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."