Tennis-X Notes: Federer Readies for Sampras; Gilbert Sacked, Connors Next?
by Staff | November 19th, 2007, 10:04 am

The three-stop Asian exhibition series between Roger Federer and Pete Sampras begins Tuesday in Seoul. The money grab continues Thursday in Kuala Lumpur before wrapping up in Macau on Saturday. Says Fed: “Look, I mean, it’s going to be interesting to see how I’m handling his game, you know. I haven’t seen the guy play, so that’s his big strength of his. You know, he has seen me so many times. I haven’t seen him play now. We forget sometimes how long he’s been retired. I think it’s been five years now. And he still looks very healthy and fit, you know. I hope I can play well against him. It’s going to be difficult because I practiced with him in L.A. this year. He seemed to play very, very well. He’s still got the lethal forehand, the great slice and the great serve, you know, the fantastic movement and volleys. Yeah, we’ll see what happens. Anyway, I’m really excited. I’m happy I played well this week, so hopefully I can carry that over to next week and beat him not just once by three times (smiling)”… ADHEREL

Lindsay Davenport says her return to tennis is in large part to compete again at the Olympics: “I was lucky enough to be in Atlanta and on the Sydney team [in 2000] but I turned down the chance to go to Athens in 2004, which was a decision that sometimes I regret,” says the former gold medal winner, speaking to Reuters. “But I’m excited about playing again and I am planning to go to Australia right after Christmas to play my first Grand Slam since my son was born. Then luckily for me the tour goes back to the States in the spring and obviously traveling in the U.S. is a lot easier for me and [son] Jagger. Then we’ll just see how it goes. I hope to play not a full-time schedule but maybe a semi-full schedule. My goals are to be able to play the Australian Open, to get to Wimbledon, play the Olympics and obviously I would love to play the U.S. Open one more time. The French Open has always been a tough Grand Slam for me and I am not positive I will go there.”…

The ATP says they have passed a rule that a player must report within 48 hours if they have been contacted regarding match-fixing, with a fine yet to be determined…

Brad Gilbert will continue to work with the Brits after getting canned by Andy Murray. “We have reduced his contract down by knocking eight months off it, we have reduced the number of weeks down to 20 from 40 because he is not travelling with Andy,” Brit Lawn Tennis Association Chief Executive Roger Draper told BBC Radio 5 Live. “We have set him a new challenge of getting Alex Bogdanovic into the Top 100 to fulfill his potential and he will spend 15 or 16 weeks working with Alex, both here and at tournaments around the world. We also want him to work on ‘upskilling’ our coaches and inspiring the next generation to follow in Andy’s footsteps. I think it is win-win for all concerned. He brings a lot of knowledge to British tennis and we want to continue that.”…

Rumor has it that Jimmy Connors and Andy Roddick may be splitting up. That according to Steve Bierley of The Guardian

Additional blood tests failed to confirm that Tommy Haas was poisoned during the Germany vs. Russia Davis Cup semifinal, and pointed to him probably just having the runs. Haas recently had minor shoulder surgery but should be ready to play the 2008 Australian Open…

Rafael Nadal says his knee pain didn’t hinder him during the Masters Cup, and Andy Roddick says his back pain didn’t hinder his Masters Cup effort…

Venus and Serena Williams will play doubles together at the Australian Open in January…

Lindsay Davenport will begin the year at the WTA event in Auckland prior to the Australian Open…

The ATP has dropped a $2,000 fine imposed on Nikolay Davydenko for “lack of best effort” during a loss at St. Petersburg last month. “Following an extensive review of the match between Nikolay Davydenko and Martin Cilic that included a full video analysis, it was decided that Davydenko’s appeal should be upheld and the US$2,000 fine rescinded,” ATP Exec. Gayle Bradshaw said in a statement. Davydenko has blamed his performance on exhaustion…

Svetlana Kuznetsova, who finished the year at No. 2 on the WTA Tour Rankings, won only one title at New Haven and went winless at the year-end championship. That will be Justine Henin’s best competition in 2008?…

Sania Mirza speaking to The Hindu on Justine Henin: “Henin is a lady [Roger] Federer. She is what Federer is on the men’s circuit. She is a terror for all women players and she wins whatever tournament that she competes.”…

