipment. My standard kit is 2 x 1DX bodies and a 5D Mk 3 body. I then use a 400 F2.8 and a 200 F2 on the two 1DXs and a 16-35 F2.8 on the 5D. In my bag, I carry a 24-70 F2.8, a 70-200 F2, 8, a 14 F2.8, a 1.4 x converter and a 2 x converter. A 600 flash and possibly a fisheye or a tilt and shift lens and plenty of memory cards complete the kit bag. The kit when fully loaded is probably close to 20kgs so when it is hot you definitely know you have been doing something strenuous at the end of the day.

W

Editing photos is as important as shooting them and I have a rigorous production process. I shoot all my photos in RAW and load them onto a Mac using a software programme called Photo Mechanic. I aim to have a minimum of 100 usable photos a day from a Grand Slam and, as we work to tight deadlines, this often means shooting all day and then editing most of the night. If you see a tennis photographer deep into the second week of a major, they all have the look of a sleep-deprived zombie. As well as supplying tennishead with images for the magazine, website and our App, I also provide photos for the exclusive use of our content clients, as well as a major UK photo agency which supplies the global media. I supply photos for one-off use, such as lifestyle magazines, tennis manufacturers and sponsors and even the occasional book. For example, I have six photos in Andy Murray’s book, “77.” I hope I haven’t taken my best photo yet, as that is the motivation to keep on shooting. I currently have two favourites – a photo of Andy Murray with his Wimbledon trophy in the late afternoon sunlight and one from the London Olympics. It was amazing seeing Andy win Wimbledon and I think all the British photographers were overcome with the emotion of it on finals day. The second is of Heather Watson and Laura Robson playing doubles and the shadows were immense. I caught Heather serving with her body in shadow, but the ball and the Olympic rings were in the light. The British flag on her tennis kit caught the light, which made the photo even more poignant. This year I launched an additional business called Tennis Photo Network which is a specialist tennis photo agency. I launched the business with three talented tennis photographers – Ray Giubilo, Juergen Hasenkopf and Lucas Wroe. We believe that everybody wants to see great tennis photos and we are the only specialist tennis photo agency in the world. We love photography and we love tennis. We believe that is a highly compelling combination for players, fans, sponsors, manufacturers and any other stakeholders involved with the wonderful world that is professional tennis. Visit www.tennisphotonet.com W W W.T E N N I S H E A D. N E T 13


ADVANTAGE YOU THE NEW GEL-RESOLUTION 5

With a more flexible upper and improved propulsion Trusstic System for better stability, you’ll have the confidence to go for the shots that others wouldn’t dare.


#BETTER YOUR BEST


HAWKEYE QUIZ

Tiebreak!

LOCKER ROOM

PABLO CARRENO BUSTA

INTERVIEW: BRIDGET MARRISON

Do you come from a tennis-playing family? No, my parents didn’t play tennis. My sister, who is three years older than me, played tennis and I started playing because I watched her play and I liked it. Where is home for you? I come from Asturias in the north of Spain, but I live in Barcelona and I train there. It is difficult to play tennis in Asturias because the weather is always rainy. We don’t have many indoor courts, so seven years ago I went to Barcelona to train. What do you do when you’re not playing tennis? I go home to Asturias maybe 15 days a year but otherwise I stay in Barcelona. I have good friends there. I like to watch my football team, Sporting Gijon, and I like to go to the cinema. Do you enjoy spending so much time away from home? I like this life; I like travelling. I like staying in a hotel, watching TV or reading. This is my life and I like it. What was the highlight of your 2013 season? It was really an incredible year. I started the year playing in Futures tournaments in Turkey and finished the year at the Paris Masters. It was very intense because I played a lot of matches [112]. I lost to Roger Federer in the first round at Roland Garros. It was an incredible match – Federer is one of the best players in the history of tennis and it was a dream for me to play a match like that. You started 2013 by winning 35 matches in a row… When you’re playing well you play every day and you don’t think about the matches. You play every match like the previous day and you are winning every day. You get confidence and you play without thinking. It’s a really good sensation. Was it important to you to be voted most improved player? It’s important because it’s an award from the ATP where the players choose the winner. I think I fight a lot, I work hard and it’s 16 W W W.T E N N I S H E A D. N E T

1

Which former world No.1 recently won the doubles title in Miami, seven years after she last lifted a WTA trophy?

2

Which year did Tommy Haas reach the final of the Italian Open?

“When you’re playing well you don’t think about the matches” PABLO CARRENO BUSTA

recompense, a prize for all that work. What are your targets for 2014? I need to play my game. I know I’m a good player, I don’t make mistakes and I try to fight for every point. But I need to be more intense from the first point. I need to grow up. I think by playing matches at this level with the top players, for sure I will improve. You missed seven months of the 2012 season with an injury. How tough was that? I started 2012 ranked 130, and my objective was getting into the top 100. But I was in pain when I played – and we decided to stop because I had problems with my back and I needed surgery. Recuperating from the surgery was really hard. I love competition, so it was difficult not being able to play matches. I worked very hard on my recovery and I started playing seven months later. I didn’t feel great during the first few matches but now I feel fine. You have a lot of great role models to look up to ahead of you in Spanish tennis... Yes, we have a lot of good Spanish players. David Ferrer is an excellent example to me because he’s always working hard in every training session; he is always fighting. Sometimes I train with him, and with Tommy Robredo and some of the other Spanish players. When I train with Ferrer it is very intense. If you train with the No.4 in the world you have to be 100% because he is 100% too so the training is always fantastic. With so many Spanish players, how popular are you back home? There are a lot of Spanish players. Rafael Nadal is the best and Ferrer is one of the best in the world. For me, I work hard and I have to improve. It doesn’t matter to me if the people don’t know who I am. Will you get a chance to play Davis Cup this year? It’s difficult to get into the team with Nadal, Ferrer, Almagro. But I am young. I have a lot of time. Maybe in three or five years I'll have more chance.

3

Which is the only ATP Masters 1000 tournament that Novak Djokovic has never won?

4

Which former French Open doubles champion is now the tournament director at the Mutua Madrid Open?

5

Which Slovakian player upset Serena Williams at this year's Family Circle Cup in Charleston? How many times did Justine Henin win the ladies singles title at Roland Garros?

6

1. Martina Hingis; 2. 2002; 3. Cincinnati; 4. Ion Tiriac; 5. Jana Cepelova; 6. Four

Pablo Carreno Busta was named the ATP's Most Improved Player in 2013 after jumping from No.654 to a career-high No.64 last season

SO YOU THINK YOU KNOW TENNIS...?


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HAWKEYE

QUICK HITS JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO

TOP 10

FRENCH OPEN FINALS OF ALL TIME YANNICK NOAH, 1983

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1985: CHRIS EVERT BEAT BEA MARTINA NAVRATIL A OVA 6-3 6-7 7-5

7

1989: ARANTXA SANCHEZ-VICARIO BEA STEFFI GRAF 7-6 3-6 7-5 BEAT

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1999: STEFFI GRAF AF BEAT BEA MARTINA HINGIS 4-6 7-5 6-2

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1999: ANDRE AGASSI BEA BEAT ANDREI MEDVEDEV 1-6 2-6 6-4 6-3 6-4

Tommy Haas became only the seventh man to be ranked inside the world’s top 20 at the grand old age of 36 when he celebrated his birthday on April 3. Rod Laver was ranked world No.3 when he celebrated his 36th birthday, while the last man to achieve the feat was Andre Agassi in 2006. British coach Rupert North is behind First4Tennis, a recently launched company offering five-star tennis holidays at upmarket global destinations, including a new academy in Croatia. The resort has 25 outdoor clay and four indoor clay courts. First4Tennis aims to combine quality coaching with luxury. www.first4tennis.com

1

Two of the game’s greatest tacticians contested the longest Roland Garros final in terms of games played. Lacoste, one of France’s “Four Musketeers”, produced a swashbuckling performance to deny the great Tilden, who scorned two match points when he served at 9-8 and 40-15 in the final set.

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1962: ROD LAVER BEAT BEA ROY EMERSON 3-6 2-6 6-3 9-7 6-2

Laver’s first Grand Slam might never have been achieved had Emerson not tightened up with the finishing line in sight. Emerson won the first two sets and led 3-0 in the fourth but Laver was a fighter who never gave up. “He got too careful and that gave me time to breathe,” Laver said afterwards.

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1973: MARGARET COURT BEAT BEA CHRIS EVERT 6-7 7-6 6-4

There were times when Evert was almost unbeatable on clay – later that summer she embarked on an unbeaten run of 125 matches on the dirt – but a classic battle of the generations saw 31-year-old Court eclipse her 18-year-old opponent after a see-saw battle.

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1983: YANN Y ICK NOAH BEAT BEA MATS A WILANDER 6-2 7-5 7-6

Not the greatest Roland Garros final but the one remembered with the most affection by French fans. Noah is the only home-grown men’s singles champion since 1946. He is also the last player to have won a Grand Slam title with a wooden racket.

5 TOMMY HAAS

1927: RENE LACOSTE E BEAT BEA BILL TILDEN 6-4 4-6 5-7 6-3 11-9

Sanchez-Vicario, a 17-year-old bundle of joy and energy, became the first Spanish woman to win a Grand Slam title after a final that lasted two minutes short of three hours. Graf was the game’s outstanding player and had won the last five Grand Slam titles, but Sanchez-Vicario ran her into the ground with her boundless enthusiasm.

The final Hingis would love to forget. The Swiss Miss, having already been warned for racket abuse, led 6-4 2-0 when she raged at length over a line-call. Having provoked more crowd antipathy by taking a prolonged toilet break and serving under-arm on match point, Hingis rushed off court at the end before returning in tears for the presentations.

Agassi became only the fifth man to win all four Grand Slam titles but needed an extraordinary comeback to achieve the feat. The American, whose coach Brad Gilbert had torn into him during a rain break, broke down in tears at the end. “I never dreamed I’d ever be back here after so many years.”

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2001: GUST GUSTAVO KUERTEN EN BEAT BEA ALEX CORRETJA 6-7 7-5 6-2 6-0

A final remembered as much for Kuerten’s postmatch celebration as for the manner of his third Roland Garros triumph. The Brazilian sealed his love affair with the tournament and with the Paris fans by drawing a heart in the red clay with his racket. STEFFI GRAF, 1999

1984: IVAN LENDL BEAT BEA JOHN MCENROE 3-6 2-6 6-4 7-5 7-5

To this day McEnroe cringes in disbelief at the memory. The American, who had won his previous 42 matches, lost his focus after shouting at a cameraman in the third set. The crowd quickly turned in favour of Lendl, who went on to win his first Grand Slam title, having lost his first four finals.

© RAY GIUBILO

Juan Martin Del Potro is set for another lengthy spell on the sidelines after he was forced to undergo surgery on his left wrist. Having missed the majority of the 2010 season after surgery on his right wrist, Del Potro went under the knife in March after struggling through the opening months of the season. "Injuries in this sport can change your whole career and now it's the moment to focus on recovering and getting back on the court as fast as I can,” he said.

© RAY GIUBILO

This meeting came at the height of their great rivalry, with Navratilova leading 33-31 in their headto-head record. A high-quality contest looked to be going Navratilova’s way when Evert trailed 0-40 on her serve at 5-5 in the decider, but she held on to claim the sixth of her seven Roland Garros titles.


MURRAY’S FIVE-STAR HOTEL

FLUSHING MEADOWS, NEW YORK

PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT VIEWING With the revamp of Billie Jean King National Tennis Center underway, the 2014 US Open will offer spectators more opportunities to get close to the players or many spectators who do not have a ticket to see the top players’ matches, the next best option appears to be to watch them practise. An increasing number of tournaments are opening up practice facilities to the viewing public. Spectator seats alongside the practice courts have been a big hit at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in London, while Wimbledon’s “Master Plan” for future redevelopment includes a public walkway with spectacular views over reconfigured practice courts to the north of No.1 Court. The US Open, nevertheless, will beat the All England Club to it this summer. The first phase of the huge revamp of the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, which stages the year’s final Grand Slam event, will see the construction of a 30-foot deep, two-storey viewing gallery over five practice courts located next to Arthur Ashe Stadium in the north-west corner of the site. More than 1,000 spectators will be able to take advantage of the facility to watch both practice and the action on Courts 4, 5 and 6, which are also being upgraded. Extra seating on the latter courts will double their capacity to nearly 3,000. Visitors to this year’s US Open will also see the first signs of the most ambitious part of the United States Tennis Association’s project. For years it was considered logistically too difficult and financially too costly to put a roof over the cavernous Arthur Ashe Stadium, but the USTA decided last year to bite the bullet.

F

Having to delay the men’s final until a third Monday because of bad weather five years in a row helped convince the governing body of the need for change. The plan is to have the sliding roof operational in time for the 2016 US Open. Holes are being dug this year for the foundations for the roof’s support structure and will be visible to spectators. The retractable roof itself will be built in phases over the next three years. Arthur Ashe Stadium is the largest arena in tennis, with seating for more than 23,000 spectators. Most of the major changes to the site should be completed in time for the 2016 tournament. The new Grandstand stadium is also earmarked for completion in two years’ time, as are 10 new outside courts. It is also hoped to open a new Louis Armstrong Stadium, with roof, in 2018.

Andy Murray has stayed in luxury hotels around the world. Now the 26-year-old Scot owns one. Murray bought Cromlix House Hotel, which is situated just three miles from his former family home in Dunblane, last year and has reopened it as a five-star establishment, simply called Cromlix. The hotel, which is set in 34 acres of woodland and gardens, features 15 luxury bedrooms, which cost between £250 and £595 a night in peak season, a Chez Roux restaurant and tennis courts designed in Wimbledon colours. The hotel also has a private chapel, which has made it popular as a wedding venue. Murray was best man when his brother, Jamie, married Alejandra Gutierrez there four years ago. Kim Sears, Murray’s girlfriend, has helped with the interior design. Murray himself, however, will not be swapping his tennis gear for a suit to wear behind the reception desk. The hotel is being managed for him by Inverlochy Castle Management International, which owns a number of independent properties in Scotland. Rumours that Murray had planned to call the hotel “Double Faulty Towers” and that he offered Rafael Nadal a job as waiter have not been confirmed. KIM SEARS

Improvements to the Flushing Meadows site will help fans get even closer to the players when they practise

W W W.T E N N I S H E A D. N E T 19

INSIDE OUT

NEWS


HAWKEYE

HOT STUFF MONICA PUIG

PICA POWER

Monica Puig made a big splash at the French Open and Wimbledon last year. This summer she wants to do more than just tread water ica Power may sound more like a firm of electricians than a nickname for an up-and-coming tennis player, but then Monica Puig loves nothing better than to make sparks fly. The 20-year-old from Puerto Rico lit up Roland Garros and Wimbledon last year with a series of fine performances and is determined to prove this summer that those results were no flash in the pan. Puig has more than 30,000 followers on Twitter. Her hashtag, #PicaPower, sums up her personality on court. “Picar means to 'grind out' in Spanish,” she explained. “It was something I started hearing a lot from my coach in coaching sessions. I wanted to have fun with it and so made a little slogan with it myself. Sooner or later, it became my catchphrase and people now refer to me as Pica Power. “It’s great to see how many people have caught on with it. It’s my nickname, I’m very powerful on the court, it’s strong and now I have it on my bag. It’s becoming bigger and bigger.” Having entered last year’s clay court season ranked outside the world’s top 100, Puig quickly made a name for herself. Playing in the main draw of a Grand Slam for the first time at the French Open, she reached the third round with victories over the No.11 seed, Nadia Petrova, and her fellow teenager, Madison Keys. Puig followed that with a stunning debut at Wimbledon, where she reached the fourth round. She claimed the biggest win of her fledgling career when she knocked out the fifth seed, Sara Errani, in the first round and followed up with

P

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wins over Silvia Soler-Espinosa and Eva Birnerova before losing in three sets to Sloane Stephens. Making a rapid climb up the rankings, Puig suddenly found herself in the main draw for some of the biggest events on the WTA tour. That was quite a change from 2012, when she played only two main draw matches and lost them both. Puig knows that she needs a good summer this year to avoid slipping back down the rankings. “Wimbledon and Roland Garros were the best tournaments of the year for me,” she said. “Coming into 2014 you want to try and up those results, but obviously there are going to be some roadblocks.” Having worked with the Belgian Alain de Vos since her early teens, Puig opted for a fresh start at the beginning of this year when she appointed Antonio van Grichen as her coach. Best known for helping turn Victoria Azarenka from a talented junior into a top 10 player, the Portuguese also served as a hitting partner for Jennifer Capriati and enjoyed brief coaching spells with Vera Zvonareva, Eugenie Bouchard and Ana Ivanovic. “I felt like I needed a change in my game to take me to the next level,” Puig told WTA.com. “I thought I needed a fresh voice and a new face on the team.” Although she has lived in Florida from an early age, Puig remains fiercely patriotic. “I’m proud of representing Puerto Rico,” she said. “I play Fed Cup for them, which is an amazing experience, and in 2016 I hope to go to the Olympics. “Tennis is not big in Puerto Rico. The big sports are the ‘three Bs’ – baseball, basketball and


[CV]

“I'M PROUD TO REPRESENT PUERTO RICO. IN 2016 I HOPE TO GO TO THE OLYMPICS” BIRTHPLACE San Juan, Puerto Rico DATE OF BIRTH Sep 27 1993 HEIGHT 5ft 7in PLAYS Right-handed, two-handed backhand WTA TA SINGLES RANKING No.54 TURNED PRO Sep 2010

boxing. But tennis is starting to grow. I am playing a lot, I am in the newspapers and I see more and more people playing tennis. I get recognised in the street now; I try avoiding going out when I go there. They show a lot of my matches on television." Puig has impressed with her striking combination of power, athleticism and passion. Rennae Stubbs, a former world No.1 in doubles, singled her out as a “terrific competitor” and a future top 20 player. The Puerto Rican has also worked with the adidas coaching team of Darren Cahill and Gil Reyes. “Darren and Gil have helped me tremendously over the past three years,” she said. “They have definitely been a great support for me and the adidas programme is outstanding. I am really happy to be a part of it.” Those connections have also enabled Puig to benefit from the wisdom of Steffi Graf. “I have hit with her a couple of times,” Puig said. “She’s just so consistently amazing in what she does. She’s still got it. What a champion she is.” On tour, Puig spends her spare time with the American Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Germany’s Annika Beck. “We see each other every week,” she said. “It makes sense to talk to one another and help each other out.” At home Puig’s dog Ginger keeps her company. “Ginger is a cocker spaniel, she’s an oldie,” she said. “She’s 13, so she’s hanging in there. She spends most of her days sleeping.” Off the court, Puig relaxes by reading. “I loved the Twilight series. I read all the books in almost one day. Those types of books really get me hooked. I also like to write. I express myself better with a piece of paper and a pen. Sometimes I have a picture in my head and I play out little scenarios, and wonder what it would be if I made a story out of this. I reach for a pen and paper and just keep writing.” Might the next scenario feature some major feats by a young tennis player from Puerto Rico? ■ W W W.T E N N I S H E A D. N E T 2 1

HOT STUFF

HOT STUFF


GALLERY

“If my serve Isn’t great, It’s OK because I have a great fOrehand, I have a great bacKhand, I have great speed.” SERENA WILLIAMS


GALLERY

“THE BEST PERFORMANCE OF THE TOURNAMENT CAME IN THE RIGHT MOMENT ON SUNDAY – AGAINST THE BIGGEST RIVAL.” » NOVAK DJOKOVIC


GALLERY

“I WOULD BE VERY HAPPY TO CONTINUE TO PLAY SOME MORE DOUBLES.” « MARTINA HINGIS

“II EXPECT A LLOT FROM MYSELF... I DON’T WANT TO PUT ANY LIMITS ON MYSELF” ∆ MILOS RAONIC


GALLERY

“PLEASED WITH HOW I’M PLAYING. IT’S BEEN A GOOD START TO THE SEASON.” ≈ ROGER FEDERER

“NO FRUSTRATION. THAT’S TENNIS. THE OPPONENT WAS BETTER THAN ME. THAT’S IT.” ∆ RAFAEL NADAL

“ONLY ONE MISTAKE: I THINK I SHOULD GO PARTY LAST NIGHT!” ≈ LI NA


GALLERY

“SERENA IS AN INCREDIBLE CHAMPION. THAT’S THE REASON SHE’S AT THE TOP.” ∆ MARIA SHARAPOVA

“IT’S A NICE FEELING TO KEEP WINNING. I’LL TRY TO CONTINUE IT. ” » TOMAS BERDYCH


GALLERY

“MY GAME IS JUST ABOUT THERE. IT’S NOT FAR OFF.” » ANDY MURRAY


After an outstanding career, and with all her recent health issues, Venus Williams would be excused for considering retirement. Not a chance... WORDS: COURTNEY NGUYEN Courtney Nguyen is a freelance tennis writer based in California. Her daily work appears on Beyond The Baseline, Sports Illustrated's tennis blog. She also co-hosts a weekly tennis podcast called No Challenges Remaining. She can be found on Twitter at @fortydeucetwits.

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“Keep putting yourself up there, keep putting yourself in the right positions, then you’ll get your chance”

W W W.T E N N I S H E A D. N E T 35


D

oes Venus Williams have anything left to prove? The quick and simple answer is “no”. The 33-year-old American is a seventime Grand Slam champion, former world No.1, and four-time Olympic gold medalist. She’s won the Fed Cup for the United States, captured 45 WTA titles, and her legacy off-court, where she helped lead the charge for equal prizemoney at Wimbledon, is second to no other woman of her generation. And yet she fights on. She puts aside her glamorous air of grace and elegance and she gets into the dirty trenches, scrapping for wins. Nothing is given to Williams these days. Her intimidating aura has taken a hit. The other women in the locker-room know she’s not at her best and she’s vulnerable – and they are coming after her. Everyone wants a win over “a Williams sister”, and with Serena still ruling the tour with an iron fist, they’ll take one over Venus. While she’s scratching tooth and nail to maintain her spot among the best on court, she’s fighting an even tougher battle off court. The 2011 season began as any typical calendar year would for Williams. She was ranked No.5 in the world, an impressive feat considering she played just nine tournaments the year before. What should have been a promising season quickly took a disastrous turn. A hip injury forced her to retire from a major for the first time in her career at the Australian Open. Four months later an abdominal injury ruled her out of the French Open and her ranking plummeted outside the top 30 for the first time since 2007. Yet those injuries were minor compared to the news doctors would break to her over the summer. Overcome with debilitating fatigue, Williams soon

Above: Venus hoists aloft her 45th and most recent WTA singles trophy after beating Alize Cornet in the Dubai final in February

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learned she had Sjogren’s Syndrome, an auto-immune disease that resulted in inflammation and extreme fatigue, which she had been feeling as early as 2007. She finally told the world about her private battle after withdrawing from the US Open that year and struggled for nearly a whole season to simply accept that she had an illness. “You see yourself as this healthy person and that nothing can defeat you,” she said at the 2011 US Open. “So it takes a while before you can kind of see yourself as someone with flaws and chips in the armour.” Ambitious and as driven as ever, Williams did not want to just manage the disease as a private citizen. Retirement never crossed her mind. She wanted to get back on court and do what she does best: hit 120mph serves and crush forehands. With the 2012 London Olympics as her ultimate goal, she returned to tennis in February 2012 to get her ranking up high enough to qualify. By virtue of making the quarter-finals of three of the first four tournaments on her return, Williams made it. When I told her at the Italian Open that she finally secured her Olympic spot her eyes welled up with tears. Two months later she had a fourth gold medal around her neck, winning the doubles once again with sister Serena. But the question plaguing Williams after the Olympics was whether she could find the motivation to push further and return to the upper echelons of the game. Williams was adamant that retirement was never a thought she considered and dismissed any idea she was done. “I am a great player,” she said then. “Unfortunately, I had to deal with circumstances that people don’t normally have to deal with in this sport. But I can’t be discouraged by that, so I’m up for challenges. I have great tennis in me. I just need the opportunity. There’s no way I’m just going to sit down and give up just because I have a hard time the first five or six freakin’ tournaments back. That’s just not me.” Fast forward nearly two years and she’s still scrapping alongside the WTA youngsters and proving to everyone, including herself, that she can deliver top-quality tennis. “This time last year I was definitely not anywhere in control,” Williams said at the Family Circle Cup in Charleston, South Carolina. “I was trying to figure out how I can be better, and sometimes that’s tough because you’re not doing anything wrong. You’ve always done things right your whole career and you’re kind of facing something that you can’t control. But I’m always fighting, and I’m a lot better than last year. Night and day.”


