Djokovic, Serena Capture Canadian Open Titles; Tennis-X Notes
by Staff | August 14th, 2011, 10:17 pm

World No. 1 Novak Djokovic and former and future No. 1 Serena Williams captured the respective men’s and women’s Canadian Open titles (otherwise known as the Rogers Cup) in Montreal and Toronto on Sunday, cementing early favorites status for the US Open in only two weeks time.

Djokovic beat American Mardy Fish 6-2, 3-6, 6-4 in the Montreal final, not only upping his win-loss record on the year to 53-1, but winning a record fifth Masters series title in one year, and becoming the first player since Pete Sampras in 1993 to win his debut tournament as the world No. 1.

“I think I was more nervous than in the previous matches today,” Djokovic said after improving to 7-0 career versus Fish. “Well, it was the final. There was a lot of tension going on. It was a very close match. He wanted to win that match as much as I did. That’s why we were quite intense. It was a mental fight, as well.”

While the book on Fish is the failing nerves and crumbling forehand, the American refused to go away after losing the first set, attacking the net opportunistically and ending points with his masterful two-handed backhand. But after missing an easy first volley in the fifth game of the third set, the American wavered and was broken, all Djokovic needed to ride out the win.

“I felt like I had an opportunity today, I really did,” Fish said. “I had a lot of chances in that first set, ended up losing 6-2 early. If you try to forget who you’re playing against, you’re just playing another player, maybe you can figure out a way to get a break or two there.”

It was the first time in five Masters finals this year that the Serb did not face Rafael Nadal. For Fish it was the third consecutive U.S. hardcourt final after winning Atlanta and finishing runner-up in Los Angeles.

Williams won her second consecutive U.S. summer hardcourt title after Stanford, defeating Aussie Sam Stosur 6-4, 6-2, a player she had lost to in their previous meeting.

In only her fourth tournament after missing a year due to injuries and illnesses, the younger Williams sister weathered three-setters earlier in the tournament against China’s Zheng Jie and Czech Lucie Safarova.

“I’m so excited. I never expected to do this well,” Williams said. “I’m just so happy to be playing again, let alone winning. It’s cool.”

Williams also had to also weather the big play of Stosur. Until 4-4 in the first set the Aussie gave just as good as she got with a big forehand and kicking serve that gave Williams problems.

“For me to be able to win, I had to play close to my best tennis. I wasn’t quite at that mark,” Stosur said. “At 4-all I had 40-15 up on serve. You never want to lose serve, but especially being up in the game and holding quite comfortably until that point, it’s very disappointing to lose that.”

It was 10 year ago that Williams won her only other Canadian Open title, beating Jennifer Capriati in the 2001 final. Stosur dropped to 2-9 in career WTA finals.


SERENA TO LEAD U.S. BACK TO FED CUP WORLD GROUP?Serena Williams, who hasn’t represented the U.S. in Fed Cup play since 2007, is eager to play next year — since her potential participation in the 2012 Olympics now depends on it. The ITF says that to participate at the Olympics, players must have participated in Fed Cup for their country twice from 2009-12. The U.S. next hosts Belarus on Feb. 4-5 after getting dumped out of the Fed Cup World Group for the first time ever. If the U.S. wins in February, it will advance to the playoff round in April and a chance to rejoin the World Group in 2013. “Serena Williams is one of the best players in the history of our sport, and I’m thrilled that she has committed to play in both of our team’s ties next year,” Fed Cup captain Mary Joe Fernandez said. “Her presence both on the court and off will undoubtedly help our team as we attempt to return to the World Group for 2013.”

