Friday, December 30, 2016

Roger Federer back in Australia at Hopman Cup in Perth

Just as tennis has missed Roger Federer during his six-month lay off, it’s clear that the Swiss star has missed the game too.

Barely in Perth for 24 hours, Federer has already completed several practice sessions at Perth Arena – one of them before more than 6000 enraptured fans – and hit with Western Australian Premier Colin Barnett and local juniors at Cottesloe Beach.

It points to the positive intentions Federer holds in his return to Perth, as he teams with Belinda Bencic for Switzerland at Mastercard Hopman Cup.

“It’s about just getting into the rhythm, getting into the groove. Not getting injured is obviously most important but then I think I can actually play really good tennis towards the end of the week,” said Federer.

“At the beginning it’s going to be let’s see how it’s all going to go, but then again I’ve surprised myself in the first matches of the year as well … what I can tell you is that I will be what I can tell you is that I’m going to give it 100 per cent and try my very best every time I step on court.

He relishes the opportunity to compete alongside Bencic, who at 19 years old is the same as Federer when he teamed with Martina Hingis to claim the Hopman Cup for Switzerland in 2001.

“She’s very talented, she’s hard working.” he said of Bencic. “I don’t know her that well yet so after this week all that’s going to change because we’re going to be spending time on court and also away from the court doing promotions, and also probably spending New Years together.

“I’m just going to try to help her with her game, give my advice if I can and then let’s just have a good time and you know, cheer each other on.”

Also cheering Switzerland on will be the many fans who’ve warmly welcomed the team to Perth.

“It’s been a wonderful welcome,” said Federer, who was delighted to experience the iconic Cottesloe Beach. “People seem super excited, personally, me and my family have been looking forward to this trip for weeks now.

“Definitely I feel the love. People are so nice to us. I don’t get this kind of welcome every week so this is really nice and I definitely enjoy local places of the city and of the whole of Western Australia. It’s beautiful. I hope of course that I can see a bit more this week.”

Those fans will be thrilled to know that despite the injury that limited his 2016 season, retirement is far from the 35-year-old’s thinking.

“I mean, only when I get asked do I think of things like this, you know,” said the 17-time Grand Slam champion.

“But honestly I don’t see it like this that this could be my last Australian trip, you know, even though it might very well be.

“I’m really positive and I took these six months off so I would be playing for hopefully another two to three years, not just another six months or so. My insight is for the long term.”

In the shorter term, Federer is focusing on his debut at Mastercard Hopman Cup 2017, when Switzerland take on Great Britain in Monday’s night session. Typically positive, he notes that it will be a fresh start for both players when he meets world No.66 Dan Evans in the new season.

“I think he’s coming off five or six weeks off, which is a long time in tennis terms. So it’s the start of the year for everybody, for me it’s maybe a bit of a longer stretch (that) I’m coming back from but it’s just good playing in front of people again,” he said.

“I’ve been playing you know so many times in front of nobody so it felt great yesterday playing in so many thousands of people.”

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Martina Hingis on maturity at 36

Tennis - Former World No. 1 Martina Hingis says she is happy and content with her life at the age of 36. Hingis says she is happy with her 2016 season, during which she won the Australian Open with Sania Mirza and the Olympic silver medal with Timea Bacsinzsky. In an interview to Blick, the Swiss star says,

"I do not live so much in the past. Sure, it was a beautiful year. Winnning the silver medal with Timea Bacsinszky at the Olympic Games is one of the highlights of the year. The Swiss tennis team had some bumps. In the end Timea and I stayed. And we made a little miracle."

Talking about her preference for the winter season, Hingis says, 

"Yes. I'm not a beachgirl. I love the winter, the snow, the mountains and lakes and rivers. I like sitting in front of a fireplace. And I have time. For me, for my horse, for the family."
Talking about her age and rising to the top as a teenager, Hingis says, 

"36 is probably a good age for a woman. You have experienced things, you have a certain maturity, you feel attractive. I came at 15 into this glittering world. Practically from day to day. This is not always easy. At 16, you can not control everything. At 17, the hormones came. I have always been an open-minded person, and have preserved this innocence and openness to this day. I still see the good in people. Of course you will be more cautious. But I want to stay the way I am. I'm an emotional girl with lots of ups and downs. That sometimes helps."

As someone who's about to turn 35 in a few days, I have to agree. 

Monday, December 26, 2016

Roger Federer says injury lay-off will prolong tennis career

Roger Federer says his six-month absence from tennis due to a knee injury could help prolong his playing career.

The 35-year-old Swiss had surgery on his left knee in February and, after missing the French Open with a back injury, announced in July that he needed extensive rehabilitation and would be sidelined for the rest of the season.

Federer returns to action at the Hopman Cup, starting on January 1, which he will play in for the first time since he teamed up with his now wife Mirka in 2002. He will partner compatriot Belinda Bencic, 19, at the international team tournament in Perth.

The 17-time grand slam champion said it was a tough call to take a six-month break and he looked at the bigger picture before deciding.

"I do believe that it could be very beneficial for the future of my tennis career," he told reporters.

"To have had this six-month lay-off, rejuvenated, refreshed ... maybe mentally I needed this rest more than I thought I would. Maybe my body needed a rest more than I thought it would. I tried to look at the big picture, I hope it's going to pay off.

"At least one thing I know now is I have no regrets. I did everything this year to get my body back in shape.

"It didn't feel too gruelling, too long, too hard to go through this process. I have actually enjoyed it."

For much of his career, the former world number one had been blessed with a body that seemed bullet-proof against the aches, pains and injuries suffered by most top athletes.

Until May this year, Federer had appeared in 65 successive majors and the last time he was absent from one of the four majors was at the 1999 US Open.

But his semi-final defeat by Canadian Milos Raonic at Wimbledon, which saw him drop to 16 in the world rankings, was his last professional match of 2016.

Federer said his goal was to get fully fit and he was looking forward to a few matches in Perth before the year's first grand slam starts later in the month in Melbourne.

"This year is unique because maybe this is the year more than any time before where I do need matches at the beginning of the season," Federer said, adding he was doing everything possible to add more major trophies to his overflowing cabinet.

"Matches have a different intensity about it and your body reacts according to it."

Federer said he had expected Andy Murray to be world number one at some point but was surprised the Briton finished the year at the top of the rankings ahead of Serb Novak Djokovic.

"That just gives even more credit to Andy for not [just] becoming world number one, but finishing world number one," he said.

"Those are two separate things. Becoming world number one for a week or finishing a year as world number one, it's a different animal."

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Roger Federer is GQ's most stylish man for 2016

Roger Federer has a new bullet point to add to his impressive list of accomplishments: Most Stylish Man.

The 35-year-old married father of four beat out Thor actor Tom Hiddleston to be called 2016's Most Stylish Man by GQ. As many Federer matches have gone throughout his 18-year career, the final contest was a blowout. Federer won more than 60 per cent of the fan vote against Hiddleston.

