Thursday, April 28, 2016

Roger Federer to play Madrid Open

Roger Federer has confirmed that he will take part in the Mutua Madrid Open, which starts on 1 May. Federer, No.3 in the Emirates ATP Rankings, is a three-time champion at the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 event (2006, 2009 and 2012).

Madrid was not on Federer’s schedule at the beginning of the year, but the Swiss’ agent, Tony Godsick, confirmed today that he will play. Last year, Federer lost in the second round to Nick Kyrgios, 6-7(2), 7-6(5), 7-6(12).

The 34 year old comes into the event with a 10-3 record in 2016. Madrid will be Federer’s second clay-court tournament of the season and his fourth of the year. He reached the final of Brisbane (l. to Raonic) and the semi-finals of the Australian Open (l. to Djokovic) before missing three months due to knee surgery. In his comeback event, he reached the quarter-finals of the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters before losing to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in three sets.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Martina Hingis & Sania Mirza fall short at Porsche Grand Prix in Stuttgart

Stuttgart: Top seeds Sania Mirza and Martina Hingis were beaten in the women's doubles final of the Stuttgart Open tennis tournament by second seeds Caroline Garcia and Kristina Mladenovic, 6-2, 1-6, 6-10.

The Indo-Swiss pair went down in one hour and 21 minutes on Sunday night.

Sania-Martina were eyeing their 14th title together. They were aiming for their first title since February but were undone by a stunning turnaround by the French pair.

Sania-Martina began the match brightly, winning the first set comfortably 6-2.

But the French duo recovered from a set down to clinch the match in the tie-breaker. They were the more aggressive team, hitting 25 winners to 16 by Sania-Martina.

It was the second title of the season for the French pair.

Sania and Martina have stumbled in their recent tournaments, exiting in the second-round at the Miami Masters and the first at the Indian Wells.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Martina Hingis & Sania Mirza reach Porsche Grand Prix final in Stuttgart

The top-ranked women’s doubles pair of Sania Mirza and Martina Hingis rebounded from their recent inconsistent performances to reach the final of the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix at Stuttgart on Saturday. They beat the unseeded Czech-German combine of Lucie Safarova and Sabine Lisicki, 6-4, 7-5 in the semi-finals.

It was not an easy affair, though. Safarova is an accomplished doubles exponent and won two Grand Slam titles last year one of which is the French Open. For Lisicki, this is a happy hunting ground in doubles as she had won the title twice before.

The first set witnessed as many as seven breaks of serve out of which the Indo-Swiss pair managed to make in-roads into their opponents’ games four times.

The trend continued in the second set too which also saw the two pairs trading a total of five breaks. Hingis and Mirza got a chance to serve out the match at 5-3 but the German-Czech duo saved three match points with some excellent returns.

The top seeds then succeeded in securing another crucial break which presented them the win.

In the final of their first clay court event this season, Hingis and Mirza will meet the winner of the semi-final contest between second seeds Caroline Garcia/Kristina Mladenovic and Anna-Lena Groenefeld/Kveta Peschke.

This is the first final for the three-time Grand Slam champions since winning the St. Petersburg title in February. They had suffered early exits at each of their last three tournaments at Doha, Indian Wells and Miami.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Martina Hingis and Sania Mirza back on track at Porsche Grand Prix in Stuttgart

Top-seeded pair of Sania Mirza and Martina Hingis clinched a facile win in their opening match to enter the quarter-finals of the Stuttgart WTA indoor tournament on Wednesday. The Indo-Swiss duo defeated the Japanese pair of Eri Hozumi and Miyu Kato 6-1, 6-1 in 49 minutes to advance to the last-8.

After early exits in the BNP Paribas Open and Miami Open, Australian Open champions Sania Mirza and Martina Hingis returned to winning ways on Wednesday after securing an easy win in the 2016 Stuttgart tennis tournament. Mirza and Hingis, who had crashed out in the opening round in the last edition, eased past the Japanese pair of Eri Hozumi and Miyu Kato in a one-sided game.

The Indo-Swiss duo won 68% of their first service points and broke the Japanese pair twice in the opening set to pocket the set 6-1. Although, Eri Hozumi and Miyu Kato broke the top seeds in the second set, Sania and Hingis bounced back by breaking the Japanese duo four times and by winning 70% of their first services in the set, to register an easy opening victory.

