Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Roger Federer ousted out of Dubai in 2nd round

Roger Federer had never faced Russian Evgeny Donskoy before Wednesday, and that – Federer's unfamiliarity with him – might have been Donskoy's biggest weapon during their second-round match in Dubai.

Unlike when Federer plays fellow top ATP World Tour stars, such as Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic, during the match's biggest moments, Federer had little idea what Donskoy would attempt.

“I just didn't know Donskoy. So many times I just didn't know what his patterns were. I didn't know what his preferences are. If he does hit a big forehand down the line, is that normal or is that just right now? Is he going to do that on big shots, big points or not?” Federer said after his shocking loss at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships. “All that stuff got me a little bit tense, and I could never quite play freely, which is quite surprising, considering how I played in Australia.”

The seven-time Dubai champion twice found himself in commanding position against Donskoy, who, at No. 116, had to qualify for the ATP World Tour 500 tournament. The 35-year-old Swiss held match points at 6/4 and 7/6 in the second set tie-break and led the third-set tie-break 5/2.

But no deficit was too big for the 26-year-old Moscow native, who went on to win 3-6, 7-6(7), 7-6(5). Donskoy had previously been 0-6 against Top 10 players, according to the FedEx ATP Performance Zone, and had been 19-26 for his career in tie-breaks.

“I had my chances. I should somehow close it out. Don't know how it got away, but he did very well. It's a rough one, for sure,” Federer said. “But tennis is this way. Margins are small. [A] fast court like here, you can't find much rhythm. Next thing you know, you're struggling.”

The loss is Federer's first on the 2017 season. He started the year reeling off seven consecutive matches to win the Australian Open title, his 18th Grand Slam crown. In Melbourne, Federer had been bothered by a leg injury but he said on Wednesday that he's fully recovered. He also shrugged off any other injury worries.

“I just think it's still the beginning of the comeback and [I] have to take the positives out of playing again at a tournament where I feel I'm quite healthy and I'm happy I got over the injury I sustained at the Australian Open,” Federer said. “I just never really got going tonight and sort of felt heavy. But, look, those matches happen frequently, where you just have to somehow find a way to come through. Tonight I just didn't. I was convinced that if I came through tonight I was going to feel better tomorrow. It's OK.”

Federer will take the court next at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, which starts 9 March. The right-hander will be going for his fifth title at the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournament.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Roger Federer rolls past the first round in Dubai

Roger Federer's quest for an eighth Dubai title could hardly have started better on Monday at the Aviation Club. The third seed raced past Frenchman Benoit Paire, winning their first-round contest 6-1, 6-3 in 54 minutes at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships.

It was Federer's first match since winning the Australian Open last month, his 18th Grand Slam title. But the 35-year-old Swiss showed no rust in the rout, winning nearly 70 per cent of his service points and saving all three break points faced. Federer broke Paire twice in the first set as the Frenchman struggled to stay in rallies. The Swiss broke twice more in the second set to earn his fourth win in as many tries against Paire during their FedEx ATP Head2Head series.

“I think I returned very well for a first round. I was able to get my second serves in deep, was able to go into the offensive quickly,” Federer said. “Didn't have to move that much. It was very quick rallies. So we'll see how that's going to turn out. But obviously couldn't be a better first round for me here in Dubai.”

Federer will meet a Russian in the second round, either veteran Mikhail Youzhny or qualifier Evgeny Donskoy. The seven-time Dubai champion is making his 13th appearance at the ATP World Tour 500 event. He improves to 48-5 at the tournament with the win against Paire.

“I have played here for so many years, seen the tournament grow,” Federer said. “Fans and myself know how special it is for me to be back on the court. It was a nice welcome. Very thankful always.”

He faces a tough road from here, though. Top seed Andy Murray and second seed and defending champion Stan Wawrinka could meet Federer in the semi-finals and final, respectively.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Roger Federer looks ahead to Dubai

Roger Federer is set to play against Benoit Paire on Monday at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, which celebrates its 25th anniversary this year.