Before the final, the Swiss star had cruised through the 64-person draw by beating (in order) former One Direction member Zayn Malik, actor Ryan Gosling, actor Steven Yeun, rapper Kanye West and actor Jared Leto. Federer will make his return to tennis next month.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Roger Federer says he enjoyed the break but is ready to come back to tennis

Roger Federer will make his comeback after not playing since Wimbledon
The 35-year-old 17-time grand slam winner will return to the court next month
Federer feels ready to play again after six months with his wife and children

Roger Federer has admitted he enjoyed a taste of retirement this year, but insisted that he still has no desire to make that permanent.

The Swiss legend is preparing to make his comeback next month after not playing since Wimbledon, and despite enjoying some quality months off with his family does not want to repeat the experience for a while yet.

'I think it was really exciting and good for us to have that time,' he told the New York Times. 'It felt good, you know? It did feel good but it can totally wait. No problem for me, it can totally wait.

'I did get that taste of retirement. All of a sudden I could be organised and say 'OK we're going to be four weeks at home in a row in the same place. Who do you want to go to dinner with Mirka? Or who shall we catch up with?'

However Federer, now 35 and holder of seventeen Grand Slam titles, added that his wife and four children are completely supportive of him extending his career.

He said: 'Mirka is totally committed, totally happy. The kids love it and I'm still hungry and now I'm even refreshed and rejuvenated. The kids were asking "When are we leaving again?"'

Federer aggravated a knee injury during Wimbledon and is currently preparing in Dubai for the Hopman Cup, the team event in Perth early next month where he will represent Switzerland against Great Britain, among others.

He kept a close eye on the battle for world number one towards the end of the season, and conceded that he was amazed Andy Murray – crowned on Sunday night as Sports Personality of the Year for the third time – had reined Novak Djokovic in so quickly.

Federer said: 'Novak, let's be honest, actually didn't play too badly in the second half. He won Toronto, he played in the finals of other tournaments - US Open, World Tour Finals.

'You would think that's going to be enough, but what it required was something extraordinary, and Murray was able to deliver that, and that's where I take my hat off.'

Murray only allowed the SPOTY presentation to be a brief interruption to his daily training programme in Miami, and went back and did some more afterwards.

He will fly back just before Christmas, spend a few days at home, and then play the Mubadala exhibition event in Abu Dhabi starting on December 29 and then the Qatar Open before flying on to Australia.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Roger Fedeerer & Rafael Nadal confirmed their participation at Aussie Open 2017

Tennis legends Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal are finally back on track. Now, the two icons return for the first major Grand Slam of the year, the Australian Open 2017.

This year has not been good to both tennis players as they missed several matches in the 2016 season. Sportskeeda reports that Federer and Nadal are both in good condition. Moreover, most fans were glad that they will return in time for the big event.

The duo, also called ‘Fedal’, have confirmed their participation in the Australian Open 2017. It seems that fans missed their on-court rivalry. However, the wait is over as the two will have their comeback on January 16 to 29 next year.

Federer underwent surgery and was required to have rehabilitation of the knee. Meanwhile, Nadal had to fully recover first before going back to playing. He had troubles with his left wrist. It’s good news that the tennis icons have redeemed themselves.

It’s no question that the two belong to the greatest tennis players in the world. In a report by Yahoo Sports, tournament director Craig Tiley expressed his excited in the upcoming Australian Open. Aside from the comeback of the two icons, they are welcoming new big names in the tennis world.

Furthermore, the two tennis stars also seem excited for their comeback next year. “Like all players, they can’t wait to get to Melbourne and start the year off well,” Tiley said.

Tiley also revealed that Federer has chosen the Hopman Cup as his season opener while Nadal chose to make his debut at Brisbane International. Fans should definitely not miss the comeback of the duo.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Roger Federer aims to win Stuttgart title in his 2017 comeback

Roger Federer has set his goals of winning the Mercedes Benz Cup in Stuttgart next year, when the Swiss Maestro returns to the Tour coming off a knee injury.

In a video posted by the Mercedes Cup's official account in Instagram, Federer revealed his goals of winning the ATP 250 grass tournament in Stuttgart.

''I'm really working to hard to get ready for 2017 and to play at the Mercedes Cup in Stuttgart in June,'' Federer said.

''I hope you can be there and follow me. This last time I came really close, but not close enough to win the title and drive home in a nice Mercedes Benz. So, hopefully, I can do it 2017.''

It will be Federer's second-straight appearance at the event after making his debut last year. The 17-time Grand Slam winner had an impressive run at the Mercedes Benz cup, but was halted by Austrian youngster Dominic Thiem in the semifinal round of the tournament.

Federer is coming off the worst season in his career, suffering setbacks and injuries that prevented him from winning a single title this year. After suffering a knee injury a day after his Australian Open loss to Novak Djokovic, the Swiss was sidelined for more than two months before occasionally being bothered by back problems.

Rarely did fans see Federer flashed his old form, and when he is finally playing remarkable tennis at Wimbledon, the Basel native re-injured his surgically repaired knee, forcing him to skip the remainder of the season.

Nevertheless, his recent injuries have never stopped Federer's determination to come back stronger and better at the Tour. Federer, who started the year as world No. 3, now sits at No. 16, his lowest place in the ATP world rankings in over a decade. But while Federer recognizes the road back atop the summit, he vows to train well to get regain his position in the leaderboard.

"I have thought about that these few weeks-what'll it be like when I return...will I feel pressure," Federer said, reports Tennis. "I will have dropped a few rankings".

"But if I can train the way I am hoping [during the offseason], I'm thinking that I can quite rapidly rejoin."

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Martina Hingis: Women's tennis hasn't become smarter

She was once the pre-eminent player in women's tennis, dazzling fans all over the world with her uncanny court craft and sublime skills.

Martina Hingis is 36 now, and owns five Grand Slam singles titles.

She was in town over the last few days playing for the UAE Royals in the Singapore leg of the Coca-Cola International Premier Tennis League (IPTL).

Once known as the Swiss Miss, she is now a doubles star, forming a brilliant partnership with India's Sania Mirza.

On Thursday, Hingis spoke to the media here, and was blunt about the current state of the women's game.

Said Hingis: "I think the material, like the strings for example, have all changed. Everything has had an evolution.

"But I would not necessarily say that the women's tennis game has made progress in becoming a smarter game.

"I think before, education in the players was stronger, now it's more individual and one-sided. There are only a few players left who are creative and are strategic players.

"I would not say the standard of the game has improved.

"The depth is getting more physical, but not the quality."

Hingis was never known for having a power game and there is a school of thought she was hurried out of the game early because of the dominance of Serena and Venus Williams.

What she had in abundance was tennis skills, which led to her becoming the the youngest Grand Slam singles winner in the 20th century when she won the 1997 Australian Open at age 16 years and 3 months.

Back in her day, Hingis said "power-play" was common, but other styles also flourished.

"When you talk to me about power-play, I am familiar with it because I was around when there was power-play," she asserted.

"I think it was more difficult for the power players at that time to succeed, because there was Justine (Henin), (Amelie) Mauresmo, there were different players that had game, even Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario had a winning record against Serena."

Hingis returned to the court in 2005 but was suspended in 2007 by the International Tennis Federation (ITF) for substance abuse.

She continued to play exhibition matches before making a comeback in doubles in 2013, and has won three Grand Slam titles with India's Sania Mirza.

When asked why she decided to return as a doubles player, she said she just decided to take a chance.

