Soderling Stops Homecrowd Favorite Monfils for Paris-indoor Title
The pounding groundstrokes of Robin Soderling and three five-setters during the week were too much for home-crowd favorite Gael “Force” Monfils, who fell to the Swede 6-1, 7-6(1) in the final of the Paris-indoor on Sunday. It was the first Masters-level title for Soderling, and his second title of the year.
“I don’t have a very good record in finals, and especially here in Paris,” said Soderling, who admitted he couldn’t sleep the previous night due to nerves. “I lost two finals at Roland Garros. Of course it’s great to reach the final in a Grand Slam and also in a Masters 1000, but I think a final is that one match you really want to win.”
The 26-year-old Soderling stopped a sluggish Monfils, who defeated Roger Federer in a three-set semifinal. “I’m in a learning process. Every time I get to a final like this something goes wrong, and this time it was the preparation. I had to rush too much,” Monfils said. “And also, at one stage in the match I tried to change my plan. I should maybe not have done that and keep with simple things…Yesterday I used up a lot of energy, and today I wasn’t able to find the extra stamina that I would have needed to be more competitive.”
Rafter Stomps McEnroe for Seniors Sydney Title
Pat Rafter won the inaugural Champions Downunder senior event in Sydney with a convincing 6-2, 6-2 victory over John McEnroe in the final on Sunday. McEnroe was coming off a long 7-6, 7-6 win the night prior against Mats Wilander.
“I really wanted to win this tournament at home in Australia so I couldn’t afford to let him back in the match, I had to stay focused and close it out,” said Rafter. In the 3rd/4th place playoff, South African Airways Rankings No. 1 Thomas Enqvist defeated Pat Cash 6-3, 7-5.
TENNIS-X NEWS, NOTES, QUOTES AND BARBS
MR. WRONG – Fanhouse tennis writer Greg Couch on how to “fix” tennis: “Most sports fans don’t know this, but the tennis season is still going on. The year finishes with an important sounding tour championship, but no champ is decided. In women’s tennis, the year-end No. 1 is Caroline Wozniacki, even though she hasn’t won a major and hasn’t beaten many top players. And everyone knows she’s not the best. Luckily, the Answer Man — that would be me — is here to fix tennis. One easy move can make tennis way more interesting, especially this time of the year. So here’s to hoping tennis’ governing bodies are reading. Make the ATP World Tour finals and the WTA Championships decide the year-end No. 1. Whoever wins is the world champ.” — That’s brilliant “Answer Man.” So last year Nikolay Davydenko should have been crowned the best player over Rafael Nadal just because he won the year-end championship, where everyone is exhausted from a long year? And in 2005 it should have been David Nalbandian just because he beat an injured Roger Federer in the final? Wrong answer Answer Man.
The ATP World Tour has reportedly cut a deal with major networks to broadcast the ATP stops in Miami and Indian Wells on ESPN2, ABC, and possibly other networks in 2011. Over the past two years the ATP has had a deal to broadcast the events with the regional FOX Sports, which saw disastrous coverage including stations swapping out the tennis broadcasts for fishing, and cutting off matches before their conclusions…Stefan Edberg on his life these days: “Tennis is just a small part of my life. This is my third [Champions Series] event this year. I didn’t really play for 10 or 12 years. I was playing a match or two. I started playing some tournaments in 2008; I played two events, then I played six or seven last year. I haven’t been playing a lot. I’ve got business at home. I work there with rental property and I’m part-owner of a finance company, so I have quite a lot of work at home, I’ve got two very active kids, too, so that takes time. When I’m at home, I’m so busy so tennis I try to play two, three times a week just to get away. You have to try to keep the fitness and the game going.”…Marat Safin on the coaching/managing/whatever-the-hell he is doing these days with juniors: “I follow the Russian guys and also I’m taking care of a few Russian juniors. For me it’s interesting to take care of them. I’m trying to help them out, to bring them to the Top 100 because we need some good juniors. So maybe in a year or two, I could go to the tournaments and I can see my players. I’m just helping them. I’m managing them, to help them so they choose the right way because we don’t have many Russian juniors and they don’t really have a lot of experience. They call me every time. They ask me what should I do, where should I go, the schedule to practice. Sometimes I hit with them. I don’t do it as a job, I do it because I feel like they need some help and they want to be helped, which is the most important thing.”…American Taylor Dent announced his retirement. Dent won four career titles, three of them in 2003, reached a career-high No. 21, and underwent back surgery three times in 2006 and 2007…Czech Martin Damm, who won the 2006 US Open with Leander Paes, has officially retired and is coaching “next” American Ryan “The Racquet Thrower” Harrison…Andy Murray says the off-season should be extended to three months following the US Open. Yes Andy, the ATP will get right on that.
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