Monday, December 28, 2015

Kim Clijsters returns to Australian Open to celebrate inspirational women

Former Grand Slam champion Kim Clijsters will return to Melbourne in January and launch an Australian Open initiative to celebrate inspirational women both in and beyond the sport of tennis.

In a Grand Slam first, Clijsters will join a panel including some of Australia’s most inspirational women from fields as diverse as human rights, medicine, the arts, media and sport. The group will be recognised in a special presentation on Thursday 28 January as part of women’s semifinals day.

“The more we can shine the international spotlight on these amazing women, the more it will encourage others to promote equality,” Australian Open Tournament Director Craig Tiley said today.

“Women’s semifinals day at the Australian Open is a fantastic showcase for women’s sport, with four of the world’s best female athletes battling for a place in the year’s first Grand Slam final. What better time to come together and celebrate women’s achievements.”

Australian Fed Cup captain and former world No.8 Alicia Molik said it was important for females to have access to the best possible opportunities both in sport and life.

“We are incredibly lucky in tennis that there are equal opportunities for men and women, and having a young daughter now has made me even more aware,” she said.

“It’s inspiring to see Craig [Tiley] committed to the Male Champions of Change program. He’s been a great supporter of mine in many ways, as a player coming back from serious illness and in making the transition from being a professional athlete to a coach and senior administrator.

“As an ambassador for our junior participation program, ANZ Tennis Hot Shots, I’m encouraged that we have an almost equal split of girls and boys involved in tennis and we continue to develop and improve our programs to keep girls and women engaged in the sport at all levels, including as social players.

“This naturally extends to my role as Fed Cup captain, where I work with both our elite women and talented emerging players.”

Tiley said tennis, as one of the only professional sports offering equal opportunity, exposure and prize money, had a leadership role to play in promoting gender equality. He has committed to the Elite Sports Male Champions of Change program and is passionate about creating more support and opportunity for women.

"Significant and meaningful change on this issue is long overdue. Sport is uniquely placed in our community and has the power to have an impact so deep and wide-ranging that gender equality can cease to be a problem for future generations.”

The Australian Open’s inaugural Celebration of Inspirational Women brunch, presented in association with ANZ, will take place at the Glasshouse, Olympic Park at 10am on Thursday 28 January, with a panel of distinguished guests.

The women’s semifinals commence at Rod Laver Arena at 1.30pm, with a special ceremony taking place on court between matches.

Fast Facts: Women in tennis

Tennis is one of the only professional sports offering equal prize money to men and women at the elite level

Australian Open prize money has risen from $20 million in 2007 to $44 million in 2016

The Australian Open women’s final moved to prime-time TV in 2009, with women’s matches throughout the tournament featuring in prime viewing times and on major courts

Seven of Forbes’ 10 highest-earning female athletes in the world are tennis players – Maria Sharapova, Li Na, Serena Williams, Caroline Wozniacki, Victoria Azarenka, Ana Ivanovic and Agnieszka Radwanska*

Tennis Australia’s ANZ Tennis Hot Shots program for children aged five to 12 has an almost equal split of boys and girls participating across Australia.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Roger Federer to improve his 'SABR' tactic in 2016

Roger Federer has promised to keep honing his chip-and-charge sneak-attack tactic as he prepares for 2016 season.

The 'SABR', short for 'Sneak Attack by Roger', involves rushing towards the net at the moment of a second serve and chipping the ball back, shortening his opponent's response time.

Federer, 34, who was in Singapore for the International Premier Tennis League (IPTL), successfully employed it against Novak Djokovic in the Cincinnati final and against Richard Gasquet in the US Open quarter-final at Flushing Meadows.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Roger Federer has no plans to retire after Rio Olympics

Roger Federer, the 17-time Grand Slam singles champion, does not intend to retire after next year's Olympics.

The Swiss will turn 35 during the Rio Games, where he will play in the singles and mixed doubles, although he has not decided on the men's doubles.

"I've planned all of 2016, you know all the way through the Rio Olympics and beyond," he said.

