Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Martina Hingis & Chan Yung-Jan receive tricky doubles draw at Roland Garros


Bethanie Mattek-Sands & Lucie Safarova: Mattek-Sands
and Safarova, ranked World No.1 and No.2 in doubles, respectively, started the season with a Grand Slam title in Melbourne, and are keen to add a second to their ever-growing collection. The pair picked up their only clay title of 2017 in Charleston, taking down Lucie Hradecka and Katerina Siniakova in the final.

The top seeds haven’t been handed an easy draw in Paris – they could get the dangerous No.14 seeds, Svetlana Kuznetsova and crowd favorite Kristina Mladenovic, in the round of 16. Should they progress, No.17 seeds Darija Jurak and Anastasia Rodionova and Prague champions No.11 seeds Anna-Lena Groenfeld and Kveta Peschke are potential quarterfinal opponents.

Ekaterina Makarova & Elena Vesnina:
By their standards, the No.2 seeds Makarova and Vesnina have had a low key clay season, reaching the final in Rome after posting a first-round loss in Madrid. Though they’ve yet to get going on the red stuff, the pair already have a title under their belts at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships and a semifinal appearance in Indian Wells.

In Paris, the Olympic champions could face a number of tricky floaters; the No.6 seeds Lucie Hradecka and Katerina Siniakova loom in their quarter of the draw. They could also face No.12 seeds Chan Hao Ching and Barbora Krejcikova or No.15 seeds Andreja Klepac and Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez.

Chan Yung-Jan & Martina Hingis
: Though seeded No.3, Hingis and Chan are widely considered the favorites to take home the Roland Garros crown after their dominant tear through the clay season.

Hingis and Hingis and Chan paired up at the start of the Middle East Swing and have quickly become the team to beat, winning two of the season's three Premier Mandatory titles at the BNP Paribas Open and Mutua Madrid Open, claiming the Rome title and reaching the semifinals at the Miami Open.

Looming as potential quarterfinals opponents are No.5 seeds Timea Babos and Andrea Hlavackova – in a potential rematch of their Madrid final – and surprise Miami champions No.9 seeds Gabriela Dabrowski and Xu Yifan.

Sania Mirza & Yaroslava Shvedova:
Mirza and Shvedova partnered earlier in the clay season at Madrid, and despite the titles eluding them the pair are building on momentum. Together they reached the quarterfinals in the Spanish capital and backed it up with semifinals in Rome.

The No.4 seeds’ section of the draw is littered with potential landmines; awaiting in the round of 16 could be the unseeded but red-hot Aussie duo of Casey Dellacqua and Ashleigh Barty. It won’t get any easier after that, as they could then get Stuttgart champions Raquel Atawo and Jelena Ostapenko or veterans Abigail Spears and Katarina Srebotnik.


Gabriela Dabrowski & Xu Yifan:
The No.9 seeded team of Dabrowski and Xu loom in Chan and Hingis’ quarter of the draw, and they’re primed to spring another upset. The pair capped off a fairytale run in Miami to take home the title in their first tournament together, and are fresh from a quarterfinal run in Strasbourg.

Svetlana Kuznetsova & Kristina Mladenovic: The No.14 seeded Kuznetsova and Mladenovic both have special ties to Roland Garros; Kuznetsova reached the final in singles twice – winning the title in 2009, her second Grand Slam crown – while Frenchwoman Mladenovic won her home Grand Slam last year in doubles with then-partner Caroline Garcia.

The pair teamed up to reach back-to-back quarterfinals in Indian Wells and Miami, but haven’t yet found their rhythm on the terre battue. Still, Mladenovic’s penchant for bringing out her best tennis in front of her home crowd and both players’ prowess on clay makes for a dangerous combination.

Raquel Atawo & Jelena Ostapenko:
Ostapenko teamed up with Atawo at the start of the clay season in Charleston, and the results came immediately. The pair reached the semifinals – knocking out heavyweights Sania Mirza and Andrea Hlavackova in the quarterfinals – and Ostapenko even reached the final in singles. In Stuttgart, the pair dropped just one set en route to the title. Seeded No.10 in Paris, the pair could run into Mirza once again, as they’re drawn into the Indian’s quarter.


Ashleigh Barty & Casey Dellacqua
: The Aussie duo has been quietly making their mark on the doubles circuit during the season and they come into the French Open in fine form, and with the momentum of winning at the Internationaux de Strasbourg just a few days ago.