“I haven’t gotten rid of the disease. I wish I could have. Unfortunately it clings to me. But I’ve learned to handle it mentally”

Family ties: Serena (left) and Venus collecting their doubles gold medal at Wimbledon during the 2012 London Olympics

Coming into the 2014 season, Williams had not made the final of a WTA Premier-level tournament since her diagnosis. This year she won her biggest title since 2010, a dominating run in Dubai in February. En route to her 45th WTA title, Williams failed to lose a set in five matches, defeating the likes of former No.1s Caroline Wozniacki, Ana Ivanovic, and recent Indian Wells champion Flavia Pennetta. The Dubai title, which came two tournaments after a run to the final at the ASB Classic in Auckland, vindicated Williams’ persistence and belief in herself. Ten of Williams’ last 11 losses at tournaments had come in three sets, with the majority decided by just one break or with a tiebreak. She began this season playing her first final since 2012 in Auckland and lost 6-4 in the third to Ivanovic. In February, she was on the wrong end of a 9-7 third set tiebreak against Petra Kvitova in Qatar. There were a multitude of missed opportunities and heartbreaks during that nine-month stretch, but Williams was putting herself in winning positions against the best players in the world. She assured herself (and the inquisitive press) that it was just a matter of getting more matches under her belt. She tried to stay positive by focusing on the fact that she kept putting herself in winning positions. “I had a lot of matches that I lost, that I lost so close, and sometimes it just seems like, ‘God, why is this happening or why can’t I do better,’” she said. “Obviously I’ve had some extenuating circumstances, but it just proves to me and to anyone else that if you keep trying, keep trying the right things, you keep putting yourself up there, you keep putting yourself in the right positions, then you’ll get your chance.” W W W.T E N N I S H E A D. N E T 3 7


“There’s no way I’m just going to sit down and give up just because I have a hard time the first five or six tournaments back”

Below: Five of Venus' seven Grand Slam titles have come at the All England Club, Wimbledon

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Williams will celebrate her 34th birthday in June, less than a week before the start of her most treasured and successful Grand Slam at Wimbledon. Five of her seven major titles have come at the All England Club, with her last win coming in 2008. Reality says she will not enjoy a reunion with the Venus Rosewater Dish, the champion’s platter that bears her name, but the pleasure in watching Williams play these days is not in the winning. It’s in the competing. Regardless of her ranking she remains a threat – and a target – at any tournament she enters. “I’m no pushover, no matter the circumstances,” Williams said, when asked whether other players raise their games against her. “I do expect that. It’s always flattering if people feel like they have to come out and really be focused and play better. Then that makes me feel like, all right, I’m doing my job.” Nineteen-year old Madison Keys spent much of the last 12 months as the highest-ranked teenager on the WTA tour. She started playing tennis because she saw Williams on television and wanted nothing more than to wear one of her unique oncourt dresses. “I definitely grew up watching her and loving how she played,” Keys said. “She’s so inspiring. She’s still around and she’s one of the funniest people. She truly enjoys tennis. Watching her play and enjoy it... and she battles through what she has every day. I know that can’t be easy all the

time, yet she’s still out here and she’s still doing it because she loves it.” Managing her disease is still a daily battle, but Williams says she’s learning to get a handle on it. She’s a not-so-strict adherent of a Vegan diet – Williams calls herself a “chegan” because she does stray once in a while – and still struggles maintaining her energy levels from day-to-day, an exhausting endeavour for anyone, let alone a professional athlete. “I haven’t gotten rid of the disease,” Williams said with a laugh. “I wish I could have. Unfortunately it clings to me. But I think I’ve just learned to handle it mentally, and also I try to do things all the time, just always going for optimal health.” Tennis is a sport focused on who ends the week with the trophy. We spend our time surveying the field to identify favourites, dark horses, and future champions. We pay attention to winners, not losers, and that tunnel-vision means we often overlook the simple act of “the performance”. She may not win any more majors and her title-runs will be sparse, but there is no other woman on tour who puts in a more compelling performance match-by-match than Venus Williams. For her, the battle wages on. “That’s what makes this game so enjoyable, is that it’s not easy,” Williams said. “Not everyone can do it. Just knowing what you’ve given to be on top. That is satisfaction itself, and it crosses over into the rest of your life.” ■


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100 FACTS RAFA NADAL YOU MIGHT NOT KNOW ABOUT

So you thought you knew everything there was to know about Rafael Nadal? As the Spaniard aims to win a record-breaking ninth French Open title, Paul Newman uncovers 100 facts of which you might be unaware

1 WHEN HE WAS A TEENAGER NADAL BUILT UP HIS ARM MUSCLES USING A PULLEY DEVICE DESIGNED TO PREVENT ASTRONAUTS’ MUSCLES FROM ATROPHYING IN SPACE

2

clay-court season, Nikolay Davydenko was the only top 100 player with a positive head-to-head record against Nadal, having won six of their 11 meetings The Nadal family roots can be traced back to the 14th century

3

He holds the record for consecutive claycourt victories. His run of 81 successive wins was ended by Roger Federer in Hamburg in 2007

4

At the start of this claycourt season he had won 315 clay-court matches and lost just 21

5

6

He has played 85 matches on clay over the best of five sets and won 84 of them. His only defeat was to Robin Soderling in the 2009 French Open He has won the French Open eight times but has made only four appearances at the Paris Masters 1000 tournament on the other side of the city at Bercy, where he has never won the title

7

Cincinnati is the only Masters 1000 tournament where he has lost first time out more than once. He was beaten by Juan Ignacio Chela in 2004, Tomas Berdych in 2005 and Juan Monaco in 2007

9

He has won titles in Europe, Asia, Australasia and North and South America but not in Africa

10

W W W.T E N N I S H E A D. N E T 41


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Maria Francisca Perello, his girlfriend, has a university degree in business administration He started playing twohanded on both forehand and backhand but had changed to a one-handed forehand by the age of 10

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MARIA FRANCISCA PERELLO

He refers to Maria Francisca Perello as “Mary” (above)

© RAY GIUBILO

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Until this year’s Australian Open final, Stan Wawrinka was the player with the worst record against Nadal, having lost all 12 of their meetings without winning a set. At that time Nadal had a 100 per cent record against a total of 82 players (counting only those players he had played at least twice)

26 ROLAND GARROS 2005

11

The name “Nadal” means “Christmas” in both Majorcan and Catalan

At the start of the current claycourt season, he had won the title at least seven times at four different tournaments: Monte Carlo, Barcelona, Rome and Roland Garros

His favourite food for breakfast is bread sprinkled with salt and olive oil

17

Nadal has beaten Roger Federer more times (23) than any other opponent. Next on the list are Novak Djokovic (22) and David Ferrer (21)

During Wimbledon he stays in a rented house and cooks for his family and friends. On the eve of his 2008 Wimbledon triumph he served up fish, shrimps and pasta

He likes Nutella chocolate spread

He started playing competitive matches at the age of seven

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He dislikes ham, cheese and tomatoes

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He grew up in a flat above a tennis equipment shop in the Majorcan town of Manacor. The flat was situated opposite the local tennis club

Toni Nadal, his uncle and coach, used to call him “mummy’s boy”

As a small child he once hid inside a cupboard and ate a whole jar of olives. He was ill for days afterwards

Before a match Nadal eats fish and pasta with olive oil and salt, but no sauce

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4 2 W W W.T E N N I S H E A D. N E T

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His father and two uncles bought a fivestorey apartment building on the main square in Manacor; El Palau (“The Palace”) was the 14th-century residence of the Majorcan king, Jaume II. Three generations of Nadals moved into apartments in the building

23

The opponent with the worst head-to-head record against him as the clay-court season opened was Richard Gasquet, who has lost 12 out of 12

27

Djokovic has beaten him more times (18) than any other player. His next most successful opponents have been Roger Federer (10 wins) and Nikolay Davydenko (six wins)

28

He won his first big title, the Balaeric Islands under-12s championship, at the age of eight

29

He was offered a scholarship at 14 to train at the San Cugat academy in Barcelona. His parents turned it down because they wanted him to continue training with Toni T

31

He won the Spanish under14s title despite a painful wrist, the legacy of a fall after he had tried to jump the net at the end of a training session

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At 14 he practised three times a week with Carlos Moya, another Majorcan

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With 13 Grand Slam titles to his name, he stands third on the all-time list behind Federer (17) and Pete Sampras (14)

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Only Federer (24 finals) can better Nadal’s total of 19 appearances in Grand Slam finals

35

In winning the 2005 French Open he became the first player to win the title on his debut since Mats Wilander in 1982

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In 2010 he became only the second player (after Wilander) to win Grand Slam titles on three different surfaces at least twice

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His 2012 Australian Open defeat to Djokovic was the longest men’s Grand Slam final on record at five hours and 53 minutes

At four years old Rafa was able to recognise the club crest of every football team in the Spanish First Division

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Victory at the 2013 French Open saw Nadal become the first man to win the same Grand Slam title eight times

His father always insisted that when he lost a football match he should congratulate each member of the opposition team individually

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His defeat to Steve Darcis at Wimbledon last year is the only time he has lost in the first round in his 37 Grand Slam tournaments

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Toni Nadal T studied law and history at university but dropped out before completing the course. He went on to play and coach tennis

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Toni used to be the best table tennis player on Majorca

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Rafa used to play “first to 20 points” with his uncle. T Toni would let him get to 19 but then upped his game to stop Rafa winning in order to teach him the importance of endurance

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When Rafa won a Mercedes sports car at the age of 19, Toni arranged for one of his sponsors, Kia, to provide his nephew with a more humble vehicle to drive around Majorca. Toni said the Mercedes had to stay in the garage

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Rafa’s uncle Miguel Angel played football for Barcelona and for Spain

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He is a Real Madrid fan because they were the team his father supported

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He started playing football competitively for a Manacor junior team at the age of seven. He was a left-sided attacker. He helped Manacor win the Balaeric Islands Championship when he was 11

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Rafa’s great grandfather on his mother’s side was a master furniture maker

Maribel studied sports education at university in Barcelona

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His grandfather Rafael on his father’s side was a musician

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Toni used to tell Rafa that he had won the Tour de France and played football in Italy. Until Rafa was nine he believed that Toni was a magician who could make himself invisible

49

Rafa’s formal education ended when he was 16 after he left all his books on a plane

He phones or texts his younger sister, Maribel, 10 times a day

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57 HE WRITES AND PLAYS DARTS WITH HIS RIGHT HAND. HIS LEFT FOOT IS STRONGER AT FOOTBALL

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His father and Toni started T a window-making business in Manacor in the mid-1980s

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In 2010 he opened the Rafael Nadal Tennis School in Anantapur in India. The school gives equal importance to tennis training and education

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He won his first match on the ATP tour at 15, bridging a gap of 681 places in the rankings to beat Paraguay’s Ramon Delgado, the world No.81, in Majorca

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He won his first title on the main tour in doubles at Umag in 2003, just after turning 17. His partner was a fellow Spaniard, Alex Lopez Moron, who was 16 years older than him

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He has won eight doubles titles, including three at Masters Series level. He has twice won at Indian Wells in partnership with Marc Lopez

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At 19 he was told he might never play again because of pain caused by a deformed tarsal scaphoid bone in his left foot. Nike devised a shoe which helped, though the pain has returned from time to time

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Carlos Costa, his agent, reached a career-high No.10 in the world rankings in 1992

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W W W.T E N N I S H E A D. N E T 4 3


His heaviest defeat was in the Chennai final of 2008, when he was beaten 6-0 6-1 by Mikhail Youzhny. He had played a fourhour semi-final the previous day

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Away from A Grand Slam competition, he has retired six times. Twelve of T his opponents have retired

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He has a freezing cold shower before every match

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He goes to the toilet up to half a dozen times in the hour before a match. He calls them “nervous pees”

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His retirement against Andy Murray in the 2010 Australian Open is the only time he has quit in 201 Grand Slam matches. Seven of his Grand Slam opponents have retired

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The $3,874,751 he earned in 2005 was a record for a teenager

He sleeps with a light or television on because he does not like the dark

He has never beaten an opponent 6-0 6-0. He has won 6-0 6-1 or 6-1 6-0 ten times

He likes jetskiing and swimming in the sea, but only if he can see the sand at the bottom

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AUSTRALIAN OPEN 2010

At the end of last year he won his first live poker tournament, the EPT Charity Challenge in Prague

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In 2013 he became the first player to win more than $14m in prize money during one season

He is so frightened of dogs that Carlos Moya had to lock his animals in a bedroom whenever Nadal visited

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The racket manufacturer Babolat signed a 10-year deal with Rafa in 2007

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Nike signed him in 1999, when he was only 13

After winning the Monte Carlo Masters in 2008 he flew back to Majorca by easyJet

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He followed David Beckham and Cristiano Ronaldo as the face of Armani jeans and underwear

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Beyonce attended the party in Paris to celebrate his 2010 French Open victory

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His only appearance in a Grand Slam junior tournament was at Wimbledon in 2002, when he reached the semi-finals

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He made a video with the singer Shakira to promote her single, “Gypsy”

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He has never dropped out of the world’s top five since breaking into it in May 2005

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He was voted the ATP’s “Newcomer of the Year” in 2003

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In 2005, at the age of 18, he became the first teenager to win 11 tournaments in one season

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4 4 W W W.T E N N I S H E A D. N E T

Within days of getting his driver’s licence he hit three walls when parking his car. “I hit a wall on one side, a wall on the other and then a wall at the front,” he said at the time. “It was unbelievable. I have to improve. But at least it’s not my car. Kia gave it to me”

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He spent a record 160 weeks in a row at No.2 in the world rankings from July 2005 to August 2008

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US OPEN 2013


In winning the 2010 Monte Carlo title he dropped a total of just 14 games in his five matches

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His run of 46 consecutive victories at Monte Carlo ended when he lost to Novak Djokovic in the 2013 final. The defeat also ended his run of 81 successive victories on clay in April

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At Wimbledon in 2006 he held serve 80 times in a row until Federer broke him in the first game of the final

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In 2008 he won Spain’s “Prince of Asturias” award for sport, securing 18 of the jury’s 24 votes. His competitors were Michael Phelps, Usain Bolt, Yelena Y Isinbayeva and Spain’s football team

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At Monte Carlo in 2009 he lost 11 points in a row in the first set against Juan Ignacio Chela but still won 6-2 6-3

A 24-match winning streak in quarter-finals ended when he lost to Feliciano Lopez at Queen’s Club in 2010

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He won only four points in the final set of the 2011 Japan Open against Andy Murray in Tokyo. Murray won 3-6 6-2 6-0

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His off-season at the end of 2009 lasted one day. He began training again two days after leading Spain to victory in the Davis Cup final

His favourite dish at his favourite Spanish restaurant in London is octopus

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DAVIS CUP

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David Cameron borrowed Nadal’s racket when the Prime Minister played with Andy Murray in No.10 Downing Street before the 2010 World Tour Finals. Nadal T said Cameron had “a good volley”

© PAUL ZIMMER

The lowest ranked player he has ever met at a Grand Slam tournament was Gianni Mina (world No.655) at the 2010 French Open. Nadal beat the Frenchman 6-2 6-2 6-2

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94 SINCE THE 2009 FINAL HE HAS MISSED NINE OF SPAIN’S 13 DAVIS CUP TIES. MURRAY HAS MISSED SIX AND FEDERER AND DJOKOVIC FOUR EACH FOR THEIR COUNTRIES OVER THE SAME PERIOD

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A notoriously bad timekeeper, he arrived nearly an hour late for a press conference in Paris in 2010 to announce his sponsorship deal with Richard Mille, makers of luxury Swiss watches W W W.T E N N I S H E A D. N E T 4 5


 

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KAZAK 4 8 W W W.T E N N I S H E A D. N E T


HSTAN

W W W.T E N N I S H E A D. N E T 49


KAZAKHSTAN

I

t will be a good quiz question in years to come. Which team reached the Davis Cup’s elite World Group and stayed there with a line-up which did not feature a single player born inside the country’s borders? Here is a clue: for the last two years the same country’s Fed Cup team has not featured a single home-grown player either. The answer is Kazakhstan, whose policy of importing overseas players is just one feature of the former Soviet republic’s extraordinary tennis landscape. Thanks to the sporting obsession of one man, this central Asian nation of just 16 million people is developing an infrastructure which could keep it at the top of tennis for many a year. Modern-day tennis in Kazakhstan owes everything to Bulat Utemuratov, a banker and investor who stands at No.796 on Forbes magazine’s list of the world’s billionaires. The 56-year-old’s net worth is estimated at $2.2 billion (£1.32 billion), which makes him his country’s richest individual and ranks him alongside Ted Turner, the founder of CNN, and Jack Dorsey, who created Twitter. The tennis-loving Utemuratov, who is an adviser to the Kazakhstan president Nursultan Nazarbayev and a former ambassador to Switzerland, is president of Kazakhstan’s tennis federation. Thanks to Utemuratov’s cash, Kazakhstan is building outstanding tennis facilities and enabling its best young players to train full-time under some of the world’s finest coaches. Nevertheless, it has been the federation’s policy of recruiting ready-made talent that has thrust the nation to the forefront of world tennis. Kazakhstan secured a place in the Davis Cup’s World Group in 2010 and have stayed there ever since thanks to Mikhail Kukushkin, Andrey Golubev, Evgeny Korolev and Yuri Schukin, who all changed their national allegiances from their native Russia in return for the Kazakhstan federation’s support and the chance to play in the Davis Cup. Aleksandr Nedovyesov, who partnered Golubev to a sensational doubles victory over Roger Federer and Stan Wawrinka as Kazakhstan narrowly lost to Switzerland in this year's quarter-finals, was born in Ukraine. Although they have not enjoyed as much success, Kazakhstan’s Fed Cup team has a similar story. For the last two years their representatives have been Galina Voskoboeva, Yaroslava Shvedova and Yulia Putintseva, who were all born in Moscow, and Sesil Karatantcheva, who was born in Bulgaria. The idea of changing nationalities is nothing new. Martina Navratilova, having played initially for Czechoslovakia, became a United States citizen and represented her new country in the Fed Cup. Greg Rusedski grew up in Canada before switching allegiance to Britain. Uzbekistan-born Varvara Lepchenko represented the US at the 2012 Olympics. What has made Kazakhstan exceptional has been its importing of overseas players as a matter of policy. “We lose a lot of kids to boxing and wrestling because they are the sports that Kazakhs believe they can succeed in,” Dias Doskarayev, the country's Davis Cup captain said. “We needed faces we could show on television. We had players ranked maybe 200 or 300 in the world playing in Futures and Challengers, but you

5 0 W W W.T E N N I S H E A D. N E T


“We lose lots of kids to boxing and wrestling because they are the sports that Kazakhs believe that they can succeed in” AS DOSKARAYEV

Right: Mikhail Kukushkin has been inside the top 50 and made the singles final of the ATP event in Moscow towards the end of 2013

© JUERGEN HASENKOPF

Top left: Andrey Golubev Centre left: Evgeny Korolev Bottom left: Bulat Utemuratov (L) and ITF president Francesco Ricci Bitti Above: Yaroslava Shvedova

couldn’t show that on TV. It had to be something big – and the Davis Cup is a competition that is known around the world. That’s why the strategy was to bring in people from outside – people from Russia, for example, who are not supported by their federation.” Kazakhstan also offered top-class training facilities and help with coaches, other support staff and travel. To meet International Tennis Federation requirements, however, players can change national allegiance only after spending a certain amount of time in their new country. “On top of this the players understand that from a publicity and an ethical viewpoint they can’t just come to the country, play Davis Cup or Fed Cup, and then leave,” Doskarayev said. For 26-year-old Golubev the switch was a logical one. “Of course the Davis Cup was really good motivation,” he said. “We really enjoy playing for Kazakhstan and I think that has been shown by our results. We feel we’re part of a great project to develop tennis in the country. The people from the federation really want us to help with this. In Russia nobody cared about me. When I was a junior and moved to Italy for four years to practise, nobody called me to ask me how I was doing, whether I needed anything.” He added: “Even now if we ask for help with something – maybe for a coach or physio – the federation provide it. When Yuri Schukin finished his career last year I asked the federation if he could work with me as a coach, help me get back into the top 100. They said OK. They provided a salary for him and paid his expenses.” Golubev, who recently climbed back into the world’s top 70 after dropping out of the top 200 a year ago, pointed out that Russia and Kazakhstan have many ties. “They are really close, politically and in many other ways,” he said. “Everyone in Kazakhstan speaks Russian and many Kazakh people speak only Russian. You can say that Russia and Kazakhstan are different, but it’s like England and Scotland. They are both part of the UK and the people are all British.” W W W.T E N N I S H E A D. N E T 5 1


KAZAKHSTAN

TENNIS TRADITIONS A history of Kazakh's pros → Dias Doskarayev, who appeared in his last Davis Cup tie 10 years ago, remembers a time when playing tennis in Kazakhstan was a constant struggle. “In the winter we had only two indoor hard courts in the whole of Almaty for Davis Cup preparation and they were privately owned,” the current Davis Cup captain recalled. “There were maybe only 100 people in Kazakhstan who played in competitions regularly. Sometimes we had to prepare for Davis Cup on wooden surfaces.” Although tennis in Kazakhstan has been transformed by recent investment, the country does have a tennis tradition, dating back to its time as a Soviet republic. In the 1960s the Soviet authorities set out to develop tennis there and a number of good players emerged. The best and most celebrated player in the country’s history was Marina Kroshina, who was junior Wimbledon champion in 1971. “Four or five players from Kazakhstan played in Soviet Union national teams at that time, but unfortunately they went on to live in other countries,” Doskarayev said. “Marina Kroshina eventually moved to Ukraine. Others left for Russia. One of them now lives in the Czech Republic and another in Italy. If Kazakhstan had kept all those good players they might eventually have become good coaches for the country, but unfortunately that tradition wasn’t kept up. The salaries for coaches in Kazakhstan were so low that people weren’t interested. The whole situation wasn’t set up for tennis.” Kazakhstan-born players of international quality have been thin on the ground in subsequent years. Elena Likhovtseva, a former top 20 player, was born in Almaty, the former capital, but competed under the Russian flag until her retirement six years ago. Irina Selyutina, who has just been appointed Kazakhstan’s Fed Cup captain, reached a career-high No.85 in the world rankings in 2002.

Dias Doskarayev: 'In the winter, we had only two indoor hard courts in the whole of Almaty'

5 2 W W W.T E N N I S H E A D. N E T

Doskarayev says the imports have thrown themselves wholeheartedly into the national project. “They want to interact with the local players. They want to show that they live in Kazakhstan. They are doing a great job. They do things without being asked. People like Golubev or Shvedova phone me up and say: ‘I’m coming next week, what are you doing? Let’s set up some practice sessions, do some training with juniors.’” Beneath Davis Cup and Fed Cup level, the progress is arguably even more remarkable. Millions have been invested in facilities, including a new national tennis centre in the capital, Astana, and improvements in Almaty, the former capital. Given the harsh winter climate, indoor facilities are crucial. Within the next 18 months almost every big city will have its own tennis centre. “The first strategy was to improve the infrastructure,” Doskarayev said. “We wanted our kids to have access to the current players to train when they come in. We started projects to build tennis facilities in each region.” Until recently there were only 500 registered players in Kazakhstan. Now there are nearly 3,000. Facilities are having to grow to meet demand. “All the courts are filled, even in the smaller cities,” Doskarayev said. “We want to make sure that kids have access.” With the federation’s support, more than 50 Kazakhs play and train full-time. “We have 32 juniors who are financed 100 per cent by the federation,” Doskarayev said. “The federation pays for coaches, fitness coaches, travel, facilities, everything. I have talked to a lot of other captains and no other federation in the world does that.”


“They want to interact with the local players. They want to show that they live in Kazakhstan” DIAS DOSKARAYEV

Left: Zarina Diyas Middle: The National Tennis Center in the capital, Astana Bottom: Galina Voskoboeva and Venus Williams

The players benefit from top-class coaching. The Kazakh federation works closely with the TenisVal academy in Valencia, where David Ferrer trains, and with Eric van Harpen’s academy in Germany. Jose Altur, Ferrer’s coach, has spent much time working with Kazakhstan’s male players. Up to 20 Kazakh players have trained in Spain at any one time and TenisVal coaches are regular visitors to Kazakhstan. Van Harpen, a former coach of Arantxa Sanchez Vicario and Conchita Martinez, works closely with Kazakhstan’s best young female players. The Kazakh federation have recently turned more to Russian-speaking coaches, to aid communication. The value of importing coaches has been shown in 18-year-old Kamila Kerimbayeva, who in the last year has climbed more than 400 places into the world’s top 300 under the guidance of the Ukrainian Andrey Bakunin. The only other Kazakhstan-born player with a higher WTA ranking is 20-year-old Zarina Diyas, who reached the third round at this year’s Australian Open. Dyas went to the brink of the world’s top 100 with her recent victory in a $50,000 ITF event in Guangzhou, where she has been based for the last 18 months. While the importing of players like Voskoboeva and Shvedova has limited her Fed Cup opportunities, Dyas backs her federation. “They are good players so it’s really good for Kazakhstan.” Golubev describes the importing of overseas players as “the tip of the iceberg”. He explained: “We’re just the bit you can see. The main work is the development of junior tennis. We’re an example to those kids.” Doskarayev said: “The number of kids who are playing tournaments regularly has sky-rocketed. It wasn’t just about the building of the facilities, it was about building a whole structure where kids come in and play tennis. We set up a mini-tennis structure for under-10s. Then they play national tournaments, then they get a ranking, then they get the financing, then they have all these international tournaments they can play in Kazakhstan. In 2014 we will stage 14 Futures tournaments in men’s and women’s tennis. We also have three men’s Challenger tournaments, three $25,000 tournaments for women, plus ITF under-18 tournaments.” What does Doskarayev believe the next generation can achieve? “I think there will be one or two female players making the top 150 in the next five to seven years,” he said. “It’s easier in women’s tennis. In the next 10 or 15 years I hope there will be maybe one real Kazakh player who will reach the ATP’s top 100. I think it’s going to grow slowly, but we want to build a system which generates its own talent.” ■ W W W.T E N N I S H E A D. N E T 53


[FACT CHECK] WHaT 2014 French Open WHEn May 25-june 8 WHErE Stade roland Garros, Paris sUrFaCE Outdoor red clay WHo •• Men’s singles (128) •• Men’s doubles (64) •• ladies’ singles (128) •• ladies’ doubles (64) •• Mixed doubles (64) •• Boys’ singles (64) •• Boys’ doubles (32) •• Girls’ singles (64) •• Girls’ doubles (32) •• Men’s and ladies’ wheelchair singles and doubles •• Perrier legends Trophy (three events) 2013 CHaMPIons •• rafael Nadal •• Bryan & Bryan •• Serena Williams •• Makarova & Vesnina •• hradecka & Cermak

5 4 W W W.T E N N I S H E A D. N E T

[ROLAND GARROS 2014]

BIG GAME HUNTING


After the results of the last 12 months at the world's biggest tournaments, it’s difficult to look beyond Nadal and Djokovic WORDS: LEE GOODALL

FAVOURITE: Rafael Nadal → The Spaniard’s record on clay

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“BEATING NADAL ON A CLAY COURT REMAINS THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE IN TENNIS”

Above: World No.1 Rafael Nadal will be hoping to get his hands on the men's singles trophy for a ninth time

and beat Nadal and Djokovic on hard, indoor and grass surfaces, but on clay that feat is all the harder. Murray would openly admit he finds clay his biggest challenge and his ongoing recovery from back surgery last year means his expectations on the red stuff this spring will be low. Federer, on the other hand, has been showing signs that a slightly bigger racket and his new partnership with coach Stefan Edberg are working. The Swiss is fit once again, and has produced some great tennis in 2014, but even that wasn’t good enough to land either of the opening Masters 1000s played on the hard courts of Indian Wells and Miami. Indeed, after the dust had settled on the Florida event at the end of March, Nadal and Djokovic held all nine Masters titles between them. Evidence of their world domination. Djokovic holds an advantage over Nadal on hard courts, and has even beaten him on clay in the past – in Monte Carlo, Rome and Madrid – but never when it really mattered, inside the Paris major’s main arena, Court Philippe Chatrier. The Serb came mighty close to achieving that in last year's semi-finals when he blew a 4-2 lead in the final set before Nadal recovered to win 9-7 in the fifth. Whether that experience means he will be better prepared than ever before if he comes up against Nadal in the final on June 8, only time will tell. Beating Nadal on a clay court is still the biggest challenge in tennis.

represents a collection of mind-boggling statistics. Eight Roland Garros titles in nine visits and a win-loss record of 59-1 in Paris make it impossible not to nominate Nadal as the favourite once more. Bearing in mind he also has eight Monte Carlo trophies, eight Barcelona crowns and seven victories in Rome, Rafa is still the undisputed King of Clay.