"No plans to retire yet. I don't have a definite date even though that would help to make things easier to plan."

Federer, who has been competing in the International Premier Tennis League in India, added: "I'm looking forward to next year.

"The Australian Open is obviously a big goal for me. And after that it's going to be a long, tough year.

"So I'm happy I'm feeling fine physically and in good shape and of course, like I say so many times I hope I'm still on tour for a while."

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Deciphering Roger Federer's 2016 schedule

In a year that will see him play the Rio Olympics — which had long ago been a goal and theoretical retirement point — and have a birthday that will get him closer to 40 than 30 — Roger Federer has released a tentative schedule that makes some concessions to age and seems to maximize his chances in tournaments in which he believes he has a realistic shot of winning.

It’s all standard up until Indian Wells, with Federer adding Rotterdam back to the schedule after an absence last year (he played it in 2012 and 2013 after a seven-year absence). There’s an Aussie Open tuneup, the Grand Slam itself, a trip to the UAE, his “home” town these days, and Indian Wells. He won’t play Miami, which he’ll have skipped three of the past for years.

Then there’s the surprise: There aren’t any French Open tuneups on the schedule. This is important for two reasons:

1. The logical reading of this is that Federer is playing for the Olympics, when he might play three events: singles, doubles and mixed doubles (with Martina Hingis). He hasn’t said whether he’ll drop the doubles, but that’d be odd to dump Stan for Martina, especially when they’re reigning doubles champs. And if he’s not really playing before the French, he’s basically admitting he won’t win there, a necessary concession to age, particularly in a grueling season that basically has five majors.

2. Federer is going to miss three — count ’em, three — Masters 1000 events by skipping the clay season and four straight (without Miami) heading into the French. He’s defending 700 points in Monte Carlo, Madrid and Rome plus another 250 from a win at a small event in Istanbul. It might not be that damaging to his ranking, which is important given Slam seedings. Right now, Federer is 1,400 points ahead of Wawrinka for No. 2, so that dropped 950 points won’t be devastating, especially given that he’s only defending 90 points from his upset third-round loss at the Australian Open. Make the semifinals there (720 points) and the deficit is almost made up and Federer won’t have to worry about slipping out of the top four. (Plus, Federer has 360 QF points at the French. Sure, the lack of tournament prep could see him go out early, as in 2014, but he could also make the quarters in his sleep.)

The rest of the schedule is less eye-raising: Two Wimbledon tuneups and then a normal hard-court schedule that has that “Rio Olympics” oddity right in the middle.

But, as Federer says, the schedule is tentative. If he has a poor showing in Australia and fails to defend a lot of his finals points from Indian Wells, expect some additional events before the French and, no matter what, lots of emoji tweets about it.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Roger Federer on new coach Ljubicic

First-hand experience facing this generation and motivational skill are two reasons why Roger Federer added Ivan Ljubicic to his coaching team.

Former world No. 3 Ljubicic played Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal nine times apiece, winning twice against both Grand Slam champions.

The 36-year-old Croatian previously served as co-coach of Canadian Milos Raonic, knows tactical tendencies of top players and like Federer, plays with a one-handed backhand.

"It's the first time that I've had someone within my team whose actually played on tour against the players that I've played against," Federer told the media in New Delhi in comments published by AFP. "My coaches in the past have all been players from a different generation. I think Ivan can bring something very exciting to my team, (including) motivation."

Federer, who parted company with coach Stefan Edberg earlier this month, said the Hall of Famer had planned to coach him for a year.

"The idea was only to do one year. I couldn't believe it when (Edberg) said yes in the first place," Federer said. "We had a great split in (the) sense that we've known for 10 months that it was going to end at the end of the year."

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Xena Warrior Princess reboot might still be happening after all

A number of months ago, NBC revealed that they were working on developing a reboot of the Xena: Warrior Princess TV series, with Sam Raimi producing alongside original co-creator Rob Tapert. There was no word on whether or not the series’ original star, Lucy Lawless, would be returning or involved in the reboot at all though, and the last we heard from the project was that it was desperately in need of a writer.