Said Hingis: "I was playing doubles with Sabine Lisicki in Miami in 2013, winning the tournament and it felt good.

"That was when I realised I still had some game in me and this would definitely be the last chance to actually play.

"It's not like I have 10 years ahead of me.

"It was always at the back of my head to come back and play some doubles, so that's what I did it and everything now is all a bonus which is unbelievable."

Hingis had some epic matches against Serena and she acknowledged the longevity of the American superstar, whom many have hailed as the greatest in the history of the game.

Hingis is one of a few to have beaten both Serena and Venus at the same tournament, the 2001 Australian Open, only to lose in the final to Jennifer Capriati.

When asked about her games against the Williams sisters, she said: "I enjoyed playing those matches because I think it always brings the best tennis out of us.

"I still see comments which show that people enjoy watching the games that I played against the Williams sisters.

"That's quite nice."

Friday, December 09, 2016

Roger Federer training in Dubai in preparation for return in January

Roger Federer's comeback is closer and closer. The Swiss player is practicing hard in Dubai, where he arrived a month ago to continue his pre-season, with the World No. 141 Ernesto Escobedo, a 20-year-old player from America.

Federer is in Dubai with all his team: it means his physical trainer Pierre Paganini, his two coaches Severin Luthi and Ivan Ljubicic. Here is Roger and Escobedo with their own teams.

2017 season will be very interesting not only to see how Federer will play but also the other top players.

Federer, who these days practiced with Mackenzie McDonald as well, will make his comeback at the Hopman Cup where he will play alongside his compatriot Belinda Bencic, who said she is excited to play with Roger. 

'It's a dream come true. I can't believe I will play with Roger. I mean, me, Belinda Bencic. I am so happy, not many people can say they played alongside Federer in doubles. Hopefully I am not too much nervous', Bencic told Blick. They will play their first match on Monday January 2 against the British players Dan Evans and Heather Watson.

Wednesday, December 07, 2016

Roger Federer's Injury Return Delayed After Problems In India

A cash crisis in India means tennis fans will have to wait for another few weeks to see Roger Federer return to the court. Having not played since Wimbledon because of a knee injury, the 14-time Grand Slam champion was due to play in the International Premier Tennis League, a lucrative exhibition event, in India on Dec. 10. However, the collapse of the Indian currency led organizers to state earlier this week that neither Federer nor 22-time Grand Slam winner Serena Williams would be competing as planned.

Federer's comeback will have to wait until 2017, when he is due to begin his build-up to the Australian with the Hopman Cup. The Swiss legend will be teaming up with compatriot Belinda Bencic at the event in Perth, with their opening match coming against the Great Britain team of Dan Evans and Heather Watson, Jan. 2.

The Australian Open will then get underway Jan. 18.

It was in the aftermath of the first Grand Slam of the year that Federer first suffered a knee injury that ended up blighting his 2016. After losing to Novak Djokovic in the semifinals of the Australian Open, Federer was preparing a bath for his twin daughters when he damaged his knee, requiring surgery and two months on the sidelines.

He later withdrew from the French Open. And, although he reached the semifinals of Wimbledon he subsequently announced his decision to sit out the rest of the season in order to get fully recovered for 2017. Despite sparking speculation over his long-term future, Federer insisted that he only took the decision because he still planned on competing at the top of the game for several years to come.

As well as his advancing years, the 35-year-old will face a fresh challenge when he returns to the tour. During his absence, Federer has slipped to 16th in the ATP rankings, the first time he has been out of the top 10 since 2002. It is likely to mean a tough draw at the Australian Open and perhaps a meeting as early as the fourth round with either defending champion Novak Djokovic or new world No. 1 Andy Murray.

Sunday, December 04, 2016

Martina Hingis wins big for IPTL Tennis

The Swiss Miss has been a major contributor in the International Premier Tennis League (IPTL).

Martina Hingis may be 36 years old and long retired from singles tennis on the WTA Tour. However, that doesn’t mean that the former World No. 1 doesn’t have her game together and it showed on the IPTL courts in Japan over the last few days.

Hingis is a part of the UAE Royals, a tennis team that competed in the four-team IPTL. The event combines singles and doubles sets to make up matches with Hingis making a major contribution to her team’s efforts. Here’s what she did in three matches that came from Japan between December 2nd and December 4th inclusive:

December 2nd: Hingis beat Kiki Bertens 6-1
December 3rd: Hingis, partnered with Daniel Nestor, won mixed doubles 6-4
December 4th: Hingis beat Kirsten Flipkens 6-4 and won mixed doubles 6-4

There were a couple lost sets not mentioned above as well. However, with a 4-2 set record she is a major part of the team’s overall success. Furthermore, it’s really interesting that Hingis was able to beat both Bertens and Flipkens straight up. Those are two strong players on the women’s tour and you can’t help but wonder if Hingis would be a Top-25 player in singles if she was so inclined to compete on the WTA Tour in a capacity other than doubles.

Following matches in Japan, the Royals are the top team in the league with Roger Federer’s Indian Aces in second place. The league won’t play on Monday, which looks like a travel day for the players as the venue switches over to Singapore. However, Hingis is a mainstay for the upcoming matches that will come on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. She is listed as part of all that match details and her presence in the tournament helps make the Royals a very important team in the overall event.

So far Hingis has carried the load when it comes to the women’s contributions for the Royals. However, in Singapore she will get some help as Ana Ivanovic is expected to join the team. My guess is that Ivanovic will play in the women’s singles sets while Hingis, who won a silver medal in Rio for doubles, will probably play in the mixed doubles sets. The Royals are looking dangerous, however Serena Williams is expecting in Singapore as well and her presence in the tournament could certainly shake up the standings.

Saturday, December 03, 2016

IPTL reduces teams for season adds Roger Federer to Indian Aces

Roger Federer is a prior participant in the off-season International Premier Tennis League.

The International Premier Tennis League (ITPL) has reduced its schedule for its third season, which will feature four teams competing in three cities. Roger Federer is scheduled to play for the Indian Aces team, which will mark his first appearance since Wimbledon.

The off-season league will hold matches in Hyderabad, Tokyo and Singapore, before a finals playoff scheduled for Hyderabad. A team from the United Arab Emirates will also compete, but only on the road.

The Philippines is not taking part in the league this season, with IPTL owner Mahesh Bhupathi citing political unrest in the country. He said the league plans to return to having teams in five cities, and played down suggestions it was being affected by economic problems.

The Indian team has changed locations, having been in Delhi a year ago. The league has not specified the amount of matches or which matches Federer will be playing.

The reduced field suggests that team owners have trimmed their previously generous budgets for attracting top players. Other than Federer, the biggest names scheduled to compete are Serena Williams, Kei Nishikori and Tomas Berdych. Other active pros participating include Nick Kyrgios, Feliciano Lopez, Fernando Verdasco, Ana Ivanovic, Eugenie Bouchard and Jelena Jankovic, along with doubles specialists including Martina Hingis, Sania Mirza, Daniel Nestor and Rohan Bopanna.

Prior IPTL players Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray are not participating this year, and the field is also thinner further down the ranks.

Teams consist of six men's and women's players, along with a retired player as captain.

