Archive for September, 2007

US Davis Cup site to be decided soon

Tuesday, September 25th, 2007

This is what is posted on the USTA page:

NOTE: The site for the Davis Cup Final will be announced within the next 3 or 4 business days. (9/24/07)

*cough* PORTLAND *cough* - Portland is the cloesest site to me and I would LOVE to go - that said, I’m sure they’ll choose the best location to win the final versus Russia.

Here’s info on the other cities - to me, San Diego seems like the most likely actual result:

Which U.S. city will win the right to host a potential Davis Cup final?

“At the moment it seems to be down to four cities right now in the hunt: Portland being one; Winston Salem where we played the last one; Oklahoma City, where we had a tremendous tie; and San Diego. We played a match there obviously last year,” said McEnroe.

“So those at the moment are the four cities. We’re hoping within a week or so to maybe narrow it down to two. We all know we’ve got to win the next tie. My job is to get the guys ready to play Sweden. But because it’s such a quick turnaround, we have to look into some possibilities. It is a difficult time of year to find an arena in an appropriate location with hockey, basketball; all those things going on.” usta.com



Davenport wins singles match

Tuesday, September 11th, 2007

Davenport won her first singles match in about a year - winning over Eleni Daniilidou, 6-2 6-2.

“It did exceed my expectations,” Davenport said. “I know that I can play good tennis, and I know that if I stay healthy and play well, I can do well,” said the 31-year-old American.

“I really would have been fine coming in and not winning, just to be back out on the court as the first step of coming back. So to then go ahead and play well against a good player and doing a lot of things that I need to do well is pretty rewarding.”



Wintour and Federer linked again

Tuesday, September 11th, 2007

ExtraTV

New York’s ultimate fashionista Anna Wintour has been spotted for the second time with tennis ace Roger Federer!

The 57-year-old Vogue diva, who is widely believed to have inspired Meryl Streep’s character in “The Devil Wears Prada,” was cozying up to 26-year-old sports star Federer at the Oscar de la Renta fashion show this weekend.

Is it a love match?

New York Daily News’ Ben Widdicombe tells “Extra” that Wintour is famously fond of Federer.

In fact, she chose to watch him at the U.S. Open last week instead of going to Gwen Stefani’s L.A.M.B. fashion show.

But Widdicombe says that both Wintour and Federer have significant others and that they’re just very good friends.
extratv.com



Djokovic’s Final loss interview

Monday, September 10th, 2007

This is a looong interview…

Q. The shot‑making seemed like it was there tonight. Were there mental breakdowns out there? Do you think the edge Roger had was more mental than shot‑making abilities?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yeah, I think it was. And I think on the important moments, especially that first set when I served 40‑Love. I had wind behind me, so I was in a good position, everything was good, and then suddenly I just started making these unforced errors, which are really not understandable.

And then I was quite nervous, a lot of pressure, and I knew that I had to make some shots. You know, obviously that was mistake because I just needed to calm down and wait for my chances, which I didn’t.

I made a lot of first‑shot unforced errors in that game. I think that was pretty crucial. I think I was mentally weaker today on that important points than he is mentally stronger. So I think it was my mistake and my weakness today.

But, you know, it’s normal. You know, it’s a bad day about that. I mean, in general, looking at the whole US Open, I have been performing really well. Today, as well, I played a nice tennis. I had a lot of chances. I didn’t use them.

But looking at the situation, you know, it was a first Grand Slam final for me, 23,000 people, and everybody expected a nice match. So I had quite a lot of pressure.

But I enjoyed it. In the other hand, it was an amazing experience for me.

Q. If it’s true that no player really knows how they’re going to react when they reach their first Grand Slam final until the crisis comes up, five set points in the first set, is it also true it’s out of your control when it gets there, you’re just going to react the way your mind tells you to react?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, yes, you know, before the match, of course, there is a lot of excitement and positive energy and, you know, adrenaline, of course, considering the fact that you play finals of the Grand Slam in front of 23,000 people.

But on the other hand, you play against a player who is mentally one of the strongest or the strongest player in the world. I was aware of that fact. And I knew that I have to be, you know, in control in the way I have to be aggressive, and patient.

So I was hanging in there, you know, first set. But then that game on 6‑5 was really bad for me after 40‑Love. I was just reacting in that situation. Really I was rushing a lot. I didn’t calm down. I was thinking about things like what happens if I get to tiebreak, you know, some negative thoughts which are not so needed in that kind of situation.