They teamed up earlier in the year for a title at Kuala Lumpur, as well, and back in 2013 the pair reached three Grand Slam doubles finals – they could pose big problems for any seeds they run into in Paris.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Will Martina Hingis and Chan Yung-Jan be the new dynamic doubles duo on the WTA Tour?

Just like a couple's relationship that is near the end of their expiration date, in tennis you have to look and search for another and with luck you'll find it. This happen to Hingis and Chan.

"After three grand slam victories and 11 WTA doubles titles together, we have mutually agreed that we would each be open to playing with other players for the remainder of the season" the Chan sisters had said. The Martina Hingis/Sania Mirza pairing had over a year of good times and trophy-gotten goods, but they were apprehensive when a series of losses became too constant. There was much gossip about why the two would split and to lay it to rest Hingis went to her Instagram to say in a matter of a few explanations that "...we have had very high expectations from our partnership and unfortunately did not get the results we desired recently..." Last year after the split, Hingis tried teaming with Coco Vandeweghe. They made the finals in the Cincinnati event and then the semis at the US Open. The winning fizzled out and they broke their pairing.

The Chan sisters, Hao-Ching Chan and Yung-Jan had won 18 WTA doubles titles. They wanted to take a break from each other because as their winning strokes stopped, both though it best to separate and play with other partners as Yung-Jan had said she was trying "to find a new sparkle". Martina Hingis was the new shiny piece for Yung-Jan to join a unit together and they started hanging out together off-court to become acquainted with each other, with their union starting at the Australian Open of this year in 2017.

They played a few times in Asia but three times was the charm as the Hingis/Chan duo produced a title, their first together at the BNP Paribas at Indian Wells this year. Martina was no stranger at the BNP for she had won doubles titles twice before, winning in 1999 with Anna Kournikova and in 2015 with Sania Mirza. Yung-Jan is no stranger either to the BNP at Indian Wells because she was in the final some 10 years ago at 17. Chan remembers back that "...Everything was so new for me. I didn't really know everybody. Just playing whenever I can..." Regardless of the fact that she and her sister lost to Lisa Raymond and Sam Stosur only proved that she had the endurance and consistency to land up in a final. Three times was the charm as Hingis celebrated her doubles title with her new partner Yung-Jan in March at Indian Wells and their first together.

The Hingis/Chan team continued the magic of their pairing by entering the 2017 Mutua Madrid Open of which they had the consistency to gather the women's doubles title, their second title together. This makes the first title on clay and they defeated Timea Babos and Andrea Hlavackova in straight sets 6-4, 6-3. "I think we have the perfect game for each other. This is our fifth tournament together and we already have two titles...this is our first on clay and we won so we're already looking forward to the upcoming tournaments", Hingis and Chan said in unison. Martina displayed a wide smile also for the title being her 100th career title too. They had pushed their success just a bit further during the clay court season when they won the Italian Open in Rome, a die hard match won in two tiebreakers with the team of Elena Vesnina and Ekaterina Makarova, 7-5, 7-6.

Martina Hingis and Yung-Jan Chan feel that they are on the perfect track to being a consistent threat to the women's doubles teams on the WTA tour. Next up for the new dynamic duo is the French Open which will be the first grand slam they would have won with each other and the fourth title. They seem to be on the right path and as Hingis says smilingly "That's the key to success, the partnership".

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Monday, May 22, 2017

Martina Hingis & Chan Yung-Jan capture Madrid-Rome double

Martina Hingis Twitter

ROME, Italy - Martina Hingis and Chan Yung-Jan will come into this year's French Open as heavy favorites after they clinched the Madrid/Rome double at the Internazionali BNL d'Italia, winning their eighth straight match, 7-5, 7-6(4) over reigning Olympic champions Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina in Sunday's final.

Hingis and Chan paired up at the start of the Middle East Swing and have quickly become the team to beat, winning two of the season's three Premier Mandatory titles at the BNP Paribas Open and Mutua Madrid Open, and reaching the semifinals at the Miami Open.

The Swiss Miss was playing her third straight final at the Foro Italico, having won the title last year with Sania Mirza; Hingis and Chan beat the former No.1 with new partner Yaroslava Shvedova en route to the championship match.

Across the net was last year's finalists and top seeds Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina, who were in their first final since winning the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships back in February.

Recovering from a 3-5 deficit in the second set, Hingis and Chan saved a set point to ultimately outlast the Russians in an ensuing tiebreak, taking home their fourth title of the season and become the first team to win both Rome and Madrid since 2012, when Italian duo Roberta Vinci and Sara Errani did it before winning their maiden major title at the French Open.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Martina Hingis & Chan Yung-Jan advance to Rome doubles final

Taiwan’s Chan Yung-jan and Martina Hingis of Switzerland kept their bid for a second straight title on track at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia yesterday, while sixth seed Simona Halep advanced to the final of the singles.

