Federer, Nadal, McEnroe Win; More Stumping for Murray Coaching

Posted on April 21, 2006

Federer, Nadal Move Toward Final at Monte Carlo

World No. 1 Roger Federer and No. 2 Rafael Nadal took steps toward a championship meeting Thursday at the Masters Series-Monte Carlo, with the Swiss subduing qualifier Benjamin Balleret, and the Spaniard taming Belgian Kristof Vliegen, both in straight sets to earn quarterfinal berths.

"I'm a little bit used to the situation, and it's not an easy one to be in," Federer told reporters of playing a low-ranked contender such as Balleret. "I mean, basically, he has been waiting for this day his whole life. He's going to come out there and try to beat me, not just play with me."

Federer will next be tested by No. 8 seed David Ferrer (d. (11) Ferrero in three), while Nadal will face No. 6 Guillermo Coria (d. (9) Kiefer, who blew a break lead in the third).

"It happened to me in Australia against Grosjean," Coria responded to the question of his 43 double faults this week. "But whatever the number of double-faults, be it 15 or 20, it doesn't matter. The problem is rather to remain concentrated and to remain calm; then, I will be able to make less double-faults. When I will be serving well, the double-faults will not be so important. I was able to win in spite of my bad serve, so this gives me confidence for future matches."

Other seeded winners into the quarters Thursday were (4) Ivan Ljubicic (d. (WC) Simon), (7) Gaston Gaudio (d. (Q) Di Mauro), (12) Fernando Gonzalez (d. Soderling who retired with a leg injury), and (15) Tommy Robredo (d. (3) Nalbandian who went away in the third set).

"It's the first match of my life on center court here, and I hope it's not my last," Ljubicic told reporters. "I had only two days to prepare and I was struggling a bit in my first two matches. Today it was much better and I'm looking forward to the quarterfinals."

Posting upsets in the doubles were Acasuso/Prieto (d. (2) Knowles/Nestor), Bhupathi/Stepanek (d. (4) Damm/Paes), Bolelli/Seppi (d. (7) Friedl/Knowle in three), and the Swiss Davis Cup combo of Allegro/Federer (d. (8) Huss/Vizner).

On court Friday in quarterfinal action are (7) Gaudio vs. (15) Robredo, (6) Coria vs. (2) Nadal, (1) Federer vs. (8) Ferrer, and (4) Ljubicic vs. (12) Gonzalez.

McEnroe Wins Opener at Seniors Barcelona

John McEnroe made Martin Jaite's 2006 senior tour debut a rough one Thursday, pounding the Argentine 6-2, 6-1 in his debut match at the Merrill Lynch Tour of Champions stop in Barcelona.

"You have got to play well for four days, but considering that I only arrived here yesterday I feel as though I played very well," said McEnroe, who successfully forced his serve-and-volley style on the red clay. "I take it very seriously playing against these guys and I want to win the

Addressing the challenge laid down by Marcelo Rios as the Chilean won the first two events he played in 2006, McEnroe remained cryptic concerning their inevitable meeting.

"I imagine that when we meet, the better-looking person will win," McEnroe said.

Other winners Thursday were Sergi Bruguera (d. Andres Gomez), Carlos Costa (d. Mats Wilander), and Richard Krajicek (d. Javier Sanchez Vicario 10-3 in the third).

Sanchez Vicario was a late replacement for brother Emilio who withdrew with a shoulder injury.

On Friday's schedule in Barcelona are Jaite vs. Costa, McEnroe vs. Wilander, J.Sanchez Vicario vs. Bruguera, and Krajicek vs. Gomez.