Finally, after months and months of silence from the project too, it looks like the reboot has officially begun to move forward in the development process.

The Hollywood Reporter revealed that writer Javier Grillo-Marxuach has been brought on to pen the series’ pilot episode, who worked heavily on Lost and will serve as an executive producer on the series alongside Tapert and Raimi. The report states that the series will follow a new and modern Xena, who combines the charisma and charm of Lawless’ original iteration with the edge of characters like The Hunger Games’ Katniss Everdeen.

Despite fans’ wishes and hopes too, there has been no updates on Lawless’ involvement in the reboot, even though the actress has continued to voice her enthusiasm for a reboot over the years as well. Unfortunately, considering how the original series concluded, it would be difficult to include Lawless’ version of the character, without some kind of explanation that the writers and producers might not be willing to sacrifice time to make.

Part of what made the original Xena series so charming though was the time period it lived during,and while I’m not entirely skeptical that this project can work, I’m also seriously hoping that the new reboot doesn’t try and take the fun out of the property, like so many reimaginings and reboots have done over the past few years. Raimi and Tapert were able to bring back the spirit of Evil Dead completely in tact with Ash vs. Evil Dead, so here’s to hoping they can do the same thing here as well.

The Xena: Warrior Princess reboot is currently in development at NBC.

So conflicted about this. 

I would love this to happen so that the franchise of this awesome show can be revived. 

But on the other hand I would rather only all the originals were involved in it.

Also I would be a lot happier if it was anyone other then NBC. 

NBC hasn't been the same since ER ended, they cancel more shows then they keep. 

Their track record for making good shows has gone downhill since then as well.

As a life long fan of the original, "new and modern" Xena just doesn't appeal to me. 

If they were to drastically change it, I would rather it was left alone altogether. 

The fact that Rob Tapert is supposedly involved does give me a small glimmer of hope though.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Roger Federer supports Martina Hingis & Sania Mirza doubles

New Delhi: The Swiss tennis ace Roger Federer disclosed that he supports the world number one Indo-Swiss pair of Sania Mirza and Martina Hingis.

Federer, who was in India recently to lead UAE Royals in the International Premier Tennis League (IPTL) told CNN IBN that he watched the entire Wimbledon (women's doubles) and supported the top ranked women's doubles pair.

“They (Sania-Hingis) went on a run...I support them on the women's tour when they play the doubles. I watched the entire Wimbledon [women's doubles] final. It was thrilling and I couldn't be happier for them,” said Federer.

FedEx seemed too impressed with his compatriot as she went on to say that: “I was very happy for Martina in particular, who I admire since I was 14 years old and I was practicing at the National Tennis Centre.”

17-time grand slam champion also praised Indian tennis queen Sania as he labelled her as 'very sweet girl'. “...Having played with Sania here (India) in the mixed doubles last year I could really see why is she so good. I knew her from before and she is a very sweet girl and it was pleasure teaming up with her."

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Roger Federer working hard to catch Novak Djokovic


Roger Federer has warned Novak Djokovic that he is "working hard" to end his dominance of ATP Tour circuit.

World number one Djokovic enjoyed a stunning 2015 season, claiming three grand slam titles and only being denied a clean sweep by an inspired Stan Wawrinka in the French Open final.

He also won a record six Masters 1000 tournaments and finished the year with a scarcely believable 82-6 win-loss record by beating Federer in last month's World Tour Finals showpiece at London's O2 Arena.

Djokovic was the primary reason the evergreen Federer failed to add to his haul of 17 slams in 2015, with the Serb defeating the Swiss in the finals of both Wimbledon and the US Open.

But Federer - who appointed Ivan Ljubicic as his new coach this week - is determined to beat his rival to tennis' biggest prizes next year.

"Novak was really tough to beat, especially on the big occasions," said Federer, in quotes reported by The National ahead of his Indian Premier Tennis League meeting with Rafael Nadal on Saturday.

"He's got sky-high confidence and we hope that will come down again sooner than later, but we're working hard to try to catch him."