“I love playing in Dubai,” Federer told ATP World Tour Uncovered. “I call it my second home because I've spend so much time here practising over the years. The sessions are more sold out than ever, so it’s nice to be a part of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships history.”

Watch the Swiss superstar, a winner of seven Dubai titles, train with Dustin Brown at the Aviation Club on Sunday and look ahead to his 13th appearance at the ATP World Tour 500 tournament.

Federer is playing at his first tournament since capturing his 18th Grand Slam championship at the Australian Open (d. Nadal) on 29 January.

“I’ve been resting myself and have only been back in full training for the past three days at 100 per cent," admitted Federer. "The first round is going to be tough against Benoit Paire, who I know quite well. He’s a dangerous player and it’s a fast court.

“Even though I did win in Australia, I still feel like I’m a work in progress. I feel there is a little of the unknown, I don’t know what to expect myself. Especially if I were to win matches here, how is my body and mind going to react to back-to-back matches? I haven’t done that in seven or eight months. I will try to take it easy and not put too much pressure on myself.”

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Roger Federer to face another tough draw this time in Dubai

Roger Federer could face World No. 1 Andy Murray and countryman Stan Wawrinka if he plans on taking his eighth title at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships this week in the United Arab Emirates.

The 35-year-old Swiss returns to tour-level action for the first time since winning his 18th Grand Slam crown last month at the Australian Open. Down Under, Federer knocked out three Top 10 opponents, including Wawrinka in the semi-finals.

In Dubai, a similarly difficult path awaits the all-time great, who will go for his 90th career tour-level crown. The third-seeded Federer opens against former Top 20 Frenchman Benoit Paire and could play Russian veteran Mikhail Youzhny in the second round.

Seventh seed Lucas Pouille is the highest seed Federer could face in the quarter-finals, and the top-seeded Murray might await in an enticing semi-final. The last-four battle would mark the 26th time they've faced off during their FedEx ATP Head2Head rivalry.

Federer leads the series 14-11 and has won their past five meetings, but the two haven't played since the 2015 Western & Southern Open semi-final.

Federer and Wawrinka went five gruelling sets during their Australian Open semi-final, and the second seed would surely appreciate the opportunity to get back at his countryman in the Dubai final. Federer leads their FedEx ATP Head2Head series 19-3.

Murray opens against Tunisia's Malek Jaziri and eighth seed Gilles Muller is the highest-seeded player who could await in the quarter-finals. The Scot will be trying for his first Dubai crown. He fell in the 2012 final to Federer.

Wawrinka, the defending champion, meets Bosnian Damir Dzumhur in the first round and might face fifth seed and two-time runner-up Tomas Berdych in the quarter-finals. The 31-year-old Swiss leads their FedEx ATP Head2Head series 11-5 and has taken their past six meetings. Fourth seed Gael Monfils could await in the semi-finals.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Roger Federer commits to playing in his home town of Basel for 2 more years

Roger Federer has committed to playing his hometown tournament until 2019.

Retirement plans appear to be far away from Roger Federer’s mind after he committed to playing in his hometown tournament of Basel until 2019.

The 35-year-old has signed a new three-year deal with the Swiss Indoors event, which he has won seven times since making his debut in 1998.

There were serious question marks about Federer’s future when he returned in January from six months on the sidelines with knee problems.

But he defied the doubters in spectacular fashion by beating Rafael Nadal to win his 18th grand slam title at the Australian Open.

Federer, who will be 38 when the Swiss Indoors is played in 2019, was forced to miss the event last year and is looking forward to returning in October.

“I cannot wait to return to my home country in the autumn. Playing in Basel is always a highlight of the year,” Federer said in a statement.


Monday, February 20, 2017

Roger Federer says Laver Cup is designed to be tough

PRAGUE (AP) — The new Laver Cup team tennis tournament is supposed to be a "tough" contest, not an exhibition, according to Roger Federer.