The Indo-Swiss duo will next face Barbora Krejčíková and Kateřina Siniaková of the Czech Republic in the quarters on Thursday.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Martina Hingis on Belinda Bencic, and playing Stuttgart Madrid & Rome with Mirza

Martina Hingis was recently interviewed by Tages Anzeiger. During the interview, the Swiss player talked about her compatriot Belinda Bencic as well as her doubles partner Sania Mirza. Hingis gave her thoughts on Bencic's recent injury, before suggesting that the youngster needs to take more care of her body. Hingis also denied that herself and Mirza are parting ways, after a Twitter post by Mirza sparked a lot of speculation.

Hingis Says Bencic Needs To Put Her Body Before Tennis

Bencic had to withdraw from the Swiss Fed Cup team and announced that she will be out for at least four weeks, due to a back injury. During the interview with Tages Anzeiger, Hingis gave her opinion on Bencic's injury and talked about what her young compatriot should do in the future to make sure she is as healthy as possible. Hingis said that Bencic needs to start putting her body first. "At some point your body says: "Ok, you have to put me before tennis," she said.

Hingis told the interviewer that Bencic made the wrong decision to play as many tournaments as she has so far this year. The 35-year-old said, "Instead of always playing tournaments, she should have practiced." Hingis ended by saying that as a tennis player you have to know that you do not "only have to play well or in a smart way."

Mirza And Hingis Not Parting Ways

During the interview, Hingis denied speculation that she and her doubles partner are parting ways. The Swiss was questioned about her partnership with Mirza, following a tweet by Mirza which many assumed was suggesting a split. Talking about Mirza's tweet Hingis told the interview that Mirza is very poetic and philosophical. Hingis continued to say that, "I do not know anything," which for now dispels any rumors regarding the team.

Hingis said that the pair played a lot of tennis so they had to take a break. The 35-year-old and Mirza went on a 41 match winning streak before a couple of disappointing results occurred. They will play the upcoming tournaments in Stuttgart, Madrid, Rome and Roland Garros, hoping to get back to their winning ways. Hingis added that herself and Mirza "have to find ourselves" during these tournaments and that even though they do not believe that clay is their best surface they are "looking forward."

Monday, April 18, 2016

Roger Federer feels good about his chances at Roland Garros

Roger Federer opened up about his chances against Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray when they hit the second Grand Slam Event of the year in Paris.

Federer likes his chances in winning the French Open this year despite concerns over his surgically repaired knee, which the Swiss Maestro had tested at the Monte Carlo Masters.

Federer believes he will be one of the handful favorites to win Roland Garros, but also acknowledged the presence of the other members of the Big Four at the event, as well as Stan Wawrinka's bid to defend his French Open title.

"I think and believe that I can be in the group of the favourites when the moment to play Roland Garros comes," Federer said, reports Tennis World USA.

"For their characters and qualities Rafa and Novak are the main opponents just like Wawrinka who is the defending champion. It will be interesting, also because Murray played good last year on clay, I hope he can raise his level. It's always interesting the period that brings us at the Roland Garros."

Federer won his only Roland Garros title in 2009 and lost four finals appearances against Nadal, who conquered the French Open for an unprecedented nine major titles, thus earning the moniker King of Clay. With Nadal's form dipping this season, Federer may have a shot at winning Roland Garros and extend his all-time Grand Slam records.

Another concern for Federer heading into Paris is Djokovic, who has been in remarkable form despite the Serb's early exit at the Monte Carlo Masters. Federer has yet to top Djokovic in big events since 2012, when the Swiss defeated Nole in the semifinal round of Wimbledon en route to his 17th career major title victory.

Djokovic will have plenty of rest and competitive matches leading up to Roland Garros, which should keep him sharp just in time for the clay-court finale.

As for Murray and Wawrinka, the two have yet to muster victories in major and ATP 1000 Masters tournaments this season.

After a promising performance early in the season, reaching the final round of the Australian Open and helping Great Britain advance into the next round of the Davis Cup, Murray has not been able to maintain his form.