Venus Williams
pulled from the Rogers Cup in Toronto after being diagnosed with a viral illness, and is also out of Cincy…After her WTA Carlsbad semifinal result, Andrea Petkovic rose to No. 10, the first German to be ranked in the Top 10 since Anke Huber in October 2000…Jimmy Connors prior to being inducted into the Rogers Cup Hall of Fame, on the state of U.S. tennis and the USTA not involving him in player development: “It’s kind of a little distressing [having few players in the Top 10]. Back in my era…eight of the Top 10 players were Americans…obviously we’re starving for players, but where do you find the players? A lot of kids come to tennis after football, baseball, basketball, soccer. They find out, ‘Hey, I’d like to try tennis, be a part of tennis.’ But if you come at 16 or 17, it’s too late…[The USTA] made it clear they don’t need me or want me involved…I’ve offered to be a part of it, to do things. Never worked out. If it didn’t work out, that’s fine. I mean, I’ve got other things to do.” (Reportedly part of it “never worked out” had to do with the exorbitant cash Connors asked for to work with the USTA)…Best headline of the week from Canada’s National Post: “Anderson drops a piano on Murray at Rogers Cup”Rafael Nadal, hindered by a sore foot and a sore throat and mild illness that made him feel weak, lost in the opening-round at Montreal, his first opening-round exit since Rome 2008. “Seriously, I didn’t feel that I played bad,” said Nadal, up a break in the third twice. “In the decisive moments, I didn’t play well. That’s the truth.”…Canadian 17-year-old Eugenie Bouchard looks like a nice player, but she needs to fix that wristy forehand that hits the court and sits up for opponents, the opposite of a heavy forehand…American Bethanie Mattek-Sands pulled from Toronto with a shoulder “tear” and she says she will be good for Cincy? Really?…The WTA Toronto event shelled out some cash for the oldsters on semifinals Saturday, with Chang vs. McEnroe and Agassi vs. Courier mixed in with the women’s semis. That hard to pull people onto the site?…Highlights of Monday play in Cincy include Andy Roddick making his U.S. hardcourt debut after injury vs. German Philipp Kohlschreiber, Alex Dolgopolov vs. Richard Gasquet, American Alexa Glatch vs. Ana Ivanovic, former No. 1 Juan Carlos Ferrero vs. Feliciano “F-Lo” Lopez, American Ryan Harrison vs. Juan Ignacio Chela, and Kei Nishikori vs. David NalbandianVictoria Azarenka had to pull from the Toronto doubles final with a right hand injury…Venus Williams says her next event will be the US Open as she recovers from a virus…On Sunday in Cincy James Blake beat Marcos Baghdatis, and Juan Martin Del Potro won to set up a second-round meeting with Roger Federer.

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36 Comments for Djokovic, Serena Capture Canadian Open Titles; Tennis-X Notes

Tennis Vagabond Says:

Two very heavy favourites confirmed for the USO. Two very different journeys currently in the same spot: the universally acknowledged best in the world.
But as my old history teacher always said, Every zig has within itself the seeds of it’s own zag.

skeezerweezer Says:

“the exorbitant cash Connors asked for to work with the USTA. ”

So where did the USTA spend all there money the since Connors was “too expensive”? Answer; Executives and Administrative costs. Maybe they should have paid Connors as well as other willing helpful QUALIFIED players and coaches in the US. Pathetic, and the current results prove it. USTA is just another money machine.

Rafa, hindered by a sore throat and hurt foot.,,,,pahleasssse!!!!

Seth Says:

Yeah, the old injury excuse for Nadal – what is it? Oh yes, “A healthy Rafa loses to no one” – has worn about as thin as the cartilage in his knees, I imagine. My retort: Well, Rafa, if you’d ever bothered to learn proper form (as opposed to the mutant, hyper-torque freak show you call a tennis game), perhaps you wouldn’t be constantly and continually injured.

someone Says:

Rafael Nadal, hindered by a sore foot and a sore throat and mild illness that made him feel weak, lost in the opening-round at Montreal, his first opening-round exit since Rome 2008. “Seriously, I didn’t feel that I played bad,” said Nadal, up a break in the third twice. “In the decisive moments, I didn’t play well. That’s the truth.”…

Humble Rafa, what’s your excuse this time :)

Tennis Vagabond Says:

So looky here- Rafa has not made any excuse. He has not claimed any problems. The writer here has made one up on his own. So let’s get off Rafa’s back for the moment, right?

Nina Says:

Well, the difference with Rafa and Nole is that while Rafa, or more appropiately his PR team, let us know everytime when’s he’s hurt or ill, Nole doesn’t say anything. He played versus Fish with a bad case of shoulder and back pain but he omitted that in his presser. Players always have something or other going on, so it’s not an excuse.

Humble Rafa Says:

Look forward to Fed in the trunk today.

Wayne Says:

man lotsa rafa haters here

JF Says:

I don’t believe Nadal mentioned feeling ill….
But of course soem you people love to make up stuff..

margot Says:

Wow! Have u guys seen Verdaso’s new look?

scoreboard66 Says:

“He played versus Fish with a bad case of shoulder and back pain but he omitted that in his presser.”