The competition will pit a team of the best six European players against the top six from the rest of the world. The inaugural edition is scheduled for Sept. 22-24 at the O2 Arena in Prague. The following year, it moves to the United States.

"The idea is to absolutely have a tough tournament, tough matches, the better man wins, that's the idea of the Laver Cup," Federer said Monday.

To promote the competition, Federer played some rallies against Tomas Berdych on a boat cruising the Vltava river to a crowd watching from the famed Charles Bridge.

Bjorn Bjorg will captain Europe while John McEnroe will do the same for the opponents. The tournament is to honor Rod Laver, an 11-time major champion who won two calendar-year Grand Slams.

No ATP rankings points will be awarded, but Federer insisted that an exhibition "is not how the captains see it, that's not how Rod Laver sees it. He wants us to represent our part of the world with pride and try our very best and also win for our teammates."

The teams won't be named until after the U.S. Open, but it's not clear yet if all players who will formally qualify via the rankings will be available.

What is for certain, organizers said, is that Federer and Rafael Nadal, the finalists at this year's Australian Open, will be on the European team.

With Andy Murray, Novak Djokovic and Stan Wawrinka possibly on the team, Europe seems to be the one to beat.

"On paper, we look as the big favorites," Federer said. "We have more depth in Team Europe that we can choose from."

The tournament will include three singles and one doubles match every day. Federer was clear about his choice of his possible partner for the doubles.

"I guess I would love to play with Rafa just because of our rivalry has been so special," Federer said.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Martina Hingis and new doubles partner fall in the semis of Qatar Open

Top seeds Chan Yung-jan and Martina Hingis were ousted in the semi-finals of the doubles at the Qatar Ladies Open on Friday, as Olga Savchuk and Yaroslava Shvedova rallied from a set down to win their second match of the day and advance to the final in Doha.

The Taiwanese-Swiss duo, playing their first tournament together, won the first set before the unseeded Ukrainian-Kazakh pairing rallied to complete a 3-6, 6-2, 10-6 victory in 67 minutes in the rain-hit Qatari capital.

Savchuk and Shvedova, who had earlier ousted third seeds Andrea Hlavackova of the Czech Republic and Peng Shuai of China 6-3, 1-6, 10-7, saved three of six break points and converted four of nine, winning 59 of the 110 points contested to advance to the final.

In the final they were due to face fourth seeds Abigail Spears of the US and Katarina Srebotnik of Slovenia, who ousted second seeds Sania Mirza of India and Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic 6-3, 1-6, 10-8 in Friday’s other semi-final.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Martina Hingis reaches Qatar Open semis with new doubles partner

Martian Hingis Facebook

It was a tale of the top seeds at the rain-hit Qatar Ladies Open on Thursday, as Chan Yung-jan and Martina Hingis advanced to the semi-finals in the doubles, while Angelique Kerber crashed out to a Russian teenager in the second round of the singles in Doha.

Chan and Hingis faced a tougher test than their first-round match in their quarter-final against Andreja Klepac of Slovenia and Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez of Spain, but they came through with flying colors, posting a 6-3, 6-3 victory in 67 minutes.

The Taiwanese-Swiss duo saved six of eight break points and converted five of 13, winning 59 of the 105 points contested to advance to a semi-final against either third seeds Andrea Hlavackova of the Czech Republic and Peng Shuai of China or Olga Savchuk of Ukraine and Yaroslava Shvedova of Kazakhstan, who were scheduled to play their rain-delayed quarter-final yesterday.

That should give the top seeds an advantage in the semi-finals, with their opponents having to play two matches yesterday in their bid to make today’s final.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Martina Hingis scores first win with new doubles partner in Doha

 Chan Yung-jan celebrated her new doubles partnership with former world No. 1 Martina Hingis with a win at the Qatar Open yesterday, but it was not such a good day for fellow Taiwanese Chuang Chia-jung in a rain-hit Doha.

Top seeds Chan and Hingis took just 60 minutes to see off Kiki Bertens of the Netherlands and Johanna Larson of Sweden 6-1, 6-4.