© FREY @AMN IMAGES

hen we sit down to consider the annual preview to the second Grand Slam of the year, we try to approach it with the intention of giving it a fresh look, another angle. But when you start to delve into the recent history of the men’s singles at Roland Garros, it’s all about one man – Rafael Nadal. And it still is. Try as we might to look beyond the Spanish world No.1 getting his hands on the singles trophy for a ninth time (yes, nine), it’s very difficult to bet against the man from Majorca when he sets foot on the French clay. You could even argue that this year’s draw will present even less of an open title race than in recent years. Experts have for some time talked about the ‘Big Four’ on the ATP tour, but on recent form that big four seems to have shrunk to the big two – Nadal and the man just behind him in the world rankings, Novak Djokovic. The other two members of that foursome, Roger Federer and Andy Murray, have shown they can live with

DARKHORSE: Milos Raonic → You’d be forgiven for labelling the big-serving Canadian as nothing more than a fast court player, but he’s shown in the past he has the artistry and game to enjoy success on clay. Having spent time under the tutelage of Spaniard Galo Blanco and now with Ivan Ljubicic, Raonic will arrive in Paris expecting much more of himself. A run to the last four of the ATP 500 in Barcelona last year shows he knows what he’s doing on the dirt.

HOME HOPE: Jo-Wilfried Tsonga → While France has strength in depth in the men’s game (nine players in the top 50 at the time of writing), it looks unlikely they’ll end their wait for a male Grand Slam champion this June. Hopes will be pinned on the shoulders of leading lights Richard Gasquet, Gael Monfils and, perhaps the man with the best chance of success on the big stage, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. W W W.T E N N I S H E A D. N E T 5 5


[ROLAND GARROS 2014]

THE FAVOURITE: Serena Williams

When she’s fit and focused nobody can live with Serena Williams, once more the favourite to lift the women’s trophy hile 2013 French Open men’s champion Rafael Nadal will start the Paris major as favourite to defend his title, the same is true of the ladies’ singles where American world No.1 Serena Williams will be expected to claim back-to-back victories after she beat Maria Sharapova in the final last June. Williams has twice proved – last year and back in 2002 – that her upbringing on American hard courts won’t stop her mastering the French clay, but her last two

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titles, a tally which puts her tantalisingly close to emulating fellow greats Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova, who each hold 18. It looks more and more likely Serena will eclipse that duo during the remainder of her career, and Steffi Graf’s Open era record of 22 is now well within touching distance. Of her challengers, Chinese world No.2 Li Na – January’s Australian Open champion and a former winner at Roland Garros – looks like her sternest rival. Li has proved she has the temperament to handle the biggest stages, although has lost her last ten meetings with Williams, dating back to 2008. Further down the WTA rankings, Aga Radwanska has struggled to stay 100% fit for much of this season – a must when taking to the clay – and the same can be said of former Grand Slam champ Victoria Azarenka, who lost early in Indian Wells and missed Miami with a foot injury that she picked up before January’s Australian Open. Maria Sharapova, another former champion, is always a threat thanks to her tenacity and incredible fighting spirit, but she too owns a dismal record against Serena – the Russian hasn’t beaten the world No.1 for a decade. That leaves punters looking further down the WTA ranking list for anyone who has the pedigree and belief to go all the way in Paris. Serena will arrive feeling very confident indeed. ■

“STEFFI GRAF’S OPEN ERA RECORD OF 22 MAJORS IS NOW WELL WITHIN TOUCHING DISTANCE” visits are evidence that you never quite know what to expect when she hits the Roland Garros dirt in late May. Back in 2012 she crashed out in round one to Frenchwoman Virginie Razzano and, after teaming up with current Parisbased coach Patrick Mouratoglou following that defeat, came back 12 months later to sweep aside all before her. At 32 years of age, as she enters the twilight of her career, motivation to win the biggest events certainly isn’t an issue. Rejuvenated after being hospitalised with a pulmonary embolism in 2011, the American now owns 17 Grand Slam singles 5 6 W W W.T E N N I S H E A D. N E T

time Grand Slam winner, the American will hope to draw level with Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert on 18 major singles titles by winning in Paris. Still the player to beat in the women’s game, if her mind is on the job she is a class apart. Also has the benefit of feeling at home in the French capital – she is coached by Paris-based Patrick Mouratoglou.

© FREY @AMN IMAGES

ON SERENA’S RACKET...

→ Twice a former champion and a 17-

THE DARKHORSE: Dominika Cibulkova → Always a talented performer, her run to the final of this year's Australian Open has appeared to give her the belief she required to consistently take on the world’s best. A semi-final showing in Miami pushed her into the world’s top ten for the first time and her appetite for a scrap, boundless energy and fantastically positive body language on court will serve her well on the clay.

HOME HOPE: Alize Cornet → With last year’s Wimbledon champion Marion Bartoli now but a distant memory on the WTA tour, French support will rest on the shoulders of Alize Cornet. The 24-year-old has enjoyed some good form in 2014, beating Serena Williams on her way to the final in Dubai in February. With a decent draw, she’ll be hoping at least to keep the flag flying into the second week.


PHOTOGRAPHY © JUERGEN HASENKOPF

W W W.T E N N I S H E A D. N E T 57


GO FOR GOLD. WIN

      

   

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COMPETITION

VIP TICKETS TO WATCH THE STARS

Get your hands on tickets to exclusive pre-Wimbledon tournaments, the BNP Paribas Tennis Classic and The Boodles

BNP Paribas Tennis Classic Hurlingham Cub, West London → tennishead readers have the chance to be treated like sporting VIPs this summer. Be part of the glamour of the opening night of the BNP Paribas Tennis Classic, one of the most exclusive British summer events, where you can experience some world-class tennis in a stunning London location. Enjoy a champagne reception, first-rate tennis and a two-course gourmet barbecue buffet. Included in this prize are two VIP tickets to the Celebrity Launch Evening on June 17. This gives you the opportunity to mingle with players and celebrities in a relaxed environment.

To give yourself the chance to win, tell us the one question you’d most like to ask former Wimbledon champion, Goran Ivanisevic. The most original entry will win and will be put to Goran at the VIP Celebrity Launch Evening. Send your entry, along with your name, address and phone number, to ask@tennishead.net by the closing date, May 21. For more information about the event, visit www.bnpparibastennisclassic.com or email Emily.Rubin@imgworld.com W W W.T E N N I S H E A D. N E T 59


COMPETITION

The Boodles Stoke Park, Buckinghamshire semi-finals. Last year’s Wimbledon champion, Andy Murray, is also a Boodles veteran. World No.2 Djokovic was again the star of the show when he took on Dimitrov in one of the most entertaining matches of the week. Djokovic, who was playing his first match of the grass-court season after opting to rest the week after the French Open, attended The Boodles for his eighth consecutive year. The Boodles is now in its 13th year and has become one of the sporting highlights of the English summer season. Held in the stunning surroundings of historic Stoke Park in Buckinghamshire, it couples world class hospitality and tennis, and is now renowned for the luxurious experience it offers players and guests alike. To give yourself the chance to win a pair of tickets for Saturday,June 21 together

with BBQ vouchers for lunch on the lawns of Stoke Park, enter our competition now! There are also five pairs of tickets to be won for Tuesday, June 17 for five runnersup. These tickets will give the winners entry to Stoke Park, access to the Garden Bar where lunch and tea will be on offer, and reserved seats within eight metres of the tennis elite. All you have to do is answer this question correctly: Which Boodles favourite won the 2013 ATP World Tour Finals? A: Rafael Nadal B: Novak Djokovic C: David Ferrer To enter this fantastic competition, visit www.tennishead.net before the closing date of May 21, 2014.

For more information or to book your places for 2014, please visit www.theboodles.com or call 0207 384 4877 The Venue: Stoke Park, Park Road, Stoke Poges, Bucks, SL2 4PG. When: Tuesday 17th June – Saturday 21st June 2014 Ticket Prices: From £49 | Hospitality Prices: From £155.00 + VAT 6 0 W W W.T E N N I S H E A D. N E T

Images © Jordan Mansfield

→ One of the next opportunities for British tennis fans to see their favourite players perform on home soil will be at The Boodles 2014, the week before Wimbledon from Tuesday 17-Saturday 21 June. It is here that the world’s tennis elite will grace the immaculate grass courts of Stoke Park playing in front of no more than 1,600 fans, with each seat no further than eight metres from the court. The Boodles brings you closer to the action than you could ever imagine, but in a very relaxed atmosphere which the players enjoy and relish as much as the fans. Looking back at 2013, The Boodles line-up included Novak Djokovic, Juan Martin Del Potro, Tomas Berdych, Richard Gasquet, Grigor Dimitrov, Jerzy Janowicz and Marin Cilic to name a few, three of whom reached the Wimbledon


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LOOK, LISTEN, LEARN!

‘FAIL TO PREPARE: PREPARE TO FAIL’ From technique to tactics and data to diet, we try to help you become a better player With tips from experts in coaching, psychology and nutrition, step up your game today

Using the wisdom of the tennishead experts, we will improve your game! Email ask@tennishead.net with your queries CONDITIONING EXPERT

JEZ GREEN Director of Physical Conditioning at MCTA Group and strength and conditioning coach to Andy Murray. Jez has also worked with WTA players like Daniela Hantuchova.

“If you’re a good outdoor player you’re going to be a good indoor player” PATRICK MOURATOGLOU

COACHING CONSULTANT

PATRICK MOURATOGLOU Coach to world No.1 Serena Williams, Patrick is the Founder and Head Coach of the Mouratoglou Tennis Academy in Paris, which boasts Grigor Dimitrov and Laura Robson among its alumni. ACADEMY COLUMNIST

MATS MERKEL adidas coach Mats has worked with the likes of Andy Murray andJoWilfried Tsonga as well as a number of up-andcoming juniors. He offers an insight into life on tour in his exclusive column.

GUEST COACH

DAVID SAMMEL David has more than 25 years’ experience in tennis and is an official ATP Coach and author. In his career, he has coached a number of British and international players and is currently Head Coach at Team Bath – MCTA and author of “Locker Room Power”.

GET MATCH READY Don’t play your best tennis on the practice court. Learn how to peak at the right time eel like your hard work in training is not always evident in matches? Your training schedule might need some attention. With the help of the coaching team at the International Tennis Federation (page 72), we explore the benefits of ‘Periodisation’ and why a comprehensive training schedule can help you avoid injury and ensure you peak at the right time. But even if you’ve put in the hard yards on the practice court, it won’t matter a jot if your legs turn to jelly at the first sign of pressure. In our regular PlayBrave psychology feature, we try to help you stay calm and battle those butterflies. With the world’s best currently grinding it out on the clay in Europe, Mats Merkel explains the challenges facing players on the dirt and why those who can adapt quickly to the change of surface will be at a real advantage. On page 78, Mats shares his experience of working with Jo-Wilfried

F

Tsonga on his clay game and picks out his players to watch this spring. Meanwhile, Patrick Mouratoglou explains why he believes it is advantageous to train predominantly outdoors as he shares his vision for his new academy in Nice, set to open in 2016. With world-class facilities including 33 courts and accommodation for 150 aspiring professionals, the facility at Biot-Sophia-Antipolis is set to be the biggest in Europe. We turn our attention to the King of Clay, Rafael Nadal on page 64, as Dave Sammel scrutinises the Spaniard’s famous forehand, before focusing on Eugenie Bouchard’s backhand in our frame-by-frame analysis. And that’s not all! Learn how your diet can help your body recover from injury on page 74 as expert Sarah Brown explains how eating the right nutrients will help your body heal itself. W W W.T E N N I S H E A D. N E T 63


A ADEMY AC

[FRAME-BY-FRAME]

RAFA NADAL FOREHAND

It's arguably one of the greatest strokes tennis has ever known. So how exactly does Rafa generate such power and spin off his forehand wing?

1

Rafa has fantastic rotation in preparation for the shot. His right arm extends back further than his head, taking the shoulders past the hips allowing him to coil up like a spring, ready for release.

2

As Rafa begins to accelerate his racket arm forward and towards the ball, the speed of his hips and arm will increase quickly into the contact point. Notice that his head is completely still.

3

He explodes upwards with the wrist laid back for extra speed and whip as the arm accelerates to contact. Imagine the force of his legs driving up, body rotating and arm 'lassoing' into the ball?

Dominate opponents with your weapons → It's no use having a massive forehand if you don't use it to win matches. The next time you watch Nadal during a match, notice how many times he makes

6 4 W W W.T E N N I S H E A D. N E T

sure he is in position to play a forehand rather than a backhand – even when the ball is coming down his backhand side. Often he will 'camp' to the right of the

baseline's centre mark so he can hit as many forehands as possible. This makes it very difficult for opponents to get the ball on to his slightly weaker backhand.


MEET YOUR COACH: DAVID SAMMEL David has more than 25 years' experience in tennis, coaching international players to career-high rankings, many of whom have represented their countries in the Davis Cup and at Olympic tennis events. David also became an official ATP coach in 2014 as recognition of his many years on tour. In addition, he regularly contributes to the UK tennis media including appearances on BBC Radio 5 Live, contributions to

The Times newspaper and Sky Sports. In early 2014, David released a sports psychology and coaching book, "Locker Room Power – Building an Athlete's Mind". It provides insights, practical ideas and techniques for athletes and coaches to help them unlock the true potential of a sportsperson, enhance their performance and achieve their professional goals.

GOLDEN RULE Committing to a big, heavily-spun forehand is key to success when executing a shot like this – especially at crucial stages of matches when you might start to feel a little bit nervous. To create big spin you need huge racket head speed – just like Rafa. So don't hold back. Attack the ball, hit through the shot and be brave!

4

A split second before contact – the body has rotated in mid-air, his head is still, hips now almost square-on and the wrist allows a flat racket face on the ball. The angle indicates an inside-out forehand.

5

Rafa's left leg begins to extend backwards as a counter-balance to the racket arm which is fully extended forwards. The forearm has rotated to impart some topspin onto the ball.

6

Look how relaxed his wrist is as it almost flops over in the follow through. You can also see from the angle of the front leg how his weight is leaning forward over the ball and the left shoulder rotates.

Don't look up – finish the shot → It's only long after the ball has gone that Rafa's eyes (not his head) begin to lift to look at his opponent and track where the next ball he might have to take on is

going. This is another example of how top players really commit to each shot - they don't start moving away before they have completed their execution. This is a

common problem for club players who pull up and off the shot immediately after contact – and much too soon – to try to get back and ready for the next ball.

W W W.T E N N I S H E A D. N E T 65

ACADEMY

RAFAEL NADAL


A ADEMY AC

[FRAME-BY-FRAME]

BOUCHARD BACKHAND

From one of the greatest ever players, to one of the rising stars of the women's game. Eugenie Bouchard and her defensive backhand

1

Eugenie shows great strength as she prepares to defend a powerful shot. Notice how low she is to absorb the pace with a wide-open stance. Her racket is back early, her shoulders are nicely rotated further than her hips, her head is still.

2

The ball is now almost in Eugenie's strike zone. She doesn't panic and waits to time the ball. She hasn't raised her body at all as the racket head drops below her wrists – to help create a bit of topspin – and begins to move forward.

3

Still her body is at exactly the same height. When defending pace, it's so important to make sure the head and body do not lift up. The low centre of gravity and strength of the player dominates the weight and force of the ball.

Stand your ground - defend your territory In this age of power tennis, defending your real estate on court is key. Despite the temptation for Eugenie to allow the force of her opponent’s shot to push her

6 6 W W W.T E N N I S H E A D. N E T

up and back off the ball, she maintains her discipline throughout the execution of this backhand. She avoids losing control of her follow through by holding

her body shape from start to finish. This is not an easy thing to do in the heat of battle. This is a fabulous example of textbook execution under pressure.


Eugenie Bouchard – putting Canada on the map when she won Junior Wimbledon in 2012, Eugenie Bouchard enjoyed a stellar season in 2013 when she burst into the world's top 50 and was subsequently named WTA Newcomer of the Year. Her results during 2014 have been even better so far, starting the calendar year

ranked No.32, before jumping into the top 20 after reaching the semifinals at the Australian Open where she beat former world No.1 Ana Ivanovic en route to the last four. “She’s a very aggressive player,” Ivanovic said afterwards. “It's sometimes very hard to read her game. There are no real patterns... She's a great mover.”

GOLDEN RULE When trying to defend against this kind of tricky, deep reply it's important to watch the ball closely and not try too much. It's primarily a defensive shot so keep expectations low. Your objective should be to, like Genie, time the ball back into play. Don't try to be too aggressive, maintain your technique and get the ball back deep.

4

We can tell this backhand is a defensive shot because Eugenie's follow through looks abbreviated. She has used the pace of the oncoming ball to create power and by doing so can exercise control over her reply.

5

Eugenie has hit the backhand with a bit of topspin to aid control. We can tell this by noticing that the left hand and arm has half-rotated over the right. Again, she's the same height, and her head hasn't moved well after the moment of contact.

6

Her racket is now back in front of her body as she recovers from the shot. Again, the height of her torso and head remains the same and her legs are bent, giving her a strong base from which to push off in the direction of the next ball.

The double hander – why two hands might be better than one As well as as important form of defence, a strong two-handed backhand can be a great weapon on the return of serve, when counter-punching and when you

need a big passing shot. A decent twofisted backhand also gives you an advantage when disguising your reply, smaller and younger players will be able

to hit with a bit more power (particularly off difficult, high-bouncing balls) and it’s easier to hit controlled topspin lobs with two hands as well.

W W W.T E N N I S H E A D. N E T 67

ACADEMY

EUGENIE BOUCHARD


A ADEMY AC

6 8 W W W.T E N N I S H E A D. N E T


[BIOGRAPHY] Patrick Mouratoglou is the founder and Head Coach at the Mouratoglou Tennis Academy which is based near Paris. Founded in 1996, it is now considered to be one of the best in the world and offers personalised training which is tailored to each of its players' individual needs.

MOVING ON The Frenchman outlines his vision for a brand new academy in the south of France WORDS: PATRICK MOURATOGLOU

n everyone’s life, as well as in a tennis career, there are two or three key moments when you have to make big decisions. I had such a moment quite recently. The academy which I founded in Paris 18 years ago has been my pride and joy, but I have felt for a while that it might be time to move on. Now my decision has been made: in 2016 we will open a new academy in the south of France, which I aim to make the biggest and best in Europe. I am so excited about it. The academy at Biot-SophiaAntipolis next to Nice will feature world-class facilities, including 33 courts, a state-of-the-art medical centre, swimming pools and a running track. There will be a school, a four-star hotel and spa, permanent accommodation for 150 young players and the capacity for more than 3,000 people to attend the academy for a training session for a week or more during the year. We have been running out of space in Paris. Although we had room to expand I wanted to explore other options, particularly in more favourable locations. In Paris it rains 180 days a year. In Nice, where the climate is much warmer, we benefit from 300 days of sun. Even when it rains in Nice you can usually play an hour or two after it’s stopped. In Paris when it rains you normally can’t play for the rest of the day. In Nice, where the weather is similar to what the players experience week in and week out on the tour, you can play outdoors 12 months of the year.

I

“THE ACADEMY THAT I FOUNDED IN PARIS 18 YEARS AGO HAS BEEN MY PRIDE AND JOY, BUT I HAVE FELT FOR A WHILE THAT IT MIGHT BE TIME TO MOVE ON”

W W W.T E N N I S H E A D. N E T 69

ACADEMY

MOURATOGLOU


A ADEMY AC “I came across this quote the other day and liked it: Tough training, easy war” PATRICK MOURATOGLOU

The Frenchman says he is drawn to the south where his players can benefit from 300 days of sun a year

When I was a kid I played at a club in Paris that had no indoor courts. Weather permitting, I played outdoors the whole year. Many more clubs these days have indoor facilities, but I’m a big believer in the benefits of playing outdoors. Tennis, in my opinion, is an outdoor sport. On the women’s tour 80 per cent of the tournaments are played outdoors. On the men’s tour it’s probably about 70 per cent. If you’re a good outdoor player you’re going to be a good indoor player, but the opposite isn’t necessarily true. It’s much more difficult to play outdoors than it is to play indoors. By becoming a better player outdoors you’ll be a better player indoors. Outdoors, players have to learn to deal with the sun and the wind. If you know how to use the wind you effectively have an extra weapon at your disposal. I have a book of quotations, which I regularly dip into, and I came across something the other day that I liked: “Entrainement difficile, guerre facile” (“Tough training, easy war”). I’ve always believed that if you experience tough moments and situations in practices, the matches will be easier. Training outdoors will benefit everyone at the academy, including future professionals, players who will be heading for American universities and even those who just come to enjoy the experience of professional training for a week. In Paris we cover some courts with a bubble during the winter. The problem is that you generally fit only two or three courts under one bubble. That means that you don’t benefit as much from the energy coming off other courts. I think it’s good to feed off the energy generated by other players and coaches. There is already a successful academy at BiotSophia-Antipolis, founded and run by Charles Auffray, who will be the on-site manager at the new academy. There are currently 17 courts, but we will increase that to 33, comprising 21 clay and 12 hard. I believe that clay courts are the best surface on which 70 W W W.T E N N I S H E A D. N E T

to learn for the same reason that I advocate practising outdoors. It’s harder to hit a winning shot on clay. There are no easy winners. You have to learn to work the point. What you learn on clay will benefit you on other surfaces. We will build a completely new medical centre, which will be staffed by the best personnel. The centre will have an area dedicated to improving recovery: we will have everything you need to put players in the best shape to resume their work the next day. There will also be a swimming pool inside the medical centre to help with rehabilitation, plus a fitness room. Outside there will be a running track and a sports pitch on which to work. An on-site school will provide education for 150 young players aged 11 and upwards and there will be accommodation for 300. The goal is to have around 150 young players there full-time, plus maybe 20 to 30 elite professionals. In addition we aim to have 3,000 players every year who will attend for just a week or two at a time. The challenge is to provide


ACADEMY

MOURATOGLOU

ALL IMAGES © P MOURAT OURA OGLOU

“THERE WILL BE 33 COURTS, MEDICAL CENTRE, POOLS, RUNNING TRACK AND A FOUR-STAR HOTEL” such a large number of players with programmes that remain individualised. I want to keep on guaranteeing the same quality. We will have a professional coach on every court and there will never be more than four players on one court. The academy will be up and running by the summer of 2016. We will keep the Paris site, which is a successful club in its own right and will soon benefit from a new 18-hole golf course. It will be good to have somewhere to practise occasionally in Paris, but most of the academy programme will be in Nice. If players want to get a little time away from Sophia-Antipolis, it’s in a great position to visit other places. It’s only 15 minutes from the sea and 45 from the mountains. It’s also just 15 minutes from Nice airport, which is the second biggest in France. Players spend so much time travelling to and from airports, so it is a great advantage to have a big international airport so close. The elite players will either live outside the academy – some could travel daily from Monte Carlo,

where a number of top professionals live – or at the four-star hotel on site, which includes a great spa. I don’t think there’s a hard-and-fast rule about whether or not it’s best to live on-site, but many players find it’s an advantage because you can focus on your practice without any distractions. To wake up, have breakfast and walk straight into the gym or on to the court makes life so much easier compared with having to fight your way through traffic every day. I also think it’s good to be working alongside other elite players. Having other players practising hard around you helps to push you. Even for the best players it can be good to feed off that energy. When we trained in Mauritius the winter before last I remember Serena Williams watching some young Russian players working and saying to me how much it motivates her to see that. When we announced our plans for Biot-SophiaAntipolis earlier this year the mayor of Biot described it as the opportunity of a lifetime. That’s exactly how I feel about the project. I can’t wait to get started there. W W W.T E N N I S H E A D. N E T 7 1


A ADEMY AC

TENNIS iCOACH International Tennis Federation’s official coaching platform. Access expert coaching from around the world on technique, tactics, biomechanics, psychology, sports medicine and methodology. www.tennisicoach.com

[PERIODISATION]

TRAINING TO WIN

Nobody wants to play their best tennis on the practice court - they want to hit form at the biggest tournaments...

ou’ve probably heard the likes of Novak Djokovic, Rafa Nadal and Serena Williams talking about the importance of their off-season and what they hope to achieve during so-called ‘training blocks’. With ATP and WTA calendars that stretch from the beginning of January until midNovember, tennis is one of the few sports without a prolonged off-season, which makes peaking for big tournaments a particular challenge. Performance coaches and players refer to the structured breakdown and planning of their training as periodisation – the division of an annual plan into smaller phases, each with its own objectives to ensure the best possible chance of performing well at certain times of the year. When implemented properly, periodisation can help reduce risk of injury and burnout and will help players feel fresh and agile on competition day, instead of stiff, sore and fatigued.

Y

“ON AND OFF-COURT WORKOUTS SHOULD BE PLANNED TO ALLOW YOU TO PLAY YOUR BEST TENNIS WHEN IT MATTERS MOST” The main objective of the 'classic' model of periodisation is to balance the intensity and volume of training with recovery through the year in order to be ready for optimum performance at the right time. "Periodisation is the key to getting a player in peak form for the most important competition of the year," insists ITF touring coach Dermot Sweeney. "Effective periodisation is knowing what to do – and when to do it. It is essential to get a player mentally and physically ready." A classic periodisation plan controls four main aspects of on and off-court activity: the type of training, as well as the volume, intensity and frequency. By creating a unique plan, a player will benefit from having an individualised programme that will reduce boredom by increasing variety. A typical programme is broken into four training phases known as periods or macrocycles. The 7 2 W W W.T E N N I S H E A D. N E T

foundations. There is less focus on outcome and results and more emphasis on high levels of physical training and technical work. Training sessions will be high volume, lower intensity. The second period, the pre-competition phase, focuses on fine-tuning skills which are more specific to tennis. The emphasis is on tactics rather than technique, and training will be lower in volume, high intensity. Training sessions should be mixed with regular practice sets, tapering down as competition approaches. For the third phase, the competition period, the emphasis is on maintaining the best physical, mental and technical shape by focusing on tennisspecific training and injury prevention. This is when players will be at their most important tournaments. Circuit training will help to maintain fitness levels and tactics will be targeted to adapting to opponents and surfaces. Finally, after the event, comes the transition phase to let the athlete’s body recover. Take a break from tennis, but keep up general fitness levels by taking part in other sports. This is also an opportunity to assess performance. It is advisable to review your goals after the competition phase. Tests can be done just after a rest period or in the preparatory phase and cover a variety of areas from tactical to physical, whether it’s a serve consistency test or a 3km time trial. The plan must be individual to each player – depending on when they need to be at their peak. The most important time of the year in the UK is from May to August when club events take place. Identify important dates, not just tournaments but commitments such as holidays that might impact training. Once you have identified major competitions, factor in rest periods before preparation phases, with each period lasting between three and five weeks. This article is based on information extracted from Tennis iCoach.com and the ITF Advanced Coaches Manual, written by Miguel Crespo & Dave Miley. Information edited by Merlin van de Braam.


