Nadal, Federer, ATP, WTA Week #1 Previews; Tennis-X Notes
Qatar Exxonmobile Open 2011
Seeds: Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Nikolay Davydenko, Ernests Gulbis, Viktor Troicki, Guillermo “G-Lo” Garcia-Lopez, Philipp Kohlschreiber
Floaters: Jarkko Nieminen, “Dr.” Ivo Karlovic
Notes: Roger and Rafa coming off the final at the cash-grab Abu Dhabi exo where Rafa won in two tiebreaks; organizers shelled out appearance money for world No. 1 Rafa and No. 2 Roger, but it falls off from there with No. 13 Tsonga the No. 3 seed; the Ukraine’s Sergei Bubka gets a wildcard; Federer likely to face two qualifiers in first two matches; Davydenko won the title last year, beating Roger and Rafa; returning champs in the field are Davydenko (2010) and Federer (2006-05).
Men’s Seeds: Robin Soderling, Andy Roddick, Fernando “Hot Sauce” Verdasco, Mardy Fish, Marcos Baghdatis, Feliciano “F-Lo” Lopez, Florian Mayer, Denis Istomin
Floaters: Radek Stepanek, Benjamin Becker
Notes: (Over?)-touted Aussie Bernard Tomic gets a wildcard and opens against (7) Mayer; (3) Hot Sauce starts against Becker, and (4) Fish looking at Stepanek 2nd rd.; Roddick beat Stepanek in the 2010 final; Aussie hope Carsten Ball loses in the qualies; returning champs in the field are Roddick (2010), Stepanek (2009), and Florent Serra (2006).
Women’s Seeds: Sam Stosur, Shahar Peer, Nadia Petrova, Marion Bartoli, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, Flavia Pennetta, Alisa Kleybanova, Alexandra Dulgheru
Floaters: (WC) Jelena Dokic, Andrea Petkovic, Daniela HantuchOva, Anna Chakvetadze
Notes: (8) Dulgheru opens against Petkovic, and (WC) Dokic against a qualifier, and former Top 5ers Hantuchova vs. Chakvetadze; in last year’s final Kim Clijsters beat Justine Henin.
Aircel Chennai Open 2011
Seeds: Tomas Berdych, Marin Cilic, Stan Wawrinka, Richard Gasquet, Jeremy Chardy, Janko Tipsarevic, Xavier “X-Man” Malisse, Robin Haase
Floaters: Frank Dancevic, Kei Nishikori
Notes: Indian comer Yuri Bramburi gets a wildcard; (2) Cilic starts against Nishikori; Berdych the lone Top 10er; Wawrinka in Chennai with a weird beard; (8) Haase starts against Dancevic; seeds Berdych, Gasquet and Chardy making Chennai debuts; Cilic is the two-time defending champion, with Malisse (2007) another returning champ.
Auckland, New Zealand
Seeds: Maria Sharapova, Yanina Wickmayer, Svetlana Kuznetsova, Julia “Gorgeous” Goerges, Anastasija Sevastova, Kimiko Date-Krumm, Elena Vesnina, Sofia Arvidsson
Floaters: Dinara Safina, Carla Suarez Navarro, Tamira Paszek, Anabel Medina Garrigues, Alize Cornet, Shuai Peng
Notes: Openers of interest galore in (1) Sharapova vs. Suarez Navarro, (8) Arvidsson vs. Paszek, (4) Goerges vs. Medina Garrigues, and (2) Wickmayer vs. the former No. 1 Safina; No Top 10 players, and No. 18 Sharapova the only Top 20 player; Wickmayer beat Flavia Pennetta in last year’s final, and is the lone returning former champ in the field.
