Nalbandian, Del Potro, Dementieva Win Titles; Federer Messes with Djoker’s Head
by Staff | January 18th, 2009, 2:01 am
  • 26 Comments

RESULTS

Sydney International
Sydney, Australia
Hard-Outdoor

Late-season performer David Nalbandian got an early start to 2009 on Saturday, collecting his first title of the year in the second week of play at the Sydney International, outlasting unseeded Jarkko Nieminen 6-3, 6-7, 6-2 for the title. The Finn Nieminen, who stunned world No. 3 Novak Djokovic in the semis, fell to 1-8 in career finals. “Winning a tournament before [the Australian Open] is almost perfect,” Nalbandian said. “I feel I’m going to arrive in Melbourne with a lot of confidence.” Bob and Mike Bryan beat Daniel Nestor and Nenad Zimonjic for the doubles title, the 50th of their career.


Heineken Open
Auckland, New Zealand
Hard-Outdoor

Juan Martin Del Potro upheld his top seeding in the final at Auckland Saturday, winning a battle of the big men with a 6-4, 6-4 victory over American Sam Querrey. Del Potro improved to 5-1 in career finals. “All titles are special and this one is my first of the season,” said the 20-year-old Argentine. “This is good for my future.” Querrey was attempting to become the first American to win in Auckland in 18 years. “It was nice to see the Heineken girls walking around all week,” said the American.

Medibank International
Sydney, Australia
Hard-Outdoors

Russian Elena Dementieva enters the Aussie Open as a favorite after spanking world No. 2 Serena Williams in the Sydney semis, and outlasting Dinara Safina 6-3, 2-6, 6-1 in the all-Russian final, her second title of the year in two weeks. “I was hoping for a good start to the year, but I couldn’t imagine I was going to win two titles,” said Dementieva, who practiced rigorously all of December in Florida with Andy Brandi and Harold Solomon. “I practiced hard and had good preparation, but so did everyone else. I was just so focused right away, even after the long break.”

Moorilla Hobart International
Hobart, Australia
Hard-Outdoors

Petra Kvitova wins the all-Czech, all-unseeded final against Iveta Benesova 7-5, 6-1 to claim her first-ever pro title at any level. Kvitova had never previously reached a tour semifinal, while Benesova drops to 1-6 in tour finals. “When she came back to make it 5-5 in the first set I was very nervous,” Kvitova said. “Then I started focusing on every point and I started playing well again.”

TENNIS-X NEWS, NOTES, QUOTES AND BARBS:

WOULD YOU LIKE PEPPER ON THAT? — Aussie police has vowed to crack down (and crack heads) on hooligans that provoke racially-charged incidents, which have increased over the last couple years, at the Australian Open. Last year Greek fans were involved in a brawl where critics charged police were too quick in bringing out the pepper spray. Police say there will be an increased uniformed presence this year.

INDIAN WELLS BECOMES ANOTHER FRENCH OPEN — The combined ATP/WTA Indian Wells tournament hooked a new sponsor, French-based BNP Paribas bank, which takes over the sponsorship from Pacific Life. Now no more commercials of whales jumping around. BNP Paribas also sponsors the French Open, Davis Cup and Fed Cup, and owns the Bank of the West which sponsors the WTA Stanford event.

INJURY-GO-ROUND — Philipp Kohlschreiber withdrew from Auckland with a shoulder injury on Thursday, putting his Aussie Open participation in jeopardy…Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova pulled from Sydney with an abdominal injury and could also be out of the Australian Open: “You never know. I’ll do my best to recovery,” the Russian told the media. “I will try to be fit for Australian Open. The physio is telling me to rest two days and not to do anything. Stretch it a lot and do treatment. Then I’ll start to play little by little. I’ll have a scan on site to figure out what I have wrong and see how it can be managed and cure this problem to be better for Melbourne.”…German Rainer Schuettler enters the Australian Open trying to shake a wrist injury…France’s Alize Cornet enters Melbourne with a shaky shoulder…Marcos Baghdatis is a mess, physically and mentally…Marat Safin pulled from the Kooyong exo with a shoulder injury, and is still carrying some fat from the holiday season…Perpetually-injured Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga has had a back flair-up and is in doubt for Melbourne…From SI tennis writer Jon Wertheim: “We’ll continue banging the drum here: when will tennis wake up and realize something is profoundly wrong when the careers of 21-year-old players [missing Aussie Open defending champ Maria Sharapova with a shoulder injury] are jeopardized on account of injury? For three of the last four Majors, the defending women’s champ hasn’t been entered. That’s cause for concern.”…Germany’s ever-injured Nicolas Kiefer withdrew from the Aussie Open with a left ankle injury…

