Tuesday, August 30, 2011

DWTS 13 Cast and partners revealed!

The participating professionals and the celebrities with whom they would partner were announced during the August 31 Good Morning America broadcast.

Granted, none of the names are complete unknowns to fans of
Dancing with the Stars. 

Two of the new professionals, Peta Murgatroyd and Tristan McManus, appeared sporadically last season as members of the DWTS Troupe. 

This season, they have moved up to partnering with celebrities. The third new name, Val Chmerkovskiy, is the brother of DWTS mainstay Maksim and has performed on the show himself in the past.

The other nine professionals are veterans of
Dancing with the Stars. 

With the exception of Derek Hough, who took a break this past spring, the returning professionals all appeared on season 12 of the show.

The official
Dancing with the Stars season 13 pairings are:

  • Ron Artest dancing with Peta Murgatroyd
  • David Arquette dancing with Kym Johnson\
  • Chaz Bono dancing with Lacey Schwimmer
  • Elisabetta Canalis dancing with Val Chmerkovskiy
  • Kristen Cavallari dancing with Mark Ballas
  • Nancy Grace dancing with Tristan McManus
  • Rob Kardashian dancing with Cheryl Burke
  • Carson Kressley dancing with Anna Trebunskaya
  • Ricki Lake dancing with Derek Hough
  • J.R. Martinez dancing with Karina Smirnoff
  • Chynna Phillips dancing with Tony Dovolani
  • Hope Solo dancing with Maksim Chmerkovskiy

At first glance, there definitely seem to be some power couples going on here:

  • Reigning champion Kym Johnson has pulled David Arquette -- arguably the most famous of the celebrities -- as a partner.
  • Maksim Chmerkovskiy, widely believed to be due for a win, has a good chance with Hope Solo, provided that the girl has charisma to go with athleticism.
  • Derek Hough might actually have a chance at a fourth win, dancing with Ricki Lake. The lady has more charisma and performance ability that you can shake a stick at.

Of course, this is nothing more than idle speculation until we see some performances from the stars and their partners. Until then, however, let the speculation begin!.


buddytv.com

Ok, totally called the Arquette/Kym Johnson pairing!.  As well as Chaz & Lacey. 

And I'm so glad Derek has Ricki.

Good choices!.

Looking forward to it already.

Didn't know Maks had a brother, wonder if they look alike.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Federer through 1st round at U.S. Open

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Roger Federer showed that time was still on his side as the Swiss master rang the closing bell on Monday's opening day at the U.S. Open tennis championship with a quick victory at Arthur Ashe Stadium.

Third seed Federer, who turned 30 earlier this month, completed a clockwork 6-4 6-3 6-2 win over 56th-ranked Colombian Santiago Giraldo to the delight of the Flushing Meadows night crowd.

The 106-minute sweep was the first step in Federer's quest to add to his grand slam record of 16 men's singles titles with a sixth U.S. Open crown.

A sixth title in New York would also break his tie with Jimmy Connors and Pete Sampras for the most since tennis turned professional in 1968.

"It was a great atmosphere, great ovation when I walked out," said Federer, a favorite of the New York crowds. "I really enjoyed it.

"It's always one of those moments I guess you train for ... the first night at the U.S. Open."

Federer had little trouble disposing of clay court specialist Giraldo but the Swiss was not at his precision best, committing 35 unforced errors.

He looked shaky on serve-and-volley points by winning just one of six, while cashing in on 23 of 37 advances to the net.

Federer said the new surface at Flushing Meadows played slower than before and that he consciously had decided to work on coming to the net in the match.

"As the match went on, I think I started to get more solid and better, and that's a good feeling to have," he said.

Federer, who is also eyeing an Open victory to extend a remarkable string of winning at least one grand slam title in eight straight years, said playing at night provided a sort of sweet pressure.

"They can't wander around to different courts," the world number three said about knowing that all eyes at National Tennis Center nights were fixed on the marquee match.

