Star-studded Field at ATP Basel
The “Big 3″ get together for the first time since the US Open when world No. 1 Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray and Roger Federer lead the field this week at the Swiss Indoors Basel on indoor hardcourt in Switzerland.
They are joined by fellow seeds Tomas Berdych, Mardy Fish, Janko Tipsarevic, Andy Roddick and Viktor Troicki.
The pressure will be on Federer to defend his home turf. The Swiss has won the Basel title four times, and is playing his first event since representing Switzerland in Davis Cup following the US Open.
“It was nice to have some time off after the Davis Cup in Australia,” said Federer, who hasn’t won a title since January in Doha. “I felt like I had to get away a little bit and take care of a few things. Now my body is ready and I’m looking forward to this week in Basel. This year is a bit different from last year when I had already played Shanghai and Stockholm before coming to Basel.”
Djokovic says he is also mended, if not a little rusty, after time off due to an injury during Davis Cup.
“Injuries are never welcome, but it came in the right moment because it gave me a little bit more time to rest and recover,” Djokovic said. “Every single day for the past five weeks I’ve been doing therapies and keeping up with the recovery program. I tore my muscle quite bad and it took me up to now to recover and get fit. I know it’s going to take time and I don’t expect myself to be 100 percent at this tournament, but I will try to build up my confidence. I’ve been practicing really intensively these past couple of days on the court. I came with the team on Wednesday and we’ve been practicing since.”
Djokovic will be tested from the start in the first round against Xavier “X-Man” Malisse. Other opening-round testers are (8) Troicki vs. Marcos Baghdatis, (4) Berdych vs. (WC) Kei Nishikori, (5) Fish vs. (Q) James Blake in an all-American encounter, and (7) Roddick vs. former world No. 2 Tommy Haas.
Murray enters the event on a 15-match win streak.
“Someone like Novak will tell you, when you’ve got momentum you want to keep playing,” Murray said. “Right now I feel better than I did at this stage last year. My body has held up better and that’s something that I need to try and keep going for the next few years because it’ll hopefully add a year or two onto the end of my career if I can look after my body well like someone like Roger has done.”
Other dangerous floaters in the field include Mikhail Youzhny, the big-serving Gilles Muller, Jurgen “Tuna” Melzer, (WC) “The” Donald Blake, Radek “The Worm” Stepanek, Michael Llodra, Ivan Ljubicic, and Stan Wawrinka.
Returning champions in the field are Federer (2010,’08-06) and Djokovic (2009).
Ferrer Defends, Opens Against Hot Sauce at ATP Valencia
Top-seeded David Ferrer looks to defend his homecountry title, while fellow seeds Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Gael Monfils and Nicolas Almagro look to the week as a springboard to qualify for the year-end championships during the Valencia Open in Valencia, Spain.
Also seeded are Gilles Simon, tournament debutantes Juan Martin Del Potro and Alexandr Dolgopolov, and Spaniard Feliciano “F-Lo” Lopez.
The top-seeded Ferrer will be tested immediately against fellow Spaniard Fernando “Hot Sauce” Verdasco. Other opening-round matches of note are (5) Simon vs. Nikolay Davydenko, (7) Dolgopolov vs. Spaniard Marcel Granollers, St. Pete winner Marin Cilic vs. Milos “Big Baby” Raonic, and (6) Del Potro vs. upset specialist Dmitry Tursunov.
Other dangerous floaters in the loaded field are John Isner, former No. 1 Juan Carlos “The Mosquito” Ferrero, Kevin “Mr.” Anderson, Sam Querrey and “The Importance of Being” Ernests Gulbis.
Returning champs in the field are Ferrer (2010,’08), Almagro (2007-06), Verdasco (2004), and Ferrero (2003,’99).
TENNIS-X NEWS, NOTES, QUOTES AND BARBS
WTA CEO Stacey Allaster has re-upped her contract through 2017…ESPN has signed a six-year agreement with the WTA to carry live coverage of events across ESPN’s multiple platforms. “With simultaneous matches and global events held year round, ESPN3 is an ideal platform for tennis,” said Damon Phillips, vice president, ESPN3. “Fans have come to know the network as a leading destination for live tennis, including outer court and exclusive coverage. Now with the WTA through 2016, ESPN3 is the year-round destination for tennis fans in the US.” — Translation: we’ll be streaming that crap instead of putting it on the Mothership…Former pro Clemens Trimmel will take over from Gilbert Schaller as captain of the Austrian Davis Cup team, and he will also serve as sports director of the national tennis federation…Lleyton Hewitt says he is done for the year as he tries to heal his foot injury in time for the start of the 2012 campaign…American Alex Bogomolov Jr. wants to play for Russia, much to the dismay of the USTA which has funded him over the years…Marat Safin says he’s running for the Russian parliament. The 31-year-old Safin says he has “a lot to bring and a lot of ideas about things and what to do. I am very committed to it,” and says he might be the “best-looking guy in the Duma, but that’s only because all the other guys are over 60.”…Venus Williams will take a chunk of appearance money to play the tiny WTA Auckland tourney leading to the Australian Open…Former No. 1 Thomas Muster seems to be done with tennis comebacks after the 44-year-old lost in the first round last week in Vienna after receiving a wildcard. “I don’t regret anything,” said Muster, 11 years removed from the game when he made a comeback last year. “My comeback was not about winning or losing, it was about the feeling of being able to compete at top level again…My family needs me more than tennis does.”…Any truth to the rumor that the WTA paid for journalists to go to Istanbul for the WTA finals?
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