The Taiwanese-Swiss duo failed to save either of the break points they faced, but they converted five of seven to advance to a quarter-final against Andreja Klepac of Slovenia and Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez of Spain, who cruised past Madison Brengle of the US and Naomi Broady of Britain 6-1, 6-2.


Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Martina Hingis & Iva Majoli to play in French Open Final repeat in Croatia exhibition

An exhibition match between Croatian Iva Majoli and former World No.1 Martina Hingis, which will be a repeat of the 1997 French Open final, will be one of the highlights of the 2017 WTA 125K Series Bol Open.

The WTA 125K Series Bol Open will take place from 5 – 11 June 2017 on Bol on the Croatian island of Bra─Ź.

Organisers today announced a strong field for the tournament now in its 13th year.

Local stars Ana Konjuh and Jana Fett were present today at the press conference in Zagreb and both announced they will be playing in Bol.

An added attraction will be a rematch of the 1997 French Open final at Roland Garros when Majoli takes on Hingis. Majoli won her first and only Grand Slam that year and the two friends will be going at it again 20 years later.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Martina Hingis splits with doubles partner Coco Vandeweghe joins forces with one of the Chan sisters

Tennis - Former World No. 1 Martina Hingis has split with American Coco Vandeweghe in doubles and will partner with Yung-Jan Chan, one-half of the Chan sisters from Taiwan. Hingis is currently ranked eighth in the world in doubles and was ranked No. 1 alongside India's Sania Mirza last season.

Hingis teamed up with Vandeweghe afer splitting with Mirza mid-season last year. The duo reached the finals of their first tournament togeether in Cincinnati and then made the semi-finals of the US Open. But since then, their partnership did not yield many successes - going 5-5 in their next five events. Hingis played the St. Petersburg Open last week with countrywoman Belinda Bencic.

Chan is ranked 12th in the world and has won 18 WTA doubles titles, half of them coming with sister Hao- Ching Chan, including the Taiwan Open earlier this month. The Chan sisters have said they will be taking a break from their partnership, which has opened the way for Yung-Jan to partner Hingis. The two are expected to start their partnership in Doha.

I think this is a good move by Hingis, she wasn't getting any decent results with Coco, who in my opinion is a better singles player (and it seems to be her main focus anyway). 

Chan is an accomplished doubles player only so, this could work. Fingers crossed. 

Sunday, February 05, 2017

Roger Federer eyes Wimbledon, and U.S. Open success after Aussie Open triumph

Roger Federer said he was as surprised to win his 18th grand slam title at the Australian Open as when he clinched his first at Wimbledon in 2003, and now he is targeting the All England Club for a 19th major triumph.

In Melbourne the Swiss defeated his old rival, Rafael Nadal, in five thrilling sets 6-4, 3-6, 6-1, 3-6, 6-3 to win his fifth Australian Open title and complete an incredible comeback following six months out with injury. Victory also means Federer climbs to No10 in the world rankings after he started the tournament in 17th and with faint hopes of making the quarter-finals.

Federer said: “This came as a huge, huge surprise. I guess maybe like 2003 Wimbledon – it’s totally different, but it was a big, big surprise. I thought I could probably be dangerous for a top guy, maybe beat one, and then that would probably be it, just because the body would start aching, which it did, or my level would drop – which it didn’t.”

Even for Federer, the French Open is likely to prove out of reach as despite winning in 2009 he has never enjoyed playing on clay and the surface will be particularly brutal on his body. Nadal, the nine-time champion at Roland Garros, world No1 Andy Murray, reigning champion Novak Djokovic and 2015 winner Stan Wawrinka will all sit higher in the pecking order. It means the 35-year-old’s best chance of sealing his next grand slam success is on the grass at Wimbledon this summer.

Federer added: “Wimbledon over Roland Garros – yes. On the grass I’ve got a lot of tournaments there, I play Stuttgart and Halle. So I guess Wimbledon, I know I have a better shot there. But at the French Open, if you’re not in the draw you can’t win it so I hope to be in the draw this year, not like last year.