ACADEMY

PERIODISATION

PERIODISATION EXPLAINED → Periodisation is the division of an annual training plan into phases of on and off-court training. The aim is to be in the best shape possible – and to play your best – at your most important tournament of the year.

What are the benefits? • Helps players avoid getting stale • Reduces risk of burnout and overtraining • Ensures an individualised programme • Reduces monotony and boredom by increasing variety • Ensures peaking at the right time

What aspects are controlled by periodisation? • Volume: amount of work performed • Intensity: how hard the player works • Frequency: how often the player trains • Type: what focus a training session has e.g. technique, tactics, conditioning TOP TIP • Don’t be tempted to make any major technical or physical changes during competition phases. As your big tournament gets closer, reduce the volume of training but increase the intensity. Going for a long run the day before a big match is definitely not part of a good periodisation plan!

W W W.T E N N I S H E A D. N E T 7 3


A ADEMY AC

TRAINING GUIDELINES FOR PERIODISING YOUR SUMMER CALENDAR PERIOD

OBJECTIVES

RECOMMENDED LENGTH

VOLUME OF TRAINING LOAD & INTENSITY

GENERAL PREPARATORY

GENERAL: Lay solid foundations – improving technique is the focus here and this is the last stage that technical changes should take place

8 weeks recommended

• High volume

TACTICAL & TECHNICAL: Drilling for consistency

(never less than 4)

• Lower level of intensity Longer sessions of up to two hours

PHYSICAL: Challenge aerobic capacity and ‘speed endurance’ i.e. tough interval training MENTAL: Set process goals not outcome goals e.g. increase racket head speed on forehand Emphasise mental skills, e.g. routines between points COMPETITIVE: Play less important tournaments or matches in this stage, or just a few practice matches. If you do play matches, focus on your goals, not the results or outcome of matches

PRE-COMPETITION

GENERAL: Fine-tune competitive skills while maintaining physical improvements of last phase

4 weeks

• Lower volume Shorter sessions, with an increase in intensity, ie short and sharp drills

TACTICAL & TECHNICAL: Practise plenty of serve and return drills and patterns that you will use in competition – without counting scores. Focus should also be on optimising your tactics not your technical faults. Highlight and work on your strengths! PHYSICAL: Fine-tune reactions, agility and decrease aerobic training furthermore MENTAL: Build confidence through organising matches with beatable opponents – familiarise yourself with winning! COMPETITIVE: Practice should include plenty of practice sets and competition where possible

COMPETITION

GENERAL: Main objective is peaking at most important tournaments

2 weeks

• Low volume (stay fresh) • High intensity

TACTICAL & TECHNICAL: Adapt training to court surface and potential opponents, e.g. for a grass tournament practice plenty of slice serves and backhands

Shorter training sessions are better around this time – 90 minutes max

PHYSICAL: Simply maintain physical base and stay fresh MENTAL: Set three goals for each match – this will help concentration and motivation COMPETITIVE: N/A /

TRANSITION/ REST

GENERAL: Main emphasis is recovering from stress of competition TACTICAL & TECHNICAL: If playing tennis, begin to work on technical weaknesses apparent in previous matches PHYSICAL: Participate in other sports MENTAL: Assess mental strengths and weaknesses apparent in prior competition COMPETITION: T Take holidays, time out from tennis, go out and enjoy a well-earned break!

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2 weeks

N/A /


[PSYCHOLOGY]

in association with

BRAINGAME Have you been winning a match, only to choke at the crucial moment? Nerves can affect players of all levels. We try to help keep your cool on court.

To find out more about PlayBrave go to

www.playbravesports.com

KEEP CALM – CARRY ON WINNING! When your heart starts racing and your legs turn to jelly, what do you do?

o matter how much effort you put SLOANE in on the practice court, if you STEPHENS can’t deal with pre-match nerves, you might never fulfil your potential. Nerves can strike at any moment – during the warm-up or when serving for the match – and anxiety can affect players of all ages and abilities. It affects different people in different ways, but whether you feel nauseous, get ‘jelly-legs’ or have trouble breathing – the outcome on court is the same. Your heart starts pounding, your muscles start to tense and you have trouble concentrating on the task. Pardon the pun, but try to relax – there are ways to deal with anxiety. During training, set exercises to get used to playing under pressure. Your serve is often the first stroke to buckle, so set drills that help you get “At the beginning of the tournament, used to executing under first round, you’re like, ‘Oh my God, please don’t lose first round!’” duress. Andy Murray uses an empty tin of balls as a target, SLOANE STEPHENS or use cones to create zones. Set yourself a target of hitting five or 10 in a Arrive at the club with plenty of time to row and, if you miss, you start again. prepare mentally and physically. If you’re “I think at the beginning of the running late that will only add to the tournament is when you have the most stress. Make sure you warm up properly nerves,” American No.2 Sloane Stephens and focus on your stretching to take your said recently. “Once you get going, you mind off the match. think [my opponent] has done well, you’re Finally, take time to visualise, or both playing well, so it’s good we are this mentally rehearse for the match. Close deep in the tournament. your eyes, take deep breaths and imagine “But I think at the beginning of the yourself playing well. This should help tournament, first round, you’re like, ‘Oh my reduce any feeling of nerves. God, please don’t lose first round.’ You’re If anxiety strikes midway through a worried about a lot.” match, try to maintain your concentration. On the day of a big match, don’t worry if Focus on every shot, block out your you wake up with butterflies in your surroundings and try to treat each point stomach. It’s adrenaline, which is released like a practice rally. Try to relax, and play by the adrenal glands to prepare the body like you’ve got nothing to lose – it’s for ‘fight or flight’. Once you’re on court, amazing how much you will loosen up. ■ this adrenaline will be put to good use.

N

BEATING THE JITTERS BREATHE → It might seem obvious, but controlled breathing helps you to relax and concentrate. Take long, deep breaths between breaks in play. Try to coordinate your breathing with every shot. The grunting you can hear from some of the pros is actually the habit of forcing air out of their lungs with each stroke.

TAKE YOUR TIME → When you’re feeling the tension, it’s natural to feel flustered and play too quickly. Take your time between points – it’s what the pros are doing when they reach for the towel.

ENJOY YOURSELF → Whether you’re playing in a Wimbledon final or the first round of your club tournament, remember you’re there because you love tennis. Embrace pressure situations and use the adrenaline to your advantage. ANDY MURRAY

“Sport is all about being as good as you can be throughout each and every moment and having the concentration and confidence to use your skills to their full extent in spite of the pressure. This philosophy requires bravery, the bravery to control your fear and to play freely without the tension that fear imposes – to PlayBrave.”

W W W.T E N N I S H E A D. N E T 7 5

ACADEMY

PSYCHOLOGY


A ADEMY AC

[BIOGRAPHY] Sarah Brown is principal of Good Food Works Nutritional Therapy www.goodfoodworks.co.uk. She has a particular interest in functional sports nutrition and digestive health, and provides personal consultations, coaching clients to reach their health goals by optimising their nutritional choices. She works in clinic at Pure Sports Medicine in south-west London. www.puresportsmed.com

[NUTRITION]

CONSUME TO RECOVER

It’s not just for fuel on the court – your diet could help you recover from injury WORDS: SARAH BROWN

f you play tennis on a regular basis, you are probably well versed in the age-old treatment for a muscle sprain – rest, ice, compression and elevation. But did you know that the food you are eating could also help prevent muscle sprains, and speed up the healing process when injury does strike? Whether it’s a knee, calf, shoulder or back injury, most players have encountered injuries in one form or another. It might be a mild sprain or require surgery, but either way the body needs the right nutrients in order to recover. Any player’s diet should include plenty of wholegrains, vegetables, fruit and lean protein to provide a wide range of nutrients, which are vital to maintain good health, offset oxidative stress and maintain strength. A good, balanced diet will hopefully help to avoid injury. But if you do find yourself sidelined, your diet can play a big part in your recovery. By understanding what your body is going through, you can learn what it needs to help it heal. A common reaction to injury is to cut back on the number of calories consumed. After all, if you can’t train, you don’t need as much energy, right? Think again. Studies show that as the body heals it uses more energy to aid recovery, potentially increasing energy needs by 15%, and where bone breakages are concerned there may be a potential additional 20% increase in energy demand.

I

“STUDIES SHOW THE BODY MAY USE UP TO 15% MORE ENERGY TO AID RECOVERY, SO THINK TWICE BEFORE CUTTING BACK”

76 W W W.T E N N I S H E A D. N E T

This can mean that the calorific requirement may be more than anticipated, so think twice before cutting back – just make sure that all your calories come from nutrient-dense foods: fruit and vegetables, whole-grains and lean protein. There is a natural cycle of activity that takes place to help the body through the four stages of recovery – the acute phase, followed by three stages of healing – inflammatory, proliferation and remodeling. Research shows that each of these stages benefits from a specific and appropriate intake of vitamins, minerals and amino acids (protein). During the acute phase the body responds to the injury by increasing the flow of blood to the site of injury. This brings in immune antibodies, which can start to help the healing process, removing damaged tissue. This is why we often see reddening and swelling around an injury. This reaction quickly turns to the first stage of healing: inflammation, which can last for several days, depending on the injury. The immune response continues and fluid continues to collect in the area. This is a perfectly normal reaction, but if not moderated by the body, can slow down the healing process. During the inflammation stage, pay attention to your fat intake. Saturated fats – those found in processed meats such as ham, bacon, salami, pate, plus baked goods such as cakes, biscuits, croissants – can increase the inflammatory state in the body so should be avoided. Instead focus on eating oily fish, avocado, olive oil and nuts and seeds, which are rich in omega-3 and unprocessed omega-6 fatty acids and


(left) Serbian Novak Djokovic is a well-known advocate of tailoring your diet to improve performance

have an anti-inflammatory effect. Adding spices into your diet can also provide anti-inflammatory compounds: turmeric, ginger, garlic and bromelain (found in pineapple) can all be positive aids. After inflammation comes proliferation, which can last for several weeks. This is where the body starts to lay down the new tissue, collagen, to replace that damaged during the injury, whether skin, muscle or ligaments. During the proliferation stage, as well as maintaining the anti-inflammatory foods, make sure that you eat plenty of protein to help build new tissue. In order to enable the body to convert this protein into collagen you’ll need a good intake of vitamin C. Broccoli, bell peppers, tomatoes and cabbage are all rich sources – better, in fact, than citrus fruits. Other nutrients closely associated with collagen repair include vitamin A and zinc. Deficiency in either can result in slow tissue recovery. Sources of vitamin A include liver, cod liver oil, green leafy vegetables, carrots, sweet potatoes and butternut squash. Zinc can be accessed from oysters, beef, liver, with small amounts in almonds, brazil nuts and pumpkin seeds. Finally, the remodeling phase takes over, during which the new tissue created during proliferation is reinforced by fibroblast cells to build back the strength and stability that may have been missing during the earlier stages of recovery. Having worked hard to plan these nutrients into your diet, absorbing them is essential, so avoid drinking caffeine or alcohol as these can inhibit digestion and absorption of vitamins and minerals. The human body possesses a remarkable ability to repair itself, but it needs the tools to do so. Eat the right diet, and you should be back on the court in no time. ■

ESSENTIAL FOOD FOR HEALING

THE NUTRIENTS YOUR BODY NEEDS TO REPAIR ITSELF

FUEL FOR LIFE

ESSENTIAL FATTY ACIDS

VITAMIN A

ZINC

→ Needed for the management of

→ Needed to help form strong collagen

→ Low zinc status is often found where

inflammation, essential fatty acids can be sourced through fish, olive oil, nuts, avocados, seeds and fish oils.

tissue, particularly in skin tears/injuries. Sources of vitamin A: liver, cod liver oil, green leafy vegetables, carrots, tomatoes, sweet potatoes and butternut squash.

wound healing is slow. It can also impact the immune system, leading to infections. Vital from the onset of injury, good sources include oysters, beef, liver, with small amounts in almonds, brazil nuts and pumpkin seeds.

GLUTAMINE AND ARGININE → These two proteins are the most important

VITAMIN C

amino acids to help tissue repair. Glutamine is needed by fibroblast cells, which help produce fibrous and scar tissue, while arginine helps with the production of other essential proteins for production of new tissue. Meat, fish, beans, coconut, nuts, soy and dairy, will help deliver good quality proteins.

→ A powerful antioxidant that helps offset

MAGNESIUM

free radicals generated by injury. It also helps with collagen formation and some studies have suggested it may reduce delayed onset muscle soreness. Sources include broccoli, bell peppers, tomatoes, cabbage and citrus fruits.

magnesium – if often helps alleviate cramps, and offsets DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness). Try pumpkin seeds, lima beans, muesli, brown rice, Brazil nuts, baked beans and wholemeal bread.

→ Muscle relaxation can be aided by

W W W.T E N N I S H E A D. N E T 7 7

ACADEMY

NUTRITION


A ADEMY AC

[BIOGRAPHY] Mats Merkel has worked with the likes of Andy Murray, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Caroline Wozniacki as part of the adidas Player Development Program. Here he offers a regular insight into life on tour

© JUERGEN HASENKOPF

“I work on sliding skills, hitting heavy, deep shots and using the angles” MATS MERKEL

FEAT OF CLAY

Why the clay court swing presents such a challenge and which players might prosper when the tour hits the European dirt WORDS: MATS MERKEL

ith so many points on offer in this busy stage of the season, being able to make a quick transition to clay is really important. Clay-court specialists are at a big advantage, especially in the early weeks when their rivals can take longer to adapt to the change in surface. The players who grew up playing on clay have a smoother transition. They are used to the high bounce and feel comfortable sliding to the ball and because they adapt to the surface quickly they can hit the ground running. Players who go deeper in the first few clay court events definitely get more match practice. Even the best clay court player will need a good two weeks to get up to top speed, but for others it might take a month. Most players will start training on clay ten days to three weeks before a big tournament. When I am working with a player I make sure they are hitting a lot of balls, working on their sliding skills, on hitting heavy, deep shots and make sure they start using the angles even more than on hard courts.

© JUERGEN HASENKOPF

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Merkel says even the best clay courters will need two weeks to really find their feet on the dirt 7 8 W W W.T E N N I S H E A D. N E T

Playing deep, heavy shots with a lot of spin will force your opponent far behind the baseline. On hard courts an approach shot can sometimes be a winner but on clay courts that is rare because the clay slows the ball down. You have to work hard for every point, be prepared for the ball to come back and mix up your strokes; using the slice and playing some high balls to give you the opportunity to move into the net. It’s all about being patient; opening up the court with angled shots or choosing the right time to hit a drop shot, make them come in to the net, and then hitting a passing shot or a lob for a winner. When preparing to switch to clay you really have to work on your timing. You have to be a lot more adaptable – you might have some bad bounces but remember it will be the same for your opponent. If it starts to rain on a hard court you will usually stop, but on a clay court you might be able to play on, but you have to be prepared for the fact that the balls will get a lot heavier. Novak Djokovic is somebody who adapts his game well for playing on clay. He is such a great


MATS' PLAYERS TO LOOK OUT FOR THIS CLAY COURT SEASON GRIGOR DIMITROV Bulgaria / Age:22 / ATP Titles: 2 → strides since joining forces with Australian coach Roger Rasheed last autumn, lifting his first title in Stockholm in October. After breaking into the world’s top 20 after a run to the Australian Open quarter-finals in January, the Bulgarian will look to make further in-roads on the clay and will take heart from his victory over world No.1 Novak Djokovic in Madrid last year.

© JUERGEN HASENKOPF

Mats says: “I travelled with Grigor to a couple of Futures events in Spain seven years ago. I am very happy to see him do well and I expect him to do well on clay this season too.”

JACK SOCK USA / Age:21 / ATP Titles: 0 →

"WHEN PREPARING TO SWITCH TO CLAY YOU REALLY HAVE TO WORK ON YOUR TIMING. YOU HAVE TO BE A LOT MORE ADAPTABLE... BUT REMEMBER IT'LL BE THE SAME FOR YOUR OPPONENT" (above) Jo-Wilfried Tsonga has been rewarded for his hard work on the clay

mover and understands the game so well that for him it takes a lot less time to fully adapt to playing on clay again. That is actually quite important and an advantage over the other players. Roger Federer adapts well too – you can see how he opens up the court by using angles in order to set himself up to play offensive tennis. These players are the best players in the world, and that’s what makes them the best because they are so adaptable and are able to adjust to different conditions and surfaces. They are great athletes. Some players are immediately at home on the clay while others need to work hard on their game. When Jo-Wilfried Tsonga started his 2012 clay court season in Munich with a first-round loss you could see that he had not fully adapted to playing on clay. However, Jo continued to work very hard and spent a lot of time on the practice court. When he reached the quarter-finals of the French Open a few weeks later and lost in five very close sets to Djokovic, you could see how he had taken his clay court game to another level. As a coach it was great to witness this special period with him. ■

for his US Open mixed doubles title with Melanie Oudin in 2011, is also a former US Open junior champion, winning the boys’ title in 2010. As a qualifier, Sock reached the second round of Roland Garros last year, upsetting Spain’s Guillermo Garcia-Lopez in the first round before falling to No.12 seed Tommy Haas. Mats says: “Jack has a good clay court game even though he grew up playing on hard courts. His heavy forehand will certainly help him to get some good wins on the red dirt.”

DOMINIC THIEM Austria / Age:20 / ATP Titles: 0 → Bresnik, Boris Becker’s former coach, Thiem recently broke into the ATP top 100 after successfully qualifying for the main draw of a Grand Slam for the first time at the Australian Open. A former junior world No.2, Thiem has form on clay, having reached the final of the boys’ singles competition at Roland Garros in 2011. Mats says: “Since January, Dominic has climbed up the ranking by almost 75 spots which is very impressive. I am curious to see him play the big tournaments on clay. He is moving well, is a smart player and hits the ball very hard.”

W W W.T E N N I S H E A D. N E T 79

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MATS MERKEL


ACADEMY GET IN TOUCH

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OUR PANEL OF EXPERTS IS HERE TO HELP! Email your questions to ask@tennishead.net, or write to us at ask tennishead, Advantage Media Network, PO Box 70948, London SW19 9GL

KING OF THE TIE-BREAK, JOHN ISNER

The writer of this month’s Big Ask receives a

Babolat French Open racket bag online sports retailer in the country, and for good reason. No matter your chosen sporting interest, your age or ability, or the budget you have, the sporting world should be open to you. Sport is about staying healthy and having fun – we know you put in huge effort when training and competing, which is why we put in the same effort at our end to help along the way. Every issue, ActivInstinct donates a great prize for the best question. Here’s your chance to win a Babolat RHx6 French Open team line racket bag and add some Gallic flair to your game! This collection brings about two of the most established names in tennis - Roland Garros and Babolat – to produce this beauty. This has everything you need to perform, and ensures you’ll look great in the process! 8 0 W W W.T E N N I S H E A D. N E T

THE BIG A SK

THE HISTORY OF THE TIEBREAK SHOOTOUT How and when did the tiebreak begin? ANDREW, VIA EMAIL

→ The tiebreak was invented by James Van Alen, an American benefactor who lived in Newport, Rhode Island and founded the Tennis Hall of Fame there in 1954, explains former player, commentator and tennis historian John Barrett. In the early 1950s Van Alen proposed his Van Alen Streamlined Scoring System (VASSS) should be adopted to shorten tennis matches that were dominated by powerful servers on fast surfaces, especially grass. The VASSS nine-point ‘tiebreaker’ called for a set to be won when a player reached five points. At 4-4 a sudden-death point was played with the receiver choosing which court to return from.

“RED FLAGS WERE RAISED ON THE UMPIRE’S CHAIR TO DENOTE A TIEBREAK” In 1970, the US Open adopted the sudden-death scoring and for the next five years at Forest Hills red flags were raised on the umpire’s chair whenever a set reached 6-6 to denote a tiebreak. Then from 1975 the 13-point tiebreak (first to 7 or first to lead by two points after 6-6) was adopted for all sets at the US Open. The 13-point tiebreak was devised by Peter Johns, secretary of the Lawn Tennis Association, following discussions with Australian doubles player Bob Howe. The formula, which included changing ends after six points to maintain fairness if there was an advantage serving from one end due to sun or wind, was sanctioned by the International Tennis Federation in 1971. From 1971 to 1978 the 13-point tiebreak was adopted at Wimbledon at 8-8 in all sets except the fifth in men’s matches and the third in ladies’ and mixed matches. From 1979 onwards it came into force at 6-6 in all sets except the last. Wimbledon and the Davis Cup are now the only major events to retain five sets in men’s doubles and at Wimbledon three full sets are still played in ladies’ doubles and mixed where the final sets remain advantage sets. The 10-point match tiebreak is now used to replace a third set for all doubles events on the ATP and WTA tours and for mixed doubles at the other three Grand Slams in Australia, France and the USA where men’s doubles have a regular tie-break in all three sets.


New York’s Arthur Ashe Stadium is the biggest purpose-built tennis arena in the world

TIME ZONE TROUBLES As a frequent flyer for business, I always wonder how quickly players seem to adapt to a new time zone. Jet lag always seems to wipe me out and I know for certain I wouldn’t be at my best on a tennis court. How do they manage it? CLIVE, VIA EMAIL

→ Desynchronosis, more commonly known as jet lag, is a physiological condition, resulting from a long-distance flight involving marked differences in local time. The longer the flight, and the more time zones you cross, the worse the jet lag will be. Jet lag affects different people in different ways, but symptoms can include disturbed sleep patterns, fatigue, loss of appetite, indigestion, headaches and lapses in concentration. These effects are temporary and disappear when your body adjusts to the new local environment. Flying east is generally considered to be more difficult than flying west because your body adjusts more easily to going to bed and getting up later than it does to going to bed and waking up earlier. Players often travel halfway across the world to compete in tournaments, sometimes only having a few days adjust to their new environment. Everybody copes with jet lag in different ways, but being able to sleep on the plane can help combat jet lag, so those who can afford first class will say the upgrade is worth every penny. Players will often book flights that land in the evening so they can go straight to bed, and adjusting their watch as soon as they step on the plane is another tip for adjusting quickly to the new time zone. Drinking plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration is also crucial. In his book, ‘Ergonomics in Sport and Physical Activity’,

Dr Thomas Reilly notes that travellers should drink an extra 15 to 20ml of water an hour to compensate for loss of water in the plane’s cabin. Avoiding fatty meals is also recommended, as a light meal will be easier to digest and allow for better sleep. Finally, natural light is one of the best ways to combat jetlag, so getting out on court for some light training or going for a jog in the sunshine will actually reinvigorate you rather than make you feel more tired.

Nieminen’s win was the shortest match in ATP history, surpassing Greg Rusedski’s 6-0 6-0 win over Germany’s Carsten Arriens at the 1996 Sydney International, which lasted 29 minutes. It is, however, not the shortest match in history. Some accounts state that Suzanne Lenglen beat Molla Mallory 6-2 6-0 in 20 minutes in the 1922 Wimbledon final. In recent years, Steffi Graf thrashed Natasha Zvereva 6-0 6-0 in 32 minutes in the 1988 French Open final.

QUICK-TIME TOMIC I heard that Bernard T Tomic lost a match in just 28 minutes in Miami. Is that a record? CARRIE, VIA EMAIL

→ Tomic was beaten 6-0 6-1 by Finland’s Jarkko Nieminen in the opening round at the Sony Open in Miami in just 28 minutes and 20 seconds, which is indeed an ATP record. The 21-year-old won just seven points on his serve, two of which were aces! It was Tomic’s first match back after hip surgery in January and it’s fair to say he probably wasn’t match fit. BERNARD TOMIC

SUPER-SIZED ST STADIA I read recently that the main stadium court at Indian Wells was bigger than Centre Court. I always assumed Centre Court was second biggest behind the US Open. What are the biggest tennis stadiums? PATRICK, SWINDON

→ You are right in thinking that the Arthur Ashe Stadium is the biggest tennis stadium, with 23,200 capacity, but although Centre Court is the second biggest of the Grand Slam stadia, it is only fifth overall. The O2 Arena, which has hosted the ATP World Tour Finals for the last five years, is the second biggest with 17,800 seats ahead of the main court at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden in California which can seat 16,100 spectators. The Ahoy Rotterdam, which hosts the ABN AMRO World Tennis Championship in February, can hold 15,818 fans, which makes it bigger than Centre Court, the National Tennis Centre in Beijing and the Qizhong Forest Sports City Arena in Shanghai, which all have a capacity of 15,000. Court Philippe Chatrier, the main stadium at Roland Garros (capacity 14,911) is slightly larger than Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne, which seats 14,820. W W W.T E N N I S H E A D. N E T 8 1

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WHAT’S NEW?

TAKE YOUR KIT AS SERIOUSLY AS YOUR GAME “Tennis is a great sport and when you’re playing with the right equipment, even better” PEG CONNOR

ALL IN THE WRIST → Colantotte, the brand behind the Trion:Z magnetic therapy bracelets, has teamed up with HEAD to release a series of sports bracelets designed to help both body and mind. HEAD Health Gear promises to improve blood circulation, reduce inflammation and decrease muscle discomfort often caused by lactic acid by affecting the flow of red blood cells in close proximity to the magnets in the bands thanks to its PPT (Polarized Pod Technology), while negative ions are said to boost your concentration and sense of well-being. HEAD has launched three Health Gear bands – the Polarity Neo, Polarity Radical and Polarity Prestige – with two, three and four alternating polarity magnets respectively. Prices range from £19.99 to £29.99. To find out more visit www.trionz.com.

KIT BITS

Want to win a HEAD Health Gear bracelet of your own? Visit www.tennishead.net/win .

Maria Sharapova reckons she and Serena Williams should design an on-court outfit for each other. “That would be fun,” says the Russian, “without telling each other what it is, just unveiling it!”

