Tsonga Wins; Strike Leader Murray Hammered; X-Notes
by Staff | September 26th, 2011, 12:01 am


Toray Pan Pacific Open
Tokyo, Japan
Surface: hard

Seeds: Caroline Wozniacki, Maria Sharapova, Victoria Azarenka, Vera Zvonareva, Petra Kvitova, Sam Stosur, Marion Bartoli, Jelena Jankovic, Aggie Radwanska, Peng Shuai, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, Ana Ivanovic, Julia Goerges, Dominika Cibulkova, Flavia Pennetta, Shahar Peer

Floaters: Kaia Kanepi, (Q) Anastasia Rodionova, Maggie Rybarikova

Notes: The Top 8 seeds receive opening-round byes; tough openers for (15) Pennetta vs. Kanepi, (12) Ivanovic vs. Rodionova, and (14) Cibulkova vs. last week’s Guangzhou finalist Rybarikova; pulling from the event were the laundry list of Li Na, Kim Clijsters, Andrea Petkovic, Yanina Wickmayer, Francesca Schiavone, Venus Williams, Roberta Vinci, and Serena Williams; returning champions in the field are Wozniacki (2010), Sharapova (2009, ’05), and Kimiko Date-Krumm (1995).

PTT Thailand Open
Bangkok, Thailand
Surface: hard

Seeds: Andy Murray, Gael Monfils, Gilles Simon, Guillermo Garcia-Lopez, Ivan Dodig, Fabio Fognini, Robin Haase, Pablo Andujar

Floaters: Ernests Gulbis, Grigor Dimitrov, Jarkko Nieminen

Notes: The Top 4 seeds receive opening-round byes; tough openers include (5) Dodig vs. Dimitrov, and (7) Haase vs. Nieminen in the second round; the last four seeds all make their career debuts in Bangkok; can Gulbis stay out of jail in Bangkok?; the doubles team of Erlich-Ram like Bangkok, they are 12-3 career with two titles; Robin Soderling pulled from the event; returning champs are Garcia-Lopez (2010) and Simon (2009).

Malaysian Open
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Surface: indoor hard

Seeds: Nicolas Almagro, Viktor Troicki, Janko Tipsarevic, Jurgen Melzer, Nikolay Davydenko, Alex Bogomolov Jr., Dmitry Tursunov, Kei Nishikori

Floaters: Bernard Tomic, Ryan Harrison, (WC) Marcos Baghdatis

Notes: Top 4 seeds receive opening-round byes; (3) Tipsy looking at Tomic 2nd rd., and 1st rd. (5) Davydenko vs. Harrison and (6) Bogomolov vs. (WC) Baghdatis; six of the eight seeds making their debuts in Kuala Lumpur; Tomas Berdych and Mikhail Youzhny pulled from the event; Davydenko (2009) the lone returning champion.


Tsonga Stays in Year-end ATP Picture with Metz Title

Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga defeated Croatian Ivan Ljubicic 6-3, 6-7(4), 6-3 to capture the title at the Moselle Open in Metz, France.

“It was a long time since I lifted a trophy and I am happy I was able to do here in Metz, in front of the French public,” said Tsonga, who improved to 1-2 in finals this year. “I knew it was going to be difficult. That’s why I am not surprised about Ivan’s come back in the second set. Matches against him are always based on two or three crucial points…My goal for the season is to qualify for London, I was there two years ago and I didn’t play. I hope this time I will be able to play.”

Ljubicic was broken in the third and ninth games of the third set.

“For some reason the balls were a little slower and I felt my serve wasn’t as effective,” Ljubicic said. “It was becoming very physical. There was a lot of long rallies and with Jo being younger and stronger, it was not good for me. I didn’t have the weapons to beat him today. He was dominating in every aspect of the game.”

Mayer Wins 1st ATP Title in 5th Career Final

German Florian Mayer rolled over Pablo Andujar 6-3, 6-1 for his first career title in his fifth career final at the BDR Nastase Tiriac Trophy in Budapest, Romania.

“The beginning was not perfect, I was so nervous today,” Mayer said. “I wanted to win so badly. My legs were heavy. I was lucky at the beginning, he was 3-1, 40-15 up in the first set. Today he made some untypical mistakes and once I got a break in the second set I relaxed and played better.”

Andujar was the runner-up to Juan Ignacio Chela in last year’s final, and fell to 1-3 in career finals.

Martinez Sanchez Wins 1st Hardcourt Title at WTA Seoul

Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez defeated first-time finalist Galina Voskoboeva in the championship match of the Hansol Korea Open 7-6(0), 7-6(2), ending a 5-1/2 year WTA drought for Spaniards on hardcourts. She improves to 5-1 in career finals.

