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2014 Australian Open Preview



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2014 Australian Open Preview



Lana Maciel Blair Henley

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Erik Gudris

Chris Oddo

Letter from the Editor It’s hard to believe the 2014 season is well underway and we’re gearing up for the first Grand Slam of the year. As we head Down Under to the Australian Open, expectations are already building in our minds. Players have made a lot of changes during tennis’ brief offseason, from hiring new coaches to returning from injury to trying out a different racquet frame. Which leaves us wondering what surprises are in store for us this year. Can Roger Federer rise back to the top of the game? Can Maria Sharapova do the same and become a solid contender for more majors? Or will we see a new face in the ranks, pushing the best players to the brink? We could only hope for such excitement. And in this issue of the magazine, that’s exactly what we did. In our feature on page 8, we’ve made 14 wishes we’d like to see come true this tennis season, some probable, others not so much. But hey, we can dream, can’t we? In addition, we’ve made some predictions on how we think the men’s and women’s draws will play out in Melbourne. Look for those on pages 14 and 20, and let us know if you agree with our picks.

Blair Henley

Samir Becic Nick Georgandis Elena Scuro


Alberto Capetillo Juan Esparza


We’ve also put together a few tips on proper tennis nutrition to help you fuel up and be your best for your next match (page 34). A special thanks to renowned fitness trainer Samir Becic for contributing that column! And on page 26, guest writer Elena Scuro takes us back in time to reminisce on all the best and worst fashions we’ve seen from Australian Opens past. You’ll find all that plus more in this issue, so I hope you enjoy!

Lana Maciel Editor, Tennis Now Magazine

Rob Newell/CameraSport Mark Peterson/Corleve Peter Staples Getty Images


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2014 Australian Open Preview





SEASON Knowing what one wants can be half the battle in life, so before the first balls are put in play at the 2014 Australian Open, we take stock of our hopes and dreams for the 2014 season, letting our imaginations run wild in the process. Here’s what we came up with. by Chris Oddo


2014 Australian Open Preview


Roger Federer Wins Grand Slam No. 18

Can he do it? Well, opinions vary, but we sure as heck want him to do it. Why? Well, why not? He’s one of the greatest to ever play the game, and he could have retired after Wimbledon in 2012, leaving his legacy relatively untarnished for all of us to ponder. Instead, Federer has continued to play the sport he loves, undaunted by the fact that he now has to scratch and claw for victories against many of the rivals that he used to dominate. Yes, age is catching up to Federer and his greatness is proving more difficult to summon on a consistent basis, but his willingness to lace ‘em up and keep questing for glory has impressed us almost as much as his regal domination of the sport and gentlemanly respect for its traditions and decorum over the years have.


Kimiko Date-Krumm Becomes the Oldest WTA Title Winner

Is it too much to ask that the ageless wonder notch a recordsmashing title before the season is done? That’s what we’re hoping for Japan’s Kimiko Date-Krumm, a former world No. 4 who returned to tennis in 2008 after a 10-year hiatus. In doing so, she wowed fans with her determination and anachronistic yet divine strokes, which have made her a fan favorite everywhere from Tokyo to Timbuktu. Krumm is already the WTA’s second-oldest title winner (she did that in Seoul in 2009), in addition to being the second-oldest player to reach the third-round of a Grand Slam (she did that in 2013 at the age of 42), but we’re hoping that her best and brightest age-related achievements lie ahead of her. Fingers crossed.

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The Same ATP Player Wins the Australian Open and the French Open

It was pretty damn exciting when Mike and Bob Bryan came two matches from winning the calendar-year Grand Slam in 2013, and it made us wonder: wouldn’t it be awesome if somebody could make a run like that in men’s singles? Only three times in the Open Era has the same player won the first two Grand Slams of the calendar year, and it hasn’t happened since Jim Courier turned the trick in 1992. Whether it is Nadal or Djokovic that wins the Australian Open (really, who else could it be?) we’re hoping that that player piques our curiosity by winning Roland Garros and sparking the media into a frenzy come Wimbledon.


Ernests Gulbis Joins Twitter

We were going to wish that Ernests Gulbis would win a Grand Slam, but we decided that our mental currency would be better spent wishing for something that is actually possible, and, if it happens, will be longer lasting. With Gulbis’ imagination and creativity, he would instantly become the ultimate cult follow for die-hard tennis fans on Twitter. His tweets would be so good it might give the rest of the ATP Tour an inferiority complex, thus giving Gulbis the edge when it comes to winning that aforementioned Grand Slam. Okay, getting carried away, but you get our drift, don’t you?


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Venus Williams Makes a Deep Wimbledon Run


Novak Djokovic Eats a Pizza During a Changeover (And It’s Not Gluten-Free)

The glory of Venus Williams’ decade of dominance at the All England Club will always be cherished, but how about one last magical run into the final weekend to further etch it upon our memories in the current decade? It has been a while. Far too long, in fact. But even as she approaches 34 (she will be 34 at Wimbledon), the five-time Wimbledon champion still possesses all the tools and desire to make one last Wimbledon run for the ages.

This thought came to us after many hours of meditation. Suddenly, after some mixed signals and foggy narratives, a clairvoyant lucidity took us over and we instantly knew what we wanted from Novak Djokovic in 2014. No, we didn’t want him to save match points with death-defying forehand returns or play lung-searing 60-stroke rallies against Rafael Nadal on clay or win 80 matches in a row. We simply wanted Djokovic to eat a thin crust New York pizza during a changeover at the US Open (preferably while dancing with ballkids). Don’t ask us why, because we’re not quite sure.


Andy Murray and Rafael Nadal Both Get Engaged (Not to Each Other)


Nicolas Almagro Beats David Ferrer and Rafael Nadal in the Same Event, En Route to a Career-Changing Title

Roger has a third child on the way, Novak is engaged to his sweetheart, Jelena Ristic. What gives, Rafa and Andy?