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Andy Murray
on his claycourt schedule: I'm playing Barcelona next week and then I'm down to play Estoril. I'll see how it goes in Barcelona. I wouldn't mind doing -- getting some good practice and some training while I'm in Barcelona in the next few days before that starts. Then, obviously, I've got Rome and Hamburg and then I've got one week off before the French."...Andy Roddick blogging on his website: "Hey, I'm back in Austin after being on the road for a while. Definitely looking forward to having a few days of down time and just hanging out. The weather is great, so we?ve been working the boat the last couple of days. Bob Bryan came down and we've been hitting a little bit. The plan is to start intense training in a few days. I think Sam Querrey might come down to train as well. It's not often that we get a few weeks off so everyone is catching before we gear up to go overseas. The NFL draft is less then two weeks away, obviously that's been a big topic of conversation here. Especially in Houston, everyone was talking about their picks. I'm very opinionated about American football (as you probably know by now) but I'm keeping my draft predictions under wraps for now. I hope you are all enjoying the site, after a few days in Austin, I'll probably have some more entertaining reports." -- So tell us what we really want to know, how badly did you pound Bob?...As Wimbledon gets set to debut their prize money for this year, Billie Jean King says do the right thing, make the men and women equal in prize money: "It's just the right thing to do in the 21st century," King told Reuters. "The people in power can do whatever they want. But I would hope they would find it in their hearts and minds. Let's get on with it and be a team. Tennis is one of the few sports where the men and women are really high profile. Women's tennis is the leader in women's sports. I just think it's a no-brainer."...From UPI: "Valerie Plame, the outed CIA operative, and husband Joseph Wilson may be the center of attention as guests at the annual White House Correspondents Dinner. Columnist Robert Novak exposed Plame's agent identity, sparking an independent investigation that has already sent one reporter to jail and brought a White House official under indictment. She and Wilson, an Iraq war critic, will be guests of ABC News, Editor & Publisher reported. As in the past, attendees at the annual black-tie affair, to be held at the Washington Hilton on April 29 this year, often look for controversial visitors who might spark gossip around the open bar. Other "outsider" guests include tennis star Anna Kornikova, rap star/actor Ludacris and James Denton of "Desperate Housewives."...Tennis writer Matt Cronin levels the shotgun: "Much to my dismay, my colleague Peter Bodo decided to write up a two non- International Tennis Writers Association (ITWA) 'controversies' on Thursday. I guess that the prospect of cracking the Argentines again wasn't tasty enough. This is really an inside the beltway issue that only some of you are interested in, so I'll be brief as possible, but as ITWA co-president, I feel like I have to respond...No one is looking to restrict the flow of information, only to limit the opportunities for non-ethical journalists to immediately poach the material and write it up as if they are there. I've been writing for the Internet far longer than Bodo has (even though he's been in the general tennis journalism business longer) and my experience has been mostly positive, but these issues have nothing to do with daily newspapers vs. the new medium. I work for a wire service, the web and a magazine and see every side. All the major papers have web sites, too, and can post instantly. Our complaint is the common theft of articles, ideas, etc, by unethical outlets and that happens on a daily basis. We are not trying to protect the old Goliaths against the new Davids. There's something else going on with the ATP, TPL and some of the men's tournaments that Peter didn't touch on and should have: they are getting too deeply involved in the communications business. In fact, this year, one tournament denied four legitimate web sites media credentials because the tournament itself feels that it can make money off video, audio and photos and didn't want competition from other places."...Rafael Nadal has won 39 straight matches on the dirt...Nick Bollettieri joins Pat Cash in publicly stumping for the Andy Murray coaching job with a profanity-laced column in The Independent: "Andy Murray has the potential to become one of the world's best players, and if he wants to use my 50-plus years of experience in the game -- including developing and coaching Grand Slam winners like Andre Agassi and Maria Sharapova -- then bring it on. I believe I can help Andy fulfil his potential. I'm not putting myself forward to be his next coach, in terms of the guy who will work and travel with him on a week-to-week basis, as Mark Petchey did until Andy parted company with him last week. But in today's game, the top players use not just one person, but a team. And I have something to offer as part of a team, a wider set-up...What kind of coach does he need? First off, someone who will listen to him talk his ass off, give him room to say what he feels and what be believes in...Let's be blunt. He needs someone who can criticize the shit out of him in a positive and constructive way." -- Nice Nick, the parents are going to want you handling their kids -- and when did putting your resume in the newspapers suddenly come into vogue for tennis' egomaniacal coaching set?...From the BBC: "Greg Rusedski has not decided whether he will play in Great Britain's next Davis Cup tie against Israel in July. The Europe/Africa Zone play-off match clashes with the RCA Championships in Indianapolis, which 32-year-old Rusedski won last year. The British number two would lose valuable ranking points if he missed the tournament. He told BBC Sport: "I'd like to be there but it's a big decision and I'll have to sit down and think about it." -- Please do Greg, then next time sit down and think about it in private rather than joining players like Lleyton Hewitt and Roger Federer who tell the media 'Davis Cup? Eh, maybe, maybe not..." in public just so the press can beg and fawn and let them know how important they are to their national hopes...32-year-old Swede Thomas Enqvist, a former Australian Open finalist, announced his retirement Thursday: "It feels sad but unfortunately my body can't take top level competition anymore," Enqvist told the Stockholm newspaper Svenska Dagbladet. "I have had a total of six operations, and of course all the injuries have been difficult setbacks, but at the same time I have to try to look a the positive side in that I have had a very long career despite the injuries."