"No avoiding the limelight. You do feel that pressure as well. When you miss a stupid volley, you go like, 'Yeah, everybody saw it. I'm a bit of an idiot right now. Better don't miss that next time because on TV everybody's watching.'"

The Open is Federer's last chance to add a 2011 slam victory to his prodigious resume after losing to Novak Djokovic in the semi-finals in Australia, finishing runner-up to Rafa Nadal at the French and falling in the quarter-finals to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga at Wimbledon.

Federer next plays Israeli Dudi Sela, who battled back from two sets down to beat Thomaz Bellucci of Brazil.

reuters.ca

It actually wasn't as straight forward as the article is making it out to be, there were a few strange hiccups, but I guess the most important thing is to just get through the first one. 

I'm absolutely certain Fed will raise his level, and play more cleanly as he moves along (as per usual).

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Novak Djokovic has fun imitating Maria Sharapova




The shtick maybe so 3 years ago, but it reminds me why I enjoy Nole in the first place (even if he is a constant thorn in Federer's side especially of late).

But damn, I mean come on the mannerisms are spot on! :D.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Martina Hingis Fancaster interview

http://www.fancaster.com/mediadetails.php?key=12439a2c6bdf94e7924e&title=Martina+Hingis+Exclusive

(Apologies Blogger does not like Javascript Embeds).

Agreed!.

The back to back Williams sisters beat-down is one of the single best match comebacks of her career!.

Remains a favourite of mine till this day.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Martina Hingis Kinect tennis game launch video interview

And here's a little video to go along with Sunday's post :).

Don't speak German, so feel free to translate ;).

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Martina Hingis helps Microsoft with launch of new Kinect tennis game



Five-time Grand Slam winner Martina Hingis help Microsoft reveal that tennis will be one of the sports on Kinect Sports: Season Two. Martina played the controller-free game at Gamescom, a game convention in Europe.

Martina says, "It's really good fun and an enjoyable way to play tennis with my friends and family without needing a racket in my hand. With Kinect it's so simple, there are no controllers so all you need is your body!" 


Kinect Sports: Season Two is set for worldwide release from October 25, 2011. It features a slate of new sports, including tennis, darts, skiing, football and golf. The first game in the Kinect Sports franchise, Kinect Sports: Season One, has sold over three million copies since its launch in November 2010. 

shoppingblog.com

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Hopman Cup wooing Federer and Hingis?

Tournament director Paul McNamee has announced his intentions of wooing Roger Federer and Martina Hingis to play Hopman Cup in January of 2012, after hearing of their potential partnership.

 Aug 19, 2011 - A pairing that first gained attention as a hypothetical question after a World Team Tennis match in July could become a reality on the tennis court as soon as January.

If Roger Federer is able to convince Martina Hingis to return for mixed doubles at the 2012 Olympic Games in London, the two might reunite on court for the first time in Perth, Australia at the Hopman Cup, the lone tournament outside the Grand Slams which features mixed doubles. 


Federer and Hingis teamed to win the Hopman Cup for Switzerland in 2001, which was Federer's biggest professional title at the time.

Russell Reid of The West Australian reports that Hopman Cup tournament director Paul McNamee plans to ask Roger Federer (again) if he is interested in playing Hopman Cup next year.

"I did get a no from Roger earlier in the year, but given there is this story circulating that he will be playing mixed doubles at the Olympics with Martina Hingis, I certainly will ask the question again when I go to New York," said McNamee.

McNamee's thoughts on Hingis' availability were considerably more definite.

"Martina has said to me that she would kill to come back here, she is a given."

Hardly sounds like he's talking about a woman who has expressed misgivings about coming out of retirement at all, does it?


sbnation.com

Friday, August 19, 2011

Kim Clijsters out of the U.S.Open

The three-times US Open champion Kim Clijsters will not defend her title after failing to recover from a stomach muscle injury. It has been an injury-hit season for the world No3, who missed most of the clay-court season and Wimbledon with an ankle injury before being forced out of last week's tournament in Toronto with the stomach problem.