“The US Open … I also think I have a good chance to do well there, but let’s enjoy this one first.”

Federer will first take some time off to recover physically from his draining run at Melbourne Park, before continuing the hard-court season in Dubai, Indian Wells and Miami. The knee injury that prompted last year’s sabbatical appears not to have resurfaced but Federer did have to put up with pain in his thigh and groin against Wawrinka in the semi-final and on Sunday against Nadal.

He said: “I feel OK, I am very tired right now. My legs hurt like mad and my back’s stiff now too because I didn’t take any treatment, plus I was dancing.

“I’m still on a high, I’m going to crash eventually but that’s OK and like I said in a week I think the pain in my legs will go away, which is going to be nice.”

This was Federer’s first major title since his second set of twins, Leo and Lenny, were born and the veteran said he enjoyed some time with his family after returning from a long night of partying.

“As I walked in, they woke up,” he said. “It was a bit of a weird moment but still so great because they were all in such a good mood as they woke up and I came in walking in with the trophy. We started the party late, or super early in the morning and we made it home by sunrise, which was good.

“It was nice to see the sun rise over Melbourne, get into the room, so it was a long night but a lot of fun. Everyone was in such a good mood, it was a special day, a special couple of weeks and finished off in a great way, by being silly and having a lot of fun.”


Saturday, February 04, 2017

Roger Federer Talks to TIME About Nadal, That Win in Melbourne, and Partying Till Dawn

This week's issue of TIME features a story on Roger Federer, who on Jan. 29 became the oldest man in 45 years to win a Grand Slam singles final when he beat his arch-rival and nemesis, Rafael Nadal, in a five-set classic. Federer, 35, won his 18th slam — adding to his all-time men's record — after missing the last six months of the 2016 season because of a knee injury. At best, he thought he could reach the quarterfinals of this year's Aussie Open.

On Feb. 1, three days after his stunning victory, TIME spoke to Federer by phone—he was at his house in the Swiss alps. You can read the feature story here. Below are expanded excerpts from the interview, in which Federer discusses everything from his rehab process to mental fortitude — and partying till dawn.

You've had a few days to reflect on the win in Melbourne. What does that title mean to you?

Maybe to believe and to work hard and persevere and all that stuff. On the surface, everyone sees my technique, the way I play, sort of everything’s easy and comes very natural to me. Maybe this [win] is a different type for me. I was able to show, especially after the tough year I had last year, how to make the right decisions and get past that. And how to move on and right away to create this sort of fairy tale story at the beginning of this year.

Honestly, I never thought I'd be able to win this tournament. That’s what stands out to me three days later. I still can’t believe I was able to make it all happen. This one has a very special, different taste than all the other Grand Slams I ever won. Coming back, getting older, and people have written me off maybe, makes this one so unique.

Last year was really one to forget, but to learn a lot from. At the first press conference after the first match [in Melbourne] I said I would be happy having lost today if my body is feeling well. It would have been a successful trip for me. Because the reason why I went to Australia was to find out where my body was at. In practice I knew it was good. Matches are a different animal, it’s a different story. I thought in the best case I could make the quarters, and beat one good player. Maybe two if things went crazy well. That was my expectation. That’s why it feels to much better, this one, because I never thought in a million years I was going to win.

I thought it would be a stepping stone for the season. Basically my year would start 100% in April. That's how I saw it. It started 100% at the get go.

Did you do any different kind of training, different kind of diet during your rehab, that might have keyed the recovery?

With diet, I just didn't want to become heavy. Because all of a sudden you can’t train as much as you usually do. I was just paying attention there.

The knee was screaming for a rest. That’s when I made the tough decision [to end his season], and we started doing rehab, with quad exercises. I eased into fitness, a little running, a little side shuffling, a little sprinting. And eventually you can do more and more hours a day, more days in a row, and eventually I got into tennis. We’re mixing fitness and tennis. And at the end of October we were going kind of full out already, but in short bursts of time, not too long, not too many days in a row, always a sufficient break. Because I took six months off, I actually had sufficient time to get through all the processes we were looking forward to. Then at the end, all of December, I was going all out. It was just being clever with my scheduling, making sure I'm not getting hurt.