Second seeds Chan and Hingis battled to a 6-3, 7-6 (9/7) semi-final victory over third seeds Sania Mirza of India and Yaroslava Shvedova of Kazakhstan in 1 hour, 44 minutes at the Foro Italico in Rome.

The Taiwanese-Swiss duo saved three of five break points and converted three of eight to advance to a final against top-seeded Russian Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina or fourth seeds Timea Babos of Hungary and Andrea Hlavackova of the Czech Republic, who were playing later yesterday.

Martina Hingis & Chan Yung-Jan reach semis in Rome

Taiwan’s Chan Yung-jan and doubles partner Martina Hingis reached the semi-finals of the women’s doubles at the the Internazionali BNL d’Italia yesterday.

The Taiwanese-Swiss pairing defeated Katarina Srebotnik of Slovenia and Abigail Spears of the US 6-2, 6-4 to stay on track for back-to-back titles after winning the Mutua Madrid Open on Saturday last week.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Martina Hingis and Chan Yung-Jan survive to reach doubles quarters in Rome

Taiwan’s Chan Yung-jan and Martina Hingis survived a huge scare to keep their bid for back-to-back doubles titles on track at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia on Wednesday, while top seed Angelique Kerber was not so fortunate, losing her opening match at the Foro Italico to Estonian qualifier Anett Kontaveit.

Second seeds Chan and Hingis rallied from a set down against Nao Hibino of Japan and Alicja Rosolska of Poland to edge a tight second-round contest 4-6, 7-5, 11-9 in 1 hour, 38 minutes.

The Taiwanese-Swiss duo saved three of six break points and converted three of six, winning 75 of the 144 points contested to advance to the quarter-finals in Rome.

The second seeds are looking for a third title as a pairing and the second in a week after they triumphed at the Mutua Madrid Open on Saturday.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Song of the Moment : Hanson- I Was Born

Still enjoy these guys so much. With every passing year. Weirdly enough I think they're the only band I listen to these days.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Martina Hingis wins 100th career title with Madrid win

If you blinked, you might have missed them: At the WTA Premier Mandatory tournament in Madrid this past weekend, the top two seeded teams—Bethanie Mattek-Sands/Lucie Safarova and Ekaterina Makarova/Elena Vesnina—both lost their opening matches.

That opened things up for the third-seeded pairing of Yung-Jan Chan and Martina Hingis, who took home the title with a straight-sets win over Timea Babos and Andrea Hlavackova. It’s Chan and Hingis’ second title of the year after winning in Indian Wells. The two—newly partnered this year—were facing a team coming off a title in Prague the previous week.

This was Hingis’ 100th career title between singles and doubles. (She’s also won five mixed-doubles titles, all of which came at majors.) It was cause for celebration, and this pair could be going for another title—post-victory dance champs—that would threaten the reign of Team Bucie.

Hingis, 36, won her first doubles title all the way back in 1995. (Her first singles title came a year later.)

Chan, 27, has won 20 doubles titles in her 13-year career.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Roger Federer to skip French Open after all, focus on grass & hard court season

After spending a few days practicing on clay courts in Switzerland, a healthy and well-rested Roger Federer settled on his upcoming schedule: He will bypass the French Open and turn his focus to Wimbledon, then the U.S. Open.

"It was a tough decision to take, because he likes to play the French Open, likes to play the big tournaments," Severin Luthi, who coaches Federer, said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press on Monday. "But I think it was the best decision for him. It’s an investment in his career — for this season and for the coming seasons."

Federer posted a message entitled "Roger to skip Roland Garros" on his website on Monday, announcing that he will stay away from competing on clay entirely in 2017 and instead will prepare for the grass- and hard-court events that follow.

"I’ve been working really hard, both on and off the court, during the last month," Federer wrote, "but in order to try and play on the ATP World Tour for many years to come, I feel it’s best to skip the clay court season this year."

It's the second year in a row that Federer pulled out of the French Open, where main-draw play begins in Paris on May 28. He won the title at the clay-court major in 2009 to complete a career Grand Slam.

His absence a year ago, because of back and knee problems that plagued him in 2016, ended his record streak of appearing in 65 consecutive Grand Slam tournaments -- every one since the start of 2000.

Now, though, the owner of a record 18 major championships feels great.

And he wants to keep it that way.