Clijsters said: "Unfortunately I will not be able to defend my US Open title this year because of a stomach muscle injury. Two weeks of rehab was not enough to heal this injury. Obviously I'm very disappointed. I trained very hard this summer and felt in a good shape to play the US Open."

Clijsters has also pulled out of the WTA Tour Premier events in Tokyo and Beijing at the end of September and start of October. The Belgian said: "Now there is nothing else I can do than to rest and have treatment every day. If a gradual approach is not taken, I will relapse in the same injury and therefore I have also no other possibility than to withdraw from the tournaments in Tokyo and Beijing."

The US Open was the stage on which Clijsters announced her return to the game after two and a half years in retirement in spectacular fashion in 2009. Only a month after returning to the Tour, she beat both Venus and Serena Williams, the latter in a semi-final that became famous for Williams's abuse of a lineswoman, before defeating Caroline Wozniacki to secure her second grand slam title.

She successfully defended the crown 12 months ago, beating Vera Zvonareva in the final, before winning her first grand slam title outside America at the Australian Open in January. Clijsters reclaimed the world No1 ranking and looked set to be the player to beat in 2011 before injury struck in a most unusual way as the 28-year-old sustained a serious ankle injury while dancing at a cousin's wedding.

She returned to action at the French Open but was clearly rusty and lost to the little-known Dutchwoman Arantxa Rus in the second round. She did not play again until the Rogers Cup in Toronto last week, where she lasted only 12 games against Zheng Jie before being forced to retire.

The US Open tournament director, Jim Curley, said: "It is unfortunate that Kim has not recovered from her injury in time to defend her US Open title. We wish her a full and speedy recovery and look forward to her return to New York next year."

theguardianuk

Well this was certainly not unexpected, still sad though.  Get well soon Kim!. 

Guess I'm not focusing on women at all at the U.S. Open again.  Good thing the men's field is full of top seeded players.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Roger Federer rolls on in confident fashion in Cincinnati

Former World No. 1 Roger Federer had a comfortable win over James Blake today at the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati 6-4 6-1.

Federer is looking to win his first ATP Tour World Masters 1000 event this season. 

His only title in 2011 came in Doha in January. He was the finalist at Roland Garros and in Dubai this year.
The Swiss superstar is looking to find form before the US Open. The newly turned 30-year-old was the US Open Champion in 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008.

Former World No. 4 James Blake was sidelined with injuries for most of 2010 and is now making a comeback having played most of 2011 on the Challenger circuit. Last year was the first time since 2000 the American found himself outside Top 100.

Blake won two Challengers this season one in Sarasota, FL in April and one in Winnetka, IL in June.
Next up for Federer is Czech Tomas Berdych. 

If Federer can overcome the Czech he is more than likely going to set up a clash with Novak Djokovic.The current World No. 1 will play the winner of Philipp Kohlschreiber and Gael Monfils.

World No. 9 Tomas Berdych overcame World No. 9 Nicolas Almagro in 64 minutes 6-2 6-2. The Czech player has reached three quarterfinals this year at ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Events, Miami (l. Nadal), Madrid (l.Bellucci) and Rome (l. Gasquet).

The most recent match Berdych and Federer played was last year in Toronto when Federer won in three sets. Federer holds a 9-3 win/loss record against Berdych.

10sball.com

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Federer sends Del Potro packing @ Cincinnati Open

Roger Federer cruised into the third round of the Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati, downing Argentina's Juan Martin Del Potro in straight sets.


The former world No. 1 recorded a comfortable 6-3 7-5 victory, and never looked troubled against the unconvincing Del Potro, taking the second round match in 92 minutes.


Federer surged to a 4-1 lead in the first set on the back of two early breaks and a strong service game of his own, which resulted in the Swiss master firing down 12 aces during the match. The 30-year-old then held back-to-back service games to take the first set with ease.