Q. After the overheating problems you had yesterday, what did you do after the semifinal before coming out to make sure it didn’t happen again?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: You’re talking about this mental problem?

Q. The health.

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: The heat?

Q. Yes.

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Oh, okay. I was trying to recover as much as I can. I was really surprised with the way I was physically handling today’s match. I think I was really fit, you know, considering the fact that I played a lot of long matches.

Especially yesterday was a big heat. I had quite a bit of problems. But, you know, it’s a part of the tennis, part of the job. You have to get used to it. You have to hold on in the most difficult situations, when there is a lot of heat, when there is a lot of humidity, and I managed to do that.

So, you know, for the future I know what to do.

Q. How long will those seven set points haunt you?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: My next book is going to be called, “7 Set Points.” I’m joking (smiling).

Well, I can say that I’m sorry about turning back, about those set points. Right now I would dress up and go to the court and play this 40‑Love point.

Again, I have to look in a positive way and I have to look generally this has been one of the best tournaments ever for me, one of the most amazing experience. This is basically, you know, one of the biggest cities in the world, and all crowd is making a great atmosphere.

Everybody’s following US Open. I got on that tournament to the final. So I had a lot of sympathies, of course, as well from the crowd.

I’m really glad with my success on and off the court.

Q. Up until that seventh game you were playing a very high level. He was as well. What were you feeling out there? First Grand Slam final, but you’re pressuring him an awful lot and maybe even have the upper hand. Were you feeling relaxed, like it was easier than you expected?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, no. I expected a difficult match. And, of course, I was concerned a little bit before the match if I’m going to be able physically to challenge him, and I did. I did felt pretty good on the start of the match.

I was just, you know, holding my serve and trying to wait for my chances, opportunities. I got them, and in the end I didn’t use them.

I couldn’t expect, of course, easy match because I’m playing a No. 1 player of the world, you know, in a Grand Slam final. We all know how good he plays in that Grand Slam finals.

He’s been there. He has this experience. He played already, I don’t know, 15 Grand Slam finals, so he knows what it feels like to be in that kind of situation. He knows how to cope with the pressure.

For me, this is something new, a new situation. But, you know, again, I have to look positive. Next time I hope I’m going to hold that trophy.

Q. You mentioned you were mentally weaker than he was mentally strong. How much of that is a reflection of the fact you know he’s not going to falter?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I think one of the reasons, one of the biggest reasons for me being mentally weaker in that important moments and for me rushing in that important moments was that pressure, I can say, or that new experience I got, you know, the Grand Slam finals.

You know, the last match we played in Montréal I believed that I can win, and I won in the end. I got to today’s match, as well, with the thinking of winning and trying to just focus myself and to have a goal, you know, to really challenge him and to win; not to perform good tennis.

I was going with the right attitude on the court and everything was going well in that important moments. I had a lot of, lot of, lot of break points. Sometimes I was risking too much. Sometimes I was, you know, playing safe. And he used his opportunities, of course. So he overpassed me.

But doesn’t matter. You know, I’m really happy with generally all the things.

Q. Could you talk about Roger’s mind. Is that his greatest strength, he uses that to overcome tough situations?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, yeah, one of his biggest strength is that mental strength. He gets advantage over the players in any match he goes into because the players are thinking, Okay, I’m playing Roger Federer, one of the best players ever in the tennis. So right away he has this little advantage.

But, of course, in the other hand you have to put yourself in his position. He’s No. 1 player of the world and everybody expects him to do well on every tournament, on every surface, so he has a lot of pressure.

It’s amazing to see him, how fast and how successful he deals with that pressure. He performs some incredible tennis. Obviously, you know, of course, he’s very talented and he has a lot of talent, you know, advantages.

But to come in that situation he had to work a lot. He had to wait. It cannot happen right away. Time is very valuable and time is experience. He has much more experience than I have. You know, bottom line is that he’s five, six years older than me.

You know, looking at this year, I don’t have anything to complain about. You know, I had the best year ever. I’m gonna go slowly and try to learn some things and see what I need to do to improve my game so can I get to these matches a bit easier.

Q. On the seventh set point, you hit a forehand that missed by about a millimeter. If that ball is in, how does this afternoon change?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, as I said, anything could happen. It could go either way, you know. It was unpredictable from the both sides, you know.