The Scot suffered early round losses in Indian Wells and Miami Open, and just when it seems he would finally score his first title of the season at the Monte Carlo Masters, Nadal stopped him in the semifinal round.

There should be plenty of factors that could affect Federer's bid at the French Open this season, including his health and knee that forced him to be sidelined for more than two months. But the 34-year-old is positive about his game and expects to be in top shape ahead by the time he arrives in Paris.

"I'm returning a lot better. It's better than other beginnings of the clay-court season," Federer said, reports the ATP's official website. "I don't know if it's because of the new racquet. I'll have to keep that and my serve will come as I play more matches."

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Roger Federer upbeat despite another Monte Carlo loss

Roger Federer thought he had his Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters quarter-final match on Friday won on two different occasions, but still sees the week as nothing but positive despite the loss.

Federer stormed through the first set against eighth seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and came within two points of winning the match at 5-4 in the third set. But after undergoing left knee surgery in February to repair a torn meniscus, the Swiss star is simply happy to be playing at a high level again.

“I thought I was going to win the match maybe after the first set. I thought I was going to win the match maybe [at] the beginning of the third. But that doesn't matter really,” he said. “It was a good match. It was nice to play an intense match. I'm happy [with] how the body reacted. So many good things this week. It's all positive for me.

“Number one, it's good to play a tournament after having had surgery. Number two, it was good to play one match. It was good to have a match with a rest, then to play again. Now it was good to play back-to-back, yesterday and today. Then it was good to play 2 hours 10 [minutes] today.”

The brief break from the tour has also rejuvenated Federer and left him as motivated as he’s ever been to put in long hours on the court. Even just after his loss, he was already thinking about his practice schedule.

“The pre-tournament stuff I was able to do, I trained really hard. My fitness coach was here. We practised well on the tennis court, as well. It's been a really good past couple of weeks now for me, so I'm very happy,” said Federer.

“I hope my knee and my body are going to be okay the next couple of days. If I'm good, I might go practise tomorrow as well just to get the body into a rhythm of playing four days straight at a very intense level. If I feel like I need a break, the team tells me to rest, I'll do that tomorrow."

Perhaps the most encouraging sign for Federer is that this is only his first tournament of the clay-court season. Although he’s unsure of his tournament schedule leading into Roland Garros, the World No. 3 expects to be in peak form by the time he arrives in Paris.

“I'm returning a lot better. It's better than other beginnings of the clay-court season,” he said. “I don't know if it's because of the new racquet. I'll have to keep that and my serve will come as I play more matches.”

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Martina Hingis left out of Fed Cup singles

There will be no dramatic singles return for Martina Hingis when Switzerland open their Fed Cup semi-final against the Czech Republic on Saturday.

A former world singles number one, Hingis plays exclusively doubles on the WTA circuit these days - she is currently ranked number one alongside her partner Sania Mirza - but had been touted for a singles comeback when Swiss number one Belinda Bencic was forced out of the last-four tie in Lucerne due to a back injury.

However, the Swiss, who have opted not to replace Bencic and will instead play with a team of three, have chosen Timea Bacsinszky and youngster Viktorija Golubic for Saturday's singles.

Bacsinszky will face Barbora Strycova in the opening rubber before Golubic, playing Fed Cup singles for the first time, takes on Karolina Pliskova.

The holders have also been forced to field a weakened team with Petra Kvitova and Lucie Safarova both absent so Pliskova is leading their bid to reach a fifth final in six years.

Hingis has been nominated for Sunday's potentially-decisive doubles rubber which follows the two reverse singles.

The other semi-final sees France host the Netherlands in Trelaze.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Roger Federer continues successful comeback reaches quarters in Monte Carlo

Roger Federer may have been off tour for two months, but the Swiss is showing no signs of rust at the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters, where he is through to the quarter-finals after defeating Roberto Bautista Agut 6-2, 6-4 on Thursday.

“As the match progressed, I felt better and better,” Federer said. “Once I made the break, I was able to relax a little more. I'm happy with what I did. He's a good player.”

The third-seeded Federer swept past Bautista Agut in 69 minutes, winning 73 per cent of his service points and breaking serve three times. He improved to a 5-0 head-to-head record over Bautista Agut, who has made a strong start in 2016, compiling a 20-7 mark and winning titles in Auckland (d. Sock) and Sofia (d. Troicki).