From Steve Bierley of The Guardian on the ATP rescinding the lack-of-effort fine on Russian Nikolay Davydenko: “The betting investigation is ongoing although, according to [Davydenko manager Ronnie] Leitgeb, the ATP has failed to unearth any incriminating evidence against Davydenko. It has done little or nothing to dilute the mounting insinuations that have washed over the Russian and has now been left with egg on its face over the non-trying fine that should never have been issued. Worse, there was no official word of apology yesterday, which was disgraceful. Should the betting investigation also clear him, the pressure will mount on De Villiers’s leadership. Indeed the whole fabric of the ATP, an intrinsically flawed body, will come under increased scrutiny.” And on David Ferrer’s win over Spanish countryman Rafael Nadal at the Masters Cup: “There is no secret to Ferrer’s success; he simply runs and runs, driving his opponents to the point of distraction. “It’s crazy,” said Nadal, whose own high-energy game has driven many mad — notably Federer on the clay of Roland Garros and increasingly so at Wimbledon. Ferrer is a commoner cocking a snook at the tennis aristocracy. His plan is not particularly cunning but it is certainly upsetting the applecart this week. Perhaps the ATP will try to fine him for trying too much.”…

Donald Young cracked the Top 100 at finishing the 2007 season at No. 98 after reaching the Champaign Challenger final, where he lost to Jesse Levine. Mischa Zverev and Steve Darcis also made late surges to get into the Top 100…

Former Top 20 Robby Ginepri will finish 2007 ranked No. 132. Ouch!. Xavier Malisse ends at No. 109. Dominik Hrbaty at No. 135…

With Andy Roddick finsihing the year again at No. 6 and James Blake at No. 13, it’s the first time since 1986 that no Americans are in ATP Top 5 year-end rankings…

From’s Joel Drucker: “The Tennis Masters Cup is usually contested in a haze. Are the season-end championships more of a Super Bowl or an all-star game? Might it be best to add more fun and games — everything from a fast serve showcase to a pro-am or other fan-friendly aspects?” — Yes, asking players competing in the year-end championships to jack serves as hard as they can and injure themselves — great idea…

Mark Philippoussis and Jelena Dokic are in Australia training for the Aussie Open…

Russia named its Davis Cup team for the final without Marat Safin.

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10 Comments for Tennis-X Notes: Federer Readies for Sampras; Gilbert Sacked, Connors Next?

John (1) Says:

re: ESPN’s Joel Drucker

Did Joel have anything to due with ESPN2’s disgraceful coverage of this tournament?

When this tournament was live, ESPN2 showed “thrilling” events (probably taped) like “white tail hunting”. (BTW, I cannot imagine hunting “live”.)

The final was live at 3am and ESPN2 couldn’t even reserve that time slot!

Maybe the ATP should fine ESPN2 for not trying hard enough. And while they’re at it, can they fine Joel Drucker for his insanely stupid comments?

John (1) Says:

typo: due -> do

John (1) Says:

re: Mark Philippoussis and Jelena Dokic

Will they play (and win) the Hopman Cup again???

John (1) Says:

re: Roger and Pete

Roger doesn’t seem to try very hard in exhibitions. What’s his incentive to win?

John (1) Says:

re: Brad Gilbert and Andy Murray

IMO, they were an uncommon pair from the start.

John (1) Says:

re: Venus and Serena

IMO, Serena’s knee will not recover in time.

ian foster Says:

I have cancelled ESPN and will never pay for it again.

mannie fresh Says:

who is that silly guy….”ian foster” ESPN did not do anything to you…lol. Wow, this is not a customer service issue bro….wow I needed to read that…that was funny!!

Juan Martin del Potro Says:

In Argentina, I get ESPN for free. I play tennis on it sometime.

Autumn Says:

Hi, JM del Potro!

What I hate about ESPN coverage of tennis is that if any American players are playing, they will show those matches over and over, even if there is a much more important match that is LIVE at that time….very frustrating! They seem to have the idea that only the semis and finals are important, but quite often an earlier match is more exciting, and also the key to who wound up in the finals….


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