Del Potro managed to stave off numerous break points in the first game of the second set, and that seemed to give the Argentinian a boost of confidence as he then showed great resistance in the face of Federer's intelligent groundstrokes. 

However, the world No. 19 was unable to remain firm when it mattered, making an unforced error on match point while Federer led 6-5 to secure the third seed's passage to the next round. 

ESPN U.K.

A nice bit of revenge, and a nice convincing win.  Good omen for the U.S. Open?.  

Monday, August 15, 2011

Hingis/Federer dream Olympic pairing still alive?

Roger Federer said Monday that he would talk to Martina Hingis about a possible dream pairing in the 2012 London Olympics mixed doubles competition. 

Although Hingis has done her best to not fuel rumours of a comeback and appearance in London, Federer said that he would touch base with his fellow former World No. 1 to gauge her interest in teaming at the Olympics. Although the 16-time Grand Slam champion said that he was unsure whether it was realistic for him to play three events – singles, doubles and mixed – in London. 


“Might as well just see if she is available,” Federer responded when asked Monday at the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati if he would consider playing mixed with Martina at the Olympics. “If I played mixed with anybody it would be with Hingis just because she's been an amazing player and I had my first kind of success at the Hopman Cup with her and practised and played with her before. Even if she is retired, she might think about it at least. I've approached her already a long time ago, and I guess she just mentioned something to the press and it took a life of its own. 

“But I haven't spoken to her myself yet. We'll see where it goes. I know it's a lot on your plate to play singles, doubles, and mixed. I need to decide if I want to do that in the first place, and then see if she will come out of retirement. Still have a lot of things to go through, but haven't spoken yet. I don't know what's going to happen.”

Asked if he would initiate a call with Hingis, Federer said, “I don't think I need to win her over. She's a champion herself. She's in retirement, not me, so she needs to do all the hard work. I've been on the tour playing and ready to go basically. So she has the whole thing to go through. Because what I'm hearing, she just doesn't want to come back for a week of doubles, which I understand that. There is much more to it. At the end of the day, that's her decision.” 

After being pressed on the issue, Federer added, ‘I will talk to her.”

Federer won the doubles gold medal with Stanislas Wawrinka at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. A singles gold medal is one of the few prestigious titles in tennis to have eluded him.

atpworldtour

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Roger Federer ousted out of Rogers Cup, falls to Tsonga again

There have been a couple of now memorable matches played between the icon, Roger Federer, and the exuberant, excitable Jo-Wilfried Tsonga over the past little while. 

Think of Wimbledon, earlier this year. Tsonga came back from two sets down to record a thrilling five-set victory over Federer, denying the Swiss yet another title at the all-England club. Or the Rogers Cup two years ago, when Federer had Tsonga on the ropes, up 5-1 in the final set, only to lose the match in a tie-breaker. 

But this? Nothing like this has happened before. For Federer, Thursday night’s loss to Tsonga in third-round action at the Rogers Cup will be memorable for all the wrong reasons.


Tsonga and Federer began by splitting two close sets and then the bottom fell out on the Swiss star and No. 3 tournament seed in the third. Tsonga rattled off the first five games of the third set and eventually knocked Federer, a two-time champion, out of the tournament with a 7-6 (3), 4-6, 6-1 victory.


The capacity crowd tried to cheer on Federer in the third set, but Tsonga’s level was too high. On a cool night, Tsonga broke Federer’s serve in the second and fourth games of the final set and for a time there, it wasn’t even certain if the Swiss great would get a game. 

In the end, the powerful Frenchman served out the match in routine fashion. Tsonga, the 13th seed, will now meet Spain’s Nicolas Almagro in the quarter finals. Almagro knocked off France’s Richard Gasquet in the other evening match by a 7-6, 6-3 count.


According to Federer, there were significant differences between his two losses to Tsonga, in Montreal, at the Rogers Cup.