“As long as I can go into a match feeling alright, then during the match I'm not thinking about it,” said Federer of his recovery from knee surgery. “I'm getting closer to the peak in the sense of maximum movement against the best players on a tough surface.

“I’ll be resting for the next couple of weeks anyway, so even if I get a setback for a couple of days, I can take as much time as I need. I feel like I'm in a great place right now.”

The 34-year-old Federer returned to action at the Monte-Carlo Country Club after being sidelined since the Australian Open, first with a torn meniscus in his left knee that required arthroscopic surgery, then illness in Miami. The Basel native beat Guillermo Garcia-Lopez in straight sets in his opening match and now goes on to face Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who beat Lucas Pouille 6-4, 6-4.

Federer is a four-time finalist in Monte-Carlo and is looking to add the elusive crown to his collection of 24 ATP World Tour Masters 1000 trophies. The right-hander reached three straight finals from 2006-08, losing to Rafael Nadal, and lost out to countryman Stan Wawrinka in the 2014 title match.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

WTA adds a new indoor tournament in Switzerland starting April of 2017

ZUG, Switzerland - Octagon and InfrontRingier Sports & Entertainment Switzerland are bringing the WTA tour to Biel/Bienne, with a new indoor tournament to be staged in April each year starting in 2017.

The International event will take place at a new indoor arena - to be completed in February 2017 - following the conclusion of the Sunshine Swing in Indian Wells and Miami. Its draw will feature 32 players for the singles competition and a draw of 16 for doubles.

"Swiss tennis is enjoying an exceptional era and we're delighted the beautiful town of Biel will be part of the WTA calendar in 2017," says WTA CEO Steve Simon. "We invite our fans to be part of the excitement and enjoy outstanding world-class tennis in Biel."

Octagon, the global sports and entertainment marketing and talent management powerhouse, has extensive women's tennis experience in Switzerland. In addition to having staged a premier WTA tournament for 25 years in Zurich, and other WTA competitions in Lucerne and Geneva, Octagon also represents Martina Hingis and Belinda Bencic.

"We are very pleased that such a broad group of exceptional interests have aligned to create this new tournament," announced Philip D. M. de Picciotto, the Founder and President of Octagon.‎ "The marketing and media excellence of InfrontRingier, the esteemed status of Swiss Tennis, the world class talent of the Swiss players and the WTA's global leadership position in professional sport for women have enabled a mere idea to become a reality."

"I am really looking forward to having a WTA tournament back in Switzerland," says Hingis, the reigning doubles co-No.1. "I have fond memories of my first WTA tournament in Zurich and I am excited that Octagon has been able to work with Swiss Tennis and InfrontRingier to bring an International event to Biel. Switzerland has a great tennis history and having such an event in my home country will help to build on that. Being able to play in front of your home fans is a special experience and I plan to be involved as much as possible to help make the tournament a success for the Swiss tennis fans."

Bencic added: "It is a unique experience and great honor for me to be part of the WTA Tour's return to Switzerland. Having a tournament in my home country gives me the opportunity to give something back to the tennis fans in Switzerland. I know from my own experience that being able to watch the world's best players in person can be inspiring. I really look forward to playing in front of the Swiss audience and will hopefully be able to contribute to the growth of the sport there."

Lukas Troxler, Deputy Managing Director of InfrontRingier and designated Tournament Director, commented: "We are more than proud to partner with Octagon to bring the WTA Tour to the country, especially at this time, as Swiss women's tennis is experiencing tremendous international success and a huge upward trend. Tennis fans in Switzerland are eager and enthusiastic to support their players and it is exciting for the country to once again become a world stage for tennis. We would like to extend our thanks also to Swiss Tennis for its support and look forward to continuing our successful collaboration."

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Roger Federer makes triumphant return in Monte Carlo

Roger Federer Tumblr

Roger Federer overcame a late wobble to beat Guillermo García-López on his return to action at the Monte-Carlo Masters.

The world No3 was playing his first match since the Australian Open and needed only an hour and a quarter to defeat his Spanish opponent 6-3, 6-4.

Federer sustained a knee injury running a bath for his young daughters and underwent surgery in February. He had planned to return in Miami three weeks ago but was forced to pull out through illness.