When quizzed on what the secret to Djokovic's success is, Federer replied: "He just became a really, really good player and tough to beat. Especially in recent years, he's taken it to another level.

"That just made it harder for me to dominate him. But still I'm winning my fair share of matches against him, and I'm really enjoying playing against Novak."

Federer versus Nadal was the rivalry that defined men's tennis for much of the previous decade and the 34-year-old says the Spaniard - who holds a 23-11 record over him - has represented "the ultimate challenge" throughout his career.

However, Federer refused to be drawn over who is the superior player - Djokovic or Nadal.

"Totally different players, but Rafa's been tougher for me even though I guess Novak has beaten me as many times as well," he added.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Roger Federer confirms he will play mixed doubles with Martina Hingis at Rio Olympics

Roger Federer says he'll be teaming up with Martina Hingis for Switzerland in mixed doubles at next year's Rio Olympics.

Federer wrote Friday on Twitter that he is "really excited" about the pairing and posted a photo of the two tennis stars from what he said was 15 years ago.

Federer is 34, Hingis is 35.

Federer owns a record 17 Grand Slam singles titles. He also owns two Olympic medals: silver in singles at London in 2012, and gold in doubles with Stan Wawrinka at Beijing in 2008.

Rollback the years with @mhingis.  Really excited to be playing mixed doubles with you 15yrs later at the Rio games
~ Roger Federer Twitter

Hingis owns 20 major titles -- five in singles, 11 in women's doubles, four in mixed doubles -- and is a member of the International Tennis Hall of Fame. She retired from singles but still competes in doubles, winning women's and mixed titles at the U.S. Open in September.
My dream team.  Is it 2016 yet?!.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Serena & Hingis The Only 2 To Do This

Two of the WTA's biggest legends - Serena Williams and Martina Hingis - were both among the WTA Award winners that were announced earlier this week, Williams being voted 2015 WTA Player Of The Year and Hingis part of the 2015 WTA Doubles Team Of The Year, alongside Sania Mirza.

It wasn't their first time winning those specific WTA Awards, but still a fantastic finish to 2015.

But they've both won WTA Player Of The Year before. And WTA Doubles Team Of The Year, WTA Newcomer Of The Year, WTA Most Improved Player Of The Year and WTA Comeback Of The Year.

They're the only two players ever to win each and every one of the five biggest WTA Awards:

Martina Hingis

WTA Player Of The Year - 1997
WTA Doubles Team Of The Year - 1998 (w/Novotna), 1999 (w/Kournikova), 2015 (w/Mirza)

WTA Newcomer Of The Year - 1995
WTA Most Improved Player Of The Year - 1996
WTA Comeback Of The Year - 2006

Serena Williams

WTA Player Of The Year - 2002, 2008, 2009, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
WTA Doubles Team Of The Year - 2000 (w/V.Williams), 2009 (w/V.Williams)
WTA Newcomer Of The Year - 1998
WTA Most Improved Player Of The Year - 1999
WTA Comeback Of The Year - 2004

Another one of this year's winners, Venus Williams, has four of the five - WTA Newcomer Of The Year in 1997, WTA Player Of The Year in 2000, WTA Doubles Team Of The Year in 2000 and 2009, and WTA Comeback Player Of The Year this year. She's missing WTA Most Improved Player Of The Year.

And Hingis' doubles partner, Mirza, picked up the WTA Newcomer Of The Year award back in 2005.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Roger Federer parts ways with Stefan Edberg, welcomes Ivan Ljubicic to his team

Roger Federer will head into the 2016 ATP World Tour season with a new-look coaching team after announcing that Stefan Edberg would not be traveling with him next year. While countryman Severin Luthi will remain Federer’s head coach, joining the team in 2016 will be Croatian former World No. 3 player Ivan Ljubicic.

Federer revealed Tuesday that Edberg originally signed on to the coaching team for one season only in 2014, but agreed to stay on in 2015.

Federer released a statement on his Facebook page and, saying: “After 2 very successful years, I would like to thank Stefan Edberg, my childhood idol, for agreeing to join my team. It was a dream come true. Although it was supposed to only be for 2014, Stefan was great and agreed to extend the partnership through this year, which I really appreciated.