MISC:

Roger Federer isn’t above some mind games going into the Australian Open, saying that defending champion Novak Djokovic may have made a mistake switching from Wilson to HEAD right before a Grand Slam: “I mean it’s tough because there’s always a factor with the weather, how do you play, day form, you know, other contenders, the pressure, now a new racquet,” Federer said on Djokovic defending the Aussie Open title. “I’m quite surprised he made a switch like this in the best phase of his career. He can for sure play good tennis, but I think when it comes down to the crunch you just have that bit of a doubt maybe, because you are not quite that comfortable with that racquet. But we’ll see what happens. It’s going to be a big test for him.”…

Men’s Aussie Open qualifiers: Flavio Cippola (ITA), Andreas Beck (GER), Dudi Sela (ISR), Bjorn Phau (GER), Dieter Kindlmann (GER), Lamine Ouahab (ALG), Bjorn Rehnquist (SWE), Wayne Odesnik (USA), Sebastien De Chaunac (FRA), Evgeny Korolev (RUS), Dominik Hrbaty (SVK), Florian Mayer (GER), Peter Polansky (CAN), Xavier Malisse (BEL), Michael Berrer (GER), Andrea Stoppini (ITA)…

Women’s Aussie Open qualifiers: Elena Baltacha (GBR), Viktoriya Kutuzova (UKR), Katie O’Brien (GBR), Melanie Oudin (USA), Kimiko Dat Krumm (JPN), Sesil Karatantcheva (BUL), Karolina Sprem (CRO), Julia Schruff (GER), Kathrin Woerle (GER), Alberta Brianti (ITA), Stephanie Dubois (CAN), Chanelle Scheepers (RSA)…

Roger Federer blew out fellow Swiss Stan Wawrinka 6-1, 6-3 in the Kooyong exo final…

U.S. player Bethanie Mattek has reportedly skipped the Aussie tournament swing to honeymoon after marrying Justin Sands, an executive at the Specht Insurance Group…

DIRECTV will expand its tennis sports programming this year, beginning with first-time expanded coverage of the Australian Open, featuring its six-screens-in-one Mix Channel and a host of other interactive features during the first eight days of the tournament. And for the first time, the interactive application, the Mix Channel and the five court channels will be in HD. The Mix Channel will offer, on a single screen, the network channel and five court channels with live coverage tuneable to full screen via remote….

The WTA Hobart event received a $2.25 million injection from the state government to upgrade the facilities to WTA Tour standards, as the event was in danger of folding, according to Tasmania media…

IMG announced that Chip Brooks will oversee the Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy (NBTA). Along with Bollettieri, Brooks is a USPTA Master Coach and was the 1999 USPTA Pro of the year. As part of a staff restructuring, Jose Lambert will focus on player development, Red Ayme will continue in his role of overseeing the tour prep program, and Mark Delzell will handle tennis programming…

With Berlin giving up their WTA calendar spot, it is reported that the Serbian Tennis Federation, in concert with Ana Ivanovic and/or Jelena Jankovic, will apply for the vacant week…

On July 10, Monica Seles, Andres Gimeno, Donald Dell and Dr. Robert “Whirwind” Johnson will be inducted into the Tennis Hall of Fame as the 2009 class…