He actually told you that he had this bad case of shoulder and back itis, yes? A piece of tape is nothing to indicate a bad case of anything. Remember the knee tape, which he said was precautionary, and he used it as an excuse many times to pull out of Monte Carlo and another tournament?

How quickly people forget all those years we had to live through your hero’s many excuses and retirements. Just leave Rafa alone.

alison hodge Says:

it seems rafa cannot win no matter what he does,some people will always try to make something up that doesnt exist,he never said anything about feeling ill,even so he is not the 1st player to get ill or injured and he certainly wont be the last,yet the way people go on about it,anyone would think he was the only one.

alison hodge Says:

rep margot agree about fernandos new look ,wow very handsome indeed,wonder how rafa and feli would look with that hair syle,however on 2nd thoughts they look good the way they are,if it aint broke an all that.

Eric Says:

Objectively, it’s too early to say, but… Djokovic is having the best tennis season ever. Theories? What’s up with Fed, Murray, and most of all Rafa? Not saying Nole ain’t great, but this is getting ridiculous.

Skeezerweezer Says:

^ IF he wins USO, there very well could be a debate about that. If he wins USO, taking 3 slams in 2011, it would make Rafa’s 2010 run look silly in comparison.

Eric Says:

Well I’ve been saying since the French that Nole can’t keep winning everything. I was shocked when I learned he actually beat Rafa in Wimbledon (two weeks late, after returning from an uninhabited Greek island) and it seems like it’s been quite a long time since I was confidently predicting Nole’s return to earth. Indeed it has been in terms of time, but not tennis; the real fall season has only just begun. Nole would have to, minimum, win USO and reach Cincy finals to get in the “best season” discussion. I don’t think he can do it. But if he actually does win both of those tournaments, I think we’d have to pencil Djokovic 2011 in as the best season of modern tennis, pending more detailed discussion re: Fed 2006, McEnroe 1983 (or whatever)…

Daniel Says:


Federer in 2006 won 12 titles, made 16 finals out of 17 tourneys, won 3 Slams, finalis in the other, 2 sets away from a Calendar Slam and undefeated in YEC.

Djoko can`t match that this year due to RG semis. HE will have to win US Open, win YEC undefeated and have around 90 victories and less than 5 defeats to compensate for not achieveing 4 Slams finals.

Than, his year will be consider, along with Fed[s 2006 the best years, unless he finishes 95-1

Skeezerweezer Says:


I stand corrected by the GOAT Fed stats ;)

grendel Says:

Eric, I too (and doubtless umpteen others) have been saying, thinking, Djokoic must come down to earth soon, intolerable pressure will be building and so on. But he keeps proving us fainthearts wrong. Even when he’s some way from his best, he does enough to gain the w.

If he really is capable of abiding by the old cliche “one match at a time” (easy to parrot, not so easy to carry out), then really, why should he not just carry on winning?

After all, there’s nothing mysterious about it. He is by some margin the best player around at the moment. As such, you would expect him to win. Assuming he doesn’t crack under the burden of expectation, one would expect him to carry on winning until someone better, on the day at least, emerges.

Michael Says:

Congratulations to Novak. He is having a remarkable year and his dream run is continuing. With this confidence level, Djokovic will be the man to beat the US Open and will be a strong favourite to win the coveted title. I do not think Federer or Nadal have much of a chance with the kind of form Djokovic is currently in.

Brando Says:

@ skeezerweezer : what do you mean by rafa’s 2010 run? Are u referring to his season or the USO run?

skeezerweezer Says:


the season….3 slams….etc…

bstevens Says:

I hope that Nalbandian makes some noise at Cincinnati and the US Open. The guy is the best player in the last decade never to have won a slam (in my opinion).

margot Says:

Grendel: Kevin Mitchell in “The Guardian” has written Andy is as “brilliant and fragile as Marat Safin” whom Andy lost to in Cincinatti, when Marat was ranked 4.
What do you think? I thought it was a very interesting comparison and am still mulling it over….

vox777 Says:

Margot… That must be some article… I used to love Safins game… Or at least when it was on :)… But he just couldn’t get his head straight, too much emotions on the court… And your Muzza is just under a great pressure which makes him “implode”… But there are similarities definitely… Murrays head is not always on his shoulders… but massive talents both of them

grendel Says:

margot – well, yes and no. There are 3 big differences, imo.