Poor, poor Nico. He’s a combined 0-24 against his fellow Spaniards, and by the looks of things he may never notch a win against either indomitable foe. They say that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, and we’re hoping that that will be the case with Almagro because he is a true talent who could easily be a French Open champion in another era. Hopefully, he’ll keep his wits about him and keep soldiering on. At No. 13 in the world, and with such a spirited, boisterous game, Almagro deserves a big win against one of his compatriots. Either one―doesn’t matter which. But preferably both, and at the same event no less. How about Barcelona?


Maria Sharapova Finally Defeats Serena Williams Again

This isn’t about rooting against Serena Williams, because we think she is simply the best and we are completely in awe of her. No, this is about rooting FOR Maria Sharapova, because losing 14 matches in a row to Serena is simply not good for the brand. It’s not good for the morale either, and we think if Sharapova could just step on the court and take it to Williams just one time, it would do wonders for her confidence, and it would also heighten the interest and intrigue that surrounds the tennis rivalry that isn’t really a rivalry. Serena and Maria already traded verbal volleys at last year’s Wimbledon―just think about some of the wildly entertaining verbal vitriol that would flow if Sharapova were able to claim a big win against Serena, and even better if she decided to gloat about it afterwards.


Serena Reaches 20 Slams

Do you think it is rude of us to want all the spoils of women’s tennis to go to Serena Williams? Well, it’s not, because we don’t think so. We want the best player to win at the end of the day. But if Serena is truly the best, and worthy of being considered the best of all time, then shouldn’t she win three Grand Slams in 2014 so that we could all make damn sure of it?

2014 Australian Open Preview



A Teenager Comes From Out of Nowhere to Reach the Semis of a Slam

When Boris Becker wowed Wimbledon in 1985, winning the title as a red-faced 17-year-old, we didn’t know how good we had it. Men’s tennis has had a long history of young prodigies, prodded and preened by their parents and their boyhood coaches until they are primed for an all-out assault on professional tennis – all before they have learned to drive a car, kiss a girl, or contemplate all the things that could go wrong in their world on a daily basis. These days, for a teenager to even make a splash on tour it seems miraculous. Tennis is a man’s game played by hyper-fit, mature adults who win with experience, strength and fitness more than raw athleticism or power. But in tennis, as in life, things are cyclical. Somewhere, waiting in the wings, honing his skills in some remote town, is the next breakthrough teenager, brash and bold just as John McEnroe was with his headband and white-boy Afro, ready to turn the tennis world on its ear.


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Sam Stosur Makes a Deep Australian Open Run

Aussie Aussie Aussie? Oi Oi Oi? Those words are inspiring for some, but in Sam Stosur’s case, for whatever reason, they are clearly frightening. Tennis fans know of Stosur’s lack of feel for the Wimbledon grass, where she’s only been past the second round twice, but what to make of Stosur’s lack of success in Melbourne? Well, it’s obvious. Nerves get the best of her, and while she often puts her best foot forward, what typically happens next is she stumbles over it with her other foot. Here’s hoping that Stosur can overcome the jitters and summon all the grace and courage that she exhibited in her 2011 US Open title run. Stosur is one of the most humble, down-to-earth players on tour, and it’s clear that when in Melbourne, she wants to win too badly. Maybe this year she’ll take a deep breath, relax, and let the rowdy Aussie crowds do some of the heavy lifting for her.


Larry Ellison Collaborates With Scientists to Create an American Men’s Champion

The USTA is clearly not up to the task of creating the next great American men’s tennis player, so why doesn’t Larry Ellison, tennis’ resident techie magnate, team up with some biotech gurus to find a way to splice together remnants of the gene pools of Andre Agassi, Pete Sampras, Jimmy Connors, John McEnroe and Don Budge to make the next great American champion. Throw in some Arthur Ashe to make sure said player has some class and integrity, too. C’mon Larry, we know you’ve got the resources. And think how much fun it would be when you sit courtside at Indian Wells with your stylish girlfriend cozying up next to you as you watch America’s greatest player EVER, to know that you―not the USTA― created that player.


Gael Monfils Wins Roland Garros

Andy Murray won Wimbledon, and it was beautiful, and many tears were shed. But the bloke doesn’t hold a candle to Gael Monfils when it comes to emoting. Just think of the chaos that a Monfils title run would bring to Roland Garros. Picture it: screaming throngs popping champagne in Chatrier, a deep and satisfying roar that engulfs the grounds at Roland Garros for hours, the smiles, the love, the joy! And wouldn’t it be nice if Monfils, after all these years of getting ragged on and called out for wanting to entertain more than he wants to win, pulls the coup de grace to prove that he was on the right track after all? Wouldn’t it be great to see him win with style, puffing out his chest, flying through the air, and whipping the throngs of supporters into a frenzy by doing all the things that we, the naysayers, said he shouldn’t be doing if he truly wanted to win?

2014 Australian Open Preview


The Rumble Down Under by Erik Gudris

In their continuing quest to be the world No. 1, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic appear headed for yet another Grand Slam final showdown in Melbourne. This year’s men’s draw at the Australian Open appears to have the scales tipped heavily in favor of defending champion Novak Djokovic. But top seed Rafael Nadal, as everyone knows, is always up for the biggest challenge. Add in several question marks and some tantalizing opening round meetings, and this year’s first Grand Slam once again will be worth staying up for until the wee hours, no matter where you are in the world.

Credit: Corleve


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Rafael Nadal’s Quarter If Rafael Nadal wants to win his second Australian Open title, he’ll have to do it the hard way. Nadal finds himself with a tough draw that will likely test the world No.1 to the limit.

the majors - Grigor Dimitrov and No. 11 seed Milos Raonic. Whether Dimitrov or Raonic can pull off a potential upset of Del Potro is a huge question, but certainly either player is capable of it.

The top seed will have his hands full early as he opens against local favorite Bernard Tomic, who probably was hoping for a kinder draw at his home major. Tomic, who wants to prove he belongs among the very best, will have a rowdy home crowd on his side. No. 25 seed Gael Monfils, who took Nadal to three sets in Doha, could again prove to be a tricky foe in a later round, especially if the Frenchman’s flairfilled game is on. The Aussies could be rooting against Nadal again if he takes to the court versus the resurgent Lleyton Hewitt, who just won Brisbane. Expect Nadal to get through these early tests, but not without dropping a set or two.