Friday, December 02, 2016

Martina Hingis & Ana Ivanovic to play with UAE Royal in IPTL

The International Premier Tennis League will run in the first half of December. The female players on the UAE Royals are two former World No. 1s.

The 2016 International Premier Tennis League (IPTL) season will start on December 2nd and it will run in three venues between then and December 11th. The league is different from either the ATP or the WTA in the sense that it invokes team-style tennis. It’s more like the Davis Cup than regular tour events, however a difference is that the teams are not based on international lines. Furthermore, the IPTL combines ATP players, WTA players, and legends’ players into the four-team event.

One team that features two strong female leads is the UAE Royals. Both Ana Ivanovic and Martina Hingis are a part of this team, two players that have each been ranked No. 1 by the WTA.

Ivanovic, who recently turned 29 years old, did not enjoy a strong 2016 season as she finished the year ranked just 63rd in the world. The Serbian, who won the 2008 French Open, has not contested a match since losing in the opening round at Flushing Meadows. However, you have to go all the way back to Mallorca in June to find a match-win on tour for Ivanovic as she made the quarterfinals of that WTA event. Despite her abilities, she enters the 2016 IPTL season as a bit of question mark and it’s not clear what kind of contribution she will make.

Martina Hingis enters the IPTL season as a key doubles player. Her and partner Sania Mirza made the Singapore World Tour Finals, an event that was played in late October. Although the two players’ 2016 season was not their best, Hingis did play a lot of doubles matches in 2016. She won a title in Rome and a silver medal at the Rio Olympics. Considered to be one of the best women’s players ever, Hingis promises to be a factor in the mixed doubles component of the IPTL, sets where she will probably partner with Canadian Daniel Nestor.

The exact pairings of players still aren’t known however the UAE Royals will face the Singapore Slammers on December 2nd. The two female players on the Slammers are Serena Williams and Kiki Bertens. Williams, despite finishing the 2016 season ranked 2nd, enters the event following injury. Bertens enjoyed a successful 2016, best highlighted by her run to the French Open semifinals back in the spring. If Williams is healthy, then I think the Slammers have the edge when it comes to the women’s contributions.

Thursday, December 01, 2016

Martina Hingis to decide on continued partnership with Coco Vandeweghe after Sydney and Aussie Open results

Tennis - Former World No. 1 Martina Hingis says that she will partner with American Coco Vandeweghe in Sydney and at the Australian Open and will then take a call if they will continue to partner together during the rest of the season.

In an interview to the Blick, Hingis says that one needs to be realistic and that if the partnership is successful, they will continue else they will part ways like she did with Sania Mirza, when the duo started faring poorly during the middle of the season.

When asked if she was disappointed that Roger Federer and Belinda Bencic withdrew from the Olympics, Hingis said, "I could not influence it. I then immediately called Timea and I was very happy that she said yes. When we met in Rio for the first time, I felt immediately that she was looking forward to it. It was a great experience. One that will connect us forever. Through the Fed Cup and Rio, the relationship has become even more intense and tighter."

Hingis also said that she is looking forward to the new WTA event in Biel next year. "This tournament is great for Swiss tennis. Still, it is a bit difficult to imagine where the stadium will be It is also great that there will be a pure tennis stadium in Biel."

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Roger Federer talks rivals and rankings as new season looms

Roger Federer has been missing in action since Wimbledon, but he had plenty to say when Baselinecaught up with him in April. Looking back, what he said was quite telling when you consider everything that has transpired since then.

At that time, he was ranked No. 3 and deciding whether to play Madrid as he eased his way back into the clay-court season after knee surgery in February.

"You could maybe see that [reaching No. 1] could spark motivation, [and] that would be an extra reason to play Madrid," Federer said. "But right now I think I’m in the part of my season ... at first I need to make sure I’m 100 percent. If it’s better for me to train for a week, I’ll do that over chasing No. 1, which honestly is less important to me."

The Swiss ended up entering Madrid at the last minute, before pulling out soon after with a back injury. He made no such indecisive moves after Wimbledon, choosing to end his season early after falling in the semifinals. His ranking began to slip until he exited the Top 10 for the first time since 2002.

"[My ranking] is not really a priority for me because I think it doesn’t matter if you’re No. 2, No. 3 or No 4—for me, anyway," Federer said in April.

Federer mentioned that being in the Top 8 is important for seeding purposes, but now that’s out of the question, at least for the Australian Open. There’s little chance that Federer imagined he would end up missing Roland Garros—the first major draw he didn’t appear in since 1999—and then the Olympics and the U.S. Open, falling to No. 16 after just seven tournaments and zero titles.

Federer is scheduled to return on January 1 for the Hopman Cup in Perth. There’s no telling what kind of shape—particularly match shape—he’ll be in for the season ahead. A lot has changed while he was away, and Andy Murray is the new king in town.

Even if his 2017 season goes poorly, the 35-year-old has already left his mark with a record 17 Grand Slams over a nearly 19-year career. His rivalries with Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal cost him many more majors—he lost to one of them in nine separate major finals— but the Swiss doesn’t look at it that way.

"I truly believe that if they wouldn’t have been around, somebody else would have been around," Federer said. "Or maybe they wouldn’t have pushed me to be so successful. I don’t know how to explain it, but I think I still would have the same amount of titles with or without them."

After Djokovic lost to Murray in the ATP World Tour Finals title match, Boris Becker implied that Djokovic’s year was hindered by the absences of Nadal and Federer. (Injuries forced Nadal out of Roland Garros and Wimbledon, and ended his season in October.)

"He didn't have any opponents anymore," Becker told CNN about his pupil, Djokovic. "His time was with Nadal, with Federer. [Murray] was always the fourth guy. So he lost a little bit of his opponents. Murray is showing something he hasn't shown before."

Becker also said that winning Roland Garros was a "pinnacle" achievement for Djokovic, and afterward he was a “bit off” since “he didn’t know what the next big goal would be.”

While the next big goal should have been obvious (perhaps the calendar-year Slam and/or a medal in Rio), the point about lacking rivals isn’t really that outrageous considering what Federer said.

Still, Murray has done more than his fair share of heavy lifting to earn rival status. In 2016 he won nine titles, including Wimbledon, Rio and the ATP World Tour Finals. While Djokovic leads their head to head 24-11, a closer look shows a 3-2 advantage for the Serb in 2016, compared to 6-1 in 2015.

Djokovic and Murray are sure to develop their rivalry and face off in more major finals in the near future. Federer’s future, meanwhile, is uncertain. But back in April, the Swiss wasn’t thinking about investing in a retirement plan just yet.

"Honestly, I don’t know," Federer said. "I spoke to [Stefan] Edberg. He announced [his retirement] at the beginning of the season and played the entire season … By the end of it, he was just exhausted. I honestly don’t know what it’s going to be for me. I just hope the body’s not going to call it."

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Roger Federer to play Andy Murray in a match for Africa next year

Former World No. 1 Roger Federer and current No. 1 Andy Murray will be playing a charity exhibition match against each other in Zurich, in Federer’s home country Switzerland early next year, the Swiss has revealed. The proceeds will go entirely to the 17-time Major winner’s foundation to support children in underpriviliged nations. The Roger Federer foundation aims to assist the underprivileged with access to education.