“I felt very calm in the tiebreaks. That was the key for me,” Martinez Sanchez said. “I felt I played well the whole match. I like coming to net and I think it also makes my opponents uncomfortable, so it works well.”

Before this week Voskoboeva had only reached one WTA semifinal in her career, at Baku in July of this year.

Scheepers Sweeps to 1st WTA Title at Guangzhou

South African Chanelle Scheepers won every match en route to the final in three sets, but took care of opponent Maggie Rybarikova 6-2, 6-2 to win her first career title on Sunday at the WANLIMA Guangzhou International Women’s Open in Guangzhou, China.

“All of my other matches were tough, but today was the day it all clicked,” said Scheepers, who also toppled top seed Maria Kirilenko en route to the final. “I thought I was hitting my groundstrokes well. I was really consistent and tried to move her around. I didn’t give her a lot of mistakes.”

She became the first South African to win a WTA title since Amanda Coetzer won in Acapulco in 2003, and had never been beyond the quarterfinals of a WTA event. Rybarikova dropped to 2-1 in career finals.


STRIKE UP THE BAND — Andy Murray and fellow top players Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer have been bandying about the “S” word on the ATP circuit, but boy do these guys need some PR help. As opposed to framing it to look like they’re helping all the rank-and-file file players with a strike, they are making it look like a cash grab for the top players alone, and are getting HAMMERED from all angles by the tennis media. “Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that but I’m sure the players will consider it,” said the strike “leader” Murray. “If we come up with a list of things we want changed — and everyone is in agreement but they don’t happen — then we need to have some say in what goes on in our sport. At the moment we don’t.”

Former women’s No. 1 Martina Navratilova has stoked the coals, supporting Murray.

“I don’t know why Andy Murray should be criticized for taking charge of his life,” Navratilova said. “If that’s the only way they can get to that point, then that’s what they have to do if they can unify themselves enough and that’s the last resort.”

India’s Somdev Devvarman meanwhile has been crunching the numbers.

“We get only 12 percent of the revenue while it is we who generate the revenue. The players should have a good say in such matters. [A] lot of players like Rafa, [Andy] Roddick, Murray have spoken about it. Tennis is one major sport which has no players’ union but with the recent happening the game is about to see a change.”

Meanwhile, former players such as David Lloyd and Michael Stich have essentially said, ‘Get on with it you overpaid whusses.’

“I find it an incredible statement,” Lloyd said. “They are making absolute fortunes. Normally you strike because you are not getting enough money or your place of work is not good enough. They play all the best places in the world, they get picked up by Rolls Royces at the airport, they stay at 10-star hotels and get paid a fortune. So I am not sure what part of the normal reasons to strike are there. To say we are going to get round the table to try to sort out the calendar is different. I think it is a scandalous thing to say. I have no sympathy for the players. They can play 19 weeks and make 10 million or play 20 weeks and make 20 million. An extra 10 million, I don’t really think that is a big problem to be honest.”

Former No. 1 Thomas Muster is retiring from tennis — again — at least from ATP events. “You should not drag it along forever,” said Muster, who turns 44 in October, speaking to the AP. “I wanted to relive competitive tennis again and I’ve really enjoyed it. Vienna will definitely be my last appearance in an ATP event. Maybe I play a few Challengers next year, but that will be it.”…Argentina, who will meet Spain in the Davis Cup final, have never raised the trophy…Roger Federer pulled from the Shanghai Masters to “rest and recuperate” after the US Open and leading the Swiss back into the Davis Cup World Group, defeating the Lleyton Hewitt-lead Australians: “After consultation with my team, I’ve unfortunately decided to pull out of the Shanghai Masters in order to take some necessary time to rest and recuperate after a long summer. I have some nagging injuries that I need to address and I look forward to returning to the ATP World Tour as soon as possible.”…French Open champion Li Na has canned Danish coach Michael Mortensen, saying he was too “mild and gentle.” Mortensen is rumored to be possibly joining the team of world No 1 Caroline WozniackiKim Clijsters, who will not play again until 2012, has canned coach Wim Fissette, signing on new coach Carl Maes, the former Belgian Fed Cup captain.

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39 Comments for Tsonga Wins; Strike Leader Murray Hammered; X-Notes

Colin Says:

Before John Lloyd refers to Murray and co as “overpaid whusses”, he should reflect that if he had trained half as hard as Andy does, his own career might have been more successful.
As usual, people are lining up to sing a similar song, and are of course missing the point. Why, in any discussion, are 90% of the human race incapable of addressing the real point?
This is not about sympathy for the players, it’s about practicality and the entertainment value of the sport. I don’t feel sorry for Murray – he wouldn’t want it. Of course I envy him his wealth, but I sure as hell don’t envy him his life on the tour.
Unless we subscribe to the silly idea that the players who miss tournaments through injury or retire from matches are all, every one of them, faking, we have to understand that the tennis entertainment business (which is what it is) will not thrive if the fans cannot rely on the top players performing 100% in their matches – and completing those matches.
As I say, it’s not about sympathy, it’s about the commercial value of tennis.

margot Says:

J0hn who?

grendel Says:

Excellent post, Colin. Actually, some of us have made the same point, but not so eloqently as you.

scineram Says:

“Budapest, Romania.”