“He taught me so much and his influence on my game will remain. He will always be a part of my team. Severin Luthi, who I have been working with since 2008, will continue to be my main coach and he will be joined by Ivan Ljubicic. Both Daniel Troxler, my physiotherapist and Pierre Paganini, my longtime fitness trainer, will remain part of my technical team.”

Edberg released a statement to, saying: “Roger and I had a wonderful two years together. When he originally approached me at the end of 2013, I committed to work with him for only a year. It became very clear from the start that this was going to be a special partnership, working with the greatest ambassador tennis has ever seen. It was exciting for me to be back out on tour and to see that the sport has made so much progress.

“The quality of tennis today is stronger than it has ever been. After an amazing 2014, I decided to continue on for another year, but with a clear understanding that it would be my last year given the time commitment. I believe Roger still has a lot left to give to the sport of tennis and is capable of winning the big events. Roger and I will remain close friends and I will always feel part of the Federer team. I hope to try and come watch Roger play some tournaments in 2016.”

Federer will make his 2016 debut at the Brisbane International, which begins January 3. Federer reached 1,000 career match wins in Brisbane last year en route to the title.

Tuesday, December 08, 2015

Martina Hingis and Sania Mirza Fan Favourites & WTA Doubles Team of the Year

For Martina Hingis and Sania Mirza, 2015 could hardly have gone any better. After a flawless start to life as a team, in which they won their first three tournaments, Hingis and Mirza hit their first bump in the road during the clay court season, falling early in both Stuttgart and Madrid before being upset by Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Lucie Safarova in the French Open quarterfinals.

From then on, though, they were virtually untouchable, winning 34 of their next 37 matches to take home titles at Wimbledon, the US Open, Guangzhou, Wuhan, Beijing and the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global.

Unsurprisingly, their remarkable feats resulted in them winning the WTA Doubles Team Of The Year award by a landslide. The pair have no intention of resting on their laurels.

"Martina and I have had an incredible year and I feel honored that we have been voted as the WTA Doubles Team Of The Year by the international media. We hope to continue with our dream run in 2016," Mirza said.

Next year, Hingis and Mirza will look to add to their already impressive trophy haul, as they chase down the greats, like former WTA Doubles Team Of The Year winners Martina Navratilova and Pam Shriver (1981-88), and Gigi Fernández and Natasha Zvereva (1993-95 and 1997).

"It is a great honor to be recognized as the WTA Doubles Team Of The Year by the international media," Hingis said. "Sania and I have enjoyed every minute of the season and we hope to continue in 2016 in the same fashion. We both appreciate all the support that we have received from the fans, the media, the tournaments and the tour."

Hingis and Mirza were the choice of 98% of the media polled for the WTA Doubles Team Of The Year award. They also won the fan vote with 58%.

Monday, December 07, 2015

Roger Federer to play mixed doubles with Martina Hingis at Rio Olympics

Geneva (AFP) - Roger Federer is expected to play mixed doubles with fellow Swiss national Martina Hingis at the 2016 Olympic games in Rio, Le Matin Dimanche newspaper reported, revealing what the paper called a "Dream Team".

There had been widespread speculation that the two Swiss stars would team up.

Hingis had reportedly made the offer to play with Federer and was waiting for a response from the winner of 17 Grand Slam titles.

"Federer will play with Hingis. It's decided," Le Matin Dimanche said in a report that listed the composition of the Swiss "probable teams" for Rio.

Federer had reportedly promised to declare his openness to the prospective Hingis pairing by the end of the year.

Federer is also set to play men's doubles with Stan Wawrinka, the current world number four, with 11 ATP titles to his name, the paper reported.

Swiss Davis Cup captain Severin Luethi, who will also lead the tennis squad in Rio, was quoted by the paper saying the goal for the 2016 summer games was "to win all the gold medals".

"Why not?... We can always dream," he said.

Hingis will play women's doubles with Belinda Bencic, a rising star who cracked the women's tour in 2011 and has already claimed more than $2 million in career earnings.