In a video posted to his Twitter page, Federer insisted, tongue-in-cheek, that the cameraman stay “above waist level” while filming. “Andy, it’s so great having you in Switzerland, and to play the third Match for Africa together,” he said. The camera later panned to show the Swiss dressed in a traditional Scottish kilt and long socks, mock-playing the bagpipes.

The Roger Federer Foundation’s Match for Africa 2 was played between the Swiss and compatriot and longtime friend Stan Wawrinka, who was fresh off his debut Grand Slam that year, in 2014, at the same venue this year’s event will be held – the Hallenstadion in Zurich.

The first ever edition of this tournament was played in 2010 between Federer and friend Rafael Nadal; that event saw two exhibition matches, with one played in Madrid, and the other in Zurich. Proceeds from the former went to Nadal’s foundation, while that in Zurich went to that of Federer. That event raised in excess of US$4 million, with further proceeds from the sale of part of the court there also going to charity.

The pair each won one match at that exhibition, with Federer downing Wawrinka at the next.

2016 has been somewhat of a year of contrasts for the pair. Federer, who had the longest reign as World No. 1 – at 377 weeks, this year saw himself drop out of the top 10 for the first time in nearly 15 years while Murray has skyrocketed.

Ever the consistent player, the Scot, sitting on the World No. 2 title, spent the year playing incredibly consistent tennis, chipping away at Djokovic’s 8,000 point lead to take the World No. 1 title – and win his third Grand Slam title with the trophy at Wimbledon this year.

An early exit for Djokovic at the Paris-Bercy Masters meant that Murray would take the World No. 1 rank; he also won the title there, making him top seed at the ATP World Tour Finals, currently ongoing in London. Although Djokovic is the defending champion there, it is Murra who is the favourite to win; Djokovic has also had to reach deep for victories at the event.

Should Murray win the World Tour Finals, he will become the year-end World No. 1 for 2016; and in doing so, be the oldest first-time World No. 1 in the Open Era.

The pair last played each other at the 2015 Cincinnati Masters, with Federer taking a straight sets win, so this will be an exciting prospect for fans in the new year.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

'The Last of Us' movie stuck at a standstill says Sam Raimi

BY JIM VEJVODA I attended a press lunch today for the upcoming home video release of Don't Breathe, during which time I was able to ask producer Sam Raimi about the status of the big screen version of the hit video game The Last of Us. And what he had to tell us wasn't very hopeful.

The movie was formally announced in March 2014 as being a Screen Gems release. The screenplay was penned by Naughty Dog's Neil Druckmann, the Creative Director for the game, who is also a producer on the film along with Raimi and his Ghost House Pictures company, Naughty Dog Co-Presidents' Evan Wells and Christophe Balestra, and Game Director Bruce Straley. In the ensuing years since that announcement, there were rumblings of Game of Thrones' Maisie Williams being courted to star and subsequent comments from Druckmann that the movie would boast "big changes" from the game's story.

Then this past April we learned some bad news about the film adaptation. During our chat with Neil Druckmann, he told IGN, "I know I said in an interview a while back we had a table read, got the script to a good place and it kind of entered development hell like these things tend to do. ... There hasn't been any work done on it in over a year and a half."

I asked Raimi today about Druckmann's comments and what the current status of the film was, which led to a dissection of how the film appears to have stalled over at Screen Gems' parent company Sony Pictures.

Said Raimi, "Well, unfortunately that one -- when we went to Neil with Ghost House Pictures we were hoping to get the rights like we do any project and then we'd take it out and sell it but we'd control the rights. With this one he went to Sony -- who I have a very good relationship with -- but they have their own plans for it and I think Neil's plan for it -- I'm not trying to be political -- Neil's plan for it is not the same as Sony's. And because my company doesn't have the rights, I actually can't help him too much. Even though I'm one of the producers on it the way he set it up, he sold his rights to Sony, Sony hired me as a producer by chance, and I can't get the rights free for him so I'm not in the driver's seat and I can't tell you what Sony and Neil together will decide on. If they do move forward I'd love to help them again."

When I pressed if Raimi was still attached to help produce the Last of Us movie, he replied, "Yes, I'm attached to it. I'm not too sure what that means. Right now it's just sitting there. They don't want to move forward, and it's not my place to say why, and Neil, I think, is in a slight disagreement with them about how things should go so there's a standstill. And I don't have the power to move it."

Damn it Sony, quit being stubborn and just let Neil Druckman do his thing already.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Roger Federer's former coach Stefan Edberg thinks he can still win a Grand Slam

Johannesburg: Former world number one Stefan Edberg believes Roger Federer, who has fallen outside the world’s top 10 for the first time since 2002, is still capable of beating the best and winning another grand slam title.

The Swiss ended his season in July in a bid to recover fully from knee surgery, although he is aiming to be fit for the Australian Open in January.

Ever since then, there have been significant changes at the top of the ATP Rankings, with Andy Murray rising to World No.1 replacing Serbia’s Novak Djokovic. Meanwhile, the 17-time grand slam champion has slid to 16th spot in the men’s rankings.

But, Federer’s former coach believes that the Swiss legend can win at least one more grand slam.

“I thought in the past years he would have won one, he was so close,” Edberg was quoted as saying by Sport24.

“It becomes even tougher, he is not young anymore but there is still hope. If there’s one who can do it, it’s Roger, but it will be an emotional challenge for him to come back next year,” he added. (ANI).

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Roger Federer wins ATP Fan Favourite Award for the 14th consecutive year

Roger Federer Tumblr tag

The ATP Awards for 2016 were announced on Thursday and as expected, Roger Federer was the pick of the lot.

The Swiss, who cut short his season after Wimbledon in July, bagged the honour as the Fans’ Favourite over Andy Murray, Kei Nishikori and Rafael Nadal that’s voted by fans. Federer won 56% of the votes cast. This is the 14th consecutive year that Federer has won this award, since winning it for the first time in 2003.

He also won the Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship award that’s voted by his peers, over Andy Murray, Stan Wawrinka and Rafael Nadal who were also nominated in the category. Federer won this award for the first time in 2004 and except for 2010, has won it across all these years.

Federer winning these awards has elated his fans, even as it has raised scepticism about him being picked as the winner since he didn’t play half the season, while the other nominees did.

In the other categories, the Bryan Brothers won the Fans’ Favourite in doubles extending their domination as the audiences’ favourite doubles team for a dozen successive years.

Magnus Norman, Stan Wawrinka’s coach won the inaugural ATP Coach of the Year award. Under the Swede, with whom he has been working since 2013, Wawrinka has won a Major in each of the last three years and peaked at a career high of No. 3 in the ATP singles rankings.

Juan Martin del Potro was selected as the Comeback Player of the Year. The Argentine was ranked outside the top-1000 at the start of the year, battling wrist injury but after a string of good performances has entered the top-40.

Marin Cilic was awarded with the Arthur Ashe Humanitarian award as an acknowledgement for the support his foundation provides to support promotion of education.

Lucas Pouille was awarded as the Newcomer of the Year, while Taylor Fritz was awarded as the ATP Star of Tomorrow. The 19-year-old American is the youngest player in the top-100 of the ATP rankings.