Ultimately, everyone would want to see a Del Potro versus Nadal quarterfinal that could become a classic if both men meet each other with their best games. Del Potro certainly has the firepower to take out Nadal. Unless the Spaniard wears down the Argentine first. Many have been waiting for Del Potro to make a move to win his second Grand Slam title, and he might do it here. But, Nadal is the favorite to reach the semis here.

No. 5 seed Juan Martin del Potro sits at the other end of this quarter. Standing in his way are two players many want to see go deeper at

Pick: Nadal Darkhorse: Hewitt First Round Match to Watch: Rafael Nadal vs. Bernard Tomic 2014 Australian Open Preview


Andy Murray’s Quarter If there’s a part of the draw filled with question marks, it is this one. Last year’s finalist Murray returns to Melbourne having just had back surgery, which took him out of action late last season. What the Scot needs is matches. Fortunately for Murray, his early rounds are ones he should get through even if he isn’t at 100 percent yet. No. 13 seed John Isner is Murray’s projected fourth round opponent. That is if Isner, dealing with a sore ankle himself, gets past a possible showdown with tough No. 21 seed Philipp Kohlschreiber. If Isner seeks to get back into the top 10, he needs to start posting better results outside of America. Why not Down Under? Another big question mark is No. 6. seed Roger Federer. Armed with a larger racquet and the coaching aid of Stefan Edberg, Federer is trying to make 2014 a better year. He should get through potential early round opponents Radek Stepanek and No. 31 seed Fernando Verdasco.


2014 Australian Open Preview

Someone who is used to being questioned during his career is former finalist and No. 10 seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. But in a section filled with uncertainties, Tsonga is playing well and with no expectations placed on him. And that’s a perfect combination for the veteran Tsonga to knock off Federer and then, if he’s still wobbly, Murray. Tsonga’s got an opportunity here to reach the semis. But can he pull it off? As the French might say, “Pourquoi pas” (Why not?).

Pick: Tsonga Darkhorse: Isner First Round Match to Watch: Andy Murray vs. Go Soeda

Credit: Peter Staples

David Ferrer’s Quarter He may not be considered part of the “big four,” but David Ferrer continues to hold his place inside the ATP top four. And that alone assures him a top four seeding and yet another shot at reaching a major semi. Ferrer though has struggled early this season and just lost in the Auckland semis, an event he won three years in row. Is Ferrer’s penchant for playing week in, week out finally catching up to him? Potential early round opponents include No. 14 seed Mikhail Youzhny, No. 20 seed Jerzy Janowicz and No. 29 seed Jeremy Chardy. While any of these men could trouble Ferrer, it’s hard seeing any of them pulling off the early upset. No. 7 seed Tomas Berdych once again finds himself not being talked about much at a major. If he can get past a possible nightmare match versus big-serving Ivo Karlovic or the always tenacious No. 32 seed Ivan Dodig, Berdych should be in good shape for the last eight.

While Berdych owns wins against many of the elite of the game, the Czech’s mental fortitude is still considered suspect. Ferrer has beaten Berdych in six of their last eight meetings, though Berdych won their last match in London. Ferrer is favored, but Berdych somehow feels due for another run to the final four. Simply put, this is the most wide open section of the draw. Opportunity awaits.

Pick: Berdych Darkhorse: Haas First Round Match to Watch: Ivan Dodig vs. Ivo Karlovic 2014 Australian Open Preview


Novak Djokovic’s Quarter With Boris Becker now at his coaching side, defending champion Novak Djokovic aims to win his fourth consecutive title in Melbourne. The No. 2 seed received a comfortable draw in the opening rounds that should help him save something extra for the second week. Not that there aren’t dangerous opponents here. Marcos Baghdatis, No. 15 seed Fabio Fognini and No. 24 seed Ernests Gulbis all can prove to be a headache when their games are on. Many have waited for Gulbis especially to make a deep run at a major. He certainly could test Djokovic should they meet, but expect the Serbian to have the final answer. What everyone hopes for is a quarterfinal rematch between Djokovic and No. 8 seed Stanislas Wawrinka. Their meeting in Melbourne last year was considered by many the best match of 2014. Wawrinka certainly would love another chance at Djokovic. And unless No. 9 seed Richard Gasquet or No. 17 seed Tommy Robredo pull off something special, the Swiss will get his wish. While Wawrinka could push Djokovic to five sets again, it will likely be the defending champion who summons his best tennis to earn the win.


2014 Australian Open Preview

An anticipated final showdown with Nadal could well be worth the wait after two weeks. But Melbourne always seems to bring out the best in Djokovic. In his quest to return to No.1, Djokovic should once again get off to the best possible start in a new season full of possibilities.

Pick: Djokovic Darkhorse: Gulbis First Round Match to Watch: Ernests Gulbis vs. Juan Monaco

Semis: Nadal d. Tsonga, Djokovic d. Berdych Final: Djokovic d. Nadal


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The Last One Standing by Erik Gudris

Serena Williams once again enters as a huge favorite for this year’s Australian Open. But can anyone cause her to stumble en route to her 18th Grand Slam title? After meeting in the Brisbane final, both Serena Williams and Victoria Azarenka expressed hope that they would meet again in Melbourne. That, of course, would mean the top two seeds would face off in the final. That showdown would probably be the wish of most tennis fans who want to see this compelling rivalry continue. But will it come to pass, especially in such a balanced draw as this one?

Credit: Corleve


2014 Australian Open Preview

Serena Williams’ Quarter The world No. 1 will get the home fans rooting against her early as she faces young Aussie hope Ash Barty in round one. A trio of veterans in No. 14 seed Ana Ivanovic, No. 17 seed Sam Stosur, and No. 31 seed Daniela Hantuchova all loom here. A Stosur versus Williams meeting might be fascinating to watch, especially with the Australian’s recent struggles playing at home. But it’s hard seeing any of these talented players stopping Williams from reaching the quarterfinals. Who Williams gets in the last eight might be the most intriguing part of this section. No.7 seed Sara Errani is the projected opponent for Williams in the quarters. But the plucky Italian continues to struggle early in the season. No. 18 seed and Wimbledon semifinalist Kirsten Flipkens might just serve and volley her way through. Or perhaps talented rising WTA stars Madison Keys or No. 30 seed Eugenie Bouchard could pick up steam in this open field.