Bencic will also play mixed doubles with Wawrinka, according to the report.

Sounds too good to be true. Seems there are a lot of conflicting reports on the subject.  Until I actually hear the words from Roger's mouth I won't believe any of them.

Sunday, December 06, 2015

Martina Hingis: Wimbledon win with Sania Mirza was special

SWISS Miss Martina Hingis has won as many as five Grand Slam doubles titles this season. But due to the sheer intensity of the events that unfolded there, she singled out her women’s doubles win with India’s Sania Mirza at the Wimbledon as the best one. Incidentally, it was first Grand Slam title for an Indian woman in women’s doubles category.

“I love all the five (laughs), But still I suppose the Wimbledon victory with Sania was something special. We came back after a one-set deficit. We were lagging 5-2 in the third set but rallied again to square it at 5-5. Then there was a break...then the roof (of the Centre Court) had to be closed. 

“With the lights on, it looked like a concert hall. It was a different feeling altogether,” recalled Hingis, while talking to reporters here on Thursday. Her team, Hyderabad Aces, would face Nagpur Orangers in their last tie of the Champions Tennis League on Friday.
For the record the Indo-Swiss pair, playing just their second Grand Slam together, prevailed 5–7, 7–6 (7–4) , 7–5 over Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina.

In the same breath, Hingis remembered her season opening Australian Open mixed doubles title win with Leander Paes. “Well, it was special too. Another Grand Slam title coming for me after a huge gap of 17 years.”

On the qualities of Mirza and Paes as doubles players, Hingis said, “Both started as singles players and did well too, so to term them only doubles players is not just. Sania has got one of the best forehands in women tennis and if she had remained injury free early in her career, she would have been certainly a good singles players too.

“And Paes is a brilliant player. He is a great athlete and a very good anticipator. The best thing common to both is they enjoy challenges. They are positive players and fight till the last point.”
When asked whether she has plans to open any academy, Hingis said, “My mom is already running an academy. I go there whenever I find time. I love the action part of the sport and would prefer the role of a coach than say working behind the curtains or even doing commentary. Presently, I am enjoying my comeback and want to continue with the doubles for quite some time.”

Hingis was all praise for the CTL. “I am liking it therefore I am back for the second year. Playing at different places and as a team is a new concept in tennis. Vijay (Amritraj, the brain behind the league) is doing a great job by bringing so many top players under one roof. This will help the game immensely in India.”

Having almost perfected the art of playing doubles, Hingis may be seen in action at Rio Olympics. “Yes, I am trying. If everything goes well, you may see me participating at Rio,” she concluded.

Saturday, December 05, 2015

Roger Federer still undecided about Rio Olympics mixed doubles with Martina Hingis

Roger Federer could team up with fellow Swiss tennis star Martina Hingis in the mixed doubles category at the Rio Olympics next year. However, Swiss Davis Cup captain Severin Luthi revealed it will take until the end of the year for the Swiss Maestro to decide whether to play in that category.

Federer has stated his intentions on playing in the 2016 Rio Olympics, most likely in the men’s singles category, but Hingis, who has won five Grand Slam titles in singles category and 11 in playing doubles, is hoping that the world No. 3 could be her partner in the mixed doubles category.

"We know that Martina Hingis is awaiting a reply from Roger Federer to possibly team up in mixed doubles in Rio,” Luthi said, reports Vavel. “But I called Martina to say that Roger gave himself up to the end of the year to decide. Because playing three tables (note: men's singles, men's doubles and mixed doubles) in ten days, it's still a lot.”

Federer could also play mixed doubles with Belinda Becic and Timea Bacinsky, who both have a breakout season this year. Luthi claimed that if all the players are going to be in top form come the Olympic Games, there is a chance that Swiss tennis round up all the gold medals in Rio.

Meanwhile, Federer and world No. 4 Stan Wawrinka are questionable to play in the Davis Cup tie in March next year. Federer and Wawrinka led Switzerland last year over France to win the Davis Cup title. Luthi said, “Fedrinka” will be doubtful for the tournament next year, but the forfeit of both players is still not official.