"We are in a good situation. He is (healthier than he's) been in the last five years. We could take the decision out of a position of strength," Luthi said about pulling out of the French Open.

"We talked a few times about it but wanted to give ourselves time to think about it," he added. "We spoke again yesterday and made the final decision today."

Luthi said Federer plans to play at two grass-court tournaments in Germany -- at Stuttgard starting June 12, and at Halle the week after that -- before heading to Wimbledon, where play begins on July 3.

The 35-year-old Federer has not played in a tournament since April 2, when he won his third title of 2017 at the Miami Open and improved his record this year to 19-1, all on hard courts, his best start in more than a decade. At the time, he said he would be taking a break from the tour and did not commit to returning in time for the French Open.

"The start to the year has been magical for me but I need to recognize that scheduling will be the key to my longevity moving forward," Federer wrote. "Thus, my team and I concluded today that playing just one event on clay was not in the best interest of my tennis and physical preparation for the remainder of the season."

Clay tends to be the most physically demanding of tennis' surfaces, requiring plenty of tricky movement and sliding, along with lengthy, grind-it-out points.

Federer's great rival and the man known as the King of Clay, Rafael Nadal, has been back to his dominant self on the red stuff lately, compiling a 15-match winning streak and three consecutive titles, including at the Madrid Open on Sunday. That has made Nadal the favourite to collect a record 10th trophy at Roland Garros, which would be his 15th overall at majors, three away from Federer.

Luthi said Federer didn't take Nadal's recent play -- or anyone else's -- into account as he weighed his options.

"It's really more a decision about him than the others," Luthi said. "It would be a mistake to look at them too much."

Federer missed the last half of 2016, including the Rio de Janeiro Olympics and the U.S. Open, because of his surgically repaired left knee. He started this season the best way possible, winning the Australian Open in January.

As for Paris, if there were those worrying about whether they might have seen the last of the Swiss superstar there, Federer offered a message about the future.

"I will miss the French fans, who have always been so supportive," Federer said, "and I look forward to seeing them at Roland Garros next year."

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Martina Hingis & Chan-Yung Jan take home Madrid Open doubles title!

Matua Madrid Open Twitter

Martina Hingis Official Facebook

MADRID, Spain - Martina Hingis and Chan Yung-Jan took home their second title together at the Mutua Madrid Open after defeating Timea Babos and Andrea Hlavackova in straight sets, 6-4, 6-3.

The pair took home the first title of their partnership at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells earlier in the season and reached the semifinals in Doha and Miami, and now they can add a win at their first clay court tournament together.

“I think that we both have playing styles that complement the other perfectly,” Chan said afterwards. “It’s our fifth tournament together and we’ve already won two titles. In fact, this is our first tournament on clay and we’re so happy to win here and looking forward to the next tournaments.”

Chan and Hingis edged past Babos and Hlavackova – who were fresh off a title in Rabat at their debut tournament – in a rollercoaster opening set that featured seven breaks of serve. Hingis was broken serving for the set at 5-3, but the pair recovered strongly to break straight back with a flurry of winners at the net to wrap up the opening tilt.

It was more straightforward in the second; after trading breaks to start, Hingis and Chan reeled off three games in a row to march ahead 5-2 and comfortably serve out the match to take home the title.

“I think having fun on the court is a part of the success, and it’s important to have a good relationship with your partner,” Hingis assessed. “It doesn’t matter if you have a good day or a bad day, but obviously everything is easier when the things are going well.

“We had to face two very tough matches at the start of the tournament, and I feel like we just got better and better with every match.”

1st clay title together. Congrats ladies!.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Roger Federer to make his 15th appearance at Halle this June

18-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer is all set to make his 15th appearance at Halle's ATP tournament next month where he will aim to clinch the title for the ninth time.

Confirming the news, tournament director Ralf Weber said that they are looking forward to the return of Federer, who had played a pivotal role in the making the tournament popular worldwide.

"We are looking forward to Roger's return. He has finally helped bring the tournament into a new dimension and made it even more popular worldwide," Sport24 quoted Weber as saying.

Besides Swiss maestro Federer, eight of the top 20 players in the world will feature in Halle including last year's runner-up Alexander Zverev, who won the Munich clay-court ATP tournament last week.

The grass-court tournament, which is traditionally a warm-up for Wimbledon, is slated to be held from June 17 and runs until June 25.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Pros and Cons of Roger Federer playing the French Open

Every week Tennis Channel and will be introducing a Tough Call around a thought-provoking topic, and our panel of experts will chime in both on-air and online. Be sure to join the discussion, weigh in on our polls, or comment on Facebook and Twitter using #TennisToughCall.