The Swiss looked sharp and would have won more handsomely had García-López not fought back from 5-1 down in the second set.

But it was nevertheless a highly satisfactory return for Federer at a tournament where he has reached the final four times but never lifted the trophy.

Welcome back Roger!. :)

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Roger Federer feeling fresh in Monte Carlo

For Roger Federer, who had been sidelined since the Australian Open, a series of unfortunate events has its silver lining.

“I am rested mentally and physically. I believe you can add everything to the back end of your career, in terms of being fresher mentally and being able to train harder. Whatever rest it is, it ends up in a canister you can draw from,” said the Swiss, who underwent arthroscopic left knee surgery for a meniscus tear after his semi-final showing in Melbourne. “Tommy Haas, for instance, has been injured for more than three years in his career, and he is still on tour because mentally he is fresh and he still loves it.”

The 34-year-old Federer had been slated to return at the Miami Open, but was forced to pull out due to illness.

“I’m happy to say that I’ve recovered well from the virus in Miami,” Federer said on Sunday during his pre-tournament press conference at the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters. “At first, I was concerned that it might be something that would last a while, but I was feeling better three days later. I arrived in Monte Carlo nine or 10 days ago and I’ve been training on centre court for the past eight or nine days. Things are going well. I’m happy with how I move; how I’m hitting the ball. I’ve played a lot of practice sets.”

The additional preparation has been a boon for the four-time finalist (2006-08, 2014), who is looking to win the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters for the first time.

“[Monte Carlo] is an opportunity for top guys to play more freely, since there is less pressure and it’s a change of surface for everyone,” Federer, who lost to Rafael Nadal in his first three finals and to Stan Wawrinka two years ago. “I’ve played very well in Monaco in the past, but for now my objective is to make my return to play, gain a good feel and go from there.

“My knee hasn’t bothered me, but the big test will be seeing how it reacts in match conditions. There are no easy draws in a Masters 1000, so I am not underestimating anyone. At the same time, I hope no one is underestimating me just because I’ve been hurt.”

Federer has a first-round bye and will face either Guillermo Garcia-Lopez or Thomaz Bellucci in his opening match.

Tuesday, April 05, 2016

Roger Federer to meet Novak Djokovic in Monte Carlo semis

Roger Federer’s quest to win a first career Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters title promises to be challenging from the start, as the three-time runner-up has been drawn into World No. 1 Novak Djokovic’s half of the draw.

Federer, playing his first competitive tennis since the Australian Open, could face either Thomaz Bellucci or Guillermo Garcia-Lopez in his second-round match (after bye), and would face 14th-seeded Roberto-Bautista Agut in the third round and 8th-seeded Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the quarterfinals if the seeds hold.

Monday, April 04, 2016

ESPN' Chris McKendry talks tennis and Roger Federer

TN: Which is the most challenging Grand Slam to cover and which is the most fun to cover? 

Chris McKendry: The Slams all have their own individual personalities. I enjoy them all. I think the most fun we have as a team and as a crew—and I think the players agree—is in Australia. There is something about the Australian Open that is light, fun, the location is amazing. We get up and walk from our hotel to the venue. The weather is so great when quite a few of us are coming from the cold, so there's something about Australia that's really fun. I think being away, we're all away from our families, we really bond as a broadcast team. I absolutely love it. Wimbledon is amazing. We all stay in the village, to walk to the venue, and the great respect everyone has for Wimbledon and the venue is just unbelievable. I enjoy them all. 

The US Open is classic New York. It's a bit more challenging because of shuttling out to the venue and back. So logistically, that's a little more challenging. But as far as the challenges of the broadcast for me it's getting myself in the mindset of how many hours I'm out there, sometimes 12 or 13 hours since we go first ball to last. The US Open and Australian can go late so it's kind of getting yourself prepared for the marathon. It's keeping your eyes on the monitors because we have every single match on every single court and knowing what's going on in each match. The first couple of days you're following storylines for half the field because you don't know necessarily who is going to emerge. 