1) Safin had immense power at his disposal, and this enabled him to beat anyone when he was on, given his particular skills. Murray has to rely more heavily on his unique skills, and so has less margin to play with.

2)Safin started off with immense confidence – never a Murray attribute. I heard a story that when the US was playing Russia in the Davis Cup, in Moscow, Sampras practiced with a young man no one had heard of outside of Russia. This young man,called Marat Safin, was apparently blowing Sampras off the court. Can you imagine how that must have made him feel?

3) Murray’s work ethic is, I gather, excellent. Dear old Marat never did a full day’s work in his life. In a Eurosport documentary on him, Marat confided to the filmaker, with a delightful little wink, that nobody liked work. This was obvious. Why deny it? Who will believe you? The way people like Nadal practice must have been quite unintelligible to Marat. Ljubicic relates how after Nadal had beaten him in a Masters Final, going to 5 sets, Nadal went straight to the gymn. You can just imagine Marat’s ribald comments on such an obssessive sense of duty. Murray, on the other hand, might worriedly wonder if that’s what he needs to do to finally put everything together. Incidentally, Safin had been off for a year or so for injury at the time of this documentary. He then, I think, got to the AO final. His was a cavalier approach, hardly Murray’s.

Of course, Safin paid the price for his comparative lack of endeavour in the latter half of his career.He did suffer shockingly frequent injuries,but you can’t help wondering if just a bit of that might have been avoided with some sensible precautions (which involve work…).

Genius can be carefree in the young, but as age creeps in it needs to be nurtured. Safin was not prepared to do this, and paid the price in the latter half of his career. The tantrums came then, and although he did, like Murray, look tortured on some occasions, the background was quite different.

So I don’t know, neither Safin nor Murray have done justice to their enormous gifts, but you get the feeling Safin could have done had he been prepared to apply himself. With Murray, that has not been true – yet.

Kimberly Says:

Safin had more power, murray more speed and consistency IMO.

Ben Pronin Says:

I think the whole “Safin didn’t work hard thing” has been blown way out of proportion. Safin was out for a year in 2003. After that I remember him talking about how he did realize after a while he’d have to work harder if simply just to pay tennis back for all it had done for him. He was always in good shape when not injured, it’s not like he got fat like Fish or Nalbandian, and he was never overly skinny. You don’t just naturally sustain a great physique by going out at night and playing tennis during the day. To say he never did a full day’s work in his life is flat out insulting.

And considering ever since he retired he’s been busting his ass trying to fix up Russia’s tennis programs, I’d say he does plenty of work every day. He doesn’t just sit around counting his money and women all day.

Brando Says:

” He doesn’t just sit around counting his money and women all day.” LMAO ben, would be a long day if he was counting his women:-) but in all seriousness I don’t think you could compare Murray to safin since with safin ultimately most feel he could have achieved if x,y and z happened, but with Murray he won’t have that since he is doing his best to make the most out of whatever he has in terms of ability. I think with Marat there was only federer who was consistently dominating with Murray unfortunately there are 3.

grendel Says:

Oh, come on, don’t be so literal, Ben! Allow for a bit of poetic exaggeration. Of course Safin kept in shape. So, for instance, does Feliciano Lopez. But my impression is that these enormously gifted players did/do not devote anything like the time to training, in all its diversity, that e.g. the top 4 do. Not for nothing did Ion Tiriac claim that if he’d had Lopez under his wing, the Spaniard would have won Wimbledon.

Talking of Wimbledon, interesting to compare Murray and Safin here. Safin was of the grass is for cows brigade, quite convinced it was not a surface which suited his game. He also, bizarrely, insisted clay was his best surface, or at any rate, the surface he enjoyed most.

Actually, Safin was very good on grass. He got to the semis at Wimbledon late in his career and – in my opinion, although some would say this is contentious – outplayed Federer from the back of the court for considerable stretches of the match. Watching Federer struggling against Safin had me shaking my head – I just could not see him beating Nadal in the final, and nor did he. At the end of the match, Safin shook hands with Federer with that friendly smile which says – well, I did my best, but obviously you are too good for me on this surface. Safin simply underestimated himself – Federer was actually lucky to get out of it. Again, the year Ivanesevic won Wimbledon, one of the players he beat was Safin who, at the handshake, told Ivanesevic that he was unbeatable on this surface. But actually, the match had been very tight and certainly Safin might have won it, especially if he had had more belief in himself. And who’s to say that he wouldn’t then have gone on to win the whole caboodle?

