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Archive for February, 2008

The persecution of grunters begins

Thursday, February 28th, 2008
A 9-year-old girl has been banned from playing tennis by her local club because she grunts too loudly.

Lauryn Edwards was told at the weekend that she could no longer play her favorite sport after a complaint by an opposition player.

The Mt. Carmel Tennis Club, in Sunbury, Australia, told Lauryn’s stunned parents, Duncan and Ruth, that the grunting had become too much.

Duncan Edwards described the ban as pathetic and has contacted Tennis Australia and Tennis Victoria for advice.

Lauryn’s favorite player is Russian star and notorious grunter Maria Sharapova.

But Edwards said his daughter’s grunting was nowhere near Sharapova’s level and had been exaggerated.

“It’s pretty slight and now and again she hits it hard and makes a loud noise and that’s it,” he said.

“From just one comment, this has all blown up stupidly.

“There’s no rule against it, so they’ve made a rule against it.”

Edwards said the club had asked him for an assurance Lauryn would remain silent on the court.

“They told me to guarantee she won’t grunt or she can’t play,” he said.

“How can I guarantee that? She’s been doing it since she was really little. She’s her own person. What do they want me to do? Put Band-Aids over her mouth? They made her cry on the court when they told her.”

Lauryn, who has attention deficit disorder, has been playing tennis since the age of four, after it was recommended by her school psychologist at Sunbury Primary to burn energy and keep her focused. FOX News

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Kim Clijsters gives birth to daughter, Jada

Thursday, February 28th, 2008

Congrats, Kim!

Former U.S. Open champion Kim Clijsters gave birth to a daughter Wednesday, nine months after retiring from tennis.

Clijsters and her husband, American basketball player Brian Lynch, named the baby Jada.

“The parents and the baby are in great shape,'’ spokesman Jeroen Jespers said. MSNBC

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Blake pulls out of Memphis

Tuesday, February 26th, 2008
American James Blake pulled out of the Memphis ATP/WTA tournament on Monday, complaining of a knee injury.

Blake was also forced to drop out of the tournament last year.

The second seed was due to face young American Donald Young in a first-round match on Tuesday.

After Blake’s withdrawal lucky loser Sam Warburg came in to face Young.

Less than a week ago Blake lost the San Jose tournament final to 244th ranked Kei Nishikori of Japan.

It is the second successive year that Blake, 28, has pulled out of the event in which, in 2002, he reached his first ATP final. CNN

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Sharapova pulls out of Dubai

Tuesday, February 26th, 2008
Maria Sharapova has hinted that private jet travel could be her secret weapon in the fight against infection after withdrawing ill on Tuesday from the Barclays Dubai Tennis Championships. “I do about 50 hours a year,” the 20-year-old fifth-ranked millionairess said of her private charters around the worldwide WTA circuit, which according to leasing figures would cost in excess of 400,000 dollars per year.

“I’m luckily in the position to be able to fly privately within Europe and the States. But going from LA to Dubai, there’s really no other way than commercial.”

Sharapova pulled out less than 48 hours after winning her second title of the season last weekend in Doha.

The Australian Open champion stands an undefeated 14-0 this season.

Sharapova blamed a frantic travel schedule during the first two months of the year with contributing to her condition. Since late December, she has played in Singapore, Melbourne, Israel and the Gulf.

She plans a week or more of rest at an undisclosed holiday location before steeling herself for the big American events from March 12 at Indian Wells followed by Miami.

“I just want to go somewhere that doesn’t have a lot of people around and put a book in front of my nose and relax,” she said.

Sharapova said she played last week in Doha, which experienced several days of European-like chill plus sandstorms, while carrying a virus.

“I woke up feeling bad on Monday. When I came here and hit for 15 minutes on Monday night, I knew there was no way I could play.

“I have made mistakes beforeby trying to play through illness and only making it worse. I knew there was no way I could play a potential five matches in five days here.

“You can get injured if you try and play while ill. I have been playing great this year, I won the Australian open with one of the toughest draws. EarthTimes

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Sharapova plans to open Vietnamese tennis center

Monday, February 25th, 2008
In a release, Sharapova said she got the idea after an undisclosed trip to Lai Thieu early last year where she said she saw many people playing tennis but couldn’t understand why they were playing without a ball while using mosquito-catching rackets.

“They love tennis but they are poor and can’t buy balls,” Sharapova was told by an interpeter.

Later, she sent a letter to the Vietnam Tennis Federation saying that she would build the Sharapova Bangky tennis training center. UPI

Unfortunately, there appears to be a bit more to this story:

Misled by her interpreter, Sharapova took mosquito-catching rackets for tennis rackets, TTO news agency reported.
When travelling in private in southern Vietnam, Sharapova asked the driver to avoid major streets. He chose a country road surrounded by gardens. There, Sharapova saw the locals playing tennis without a ball.