“The forfeit is still not official, but with Olympics in Rio and busy schedule, it seems difficult for Stan and Roger,” Luthi said, reports Tennis World USA.


Friday, December 04, 2015

Martina Hingis on her mom

It takes four letters to spell “hero,” but just three to spell Martina Hingis’: Mom.

The stars of our sport shared stories about their heroes, both in life and on the court, and how these idols shaped who they are today. For more "My Hero" submissions, click here.

My biggest influence was my mother; she is my life mentor. She guided me through my life, teaching me everything. In sport, I think she's the greatest coach, for not only me but now Belinda Bencic. She always tries to make the most of the moment and the situation, and gave me a chance in life.

I think we all appreciate our parents more as we get older. Our parents are always there for us. Sometimes you don't want to hear it, but then you digest it. I'm almost in touch with her now more than before, about tennis and life.

I still use the lessons she gave me, and it's great that I still have her to talk to about things. She was watching Wimbledon, [when I won the doubles and mixed titles], and I saw her after and we celebrated. She's so experienced. Now I'm smart enough to listen.

Thursday, December 03, 2015

5 Roger Federer records that may never be broken

Roger Federer and records are inseparable! Throughout the 17 years of his professional career, the 17-time Slam champion and former World No. 1 has set several humongous records that underline his exceptional skills on the court. Even at 34 years of age, the Swiss maestro – now ranked No. 3 – is continuously adding to his legacy with new accomplishments.

Federer is all set to mesmerize International Premier Tennis League (IPTL) fans with his fluid game when he dons the UAE Royals jersey in December. (For tickets to the UAE Royals matches, click here).

But before that, let’s have a look at five of his amazing tennis records could stand the test of time, and which are likely never to be broken:

#5 56 consecutive hardcourt wins

One of the most outstanding streaks of Roger Federer on an individual surface is his 56-match winning record on hardcourts that stretched from Rotterdam in February 2005 till Dubai in February 2006. His win over Bohdan Ulihrach in the Rotterdam first round set off the streak and it was the 19-year-old Rafael Nadal who upended Federer in the 2006 Dubai final, thereby halting his run.

This incredible feat remains the longest hardcourt winning streak in the Open Era.

The fact that Federer never lost on hardcourts for a whole year makes it even more unbelievable when you consider that almost 70% of the tour is played on hardcourts these days. This record thoroughly underlines the former World No. 1’s hegemony during his peak years and his versatility on both outdoor and indoor courts.

The World No. 3 is also the holder of the most number of wins on hardcourt – 660 – but it is his invincibility during 2005-2006 that takes centrestage and makes us appreciate what a genius he truly is!

#4 24 straight finals won

Federer’s ability to raise his level in tournament finals is evidenced by the fact that he won as many as 24 consecutive summit clashes from 2003 to 2005.

The run began at the 2003 ATP Vienna final where he overpowered Carlos Moya, and ended at the 2005 Tennis Masters Cup final where he was upstaged by old foe David Nalbandian in five gruelling sets.

This was a new Open Era record set by Federer; he surpassed the previous record of 12 straight final wins shared by the former World No. 1s Bjorn Borg and John McEnroe. Due to this astounding streak, the UAE Royals member also had another unprecedented accomplishment in 2004 when he became the first male player ever to win a minimum of 10 titles in a season without losing a single final!

#3 Ranked No. 1 at three consecutive Olympics

One of the better indicators of Federer’s longevity and his high level of play even after turning 30 is the fact that he was ranked World No. 1 and seeded No. 1 at three consecutive Olympics – 2004 Athens Olympics, 2008 Beijing Olympics and the 2012 London Games.

The 17-time major champion was, however, not uninterruptedly at the No. 1 position in the ATP rankings during this eight-year period, as he was usurped by his long-time rivals Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic in the interim.

But the sheer length of the period during which he was at or near the top of the sport gives a clear picture of Federer’s hunger and desire to compete at the highest level, and his ability to seize the No. 1 spot from rivals far younger than him.