So actually you have here – possibly – a curious mixture of lack of confidence (from a generally confident player) and obstinacy. Safin had decided – against all the evidence (he had for instance come within a whisker of beating Federer in the Halle final) – that grass was just not for him. These character traits are certainly to be found in Murray. That said, these are not two players one would normally think to compare.

Tennis Vagabond Says:

There are myriad stories of Safin not working as hard as others. Such as telling his sister that two hours of work a day should be plenty and was more than he did! Its all relative. If I worked on tennis two hours a day I’d be called a fanatic in my neighbourhood. Unfortunately, Marat’s neighbourhood was the top ten and there his work ethic (and of course, post-work partying) did not stand him in as good stead.
Really, only Bacon O’Rourke can pull this off. You’d have to ask him how:

Ben Pronin Says:

I agree about grass. His attitude towards it first pissed me off, then left me dumbfounded. He could play on it and quite frankly his game was perfect for it. Big serve, explosive ground strokes, and he could move well on it when he wanted to. Anyways…

Safin probably didn’t work as hard as he should have earlier in his career, but he gradually came to understand the importance of hard work. The guy was coming back from injury every other year, literally. I’ve read how some people think Nadal doesn’t trust his body and that’s why his game has been off this year. Well Safin flat out admitted he didn’t trust his body. He said, after he had knee surgery, he had to change his game for a while before he felt comfortable within his own skin again. By the end of his career, he certainly had very little confidence in his game as was evident my numerous, and I mean NUMEROUS collapses in way too many matches aka losses. It’s a shame.

Murray has also dealt with his fair share of injuries. Remember that freak wrist injury that caused him to miss the French and Wimbledon? But the big difference with Murray and Safin is their games. Safin is naturally an aggressive player, Murray a defensive player. But most importantly, Safin had a great serve. His first AND second serve could do a lot of damage on a regular basis. Especially when his game was clicking, the serve was a sight to behold. Murray doesn’t have that. Even when his first serve goes, his second has always been a liability and at 24 that’s pretty hard to fix.

It’s funny because I always considered Djokovic Safin’s successor which I think is a huge reason why I support him so much. If only Safin could of had a year like this…

Nolefan Says:

Djokovic/Serena rocks. I was wondering recently as to what it is that has set these players apart!
Got this article and my questions were answered:
Must read for all! It goes beyond tennis:
Where There Is Djokovic/Serena, There Is A Way

grendel Says:

” I always considered Djokovic Safin’s successor”
In one crucial aspect, this is not the case. Safin was an absolute natural at the net – as for instance is,to a slightly lesser extent, Nalbandian- whilst Djokovic has, through sheer hard work and perseverance, made himself extremely competent at the net. There’s no comparison, though. Safin was just poetry at the net, such a shame he didn’t venture into that dangerous foreign terrain more often. The guards at the border would have cheerily waved him through – whilst they look with extreme suspicion at Djokovic.

Ben Pronin Says:

I can’t agree. I love Safin and all and as you can see, I’m not big on any criticism towards him, but he wasn’t “an absolute natural at the net.” He was certainly more talented in this regard than, well not just Djokovic, but a lot of the other guys out there. But I wouldn’t say he looked comfortable up there. He just didn’t need to work overly hard to become competent, whereas surely he could have done a lot more work to become a legitimate threat up there. Djokovic, well, you really got to give the guy credit here. In 2007 he looked, and this is as nice as I can get, awkward up there. Honestly I wouldn’t be surprised if he didn’t start learning proper volleying technique around the time he actually became a pro. Safin, well, Safin’s Safin.

Nonetheless, Safin was certainly a naturally complete player. I don’t know if anyone else heard but during the final Gilbert, Cahill, and the guy who shouldn’t be anywhere near tennis were discussing former legends who’d trouble Djokovic in his current form. Gilbert and Cahill said Sampras would be a bad match up and Agassi and absolutely horrible one. But the one guy they agreed one wholeheartedly was Safin. Sometimes it’s the little things in life that make you smile.

margot Says:

Grendel: thanx for that response :) Paragraph 3 @3.50 certainly echoed re Andy. Andy trains, Safin didn’t is an irrelevance really, we’re looking at something quite different aren’t we? That’s what was so good about Mitchell’s article, it makes you think outside the box.
Yes, Safin was well unique, I’d say, as is Andy.

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