GOT YOUR NUMBER Prince’s new Racquet Selector finds your ideal frame with six simple questions verybody wants something different from their racket on court, but Prince is confident its recently expanded range has a frame for every game – so much so, they’ve launched an online Racquet Selector to pick out your perfect fit. ”With the introduction of all these rackets, it is essential that our consumers can easily identify the right racket for their game,” said Peg Connor, Director of Global Marketing for Prince. “Our new Racquet Selector is a unique, interactive web app that makes the racket selection process fun and easy. Tennis is a great sport and when you are playing with the right equipment it is even better.” The process is as simple as one-twothree (or, er, four-five-six). Just half a dozen sliding-scale answers give the Racquet Selector an idea of your playing style, your preference for power or control, how much flex you like in your frame and how active a player you are. After that, it assigns you a power

E

level number then sifts through its inventory to work out which racket is right for you. Prince’s Racquet Selector may not be the first of its kind and is still no substitute for demo-ing a frame, but the brand’s work to align the results against extensive play-test feedback and easy-to-use web and mobile sites make it a great place to start. “Ours is truly personalised,” said Tyler Herring, Prince’s vice-president of product design and development. “It’s more of a calculated equation based on our experience with on-court demonstrations. I think ours is a bit more precise, and it gives a more specific recommendation that we believe is much more accurate than what our competition is doing. “It’s amazing when people find the racket that suits their game today, how much more fun they have, how much longer they play, and how much more excited they are about the sport.” Visit iam.princetennis.com W W W.T E N N I S H E A D. N E T 8 3


GEAR

PREPARE FOR LIFT-OFF HEAD bursts back onto the footwear scene with lightweight Sprint Pro

NEW IN 2014

A SIGNED R AFA NADAL R ACKET!

→ For the first time, tennishead is advising you NOT to play with a tennis racket. There’s nothing wrong with the Babolat Aero Pro Drive on offer in our competition, barring some scribble on the handle – scribble from none other than world No.1 Rafael Nadal! That’s right – this is your chance to win a tennis racket signed by the Spanish legend, complete with certificate of authenticity from Babolat, which has been by Nadal’s side for each of his 13 Grand Slam titles, including his unrivalled eight Roland Garros crowns. Nadal has lost just one match at the French Open since he first stepped onto the red clay of the season’s second Slam back in 2005. No player has ever been so dominant at a major, and Nadal shows no signs of halting his reign any time soon. For your chance to win, answer the following question: Prior to the 2014 tournament, how many singles matches has Rafael Nadal won at Roland Garros? A. 39 B. 49. C. 59 To enter this fantastic competition, go to www.tennishead.net/win

8 4 W W W.T E N N I S H E A D. N E T

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and more agile, and their footwear needs to help them do the same – which is easier said than done. Combining the grip, comfort and protection demanded on court in a lightweight shoe that won’t fall to pieces in a couple of months is a tricky feat of engineering. HEAD has given it everything it’s got in the new Sprint Pro, and the results are impressive. Designed for tournament play, the Sprint Pro both looks and feels like a tech-heavy piece of high performance kit. At its heart is HEAD’s Trinergy technology, which absorbs heel impact, provides torsional stiffness and supports forward motion to maximise energy and cancel out heavy shocks on impact. The low-profile shoe also features a Hybrasion+ rubber compound outsole that is available in either a herringbone or multi-direction configuration for clay

comfortable straight out of the box, yet durable enough to survive every slide, scrape and twist you can throw at it. With a name like the Sprint Pro, the real test is how it gets you around the court – and our gear editor Michael Beattie was full of praise for its performance. “It’s not so much about hitting top speed as having the confidence to make sharp turns and throw yourself into shots, knowing you’ll be able to recover your ground. The best compliment I can give them was I forgot all about them – I didn’t have to think about my feet, I felt connected to the court and they were comfortable straight away. “If you’re looking for a low-to-theground, lightweight shoe – especially if you’re looking for a wider fit – you have to try these on for size.” Men’s RRP £94.99, women’s RRP £89.99. www.prodirecttennis.com

SUPPORT ON COURT Anita’s Extreme Control sports bra is a winner – whatever your size

SIZES 30 -46 IN B- H CUPS

→ It’s impossible to overstate the importance of a good sports bra and the Anita Extreme Control sports bra certainly fits the bill – the wide padded straps, firm stretch fabric and carefully seamed cups provide support without the corset-like sensation, while the seamless, breathable microfibre towel lining will keep you comfortable both on and off court. And for those women out there who struggle to Anita Extreme Control Sports Bra, RRP £46. find their size, Anita’s range covers sizes www.anita.com 30-46 in B-H cups.


FROM THE MAKERS OF TRION:Z, WE ARE PLEASED TO INTRODUCE THE FIRST PRODUCTS IN THE HEAD HEALTH GEAR RANGE FOR 2014.

“I feel thrilled to be a member of the adidas family”

TRÈS CHIC, ANA adidas adds a twist of orange and lime to Ivanovic’s Roland Garros kit → We love Paris when it sizzles, but adidas is keeping its players cool on court at this year’s French Open with its latest set of slick outfits. With exclusive use of the Roland Garros logo in its range, adidas raises its game when the tour heads to a city already packed with its fair share of dedicated followers of fashion. If Ana Ivanovic’s tournament outfit is anything to go by, they’re set to turn heads once more for all the right reasons this year. Ivanovic enjoyed the high point of her career to date at the French Open, winning her sole Grand Slam in 2008. While she is yet to rediscover the form that saw her sweep to the top of the world rankings six years ago, she remains one of the most popular players on tour – and, with a little help from adidas, one of the best dressed.

ANA IVANOVIC

In keeping with her Grand Slam styling over the past few tournaments, the adidas RG 2014 Ivanovic dress features a scoop neck and racerback straps, with mesh inserts accented by lime, orange and blue flashes at the back for increased ventilation. The dress is also available in light lime. If you’re not in the market for a complete kit overhaul, there’s plenty to cherry-pick from adidas’s full Roland Garros range this summer. We’re big fans of the offset pinstripe detailing on both the skort and wristbands, while the RG warm-up jacket – available for men and women – has a subtle retro charm. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga is flying the flag for the men with an understated night blue Roland Garros polo, complete with orange branding on the sleeves and piping on the zip collar and sides.

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GEAR 2014 INTERMEDIATE R ACKET RE VIEW

CLUB CLASS RACKET PHOTOGRAPHY: RICHARD WASHBROOKE

In the second instalment of our three-part review of the best rackets on the shelves this year, we step out on court with the frames aimed at intermediate players

L

ighter, more forgiving, and more powerful than many advanced frames, yet offering more touch and spin potential than most improver’s rackets – intermediate frames are aimed at club players of all shapes, sizes and ages. If you are looking for your second racket, you’re coming back to the game or you’re almost ready for a pro frame, there’s likely to be a racket here that will feel good in your hands. The true selling point of an intermediate racket is its versatility. Over the next few pages you will find lightweight rackets that pack a punch and others that play like bona fide advanced frames without the tiny sweetspot. Not only do they suit a wide range of players – they are also good enough to stick with when your game starts improving. We have broken down this year’s test subjects into three categories – development rackets, for competitive players honing their technique; friendly frames, aimed at players looking for more forgiveness from their racket; and the lites, which closely resemble more advanced frames without the weight.

8 6 W W W.T E N N I S H E A D. N E T

Who are intermediate rackets aimed at? Nobody learns tennis overnight – it takes dedication and perseverance to get started, and a lifetime to master. Intermediate rackets are aimed at those on that journey, helping them to get as much out of the game as possible by sacrificing some of the attributes of an advanced frame, such as a heavier weight or enhanced feel, in favour of greater power, a larger sweet spot and, typically, a lighter frame. These rackets are designed for players ready to experiment with more spin and feel, and less power, than entry-level frames without being as hard going as pro-level advanced rackets.


RACKET REVIEW

Testers’ Choice

[REVIEW GROUP 1]

NEXT STEP

GEAR

BEST VALUE

Three rackets designed with game progression in mind – solid technique will get you the best results from these frames, but they’ll soak up the off-centre strikes as well RRP: £119.99 // Head size: 100 sq.in // Unstrung weight: 275g String pattern: 16x19 // Balance: 33.0cm // Beam: 23mm

Testers’ Choice

→ The focus is on feel with the Drive Team. The Side Cortex Dampening System promises to wipe out high-frequency vibrations, leaving the low-frequency feedback to reach your hand. The results are impressive in another frame that packs a punch and remains easy on the shoulder. Our testers found themselves playing ‘the Babolat way’ with this one – opting for slightly more extreme topspin grips than usual and plenty of wrist snap to get the most out of the racket – but were impressed with its versatility. A candidate for all age groups, given the lightweight frame, large sweet spot, comfort and emphasis on touch.

BEST OVERALL

RRP: £199.00 // Head size: 100 sq.in // Unstrung weight: 310g String pattern: 16x19 // Balance: 31.5cm // Beam: 23-24-23mm dual taper

Testers’ Choice

→ Dunlop revamped its Biomimetic frames to cater for the emerging generation of players, and the M4.0 – a straight replacement for the old Biomimetic 400 – is a surefire winner. The M stands for moderate swing speeds (the F in the advanced F4.0, replacing the standard Biomimetic 400, stands for fast), but plays like a pro frame without wiping out your arm in the process. The flare of the butt-cap has almost disappeared, which takes a little getting used to, but once you’re over that this racket was a fine pro-frame mimic – there was no fear of swiping the ball into the back fence, and the head-light weighting made it agile at net. All the attributes of a quality Dunlop frame with the adaptability required to cater for both traditional and modern styles. A true-blue all rounder.

“THE BIOMIMETIC M4.0 PLAYS LIKE A PRO FRAME WITHOUT WIPING OUT YOUR ARM IN THE PROCESS – A SUREFIRE WINNER”

BASELINE BEAST

T-Flash 285 RRP: £139.99 // Head size: 100 sq.in // Unstrung weight: 285g String pattern: 16x19 // Balance: 32.5cm // Beam: 24-25-21mm dual taper

→ As our testers found with its bigger brother (the T-Flash 300) in the advanced racket test, you have to commit to playing with spin to get the best out of this one, but when you do it rewards you in spades. The 285 is perfect for players with long swing patterns and extreme grips, with enough pop to attack from the back or step into the court and take on the short ball. Tecnifibre themselves bill the 285 as an attacker’s frame with an emphasis on “power stability”, ideal for up-and-coming baseliners being trained to play in the mould of Nadal and the spin kings.

OUR TESTER S

TESTING, TESTING… All rackets were play-tested indoors by our quartet of testers at Dukes Meadows Tennis Centre in Chiswick. www.dukesmeadows.com

ALISON NT TA AYLOR Head coach, Westside Tennis Club in Wimbledon A British and Canadian national champion. She is sponsored by Prince.

THOMAS HOLLAND Westside club player Thomas plays with plenty of spin from the baseline and is an accomplished doubles player.

JO KIRBY Westside’s resident racket technician

MICHAEL BEATTIE Tennishead gear editor and club player

Jo has experience of playing with a wide range of rackets.

His game is built around his flat forehand and ropey single-handed backhand.

W W W.T E N N I S H E A D. N E T 8 7


GEAR

[REVIEW GROUP 2]

FRIENDLY FIRE Looking for a helping hand from your racket? This quartet of easy-going frames could be right up your street. The large stringbeds are backed up by frames packed with an unrivalled power-to-weight ratio – ideal for players with compact strokes and those looking for a little more sting in their swing...

Testers’ Choice

BEST FOR POWER

// String pattern: 16x19

// // Balance: 32.5cm // Beam: 25mm

→ While HEAD has gone, well, head-over-heels about Graphene, the ultra-light, ultra-strong carbon-based material that is now infused across its performance range, Pacific has been pushing its own bit of chemical mastery into its frames. Specifically engineered BasaltX fibres offer enhanced comfort, feel, stability and power – and the Speed Comp certainly delivers in those last two departments. It feels remarkably light for its size – until you strike the ball, at which point the power comes effortlessly from a stringbed with a huge sweetspot, thanks to Pacific’s patented Speed Zone system, which promises to make off-centre hits a thing of the past. It’s solid, sure, but it can’t perform miracles!

// Head size: 104 sq.in // Unstrung weight: 295g String pattern: 16x19 // Balance: 34.5cm // Beam: 24mm

RRP: £150

→ You’re not going to lose it, that’s for sure. It is green – very, very green – and that chunky frame may look a little egg-like, but you will quickly forget about that once you start hitting the ball. The Organix 7 was probably the most advanced-like racket frame we tested, with the added bonus that the larger head provided access to more power and greater forgiveness for off-centre strikes. It’s fairly heavy, which is worth bearing in mind if you plan on playing for hours, but our testers found that they could opt to play with control or lean into their drives for more power and found the racket gave them plenty of both. Turns out that this ugly duckling is a very fine frame indeed.

Ki Q15 280g RRP: £219.95

// Head size: 105 sq.in // Unstrung weight: 280g String pattern: 14x16 // Balance: 33.2cm // Beam: 23-24.5-24mm

RRP: £99.99 // Head size: 105 sq.in // Unstrung weight: 280g String pattern: 16x19 // Balance: 32.5cm // Beam: 26mm

→ Everything about this racket screams bigger. There is the extra quarter-inch on the standard 27 inches from butt to tip, there’s that generous head size; and then there are those huge squares between the strings. The 105 ESP is arguably Prince’s most extreme exponent of their Extreme String Pattern technology, and the results are as you might expect – masses of spin and plenty of power. Serving and volleying were notably easier than with many of our other test frames, but there was a price to pay in terms of touch around the court and stability when driving from the baseline. Players with compact swings are likely to get the most benefit from this one, especially those looking for more pop from their frame.

→ With its head-light specs catering well for players looking for a manoeuvrable frame with a large strike zone and an extra half-inch in length, the Q15 will go down well with players who love to get up the court and into the net and who are looking for a greater margin for error. In spite of the frame’s stiffness, inside you’ll hear the movement of Pro Kennex’s Kinetic Technology in action, the sand-like micro-bearings that aid both swingweight and comfort. Power comes easily but finesse takes some dialling in, and our testers found that long, measured swings produced the most consistent results, which makes this a solid choice for a player looking to protect their arm from injury.

8 8 W W W.T E N N I S H E A D. N E T


RACKET REVIEW

HIGH-LITES If you’re after the attributes of a tour frame without the weight, these are for you. Control and feel are the key factors in rackets that won’t wear you out before you’ve finished off your opponent – ideal for players with a full repertoire of strokes

2014 INTERMEDIATE R ACKET RE VIEW

Radical Rev

285

RRP: £149.99 // Head size: 98 sq.in // Unstrung weight: 260g String pattern: 16x19 // Balance: 36cm // Beam: 20-23-21mm dual taper

RRP: £120 // Head size: 100 sq.in // Unstrung weight: 285g String pattern: 16x19 // Balance: 32.5cm // Beam: 22.5-25-23mm dual taper

→ For such a light frame, this felt incredibly close to Andy Murray’s heavier Radical Pro version – and with that came the realisation that you have to be on your game to get the best from it. When you do, spin, touch and a genuine sense of feeling the ball on the strings are on offer, as they are in the advanced frame, albeit without the level of power you would expect with the extra weight. A likely favourite among young tournament players and those with experience of advanced rackets who need something a little more arm-friendly and have the court craft to make up for the drop in pop, it may also be a decent bet for former players who competed to a decent standard coming back to the game.

→ ‘Solid’ was the word our testers used to describe the 285 – dependable, adaptable and consistent, without being flash. Another mimic of its heavier Mantis stablemates, the dip in power was not as pronounced as you might otherwise expect, and the head-light frame gave good feedback around the court. The only real drawback was a loss of stability on off-centre-hits, which could be rectified with a little extra weight around the head (see page 94 for more advice on how to adjust the weight of your frame with lead tape). In its stock form, this racket is firmly in the bracket for classic all-court players with technique every bit as solid as the 285 itself.

Testers’ Choice

BEST FOR FEEL

Steam 99LS // Head size: 100 sq.in // Unstrung weight: 275g String pattern: 16x19 // Balance: 32.5cm // Beam: 22-26mm dual taper

RRP: £129.99 // Head size: 99 sq.in // Unstrung weight: 277g String pattern: 16x15 // Balance: 33.4cm // Beam: 22.5-24-23.5mm dual taper

RRP: £160

→ Spin, power and touch – the 99LS has it all. Based on the pioneering Steam 99S, the lightweight version has the feel of a pro frame in your hands, and looks the part for those keen to keep up appearances on court. One of the new generation of open string pattern frames, the 99LS is built to provide added spin for those with a typically flatter technique – Wilson reckon its Spin Effect Technology significantly boosts the string movement and snapback speed, imparting more revolutions on the ball to enhance your topspin. That extra control will come in handy in an already powerful package, which our testers flagged as a contender for a flat-hitting youngster looking for a shoulder-friendly frame.

→ As a rule, lightweight rackets are typically not as stable as their heavier counterparts but the Ezone Ai Lite impressively bucked the trend. Athletic players may find that it feels too light in their hand, but a junior stepping up to a full-size frame will benefit from the reduced wobble on impact of off-centre hits, thanks to Yonex’s OPS technology. Then there’s the Trans-Weight System, that the Japanese brand boasts gives the Ai Lite the fastest swing speed in Yonex history, and that huge sweetspot courtesy of Yonex’s trademark cornered frame. Lightweight, quick through the air and with an impressive margin for error – this is a racket to boost your love for the game if ever there was one. W W W.T E N N I S H E A D. N E T 8 9

GEAR

[REVIEW GROUP 3]


GEAR

2014 INTERMEDIATE R ACKET RE VIEW

TENNISHEAD 2014 TESTERS’ AWARDS

[BEST FOR FEEL]

[BASELINE BEAST]

Wilson Steam 99LS

Tecnifibre T-Flash 285 ATP

• A close-run thing between HEAD’s Radical Rev and the Steam, but the Wilson edged it for an ease of use that will make it a popular choice among a wide range of playing abilities. Many manufacturers offer lightweight versions of their advanced tournament frames, but changing the weight often has a radical effect on the playing characteristics of the slimmed down version. Not so the Steam – during testing it felt every bit the pro frame when it came to playing with soft hands or looking for a little extra spin.

• As we found in our advanced racket test, Tecnifibre is rivalling fellow French marque Babolat when it comes to producing rackets that fit the modern tennis player like a glove. Expect to see the T-Flash family become a staple at junior tournaments nationwide – no other intermediate racket responded so well to playing with the extreme topspin styles employed by Messrs Nadal, Murray and Djokovic. While it’s not for everybody – particularly those who learnt to play a flatter, all-court game – as a development frame it’s second to none.

[BEST FOR POWER]

Volkl Organix 7 • The funniest thing about watching our play-testers with the Volkl was their raised eyebrows after hitting a ball or two. It’s hard not to judge a book by its cover, and the Organix 7’s luminous green paintjob and egg-like head shape do look a little odd, but all that is quickly forgotten when you quickly find your range. Our testers voted this best for power not because it was the most powerful racket in testing – that accolade goes to the Prince Premier 105 ESP – but because it offered power with greater control than anything else tested in the category, and you can’t have one without the other if you plan on winning tennis matches.

[BEST OVERALL]

Dunlop Biomimetic M4.0 • Dunlop took a fine racket in the Biomimetic 400 Tour and fine-tuned it to perfection in the M4.0, a racket that many tournament players could stand to give a test-drive to see if they would reap the benefits. It is billed as a medium-paced swing frame and will serve those club players updating or upgrading their current racket well – so well, in fact, that they may hang onto it long after their game shows signs of reaching the next level. Hard to knock in all departments, hard as our testers tried – a top-notch frame. 9 0 W W W.T E N N I S H E A D. N E T

[BEST VALUE]

Babolat Drive Team • It says something for the depth in quality of Babolat’s range that even the frames that arrive without fanfare are such top performers. The Drive Team was a true everyman’s racket – with enough power for those looking for some extra pop, the comfort and stability to mop up those off-centre hits and enough Babolat heritage to encourage you to put faith in the modern extreme grips. The value comes from this chameleon-like quality – a player venturing into their first competitive tournament will feel as comfortable with this one as a seasoned winner.


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WWW.PRODIRECTTENNIS.COM

EXPERT INSIGHT

Pro-Direct is one of the UK’s leading online tennis stores and every month they give us an insight into which items of kit we’ll be seeing the best players in the world using and wearing

ADIDAS BARRICADE CREW TEE £44.99

MUST HAVE!

£165.99 As part of the Babolat and Roland-Garros collaboration, Babolat has developed the official Roland Garros range of tennis equipment including this year’s French Open edition Pure Drive. The legendary and emblematic Pure Drive features GT Technology, a hybrid material combining braided carbon fibres and tungsten filaments throughout the entire racket to enhance control and feel. Renowned for its power and topspin, the AeroPro Drive is Rafael Nadal’s favoured racket and is named as such for its streamlined profile and revolutionary frame design, which is the result of extensive research, pinpointing players’ needs in providing maximum playability for all skill levels.

WIN AN AEROPRO DRIVE RG – BLACK CLAY Even if your clay court prowess is questionable, this Roland Garros-inspired frame from Babolat will give your game just the boost you’re looking for – on all surfaces! To enter go to www.tennishead.net/win

92 W W W.T E N N I S H E A D. N E T

→ The Barricade Crew Tee will be worn by Andy Murray at the 2014 French Open and is an incredibly comfortable shirt made with strategic climacool® ventilation and an active FORMOTION® fit that follows the natural movement of sport for a greater comfort in motion.

WILSON JUICE 100 £118.99 → The Juice series delivers maximum power for the widest range of styles and is ideal for nearly all levels of play. A lightweight, forgiving frame in a mid-plus head size with Amplifeel 360 and Parallel Drilling technologies, that offers speed and manoeuvrability from the baseline or the net.

NIKE NOVELTY KNIT DRESS £69.99 → This will be worn by Serena Williams at the French Open. Made with Dri-Fit fabric that lifts sweat away from the skin to help keep you comfortable and a mesh back panel and skirt for enhanced breathability, the Novelty Knit Dress also has a flat-seam construction to minimise irritation caused by chafing.

HEAD YOUTEK GRAPHENE SPEED PRO LTD EDITION £156.99 → Incredibly popular during the testing phase with HEAD’s tour players, this is the racket of choice of Novak Djokovic. It boasts exceptional touch and comes with Graphene technology, which has a breaking strength 200 times greater than steel.

NIKE ZOOM VAPOR 9.5 TOUR CLAY

ADIDAS WMNS CC ADIZERO TEMPAIA III

£99.99

£89.99

→ This is a semi-updated version of the former Vapor 9 Tour and is Roger Federer’s shoe for the French Open. Featuring a Dynamic Fit system and a stylish and fast sublimated graphic for lightweight breathability and style, the Vapor 9.5 Tour provides lightweight, yet firm cushioning.

→ To be worn by adidas pros at the 2014 French Open. Having received an update consisting of a new look, an all-new climacool® mesh upper and an out-of-the-ordinary semitransparent outsole, the Tempaia III is built for multi-directional speed and a more comfortable, universal fit.


GEAR [ME AND MY RACKET]

JELENA JANKOVIC PRINCE RED LS 105 The former world No.1, who has played with Prince rackets for most of her career, explains what she looks for in a frame, and why she has never smashed a racket INTERVIEW: BRIDGET MARRISON

You started playing with the Red LS 105 at the start of the year. How do you like your new frame? I just love it. It gives me great control and precision, a lot of power and it is very loyal. It is a very dependable racket. What do you look for in a racket? It’s important to have the right amount of power and precision. If you have too much power and no precision it doesn’t work. The balance of power and precision in my new racket is the perfect combination for me. You’ve been professional for 13 years now. How much has your racket changed since you started playing? Every year the technology is improving and a lot of new things keep coming out, but to be honest I like one kind of racket. There are little things that you can do to add to it and improve it, but I never make too big a change because I think it is difficult to get used to. You only have the off-season to try out new things and you have to feel comfortable with it and ready to go when the new season starts. You can try out little changes but if you don’t like it you just stay with what you’ve got. What tension do you string your rackets at? I string them very tight. It depends on the weather, but 31 or 32kg, sometimes even 33kg. When I go on court I have a few rackets strung at different tensions, some looser, some tighter, just in case. If the ball is flying then I take the tighter one and if it is not going I take the looser one, so it

“I’VE NEVER SMASHED A RACKET IN MY LIFE… IT’S NOT THE RACKET’S FAULT, IT’S MY FAULT!” depends on the conditions and how I am striking the ball. How do you know which racket is which? The stringers mark them for me. I mark the ones that I would like to start the match with, I just put them in order – it’s a nice selection that I can just pick from. How many rackets do you take on court? Eight. How are interested are you in racket technology? I think the racket is one of the most important parts of our job. You have to love the racket and feel comfortable with the racket in order to play well. I love Prince, I have been playing with them for so long, and some of the biggest moments in my career were played with Prince. Do you keep your old rackets for sentimental reasons? I do actually, I have a big basket full of rackets that I have used; when I first started my career, and when I was world No.1, I had the Prince O3 Speedport White. It’s nice to have those memories and keep a couple at home, so when I stop playing tennis I can get them out, just play for fun. Do you remember your first ever racket? It was a Wilson and I only had one when I

just started. It was someone else’s racket and they gave it to me. I remember that the strings didn’t break for so long, like a year or more. I’m not sure if I still have it or not. Do you have any superstitions? No. I just put on a clean grip and go. Have you ever smashed a racket? I’ve actually never smashed a racket in my life! I’m one of those rare people that I just remember the times when I only had one racket and now that I am sponsored by a great company like Prince I appreciate that and I don’t throw it – it’s not the racket’s fault, it’s my fault! ■

[TECH SPECS]

PRINCE RED LS 105 HEAD SIZE LENGTH UNSTRUNG WEIGHT STRING PATTERN CROSS SECTION

105 square inches 27.25 inches 280 grams 16 X 19 23mm

W W W.T E N N I S H E A D. N E T 93


GEAR

[LEAD TAPE]

BALANCING ACT

HEAVY METAL

Everything you wanted to know about adding lead tape to your racket (but were afraid to ask) WORDS: MICHAEL BEATTIE

Adding lead tape affects your racket in four ways – and you can rarely change one variable without changing the others

WEIGHT → It’s nigh on impossible to remove weight from a tennis racket, so it’s important to appreciate the effect of adding weight – and particularly where that weight is added. Heavier frames are more physically demanding than lighter frames, but are able to transfer more power into a stroke when meeting a ball. Weight can also slow down your swing. If you hit the ball fairly flat and find yourself constantly hitting the ball long, adding weight in the throat of the racket will both increase stability and decrease racket speed, bringing the ball back towards the baseline.