Considering the fact that I played some amazing tennis on this surface, especially in the last couple weeks, he couldn’t expect an easy match. You know, I got to the Grand Slam final.

So, you know, since we got to the court, you know, everybody was holding their serve pretty comfortably.

And then, you know, on this important moments obviously I was doing something wrong, and then I missed that shot. I was a bit unlucky, I can say. Besides the knowledge, footwork, physical, mental strength, you need a little bit of luck, which today I didn’t have.

Q. Going back to that point, could you believe how close it was?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I cannot believe. I cannot believe (smiling).

I was asking the crowd what I need to do. Nobody could give me any advice. I could continue by my own.

Q. You’ve handled just about everything tennis has thrown at you. Today was it just a little bit bigger stage than you were prepared for, or did you feel completely comfortable out there?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I didn’t feel completely comfortable. I was enjoying the atmosphere off the court as well. You know, winning against Roger in the last match we had just a couple weeks ago was some kind of mental advantage in a way for me and another extra motivation.

Because of that match I believed even more that I can win this match and this tournament. But, you know, it’s a new thing for me. It’s a new experience. As I said, today I was a bit unlucky, and it brought me a negative outcome.

Q. You’re talking about you being unlucky. Yesterday Davydenko said of Roger when asked, what’s the one thing Roger does best, he said, Lucky. There were a couple of set points of his that the ball literally landed on the line. Were you feeling, Wow, this guy really is lucky?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: As I was saying before, next to all those elements, all the positive strengths you have in your game, in your mind, you need a bit of luck. I cannot say that he is No. 1 player of the world because he’s lucky (laughter). You know, that’s a bit strange to say.

You know, he’s a big worker, very talented, a great player. That’s why he deserves to be there where he is. But, of course, he is lucky and he gets these lines and lucky shots, I can say, because he’s going for them. He’s not trying to play safe. He’s really being aggressive.

Q. Three years ago he was already No. 1. You were 17 years old, maybe not yet thinking about reaching a Grand Slam final. Was he ever your role model then, or other players?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, my lifetime idol was Sampras, I have to admit. As a kid I watched him play. Even though we have totally different game and style and thinking, I really adored his way of playing and coping with the pressure.

I think Sampras and Federer have this thing in common. They are very similar in that they are mentally very strong in that important moments they always play their best. They’re ice cold faces, just going for the shot. Really that’s why they’re, you know, two best players ever for me.

But, you know, yeah, I always liked the way Roger plays. But, you know, since I got into this professional tennis I wasn’t trying to look on someone as idol. I was just trying to, you know, improve more and more.

Q. Maria Sharapova was in your box and also Robert De Niro. What are those two relationships with you? Somebody had to ask.

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yeah, I was expecting that question on the first place (laughter).

No, let’s not go too much with Maria. It’s just a friendship we have. It was nice from her to come and support me. As well, Robert, he was yesterday on the match, and today.

I mean, it’s amazing feeling to see such a successful people, you know, in my box supporting me, playing with me I can say, living every emotional moment. It’s great. It’s great.

Q. What does she think of your imitation?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: She said she’s going to kill me. Of course, she accepted it on the right way. Of course, she found it funny, not offended.

Q. How did you meet Robert De Niro? Did he just show up in your box?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I met him randomly on the street. I was sitting in a bar. He was coming, smoking a cigarette (smiling). No, no.

We were invited ‑‑ I went with a couple of players, Ana Ivanovic, we got invited from he and his wife to come to the dinner. It was really nice. He owns the Japanese restaurant, so we went there for dinner. We met. We talked.

As well, his wife is a very big fan of tennis. She’s a great woman. He’s, you know, a great person. I’m really happy that they showed up and supported me.

Q. Can you look upon this experience as like you’re paying your dues in a way; it may be a different story next time you meet Federer in a Grand Slam final?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I was always saying that every time you play Federer, Nadal, these top players, you learn something new. Obviously you try to improve your game, your way of thinking for the next time, next challenge.

I’m still only 20 years old. I have a lot of time in front of me, so I’m really not worried of anything or feeling sorry. Yes, I feel sorry about today, but doesn’t matter. We have to get ‑‑ we have to look in the future.

I hope I’m going have a lot more matches against Roger because obviously, the way he’s playing, he’s not planning to get over that first place, which is so wanted from everybody.