For Williams, it is all about staying on her feet, literally, during the early rounds. If she does that, the top seed will book yet another spot into the final four of a major.

Pick: Williams Darkhorse: Bouchard First Round Match to Watch: Casey Dellacqua vs. Vera Zvonareva 2014 Australian Open Preview


Maria Sharapova’s Quarter Maria Sharapova is back. After missing four months last season due to a shoulder injury, the Russian posted a solid semifinal run earlier this month in Brisbane. But that doesn’t mean Sharapova isn’t vulnerable in Melbourne. If she can get past the recently in-form Bethanie Mattek-Sands in round one, Sharapova might later face No. 20 seed Dominika Cibulkova, who can be a headache for anyone when she sinks her “Pome!” into a match. Despite that, Sharapova should make it into the second week. So long as her shoulder – and her serve – don’t become an issue for the former champion. No. 8 seed Jelena Jankovic made her return to the top 10 and wants to go even higher this season. Germany’s Andrea Petkovic might give Jankovic trouble should they meet early, but it’s a potential fourth-


2014 Australian Open Preview

rounder with No. 11 seed Simona Halep that Jankovic should be wary of. Halep, last year’s breakout player, has yet to prove herself against the elite at the majors. Melbourne just might be her opportunity. A Jankovic versus Sharapova quarterfinal would probably be high on drama and shotmaking. Though Sharapova leads their head-tohead by 5-to-1, Jankovic will be ready to make a statement that she deserves her shot at an elusive first major title. We’ll see if she takes it.

Pick: Jankovic Darkhorse: Halep First Round Match to Watch: Dominika Cibulkova vs. Francesca Schiavone

Li Na’s Quarter Despite being last year’s finalist, China’s Li Na will probably fly under the radar during the first week. Under the continuing eye of coach Carlos Rodriguez, Li has added new elements to her game that make her a real threat to take home the title. But she could find herself dealing with some tricky opponents by the fourth round. She might get the winner of a tantalizing opener between “Melbourne specialist” No. 22 seed Ekaterina Makarova versus unseeded Venus Williams. The elder Williams is hitting the ball better and if she’s on her game early, could be a dangerous floater here. Big serving No. 15 seed Sabine Lisicki could also be a potential fourth-rounder. Things don’t get easier for Li should she reach the quarters. No. 8 seed Petra Kvitova or No. 9 seed Angelique Kerber will probably be waiting. If it’s Kvitova, that could be one of the best matches of the fortnight. The Czech continues to stress she is fitter than ever, and she’ll need to be if she wants a shot at the semis. That will be put to

the test, especially if she gets involved in more three-setters like she did last season. Li thrives playing on the blue courts of Melbourne. So long as she stays focused, especially in the tight moments, the two-time finalist should come out of this difficult section unscathed.

Pick: Li Darkhorse: Venus Williams First Round Match to Watch: Ekaterina Makarova vs. Venus Williams 2014 Australian Open Preview


Victoria Azarenka’s Quarter The two-time defending champion, Azarenka expressed hope that she would meet Serena Williams in the final. But first she has to get there. Azarenka has had her fair share of struggles in the early rounds of majors before, and there’s a safe bet she will be pushed to three sets by someone here. But who?

Azarenka’s potential quarterfinal opponent is a bit of a toss-up. No. 5 seed Agnieszka Radwanksa would be the likely choice, but No. 24 seed Kaia Kanepi is always capable of pulling off a big upset. No. 10 seed Caroline Wozniacki, feeling good since her recent engagement, might also reel off a few wins.

How about American No. 27 seed Jamie Hampton? If not slowed by injury, Hampton might have nearly knocked out Azarenka in the third round last year. They could meet again in that same round this year. If Hampton stays healthy and can keep up her powerful game, she just might get the win this time.

Azarenka will be tested. But as she continues to prove, the No. 2 seed often seems to find a way to win when you least expect it.

Next for Azarenka might be a 2013 semifinal rematch with No. 13 seed Sloane Stephens in the fourth round. But Stephens, who continues to deal with a wrist issue, is not guaranteed to get there. Especially with a tough opening round versus the all-court game of Yaroslava Shvedova. Given the massive expectations that will be placed on Stephens to back up last year’s result, an early round exit would not be a surprise.


2014 Australian Open Preview

Pick: Azarenka Darkhorse: Hampton First Round Match to Watch: Sloane Stephens vs. Yaroslava Shvedova Semis: Williams d. Li; Azarenka d. Jankovic Final: Williams d. Azarenka



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by Elena Scuro

The Australian Open is just around the corner, and while pundits are speculating how the players will perform, we’re beginning to get sneak peeks at what the players will wear. Some will be fashion hits, while others will go down as fashion faux pas. Which makes us


2014 Australian Open Preview

wonder, can brands top some of their fashion successes of the past? And of course, you can’t talk about the hits without remembering (while trying to forget) the misses. Here are some of the best and worst fashion moments in Australian Open history.

BEST Tennis darling Monica Seles was just 19 years old when she won her third straight Australian Open title (and eighth Grand Slam). She had clearly mastered the Melbourne court and was also a master of what looked best on her. Fila dressed her in a classic white skirt and collared shirt with a delightful pattern. It may not fly on the courts of today, but in 1993, it was perfection.

In 1996, Martina Hingis chopped her ponytail off and began to sport a much shorter hairdo. At the 1997 Australian Open, she showed up and showed the world she was maintaining her cropped locks. The short hair did the trick, helping Hingis win her first-ever Grand Slam title in Melbourne.