SWINGWEIGHT

© RAY GIUBILO

→ As the name suggests, swingweight describes how heavy your racket feels during your swing. Standard tennis rackets tend to fall between 275 and 350 kg/cm2. Again, the higher the tape, the greater the increase in swingweight – or dynamic inertia – but because your hand is the pivot point, weight added to the handle has little to no effect on swingweight whatsoever. Swingweight is a measure of resistance to movement in a circular direction, which is the basis of most textbook tennis strokes. That might sound bad, but it’s a balancing act. It is more difficult to swing a racket with a higher swingweight at top speed, but when that racket hits the ball, the ball has a less disruptive effect on the swing pattern – so the racket resists the urge to deviate from its path.

M

without even realising it. Adding an overgrip, changing the strings, playing with a vibration dampener – they’re all modifications to the racket that left the factory. But when most people talk about customising a frame, they’re thinking about altering its weight and balance to change its playing characteristics. There are all sorts of reasons for wanting to do this. Some players find the relaxed margin for error in some manufacturers’ factories can sometimes lead to two

9 4 W W W.T E N N I S H E A D. N E T

supposedly identical rackets feeling markedly different – make the odd tweak and they’re soon playing the same way. Others adjust the specifications of their frames to improve their performance, fine-tuning their favourite racket into a bespoke beast of their own making. There are professionals who will do all this for you, of course, but if you’re thinking of toying with the spec of your racket at home, you’ll need a bit of obscure tennis kit that you can find online for under a tenner – lead tape.


CUSTOMISING YOUR FRAME

→ The balance point of a racket is the

If you’re serious about tinkering with your frames, you’ll need the following:

point at which it would see-saw when set on a thin edge without tipping over. The balance of a racket is referred to in two ways – a measurement from the buttcap to the balance point (as used in our reviews) or using a points system to describe how far the balance point is from the centre-point of the racket’s length – generally 34.3cm for a standard racket. There are eight points in an inch. Rackets with balance points below the midpoint are described as being headlight; and above it, head-heavy. Rackets behave as if all of their weight is passing through the balance point. In two frames of the same weight, the head-heavy frame will be more powerful and more stable, while the head-light frame will be more manoeuvrable.

Generally comes in two forms – pre-set patches of 1g or 2g, or a roll of tape ready for you to cut to size. A piece of tape one inch long and a quarter of an inch wide weighs 0.25g. All tape includes adhesive backing to attach it to your frame.

MEASURING SCALES

SWEETSPOT → The sweetspot will gravitate towards any added weight. Add tape to the throat or handle and it will move lower on the stringbed; add it to the tip and it will move upwards. Placing tape at 3 and 9 o’clock will stretch the sweetspot closer to the edges of the frame by increasing the racket’s torsional stability – but don’t forget the effect on balance and swingweight…

It’s important to know where you started and what you’ve added, especially if you’re working with multiple rackets. Use electronic kitchen scales.

BALANCE BOARD Helps you work out the true balance point of your rackets. You can buy one, or fashion your own with a pivot and a measuring tape.

2

4

3

“IT’S NIGH ON IMPOSSIBLE TO REMOVE WEIGHT FROM A TENNIS RACKET, SO IT’S IMPORTANT TO APPRECIATE THE EFFECT OF ADDING WEIGHT – PARTICULARLY WHERE THAT WEIGHT IS ADDED

1

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LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION...

1 1

tip top

Want to increase swingweight without adding too much weight?

• Adding weight to the top of the frame increases its swingweight, and makes the balance of the racket more headheavy. The racket becomes more powerful but harder to swing and manoeuvre. And be warned – weight placed at the top of the frame has the greatest effect on swingweight, so a single gram at the tip can increase the swingweight by as much as 3kg/cm2, or roughly 1%.

2

side to side

Stability is the name of the game for tape added during ‘office hours’

• While weight added at 3 and 9 o’clock also makes the racket more headheavy and increases the swingweight, it has a greater effect on the torsional stability of the frame on impact, extending the sweetspot to the edges of racket. The increased stability and extra power (each 1g added boosts the swingweight by roughly 1kg/cm2) makes it a popular choice with a number of professionals – in his playing days, Pete Sampras’ racket had as many as five lengthy layers of lead tape at 3 and 9 o’clock. Some players find placing strips between 10-11 o’clock and 1-2 o’clock strikes a balance between boosting power and aiding stability, while raising and expanding the sweetspot.

3

little loWer…

For those looking to boost the weight without messing with the balance

• For players trying to make minor adjustments to the racket, the throat may be the best place to add a little weight – tape can be added without having a dramatic effect on the balance of the racket if you are working to match the weight of a heavier frame. It is also a good point to place added weight for those hoping to slow down their swing without changing the characteristics of the racket too much. It will, however, drag the sweetspot towards the bottom of the stringbed.

Weight in the throat also depolarises a frame. Rackets with most of their weight at the extremities of the frame can feel unstable on contact with the ball; placing a little extra ballast near its midpoint helps the racket feel more solid on impact, if a little less manoeuvrable.

4

Get a handle on it Looking for more control?

Adding weight to the handle can be tricky but the effect can be dramatic. The key here is balance: extra weight placed so far down the racket drags the balance point down with it, making the racket more head-light and easier to control. It may even feel more manoeuvrable.

W W W.T E N N I S H E A D. N E T 95

GEAR

TOOLS OF THE TRADE

BALANCE


GEAR

TAPE TOP TIP... When adding weight to the frame, always place it on the inwardfacing side of the frame – that way it won’t be dislodged should your racket hit the floor or rub against the inside of your bag.

THE RULES

1

EXPERIMENT

2

BE CAREFUL, PART 1

3

WRITE IT DOWN

4

TALK TO THE EXPERTS T

5

BE CAREFUL, PART 2

Customisation is fun, and once you hit the jackpot both you and your opponent will know all about it!

Don’t go too big too soon – even a few grammes of lead in the right places can have a dramatic effect on your racket, and even put you at risk of injury.

Make a note of what you’ve tried, what you like and what didn’t work, and tweak accordingly.

A master racket technician should be able to advise you on the whys and wherefores of working with lead tape

You are dealing with lead, which – as some manufacturers’ packaging points out – can cause cancer and birth defects or other reproductive harm if not used responsibly.

COUNTER SERVICE

→ As we said on the previous page, adding weight to the handle pulls down the balance of a frame. This tweak is particularly popular in light, head-heavy frames (such as the Lites reviewed on p89) to lower the headheavy balance – a technique called counter-weighting. Sticking lead tape to the outside of a racket is simple and easily reversible, and shouldn’t affect your warranty. Adding weight to the handle, however, can mean delving inside the frame itself but removing the grip and buttcap – as long as you don’t have a racket with a dampener or other technology built into the handle (such as Pro Kennex’s Kinetic system and the forthcoming Babolat Play Pure Drive), in which case leave it alone! Beneath the butt-cap of a standard racket you will find two tubes – the ends of the 9 6 W W W.T E N N I S H E A D. N E T

graphite loop that make up the throat and head of your racket. Take some cotton wool and pack it into each of the holes, leaving an inch in which to place your weight – you may find that fishing weights are of more use here than the lead tape. If you are still experimenting with your configuration, wrap the weight in more cotton wool and pack it into the space, checking that it does not rattle. If you’re certain about the amount of weight you’re planning to add, place it in the space and fill the rest with hot glue or epoxy resin, allowing it to dry for a day. Replace the butt-cap with a staple gun and regrip the handle – and don’t forget to note the weight and balance. There’s no use striking gold once only to have to start from scratch the next time! ■

© JUERGEN HASENKOPF

Want to add weight to the handle of your racket? It’s tricky – but with the right tools, a bit of planning – and patience – the results might be well worth the effort

Pete Sampras was well-known for using lead tape to enhance the playing characteristics of his Wilson rackets


 





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TRAVEL

[IN THE SPOTLIGHT]

BERGERAC, DORDOGNE, FRANCE NEED TO K KNOW... WHERE Bergerac, Dordogne, France TRAVEL The farmhouse is just 15 minutes from Bergerac Airport. Ryanair flies from Bristol & London Stansted and flybe from Southampton. ACCOMMODAT CCOMMODA ION The 19th century farmhouse in the heart of the Dordogne region can sleep 10. BERGERAC TENNIS CLUB • Three clay courts • Four hard courts (two floodlit) • Two indoor clay courts HOSTED TENNIS TRIPS • May 8-11 • September 4-7 • £300 per person (includes coaching , 3 nights' B&B, airport pick-up, 2 days' lunch , dinner first night – single supplement applicable)

RUSTIC FRENCH TENNIS Good food, wine and clay court tennis. What more could you want from a tennis break? f a fortnight in a big all-inclusive resort isn’t really your cup of tea, a long weekend in the Dordogne offers the perfect blend of tennis and culture. Staying in a 19th century farmhouse, the hosted tennis trip includes three nights’ accommodation with eight hours’ tennis coaching complemented by trips to local vineyards and French markets. On arrival at Bergerac-Roumanière airport, you will be transferred to the idyllic French farmhouse, which dates back to the 1850s. And what better way to acclimatise and immerse yourself in the French culture than a trip to a local chateau to sample the local tipple?

I

9 8 W W W.T E N N I S H E A D. N E T

The area is rich in vineyards and offers some of the finest wines in the Bordeaux region. Chateau du Grangemont, located in the town of Saint-Aubin de Lanquais, is 12 kilometres from Bergerac and offers red, white and sparkling wines for tasting. On returning to the farmhouse, a local chef will provide an authentic Perigordian meal, with the truffle, ‘the black pearl of the Perigord’ a local delicacy. With such fantastic cuisine on offer, it would be easy to forget about the tennis. But after a good night’s sleep in the cosy farmhouse, the following day features a trip to Bergerac Tennis Club, a short drive from the accommodation.


TRAVEL

TENNIS TOURIST

The package includes eight hours of coaching, and in the event of inclement weather, there are indoor clay courts available. The trip offers a perfect opportunity to play on clay. Whether you’ve never really played on the terre battue before or want to brush up on your clay game, coach Steve Riley focuses on helping players adapt their game to the surface, and uses video analysis to help aid his teaching. The hosted tennis weeks are targeted at intermediate players looking to improve their clay court game, but Steve, an LTA Level 5 Pro coach with over 25 years’ experience, tailors the sessions to suit the standard of the group. “The content of the tennis coaching is based on the personal requirements of the customers, so I adapt the sessions to suit the individuals,” says Steve, who stays in the farmhouse with the guests. “Our coaches use a well proven formula to achieve maximum fun and improvement.” After two hours of sliding around on the clay courts, lunch is taken on the terrace overlooking the courts, before heading back on court for the afternoon, topped off by a trip to a local vineyard.

Following dinner at a local restaurant, relaxing with a glass of vin rouge after a busy day of tennis and culture, it seems like the kind of routine you could get used to. With a log fire and WiFi, this really is the

On the final morning, if you haven’t had your fill of tennis, you can head back to the club for one final session, or head to Issegiac, a medieval village for the Sunday morning market, widely

“AFTER TWO HOURS SLIDING AROUND THE CLAY, LUNCH IS TAKEN ON THE TERRACE. THE AFTERNOON IS TOPPED OFF WITH A TRIP TO THE LOCAL VINEYARD FOR TASTING” best of both worlds. Less than two hours’ flight from London Stansted and only 15 minutes’ from the airport, you feel a million miles from anywhere. “It is a complete change from the norm,” says Steve. “Complete tranquility, in the middle of the French countryside with great food, wine and clay court tennis. “We’ve been hosting these trips for 13 years and we have customers coming back year on year. It is a great insight into French rural tennis and community living – with clay court tennis that's complemented with great food and wine from the region. Staying in a 19th century farmhouse the smells and culture of the Dordogne are guaranteed!”

considered to be the best in the area. Before flying back home, there’s just enough time for lunch back at the farmhouse, sampling the fresh breads and cheeses, freshly purchased from the market. If you’re looking for a short break, with food and wine and just a little culture, a long weekend in a French country farmhouse could be just the ticket. ■ The farmhouse is available to hire throughout the year (except late July to end-August). Phone: +44 (0)207 224 1625 / www.willtowin.co.uk/tennis-holidays / email: holidays@willtowin.co.uk W W W.T E N N I S H E A D. N E T 9 9


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String Pattern: 16x15 Headsize: 100

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String Pattern: 18x16 Headsize: 98

String Pattern: 18x16 Headsize: 95

String Pattern: 16 x15 Headsize: 95, 100

1

More margin for error over the net

#1 IN TENNIS

2

Hit harder while keeping the ball in the court

3

Control the ball and hit sharper angles

*

Pros often customize the rackets they use. Racket speciďŹ cations on endorsed consumer models may vary from the models used by Pros for match-play. *Based on TIA census (USA, 2012), Yano census (Japan, 2012), SMS census (Europe, 2012) Š 2014 Wilson Sporting Goods Co. Trademarks advertised other than those of Wilson Sporting Goods Co. are properties of their respective owners. 13-0831

AVAILABLE NOW AT ACTIVINSTINCT.COM

AVAILABLE NOW AT MILLETSPORTS.COM


FOR THE RECORD

FEBRUARY-MARCH 2014 With Novak Djokovic returning to winning ways in Indian Wells and Miami, it sets up an intriguing battle for supremacy between the world’s top two players on the European clay

DJOKOVIC EYES CLAY SWEEP Serb hopes to carry momentum into European clay swing ovak Djokovic emerged as the player to beat after the first three months of 2014, recovering from a slow start to win back-to-back ATP Masters 1000 events on the hard courts in Indian Wells and Miami. Djokovic, who defeated world No.1 Rafael Nadal in the final at Crandon Park to win his 43rd career title, last doubled up at Indian Wells and Miami back in 2011, when he climbed to No.1 for the first time after starting the season with a remarkable 41-match winning run. Djokovic’s record-breaking streak that saw him pick up seven titles in the opening five months of 2011 was eventually

N

“DJOKOVIC EMERGED AS THE PLAYER TO BEAT AFTER THE FIRST THREE MONTHS OF 2014” snapped by Roger Federer in the semifinals at Roland Garros, the one Grand Slam that continues to elude him. Can the Serb use his success in the US as a springboard for another impressive run on clay, such as the unbeaten spell that saw him pick up titles in Belgrade, Madrid and Rome three years ago? “I can’t predict what the future brings,” said Djokovic. “I can only focus my attention and energy to the present moment and do what I do best, and that is to try to prepare myself and recover. I couldn’t have asked for a better March this season. Hopefully I can carry that confidence onto clay.”

“I couldn’t have asked for a better March this season. Hopefully I can carry that confidence onto clay” NOVAK DJOKOVIC

W W W.T E N N I S H E A D. N E T 101


RESULTS

ATP & WTA RESULTS, FEB-MAR ATP TOUR 250 WTAWORLD TOUR INTERNATIONAL

US NATIONAL INDOOR TENNIS CHAMPIONSHIPS, MEMPHIS, USA

Karlovic to become the first man to defend the US National Indoor Tennis Championships title since Tommy Haas in 2006. The top seed secured the fourth ATP title of his career, and his first since he started working with former world No.2 Michael Chang, with a 6-4 7-6(0) victory in the final. "It's amazing to defend a title for the first time, especially here," Nishikori said. "I had a great memory from last year. I get a lot of confidence from keeping my ranking in the top 20. It's going to take some time to get to top 10, top five, but I think I'm getting close."

February 10-16, $568,805, 28 singles, indoor hard Quarter-finals: K Nishikori bt A Bogomolov Jr 3-6 6-3 6-2, M Russell bt L Hewitt 6-3 7-6(6), YH Lu bt A Kuznetsov 6-1 6-4, I Karlovic bt J Sock 7-6(4) 6-7(3) 6-3 Semi-finals: K Nishikori bt M Russell 6-3 6-2, I Karlovic bt YH Lu 6-1 RET Final: K Nishikori bt I Karlovic 6-4 7-6(0) Doubles final: R Klaasen & E Butorac bt B Bryan & M Bryan 6-4 6-4 ATP TOUR 250 WTAWORLD TOUR INTERNATIONAL

COPA A CL ARO, BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA

Spanish war-horse David Ferrer became the first man to win three consecutive titles in Buenos Aires as he defended the Copa Claro with victory over fiery Italian Fabio Fognini. He recorded his 15th successive win over Nicolas Almagro in the semis, before a title decider that featured the tournament's top two seeds. Ferrer ended a seven-match losing streak in finals by claiming a 6-4 6-3 victory to lift his 21st ATP title, and his first since last year’s Copa Claro. "I’m happy for my new title,” said a relieved Ferrer. “The last seven finals I lost, and this time I can change my luck so I’m happy for that. I try to always do my best and finally I can win again another title."

February 10-16, $488,890 32 singles, clay Quarter-finals: D Ferrer bt A Ramos 6-1 6-2, N Almagro bt J Chardy 7-6(7) 6-3, T Robredo bt R Haase 6-1 2-0 RET, F Fognini bt P Andujar 6-4 6-3 Semi-finals: D Ferrer bt N Almagro 6-4 6-2, F Fognini bt T Robredo 3-6 7-5 6-3 Final: D Ferrer bt F Fognini 6-4 6-3 Doubles final: M Lopez & M Granollers bt P Cuevas & H Zeballos 7-5 6-4

102 W W W.T E N N I S H E A D. N E T

WTA PREMIER 5

QATAR TOTAL OPEN, DOHA, QATAR

GIANT-KILLER HALEP WINS BIG Simona Halep claimed the biggest win of her burgeoning career as she upset three top 10 players en route to victory at the Qatar Total Open in Doha. The Romanian was in irresistible form as she defeated Sara Errani, Agnieszka Radwanska and Angelique Kerber to extend her streak to six straight victories against top 10 opponents. Having broken into the world’s top 10 herself after reaching the Australian Open quarterfinals in Melbourne, Halep was too good for No.6 seed Kerber, racing to a comprehensive 6-2 6-3 victory in just 66 minutes.

"It's amazing for me, because when I came here I didn't think I could reach the final, or win even,” said Halep, who won six WTA titles in 2013. “It’s the biggest tournament I've won.”

February 10-16, $2,440,070 56 singles, hard Quarter-finals: A Kerber bt P Cetkovska 6-1 6-0, J Jankovic bt P Kvitova 6-1 6-3, S Halep bt S Errani 6-2 6-0, A Radwanska bt Y Wickmayer 6-2 6-1 Semi-finals: A Kerber bt J Jankovic 6-1 7-6(6), S Halep bt A Radwanska 7-5 6-2 Final: S Halep bt A Kerber 6-2 6-3 Doubles final: S Hsieh & S Peng bt K Peschke & K Srebotnik 6-4 6-0

ATP WORLD TOUR 500

ABN AMRO WORLD TENNIS TOURNAMENT, ROTTERDAM, NETHERLANDS

BERDYCH ENDS WAIT FOR SILVERWARE Tomas Berdych lifted his first title in 16 months as he triumphed at the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam. The Czech former Grand Slam runner-up, who was the only player in the top 10 who failed to win a title in 2013, claimed a 6-4 6-2 victory over an in-form Marin Cilic. After saving three break points early on, Berdych grabbed an early break and never looked back, winning 76 per cent of points on serve to seal victory in 75 minutes. "It feels absolutely amazing," Berdych said. "It's been a while, actually 16 months since I won a title. To win a title in Rotterdam it's a nice TOMAS BERDYCH

bonus. I've been serving pretty well, which has been the strong part of my game."

February 10-16, €1,369,305 32 singles, indoor hard Quarter-finals: E Gulbis bt JM Del Potro 6-3 6-4, T Berdych bt J Janowicz 6-7(9) 6-2 6-4, I Sijsling bt P Kohlschreiber 6-2 2-6 6-1, M Cilic bt A Murray 6-3 6-4 Semi-finals: T Berdych bt E Gulbis 6-3 6-2, M Cilic bt I Sijsling 5-7 6-3 6-2 Final: T Berdych bt M Cilic 6-4 6-2 Doubles final: M Llodra & N Mahut bt JJ Rojer & H Tecau 6-2 7-6(4)


ATP & WTA RESULTS

DUBAI DUTY FREE TENNIS CHAMPIONSHIPS, DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES

MARSEILLE, FRANCE

VENUS RISING ONCE MORE Venus Williams continued her love affair with the UAE as she won her first WTA Premier title for four years at the Dubai Duty Free Championships. The former world No.1 had not played in Dubai since 2010, but the 33-year-old rolled back the years, beating Ana Ivanovic and Caroline Wozniacki en route to the final, where she defeated Frenchwoman Alize Cornet 6-3 6-0. Cornet had upset Williams’ sister, top seed Serena, in the semi-finals, but she was no match for an inspired Venus, who stormed to the title without dropping a set.

OPEN 13

“I think the last tournament I won was at the end of 2012, so probably about 18 months now,” said Williams after winning her third title in Dubai. “But it feels good."

Ernests Gulbis closed in on the top 20 after winning the Open 13 in Marseille with a 7-6(5) 6-4 victory over defending champion Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. "My long-term goal in tennis isn't to be top 20. It's to be No.1," said Gulbis.

February 17-23, €549,260 28 singles, indoor hard

February 17-22, $2,000,000 28 singles, hard Quarter-finals: S Williams bt J Jankovic 6-2 6-2, A Cornet bt C Suarez Navarro 7-5 6-3, C Wozniacki bt S Cirstea 6-1 6-2, V Williams bt F Pennetta 6-3 7-5 Semi-finals: A Cornet bt S Williams 6-4 6-4, V Williams bt C Wozniacki 6-3 6-2 Final: V Williams bt A Cornet 6-3 6-0 Doubles final: A Kudryavsteva & A Rodionova bt R Kops-Jones & A Spears 6-2 5-7 10-8

Quarter-finals: R Gasquet bt I Dodig 7-5 6-3, E Gulbis bt N Mahut 6-3 7-6(1), JL Struff bt M Llodra 6-4 6-3, JW Tsonga bt E RogerVasselin 6-7(3) 6-2 6-2 Semi-finals: E Gulbis bt R Gasquet 6-3 6-2, JW Tsonga bt JL Struff 7-6(4) 7-5 Final: E Gulbis bt JW Tsonga 7-6(5) 6-4 Doubles final: J Benneteau & E Roger-Vasselin bt P Hanley & J Marray 4-6 7-6(6) 13-11 ATP WORLD TOUR 250

DELRAY RA BE ACH OPEN BY THE VENETIAN LAS VEGAS

ATP WORLD TOUR 500

RIO OPEN PRESENTED BY CLARO HDTV, RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL

DELRAY BEACH, USA

NADAL DOMINATES ON THE DIRT

Marin Cilic outlasted Kevin Anderson 7-6(6) 6-7(7) 6-4 to win the Delray Beach Open – his second title under coach Goran Ivanisevic. "It wasn't easy for my nerves, for Goran’s nerves especially,” said Cilic.

Rafael Nadal maintained his unbeaten record on Brazilian soil to win the inaugural Rio Open. The world No.1 claimed the 62nd title of his career to move level with Guillermo Vilas in seventh place in the Open era list. Nadal, who saved two match points to defeat fellow Spaniard Pablo Andujar in a thriller of a semi-final, needed a second-set tiebreak to defeat in-form Ukrainian Alexandr Dolgopolov 6-3 7-6(3). "Always when you win a title, it’s special," said Nadal, who is undefeated in Brazil, having won titles in Costa do Sauipe in 2005 and in Sao Paolo last year. "The first edition of a big tournament

like Rio, it’s a very important city in the world, and after coming back from injury, it always makes the victory a little more special."

February 17-23, $474,005 32 singles, hard

February 17-23, $1,309,770 32 singles, clay Quarter-finals: R Nadal bt J Sousa 6-1 6-0, P Andujar bt T Robredo 6-1 6-1, A Dolgopolov bt F Fognini 6-1 6-1, D Ferrer bt T Bellucci 4-6 6-3 6-3 Semi-finals: R Nadal bt P Andujar 2-6 6-3 7-6(10), A Dolgopolov bt D Ferrer 6-4 6-4 Final: R Nadal bt A Dolgopolov 6-3 7-6(3) Doubles final: JS Cabal & R Farah bt M Melo & D Marrero 6-4 6-2 RAFAEL NADAL

Quarter-finals: S Johnson bt F Lopez 6-3 6-2, K Anderson bt M Matosevic 6-7(3) 6-3 6-3, M Cilic bt T Gabashvili 6-2 6-3, J Isner bt R Williams 4-6 6-3 6-2 Semi-finals: K Anderson bt S Johnson 6-2 6-4, M Cilic bt J Isner 7-6(5) 6-3 Final: M Cilic bt K Anderson 7-6(6) 6-7(7) 6-4 Doubles final: B Bryan & M Bryan bt F Cermak & M Elgin 6-2 6-3 WTA INTERNATIONAL

RIO OPEN, RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL

Kurumi Nara won her maiden WTA title at the inaugural Rio Open, defeating top seed Klara Zakopalova 6-1 4-6 6-1 to break into the WTA top 50. "I can't believe it," Nara said. "I really just try to focus on my game and my tennis.”

February 17-23, $250,000 32 singles, clay Quarter-finals: K Zakopalova bt K Piter 6-4 6-0, T Pereira bt IC Begu 6-4 6-4, N Burnett bt P Ormaechea 5-7 6-2 7-5, K Nara bt L Dominguez Lino 7-6(5) 2-0 RET Semi-finals: K Zakopalova bt T Pereira 6-2 6-1, K Nara bt N Burnett 6-4 3-6 6-2 Final: K Nara bt K Zakopalova 6-1 4-6 6-1 Doubles final: IC Begu & M Irigoyen bt J Larsson & C Scheepers 6-2 6-0

W W W.T E N N I S H E A D. N E T 103

RESULTS

ATP TOUR 250 WTAWORLD TOUR INTERNATIONAL

WTA PREMIER


RESULTS

ATP & WTA RESULTS, FEB-MAR ATP TOUR 250 WTAWORLD TOUR INTERNATIONAL

ATP WORLD TOUR 500

BRASIL OPEN 2014

DUBAI DUTY FREE TENNIS CHAMPIONSHIPS, DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES

SAO PAOLO, BRAZIL

FEDERER BACK TO WINNING WAYS

Paolo Lorenzi 4-6 6-3 6-4 to win his maiden ATP title on the clay in Sao Paolo. The Argentine is the first unseeded champion since countryman Guillermo Canas in 2007.