Here is this week's edition of Tough Call. Should Roger Federer play Roland Garros?

Ready, set, go...


- His focus at this point in his career is winning majors, so why skip any major?

- If he wins, it’ll be his 19th major and the second leg of a calendar-year Grand Slam.

- He missed Roland Garros last year, so will only be adding points onto his ranking.

- It’s his worst major, but he’s done very well there before (one title and four finals).

- He’ll have had two months off the tour, so he’ll be fully rested and recovered.


- He could skip his worst major to focus on his best major, Wimbledon.

- He’ll have missed the clay-court lead-up, so it’ll be harder for him to win there anyway.

- He could transition straight from hard to grass (easier than hard to clay to grass).

- He could make sure he avoids injuring himself during best-of-five play on clay.

- He can relax as the rest of the field wears themselves out … then pounce at Wimbledon.


Steve Flink says: No

In my view, unless he changes his mind and plays in Rome, Federer should not play the French Open. Without any tournament preparation, he would risk an injury or a surprising loss. He achieved an almost miraculous triumph at the Australian Open after six months away from the game, but at least then he competed in the Hopman Cup. He ruled in Melbourne on fast hard courts, a far cry from the slow clay of Roland Garros. Federer should save himself for the grass-court season and a serious pursuit of an eighth title at Wimbledon.

Steve Tignor says: Yes

Federer said he would play in 2017 only when he felt like he could be the “real me”—in other words, only when he’s rested and at full strength. By entering Paris, he'll risk getting injured or worn down before Wimbledon. But that risk is worth the possible reward. With his three wins over Rafael Nadal this year, and with Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray struggling, Federer has a real chance to win the French. He can’t pass it up.

Ed McGrogan says: Yes

Who in tennis is bigger than Federer? In 2017, only the sport itself surpasses its greatest star. Which is why Federer’s presence is needed in Paris. Title contender or not, it’s a bad look for the game if its top draw and runaway player of the year can’t find it within himself to play for a week or two at one of the game’s four pillar events. An early-round loss won’t sully his season or legacy, and the only way he can outdo himself at this point is to—wait for it—beat Rafa at Roland Garros.

Nina Pantic says: Yes

Federer has played just four events this year, so he’ll certainly enter the French Open well-rested, both mentally and physically. Of course, he doesn't have much left to prove in his career, but no one can argue against the fact that the one-time Roland Garros champion still has work left to do in Paris. He's 0-5 against Nadal on Court Philippe Chatrier; that should be motivation enough to return.

Ashley Ndebele says: No

If Federer wants to maintain his winning record and a shot at winning his 19th slam, skipping Roland Garros is the way to go. He was smart enough to forego the lead-up tournaments to avoid the clay-court grind, considering his age. It makes a lot of sense for him to just segue into grass, where he's had a lot of success. Besides, the Roland Garros-Wimbledon back-to-back schedule can be brutal to a 35-year-old body, so why risk the injury?

Brad Kallet Says: Yes

Without question. Federer already cemented his status as the GOAT in January with his 18th major title, and reminded us that he’s superhuman in winning a Slam at 35 after six months off the tour. It’s all gravy from here, isn’t it? By Roland Garros, he won’t have played a match in two months, so he should be fresh. He’ll also be playing with house money: Rafa will be the favorite after his brilliant clay season. With limited pressure and every chance to win, it’s a no-brainer.

I'm not sure why this is a debate, since Roger pretty much said he already registered for Roland Garros. But I'm still on the fence about it myself.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Martina Hingis and doubles partner reach semi- finals at Madrid Open

Taiwan’s Chan Yung-jan and Martina Hingis of Switzerland yesterday advanced to the semi-finals of the women’s doubles at the Mutua Madrid Open, while defending men’s singles champion Novak Djokovic survived a scare on Wednesday.

Third seeds Chan and Hingis rallied from a set down to defeat Anna-Lena Groenefeld of Germany and Kveta Peschke of the Czech Republic 4-6, 6-3, 10-8 in 1 hour, 23 minutes in their quarter-final at La Caja Magica in the Spanish capital.

The Taiwanese-Swiss duo saved three of eight break points and converted five of 14, winning 68 of the 132 points to improve their career record against Groenefeld and Peschke to 2-0 after a round-of-16 victory in Dubai in February.

Monday, May 08, 2017

Roger Federer reveals real reason behind his amazing resurrection

Bengaluru, May 7: The legend of Roger Federer is truly a treat to watch. The Swiss ace keeps mesmerising the whole sporting world and we feel greatly privileged to be able to see him gracing his magic in the tennis court year after year.