James Blake and Russian Anna Chakvetadze have signed with Fila, and Chakvetadze with Wilson racquets…

Should the ATP just kill its two weeks of events prior to the Australian Open if it doesn’t want to put the hammer down against exhibition such as Abu Dhabi and Kooyong, which attract virtually all the top players and leave the ATP draws decimated?…

On that note, Roger Federer now says he will work with the new ATP CEO to try and get the Australian Open pushed back to February to give players more time to prepare before the first Grand Slam of the year…

Hey Rafa, go back to the muscle shirts and pirate pants for pete’s sake, that new look Nike has forced on you is ridiculous…

One source told us Novak Djokovic was in his opinion using a “painted” Wilson rather than his new HEAD racquet, which was hard to believe after this first-round loss in his opening tournament, and his following complaints about the stick. But last week Djokovic got off to a winning start in Sydney and praised his new HEAD stick: “It’s a very hard thing to do. Probably the most difficult decision in tennis, switching the racket when things are going good and with the way I finished the season,” Djokovic said in a press conference. “HEAD and Wilson are the two biggest companies in the sport, and they have some differences. They try to make the racket as best as possible, you know, to my wishes. They did a good job. They’re really trying. So even though the racket is the same practically, it takes time mentally to be able to get used to something new.”…

Despite to players ranked in the Top 50, a recent research report of sports fans in Australia says tennis is the top sport…

Outgoing ATP sponsor Mercedes-Benz USA was reportedly fined $28.9M for being the top manufacturing gas guzzler in 2008 and not meeting CAFE fuel economy standards…

Serena Williams and Vera Zvonareva are early committals for the Family Circle Cup in Charleston in April…

The USTA is still looking to fill spots on the Pro Circuit calendar for men’s challenger tournaments on Oct. 19 and Nov. 2…

Former ATP CEO Mark Miles spent last week in Romania on a boar hunt at the invitation of Romanian Ion Tiriac…

Venus and Serena Williams say they plan to play doubles together in all four Slams in 2009…

Australian Open officials will reportedly be cracking down on women’s players’ attire after Frenchwoman Alize Cornet wore a see-through top at the Hopman Cup. Prudes. How about encouraging MORE see-through tops, ever think of that to increase tennis’ popularity. You need to start thinking outside the box (and bra).


Also Check Out:
Kleybanova Upsets Dementieva in All-Russian WTA Kuala Lumpur Final
Elena Dementieva Announces Her Retirement from Tennis
Dementieva Beats Sharapova for WTA Toronto Title
Dementieva Runs Through All-Russian Final at WTA Auckland
Stosur, Schiavone Unlikely French Open Finalists

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26 Comments for Nalbandian, Del Potro, Dementieva Win Titles; Federer Messes with Djoker’s Head

Lucy Says:

more see through tops for women? How’s about see through bottoms for men? YUCCH! in both cases. Just go buy Playboy or get your porn elsewhere – tennis is a SPORT – let’s have some dignity here.


Colin Says:

I’d say the head Federer is messing with at the moment is his own.


NachoF Says:

It’s pretty interesting he decided to say that about Djokovic after the draws came out and he found out he will probably have to beat him before even getting to the final


Blah Says:

Well said, Colin. I fully agree.


Von Says:

I don’t see it as Federer messing with Djoko’s head. I view it as someone who is more experienced with such matters and is voicing his opinion as to what he wouldn’t do in such circumstances. Fed’s probably coming across as though it’s intentional, but it’s a matter of interpretation and how we’re viewing, because of his previous track record when making statements regarding other players. Let’s not forget the media plays up sensationalism to the hilt, just in the same manner as they’ve done with Henman’s remarks. Can we honestly say Henman’s messing with Djoko’s head too? I don’t think so, and just for the sake of argument that he’s doing exactly that, what gain is there for him in all of this fiasco? NADA.
______________

NachoF: It doesn’t make sense to me. If anything he’d be thrilled that Djoko changed racquets, because Fed will now have the upper hand, hence, why would he even want to enlighten Djoko about his racquet problem — a cunning person would leave Djoko in the dark about his present losing woes. I’m sure if a poll was taken among the players, the majority would say it’s foolhardy to change racquets before a slam, and then, are we going to say that all of them are messing with Djoko’s head? I’m sorry, I don’t buy the rationalization behind the media’s sensationalism.