Q. While it’s true that how you play physically depends on how you play mentally, if for the sake of examining your game you could separate the physical from the mental part, do you feel your game is right there with Roger physically right now?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: You’re getting into really deep, philosophic questions.

Q. You’re a deep guy.

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I am deep. Let me think (laughter).

First of all, I have to say that he’s five, six years older than me, and he has this experience playing in the Grand Slam finals, Grand Slams, all those matches. He has much more matches on the professional tour than myself.

Obviously that makes him mentally stronger than I am, more experienced. Again, physically he’s very good. His endurance, everything, looking at him after long points, it looks like he doesn’t feel the long points. Seems like he’s not getting tired.

But I have time. You know, I know that now, as the third player of the world, people compare me more and more to the best players in the world, like Nadal and Federer.

It’s very flattering and it’s positive for me, but still I have many things to improve in my game.

Q. Physically are you there?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: And physically still I need to improve, yes. I grew up, I got stronger since the last year I played here, much, much better. I had these long matches on the Grand Slams.

This year I played already ‑ I don’t know ‑ 70, 80 matches, which for me is too much. I didn’t expect to play so many matches.

So maybe in some moments, in some matches, people see me physically weaker than my opponent. But, you know, next year is going to be different.

Q. Serbian tennis is at an all‑time high. A big opportunity for Serbia in Davis Cup. How important is that occasion for you?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Very important. That’s the next thing I’m gonna play back home. After 15, 20 years, we get a chance to get to the World Group. We are playing home against Australia, which we all know how good is Australia in the Davis Cup, how good is their history.

Of course, Lleyton is coming, which is going to make our, you know, victory or way of thinking more difficult. But, you know, it’s gonna be a lot of people, a lot of support. Support is one of the things which is most important in the Davis Cup because Davis Cup is very unique, it’s different, it’s unpredictable, anything can happen. It’s a matter of motivation really.

I’m really happy that tennis fans back in our country will have an opportunity to see me and rest of the guys and Hewitt playing.

Of course, I hope for the best.

Q. Have you heard anything about Janko’s injury?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yes, he had a lot of difficulties in the last couple weeks. I spoke to him. He’s getting better. Hopefully he’s going to be fit for the Davis Cup.

Q. You came to this tournament not well‑known by the American tennis fans except as the guy who beat Rafa, Roddick and Federer in Montréal. As they said in the awards ceremony, you stole our hearts. Do you have a sense of really what you’ve done? You said you’re very happy with what you’ve done on and off the court.

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yeah, well, as you’re saying, I mean, I’m listening to you and I’m sweating because I feel really flattering and emotional in that moment when I heard that at the ceremony when they told me that I stole their hearts. Even when I didn’t win that match, for me it was very, very emotional.

To get, you know, American people behind you, especially a crowd here in US Open, is not so easy. Obviously they like my character on and off the court. So I get a lot of compliments on my impersonation, more than I get on tennis. I was a bit worried if the people look me as, you know, imitator more than a tennis player.

But it was all nice. You know, I made a lot of friends here in States. It’s gonna be a big pleasure coming next year for sure. Really looking forward to it.

Q. You said throughout this you take positives, you learn from matches. Tangibly what did you take from this match, learn about your game or yourself?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I learned that I need to win the set points, obviously, that I shouldn’t play safe or risk too much (smiling).

But, you know, it’s a part of the tennis, of course. As I was saying, I always learn something. I have to look in a positive way. I’ll try, of course, with my coach, in the first place, all the people around me to do everything I can to improve my game and to, of course, see this match again and see what I did bad and what I need to do to practice so I can make a better success next time.

FastScripts by ASAP Sports/usopen.org

There was no video posted for this interview.


Sharapova hits the fashion shows

Monday, September 10th, 2007

Sitting pretty in a black Michael Kors shift dress, Maria Sharapova graced the designer’s front row on Sunday afternoon. “I wanted to support him because he has always supported me in tennis,” she said after setting off a blast of flashbulbs, as did Jessica Simpson when she walked in. While Sharapova didn’t win this year’s U.S. Open, she did stand out with her glammed up tennis gear. “My outfits on the court are drawn from all sorts of inspirations,” she said. “From different runway shows, places I visit — every piece I wear is a collaboration between my personal sense of style and Nike’s.”
wwd.com