Like Hingis in 1997, Serena Williams had super short hair at the 2009 Australian Open. But it wasn’t just her hair, and the fact that she won the title, that made her tournament perfect. Nike’s dress for Serena was the epitome of a tennis dress. It looked comfortable on court and was one that women everywhere could wear. Serena was a winner all around.

She was the No. 1 seed at the 2011 Australian Open, and Caroline Wozniacki’s every move was under a microscope. While not all were fans of Stella McCartney’s creation for Adidas, it was the perfect mix of utility and femininity for Wozniacki. The dress, that some likened to that of a ballerina, didn’t restrict the Dane’s movement on the top and perfectly flowed with her court coverage on the bottom.

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Winning the Australian Open, her career first Grand Slam title, and reaching the No.1 ranking for the first time wasn’t the only statement Victoria Azarenka made in 2012. Her outfit made a positive fashion statement as well. While the women were competing in skirts and dresses, Azarenka walked on court that year in a very memorable kit from Nike that included shorts. Vika proved how tough a player she was with her win and the shorts fit the picture perfectly.

Who knew shoes could make such a fuss? The Nike Zoom Vapor 9 Tour worn by Roger Federer in 2013 were the talk of Twitter (and beyond). Why? Perhaps it was the cushioning or the way they helped Roger’s movement on the Melbourne courts. Or, perhaps, it was just because they were partially pink. Fans were fixated on Federer’s night shoes, so we were lucky when they made their way to other tournaments beyond the Australian Open.


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Maria Sharapova had a series of great Slam dresses (after her iffy one in 2010) but a favorite has to be the one she wore in Melbourne in 2013. Her collaboration with Nike fit her like a glove with lines and strap details that showed off Maria’s design touch. The color was in line with the trend of the tournament (who wasn’t wearing yellow?) but it was a dress we didn’t mind seeing a lot of, all the way to the semifinals.

WORST At the 1995 Australian Open, Andre Agassi defeated Pete Sampras to win his first Australian Open title. Agassi hoisted the trophy in a Nike outfit that had a different pattern for every article of clothing, including the southern-style bandana. Unlike Agassi, the outfit was not a winner. The pair have recently rekindled their fashion relationship, and we’re hopeful Nike will not put the American in anything this bad again.

Venus Williams described her 2011 Australian Open dress prior to the tournament, saying “There’ll be more illusion, and also skin... more skin this year.” That proved to be, unfortunately, very true. For someone who, when she launched her fashion line in 2007, said EleVen by Venus created “a collection that will allow women to enjoy an active lifestyle while remaining fashionable at the same time,” it seemed to have lost the plot. Thankfully, just a few years later, Venus has righted the ship and delivered outfits women would definitely want to wear.

It’s hard to believe this vintage Rafael Nadal look was just a mere seven years ago. In 2007, Rafa was wearing his signature odd-fitting “man-pris” and muscle shirt (however, few complained about the latter). Luckily, as the years have gone on, his shorts have gotten shorter and he’s adopted sleeves. It’s unlikely we’ll see this look from the Spaniard ever again.

2014 Australian Open Preview


In 2010, the world was shocked by the memorable upset of Maria Sharapova by fellow Russian Maria Kirilenko in the first round of the Australian Open. Sharapova’s dress was also memorable, but for the wrong reasons. It was the first of her collaborations with Nike, and she said at the time she was “excited about working with the design team at Nike to see how much more innovative we can get crossing fashion-forward designs with high performance fabrics and silhouettes.” Innovative, yes, but perhaps a little too high-fashion for the Melbourne courts. The peacock-resembling dress was more fit for a fashion show than a first-round exit. Not as haute as Sharapova had hoped.

Nadia Petrova’s dress in 2011 and Galina Voskoboeva’s dress in 2012 proved that it doesn’t matter what year it is: Ruffles don’t work. Ellesse was attempting a feminine frock for Petrova but the ombre colors made the dress more messy than girly. But nothing compares to Voskoboeva’s outfit. Some thought she was more fit for a ballet than a tennis court, while I personally wonder why the designer would pair a collared top with a skirt that looks like frosting.

The Australian Open happens during the summer Down Under and, in 2012, Fernando Verdasco decided to dress as bright as the sun. His Adidas kit left us grabbing for our sunglasses and dimming our television screens. Luckily for our eyes, Verdasco and his highlightercolored shirt exited in the first round.


2014 Australian Open Preview

AUSTRALIAN OPEN NUMBER SENSE A closer look at some of the facts and figures of 2014’s first Grand Slam by Nick Georgandis


This will be the 59th Grand Slam appearance for both Roger Federer and Lleyton Hewitt, moving both players past Jonas Bjorkman into third-place all-time in that category. Only Andre Agassi (61) and Fabrice Santoro (70) appeared in more Grand Slam singles tournaments in their careers.


This will be Federer’s 57th consecutive Grand Slam tournament, a new ATP record, eclipsing the mark of 56 he currently shares with Wayne Ferreira.


The number of men who have won the Australian Open four times apiece: Federer, Andre Agassi and Novak Djokovic. Djokovic has won three straight, tied for the most in a row with Guillermo Vilas, Johan Kriek, Mats Wilander and Stefan Edberg.

10 21

Federer has reached 10 straight Australian Open semifinals. No other player has reached more than five.

Djokovic has won 21 consecutive matches at the Australian Open. He needs five more to tie Andre Agassi’s record of 26, set between 2000-2004.


Only two male players in history have won the Australian Open and French Open back to back since the Australian became the first Slam of the season: Mats Wilander in 1988 and Jim Courier in 1992.

2014 Australian Open Preview



Novak Djokovic’s winning percentage at the Australian Open, based on his record of 39-5. It’s the second highest winning percentage in the Open Era behind only Agassi (48-5, 90.57%).


Serena Williams is up to 17 Grand Slams in her career. One more will tie her with legends Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova for second place all-time.


Williams’ career winning percentage at the Australian Open, based on a 58-8 record. Only four players have been better in the Open Era Monica Seles, Steffi Graf, Chris Evert and Martina Hingis.