Wimbledon's Manic Monday is like a tennis tournament version of election day coverage. So the challenge when I went from SportsCenter to covering Grand Slams is that it pushed me out of my comfort zone. SportsCenter is very heavily scripted. There's not a ton of change, results are known. Do a tournament and it's happening while we're there. The results aren't known. The stories are happening in real time. So I enjoy that. The same is true of the player interviews. When they come by our set, I'll have 5 or 10 minutes to prepare for it whereas on SportsCenter I would sit and review my questions with our producer, sit and go over it with my co-anchor. So it's been professionally challenging, too.

TN: Given your experience covering other sports, what does tennis do well as a television sport? What can tennis learn from other sports to become an even better television sport? 

Chris McKendry: As far as our broadcast, the analysts are fantastic. You like tennis. I like tennis. We know the sport and we love to talk about the sport. When you hear Mary Joe or Darren it's like getting your PhD in tennis. Our analysts do an incredible job of breaking down strokes, strategy, styles. Our analysts are top-notch and they aren't afraid to say things. Having covered other sports, there are a lot of analysts who don't want to say anything too critical. Our tennis analysts have done a great job of being critical in a constructive sense. 

They're critical, but it's never nasty or personal. So I appreciate that they say something. There's nothing more frustrating than working with an analyst who never says anything or is just right down the middle every time and does not want to offend. It's funny you ask because there's been a big discussion within our ESPN tennis crew: How can we evolve in our tennis broadcasts? I do believe there are areas we are behind other sports. The biggest, to me, is access during a match. How can we get more of a feel for what players are thinking and feeling in the moment? We tried something very daring—apparently the way everybody's head nearly exploded over it—at last year's US Open when Pam (Shriver) went on court with CoCo (Vandeweghe). 

There was a time when those pre-match interviews seemed crazy, you know, "Why would you talk to a player as they're walking on court?" And now, players all do those. Some say more than others and it depends on what the player wants to share. I would love to see the on-court interview during matches as more of a regularity. I think it would be amazing. Imagine Roger Federer telling you what he likes about his first set? I think that would be fascinating to have more access to players during competition. Look at other sports: We have players who wear mikes for us during competition. If we put a mike on Andy Murray could we air anything anyway? I don't know, but these elements I think would bring the viewer closer and feel more attached to the player. I always say to the athletes: If you want us to promote your sport, give us more access to you. Find time for long-form interviews, take us through where did you grow up. Allow us to know you more.

TN: Of all the champions you've interviewed, who really stands out as a great, enjoyable interview, fun personality or someone you just learned from? 

Chris McKendry: Roger Federer is always an incredible interview. When he commits to doing press, Roger is all in. My favorite moments when Roger comes to set is how often after the interview when there's a match on our monitors, which there always is, he'll sit and watch tennis and chat with you about the tennis. It's priceless. It is absolutely priceless. He loves the game.

We had a moment last year at Wimbledon where he came up and did his interview. A couple of days earlier, he had sent out an emoji-filled tweet detailing his off day. He said he played some darts, then had some strawberries, then went for a run. He took us through his whole day it was just hilarious to listen to him detail his day. He's so regal and yet he was being so goofy. So that was a great moment. 

After the interview ended, Roger was with us in the studio watching Ivo Karlovic and Ivo hit a let serve and Roger said the hardest thing is when you play a big server like Ivo the hardest thing is a let because now you have to go back and figure out his serving pattern again. So Roger said "Now, you've got to go back, think about his prior service patterns, take a few guess and try to figure out again." It made total sense after he said it. That was such a great lesson for me and Roger actually sat and watched to see what the pattern was and he also gave us a great interview a few years ago in Australia. Right after he made the switch to the new racquet and had Stefan on court nearly a full year. He was really great and forthcoming with a lot of information. He told me that at the US Open he had still carried his old racquets in his bag, like a security blanket, but that year in Australia he told us he no longer traveled with the old racquet and how nervous he was with Stefan sitting in his box. 

The other player I always enjoy talking to, and I wish more people could see this side of him, is Andy Murray and how different Andy Murray is off the court than he is on the court. On the court, I mean the first time I had to interview him I thought "Oh my gosh, this might be terrible." Because on the court he looked so unhappy. I thought he might have a short fuse with me, but he's so nice and so funny and incredibly thoughtful. I love a lot of stands Andy takes for women so he just could not be more different in person than what people see on court. He's a great and funny interview.