February 24-March 2, $474,005 28 singles, indoor clay Quarter-finals: T Haas bt H Zeballos 6-3 5-7 6-2, P Lorenzi bt J Monaco 7-6(6) 6-7(4) 6-4, T Bellucci bt M Klizan 6-3 6-3, F Delbonis bt A Montanes 6-4 6-3 Semi-finals: P Lorenzi bt T Haas 6-3 3-2 RET, F Delbonis bt T Bellucci 6-4 6-7(5) 6-4 Final: F Delbonis bt P Lorenzi 4-6 6-3 6-4 Doubles final: G Garcia-Lopez & P Oswald bt J Cabal & R Farah 5-7 6-4 15-13

Roger Federer lifted the title in Dubai for a sixth time with a 3-6 6-4 6-3 victory over Tomas Berdych. The 17-time Grand Slam champion, who lost the opening set before defeating Novak Djokovic in the semifinals, was forced to come from a set and a break down against Berdych. Federer, who has now won at least one trophy every year for the past 14 seasons, moved ahead of John McEnroe into third place in terms of titles won in the Open era with his 78th career trophy. "Things definitely went my way out here, but I have had a lot tougher matches in the last year

and a half, so this is nice to get a lucky break again,” said Federer, who has now won more than $80 million in prize money since turning professional back in 1998.

February 24-March 2, $1,928,340 32 singles, hard Quarter-finals: N Djokovic bt M Youzhny W/O, R Federer bt L Rosol 6-2 6-2, T Berdych bt JW Tsonga 6-4 6-3, P Kohlschreiber bt M Jaziri 6-2 6-3 Semi-finals: R Federer bt N Djokovic 3-6 6-3 6-2, T Berdych bt P Kohlschreiber 7-5 7-5 Final: R Federer bt T Berdych 3-6 6-4 6-3 Doubles final: R Bopanna & A Qureshi bt D Nestor & N Zimonjic 6-4 6-3

WTA INTERNATIONAL

BRASIL TENNIS CUP FLORIANOPOLIS, BRAZIL

Klara Zakopalova produced a remarkable comeback to win her first title since 2005 at the Brasil Tennis Cup. The Czech won 11 games in a row to beat Garbine Muguruza 4-6 7-5 6-0.

February 23-March 1, $250,000 32 singles, hard Quarter-finals: C Suarez Navarro bt M Niculescu 4-6 6-0 4-1 RET, K Zakopalova bt A Dulgheru 6-3 5-2 RET, Y Shvedova bt A Cadantu 6-3 6-3, G Muguruza bt A van Uytvanck 6-2 6-7(1) 6-3 Semi-finals: K Zakopalova bt C Suarez Navarro 6-3 3-6 6-2, G Muguruza bt Y Shvedova 6-2 6-3 Final: K Zakopalova bt G Muguruza 4-6 7-5 6-0 Doubles final: A Medina Garrigues & Y Shvedova bt F Schiavone & S Soler-Espinosa 7-6(1) 2-6 10-3 WTA INTERNATIONAL

ABIERTO MEXICANO TELCEL, ACAPULCO, MEXICO

Dominika Cibulkova closed in on the top 10 as she defeated Christina McHale 7-6(3) 4-6 6-4 in Acapulco to land the fourth title of her career. “I’m really tired right now because I had to dig so deep, physically and mentally,” she said.

February 24-March 1, $250,000 32 singles, hard Quarter-finals: D Cibulkova bt M Erakovic 6-4 7-5, S Zhang bt A Tomljanovic 6-1 5-7 6-2, C McHale bt K Kanepi 6-1 2-6 6-4, C Garcia bt E Bouchard 3-6 6-4 6-1 Semi-finals: D Cibulkova bt S Zhang 4-2 RET, C McHale bt C Garcia 3-6 6-2 7-5 Final: D Cibulkova bt C McHale 7-6(3) 4-6 6-4 Doubles final: K Mladenovic & G Voskoboeva bt P Cetkovska & I Melzer 6-3 2-6 10-5

10 4 W W W.T E N N I S H E A D. N E T

ATP WORLD TOUR 500

ABIERTO MEXICANO TELCEL, ACAPULCO, MEXICO

BELIEVER DIMITROV WINS AGAIN Grigor Dimitrov moved to a career high of No.16 after winning the second title of his career at the Mexican Open in Acapulco. The 22-year-old beat Ernests Gulbis and Andy Murray in three sets en route to the final, where he defeated Kevin Anderson 7-6(1) 3-6 7-6(5). “Belief is the only thing that kept me going today,” said Dimitrov, who is the second player born in the 1990s to win multiple titles – Milos Raonic was the first. There was some consolation for Anderson, a losing finalist two weeks running (l. to Cilic at Delray Beach), as he teamed up with Australian Matthew Ebden to win the doubles title at the GRIGOR DIMITROV

event, which had switched to hard courts after 20 years as a clay-court tournament.

February 24-March 2, $1,309,770 32 singles, hard Quarter-finals: K Anderson bt D Ferrer 2-6 4-2 RET, A Dolgopolov bt I Karlovic 6-4 7-6(4), G Dimitrov bt E Gulbis 4-6 7-6(2) 7-5, A Murray bt G Simon 1-6 7-6(4) 6-2 Semi-finals: K Anderson bt A Dolgopolov 6-1 5-7 6-4, G Dimitrov bt A Murray 4-6 7-6(5) 7-6(3) Final: G Dimitrov bt K Anderson 7-6(1) 3-6 7-6(5) Doubles final: K Anderson & M Ebden bt F Lopez & M Mirnyi 6-3 6-3


ATP & WTA RESULTS

RESULTS

ATP MASTERS 1000

BNP PARIBAS OPEN, INDIAN WELLS, CALIFORNIA, USA

© RAY GIUBILO

SUPER SERB CLAIMS FIRST TROPHY OF 2014 Novak Djokovic denied Roger Federer back-toback titles for the first time since 2012 as the Serb lifted the BNP Paribas Open trophy for a third time. The world No.2 came from a set down to seal a 3-6 6-3 7-6(3) victory and the 42nd title of his career. Federer, who was on an 11-match unbeaten streak after winning the Dubai Duty Free Championships in February, last won back-to-back titles two years ago when he prevailed for a fourth time at Indian Wells following victory in Dubai. "Roger is playing in a very high level.... He just played better than he did in the last 13, 14 months,” said Djokovic, who improved his head-to-head record against Federer to 16-17. “I needed to really be on the top of my game and very focused in the last moment in order to win. I’m very proud of my achievements during this tournament." Federer, who moved up three places to No.5 in the world rankings after reaching his third final of 2014, was able to see positives in defeat. “A few weeks ago, months ago, a few people said I couldn't play tennis anymore,” he said. “So for me I need to focus on my own game, my own routines, hard work, make sure I keep a good schedule for myself, for my family and enjoy it. “I truly believe that playing good tennis it's maybe sometimes a little easier to lose this way.

Because I really did believe I was playing good tennis.” In the semi-finals, Federer ended Alexandr Dolgopolov’s stunning run at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden. After upsetting top seed, world No.1 and defending champion Rafael Nadal in the third round, the Ukrainian reached his first Masters 1000 semi-final following victories over Fabio Fognini and Milos Raonic, but was well beaten by Federer. Meanwhile, Australian Open champion Stanislas Wawrinka’s unbeaten start to the season came to an end at the hands of in-form South African Kevin Anderson in the fourth round. American John Isner gave his season a boost by reaching the semi-finals in California before losing to Djokovic.

March 6-16, $5,250,015 96 singles, hard Quarter-finals: A Dolgopolov bt M Raonic 6-3 6-4, R Federer bt K Anderson 7-5 6-1, J Isner bt E Gulbis 7-6(4) 7-6(3), N Djokovic bt J Benneteau 6-1 6-3 Semi-finals: R Federer bt A Dolgopolov 6-3 6-1, N Djokovic bt J Isner 7-5 6-7(2) 6-1 Final: N Djokovic bt R Federer 3-6 6-3 7-6(3) Doubles final: B Bryan & M Bryan bt A Peya & B Soares 6-4 6-3

WTA PREMIER 5

BNP PARIBAS OPEN, INDIAN WELLS, CALIFORNIA, USA

© RAY GIUBILO

HARD WORK PAYS OFF FOR PENNETTA Flavia Pennetta closed in on a return to the top 10 after winning the biggest title of her career at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells. The Italian, who slipped to world No.166 last June after undergoing wrist surgery in 2012, moved back up to No.12 after a 6-2 6-1 victory against an injured Agnieszka Radwanska. Radwanska received treatment for a knee injury and struggled to get into the match as Pennetta cruised to victory in an hour and 13 minutes. "I'm happy, really happy. I think I need a few days to realise this,” Pennetta said after lifting the 10th trophy of her career. "After so many years and so much work and everything, this is the moment I was waiting for. “And it comes when you least expect it. In the beginning of the tournament I never expected to be the champion, or even be in the final or semi-final. I was just here trying to play my best tennis. For me, this is something I was waiting for a long time." "I really tried everything I could to push myself and play 100 per cent today, because this is the final, but unfortunately I was in too much pain,” Radwanska said. “It's just the worst thing for a player to not be able to give 100 per cent in the final of a big event.”

Meanwhile, Romania's Simona Halep continued her impressive form, breaking into the world’s top five for the first time following a run to the semifinals. Defending champion Maria Sharapova slipped to No.7 after being upset by Camila Giorgi in the third round. In a rematch of January’s Australian Open final, Li Na edged past Dominika Cibulkova in the quarter-finals, coming from a break down in the final set to secure a 6-3 4-6 6-3 victory. However, in the semis, the two-time Grand Slam champion was unable to emulate her straight-sets victory over Pennetta in Melbourne, falling 7-6(5) 6-3 to her fellow 32-year-old.

March 5-16, $5,946,740 96 singles, hard Quarter-finals: N Li bt D Cibulkova 6-3 4-6 6-3, F Pennetta bt S Stephens 6-4 5-7 6-4, S Halep bt C Dellacqua 6-2 6-2, A Radwanska bt J Jankovic 7-5 2-6 6-4 Semi-finals: F Pennetta bt N Li 7-6(5) 6-3, A Radwanska bt S Halep 6-3 6-4 Final: F Pennetta bt A Radwanska 6-2 6-1 Doubles final: S Hsieh & S Peng bt C Black & S Mirza 7-6(5) 6-2 W W W.T E N N I S H E A D. N E T 105


RESULTS

ATP & WTA RESULTS, MARCH ATP MASTERS 1000

SONY OPEN TENNIS, MIAMI, FLORIDA, USA

NOVAK TURNS ON THE STYLE TO SECURE ‘DOUBLE DOUBLE’ Novak Djokovic claimed the Indian Wells-Miami double for the second time in his career with victory against Rafael Nadal at the Sony Open. The Serb marched to a 6-3 6-3 victory at Crandon Park to become only the second player after Roger Federer to win back-to-back titles at the spring ATP Masters 1000 events more than once. In the 40th meeting between the pair, Djokovic saved break point in the opening game, but never gave his opponent another opportunity as he roared to a dominant victory in 84 minutes. “It’s the biggest rivalry I have in my tennis career,” Djokovic said of his ongoing series with world No.1 Nadal. “It’s a great challenge always when I play Rafa on any surface, especially on clay. Because of Rafa and because of Roger, I am what I am today. They made me understand what I need to do on the court. “I worked hard, and it’s paying dividends in the last couple of years. Obviously, it’s not easy when you’re playing a top rival in the final of any tournament, but if you want to be the best, you have to beat the best. You have to win against the best players in the world.” Djokovic, who ended Andy Murray’s title defence in the quarter-finals, has now won the last four ATP Masters 1000 events, meaning that for the first

time in ATP history the nine Masters titles are held exclusively by two men – Djokovic and Nadal. Murray, meanwhile, slipped to No.8 in the rankings after failing to defend his Miami crown, but his 7-5 6-3 defeat to Djokovic showed signs of improvement since returning from back surgery. The match turned on a controversial moment when Djokovic appeared to make contact on Murray's side of the net during the first point of the 12th game. After a lengthy discussion with the umpire, Djokovic broke and never looked back. “I've been able to play for the first three months of the year without too many setbacks,” Murray said. “If someone had told me after the surgery this is where I'd be going into April, it wouldn’t be too far from where I would have liked to have been.”

March 19-30, $4,720,380 96 singles, hard Quarter-finals: R Nadal bt M Raonic 4-6 6-2 6-4, T Berdych bt A Dolgopolov 6-4 7-6(3), K Nishikori bt R Federer 3-6 7-5 6-4, N Djokovic bt A Murray 7-5 6-3 Semi-finals: R Nadal bt T Berdych w/o, N Djokovic bt K Nishikori w/o Final: N Djokovic bt R Nadal 6-3 6-3 Doubles final: B Bryan & M Bryan bt J Cabal & R Farah 7-6(8) 6-4

WTA PREMIER

SONY OPEN TENNIS, MIAMI, FLORIDA, USA

SEVENTH HEAVEN FOR SUPER SERENA Serena Williams claimed a record seventh Sony Open crown with a 7-5 6-1 victory over Chinese star Li Na in Miami. In a final featuring the top two players in the world, it was the top seed who emerged victorious, but only after a shaky start. Australian Open champion Li started the brighter as she grabbed a 5-2 lead – breaking Williams’ serve twice as she capitalised on some wayward serving from the American. However, Williams, who has not lost to Li since 2008, roared back winning 11 of the next 12 games to storm to victory inside two hours. “She was playing so well, and at that point I was just trying to stay focused and stay in the game,” said Williams. "My first serve percentage was super low - I think in the 30s - and I thought, ‘OK, I can serve a little better, and I know I can return better, I’ve been practising all these years and I have a good return. I need to start doing it - I need to start doing what I practise'.” Williams already held the WTA record for the most titles won at the Miami hard-court event, but she is now part of an exclusive group of just four women to win the same title seven or more times in their career, joining Steffi Graf, Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova. 10 6 W W W.T E N N I S H E A D. N E T

“Obviously I wanted to have the most titles here,” said Williams, who moved to Florida when she was nine. “I grew up coming to this tournament as a kid, watching so many players, and to be one of those players now is just really, really awesome for me.” Australian Open finalist Dominika Cibulkova lost to Li for the third time in 2014, but her semi-final appearance saw her break into the world's top 10 for the first time in her career. It was also a breakthrough week for Ukrainian Elina Svitolina, who reached the fourth round at Crandon Park to climb the rankings and overtake American Madison Keys as the world’s highestranked teenager.

March 18-29, $5,427,105 96 singles, hard Quarter-finals: S Williams bt A Kerber 6-2 6-2, M Sharapova bt P Kvitova 7-5 6-1, D Cibulkova bt A Radwanska 3-6 7-6(5) 6-3, N Li bt C Wozniacki 7-5 7-5 Semi-finals: S Williams bt M Sharapova 6-4 6-3, N Li bt D Cibulkova 7-5 2-6 6-3 Final: S Williams bt N Li 7-5 6-1 Doubles final: M Hingis & S Lisicki bt E Makarova & E Vesnina 4-6 6-4 10-5


DAVIS CUP & WTA RESULTS

DAVIS CUP

FEDERER KEEPS SWISS ROLLING WORLD GROUP QUARTER-FINALS, April 4-6 2014

Davis Cup remained intact after he sealed Switzerland’s place in the semi-finals for the first time since 2003. The world No.4 defeated Andrey Golubev 7-6(0) 6-2 6-3 to secure a 3-2 victory over Kazakhstan in Geneva as the Swiss came from 2-1 down after Golubev upset Stanislas Wawrinka 7-6(5) 6-2 3-6 7-6(5) in the opening rubber. “It’s great. I was hoping so much I was going to get a chance to play and not just watch Stan play,” said Federer, who won his two singles rubbers but lost the doubles with Wawrinka. “I got the opportunity and I’m happy I lived up to the hype and the expectations, and I was able to get the boys through – so very happy for them.” Switzerland will meet Italy in September’s semi-finals after Fabio Fognini and Andreas Seppi secured a 3-2 victory over Great Britain in Naples. Andy Murray put Britain in the driving seat with victory over Seppi before teaming up with Colin Fleming in the doubles, but could not find a way past an inspired Fognini, who claimed a 6-3 6-3 6-4 victory before Seppi sealed the win with a 6-4 6-3 6-4 success over James Ward. Even in the absence of Tomas Berdych, defending champions Czech Republic

ROGER FEDERER

cruised to a 5-0 win over Japan in Tokyo. The hosts, who were missing No.1 player Kei Nishikori with a groin injury, put up a fight on the opening day as debutant Taro Daniel led by two sets before eventually falling 4-6 4-6 6-3 6-4 6-2 to Lukas Rosol. Stepanek and Rosol sealed the tie with victory in the doubles before Rosol and Jiri Vesely completed the whitewash with victory in the reverse singles. The Czechs will face France in the semifinals after Arnaud Clement’s team completed a dramatic 3-2 victory over Germany in Nancy. The hosts recovered from a 2-0 deficit for the first time since 1996 as Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Gael Monfils won the reverse singles rubbers after Tobias Kamke and Peter Gojowczyk had given Germany an unlikely 2-0 lead. “I’m just so proud of my players, because coming from 2-0 down on the first day was not easy,” Clement said. “There was a fantastic reaction from them, starting with the doubles.”

DAVI A S CUP QUARTER-FINALS Japan 0-5 Czech Republic France 3-2 Germany Italy 3-2 Great Britain Switzerland 3-2 Kazakhstan

FAMILY CIRCLE CUP, CHARLESTON, USA

Andrea Petkovic won her first title in almost three years as she defeated Jana Cepelova 7-5 6-2 to win the Family Circle Cup in Charleston. The former world No.9, who slipped as low as No.192 in October 2012 after a string of injuries, faced set point at 4-5 in the opening set but dug deep, winning eight games in a row to build a commanding lead against the 21-year-old Slovak, who upset defending champion Serena Williams in the second round. "I’m just so relieved and proud that I've come back from all these injuries. I never thought I would play in the finals of the big tournaments again,” Petkovic said.

March 31-April 6, $710,000 56 singles, clay Quarter-finals: J Cepelova bt D Hantuchova 6-2 6-1, B Bencic bt S Errani 4-6 6-2 6-1, A Petkovic bt L Safarova 6-3 1-6 6-1, E Bouchard bt J Jankovic 6-3 4-6 6-3 Semi-finals: J Cepelova bt B Bencic 6-4 5-7 7-6(7), A Petkovic bt E Bouchard 1-6 6-3 7-5 Final: A Petkovic bt J Cepelova 7-5 6-2 Doubles final: A Medina Garrigues & Y Shvedova bt H Chan & Y Chan 7-6(4) 6-2 WTA TOUR INTERNATIONAL INTERNATIONAL

ABIERTO MONTERREY, MONTERREY, MEXICO

Ana Ivanovic won an all-Serbian final to lift her second title of the year at the Monterrey Open. The former world No.1 dropped her opening service game to love but regrouped to secure a 6-2 6-1 victory over 20-year-old Jovana Jaksic, who had previously won just one WTA main draw match in her career. Ivanovic's opening title of 2014 came in Auckland in January. "I think we both enjoyed the final tonight – it was very special for our country," said the former French Open champion. "It was the first time two players from our country had been in a WTA final together. "It was also great to see Jovana doing so well. She has a bright future ahead of her.”

March 31-April 6, $500,000, 32 singles, hard Quarter-finals: K Date-Krumm bt M Puig 6-4 6-7(2) 6-4, J Jaksic bt J Boserup 6-3 6-0, C Wozniacki bt K Pliskova 6-7(3) 6-3 6-3, A Ivanovic bt M Rybarikova 6-1 0-6 6-2 Semi-finals: J Jaksic bt K Date-Krumm 6-7(5) 6-4 6-4, A Ivanovic bt C Wozniacki 7-6(5) 6-4 Final: A Ivanovic bt J Jaksic 6-2 6-1 Doubles final: D Jurak & M Moulton-Levy bt T Babos & O Govortsova 7-6(5) 3-6 11-9

W W W.T E N N I S H E A D. N E T 107

RESULTS

WTA TOUR PREMIER INTERNATIONAL


RESULTS [APRIL 7, 2014]

WTA RANKINGS RANKING

PERSONAL

ACHIEVEMENTS

FORM

1

SERENA WILLIAMS

USA BORN: 26/09/81 LIVES: Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, USA HEIGHT: 5ft 9in WEIGHT: 155 lbs

This year: $1,245,585 Career to date: $55,429,066 Career-high ranking: 1 (08/07/02) Career titles: 59 Last title: Sony Open, WTA Premier, Miami, USA, March 2014

Suffered shock SF defeat to Alize Cornet in Dubai, where sister Venus won title. Lifted 59th career trophy in Miami, beating Kerber, Sharapova and Li en route to title. Three days later lost Charleston opener to world No.78 Jana Cepelova.

2

LI NA

CHINA BORN: 26/02/82 LIVES: Wuhan, China HEIGHT: 5ft 8in WEIGHT: 143 lbs

This year: $3,094,685 Career to date: $16,393,874 Career-high ranking: 2 (17/02/14) Career titles: 9 Last title: Australian Open, Grand Slam, Melbourne, Australia, January 2014

3

AGNIESZKA K RADWANS W K KA

POLAND BORN: 06/03/89 LIVES: Krakow, Poland HEIGHT: 5ft 8in WEIGHT: 123 lbs

This year: $1,215,373 Career to date: $15,385,382 Career-high ranking: 2 (09/07/12) Career titles: 13 Last title: Korea Open, WTA International, Seoul, Korea, September 2013

4

VICTORIA AZARENKA K

BELARUS BORN: 31/07/89 LIVES: Monte Carlo, Monaco HEIGHT: 6ft WEIGHT: 154 lbs

This year: $360,255 Career to date: $23,714,697 Career-high ranking: 1 (30/01/12) Career titles: 17 Last title: Western & Southern Open, WTA Premier, Cincinnati, USA, August 2013

5

SIMONA HALEP

ROMANIA BORN: 27/09/91 LIVES: Constanta, Romania HEIGHT: 5ft 6in WEIGHT: 132 lbs

This year: $936,430 Career to date: $2,976,075 Career-high ranking: 5 (17/03/14) Career titles: 7 Last title: Qatar Total Open, WTA Premier, Doha, UAE, February 2014

6

PETRA KVITOVA V

CZECH REPUBLIC BORN: 08/03/1990 LIVES: Monte Carlo, Monaco HEIGHT: 6ft WEIGHT: 154 lbs

This year: $284,390 Career to date: $12,183,612 Career-high ranking: 2 (31/10/11) Career titles: 11 Last title: Toray Pan Pacific Open, WTA Premier, Tokyo, Japan, September 2013

7

ANGELIQUE KERBER

GERMANY BORN: 18/01/88 LIVES: Puszczykowo, Poland HEIGHT: 5ft 8in WEIGHT: 150 lbs

This year: $570,141 Career to date: $5,994,678 Career-high ranking: 5 (22/10/12) Career titles: 3 Last title: Generali Ladies Linz, WTA International, Linz, Austria, October 2013

8

MARIA SHARAPOVA V

RUSSIA BORN: 19/04/87 LIVES: Bradenton, Florida, USA HEIGHT: 6ft 2in WEIGHT: 130 lbs

This year: $430,816 Career to date: $27,126,661 Career-high ranking: 1 (22/08/05) Career titles: 29 Last title: Porsche Tennis Grand Prix, WTA Premier, Stuttgart, Germany, April 2013

9

JELENA JANKO K VIC

SERBIA BORN: 28/02/1985 LIVES: Dubai, UAE HEIGHT: 5ft 9in WEIGHT: 130 lbs

This year: $495,295 Career to date: $15,823,370 Career-high ranking: 1 (11/08/08) Career titles: 13 Last title: Copa Claro Colsanitas, WTA International, Bogota, Colombia, February 2013

10

DOMINIKA K CIBULKO K V VA

SLOVA V KIA BORN: 06/05/1989 LIVES: Bratislava, Slovakia HEIGHT: 5ft 3in WEIGHT: 121 lbs

This year: $1,553,926 Career to date: $5,818,172 Career-high ranking: 10 (31/03/2014) Career titles: 4 Last title: Abierto Mexicano Telcel, WTA International, Acapulco, Mexico, February 2014

POINTS: 12,375

POINTS: 7,585

POINTS: 5,980

POINTS: 5,441

POINTS: 4,695

POINTS: 4,370

POINTS: 4,110

POINTS: 3,961

POINTS: 3,955

POINTS: 3,720

DOWN 2

10 8 W W W.T E N N I S H E A D. N E T

11-100 RANKINGS

11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 Climbed to career-high No.2 21 despite losing to world No.134 22 Petra Cetkovska in Doha. 23 Bounced back during USA 24 hard-court swing, reaching SFs 25 in Indian Wells (l. to Pennetta) 26 and lifting runner-up trophy in 27 Miami (l. to Serena Williams). 28 29 Reached last four in Doha (l. to 30 Halep) but suffered 2R defeat 31 in Dubai (l. to Pennetta). 32 Reached final in Indian Wells 33 but struggled with a knee 34 injury as she lost in straight 35 sets to Pennetta. Reached 36 Miami QFs (l. to Cibulkova). 37 38 Withdrew from Doha with left 39 foot injury and returned too 40 soon in Indian Wells, where she 41 was beaten in opener by Lauren 42 Davis. Missed Miami as she 43 continued to struggle with 44 problem and also skipped clay 45 event in Monterrey with injury. 46 47 Defeated Errani, Radwanska and 48 Kerber en route to the biggest 49 title of her career in Doha. Fell in 50 Dubai 1R (l. to Cornet) but 51 reached career-high No.5 52 ranking after SF appearance in 53 Indian Wells (l. to Radwanska). 54 Missed Miami with toe injury. 55 56 Reached QFs in Doha (l. to 57 Jankovic) before losing opener to 58 Suarez Navarro in Dubai. 59 Suffered defeat by Cibulkova in 60 Indian Wells 4R. Defeated 61 Ivanovic in three to reach Miami 62 QFs, where she was beaten by 63 No.4 seed Sharapova. 64 65 Mixed results for Kerber, lifting 66 runner-up trophy in Doha (l. to 67 Halep) before falling in Dubai 68 opener (l.to Ivanovic). Suffered 69 shock defeat to world No.72 70 Torro-Flor in Indian Wells 71 opener before reaching Miami 72 QFs (l. to Serena Williams). 73 74 After short break from tennis for 75 TV role at Winter Olympics in her 76 native Sochi, Sharapova failed to 77 defend her Indian Wells title, 78 suffering shock 3R defeat to 79 Camila Giorgi. Reached SFs in 80 Miami, where she lost to 81 eventual champion S Williams. 82 83 84 Reached Doha SFs (l. to Kerber) and reached QFs in Dubai (l. to 85 S Williams). Defeated 86 Wozniacki en route to Indian 87 Wells QFs (l. to Radwanska) 88 before falling in Miami opener 89 to Vavara Lepchenko. Reached 90 Charleston QFs (l. Bouchard). 91 92 93 Bounced back from shock 1R 94 defeat to Alisa Kleybanova in Doha to win title in Acapulco (d. 95 McHale). Maintained form to 96 defeat Kvitova en route to 97 Indian Wells QFs (l. to Li) and 98 reached Miami SFs (l. to Li) to 99 break into top 10 for first time. 100