The number of left-handed male players who have won the Australian Open since the Open Era began: Rod Laver, Jimmy Connors, Roscoe Tanner, Guillermo Vilas, Petr Korda and Rafael Nadal.


The number of left-handed female players who have won the Australian Open since the Open Era began: Martina Navratilova and Monica Seles.


The last year that an Australian man won his home Slam. Australian men won six of the first eight Australian Opens after the Open Era began. Only five Aussie men have reached the final in the last 36 years.


2014 Australian Open Preview

2014 Australian Open Preview


Fuel for the Te n n i s Body by Samir Becic As a young man growing up watching Boris Becker, Steffi Graf, Goran Ivanisevic, Ivan Lendl, Martina Navratilova and so many other great players, I always wondered what kind of food and fitness regimen they implemented in order to be able to play such high levels of tennis for three, four and even five or more hours at a time. Tennis athletes need to eat healthy foods because exercise alone cannot neutralize the effect of unhealthy foods in the body – even if you look fit, your body is much more efficient with the correct fuel. This is why my Health & Fitness Revolution team and I created a list of the best foods to eat before, during and after competition in order to optimize your performance on court.

Before a Tennis Match A healthy breakfast on competition day is one that includes complex carbohydrates such as whole wheat, oatmeal and low-calorie fruits. These complex carbs will keep a steady energy store to power through the matches later on in the day. A small amount of protein in the form of milk, egg whites or Greek yogurt is a good complement to the meal, although protein will be more necessary after the match than before.


2014 Australian Open Preview

Players should avoid high-sugar foods and fruits or they risk feeling an energy crash in the middle of the match. Breakfast should be eaten at least two hours before the start of the match to avoid intestinal cramping.

During a Tennis Match Tennis players use large amounts of energy during a match, so it’s important that what you eat or drink between games should be able to replenish the depleted glycogen levels in your muscles. A perfect mid-match snack is a banana, which will keep blood sugar levels steady and provide a quick energy boost. Players should also not wait until they are thirsty in order to drink water. Often, athletes do not feel thirst when the adrenaline is pumping through their bodies, but it is important to drink water every 15 minutes to replenish the water and electrolytes lost through sweating. A good alternative to sugar-filled sports drinks is coconut water, which is loaded with electrolytes and potassium.

After the Tennis Match The key to a post-match meal is to refuel the body with a healthy balance of nutrition within two hours. For muscle recovery, a high amount of lean protein such as chicken or fish should be eaten as a balanced meal with some complex carbohydrates and vegetables.

Whole-wheat pasta, brown rice, whole wheat 100% grain bread with chicken breast or buffalo meat make for a great post-match recovery meal. Couple a full meal with a natural sodium source like low-fat, high-protein mozzarella cheese.

Now that we’ve talked about the dos of what to eat to fuel your tennis, let’s hit the don’ts. Try to avoid these foods immediately before a match.

Nuts and seeds

Protein shake Avoid protein powders and large amounts of protein before competition to lower the risk of digestive upset. Instead, save the protein shakes for post-competition when muscle recovery is key.

Caffeinated drinks Skip the sugary sodas and coffee before a match. Caffeine is both hard on the stomach and dehydrating.

Nuts and seeds are super healthy sources of fiber and fat, but they should be limited right before exercise to avoid any digestive discomfort. Instead, focus primarily on simple carbohydrates.

Salads Leafy greens can be a healthy complement to your balanced pre- or post-competition meal. But again, greens are high in fiber and not easily tolerated by the digestive tract, so it’s best to avoid them right before a match.

Whole-wheat pasta Whole-wheat pasta makes a great pre-competition meal the night before or even four hours prior to the match when your body needs slow-releasing carbohydrates for long-lasting energy. However, immediately before stepping on court, your body relies on quick energy from easily digestible carbs.


2013 Year In Review

Samir Becic is the founder of the Health Fitness Revolution, and was named “No. 1 Fitness Trainer in the World” four times, as well as 22 times in Texas.

2014 Australian Open Preview


T E N N I S IQ How well do you know your tennis history?

1. 1. Between 1969 and 1978, Australian women won all but one of the Australian Opens. Who was the one non-Australian woman to win during that time period? a) Chris Evert b) Martina Navratilova c) Virginia Wade d) Hana Mandlíková

6. Victoria Azarenka will play for her third consecutive title in Melbourne. How many women have won three consecutive Australian Opens in the Open Era? a) 3 b) 4 c) 5 d) 6

2. Which player holds the Australian Open record for being both the youngest player (at age 18) to win the men’s singles title and also the oldest player (at age 37) to win the men’s singles title? a) John Newcombe b) Jimmy Connors c) Boris Becker d) Ken Rosewall 3. Once the tournament begins, Lleyton Hewitt will set a record for consecutive Australian Opens played. How many will it be? a) 15 b) 17 c) 18 d) 19 4. A total of 25 different men have won the Australian Open singles title since the Open Era began. How many of those 25 are American? a) 7 b) 8 c) 10 d) 5 5. Who was the last Australian woman to reach the singles final at her home Slam?

2014 Australian Open Preview

4. a 5. b 6. c



1. c 2. d 3. c

a) Evonne Goolagong Cawley b) Wendy Turnbull c) Kerry Reid d) Chris O’Neil

GAME C HANGER Babolat Play Review The highly anticipated Babolat Play racquet is finally here. Does its new technology live up to the hype? by Blair Henley


2014 Australian Open Preview

When the first smart phones came out 10 or 15 years ago, many wondered why we would need phones to do anything else other than make a phone call. Well, look at us now. Most of us can’t live without our mobile mini computers. Babolat’s new Play racquet may be the first “smart phone” for the tennis world, and as such, there are those who don’t believe in its value – yet. And, of course, there are others who can’t wait to get their hands on it. I fall somewhere in between curious and cautious (the cautious part likely stemming from my general struggles with technology in general). Would my Babolat Play experience be smooth and seamless? Would I find the technology useful? Would a computerized breakdown of my play tell me anything more than an astute coach or hitting partner? When I received my racquet from Babolat, I immediately checked out the business end. The unfortunately named “butt cap” gets a status update – it is the information hub of the Play. Inside is a USB port that allows you to charge your racquet (six to eight hours of battery power). On the outside of the cap, you’ll see the power and Bluetooth buttons. Though the Nadal-endorsed AeroPro Drive is the company’s topselling frame, Babolat thought it was only appropriate to push the limits of tennis technology with its flagship frame: the Pure Drive. The only difference from the classic is sleek orange and black cosmetics. In many ways, the racquet is a “goldilocks” frame. It’s a manageable weight for most players at 11.1 ounces strung. It has plenty of power if you need it, but the power can be tempered with a tighter tension, polyester string or even lead tape.