Kuznetsova achieves goal of making WTA Championships

Monday, September 10th, 2007

Svetlana Kuznetsova with the points accumulated at the U.S. Open, where she lost to Belgian No. 1, qualified for season-ending championships, according to what the organizers informed. “Qualifying for the Championships was one of the key targets I set for myself this year. I am delighted to be one of the elite eight singles players,” Kuznetsova said.
sportsya.com

I’ll be honest here - I have no idea what they are calling the year end championships these days. AI do know that several name and location changes are planned over the next few years on both the men’s and women’s sides, but it is far too difficult to keep track of now. Even in the article quoted above, the headline refers to Masters and the quote refers to Chamionships. *shrug*



Djokovic has Maria and De Niro in his box

Monday, September 10th, 2007

AFP

Not that it helped, but the Serb packed his box with some celebrities. No tiger this year for Mr. Federer.

Russian tennis heart-throb Maria Sharapova and actor Robert De Niro added celebrity status and romantic gossip to the supporters’ section for Serbia’s Novak Djokovic in Sunday’s US Open final.

But don’t start making love-40 links just yet between the Russian beauty and 20-year-old Djokovic, who lost his first Grand Slam final appearance to Swiss world number one Roger Federer 7-6 (7/4), 7-6 (7/2), 6-4.

“Let’s not go too much with Maria,” Djokovic said. “It’s just a friendship we have.”

Djokovic, known for his joking impersonations of Sharapova and other tennis players, bumped into Sharapova during a Fashion Week event ongoing in New York at the same time as the year’s last Grand Slam tennis tournament.

Djokovic, who has a girl friend, struck up a friendship with Sharapova this week and invited her to join his parents in their seating section.

“It was nice for her to come and support me. As well Robert,” Djokovic said. “It’s an amazing feeling to see such successful people in my box supporting me, playing with me I can say, living every emotional moment. It’s great.”
AFP

Check out Maria’s sunglasses - I hope this style isn’t fashionable again!



Dick Enberg causes Henin and fans pain

Monday, September 10th, 2007

Twice Justine Henin has won the US Open, and twice they have got her name wrong. In 2003, an executive for the main sponsor congratulated “Christine”, and this year it was the turn of Dick Enberg, a television anchor man and the on-court master of ceremonies, to make an unforced error by calling her by her defunct, pre-divorce married name, “Henin-Hardenne”.

In pics: Women’s final
Oh, her, Justine Henin, the world No 1. The stumbling over her name made it sound as though she is a ‘Who’s that again?’ player, when she probably has a gold-embossed entry in the ‘Who’s Who’ of tennis, and rightly so. Recognition, and getting your name up there in neon, is everything in the celebrity-obsessed United States, but you have to wonder how many times she has to be champion at Flushing Meadows before she is referred to by her correct name on this side of the Atlantic.
Telegraph

No wonder why she basically has no love for the US Open. :)

It can’t be THAT hard to get names right - can it? I mean, people have harder jobs, and they could always hand folks a reminder card or something. Considering Dick Enberg commentates matches, he shouldn’t have made this mistake.



Photo: Davenport and baby son, Jagger

Sunday, September 9th, 2007

Washington Post



Davenport begins singles return

Sunday, September 9th, 2007

I’ll have to dig up some pics of Jagger.

LINDSAY Davenport’s newborn son Jagger is already collecting his first passport stamps, with his mum taking him to the Far East for the Bali International starting on Monday.

Former world No.1 Davenport, now ranked 112, has rolled back her retirement plans and is returning slowly to the WTA Tour just three months after giving birth.

The three-time grand slam champion won the tropical event on the resort island in 2005 and reached the semi-finals a year ago. After playing one week later in Beijing, she quit tennis, presumably for good.

But plans have changed remarkably for Davenport, travelling with baby and a nanny and hoping to resume her career as a “working mum” after a trial run this month.

The Californian has been quick to set modify her original idea of full-time motherhood, following the example of Austrian Sybille Bammer, the only other mother-player on the circuit.

“I’m back because I felt, why not? I feel like I still am very good at my job and having a child doesn’t mean you have to abandon your career,'’ she said.

She plans to try out the system this autumn and re-evaluate with an eye to ramping up the schedule in 2008.

“There’s not much I can do but practise and play matches. I have to take my lumps and that might include some losses along the way. That’s the road back, it’s uphill.'’

Davenport is playing as a wild card after testing the waters with a doubles appearance in New Haven the week before the US Open.
Fox News