YOUNES IS BACK: Younes El Aynaoui of Morocco, plagued over the last few years by various injuries, last week became the oldest tour semifinalist in 15 years when he reached the semis at Munich. The 36-year-old beat Juan Martin Del Potro to gain the semis, becoming the oldest tour semifinalist since Jimmy Connors in San Francisco in 1993 at 40 years old.
VENUS OUT OF THE FRENCH? The San Diego Union Tribune’s Jerry Magee is reporting that Venus Williams won’t play Roland Garros.
RAFA NOT HAPPY WITH ATP CALENDAR: Rafael Nadal took more shots at the ATP calendar scheduling while playing the Barcelona event. The Indian Wells and Miami Masters Series events currnetly get 1-1/2 weeks each on the calendar, while claycourt Masters Series events in Monte Carlo, Rome and Hamburg receive only one week each, with Rome and Hamburg back-to-back: “These people (ATP) are destroying Europe. No one is listening to the players. We have to thank the people who decided the calendar for what they’ve done to us and to the tournaments,” said Nadal, who added that players should not be blamed when they withdraw from events with injury or fatigue. “Look to them (ATP). When a player pulls out the tournaments they should not blame the player.”
DJOKER SAYS BRITISH TENNIS WEAK: Serb Novak Djokovic hammered British tennis players and the system that produces them as needing a lot of work: “In the UK a lot of kids are a little bit spoilt. If you have perfect conditions and everything you want, you don’t know the real meaning of tennis and you don’t work as hard as you are supposed to. You do not have hunger for success because everything is on a plate…I think you have enough tennis history and enough people who have a big knowledge about tennis who will recognize the problem, and you still have a lot of potential and everything you need. You just have to find the right moment and to change the mentality of the coaches and the kids.”
MICHAEL CHANG HE’S NOT: “Claycourt expert” Sam Querrey after reaching the quarterfinals at Monte Carlo, defeating former French Open champ Carlos Moya and fragile Frenchman Richard “Baby Fed” Gasquet: “I think clay really suits my game. I can still get my serve to go through the court and then the clay is slow enough for me to have just that little bit of extra time to go for my shots.”
JAPANESE SON RISING: Kei Nishikori is the youngest player in the Top 100 after winning the Bermuda Challenger, saving match points in the final.
BACK ON THE DOKIC: Former No. 4-ranked Jelena Dokic continued her end to a near two-year tennis exile by playing the WTA Tour event in Fez, Morocco, losing in the opening round after making it through the qualifying tournament. Dokic threw in 11 double faults in a straight-set loss to Hungary’s Greta Arn. The 25-year-old has also reportedly approached management company IMG for help with wildcards and getting her career back on track. Dokic did not play any tour events last year, and in January of this year qualified at the WTA Hobart event (losing second round) and failed to make it through the qualifying at the Australian Open.
MYSKINA A MOM: Russian Anastasia Myskina gave birth to a son, Zhenya. Myskina became pregnant via her pro hockey-playing boyfriend, who she has since broken up with. She has made no announcement of intention on returning to pro tennis. Myskina was the first Russian to win a Grand Slam (French Open), and the first Russian woman to rank in the Top 5 of the WTA Tour Rankings.
WIMBLEDON UPGRADE: This year Wimbledon has added 1,200 seats to Centre Court and is installing new digital scoreboards for line-calling instant replays.
BURN SOME CALORIES, THEN HAVE A FEW BEERS: According to Consumer Reports magazine, tennis ranks among the top five activities for the most calories burned per workout. While playing just a half hour of singles tennis, a 140-lb. person will burn 254 calories and a 200-lb. person will burn 364 calories.
Kei Nishikori has signed a three-year global sponsorship agreement with Sony Corporation, and will endorse a wide range of Sony electronics products…Maria Sharapova (virus) and Daniela Hantuchova (foot) withdrew from the WTA stop in Berlin…South African Kevin Anderson, who upset Novak Djokovic in Miami, has been signed by Octagon.
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