Now that you have some background, let’s get to the experience. After my first hit with the racquet, I synced the racquet with the Babolat Play app on my phone via Bluetooth. Once you log and save the session, you get to see your stats. I was pretty amazed at how much information the app broke down for me in the Analyze section. It told me how long, how many total shots and how many of each shot I hit. You can click on one of your shots, such as forehand, and see your power rating in relation to your max as well as exactly what kind of spin you were hitting, if any. During my second session, a whopping 66 out of 181 forehands were hit completely flat, which certainly came as a surprise to me. Apparently I need to work on my low to high! Unfortunately, the racquet doesn’t have eyes yet, so it can’t tell if I’m hitting the ball out of the air or off the bounce. Volleys and groundstrokes are grouped together, so you might register an inordinate number of slices. The racquet also occasionally confused my overheads with my serves, but that happens much less frequently when you’re playing a match. The racquet uses the time in between your shots to judge whether it’s a serve or an overhead, and the spacing would be much more realistic in a competition setting. I found the Impact Locator results to be a bit shocking at first because you assume the center to be the sweet spot. After speaking to a Babolat representative, I learned that the app is actually measuring your consistency. Most intermediate and advanced players will hit higher on the racquet, and as long as you’re consistent in that, it’s a good thing.

2014 Australian Open Preview


Once you’ve logged two sessions, you’ll generate your position on the Pulse interface, which includes three prongs: technique (based on both the variety of your spin and the consistency of your contact point), power and endurance. Babolat describes the Pulse as a visualization of your playing style over time, and it beats (literally) based on how often you play. The more you play, the faster the beat. And be prepared! The app knows when you practice, and you get a little reminder email if it’s been too long since your last time on court. On the Skills portion of the app, you’ll have to hit a certain number of each shot in order to unlock the next level. I hear the quotas at the more advanced levels are intense! The Records section is a virtual trophy case, allowing you to track your “bests,” whether it’s your fastest serve, your longest rally or your best technique. The Evolution feature, which you can only see on the desktop version of the program, allows you to see how far you’ve come from one day to the next. If you’re looking for instantaneous feedback, you can divide up one session into multiple parts with a simple tap of the power button. It’s the perfect tool for comparing one set to another. Finally, the Versus and Community functions show how you compare to friends, and you can also use your global ranking to compare yourself to other Play users. Proceed with caution if you’re an ultracompetitive person like me.


2014 Australian Open Preview

As great as this technology is in practice, I do think it would be just as useful in match or in point play. It would allow you to chart your habits against particular players. If you’re working on maximizing spin, you could see if you’re doing that appropriately. If you’re trying to be more aggressive, you can take your power reading into account. You could also see how you’re varying the balls that come off of your racquet or how far you’re getting into your rallies. Overall, the Babolat Play racquet is a very intriguing concept. After using the Babolat Play, I realized that it serves a far greater purpose than simply tallying groundstroke totals. It has the potential to incentivize different aspects of the game for beginner and intermediate players, in particular. Plus, the technology allows them to see on “paper” what a coach might struggle to explain. Advanced players will love competing against an international community, charting their stats and records along the way. Is the Babolat Play racquet a must-have? Probably not. But if you can swing the $399.99 MSRP (pun intended), it’s a worthwhile addition to your tennis arsenal. Happy hitting!


Sunday, January 12 7:00 pm - 7:00 am: First round (ESPN2, Live) Monday, January 13 3:00 pm - 6:00 pm: First round (ESPN2, Replay) 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm: First round (Tennis Channel, Live) 9:00 pm - 7:00 am: First round (ESPN2, Live) Tuesday, January 14 3:00 pm - 6:00 pm: First round (ESPN2, Replay) 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm: Second round (Tennis Channel, Live) 9:00 pm - 7:00 am: Second round (ESPN2, Live) Wednesday, January 15 3:00 pm - 6:00 pm: Second round (ESPN2, Replay) 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm: Second round (Tennis Channel, Live) 9:00 pm - 7:00 am: Second round (ESPN2, Live) Thursday, January 16 3:00 pm - 6:00 pm: Second round (ESPN2, Replay) 7:00 pm - 11:00 pm: Third round (Tennis Channel, Live) 11:00 pm - 7:00 am: Third round (ESPN2, Live) Friday, January 17 3:00 pm - 6:00 pm: Third round (ESPN2, Replay) 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm: Third round (Tennis Channel, Live) 9:00 pm - 7:00 am: Third round (ESPN2, Live) Saturday, January 18 9:00 am - 12:00 pm: Third round (ESPN2, Replay) 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm: Round of 16 (Tennis Channel, Live) 9:00 pm - 2:00 am: Round of 16 (ESPN2, Live) Sunday, January 19 3:00 am - 7:00 am: Round of 16 (ESPN2, Live) 11:00 am - 3:00 pm: Round of 16 (ESPN2, Replay) 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm: Round of 16 (Tennis Channel, Live) 9:00 pm - 2:00 am: Round of 16 (ESPN2, Live) Monday, January 20 3:00 am - 6:30 am: Round of 16 (ESPN2, Live) 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm: Quarterfinals (Tennis Channel, Live) 9:00 pm - 2:00 am: Quarterfinals (ESPN2, Live)