“Two years ago he didn't really deserve the victory,” said a candid Federer. “I believe he played a lot better today, and he deserved it today. Two years ago I think he was lucky to pull out the win. 

Tonight he played well and he played extraordinary shots as we know he can do. I was not able to do that.


Tsonga had a similar take on this most recent encounter, noting: “I really played good tonight. I was opportunistic. I didn't miss any opportunities I had. I was able to break before he did. I'm very happy the way I won this match.


Afterward, Federer was surprisingly stoical about the result. When asked if he was surprised by the result, Federer answered: “I mean, he beat me at Wimbledon, so I don’t know how much of a surprise it is.


“He’s playing well. I thought if he was going to play well again - and me not at my best - he could do it again.”

Nor was Federer prepared to blame the changing weather conditions for the loss.



“I didn’t think it was particularly windy or cool,” he said. “It was fine.

“Sure, it’s different playing under the lights all of a sudden again. It hasn’t happened in a while actually. It might be the last match I played under the lights was against him in Rome. That was on clay. Before that, probably Miami. So it takes some getting used to.”


For Federer, it marked yet another disappointing loss in a year in which he has won just a single title - in Doha at the start of the year. The only other time this season that he didn’t reach at least the quarter finals in a tournament came in Rome in May when Federer lost in the third round to Gasquet.


But there is always still the U.S. Open and as Federer noted, there is still time to get ready: “New York is in one month. I feel it is far away.


“If you want to talk about the U.S. Open, I can tell you I feel good mentally and I’m playing well.”

Federer became the third member of men’s tennis Big 4 to fall in the early rounds of the Rogers Cup, joining No. 2 Rafael Nadal and No. 4 Andy Murray on the sidelines, a point Tsonga stressed in his interview, post-match.

theglobeandmail.com

I don't have much to say on the matter, other then I think I'm going to wipe this match from my memory and start looking forward to the U.S. Open in a couple of weeks (as well as Cincinnati next week).

Friday, August 12, 2011

Kim Clijsters withdraws from Cincinnati Open

Tennis.com reports that defending champion Kim Clijsters will withdraw from the Western & Southern Open following an abdominal injury that forced her out of the Rogers Cup in Toronto.

Clijsters, 28, has a partial tear in her left stomach muscle. After retiring in the second set of Tuesday’s match against China’s Jie Zheng, Clijsters said stomach muscle tightness bothered her during her warm-up and worsened when she started serving.

“Before the match, I got taped to try and protect the muscle as much as possible so that I wouldn’t make it worse,” Clijsters said in a press conference. “And during my match I just felt like, yeah, it just went worse and worse.”

The World No. 2 has had a spate of injuries this year, including her shoulder, wrist and right ankle. Since March she has withdrawn from five tournaments and retired in two.

She said she would “try to do everything to obviously be ready for the US Open,” where she’s the two-time defending champion. 


Today, tennis.com said her coach, Wim Fissette, told a Belgian newspaper she was merely “hopeful” about playing in the Grand Slam.

The Belgian player’s absence tinges an otherwise celebratory year for the nine-day W&S, which debuts a new combined format featuring simultaneous play between genders. Qualifying begins Saturday at the Lindner Family Tennis Center in Mason.

Clijsters had not officially withdrawn from the W&S as of 3 p.m. today, tournament officials said.


cincinnati.com

No big surprise there and probably for the best if she wants to have any chance in New York at the end of the month.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Martina Hingis speaks horse riding with CNN


Martina Hingis' next challenge by CNN_International

Great little interview I had no idea she's had Cortino for 14 years.  Wow.  Beautiful horse.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Roger Federer through easily rematch with Tsonga in 3rd round of Rogers Cup

World No. 3 Roger Federer set a Wimbledon rematch with Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga after beginning his summer hard-court campaign with a 7-5, 6-3 win over Canadian wild card Vasek Pospisil on Wednesday afternoon at the Rogers Cup in Montreal. 