However, it always has not been an easy ride for the iconic Tennis star. Just like every other athlete, he also had his lows in his career but legends always know how to make a comeback and that is why Federer is still ruling the Tennis world and hearts even at the age of 35 with his sheer grace and aura.

The 18-time Grand Slam winner had a very poor 2016 when he was struggling with injuries but now looks better than ever making his best start to a season since 2009. Federer missed the entire second half of the season last year, undergoing knee surgery after also struggling with a back injury. But the 35-year-old is off to an incredible 19-1 start in 2017 on the back of victory at the Australian Open, as well as titles at Indian Wells and the Miami Open. And the 18-time grand slam champion has now revealed the biggest reason behind his amazing comeback. 

"I got really rejuvenated and fresh and ready, and excited to come back on tour again," Federer said. "And I was finally able to speak differently to the press and everybody, and just tell everybody how little expectations I really have. "Because for the last 15 years I always said, more or less, 'I want to win the next tournament I enter,' because that was reality. Because of this injury, it sorts of reset everything, and it was a beautiful thing".

Federer recently ended speculation about his participation in this year's French Open, confirming that he will take part in it. "I am registered and my intention is to play Roland Garros," the 18-time Grand Slam champion said in a post-match interview. Now World number 4, Federer, had an early exit from the French Open in 2015 where he was ousted of the quarter finals and he could not participate last year. His records in the Red clay of Paris is not the best boasting just one title back in 2009 but his form this campaign suggests that Federer fans might get something to cheer about. 

"I feel very privileged to be back on a tennis court," Federer told Yahoo News. "Last year was extremely difficult, having had surgery and the knee never healing. Then I had back pain too, and it all got too much at Wimbledon and I was out for six months. "But I was able to spend some incredible time with the family and start preparing for this season and hoping that the work that I put in the off season was going to really pay off.

"I was going to get a second chance to really play tennis again on the professional tour and so when I did come back in Australia was really exciting." French Open is all set to start on 22nd of this month and this will be a highly-anticipated tournament with Djokovic making his comeback after a poor spell and Nadal and Federer both in good form while Andy Murray will be looking to keep his number one position at all costs.

Friday, May 05, 2017

Roger Federer is Barilla's new Global Brand Ambassador

The Barilla Group has reached a long-term agreement with Roger Federer, considered one of the greatest tennis players of all time, for the promotion of its pasta and sauces products around the world.

Throughout his long and brilliant career, Federer has won numerous titles and achieved many records: he holds the record for number of weeks as the world’s no. 1 tennis player (302) and he has won 91 singles titles, including a record 18 Grand Slam titles. He has also won two Olympic medals. So far in 2017, he has already won three singles titles, including the Australian Open in January

"For years it has been my dream that Roger could join Barilla in the fascinating mission of helping people eat better, in favor of their health and the sustainability of the Planet," said Vice Chairman Luca Barilla. "Now this dream has come true."

Sport is energy, drive, commitment. Pasta is not just an essential food for athletes: it is an indispensable source of carbohydrates for everyone. At the heart of the Mediterranean diet, pasta tastes good and is good for people's health and for the health of the Planet.

For Luca Barilla “Roger is an extraordinary person and athlete who, during his long career, has demonstrated principles and a conduct that have enabled him to conquer the hearts of millions of people in the world. We are confident that his values and global star power, coupled with our history and our way of doing business, will be of great help in bringing Barilla even further into its mission."

“Barilla pasta and sauces provide the energy that I need to succeed on the tennis court and enjoy my family’s favorite activities. Pasta has been part of my daily diet for so many years that this partnership is a natural. I am excited to be joining forces with Barilla. They are the best in the business,” said Roger Federer.

Starting with its sponsorship of football team AS Roma, which won the Serie A title in the 1982-83 season, the Barilla Group has often worked with leading figures from the world of sport. From Alberto Tomba in skiing, to tennis players Steffi Graf and Stefan Edberg; from Francesco Moser in cycling, to the more recent partnerships with Alex Zanardi, Federica Pellegrini, Ricardo Kakà, Stephan El Shaarawy, Thomas Müller and Mikaela Shiffrin.
Since 2015, Barilla has also been the main sponsor of the Italian national basketball teams.

Wednesday, May 03, 2017

Roger Federer Mr. GQ at the Met Gala

A black tie fit worthy of the tennis ace's GOAT status.