TENNIS-X NEWS, NOTES, QUOTES AND BARBS
The retired Elena Dementieva has been named vice president of the Russian Tennis Federation…Kim Clijsters and Justine Henin are leaning towards playing doubles together at the 2010 Olympics…Chanda Rubin’s house in Louisiana was hit by lightning and burnt down this week…33-year-old German and former world No. 4 Nicolas Kiefer has announced his retirement…Uh oh, Justine Henin admits she is playing the Hopman Cup with an elbow that is not fully healed…Aussie Bernard Tomic was under scrutiny from the Australian press after he pulling from the Australian Open wildcard playoffs: “Citing illness, Tomic notified officials of his withdrawal on Sunday night, but the Herald Sun understands the 18-year-old practised for two hours in Queensland on Tuesday, confident he would be handed one of Tennis Australia’s discretionary wildcards for next month’s grand slam. Australian Open director Craig Tiley said no player had been guaranteed a discretionary wildcard, except the playoff winners. “If what you’re saying is correct, one, I’d be highly annoyed and, two, I’d have to talk to the team on what decision we would be taking,” Tiley said.”…The former No. 1 doubles team of Jacco Eltingh and Paul Haarhuis will take a wildcard into the 2011 ATP Rotterdam event. A press release said the idea for this one-off comeback came during a recent trip by the Dutchmen to Surinam to open Richard Krajicek’s Foundation’s first playground outside The Netherlands. “During the trip to Surinam we wondered about the level Jacco and I would still be able to reach,” Haarhuis said. “Where we are right now? No idea. The players of today are of course more in shape and have been playing a lot more than us over the last years. But the idea of playing them still thrills me after all these years. Thanks to the encouragement of Richard, who encouraged us to join the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament, we have decided to face this challenge.” Krajicek added, “That they both have decided to donate their prize money to a new playground for my foundation, obviously makes me very proud. If the doubles draw gives us the possibility, we want to give them the stage they deserve on Monday evening as the opening match.”…So when are Ken Flach/Robert Seguso going to take a doubles wildcard into Cincy? The Jensen brothers at the new Winston-Salem event? Rick Leach/Jim Pugh at Delray Beach? John McEnroe/Peter Fleming in Miami?…Former No. 1 Ana Ivanovic, following her parting with coach Heinz Gunthardt, has on a trial basis hired Portugal’s Antonio van Grichen as her coach. He has formerly worked with Victoria Azarenka, Vera Zvonareva and Sorana Cirstea. Since Ivanovic goes through coaches like Martina Hingis through boyfriends, “trial basis” is the key term there…Andy Roddick was unable to participate in ConAgra Foods Rock-n-Racquets exhibition at Qwest Center Omaha after hurting his back while training in Texas. Sam Querrey replaced Roddick in the exhibition, joining Pete Sampras, the Bryan brothers, Warren Buffet(?), former NBA and Nebraska star Eric Piatkowski, and top-ranked junior Jackson Withrow. Yet Roddick is reportedly “super-fit” for Australia?…Here’s Don Flow, president of Flow Motors and leader of a group that worked to bring the ATP Winston-Salem tournament to town from New Haven: “There’s 48 spots [in the main draw], so we should really expect to see a large number of the Top 50 in the world. Will No. 1 and No. 2 in the world play here? There’s no guarantee.” — or, as you’ll learn Don, no chance, unless you want to dig DEEP into your pockets…Gillette drops Tiger Woods as an endorser but hangs on to Roger Federer…Jie Zheng is out of the Aussie Open with a slow-healing wrist injury…OK, so American Wayne Odesnik gets a year cut off his suspension for being a nark for the anti-doping authorities, now and in the future? And he’s eligible to play all of 2011 after less than a year ago being busted for smuggling human growth hormone (HGH)? He’ll be a popular lad in the lockerrooms. Odesnik says he has never taken HGH. Mardy Fish told USA Today, “He’s a good player on enhanced substances. Let’s see if he can be a good player without them.”…Austria will host France in the first round of the 2011 Davis Cup on clay in an airplane hanger, which in itself is a valid point for keeping the current system…Maria Sharapova announced she is ending her long-standing relationship with Prince racquets, with no word yet on what she will grip and rip in 2011…Melanie Oudin has switched from adidas to Wilson apparel for 2011…Brad Gilbert will work with Kei Nishikori as his traveling coach in 2011…Former ATP Romanian player Andrei Pavel will start 2011 coaching former No. 1 Jelena Jankovic…Robby Ginepri (elbow) joins Serena Williams (foot) in missing the 2011 Australian Open with injury…In the ’90s, Australia had Lleyton Hewitt ranked No. 1 and Pat Rafter collecting US Open titles. Roughly 10 years later, Australia is looking at it’s fourth straight year outside the Davis Cup World Group, and Hewitt is the only Aussie in the Top 100. Talk about circling the drain…Fat Marcos Baghdatis is reportedly not as fat leading into the 2011 season…Kim Clijsters beat world No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki on Saturday in an exo in Thailand.
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WTA Previews: Moscow, Wozniacki Headlines Luxembourg