The awards for the year-end No. 1 singles player and doubles team will be determined next week, during the World Tour Finals. Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic are bidding to finish the year ranked in the first place. Jamie Murray and his partner Bruno Soares are meanwhile are engaged in a fight to the finish with the French team of Nicolas Mahut and Pierre-Hugues Herbert, who are currently the top-ranked doubles team.

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

Roger Federer & Belinda Bencic to play Hopman Cup together next year

It wasn't a remarkable 2016 season for Belinda Bencic. The Swiss had aimed to be in the top-10 of the WTA Rankings and instead had to leave the top-40, as injuries kept affecting her season. 'I dealt with it for the whole summer', Belinda said to Blick

'It wasn't easy, you don't know how much time it takes and you are afraid that it's returned. It has been a very difficult moment but you have to look forward. I am already working to prepare for the new season, no holidays for me this year.'

2017 season will start in a special way for her, at the Hopman Cup with Roger Federer. 'It's a dream come true. I can't believe I will play with Roger. I mean, me, Belinda Bencic. I am so happy, not many people can say they played alongside Federer in doubles. Hopefully I am not too much nervous!'.

Saturday, November 05, 2016

'Santina's' unsuccessful Singapore reunion provided a glimpse of why they broke up

The reunion of Sania Mirza and Martina Hingis for the WTA Singapore finals was highly awaited, a shade more than the prospect of watching the other seven teams compete in it.

The first team to qualify for the finals as early as May, lack of results mid-season saw them decide to part ways and begin newer associations: Mirza with Czech Barbora Strycova and Hingis with American Coco Vandeweghe.

The digressing roads taken also had digressing results for the former partners. Mirza continued to build upon her success with Strycova and came close enough to securing another place for herself in the Singapore finals with her new teammate. Results however did not go Hingis’s way as she would have wanted to, despite a strong start to her partnership with Vandeweghe, in Cincinnati and at the US Open.

Extended expectations

Coming back together at such a juncture to play this one last tournament then meant that Mirza and Hingis, known erstwhile as SanTina, would be playing under pressure. Of having to rekindle their on-court cohesion that had made them near-flawless for a year-and-a-half. And then, to try and defend their title with a changed format.

In 2015, the eight doubles teams, divided into two groups of four, played out round robin matches. The two leading teams from each group qualified for the semi-finals, which then saw two finalists. This year, the format was essentially a knock-out, with the teams starting off by playing the quarter-finals. Thus, while last year, there were a couple of opportunities for the teams to reach the penultimate stage of the tournament, this year they only received one chance to go ahead in the draw.

Mirza and Hingis did well in their quarter-final, defeating the Chan sisters from Chinese Taipei in straight sets. It wasn’t an easy match. Nor was it expected to be, since the two needed to get re-acclimatised to each other. The 7-6, 7-5 outcome did, in the end, prove that separated or not, the Mirza and Hingis teamwork camaraderie still worked.
Throwback to how it went wrong

Their 3-6, 6-2, 10-6 loss in the semi-final to the eventual champions Elena Vesnina and Ekaterina Makarova, however, was a recapitulation of what had started to go wrong in their partnership causing an abrupt truncation.

Since their loss in the Doha quarter-final that ended their 41-match victory streak, Mirza and Hingis struggled to sustain their rhythm across matches and tournaments. It would be wrong to say that they had not fallen short in tournaments in 2015 or that they were invincible all throughout the season. Between last year and this year, what had altered was their approach to tackling their losses and upsets.

Until the 2015 US Ope, which set the precedent for their long winning run, each defeat saw them sort out their difficulties with an inspired zest. This year, then, marked a reversal of this attribute of theirs, prompting them to call time on their collaboration, seemingly unseeing of the time, right before the US Open where they were previously expected to defend their title.

The tournament that saw the beginning of their domination then also went on to become the swivel for their careers. Not only as a team, but also individually. The US Open became the benchmark of what each had come to expect of their tie-up. Not being able to match up to themselves became the catalyst of their irrevocable ending.

Playing in Singapore was a transient interjection and a fitting endpoint to their association. After last week, Santina belong solely to the past. The future is about two distinct entities, Sania Mirza and Martina Hingis.

A sad but fair summation of their rightful split. 

It was fantastic to watch while it lasted though.  

I have no doubt that Martina will find magic with someone else, as she has many times before. 

It's just a matter of time.

Monday, October 31, 2016

Kim Clijsters welcomes third child

He finally arrived :-) Meet Blake Richard Lynch ... ❤️

Tennis - Former World No. 1 Kim Clijsters has given birth to her third child - Blake Richard Lynch, the Belgian star tweeted to her fans on Twitter on Sunday. 

The 33-year-old Clijsters is married to American basketball player Brian Lynch since 2007 and the two already had two children earlier - Jada Elle in February 2008 and Jack Leon Lynch in September 2013.

TennisWorld wishes the Clijsters family all the very best for the latest addition to their family.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Martina Hingis & Sania Mirza ousted out of WTA Finals in Singapore

Singapore: Indian star Sania Mirza and her Swiss partner Martina Hingis lost a hard-fought semi-final to crash out of the WTA Finals on Saturday.

The second-seeded Indo-Swiss combination squandered a one-set lead to go down 6-3, 2-6, 6-10 to the Russian pair of Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina.

Mirza-Hingis won the season-ending championships in 2015 but were edged out by the Russian duo in one hour and 30 minutes. The defending champions had split up in August this year, but reunited for one last time in an attempt to defend their title.

This win was Makarova and Vesnina's first triumph over the Indo-Swiss pair in five attempts. The second seeds created multiple opportunities to break their opponents but could only capatalise on four of the 15 break points they had. On the other hand, the Russians came back strongly after a poor opening set, and converted five out of the six break points that they set up in the match.

The fourth-seeded Russians will meet third seeds Lucie Safarova of Czech Republic and American Bethanie Mattek-Sands in the final on Sunday.

Safarova and Mattek-Sands defeated top seeds Caroline Garcia and Kristina Mladenovic 6-3, 7-5 in the other semi-final on Saturday. 'Team Bucie', as they are fondly called, are heading into the final on a 17-match winning streak, which started at the US Open.

As a result of Mirza's loss, Mattek-Sands now has a chance of replacing the Indian as the women's doubles world number one. If the Czech-American pair emerge victorious in the final on Sunday, the 2016 WTA year-end No 1 ranking will go to Mattek-Sands.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Martina Hingis & Sania Mirza reunited and back to winning ways in Singapore

Defending champions Martina Hingis and Sania Mirza won their first match together since August, surging past Chan Yung-Jan and Chan Hao-Ching to reach the semifinals in Singapore.

SINGAPORE - No.2 seeds and defending champions Martina Hingis and Sania Mirza won their first match as a pair since splitting in August, defeating Chan Yung-Jan and Chan Hao-Ching, 7-6(10), 7-5, to reach the semifinals at the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global and help keep Mirza's hopes of finishing 2016 at World No.1 alive.

Watch interviews and highlights from Singapore on the WTA Facebook page!

"It's great to be back in Singapore," Mirza said during their on-court interview. "It's also great to be back with Martina, and it's good to get that win."