"I've never worn anything close to this," Roger Federer says of his Gucci tuxedo at a fitting this Sunday. The tennis star is putting the final touches on his outfit before this year's Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute Gala, the annual fundraiser that brings together the biggest names in fashion, film, politics, sports, art, and, more recently, social media entrepreneurship.

For a guy like Federer, suiting up for a black tie gala is no sweat. (If there's one thing the tennis star knows, it's how to wear a suit and wear it well). But this year Federer has a reputation to uphold, a title as illustrious as any of the 18 Grand Slam he's taken home in his storied career. Right now, Roger Federer is the Most Stylish Man alive, voted into power by the readers of GQ.

So what does a man who excels at understated, elegant tailored menswear wear to an event steeped in capital 'F' fashion—the kind you rarely see in real life—and in a year where the event celebrates Rei Kawakubo, the most avant garde designer of them all? Gucci, of course.

The white-hot Italian label dominates the sartorial swerve market right now, with designer Alessandro Michele injecting even the most staid menswear staples with unexpected flourishes (peeping snake ties, anyone?). Michele's more-is-best approach to tailoring has yielded suits in retro eye-popping plaids, wallpaper florals, piped school boy blazers, and embroidered with motifs as varied as Donald Duck and dragon heads. You think a tux is just going to be simple and black in Michele's hands? No. It's going to have a twist. It's going to have...a cobra.

An embroidered crystal king cobra, to be exact. Designed with Michele and the help of GQ's own creative director Jim Moore and made through Gucci's DIY custom program, the one-button, shawl lapel tux (Signoria is the model name, if you want to order your own) is equal parts classic and brash. In other words, it's the Roger Federer of tuxedo jackets. As Federer describes it, it's "business in the front, party in the back."

"I appreciate craftsmanship and details—and here, we have a lot of details," says Federer. "I think it's beautiful, especially inside with the floral lining. The cobra, I think, is going to be quite unexpected." (The Swiss have always been big on understatement.) Federer knows the reptilian vibes aren't a game-set-match guaranteed victory. "Either you're going to like it or not," he says. "We just have to appreciate taking risks at the Met Gala." Even in matters of sartorial swerves, Federer is still the ultimate sportsman.

Tuesday, May 02, 2017

WTA Insider Podcast: WTA Finals Ambassador Kim Clijsters

Former World No.1 Kim Clijsters weighs in on her new role as ambassador for the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global, and what we can expect from Serena Williams and Victoria Azarenka in their post-motherhood careers.

STUTTGART, Germany - Former No.1 Kim Clijsters has been announced as the new WTA Finals Legend Ambassador, joining the Martina Navratilova and Arantxa Sánchez Vicario to promote the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global throughout the year. Clijsters is a four-time major champion who captured three WTA Finals titles and 41 singles titles overall, before retiring in 2012.

"I felt very honored when they asked me, so it was a no-brainer to try and help out and be involved in the WTA Finals because the WTA Finals have been a very important tournament in my career.

"I won the WTA Finals before I won a grand slam. It was my first big result and I was able to beat the best players that were on tour at that time. They helped me a lot with my confidence. They've always been a very unique experience, the WTA Finals. Sharing moments when I was younger, my father being there, playing in the States and playing at the Staples Center and Madison Square Garden, they were unique experiences. I feel very lucky that I've been able to experience those. I also played in Doha after I had Jada and I won there. They were all very unique in their own way.

"I see that now with Singapore having watched it on TV. Last year I was up at night and watching Dominika Cibulkova with all her emotions, kind of dragging you into the matches. It just brings back memories for me. Little flashes of my past life on tour."

In addition to her role as a WTA Finals ambassador, Clijsters will be on the road more than she has in the past few years, as she also plans to play the legends events at Roland Garros and Wimbledon. Now 33, Clijsters says tournament life still feels very foreign to her.

"I'm just so used to my life and my routine at home that this almost feels selfish in a way, being here, being in a hotel room and not having much to do," Clijsters said. "Yesterday I arrived, I drove here, and I had a few hours before the event started. I was in my room and I was like 'What do I do?' So I called home and Skyped with the kids," she said with an embarrassed laugh.

Listen to Clijsters discuss a whole range of topics, from the state of the tour to her thoughts on Serena Williams' pregnancy, and Victoria Azarenka's impending return after having a child. Few have a better understanding of what it's like to be a mother on tour. After retiring in 2007, Clijsters came out of retirement in 2009 and proceeded to win three Slams as well as the 2010 WTA Finals in Doha. Her romp to the 2009 US Open title, which came within months of returning to the tour, left an indelible mark on the sport, with heart-warming scenes of her daughter Jada running around Arthur Ashe Stadium celebrating her triumph.