Sunday, April 03, 2016

Martina Hingis, Belinda Bencic leading Fed Cup semi-final for the Swiss

BERN, Switzerland — Martina Hingis has been picked for Switzerland's team for a Fed Cup semifinal against the defending champion Czech Republic, 18 years after leading the team to its previous final appearance.

Hingis, the 35-year-old world's top-ranked doubles player, was named along with No. 10-ranked singles player Belinda Bencic and No. 17 Timea Bacsinszky.

Team captain Heinz Guenthardt completed the lineup with No. 137 Viktorija Golubic.

Switzerland hosts the Czechs on April 16-17 on indoor hard courts at Lucerne.

The visitors, winners of four of the last five Fed Cup titles, will be without its top-ranked player - two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova.

Saturday, April 02, 2016

Roger Federer keeping low expectations ahead of Monte Carlo comeback

A stomach virus halted Roger Federer's return to tournament tennis in Miami last month. Federer has shown a deep appetite for dirt in Monte Carlo training sessions this week.

Practicing for his comeback in the principality next week, Federer has put his surgically-repaired knee through its paces. Moving fluidly, Federer has shown no signs of hesitation sliding on the red clay or making quick cuts in practice sessions with coach Ivan Ljubicic.

The four-time Monte Carlo finalist will play his first match since an Australian Open semifinal loss to Novak Djokovic. Federer underwent surgery to repair a torn meniscus, the first of his career, and told the media in Miami he was pleased with his rapid rehab.

"Couldn't be more happy how rehab has gone. It's baby steps," Federer said in Miami. "Still at the same time you go from crutches to walking to running to jumping to sprinting. It's pretty incredible to see the progress I've been able to make in a short period of time.

"I had a great team around me, had great support. It's nice to be back here, show everybody that it was worthwhile to put in the work."

Before withdrawing from his scheduled return match against Juan Martin del Potro in Miami last month, Federer said he would not be burdened by expectations in his comeback. "Expectations are really low, which is nice for a change. Just see where I am, go out there," Federer said. "Once you're out there, you want to win, it's clear. I'm a competitor. I'm just really pleased I'm back. I didn't expect myself to be back here so soon after surgery."

In his Monte Carlo debut back in 1999, Federer suffered a straight-sets loss to 33rd-ranked American Vince Spadea. Since then, the Swiss has reached the tournament final four times, falling to Rafael Nadal in three straight title matches from 2006 to 2008 and bowing to Olympic gold medal doubles partner Stan Wawrinka in the 2014 championship match.

Friday, April 01, 2016

Naughty Dog's Neil Drruckmann offers update on "Uncharted" & "The Last of Us" movies

Plans to make movie adaptations of Naughty Dog's franchises Uncharted and The Last of Us are still in the works, though neither will be hitting the big screen in the near future.

During a press event showcasing gameplay for Uncharted 4: A Thief's End, IGN had a chance to speak with game director Neil Druckmann (who also wrote The Last of Us' movie script) and ask for updates on the two projects. According to him, Naughty Dog has only been "somewhat involved" in the development of the Uncharted film, which Sony currently has slated for a June 30, 2017 release date.

"Every once in a while they'll come in and they'll present to us: here's the script, here's what we're thinking. We'll tell them what we think works, what we think doesn't work," Druckman said, adding, "That's where we're at. Last I heard is they got a new screenwriter, but we haven't seen anything in a while."

According to Druckmann, the first step to making an Uncharted movie work is to make sure the core relationship between Elena, Nate and Sully is as good as it can be.

"Our approach is just to steer them back to those relationships," he explained. "The most important part to get right is Nathan Drake, Nathan Drake's relationship with Elena and Nathan Drake's relationship with Sullivan. If you don't get that right, I don't think the film's going to work. If you get that core right, there's a chance it could work."

As for The Last of Us movie, Druckmann's update might disappoint fans: there's no update to give.

"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," he said. "There hasn't been any work done on it in over a year and a half."

Uncharted 4: A Thief's End, the fourth and final Nathan Drake adventure, hits store shelves on May 10.

Well, that's disappointing. 

Hope Sony works something out and involves Naughty Dog, or I doubt the movies will be very good.