Andre Agassi told me "every time I was away from the game, it was a mental battle more than it was a physical battle. You have to watch guys win tournaments, knowing that every week, you're sort of going in the wrong direction." Was it a mental battle for you?

Honestly, that part for me was on the easier side. In life, I like to choose. I want to be healthy as a person, [that's] number one for me and my family, and, number two, to play tennis again. After playing for almost 20 years, all of a sudden you realize, "I think this body, and maybe the mind, deserve a break."

The doctors and the team told me, "Look, buddy, you need to rest right now." Once the decision was done, we [Federer and his wife, Mirka] walked out of the room, and we looked each other in the eye and said, "No problem. OK. We’ll take six months." I mean, it hurt for a few days. Like it's supposed to. Then, honestly, for me it was over. It was done. I knew I wasn’t supposed to be playing. I dealt with it like I think I should.

Watching the Olympics didn’t hurt because I didn’t know what I missed. I hadn’t been in Rio before. I thought the U.S. Open was going to be hard to watch — but my knee. I could play for half an hour, then it would swell up again. So I was like, you know what? It was the right decision.

And honestly I was having such a good time away from tennis as well, with my family, doing hikes in the mountains, spending an incredible amount of time together with friends and family. So here we are, all of a sudden saying, shall we do a trip to Paris? I went to fashion shows in Paris. Caught up with friends there. We went to Greece for a vacation for the first time without our kids. I had so many just open dates where I could plan something. I never really have a lot of days where I could catch up with people in advance and say "Let’s meet up on Wednesday at 2:00 p.m. for lunch and do this and that." I was doing tons of that stuff. That’s what I enjoyed the most.

That gave me a lot of power for this year. I said I have to come out of this six months rejuvenated. Fresh. Hungry. Ready to go. We were able to achieve that.

In your matches against Nadal, the narrative has always been that he has the superior mental toughness. Do you think your mental game is under-appreciated?

I know the way I play is more visible than my mental toughness. I really had to work a lot on my mental toughness. Early on in my career, I was quite unstable. If people were going into a match with me, they knew if you could hang with me for two hours, after two hours, you’d probably be the favorite. Because I would run out of gas, or start checking out. It didn’t come naturally for me, the whole mental toughness.

I wanted to create a kind of aura that if people played against me, I was not going anywhere mentally and physically. That took me years to build up. Only when I started to win consecutive Grand Slams, and I was able to show that tenacity week in and week out, that’s when I felt like the locker room was actually starting to respect me. Before that, maybe I had that image [of mental inferiority] sometimes. In the years since, I don’t really think I’ve had this.

My mental toughness has always been overshadowed by my virtuosity, my shot-making, my technique, my grace. That's why when I lose, it seems like, "Oh, he didn't play so well." And when I win, it looks so easy. I had that already when I was a little boy. You know, "Why don’t you try harder?" I mean, honestly I tried everything that I possibly could. Just because I don't sweat like crazy and I don't grunt, I don't have this face on when I hit the shot like I'm in pain, doesn't mean I'm not trying hard. It's just how I play. Sorry.

Down 1-3 to Nadal in the fifth set, what specifically did you do mentally to stay in it?

I told myself, "You have one more set to play, pal." It's so easy to get down on yourself, and say, "Look, it was a great run, it is a great comeback, be happy with the final. It's fine. It's all good." I didn't allow that to creep into my mind. I told myself, "It’s one more set, give it everything you've got. He’s in pain. I’m in pain. Everyone is fighting out there, just try to play offensive tennis and take it to him. Go for your shots. Play free. Enjoy it out there. Play the ball, don’t play the opponent. Try everything. Hopefully, that's enough." And it was.

What else do you want to get out of this year?