Federer's loss to Tsonga in the Wimbledon quarter-finals was the only time he had lost a Grand Slam match after winning the first two sets. He also let slip a big lead against the Frenchman on their last visit to Montreal in 2009.


“I will not think about that Wimbledon match as much as I might think about the match we had here two years ago,” admitted Federer. “Both matches were, so to speak, not normal matches. One, I was up (5-1) in the third and I should have won. I never lose those. In Wimbledon, I lost in five sets. Again, that doesn't happen often to me. So these two matches were strange matches.”

In his first main draw appearance since Wimbledon, Federer came up against the 21-year-old Pospisil, who had notched his first tour-level victory Tuesday against Juan Ignacio Chela to set up a second-round meeting with his idol. Pospisil managed to hold his own against the two-time Rogers Cup champion through the first 11 games of the match. 

Federer finally seized the lead as he capitalised on his first break point to secure the opening set and then broke open a 3-0 lead to start the second, which proved enough for the victory. The Swiss won 85 per cent of his service points and improved to a 40-8 season mark.

Federer, who celebrated his birthday Monday, said of playing his first match as a 30 year old: “It felt good. I'm still able to move. The match was tough because I was playing against a player I don't know so well. It was my first match outdoors on hard courts, although I played Davis Cup. It was a bit tough. 

“I believe I didn't play so well, wasn't aggressive enough. But also I must say he didn't give me the opportunity to do that. He was playing well. So I'm happy I came out of it and I will have a second chance tomorrow.”

Federer takes a 4-2 head-to-head lead into his next match against Tsonga. The No. 13 seed fired 15 aces to defeat Australian wild card Bernard Tomic 6-3, 7-6(1) Wednesday.

“This makes you come down to earth again and you have to face reality suddenly,” said Tsonga of playing Federer next.

“Even if I beat him in Wimbledon, that doesn't mean I will be able to beat him all the time. He's still the best player of all time. I have my chances, but it's going to be difficult, of course.” 

atpworldtour.com

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Kim Clijsters out of Rogers Cup with torn stomach muscle

Kim Clijsters could miss out on the chance to defend her US Open title later this month after retiring against Zheng Jie at the Rogers Cup in Toronto.

The Belgian was a set up when she withdrew with a stomach problem.

Asked about her prospects for Flushing Meadows, she said: "I still have a few weeks until then so will try to do everything to obviously be ready."

Clijsters was leading 6-3 1-2 when she pulled out, showing some discomfort after hitting a forehand, and she later revealed she felt pain in her stomach during the warm-up and had it taped ahead of the match.

She added: "During the match it just felt like it went worse. I already had an ultrasound here on site and I have a partial tear in my left stomach muscle and a little bit of blood."

Clijsters, who has won the US Open for the last two years running, injured her right ankle in April and then withdrew from tournaments in Rome and Madrid with shoulder and wrist injuries.

Tuesday's match was her first match since returning from a foot injury suffered in the Netherlands in June which forced her to miss Wimbledon, and she now faces a race to be fit for the US Open, which starts on 29 August.

BBC Sports

Well, this sucks.  I was really looking forward to seeing her play again.

She seems to be cursed with injuries at the moment, and just cannot catch a break.

Sounds serious though hope it doesn't impact her chances of participating in the U.S. Open.

Get well Kim!.

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Martina Hingis dismisses possible comeback, and comparisons to Wozniacki


Back in her heyday, before players stopped being intimidated by her wicked smile and crafty game, Martina Hingis won numerous points by skipping inside the court and short-hopping big blasts for winners.

Like most top players, she had hand-eye coordination to die for and before her fellow Swiss Roger Federer became famous for half-volleying forehand winners, she made a living off it against powerful Hall of Famers like Steffi Graf, Monica Seles, Venus Williams and Lindsay Davenport.