Tuesday, January 21 3:00 am - 5:30 am: Quarterfinals (ESPN2, Live) 3:00 pm - 6:00 pm: Quarterfinals (ESPN2, Replay) 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm: Quarterfinals (Tennis Channel, Live) 9:00 pm - 2:00 am: Quarterfinals (ESPN2, Live) Wednesday, January 22 3:30 am - 6:00 am: Quarterfinals (ESPN2, Live) 3:00 pm - 6:00 pm: Quarterfinals (ESPN2, Replay) 7:00 pm - 9:30 pm: Quarterfinals (Tennis Channel, Live) 9:30 pm - 2:00 am: Women’s Semifinals (ESPN2, Live) Thursday, January 23 3:30 am - 6:00 am: Men’s Semifinal 1 (ESPN2, Live) 2:00 pm - 6:00 pm: Men’s Semifinal 1 (ESPN2, Replay) 6:00 pm - 11:00 pm: Women’s Semifinals & Men’s Semifinal 1 (Tennis Channel, Replay) 11:00 pm - 3:00 am: Mixed Doubles Semifinals & Women’s Doubles Final (Tennis Channel, Live) Friday, January 24 3:30 am - 6:00 am: Men’s Semifinal 2 (ESPN2, Live) 6:00 am - 2:00 pm: Women’s Semifinals & Men’s Semifinal 2 (Tennis Channel, Replay) 2:00 pm - 6:00 pm: Men’s Semifinal 2 (ESPN2, Replay) 6:00 pm - 11:00 pm: Men’s Semifinal 2 (Tennis Channel, Replay) Saturday, January 25 3:00 am - 5:30 am: Women’s Final (ESPN2, Live) 5:30 am - 7:30 am: Men’s Doubles Final (Tennis Channel, Live) 7:30 am - 9:30 am: Women’s Doubles Final (Tennis Channel, Replay) 9:00 am - 11:00 am: Women’s Final (ESPN2, Replay) 6:00 pm - 9:00 pm: Women’s Final (Tennis Channel, Replay) Sunday, January 26 12:00 am - 2:00 am: Mixed Doubles Final (Tennis Channel, Live) 3:00 am - 6:30 am: Men’s Final (ESPN2, Live) 9:00 am - 2:00 pm: Men’s Final (ESPN2, Replay) 5:00 pm - 9:00 pm: Men’s Final (Tennis Channel, Replay)

2014 Australian Open Preview


Australian Open officials are expecting crowds of record capacity at this year’s event. Organizers hope the favorable weather and participation of the world’s best players will help push attendance to new heights in 2014.


2014 Australian Open Preview

2014 Australian Open Preview



2014 Australian Open Preview

Armed with a larger racquet frame and coach Stefan Edberg in his corner, four-time champ Roger Federer is hoping the new changes in his game will propel him back into the Australian Open final, a stage he hasn’t reached since he last won it in 2010.

2014 Australian Open Preview


Defending champion Victoria Azarenka is attempting a threepeat of her Australian Open title. And after reaching the finals at Brisbane, it’s possible she could have a chance to achieve it.


2014 Australian Open Preview

2014 Australian Open Preview



2014 Australian Open Preview

As one of the favorites to win the title Down Under, Rafael Nadal looks poised to have a stellar season this year. Not only are his knees feeling better, but he enters 2014 with the No. 1 ranking and a renewed sense of opportunity.

2014 Australian Open Preview


Further asserting her dominance, Serena Williams defeated Victoria Azarenka in the Brisbane final prior to the Australian Open. Her level of play indicates that should she perform well in Melbourne, Williams will certainly pose a threat to Azarenka’s title defense.

2014 Australian Open Preview


Just before the start of the Open, Pat Rafter, Tony Roche, Roger Federer, Rod Laver, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Lleyton Hewitt came together for an entertaining charity exhibition in Melbourne that raised more than $1 million for the Roger Federer Foundation.


2014 Australian Open Preview

2014 Australian Open Preview


Fan favorite Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who made a thrilling surprise run to the final in Melbourne in 2008, is hoping he can summon the fire from his performance six years ago to spark another deep run in the draw this year.


2014 Australian Open Preview

2014 Australian Open Preview


Currently held by Novak Djokovic and Victoria Azarenka, these two pieces of shiny hardware will be the most coveted objects throughout the fortnight in Melbourne. Can we expect a change of possession this year?


2014 Australian Open Preview

2014 Australian Open Preview


RANKINGS 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25

Nadal, Rafael Djokovic, Novak Ferrer, David Murray, Andy Del Potro, Juan Martin Federer, Roger Berdych, Tomas Wawrinka, Stanislas Gasquet, Richard Tsonga, Jo-Wilfried Raonic, Milos Haas, Tommy Almagro, Nicolas Isner, John Youzhny, Mikhail Fognini, Fabio Nishikori, Kei Robredo, Tommy Simon, Gilles Anderson, Kevin Janowicz, Jerzy Kohlschreiber, Philipp Dimitrov, Grigor Gulbis, Ernests Seppi, Andreas


13,130 12,260 5,800 5,560 5,255 4,355 4,180 3,890 3,140 3,065 2,860 2,435 2,290 2,150 2,145 1,930 1,915 1,810 1,790 1,685 1,615 1,525 1,460 1,418 1,360

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25

Williams, Serena Azarenka, Victoria Sharapova, Maria Li, Na Radwanska, Agnieszka Kvitova, Petra Errani, Sara Jankovic, Jelena Kerber, Angelique Wozniacki, Caroline Halep, Simona Vinci, Roberta Stephens, Sloane Ivanovic, Ana Lisicki, Sabine Suarez Navarro, Carla Stosur, Samantha Kirilenko, Maria Flipkens, Kirsten Kuznetsova, Svetlana Cibulkova, Dominika Cirstea, Sorana Makarova, Ekaterina Vesnina, Elena Kanepi, Kaia


13,260 8,151 6,076 6,045 5,820 4,775 4,435 4,230 3,965 3,520 3,335 3,170 3,135 3,010 2,915 2,735 2,675 2,640 2,535 2,341 2,175 2,170 2,066 1,995 1,868 2013 French Open Review


2014 Australian Open Preview

2014 Australian Open Preview 2014 Australian Open Preview


2014 Australian Open Preview