By winning this, I have even less pressure I would think. It gave me a totally different outlook on the season. I don’t have to overplay. I’ve got a month here, so really relax, take my time. When I play I want to enjoy it. That seemed like the right philosophy, going into Australia. These last years on tour, I want to make the most of it. I’ll pick the tournaments where I feel like I have the best chance at doing well, and then we’ll see what happens. I'll play Dubai in a month, then Indian Wells and Miami (in March). I probably won’t play too much on clay. I’ll play the French Open and after that play grass, Stuttgart, Halle, and Wimbledon, then we’ll see. That would already be a dream if my body can sustain all of that until July.

In Australia you won your 18th Grand Slam, adding to your singles record. Do you have a Grand Slam goal in mind? Twenty would seems like a nice round number.

I don’t know (laughs). I mean, I had to wait for this one for four-and-a-half years. Really, let’s enjoy this one.

I tried to party like it was my last one. At a night final, by the time you finish it’s like 11:30. Then there's three hours of press and doping tests and everything, and seeing my friends quickly. I got out of the building at like 3:00 a.m.. And I went straight o the bar with my friends. We partied and danced all night long, we had a DJ. We got back at 6:30 a.m., the kids were just getting up as I came back with the trophy. One after the other, the kids came over to look to look at the trophy. It was an epic 12 hours.

Let's see. I honestly don’t know. I know my best chances this year will come at Wimbledon and at the U.S. Open. I know a lot of people talk about the Grand Slams. That why it’s been super hard in the last 4-and-a-half years to win a Grand Slam. But also I won the Davis Cup, I got back to world number two, I won a ton of tournaments. I did have great years. It's not like I was completely somewhere else and I wasn’t playing.

But plans are important. They make a lot of dreams come true. And that's what happened to me in January.

Friday, February 03, 2017

Martina Hingis & Simona Halep visit Faberge Museum in St. Pertersburg

ST. PETERSBURG, Russia - Simona Halep and Martina Hingis were joined by 1997 French Open champion Iva Majoli as the trio of WTA stars visited the Faberge Museum at the St. Petersburg Ladies Trophy.

The museum is located in the Shuvalov Palace on the Fontanka River. The players had a chance to take in the many rare and priceless pieces throughout the museum, as the guide drew their attention to some of the most famous creations of the collection.

Hingis came prepared with a few factoids of her own as the tour got underway.

"Though Peter Carl Faberge has a French surname, he is from Russia. I saw that on Wikipedia," she noted.

"It's something unbelievable, so crafty, with so many small details. And it was created some centuries ago, it's fantastic."

The crown jewel of the Museum's collection is the series of nine Imperial Easter Eggs created by Faberge, who was a jeweler for the families of the last two Russian emperors - Alexander III and Nicholas II. The eggs garnered more than a few 'Wows" from the three.

"Every time you see such beautiful things, you understand how skilful the craftsmen of the past were, how delicate and colorful their creations are," said Majoli.

"Faberge clearly had a rich imagination and obviously loved jewels," Halep added.

Thursday, February 02, 2017

Kim Clijsters to enter International Tennis Hall of Fame this summer

NEWPORT, RI, USA - Former World No.1 and six-time Grand Slam champion Kim Clijsters has been elected to receive induction into the International Tennis Hall of Fame.

"I feel very, very honored to be inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame," the Belgian said in a video statement that will play during a special ceremony at the Australian Open on Tuesday. "It is a huge honor to be amongst a list of so many great tennis players who I admired when I was growing up, and some great players who I played with in my tennis career as well."

Joining Clijsters in the Hall of Fame Class of 2017 will be 2003 US Open champion Andy Roddick, Monique Kalkman-van den Bosch, a 4-time Paralympic medalist in wheelchair tennis, being honored for her remarkable career.

Additionally, two individuals will be inducted in the Contributor Category. Steve Flink, a distinguished tennis historian and journalist has been elected for induction. Vic Braden, a groundbreaking tennis instructor who was among the first to apply sports science to his instructional tactics will be inducted posthumously.