Form 1997 to 1999 when she won all of her five majors, Hingis ran down every ball in sight. She was one of the greatest defensive players ever seen, and could mix in a bit of offense too. But while she was a thinking person’s player, she did not paste the ball with much more authority then than current No. 1 Caroline Woznaciki does today.

In fact, they have similarities, with significantly better backhands than forehands, a willingness to extend opponents until they dropped from exhaustion, marginal serves and consistent returns. 
 
Hingis certainly was a better return of server than Wozniacki is now because she read the game better and was very competent at reflexing back returns. She also managed her matches with more acumen and had a better understanding of the X's and O's.

But Wozniacki already has a better serves than Hingis did and is naturally stronger so if she can find a way to add more pace to her forehand and show more guts at the Slams, she should find herself with at least one Slam title in the next year or two. 
 
But do not tell the now retired Hingis that “Caro” is even in her class. But the time that the prideful Hingis was 17 she had already won three Grand Slams. Wozniacki just turned 20 and has zilch.

“I think I had more game than her,” Hingis told me at the Mercury Insurance Open in San Diego: "I don’t want to be cocky about this, but I think I had more [weapons]. She’s a great fighter but I out played [opponents] and I took the ball earlier and didn't give them as much time. If she wants to win a Grand Slam, she’s going to have to take charge more. She doesn't have one great weapon. You need that one little extra thing to overcome.”

When I mentioned to Hingis what an extraordinary amount of confidence she had when she came on tour, she immediately shot back that, "you need to win to have confidence.” While Wozniacki was a terrific junior, she was not Hingis, who was already beating solid pros when she was just 14.

“She does the best with what she’s got,” Hingis said of the Dane. “Everyone is saying she hasn’t won a Slam but maybe it’s a question of time. Lately she's struggled more because there are probably more players at the Grand Slams who are better than her.”

Wozniacki will return next week at the tournament in Toronto, hopefully refreshed and ready to make a major push.  Despite her poor performances at Roland Garros and Wimbledon, it would not be stunning to see her win either Toronto or Cincinnati, as she’s a terrific hard court player who is more comfortable cutting loose at WTA Premier 5 events than she is at the Grand Slams. But it’s at the US Open when she will once again answer the question as to whether she’s worthy of the top spot.

Hingis proved her worth during her 209 non-consecutive weeks in the top spot, even though by 2000, the Williams sisters and Jennifer Capraiti were coming very hard, and Davenport had figured out ways to punch through her. 
 
It is often forgotten that Hingis won her first Slam title at the 1997 Australian Open at 16 and her last Slam singles title at the age of 18 in the same locale. What many do recall is that is that by the end of 2002, she was burned out, which is why she took an indefinite break from the Tour.

Recall that when the WTA came up with its excellent age eligibility rule that it was nicknamed the "Capraiti rule".  Maybe it should have been nicknamed after Hingis?

The Swiss is now just 30 years old and she looks younger than she did in 2002, when she frequently appeared exhausted, or in the summer of 2007 toward the end of her “second career” when she had just been informed that she had tested positive for cocaine at Wimbledon and that her then fiancĂ©e, ATP Player Radek Stepanek, had broken off their engagement. 
 
During that summer swing in California, Hingis was so desperate for answers that she actually asked the media what she should do with her game. 
 
Answers were given but none were accepted because by that point she had absolutely had it with the grind of the tour.

Her comeback was reasonably successful as she won two singles titles and climbed back to No. 6, but it did not satisfy her very high standards.

Now there is a lot of chatter about a possible third comeback so she could play mixed doubles at the 2012 Olympics with Federer. 
 
My impression at this point is that it's not going to happen unless Federer rolls out the red carpet for her, because she does not seem excited at the prospect of having to play at least a few months on tour in order to get her ranking back up in order to have a chance of qualifying. 
 
She already seems to feel pressure at the prospect, telling me that, “To play with Roger you’d have to being playing great, right?”