Sara Errani (ITA) Ana Ivanovic (SRB) Flavia Pennetta (ITA) Sabine Lisicki (GER) Caroline Wozniacki (DEN) Roberta Vinci (ITA) Carla Suarez Navarro (ESP) Sloane Stephens (USA) Eugenie Bouchard (CAN) Samantha Stosur (AUS) Ekaterina Makarova (RUS) Alize Cornet (FRA) Kaia Kanepi (EST) Kirsten Flipkens (BEL) Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (RUS) Lucie Safarova (CZE) Sorana Cirstea (ROU) Andrea Petkovic (GER) Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS) Daniela Hantuchova (SVK) Klara Koukalova (CZE) Venus Williams (USA) Elena Vesnina (RUS) Jamie Hampton (USA) Maria Kirilenko (RUS) Elina Svitolina (UKR) Magdalena Rybarikova (SVK) Yvonne Meusburger (AUT) Bojana Jovanovski (SRB) Garbine Muguruza (ESP) Tsvetana Pironkova (BUL) Madison Keys (USA) Kurumi Nara (JPN) Annika Beck (GER) Peng Shuai (CHN) Zhang Shuai (CHN) Alison Riske (USA) Francesca Schiavone (ITA) Varvara Lepchenko (USA) Karin Knapp (ITA) Jana Cepelova (SVK) Casey Dellacqua (AUS) Yaroslava Shvedova (KAZ) Monica Puig (PUR) Barbora Zahlavova Strycova (CZE) Bethanie Mattek-Sands (USA) Christina McHale (USA) Yanina Wickmayer (BEL) Zheng Jie (CHN) Marina Erakovic (NZL) Alexandra Cadantu (ROU) Laura Robson (GBR) Galina Voskoboeva (KAZ) Lauren Davis (USA) Anna Schmiedlova (SVK) Polona Hercog (SLO) Karolina Pliskova (CZE) Maria-Teresa Torro-Flor (ESP) Camila Giorgi (ITA) Ajla Tomljanovic (CRO) Vania King (USA) Urszula Radwanska (POL) Paula Ormaechea (ARG) Caroline Garcia (FRA) Stefanie Voegele (SUI) Virginie Razzano (FRA) Lourdes Dominguez Lino (ESP) Monica Niculescu (ROU) Chanelle Scheepers (RSA) Petra Cetkovska (CZE) Patricia Mayr-Achleitner (AUT) Dinah Pfizenmaier (GER) Kimiko Date-Krumm (JPN) Coco Vandeweghe (USA) Mona Barthel (GER) Alison van Uytvanck (BEL) Kristina Mladenovic (FRA) Johanna Larsson (SWE) Sharon Fichman (CAN) Shahar Peer (ISR) Belinda Bencic (SUI) Teliana Pereira (BRA) Zarina Diyas (KAZ) Julia Goerges (GER) Donna Vekic (CRO) Julia Glushko (ISR) Petra Martic (CRO) Katarzyna Piter (POL) Misaki Doi (JPN) Mandy Minella (LUX)


RANKINGS

EMIRATES ATP RANKINGS RANKING

PERSONAL

ACHIEVEMENTS

FORM

1

RAFAEL F NADAL

PAIN BORN: 03/06/86 LIVES: Manacor, Majorca, Spain HEIGHT: 6ft 1in WEIGHT: 188 lbs

This year: $2,113,557 Career to date: $66,746,320 Career-high ranking: 1 (18/08/08) Career titles: 62 Last title: Rio Open, ATP 500, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, February 2014

Saved match points against Pablo Andujar in Rio SF before going on to win title (d. Dolgopolov). Ukrainian had his revenge in Indian Wells, upsettting defending champion in 3R. Bounced back to reach Miami final (l. to Djokovic).

2

NOVA V K DJOKO K VIC

SERBIA BORN: 22/05/87 LIVES: Monte Carlo, Monaco HEIGHT: 6ft 2in WEIGHT: 176 lbs

This year: $2,137,476 Career to date: $60,271,921 Career-high ranking: 1 (04/07/11) Career titles: 43 Last title: Sony Open, ATP Masters 1000, Miami, USA, March 2014

Lost to Federer in Dubai SFs but had his revenge in Indian Wells with victory over Swiss in final. Completed Indian Wells-Miami double for the second time (also in 2011) with victory over Nadal to pass $60m in career prize money.

3

STANISLAS WA RINKA WAW K

SWITZERLAND BORN: 28/03/1985 LIVES: St Barthelemy, Switzerland HEIGHT: 6ft WEIGHT: 179 lbs

This year: $2,591,965 Career to date: $11,355,086 Career-high ranking: 3 (27/01/14) Career titles: 6 Last title: Australian Open, Grand Slam, Melbourne, Australia, January 2014

Unbeaten start to 2014 ended at the hands of Kevin Anderson in Indian Wells 4R. Fell to in-form Dolgopolov in Miami 4R. Lost Davis Cup rubber to Kazakhstan's Golubev but beat Kukushkin to help Swiss reach SFs for first time since 2003.

4 4

ROGER FEDERER

SWITZERLAND BORN: 08/08/81 LIVES: Bottmingen, Switzerland HEIGHT: 6ft 1in WEIGHT: 187 lbs

This year: $1,627,892 Career to date: $80,846,307 Career-high ranking: 1 (02/02/04) Career titles: 78 Last title: Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, ATP 500, Dubai, UAE, February 2014

Came from behind to beat Djokovic and Berdych en route to sixth title in Dubai. Reached Indian Wells final (l. to Djokovic) but fell in Miami QFs with defeat to Nishikori. Won both singles rubbers to help Switzerland reach Davis Cup SFs.

5

TOMAS BERDYCH

CZECH REP BORN: 17/09/85 LIVES: Monte Carlo, Monaco HEIGHT: 6ft 5in WEIGHT: 200 lbs

This year: $1,395,938 Career to date: $17, 501,338 Career-high ranking: 5 (19/08/13) Career titles: 9 Last title: ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament, ATP 500, Rotterdam, Netherlands, February 2014

Ended 16-month title drought with victory in Rotterdam (d. Cilic). Continued form in Dubai where he reached final (l. to Federer). Fell in Indian Wells 2R (l. to Bautista Agut). Was forced to withdraw from Miami SF against Nadal with illness.

6

DAVID DA FERRER

SPAIN BORN: 02/04/82 LIVES: Valencia, Spain HEIGHT: 5ft 9in WEIGHT: 160 lbs

This year: $520,371 Career to date: $22,438,413 Career-high ranking: 3 (08/07/2013) Career titles: 21 Last title: Copa Claro, ATP 250, Buenos Aires, Argentina, February 2014

Won third successive title in Buenos Aires (d. Fognini) but fell in Rio SFs (l. to Dolgopolov). Retired from Acapulco QF against Anderson with adductor strain and missed Indian Wells with the injury. Returned to reach Miami 4R (l. to Nishikori).

7

JUAN MARTIN DEL L POTRO

ARGENTINA BORN: 23/09/88 LIVES: Tandil, Argentina HEIGHT: 6ft 6in WEIGHT: 214 lbs

This year: $198,558 Career to date: $15,345,947 Career-high ranking: 4 (11/01/10) Career titles: 18 Last title: Sydney International, ATP 250, Sydney, Australia, January 2014

Returned from wrist injury in Rotterdam, where he reached QFs (l. to Gulbis). Retired from Dubai opener against Somdev Devvarman with recurrent wrist problem. Underwent surgery in March to repair damaged ligaments in left wrist.

8

ANDY MURRAY

GREAT BRITAIN BORN: 15/05/87 LIVES: London, UK HEIGHT: 6ft 3in WEIGHT: 185 lbs

This year: $538,459 Career to date: $30,810,302 Career-high ranking: 2 (17/08/09) Career titles: 28 Last title: Wimbledon, Grand Slam, London, UK, July 2013

Reached Rotterdam QFs (l. to Cilic) and reached first SF since comeback from back surgery in Acapulco (l. to Dimitrov). Fell in Indian Wells 4R (l. to Raonic) and slipped down rankings after failing to defend title in Miami, losing to Djokovic in the QFs.

9

JOHN ISNER

USA BORN: 26/04/85 LIVES: Tampa, Florida, USA HEIGHT: 6ft 10in WEIGHT: 238 lbs

This year: $450,159 Career to date: $6,169,298 Career-high ranking: 9 (16/04/12) Career titles: 8 Last title: Heineken Open, ATP World Tour 250, Auckland, New Zealand, January 2014

Bounced back from shock Australian Open 1R exit to reach Delray Beach SFs (l. to Cilic). Fell in Acapulco opener (l. to Karlovic) but reached Indian Wells SFs (l. to Djokovic) to break back into top 10. Reached 4R in Miami (l. to Berdych).

10

RICHARD GASQUET

FRANCE BORN: 18/06/86 LIVES: Neuchatel, Switzerland HEIGHT: 6ft 1in WEIGHT: 165 lbs

This year: $291,203 Career to date: $10,313,116 Career-high ranking: 7 (09/07/07) Career titles: 10 Last title: Kremlin Cup, ATP 250, Moscow, Russia, October 2013

Reached final in Montpellier, where he lost to compatriot Monfils. Fell in Rotterdam 2R (l. to Kohlschreiber) and reached Marseille SFs (l. to Gulbis). Beaten in Indian Wells 3R by Verdasco before losing to Federer in Miami 4R.

POINTS: 13,730

6,860 POINTS: 11,680

POINTS: 5,760

POINTS: 5,355

POINTS: 4,720

POINTS: 4,640

POINTS: 4,260

POINTS: 4,040

POINTS: 2,715

POINTS: 2,635

11-100 RANKINGS 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 100

Milos Raonic (CAN) Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA) Fabio Fognini (ITA) Tommy Robredo (ESP) Grigor Dimitrov (BUL) Mikhail Youzhny (RUS) Tommy Haas (GER) Kei Nishikori (JPN) Kevin Anderson (RSA) Nicolas Almagro (ESP) Jerzy Janowicz (POL) Alexandr Dolgopolov (UKR) Ernests Gulbis (LAT) Gael MonďŹ ls (FRA) Philipp Kohlschreiber (GER) Marin Cilic (CRO) Gilles Simon (FRA) Vasek Pospisil (CAN) Fernando Verdasco (ESP) Florian Mayer (GER) Feliciano Lopez (ESP) Dmitry Tursunov (RUS) Benoit Paire (FRA) Andreas Seppi (ITA) Pablo Andujar (ESP) Marcel Granollers (ESP) Ivan Dodig (CRO) Joao Sousa (POR) Nicolas Mahut (FRA) Radek Stepanek (CZE) Edouard Roger-Vasselin (FRA) Juan Monaco (ARG) Federico Delbonis (ARG) Roberto Bautista Agut (ESP) Jarkko Nieminen (FIN) Lleyton Hewitt (AUS) Robin Haase (NED) Lukas Rosol (CZE) Jeremy Chardy (FRA) Julien Benneteau (FRA) Lu Yen-Hsun (TPE) Ivo Karlovic (CRO) Guillermo Garcia-Lopez (ESP) Denis Istomin (UZB) Igor Sijsling (NED) Mikhail Kukushkin (KAZ) Albert Montanes (ESP) Teymuraz Gabashvili (RUS) Andrey Golubev (KAZ) Jurgen Melzer (AUT) Carlos Berlocq (ARG) Kenny De Schepper (FRA) Matthew Ebden (AUS) Pablo Carreno Busta (ESP) Bradley Klahn (USA) Marinko Matosevic (AUS) Jiri Vesely (CZE) Benjamin Becker (GER) Steve Johnson (USA) Alejandro Falla (COL) Nikolay Davydenko (RUS) Michal Przysiezny (POL) Dudi Sela (ISR) Adrian Mannarino (FRA) Bernard Tomic (AUS) Dusan Lajovic (SRB) Aleksandr Nedovyesov (KAZ) Martin Klizan (SVK) Alejandro Gonzalez (COL) Filippo Volandri (ITA) Dominic Thiem (AUT) Sam Querrey (USA) Lukasz Kubot (POL) Santiago Giraldo (COL) Alex Bogomolov Jr (RUS) Stephane Robert (FRA) Leonardo Mayer (ARG) Somdev Devvarman (IND) Victor Hanescu (ROU) Janko Tipsarevic (SRB) Donald Young (USA) Tobias Kamke (GER) Sergiy Stakhovsky (UKR) Jack Sock (USA) Jan-Lennard Struff (GER) Daniel Brands (GER) Michael Russell (USA) Lukas Lacko (SVK) Paolo Lorenzi (ITA) Victor Estrella Burgos (DOM)

W W W.T E N N I S H E A D. N E T 10 9

RESULTS

[APRIL 7, 2014]


DOUBLES ROUND-UP

TRAMLINES

TEAM TENNIS ATP DOUBLES RANKING

HINGIS CAPS COMEBACK WITH VICTORY IN MIAMI Former world No.1 wins first WTA title since 2007 with new partner Sabine Lisicki after returning to the tour last summer even years after winning her last silverware, Martina Hingis lifted the 81st trophy of her career with new partner Sabine Lisicki at the Sony Open in Miami. Hingis, who started working with the German in a coaching capacity back in January, made her comeback on the doubles circuit last summer with Daniela Hantuchova, having hung up her rackets for a second time in 2007 after struggling with injury. The 33-year-old did not play for six months after losing in the first round at last year’s US Open, but returned to action at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells in March, playing alongside 2013 Wimbledon runner-up Lisicki for the first time. The pair lost in the first round at the WTA Premier event in California, but enjoyed a fairytale run at Crandon Park, where they beat three seeded teams en route to the title, coming from a set down to defeat No.2 seeds Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina 4-6 6-4 10-5 in the final. It was Hingis’ 38th WTA doubles title,

S

and the first since Qatar in 2007 with Maria Kirilenko. The victory saw her soar up the rankings, climbing more than 100 places into the top 60. “Last week, I was not sure if I want to put myself out there like this and lose first, second round,” said Hingis. “Now, after this victory, definitely things change. I would be very happy to continue to play some more doubles.” “I always wanted to play with Martina, obviously,” said Lisicki. “We talked about it at Wimbledon last year, and finally we did it here in the States. I think we’re just happy and really enjoying it.” Meanwhile, world No.1 men’s pair Bob and Mike Bryan edged closer to a milestone 100th ATP title after they lifted their 96th trophy in Miami. It was the American twins’ third straight title after victories in Delray Beach and Indian Wells. “Last year was the best year we’ve ever had with a record of 70-13, 11 titles, including three Slams and five Masters 1000 events. To hit 100 would be very special,” Mike Bryan said. THE BRYANS

110 W W W.T E N N I S H E A D. N E T

1 1 3 3 5 6 7 8 9 10

BOB BRYAN (USA)

TITLES WON IN 2014

POINTS: 13,790

3

MIKE BRYAN (USA)

TITLES WON IN 2014

POINTS: 13,790

3

BRUNO SOARES (BRA)

TITLES WON IN 2014

ALEXANDER PEYA (AUT)

TITLES WON IN 2014

POINTS: 7,720

0

MARCELO MELO (BRA)

TITLES WON IN 2014

POINTS: 5,600

1

IVAN DODIG (CRO)

TITLES WON IN 2014

DAVID MARRERO (ESP)

TITLES WON IN 2014

RADEK STEPANEK (CZE)

TITLES WON IN 2014

FERNANDO VERDASCO (ESP)

TITLES WON IN 2014

LEANDER PAES (IND)

TITLES WON IN 2014

0

POINTS: 7,720

0

POINTS: 5,140

0

POINTS: 4,860

0

POINTS: 4,750

0

POINTS: 4,490

0

POINTS: 4,475

WTA DOUBLES RANKING

1 2 3 4 5 5 7 8 9 10

SHUAI (CHN)

TITLES WON IN 2014

POINTS: 9,105

3

HSIEH SU-WEI (TPE)

TITLES WON IN 2014

ELENA VESNINA (RUS)

TITLES WON IN 2014

EKATERINA MAKAROVA (RUS)

TITLES WON IN 2014

POINTS: 7,135

0

ROBERTA VINCI (ITA)

TITLES WON IN 2014

POINTS: 7,045

1

SARA ITA ERRANI (ITA)

TITLES WON IN 2014

KATARINA SLO SREBOTNIK (SLO)

TITLES WON IN 2014

POINTS: 6,265

0

SANIA D MIRZA (IND)

TITLES WON IN 2014

POINTS: 5,845

0

CARA BLACK (ZIM)

TITLES WON IN 2014

KVETA K PESCHKE (CZE)

TITLES WON IN 2014

POINTS: 8,985

POINTS: 7,235

POINTS: 7,045

POINTS: 5,450

POINTS: 5,380

2 0

1

0 1


TELEVISION LISTINGS

TV LISTINGS

APRIL-MAY 2014

TELEVISION GUIDE APRIL

ATP 250 Portugal Open British Eurosport 2, 14:00

TUESDAY 22

FRIDAY 2

WTA Stuttgart Live coverage from the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Germany, where Maria Sharapova is the two-time defending champion BT Sport 2, 11:00

WTA Portugal Open British Eurosport 2, 10:30

WEDNESDAY 23

WTA Portugal Open British Eurosport 2, 12:00

WTA Stuttgart BT Sport 2, 11:00

THURSDAY 24 ATP Barcelona Open Live action from the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell in Spain, where Rafael Nadal will be bidding to win a ninth title at the ATP 500 event Sky Sports 3, 12:30 WTA Stuttgart BT Sport 2, 11:00

ATP 250 Portugal Open British Eurosport 2, 14:30

SATURDAY 3

ATP 250 Portugal Open British Eurosport 2, 14:30

MONDAY 5 ATP Madrid Masters Live coverage from the ATP Masters 1000 event at the Caja Magica, where Rafael Nadal won a third title in 2013 Sky Sports 3, 12:00

TUESDAY 6

FRIDAY 25

ATP Madrid Masters Sky Sports 3, 10:00

ATP Barcelona Open Sky Sports 3, 11:30

WEDNESDAY 7

WTA Stuttgart ESPN, 17:00

SATURDAY 26 ATP Barcelona Open Sky Sports 3, 12:30 WTA Stuttgart ESPN, 13:00

SUNDAY 27 ATP Barcelona Open Sky Sports 3, 15:00 WTA Stuttgart ESPN, 13:00

MONDAY 28 WTA Portugal Open Live coverage of the joint ATP-WTA event on the outskirts of Lisbon, where Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova won the 2013 edition British Eurosport 2, 11:00 ATP 250 Portugal Open Live action from from Oeiras, where Stanislas Wawrinka is the defending champion British Eurosport 2, 14:00

ATP Madrid Masters Sky Sports 3, 10:00

THURSDAY 8 ATP Madrid Masters Sky Sports 3, 13:00

FRIDAY 9 ATP Madrid Masters Sky Sports 3, 14:00

SUNDAY 11 ATP Madrid Masters Sky Sports 3, 15:00

MAY

SUNDAY 1

ATP Dusseldorf Open British Eurosport, 11:00 WTA Nurnberg British Eurosport 2, 17:30

Roland Garros British Eurosport, 09:30

MONDAY 2

WTA Nurnberg Watch coverage from the Nurnberger Versicherungscup, where Simona Halep won her maiden WTA trophy last year – the first of six titles in 2013 British Eurosport 2, 13:00

SUNDAY 25

Roland Garros British Eurosport, 09:30

Roland Garros Rafael Nadal and Serena Williams are the defending champions in Paris British Eurosport, 09:45

Roland Garros British Eurosport, 12:30

TUESDAY 20

MONDAY 26

ATP Dusseldorf Open British Eurosport, 11:00

Roland Garros British Eurosport, 09:30

WTA Nurnberg British Eurosport 2, 13:00

TUESDAY 27

WEDNESDAY 21 ATP Dusseldorf Open British Eurosport, 11:00 WTA Nurnberg British Eurosport 2, 13:00

THURSDAY 22 ATP Dusseldorf Open British Eurosport, 11:00 WTA Nurnberg British Eurosport 2, 13:00

Roland Garros British Eurosport, 09:30

WEDNESDAY 28 Roland Garros British Eurosport, 09:30

THURSDAY 29 Roland Garros British Eurosport, 09:30

FRIDAY 30 Roland Garros British Eurosport, 09:30

TUESDAY 3

WEDNESDAY 4 Roland Garros British Eurosport, 12:30

THURSDAY 5 Roland Garros British Eurosport 2, 12:00

FRIDAY 6 Roland Garros British Eurosport, 11:30

SATURDAY 7 Roland Garros British Eurosport, 13:30

SUNDAY 8 Roland Garros Men's singles final British Eurosport, 13:30

IN FOCUS

SERENA WILLIAMS

RAFAEL NADAL

MONDAY 12

TUESDAY 13 ATP Rome Masters Sky Sports 3, 10:00

WEDNESDAY 14

ATP 250 Portugal Open British Eurosport 2, 14:00

MONDAY 19 ATP Dusseldorf Open British Eurosport, 11:00

JUNE

SATURDAY 24

ATP Rome Masters Live coverage from the ATP Masters 1000 event at the Foro Italico, where Rafael Nadal will be bidding to win an eighth title Sky Sports 3, 10:00

ATP Rome Masters Sky Sports 3, 11:00

WTA Portugal Open British Eurosport 2, 10:00

SATURDAY 31 Roland Garros

SATURDAY 10

TUESDAY 29

WEDNESDAY 30

FRIDAY 23 ATP Dusseldorf Open British Eurosport 2, 11:00 WTA Nurnberg British Eurosport 2, 17:30

ATP Madrid Masters Sky Sports 3, 14:30

WTA Portugal Open British Eurosport 2, 10:00 ATP 250 Portugal Open British Eurosport 2, 14:00

SUNDAY 18 ATP Dusseldorf Open Action from the first day of the ATP 250 event in Dusseldorf, where Juan Monaco won the inaugural event in 2013 British Eurosport 2, 13:00

THURSDAY 15

INTERNAZIONALI BNL D’ITALIA, ROME, ITALY

ATP Rome Masters Sky Sports 3, 11:00

SKY SPORTS AND BT SPORT, MAY 12-18

FRIDAY 16 ATP Rome Masters Sky Sports 3, 11:00

SATURDAY 17 ATP Rome Masters Sky Sports 4, 16:30

THURSDAY 1

SUNDAY 18

WTA Portugal Open British Eurosport 2, 11:00

ATP Rome Masters Sky Sports 3, 15:00

The last major stop on the European clay-court swing before Paris, the joint ATP-WTA Internazionali BNL d’Italia offers an opportunity for players to put the finishing touches to their preparations for Roland Garros. It also gives tennis fans an insight into who is in form heading into the second Grand Slam of the year. In 2013, Rafael Nadal and Serena Williams both lifted the trophies at the Foro Italico before going on to win in Paris. Indeed, Nadal has done the RomeParis double on six occasions, and the last two women’s champions (Maria Sharapova and Williams) went on to win the French Open. W W W.T E N N I S H E A D. N E T 111


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W W W.T E N N I S H E A D. N E T 113


ACTION REPL AY

After defeating Federer at the Foro Italico, Nadal went on to beat the world No.1 to defend his Roland Garros title in Paris

[ROME MASTERS FINAL]

14 MAY 2006

“He caught me right on the finish line. It was very close from start to finish” ROGER FEDERER

The rivalry between Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer has been one of the greatest in tennis history. With two wins over his Swiss rival already on the scoreboard that spring, Nadal was about to make it 3-0 WORDS: PAUL NEWMAN

I

114 W W W.T E N N I S H E A D. N E T

attacking game. He did so this time, hitting his groundstrokes with great power and advancing to the net at every opportunity. Nadal, too, did what he does best, chasing every ball and turning defence to attack at the flick of a wrist. The match was full of stunning rallies as Federer charged forward and Nadal counter-attacked. Federer won the first tiebreak 7-0 with some spectacular shot-making, but Nadal recovered from 4-2 down to take the second 7-5. As Nadal won the third set Federer grew frustrated. Angered by what he considered coaching from the sidelines by Toni Nadal, the Swiss shouted out: “Is that all right, Toni?” Federer said afterwards that he had “caught him in the act” and complained that officials “don’t keep a close enough eye on him”. Nadal had break points early in the fourth set, but Federer broke serve twice to take the match into a fifth set. The first five games of the decider took half an hour as Federer’s attacking brilliance was matched by Nadal’s indomitable defence. Nadal retrieved an early break but was

5-6 and 15-40 down when Federer scorned two match points with poor forehands. Federer led 5-3 in the tiebreak, only to make four successive errors, including three on his forehand, to give victory to Nadal. “He caught me right on the finish line,” Federer said afterwards. “It was very close, from start to finish.” Nadal said it had been “a very emotional match”. His 16th career title as a teenager matched Bjorn Borg’s record, while his 53rd successive win on clay equalled the record set 29 years earlier by Guillermo Vilas. Many more triumphs would follow for Nadal, but few have been as hard-earned.

WHAT HAPPENED NEXT → Nadal denied Federer his place in history by beating him in four sets in the final of the French Open. Federer finally ended a run of four successive defeats to his big rival by beating him in that summer’s Wimbledon final. Nadal, however, has consistently held the upper hand: his only defeats to Federer in 11 Grand Slam meetings have been in the 2006 and 2007 Wimbledon finals.

IMAGES © RAY GIUBILO

f there was one meeting that set a benchmark for the classic matches between Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal it was their confrontation in the final of the 2006 Rome Masters. Nadal saved two match points before winning 6-7 7-6 6-4 2-6 7-6 after five hours and five minutes of relentless drama on a glorious sunkissed afternoon. The world’s two best players had already met in two finals that spring, Nadal having won in Dubai and Monte Carlo. Federer, meanwhile, was gearing himself up for an attempt at the French Open to become only the third man in history to hold all four Grand Slam titles. Rome offered the chance to strike a psychological blow against a teenager who had taken the sport by storm in the previous 12 months. Today’s centre court at the Foro Italico is the epitome of modern elegance. The 2006 final, however, was one of the last played on the old centre court, an atmospheric arena which had been the stage for so many fiery encounters in front of passionate crowds. Federer had always believed that to beat Nadal on clay he had to play his own


       

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