"It's a real pleasure to welcome these five remarkable individuals into the Hall of Fame. Kim, Andy, and Monique compiled outstanding careers, winning the game's biggest titles and ascending to the world No. 1 ranking," remarked International Tennis Hall of Fame President and 1987 Hall of Famer Stan Smith.

The Class of 2017 will be officially inducted on July 22, during Rolex Hall of Fame Enshrinement Weekend at the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, Rhode Island. Tickets for the Induction Ceremony will go on sale in early February. In addition, the class will be celebrated in a tribute exhibit opening in June in the Museum at the International Tennis Hall of Fame, which will be displayed for one year.

One of six women in tennis history to simultaneously top the world rankings in singles and doubles, Clijsters was the world No. 1 player for 19 weeks and was ranked within the World's Top 5 for 250 weeks during her career. She is a three-time US Open champion (2005, 2009, 2010) and she was also the 2011 Australian Open champion. Clijsters won two major doubles titles, capturing both the French Open and Wimbledon titles in 2003.

Clijsters is a three-time champion at the WTA Finals (2002, 2003, 2010). She won 41 singles titles, and was a dedicated Belgian Fed Cup team member, leading the team to their first Fed Cup title in 2001 and into the finals again in 2006.

Clijsters retired from tennis in 2007, and then embarked on a second career in tennis with a comeback in 2009. That year, she went on to win the US Open, in what was just her third tournament back on the tour. She was unranked, unseeded, and a wild card entry to the event. Two years later, in 2011, she once again reached the world No. 1 ranking, five years after she had last been there.

Since retirement, Clijsters, now a mother of three, has been focused on her family. She remains engaged in tennis through Kim Clijsters Academy in Belgium, where many juniors train and through competing in Legends events at the Grand Slams.

Wednesday, February 01, 2017

Roger Federer partied like a rock star after 18th Grand Slam win

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Roger Federer stayed up all night and witnessed the sunrise over Melbourne following his Australian Open victory on Sunday, before walking into his hotel room with the trophy to the delighted faces of his four children.

The Swiss superstar, who had promised to “party like rock stars” after beating Rafael Nadal for his 18th Grand Slam championship crown, arrived bleary eyed and husky-voiced at the champions’ photo shoot at the elegant Carlton Gardens on Monday afternoon.

“We started late, or super early in the morning,” said Federer on Monday. “We made it home by sunrise, which was good. It was nice to see the sun rise over Melbourne, get into the room, so it was a long night but a lot of fun. Everyone was in such a good mood, it was a special day, a special couple of weeks and finished off in a great way, being silly and having a lot of fun. Forgetting about everything, all the pressure went away."

Federer, who had experienced a six-month injury lay-off only to return at the Australian Open, admitted it was especially gratifying as it was his first major trophy since his second set of twins, Leo and Lenny, were born on 6 May 2014.

“This is my first Slam win with the boys, they weren't born when I won in 2012, so that's special for Mirka and myself that I was able to do it,” said Federer, who also has girl twins, Myla and Charlene (born 23 July 2009). “The girls were just super excited to see the trophy. They will probably forget one day what happened, but at the same time they were happy that I'm happy.

“I saw them this morning. As I walked in, they woke up. Bit of a weird moment but still so great because they were all in such a good mood as they woke up and I came in walking in with the trophy. It was an amazing half-hour right there.”

Today, Federer rose seven spots to No. 10 in the Emirates ATP Rankings. He had dropped to No. 16 on 7 November 2016, falling out of Top 10 for the first time in 734 weeks (14+ years).

“I don’t know how much I slept, but you know I had to look at some highlights again to know how close the match was, and go through the emotions again,” said Federer. “What makes me most happy is when I see my friends and family so happy, my support team, everybody who was there.

“When I saw them celebrating again it really made it emotional when I heard people in Switzerland were following me and I saw people being really happy for me, that I won a slam again and particularly this one. It’s a bit of a fairytale to come back this way.”