Von Says:

I’d like to see tennis played with the proper attire and leave the see-through and skin revealing outfits for their parties.

Seeing the men in shirts with sleeves — it seems to add a more clean, refined/finished look to their attire. The sleeveless look makes them look grubby and umkempt, not to mention the awful/gross picture when they raise their arms.

Shirts with sleeves for the men, and less revealing tops and bottoms for the women.


Joel Says:

I loved the whales. :(


Colin Says:

Von, are you American? Americans seem to have an enormous phobia regarding unshaved armpits. Why?
They aren’t pretty in themselves, but they’re an aspect of a natural human body, like chest hair on a man. As long as the cameras don’t zoom in on them, what’s the problem?


Von Says:

Colin:

Actually, I’m British born, but have lived my entire adult life from the age of 19 in the US. I’m a product of the wonderful English education system, and a girls finishing school run by English nuns no less, hence the prude in me. The Americans then finished the job with respect to my education, etc.

Yes, Americans do have a thing about bodily hair, such as unshaved legs, arms and armpits for women. Nowadays, they focus on removing ear, nose, chest hair, and even hair on the arms of men. I suppose it looks more refined and is also cleaner in general, ref. BO and that sort of stuff.

I was just airing my personal preferences about what I like to look at, and I absolutely dislike looking at the guys hairy armpits.

“As long as the cameras don’t zoom in on them, what’s the problem?”

That’s the problem, the cameras do zoom in on them, and with HDTV, it’s more blatant to the 10th exponent.


redux Says:

On the subject of tennis attire and appearances, I guess I’m in the minority when I think that Nadal looks much better with shirt sleeves and above-the-knee shorts. He looks more like a sophistcated adult. The broad, horizontal color bars on his Nike shirt look better than the diagonal slashes and gashes he had for a design on the sleeveless number. Most Nike-wearing players on the tour were wearing those ugly things. He’s more distinguished now as the World no.1 player.


Von Says:

redux:

That’s exactly what I stated a few months ago when they showed his new look and many didn’t like it. He looks more refined now and cleaner too.


redux Says:

Hi, Von!

On many occasions I do root for Roddick. He’s not one to be underestimated. The top four players know this. I’m very interested in seeing what he and Stefanki will have to offer as a team. Here’s to a great season for our homeboy!!!

The other thread is flipping out on me, so I’ll post here.


redux Says:

Von, I was recently rewatching some match highlights from last fall’s indoor season, including Madrid, and I saw some of Roddick’s match there with Monfils. Did you ever catch the reaction from Roddick at the net after Monfils did that little victory shuffle in front of him?
I don’t really know if it was because of the dance or if he was shaking his head due to his loss, but it was pretty funny. Very brief, but funny.


Von Says:

redux;

Yes, i saw that match and I think Andy was shaking his head more at his loss than at Monfils. I think the kid was happy and his celebratory jig is his way of showing his happiness, but it was funny, nonetheless, especially Roddick’s expression.


Giner Says:

“WOULD YOU LIKE PEPPER ON THAT? — Aussie police has vowed to crack down (and crack heads) on hooligans that provoke racially-charged incidents, which have increased over the last couple years, at the Australian Open. Last year Greek fans were involved in a brawl where critics charged police were too quick in bringing out the pepper spray. Police say there will be an increased uniformed presence this year.”

The greeks are very passionate supporters of their players, but it’s the Serbs and Croats that provoke racially-charged brawls in melb. I’d love to see the atmosphere if Djokovic plays Cilic.