I said don’t worry about it, as those two would be so good together that only other phenomenal teams – say the Bryan brothers with the Williams sisters – would stand a chance of beating them, even today with Hingis only competing in pro-ams, senior events and World TeamTennis.

Hingis still has a very large fan base and every single one of them wants to see her make a comeback. Hell, if the 40-year-old Kimiko Date-Date can play top-55 ball, wouldn’t one surmise that Hingis could make a top 20 push at 30?

Maybe, but only if she wanted it really badly and she doesn’t seem to.

“She always been a marathon runner and kept herself in great shape. I don’t do that,” she said with a laugh.

Actually, Hingis is in good shape overall, but she needs to add lot more muscle in order to withstand one three set match after another in singles on tour. As she said, victories in World TeamTennis matches tempt her, but she realizes they play only 5 games, no-ad sets.

Hingis says she has learned to never to say never about comebacks, but the newlywed added that she’s comfortable with her life now, and more excited about new opportunities than she is about chances that she had and either took or let go.

Really, the only way that Hingis is going to play with Federer is if she stages a comeback in doubles. Lisa Raymond, who is still a top doubles player at the age of 36, once told me that Hingis was the best doubles player she ever faced.  
 
Clearly, with a good partner, she'd rise up the ranking quickly. You don’t think that she isn’t already better than the current doubles No. 1, the 36-year-old Kveta Peshke?  Think very hard again.

But go back to Hingis' statements about Woznaciki and try to catch the tone of her voice. She considers herself an all-time great and to her, all-time greats are no hold barred singles players.

“I was never really just a doubles player; my pride was higher than that,” she said.
 

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Roger Federer excited to turn 30 at Rogers Cup in Montreal

As he approaches his 30th birthday next Monday on day one of the Rogers Cup in Montreal, 17-time ATP World Tour Masters 1000 champion Roger Federer insists that he has many good years of tennis ahead of him. Federer, who is No. 3 in the South African Airways ATP Rankings behind new World No. 1 Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal, said during a telephone press conference Wednesday that he is encouraged by the longevity of past players such as Andre Agassi, who won 15 titles, including two Australian Opens, after turning 30.

“I [have] inspiration [from] guys that played for a very long time, like Andre Agassi, Jimmy Connors, Ken Rosewall, Rod Laver, as it's very inspiring to see what they've been able to do,” said Federer.“People tend to say that after a certain time or when you have kids you can’t win any more. I don't want to say I'm a special case, but I've won so much, I feel like if I put myself in the right position, do all the right things, I'll definitely get a shot again of winning big tournaments.”

Federer, who won his lone 2011 title in the first week of the season in Doha, played down the significance of turning 30. “Birthdays happen. They're part of life. I'm happy I'm getting older. I'd rather be 30 than 20, to be honest. To me it's a nice time.”

A winner of the Rogers Cup in 2004 and ‘06, Federer added. “I’m excited to see how the Canadians are going to celebrate my birthday this time around. Sometimes they start singing 'Happy Birthday' during a match. I'm not going to play on Monday, but you never know if they're going to do something crazy another day.”

Federer, who reached the quarter-finals and final in his past two appearances in Montreal in 2009 and ’07, will play The Rogers Cup and the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati, where he is the defending champion, in preparation for the US Open, an event he won five straight times from 2004 to 2008. 

“Every time the US Open rolls around, I'm very, very excited,” expressed Federer. “It’s a great feeling coming back to New York. Honestly, I liked it from day one. It was one of those tournaments I right away I fell in love with.”

The 16-time Grand Slam champion last lifted the trophy on Arthur Ashe Stadium three years ago, defeating Andy Murray in straight sets. Though he hasn’t won a Grand Slam title since the 2010 Australian Open, the 16-time major champion believes he has several more opportunities to add to his Grand Slam haul. “My game is in a good place right now and I'm excited to see how I'm going to do at the US Open,” said Federer. “I don't feel it's my last chance, not at all. I see many more chances to come.”