The team formerly known as "Santina" started the season as the team to beat, riding a 41-match winning streak into the Middle East Swing and winning their third straight Grand Slam title at the Australian Open. Splitting in August, Hingis and Mirza vowed to defend their WTA Finals crown at year's end, and the two were true to their word come Friday afternoon.

"Our bond is what made us so strong, to win those tough points in the past," Hingis said. "No matter how you play, or what's happening on the court, you have to work through the tough moments and get the momentum going. It's been two months since we were last on court together, and it was great to be back out there with Sania."

Across the net were the Chan sisters, who came to Singapore having won their third title of the season at the Prudential Hong Kong Tennis Open; a formidable team in their own right, they were the last team to beat Hingis and Mirza before they began their aforementioned winning streak, the longest since Jana Novotna and Helena Sukova's 44 in 1990.

The Chans pushed the No.2 seeds into a tense first set tie-break, one that saw each team engineer three set points before the defending champions converted to take the opening set in just over an hour.

"They're a really tough team and we've played them a bunch of times," Mirza said. "But it was so important to win that first set. The momentum was in our favor after that, but it so tough and we had to stay mentally tough. I'm glad we got through."

Edging ahead an early break in the second, Santina appeared on course for a straightforward victory before the No.6 seeds roared back from a 2-4 deficit, winning three games in a row to get within one game of a match tie-break.

Undaunted, Hingis and Mirza won the last three games to advance into their second straight semifinal in Singapore. Awaiting them in the final four will be either Olympic Gold medalists and No.4 seeds, Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina, or 2012 WTA Finals runner-ups Andrea Hlavackova or Lucie Hradecka.

Battle For Year-End No.1 Continues

Friday's win keeps Mirza in the hunt to retain her No.1 ranking through the end of the season,

Mirza is up against top seeds Caroline Garcia and Kristina Mladenovic along with No.3 seed Bethanie Mattek-Sands, all of whom have a change to take the top spot.

The French must go one round better than Mirza, while Mattek-Sands will have to win the title to unseat the Indian star.

Garcia/Mladenovic and Mattek-Sands (with partner Lucie Safarova) all advanced into the semifinals on Thursday.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Sony's 'Uncharted' movie gets a director

Uncharted has set its course by finding a director.

Night at the Museum’s Shawn Levy will direct Sony’s adaptation of the popular video game franchise, EW has confirmed. Joe Carnahan, who’s directing Bad Boys for Life with Will Smith and Martin Lawrence, penned the most recent version of the script. No release date has been pinned yet after the studio moved it from its June 30, 2017 slot.

The Uncharted franchise tracks adventurer Nathan Drake and his world travels hunting for artifacts and treasure. Naughty Dog and Sony’s series has garnered acclaim for its four games. Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End holds a 93 aggregate rating on Metacritic, tabbed as having received “universal acclaim.”

Levy is on a roll right now. He directed two episodes and executive produced Netflix’s sleeper hit Stranger Things. He also produced the upcoming Denis Villeneuve sci-fi picture Arrival starring Amy Adams, which has picked up tons of buzz on the film festival circuit.

No mention of Neil Druckman anywhere...hmmm.

Also no news on who will play the role of Ellie.  I'm becoming less and less confident this will turn into anything good.

But given how many script writers and changes this project has already gone though, who knows maybe they'll find a way to make it half decent in the end. 

Neil Druckman has to be there, otherwise they shouldn't even bother. That's like having The Walking Dead without Robert Kirkman.  Unthinkable.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Cautious Roger Federer hoping for an extra long last hurrah

Roger Federer gave a deep, insightful interview to Swiss publication Tages Anzeiger last week in which he went over the details of his rehab and spoke about his goals for his return.

Read the Full Interview Here

The 17-time major champion, out of action since Wimbledon, says he knew by the end of that event that his only choice was to shut down his tennis to try to build his fitness back to 100 percent.

“The difficult phase was between Rome and Wimbledon,” he said. “Because I realized: Something is wrong with my knee, I am not doing well, I do not feel any progress, I am not well prepared for Wimbledon.”

Federer would go on to reach the semifinals at Wimbledon, and because it was such a surprise, he called it one of his most rewarding Wimbledon experiences.

As far as the looming possibility of retirement goes, it’s not really on Federer’s mind. “My last hurrah could take years, depending on the perspective,” Federer said when asked if he was thinking about the end. “Yes: I hope there is again a real hurrah. Otherwise I would not have taken such a long break. I would have come back half-fit after a few months and would have played something. But when I knew I would have to miss the Olympics and the US Open, I said: ‘Come on, now we do it right.’ That will be good for my body… maybe even after my career. Such a long break once in 20 years is okay.”

Federer said he has made no plans beyond Indian Wells for next year, and he adds that he isn’t really sure what to expect.

“First I have to see how it goes,” he said. “But I think Hopman Cup, Australian Open, Dubai and Indian Wells are fixed. For other tournaments I have not yet enrolled.”

Federer said he plans to head to Dubai and continue with his training. He has played tennis sparingly in his time off but he will begin to play more by December.

“I go [to Dubai] in November,” he said. “Now I was always in Switzerland, first in the mountains, now in Wollerau. In between, I was in New York.” He adds: “In the past two months, perhaps ten or twelve times [I have played tennis], and maybe three times more than an hour… I did not want to burden my knee after I had made a lot of specific strength training for the thigh and knee.”

Federer says that all has gone as expected, but he adds that he has yet to put the knee to the full test, so there are still unknowns.

“Now I feel strong but I did not go to the limit,” he said. “Because I have still about 80 days until the Australian Open, which is an enormous amount. I just hope that everything goes well. After this injury, I do not want to be too euphoric.”

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Martina Hingis & Sania Mirza reunite for WTA Finals in Singapore

Months after splitting, Santina has reunited in Singapore.

Defending WTA Finals doubles champions Sania Mirza and Martina Hingis came together at today's draw ceremony.

The second-seeded Santina will try to rekindle their once strong chemistry when they open their title defense against sisters Yung-Jan Chan and Hao-Ching Chan in the eight-team doubles draw.

During the summer, Hingis and Mirza ended a hugely successful partnership in which the pair won 14 titles in a 16-month span, including three Grand Slam championships, amassed a 41-match winning streak and grew into one of the most popular pairings in recent years.

Time will tell if it's a stressful or successful reunion.

However, even if they successfully defend their Singapore title and reclaim the Martina Navratilova trophy, Hingis and Mirza have called this week a one-time reunion and say they are not planning to rejoin forces in 2017.

Hingis, who paired with Timea Bacsinszky to win the Olympic silver medal in doubles, partnered CoCo Vandweghe in the second half of the season, while Mirza played primarily with Barbora Strycova.

The pair beat Hingis and Vandeweghe in the Cincinnati final, won the Tokyo title and reached the Wuhan final falling to Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Lucie Safarova. The 36-year-old Hingis made her WTA Finals debut 20 years ago when the tournament was called the Chase Championships and staged at Madison Square Garden in New York City. 

Hingis reached the 1996 final falling to world No. 1 Steffi Graf in the five-set title match (the season-ending singles final was once a best-of-five set affair).

The woman who has held the No. 1 ranking in both singles and doubles said she surprised herself partnering with Mirza to win three Grand Slam titles: The 2015 Wimbledon and US Open and the 2016 Australian Open championship.