Maria was surprised by the absence of balls and asked the interpreter. But the interpreter didn’t explain that she saw not the tennis rackets but special catching rackets against mosquitoes. The answer was that the locals were too poor to afford the balls.

A month later, the Tennis Federation of Vietnam received a letter from Sharapova that spelled out her project for launching a tennis training center there. No response followed and Maria sent her assistant to find out why she had been ignored by Vietnam’s agencies. Kommersant

I don’t see how this story can be true, since I’ve seen those mosquito rackets and it seems hard to mistake them…plus, rackets seem harder to get than tennis balls or a substitute!

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Indian Davis Cup team refuses to play under Paes

Monday, February 25th, 2008

I’ve been seeing this story here on the local news in India…

India’s top-two singles players, Rohan Bopanna and Prakash Amritraj, are upset about the overbearing influence of Leander Paes. The duo refuse to play under the captaincy of Paes in Davis Cup.

The letter, that was addressed to All India Tennis Association (AITA) secretary Anil Khanna, and was signed by Prakash Amritraj, Rohan Bopanna, Mahesh Bhupathi and Karan Rastogi. Amritraj, seen here in the final rubber of the Davis Cup tie against Uzbekistan, earlier this month, had come under criticism from non-playing captain Leander for being unprofessional.

Paes had later clarified to the media, that his statements were wrongly interpreted. The players have mentioned in the letter about Paes’ lack of confidence in players and taking decisions.

The AITA has decided to take up this matter. Anil Khanna on Sunday confirmed that he had received a letter signed by four players, adding that the date for the crucial executive committee meeting is yet to be decided.

“I have received the letter from the players citing that they don’t want to play under Leander Paes,” he said.

Khanna said that the issue would be sorted out at the executive committee meeting before the Japan tie.

“The decision will be taken in the best interest of the nation,” Khanna said.

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Llodra wins Rotterdam

Monday, February 25th, 2008

None of the top seeds made it past the second round.

Michael Llodra of France won his third career title Sunday, beating Robin Soderling of Sweden 6-7 (3), 6-3, 7-6 (4) in the ABN Amro final.

Llodra previously won the Ordina Open in 2004 and last month defeated Jarkko Nieminen to win in Adelaide, Australia.

Llodra served 22 aces to become the first French winner of the tournament since Nicolas Escude won in 2001 and ‘02.

“When I came here and saw the draw, I thought that it would be very difficult,” Llodra said. “Now I stand here with the trophy in my hands.” IHT

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Hewitt and wife tired of the tabloids

Monday, February 25th, 2008
Australian tennis star Lleyton Hewitt has lashed out at the media over the amount of coverage given to his soap-star wife Bec and their young daughter.

“We are on the front cover of a certain level of magazine every week,” Hewitt told The Times newspaper.

“The last story was ‘Bec’s Breakdown’, full of lies and made-up quotes, but then a lot of people believe it.

“It’s hard to deal with it all, which is why I don’t like having to leave them alone.

“Whatever people might think, I’m really a shy, down-to-earth lad who just likes being with my mates and whose favourite way of spending a weekend is a family barbecue.”

Hewitt’s outburst comes amid reports Bec Hewitt was spotted leaving the Nine Network’s Sydney studios, sparking speculation her husband could be one of the first celebrities profiled in the new series of This Is Your Life. The Age

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Mauresmo considering retirement

Monday, February 25th, 2008

Amelie mauresmo should have probably kept this to herself - tennis is not the most popular sport and the stands are half empty a lot of times at major tournaments for players who aren’t winning a lot (or attractive).

Former Wimbledon champion Amelie Mauresmo admitted yesterday that she was considering retiring from tennis after another disappointing defeat. She was ousted in the second round of the Qatar Open this week, losing to Thai veteran Tamarine Tanasugarn. Having slipped to 29th in the rankings, the 28-year-old conceded she was questioning whether to continue playing. “I sometimes ask myself, ‘What I am doing there, in front of half-empty stands?”’ Mauresmo said. Ottawa Citizen

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Loss to Ginepri benefitted Blake

Monday, February 25th, 2008


Friday night, in losing to Robby Ginepri in less than an hour in the SAP Open quarterfinals, James Blake was playing like a man with a plane to catch.

And less than 24 hours later, the world’s No. 9-ranked tennis player had a prime seat for the Tennessee-Memphis college basketball showdown in Memphis, site of the ATP Tour’s next stop. So Blake advanced far enough in San Jose that it wouldn’t affect his ranking, and his appearance fee exceeds what he would have earned even for winning the tournament. Then he was able to scrounge up a last-minute ticket to a game so hyped that even Peyton Manning was calling in favors.

Nevertheless, be assured Blake was trying his gosh-darn best in a straight-sets loss to Ginepri, whom he had beaten in straight sets less than a week earlier. Mercury News

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