Sunday, August 02, 2015

Martina Hingis on return to World Team Tennis

When former No. 1 Martina Hingis joined Mylan World TeamTennis’ Washington Kastles two seasons ago, it felt as though the Hall of Famer was on the precipice of something truly special. She had previously taken home a King Trophy as part of the New York Sportimes, but joining the Kastles in the midst of their history-making winning streak turned out to be the first step on a long road back to greatness.

Not long before the start of the 2013 season, the player-turned-coach had expressed an interest in another WTA comeback. Returning to the Manchester Athletic Club to face the Boston Lobsters, Hingis has fond memories of where that dream first began.

“It’s amazing to be back; I remember when I played Jill Craybas here before, years back,” Hingis told after playing her first match of Mylan WTT’s 40th season last Thursday.

“I had it in the back of my head to always come back and play some doubles. But playing here is really kind of what got it started.”

Many will remember how Hingis had used her debut season of Mylan WTT to launch a singles comeback in 2005. But at 32 years old, the Swiss star saw the league as a springboard into something more team-oriented this time around.

“I’ve had two comebacks with Team Tennis: first in the singles, now in the doubles. The coaching has definitely helped and, obviously, still playing with the girls. I was like ‘Ah, maybe I am still good enough to play at least half of the court!’”

A 13-time women’s and mixed doubles Grand Slam champion, Hingis has found success with a whole host of partners, but had never played with Mylan WTT veteran Anastasia Rodionova before joining the Kastles.

“Martina is a great player, doesn’t matter what she’s playing -- singles, doubles, or mixed,” Rodionova confessed before the season. “So once we knew each other’s strengths and weaknesses, we could figure out our best game plan when we go on the court, and I think we did pretty good last year, and hopefully we will continue.”

With the help of Rodionova in women’s doubles and Leander Paes in mixed, Hingis has been virtually unstoppable in Mylan WTT’s unique format, taking home two more King Trophies along with the 2013 Female MVP and 2014 Finals MVP Awards. Her success in the league began to translate in style last summer when she and partner Flavia Pennetta reached the US Open final -- Hingis’ first major final of any kind since 2006.

At the following major tournament, she paired with Paes to capture the Australian Open mixed doubles title, a win that precipitated a swift rise back up the rankings and culminated in two more major titles at Wimbledon -- women’s doubles with Sania Mirza and mixed once more with Paes.

“He kind of got me back into playing the Grand Slams together and winning the Australian Open, and now Wimbledon. I’m really thrilled at winning another Slam and believing in myself, that I still ‘got game,’” Hingis exclaimed with a laugh. “We feel very fortunate and I feel fortunate to have him as a partner.

“Hopefully we can get another winning streak going!”

Hingis made a triumphant return to Mylan WTT last week, helping the Kastles regain their dominance after some early struggles. Though she had been away, technology meant she was never too far behind.

“I was following every match on the live scores, especially the last few. When they’re winning, it’s easy; you only congratulate them. When things are tough, you tell them to keep your head up. I was in constant contact with [Kastles owner] Mark Ein and Murphy Jensen. I would text them, ‘Good luck!’”

Showing few signs of rust in her 2015 debut, she captured both women’s doubles and mixed before stepping out to play a surprising set of singles -- her first since last spring --and defeat No. 1 Mylan WTT Draft Pick Irina Falconi, 5-3.

“It was a little weird, after having played so much doubles. Actually a few days ago, I just played a practice singles set and I was like ‘Oh yeah!’ Last time I played was in the Fed Cup, so it’s been a while. It’s fun, it’s like getting used to it. Hopefully during the season I get better.”

A third straight Mylan WTT victory for Hingis would also mean a first-ever five-peat for the Washington Kastles, who are undefeated when the Swiss Miss headlines their squad. Coming from the lawns of London, the current doubles No. 2 is well practiced in pressure, and has relied on the team dynamic to get her through tough moments -- none tougher than the Kastles’ comeback win over the California Dream on Monday.

“When you play a tournament in WTA or Grand Slam, there is so much more stress. But here you’ve got the whole team behind you. The team spirit is always there, even on an off day. Your team gets you going and you bounce back. It sometimes gets hard and it’s not always easy with the travelling and all that.

“But still, you don’t want to disappoint the team and you have so much more responsibility.”

It has been a long road for Hingis and the Kastles, but with another King Trophy in sight, it appears greatness lies at the end of the tunnel.

Saturday, August 01, 2015

Roger Federer pulls out of Rogers Cup in Montreal

MONTREAL (AP) -- Roger Federer pulled out of next month's Rogers Cup hard-court tournament on Wednesday.

A spokeswoman for Tennis Canada, Valerie Tetreault, wrote in an email to The Associated Press that Federer ''wants to make sure he will be (in) top shape for'' the U.S. Open, the year's last Grand Slam tournament, which begins Aug. 31.

''I am disappointed that I won't be playing in Montreal because it's a tournament and a city that I really enjoy and has incredible fans,'' Federer said in a statement released by Tennis Canada. ''I hope to be back in the future.''

Federer, owner of a record 17 major championships, has not competed since losing to Novak Djokovic in the Wimbledon final on July 12.

Federer, who turns 34 on Aug. 8, won the Rogers Cup twice, in 2004 and 2006, and he was the runner-up a year ago.

''We are obviously disappointed to have Roger withdraw as it is always a privilege to watch him play,'' tournament director Eugene Lapierre said in a statement. ''We also understand his decision because, above all, he has always been very loyal to our event and we would love to see him play tennis for many more years to come.''