"Definitely not (what I was expecting) when I was coaching three years ago," Hingis said. "I was happy to have great partners along with Sania in the last couple of years. It was just a dream come true as well winning a couple of more Grand Slams here and there and being back fighting for Grand Slam titles. Its been amazing."

Friday, October 21, 2016

Don't write off Roger Federer or Rafael Nadal just yet

IN July 2003, Beyonce topped the charts with Crazy in Love, Roman Abramovich purchased Chelsea and a certain Roger Federer entered the top five for the first time after capturing his first major title at Wimbledon.

The era of the Swiss maestro had commenced and his unwavering attacking strategy earned him a hatful of Grand Slam titles and an army of adoring fans across the globe.

Federer and his unrivalled forehand appeared to be an unstoppable force but the emergence of a muscle-bound and unassuming teenager from Manacor soon dramatically changed the landscape.

Rafa Nadal was the antithesis of the Swiss. The Spaniard was defined by his remarkable court coverage and outstanding defensive capabilities, and his heavy top-spin forehand was perfectly constructed to break down Federer’s single-handed backhand.

The contrast in styles between the graceful Swiss and industrious Spaniard ensured that their rivalry transcended tennis and captured the imagination of the masses.

The head-to-head count is heavily-weighted in Nadal’s favour, and their unforgettable and highly-charged duels at Wimbledon and beyond are lasting memories which are unlikely to fade.

The updated ATP rankings on Monday made headlines due to Federer and Nadal both being absent from a top four position for the first time since 2003. At first glance it would appear that the ‘Fedal’ era has finally come to an end, but perhaps the pair, who have amassed 31 Grand Slam titles between them, have been written off too soon.

Nadal occupies fifth spot in the rankings and at some stage in the near future he will likely re-enter the top four. The Spaniard, by his own high standards, has had a disappointing season, having been hindered by inconsistent form and a wrist injury that put him out of action for three months.

For the second consecutive year, Nadal has struggled to perform at optimum level and his aura has been diminished. He appears vulnerable and susceptible to upset and his famed ability to produce under intense scrutiny has become a distant memory.

Perhaps the most concerning aspect of Nadal’s game has been the unpredictable and erraticnature of his performances. In Beijing last week he was flawless against Paolo Lorenzi in his opening match but he followed up with an error-strewn display against Grigor Dimitrov and exited the tournament with barely a whimper.

The 30 year-old appears bewildered by an inability to execute routine shots that he would have made in his pomp without a second thought, and his confidence has taken a battering as a consequence.

Nadal needs to emerge from the fringes and become a major contender once again. Attempting to achieve La Decima at his beloved Roland Garros will be his ultimate target. His chances in Paris will always be strong as there are very few players who have the capability to take down the ‘King of Clay’ in a five-set match on the vast Philippe-Chatrier Court.

Federer’s season was curtailed after Wimbledon due to a knee complaint but the consummate professional is grafting hard ahead of an eagerly-anticipated return in next year's Hopman Cup.

After such a lengthy lay-off, the odds are stacked against the 35 year-old reaching the top again but his supreme natural talent and flair will not have diminished in his short time away from match action.

It may take time for Federer to find his groove but if he remains healthy, a return to the top ten is almost certain.

Whether the Swiss can compete with Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray and Stan Wawrinka in the twilight of his career remains to be seen but it would not be a surprise to see the majestic Swiss roll back the years and inflict serious damage with his Wilson wand at SW19 once again.

2017 promises to be an important year for Federer and Nadal as both will feel they have a point to prove. Doubters will question whether the two legends can still mix it with the current elite but such esteemed champions can never be counted out.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Roger Federer helps Rafael Nadal open a tennis academy in his home town

On the court, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal have been intense rivals. But on Wednesday, the two all-time greats were nothing more than old friends as Federer joined Nadal to celebrate the official opening of the Rafael Nadal Academy by Movistar in Nadal's hometown of Manacor, Mallorca.

“I'm really here to honour the great man, Rafa. I think it's wonderful that he's taken this journey on to give the kids something back,” Federer said. “I've been around the game 17 years. I've seen a lot of hard workers and inspiring players, but you've been the one in my opinion who has been the most inspiring and most influential and made me the player I am today. Because you're left-handed, because of your spin, because of the intensity you bring to the court, I had to re-invent and re-work my game entirely. And that's because of the person you are and how much you've trained.”

Federer and Nadal have played 34 times. The left-hander leads their FedEx ATP Head2Head rivalry 23-11 and has won five of the their past six matches. Federer, though, took their most recent contest, the final at the Swiss Indoors Basel last season.

“I've seen you prepare for tournaments and practices the same way, which I can't do, because my mind doesn't allow me to, I can't prepare for matches and practices this long. We're completely different when it comes to this,” Federer said. “I admire everything and how you do it, and I hope you can still do it for many more years to come. I really wish you good health. I think it's of the utmost importance.”

The 35-year-old Swiss endured his first major injury this season, 17 years into his professional career. Federer announced in July that he would sit out the remainder of the 2016 ATP World Tour season to continue rehabbing from knee surgery in February. He joked about injuries with Nadal, who's had his fair share, including a left wrist injury that forced him to miss 10 weeks earlier this season.

“I'm going through my first big injury now. It's been fairly easy for me. I've enjoyed my time at home. I've enjoyed seeing my family, practise has been easy,” Federer said. “But I don't know how it's going to be when I come back. You've done it a million times, so there again I can be inspired by you. How easily you always came back, and you made it look easy! You were always right away back in the Top 10, Top 5, World No. 1. That's something I'm going to be thinking about when I come back to the tour in January.”

The Rafael Nadal Academy by Movistar includes 26 indoor and outdoor tennis courts, a fitness centre, two swimming pools, mini-football pitches, a multi-sport court and seven paddle tennis courts.

“To share this with Roger is an unforgettable day,” Nadal said. “For Roger to share this important moment, for me and my family, [it] really means a lot.”

Nadal might have earned a few potential future clients from Federer's visit as well.

“I hope the kids are going to learn from this great man. He's one of the greatest we've ever had. His attitude speaks for itself. I hope it's going to be a wonderful academy,” Federer said. “One thing's for sure, I know where I'm going to send my kids if they want to learn tennis. I'm going to send them right here!”

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Roger Federer to make his comeback at IPTL in December

Roger Federer, who has been nursing a knee injury, announced that he will make his return at the season-opening Hopman Cup next year.

However, the 17-time Grand Slam champion will make his comeback on court even before that.

According to, the Swiss will feature in the International Premier Tennis League (IPTL) that is scheduled to be held in December this season.

Federer, who hasn’t played a match since the Wimbledon this year, has been an integral part of the IPTL, a team exhibition event that is held across five countries, Japan (December 2-4), Singapore (Dec. 6-8), Philippines (Dec. 9-11), UAE (Dec. 13-15), and India (Dec. 16-18).

The Swiss maestro led the Indian Aces to victory in the inaugural tournament in 2014, before moving to UAE Royals in the subsequent year.

Besides, Grand Slam champions Maria Sharapova and Ana Ivanovic will be among the other marquee players to feature in the third edition of the IPTL.