“Should the ATP just kill its two weeks of events prior to the Australian Open if it doesn’t want to put the hammer down against exhibition such as Abu Dhabi and Kooyong, which attract virtually all the top players and leave the ATP draws decimated?…”

You don’t get why those Exos are popular do you? The AO begins early and you have very limited opportunity to get match practice. Kooyong is a round robin format which guarantees that you get 3 matches against good players, not crappy players. This is a good way for top players to test themselves against the players that are actually going to be a threat at the major.

Sometimes people start the year not very sharp, lose a first round (like Djokovic and other top players in the past did) and you don’t get any more matches to play. The RR format would have given him more matches in spite of losing early. Statistically, most of the AO champions in the past went to Kooyong instead of Sydney. Agassi and Federer won the most titles at AO, and they were regular attendees at Kooyong. They preferred the conditions because it was in Melb, and it allowed them to arrive there a week early and get used to the conditions ahead of time.

Kooyong is literally only a few miles from Melbourne Park.

“On that note, Roger Federer now says he will work with the new ATP CEO to try and get the Australian Open pushed back to February to give players more time to prepare before the first Grand Slam of the year…”

As a Melb resident, I will tell you right off that this will be impossible. The scheduling of the AO is strategically placed during summer holiday. Pushing it back means that people will have to go back to work, and kids will be back in school, diminishing its reach and attendance. The ball kids will be in school… And then it will be competing against the AFL, which is not going to happen. You can’t have two major sports competing with each other at the same time, it just isn’t doable for the networks, or for sports fans. And AFL would kill tennis in a popularity contest. Fed is going to have to suck it in and get used to it. AO won’t budge, and neither will Wimbledon.

This can only happen if Australia loses the AO to asia or the middle east. This can happen, but Melb still has its contract till 2016. Fed will have retired by then.

“Despite to players ranked in the Top 50, a recent research report of sports fans in Australia says tennis is the top sport…”

Well they’re wrong. Way wrong. Cricket, Rugby, Soccer, and AFL all get higher ratings than Tennis, and those sports are all year round, whereas Tennis is only broadcast FTA in Australia during January till the end of the AO. Even if you have cable sports channels, if Masters or even Grand Slam events compete with these sports for the same time slot, you will be watching tape delay and truncated matches because they won’t be showing tennis live if bigger sports are playing.

The biggest and most popular sport in Australia by far is AFL. No contest.

“Australian Open officials will reportedly be cracking down on women’s players’ attire after Frenchwoman Alize Cornet wore a see-through top at the Hopman Cup. Prudes. How about encouraging MORE see-through tops, ever think of that to increase tennis’ popularity. You need to start thinking outside the box (and bra).”

I didn’t see the matched but I googled pics of her outfit, and they are overreacting. Cornet (quite a hottie I might add) was not wearing anything inappropriate at all. Her skirt length was standard, and her top was NOT see through. You could see her bra underneath it a little bit but that was only because she was sweating.. This is natural. Sweat makes your clothes transparent, and who cares anyway? She’s wearing a bra and you see that on all female players regardless. And underneath her skirt was the biker shorts. No big deal.


Giner Says:

Colin Says:

“I’d say the head Federer is messing with at the moment is his own.”

I think the article intended Head as a pun. Fed messing with Djokovic’s Head (referring to his new racquet sponsor).

From the comments you can tell that Fed was not trying to mess with his head. He was just answering the question. They’ve sensationalised his words and taken them out of context.


Giner Says:

“Seeing the men in shirts with sleeves — it seems to add a more clean, refined/finished look to their attire. The sleeveless look makes them look grubby and umkempt, not to mention the awful/gross picture when they raise their arms.”

You know, armpit hair is part of nature. It’s in the schematic and body plan of all humans. We’re not entirely sure what its purpose is but it’s there for a reason. Nature (or God) would not have given it to us if we weren’t supposed to have it. I’m not one to question god’s judgment, design, or intelligence.

I’m joking by the way.. But we all have armpit hair, even you. It’s only not there for women because they shave it. Shaving isn’t natural. Our distant ancestors obviously didn’t do it. There’s no reason to be ashamed of it. It’s only cultural norms that have made it suicide for females to be unshaven.