"No, she does not remember," Clijsters said, when asked if Jada remembers being on court that day. "Of course we have photos and videos. She's at that age where she goes on YouTube and she types in my name. She sees her at the US Open and she's telling her friends "That's me! My mom won this big trophy!" and then she runs and gets the trophy.

"She asked me the other day if I can start playing tennis again so she doesn't have to go to school anymore and she can go back on tour."

That return isn't likely, but it will be fantastic to see Clijsters around the tour more often over the next year. Always a tour favorite among players, fans, and writers, the tour is a happier place whenever Kim is around.

On how she decided to come out of retirement after having her first child:

"I think one of the biggest differences with me was that when I retired I didn't think I was going to play tennis again. I was like, I'm done. I had a year to deal with the grief of my father passing away at the time, and then having a baby and everything that comes with that, finding your way as a mother. I was very happy.

"I know that it helped me further down the road to win the US Open as quickly as I did because I had a full year before I was an athlete again. I started playing tennis and practicing because I was going to play some exhibitions. I called my trainer and he said, ok, let's start with a light schedule. Gradually I thought, huh, this is still going well and maybe I'm too young to just play exhibitions. But I kept that to myself. I needed to think this through and maybe it will pass. But the motivation only grew stronger."

"My initial plan was to start at the 2010 Australian Open, but then I thought well, I don't want to have all that attention at a big tournament straight away. So I played some tournaments in the States. We planned to play those to play some matches and get the feel for traveling with a baby on tour. And before you know it..."

On the motivation that drove her comeback:

"I did feel at times that I had some unfinished business. That feeling came back. I felt like I had more in me than I showed in my first career. So that is a motivation. You forget after a while. A lot of people talk about you being a mother, but as a player you forget about that. That's a question that's being asked by the media after every match. What are you going to do now? Is your daughter waiting, is she still going to be up? I never thought about that."

On Serena and Azarenka:

"It's really exciting. I'm really excited for Serena and Vika because this is real life stuff. I'm not saying tennis isn't real life but sometimes it's not really reality. But parenting, giving birth, there's no feeling, no win, no tennis trophy comes even close to how you feel after having a baby. I'm happy that they get to experience that."

On the importance of experience on tour:

"There comes a point in your career where you feel like you have it figured out. By figured out I don't mean how to play tennis, but you learn to deal with everything. You learn how to deal with things that affect you a certain way. What affects you negatively, what makes you play better. That's an important thing to figure out. That's such an important thing to have when you come back.

"When I play a tournament now, I can switch on. Physically I'm not the same, but mentally I can switch on. I know how I react and I know the tricks of the game. That's there and nobody can teach you that except experience."

"Mentally being composed out there and not wasting energy on pointless stuff, which I guess is life in general. Once you figure that out on court, something gets added on and you become a better player when you have that. I see that with Serena. She was always a great tennis player. But she was not that consistent. Now you can see she has it figured out. I'll be very excited to watch when Serena comes back on tour."

Podcast included in article link.  Great listen. 

Monday, May 01, 2017

Roger Federer says he will play Roland Garros

Roger Federer, coming off victories at the Australian Open and ATP events in Miami and Indian Wells, says he plans to play in next month's French Open.

After defeating John Isner 6-4, 7-6 (9/7) in an exhibition at Seattle, Washington, to benefit his charity foundation, Federer told the Tennis Channel he plans to play at Roland Garros for the first time since 2015.

"I am registered and my intention is to play Roland Garros," the 18-time Grand Slam champion said in a post-match interview.

The 35-year-old Swiss star, ranked fourth in the world, made a quarter-final exit in the 2015 French Open and missed last year's event while dealing with knee and back injuries.

His lone title on the red clay in Paris came in 2009 and completed a career Grand Slam. He owns five US and Australian Open crowns and seven Wimbledon titles.

""Last year was extremely difficult, having had surgery and the knee never healing. Then I had back pain too, and it all got too much at Wimbledon and I was out for six months.I feel very privileged to be back on a tennis court," Federer told the network.

"But I was able to spend some incredible time with the family and start preparing for this season and hoping that the work that I put in the off season was going to really pay off.

"I was going to get a second chance to really play tennis again on the professional tour and so when I did come back in Australia was really exciting."

Federer, whose first three exhibitions for African children's charities were played in Switzerland, raised almost $2 million and also played a doubles exhibition alongside Microsoft founder Bill Gates, beating Isner and Pearl Jam lead guitarist Mike McCready.