This is a peerless record set by the Basel-born tennis ace and he remains the only player, male or female, in the history of the game to achieve this.

#2 24 consecutive victories vs top 10 opponents

Another of Roger Federer’s unmatched records is his mastery over top 10 opponents during his prime. He prevailed over every player ranked in the top 10 from October 2003 to January 2005.

The mind-boggling 16-month winning streak started at the 2003 Tennis Masters Cup with his win over the then-fifth ranked Andre Agassi, and was snapped by World No. 4 Marat Safin at the 2005 Australian Open semifinals.

Some of his victims during this stretch included Slam champions Lleyton Hewitt, Carlos Moya, Andy Roddick, Gaston Gaudio, Marat Safin and Juan Carlos Ferrero, apart from Agassi multiple times.

This record stands testimony to the UAE Royals player’s grasp over every surface and his ability to counter every kind of game, and the streak doesn’t look likely to ever be repeated.

#1 237 consecutive weeks at No. 1

Proof of Federer’s supremacy and ruthless domination over the rest of the tour during his heyday lies in the number of weeks he consecutively reigned at the World No. 1 position. The period was a staggering 237 weeks that started on February 2, 2004 and ended on August 17, 2008, when his nemesis Rafael Nadal wrested the top ranking from the Swiss maestro.

Federer has helmed the top spot for a total of 302 weeks during different phases of his career, which itself is another record, but the successive weeks’ record is incredibly impressive whichever way you look at it.

Needless to say, since the inception of the computerized ATP Rankings in 1973, such a prolonged stranglehold of the numero uno spot has never happened, and it looks unlikely to be replicated.

Wednesday, December 02, 2015

Martina Hingis beats Heather Watson in in Champions Tennis League singles match

Hyderabad: Hyderabad Aces defeated V Chennai Warriors 25-19 in a Champions Tennis League (CTL) match at the Sports Authority of Telangana State stadium here after the host team won four of the five sets in the match on Monday. (Click here for latest Tennis stories)

In a format where the winner is decided on the basis of total number of points in the five-set match, Hyderabad piled up 25 points against Chennai's 19.

The five sets are Legends Singles, Women's Singles, Mixed Doubles, Men's Doubles and Men's Singles.

Hyderabad had an easy victory in the Legends Singles, the first of the five set game, with the host team's Thomas Johansson trouncing Chennai's Rainer Schuettler 5-3.

The exciting set of the day was the Women's Singles clash between Swiss veteran Martina Hingis of Hyderabad Aces and Chennai's Heather Watson from Great Britain, who is currently ranked 55 in WTA Women's Singles rankings.

The contest provided yet another opportunity for the spectators in Hyderabad to witness the class of Hingis in a singles cotest.

Putting up a determined fight, the Swiss Miss, cheered lustily by her supporters, crushed her 23-year-old opponent to score a 5-2 victory, which set off instant celebrations by the spectators.

The Chennai side comprising Fernando Verdasco and Heather Watson put up a stiff resistance in the next set of Mixed Doubles against Ivo Karlovic and Martina Hingis of Hyderabad.

The match was a long-drawn affair with both sides refusing to let go of any chance to score a point. Heather Watson was agile on the court making quick points with her forehand shots.

The tight match resulted in a tie-breaker with both sides equalling the score at four. The seasoned Hingis and Karlovic, however, prevailed in the end scoring a 5-4 victory.

Continuing its domination into the fourth set, Hyderabad's Ivo Karlovic and Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan thrashed Fernando Verdasco and Vishnu Vardhan 5-4 in the Men's Doubles set.

The Men's Doubles set too was a close call with a tie-breaker thrown up, but the Hyderabad's players had the last laugh.

With Hyderabad having an edge of seven points (20-13) after the Men's Doubles set, the last set of Men's Singles was rendered inconsequential.

In the tight match that too resulted in a tie-breaker, Chennai's Fernando Verdasco beat Hyderabad's ivo Karlovic 5-4 and the score was 24-18.

However, both sides got 1-1 each in a Super game over as the Men's Singles was continued and the final tally stood at 25-19.