I do agree in the end that sleeve and collar looks better, but that’s just my preference. They wear unsleeved because it keeps their body cooler and less sticky. Collars can get annoying too if your neck is sticky. Ask Hewitt since he fidgets with it between every point (and his hat.. and necklace, and sleeves.. and strings. sometimes I wish he’d just remove that damn necklace)


gulu Says:

I have no problems with what Rafa puts on, his job’s to play tennis. I think what Rafa wears/wore today/yesterdaare/were more than just dress, they were his sentiments. His present attire reflect maturity, past’s reflected youth,
& both are memorable !


gulu Says:

And don’t forget the kid-like sleeveless look of Rafa in the past was the reason why so many young kids & toddlers became his fans! Whenever a child sat with me to watch tennis, he’d be more happy with that young Rafa look rather than the mature Fed look!


gulu Says:

Safin’s not playing that badly ! I’m liking his shots !


gulu Says:

Safin’s playing some brilliant & soothing tennis right now, doesn’t seem good for others if he plays as calmly as he’s playing today! I never thought I’d say this,but Safin’s also playing effortless looking tennis & when a guy does that,I never complain!


gulu Says:

Safin’s tennis is just smooth as Fed’s, what a great player Safin really is !!!
HE’S JUST SENSATIONAL ! It’s a pity that there may be a Fed v. Safin & one of them’d make an exit, it’s just not fair for a guy like me ! I won’t enjoy it at all !


Colin Says:

Giner, you’re so right about cultural norms. I’ve worn a beard for most of my adult life, and back in the 1950s, when they weren’t in fashion, you’d get jeered at in the street by folks like builders or road workers. Otherwise polite people would say straight out that “beards are dirty”. To which I would reply “When did you last wash the hair on your head? Probably not as recently as I washed my beard, because naturally it gets washed every time I wash my face.” I find tacky and sleazy the current spectacle of uncovered bra straps. Humans are funny creatures.
To return to tennis (what’s that?), if Fed is going to win this tourney, he’ll have to play better than he did in going set point down to his first opponent.


jane Says:

gulu,

I felt this exact same way when Safin and Roddick met in 2007 here at the AO: “It’s a pity that there may be a Fed v. Safin & one of them’d make an exit, it’s just not fair for a guy like me !”

I was really hoping Roddick would break through that year as he’d done so well at the USO in 06, he’d pushed Federer to the limit at the 06 Masters Cup, and then he’d beat him at Kooyong. And Roddick played great at the 07 AO I thought until he met Federer. There was just too much hype and build up to that match. Fed played his absolute best and Roddick didn’t. I was sorely disappointed he had to go out at that stage.

I also thought this was nicely put by you: “I have no problems with what Rafa puts on, his job’s to play tennis. I think what Rafa wears/wore today/yesterdaare/were more than just dress, they were his sentiments. His present attire reflect maturity, past’s reflected youth,
& both are memorable !”

I think I prefer Rafa’s first look, but I don’t mind the new shorts, and the shirt is better that the orange polo they put him in last year. I can get used to it!


Colin Says:

In the days when |Wimbledon allowed only white clothing, they were slated for it, but was it such a bad thing? As with school uniforms, if everyone is forced to wear the same thing, then nobody will be blamed or praised for their style (and online forums will be all about tennis).


Giner Says:

I wouldn’t put too much stock into Fed playing badly in Rd 1. Not playing your best in the first round is normal. Good players play themselves into form, and conserve as much as they can for the business end of the tournament.

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1 Novak Djokovic1 Serena Williams
2 Rafael Nadal2 Simona Halep
3 Roger Federer3 Na Li
4 Stan Wawrinka4 Petra Kvitova
5 David Ferrer5 Agnieszka Radwanska
6 Milos Raonic6 Maria Sharapova
7 Tomas Berdych7 Angelique Kerber
8 Grigor Dimitrov8 Eugenie Bouchard
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