Meanwhile, Stanislas Wawrinka has indicated that he will return at Montreal, having withdrawn from Gstaad with a shoulder injury. His last match was a loss to Richard Gasquet in the quarterfinals of Wimbledon.

"I have a green light from doctors to play again. The pain was from an inflammation of the tendons," he said. "It was too risky to start in Gstaad."

The French Open champion said he still does not put himself among the dominant players going into the hard-court season. "But I know I can beat them," he said. "Today I am in the Top 4 of the rankings, it is not for nothing."

Play begins Aug. 10 in Montreal. Federer will be replaced in the main draw by Jerzy Janowicz, a semifinalist at Wimbledon in 2013.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Roger Federer named most marketable sports star

Roger Federer has been named the world’s most marketable sports star, edging out Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and LeBron James in the Top 20 list released by the London School of Marketing.

The study calculated the brand value of the athletes, taking into account their current income from sponsorships as a percentage of their total earnings, and also factored in their social media presence.

"Roger is genuine, honest, down to earth, and gives his time generously to his partners and foundation. Companies look for role models and Roger is as good as it gets,” Tony Godsick, CEO TEAM8, told

Tennis players featured prominently in the list, with a total of seven athletes represented. In addition to Federer, four other ATP World Tour players made the cut: Novak Djokovic (No. 7), Rafael Nadal (No. 8), Andy Murray (No. 16) and Kei Nishikori (No. 17).

1. Roger Federer – Tennis
2. Tiger Woods – Golf
3. Phil Mickelson – Golf
4. LeBron James – Basketball
5. Kevin Durant – Basketball
6. Rory McIlroy – Golf
7. Novak Djokovic – Tennis
8. Rafael Nadal – Tennis

9. Mahendra Singh Dhoni – Cricket
10. Cristiano Ronaldo – Football
11. Kobe Bryant – Basketball
12. Maria Sharapova – Tennis
13. Lionel Messi – Football
14. Usain Bolt – Track
15. Neymar – Football
16. Andy Murray – Tennis
17. Kei Nishikori – Tennis

18. Derrick Rose – Basketball
19. Floyd Mayweather – Boxing
20. Serena Williams – Tennis

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Roger Federer Foundation Malawi visit

Love him laughing at his own hairy arms :D. And the kids messing with his hair ♥♥♥

Monday, July 20, 2015

Roger Federer visits Malawi to launch children's program for his foundation

Roger Federer's Official Facebook

Roger Federer Tumblr tag

Tennis star Roger Federer visited Malawi on Sunday to launch a children`s programme funded by his charity foundation, saying he was keen to help one of the poorest countries in the world.

Just one week after losing the Wimbledon final to Novak Djokovic, Federer landed in the capital Lilongwe.

The world`s number two player is on Monday scheduled to open a child care centre to improve early childhood development.

"I have always thought children are tomorrow`s future and I really enjoy supporting them and giving them an opportunity to be able to go to school," Federer told AFP on arrival at the airport.

Working with international charity Action Aid, Federer`s foundation has been working in six districts in Malawi since 2011 and aims to reach 135,000 children by 2021.

"I think it`s really important that every child should have this opportunity, so I am trying to help as much as I can," he said.

Child malnutrition is a pressing issue in Malawi, where more than half of children aged between 18 and 23 months suffer from stunted growth, according to a recent study.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Roger Federer still undecided about hard court schedule

Roger Federer has not completely decided his schedule for the second half of the season, saying he will look at where to play when getting ready for the hard-court season.

The world No. 2 said he had not wanted to announce his tournaments before seeing how Paris, Halle and Wimbledon went.

Federer reached the quarterfinals at the French Open, won his warm-up ATP 500 event on grass in Halle and reached the final of Wimbledon.

Now, he said he will "Sit down, relax with the family, go on vacation, then probably decide in 10, 12 days' time."

Though indicating he will follow his normal schedule, Federer said there were one or two things that could require adjustments.

"Also when I know what's happened with Davis Cup after September, seeing what the situation is for that, and then I'll decide what I'll play in the summer heading into the Open and after that as well," he said. "I still just need to wait for some answers, and at the same time just recover and assess what's been going on really."

Friday, July 17, 2015

Flashback Friday: Martina Hingis' first 6 WTA Finals

A few days ago, fresh off their first Grand Slam doubles titles together at Wimbledon, the No.1-ranked doubles team in the world, 

Martina Hingis and Sania Mirza, became the first doubles team to qualify for the doubles event at the season-ending BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global.

It will be Hingis' seventh time playing the WTA Finals - here's a look at her first six appearances.

1996: A 16-year-old Hingis qualified in both singles and doubles, falling first round in doubles with Helena Sukova but making it to the final in singles, falling in five grueling sets to Steffi Graf.

1997: After winning three of the four majors that year, Hingis was stunned in the quarterfinals of the WTA Finals by giant-killer Mary Pierce. She fell first round in doubles with Arantxa Sánchez-Vicario.

1998: Hingis fell first round in doubles with Jana Novotna, but she went all the way to the singles title, getting revenge on Pierce en route to the final then taking Lindsay Davenport out for the title.

1999: Hingis didn't let a loss to Davenport in the singles final get her down - she turned that frown upside down with her first WTA Finals doubles title alongside fellow teenager Anna Kournikova.

2000: Hingis swept both the singles and doubles titles, beating Monica Seles in the singles final and partnering Kournikova for the doubles title. She's the last player to pull off the singles-doubles sweep.

2006: A fantastic singles comeback season led Hingis to qualifying for the singles event at the WTA Finals. She didn't make it out of the round robin but did take a set off eventual champion Justine Henin.