Brando Says:

Agree with colin completely. The players generate the revenue, bring the fans to the stadiums, the tv audience etc. They ARE the business- take them out and the ATP goes bust. The only demand they are making is for a better schedule that can help aid the maintainence of their fitness, performance and longevity in the game. Exactly what is wrong with such a demand? Absolutely nothing.

mortimer Says:

Take the top five players out of the circus and tennis is as big a sport as beer pong.

Jane Says:

Xcuse me, try to get your reporting straight;

Federer has not mentioned the “S” word; in fact he’s barely referred to the statements made by Nadal and Murray and has said nothing much about the situation at the Open.

Anna Says:

Jane – Your right about Fed. Nothing much to say this go round, but he has voiced his opinion about this in the not so distant past, and it pretty much coincides with what Murray & co said. If someone were to ask him directly I’m sure he’d lend his support to the players.

jane Says:

Just to clarify, @10:30 is not me, usual lower case “jane” :) I did read one report that included Fed in all the “strike” / schedule talk; I think was during DC. But he does seem to have been mainly reticent on the issue.

Humble Rafa Says:

The statistician for the ATP tour India’s Mr. Somdev Devvarman…I have no idea how you come up with the 12%

margot Says:

jane @ 1.21: don’t worry, your style is quite different :)

skeezerweezer Says:

@jane…..thanks for clarifying….I missed that :(…..sides..you never say Xcuse me ;)

Humble Rafa Says:

Roger and I want to strike for only one reason – We can’t win big titles anymore.

margot Says:

Tennis Tipster: I love the way Scheepers plays. Can’t understand why she hasn’t achieved more, as she is now in her late twenties.

margot Says:

PS Shouldn’t it be Jeepers Scheepers…;)

mat4 Says:

Hi, everyone.


I read somewhere that 40% of Americans didn’t know where the Pacific Ocean was. I am certain it is a hoax, but Romania and Hungary are not so obvious on a map. (Is this politically correct?)


Did I chat with you yesterday or with Jane?

Anna Says:

jane – hah! Good thing you pointed that out. Actually, I was remembering comments Roger made last year. The top 3 guys have shown frustration with the schedule for the last couple of years. For Roger, much of the frustration centered on Davis Cup. He’s played very little dc because of the demands of the schedule. Now he’s taking alot of flak from sportswriters who make it sound as if he just didn’t care. Can’t please everybody, but he doesn’t deserve this criticism either.

Ben Pronin Says:

Funny because Federer has still played in a lot more ties and has played a lot more matches in Davis Cup than either Nadal or Djokovic. (Surprisingly, Djokovic has actually played more than Nadal but that’s irrelevant).

jane Says:

mat4, with me, lower case jane. :) Tom Waits…

dari Says:

its hard to make comparisons between davis cup ties for these guys because they are different ages.
you’d have to look at how many roger played earlier in his career (remember, the man is 30 years old, has logically become more selective in his schedule), at similar points in his career as novak and rafa.
Rafa- first played in 2004 is 20-5 total
novak- first played in 2004 is 21-9 total
roger- first played in 1999 (again, dude is OLD, hehe) 41-12 total
do a little math and it will tell you that roger has played more Dcup matches per year than the others and since the swiss team is not as deep as the spanish team (and arguably the serbian one, with zimonjic being a top doubles player), you better believe roger is not sitting out any matches that he is at the tie.
i know that no one has specifically provoked this information, but with such a stellar career as roger’s, its one of the things people like to pick on- that he doesn’t have Dcup title, that he doesn’t care about Dcup, and the numbers show its just not true.
don’t know/think he will ever get that Dcup title with other nations having so many solid players compared to switzerland, but roger has been there trying for sure.

mat4 Says:


I enjoyed recently in “Female tribute to Tom Waits”. I especially liked Jane Birkin’s singing of “Alice”, and Mélanie Rivaud’s cover of “The Fall of Troy”. Waits tries too hard sometimes, and it was refreshing.

I will be careful about the lower case in the future.

mat4 Says:

… But there is no sadness like Waits sadness.

Cindy Brady Says:

It’s amazing how stupid the players can be at times. If the injuries are increasing, it is because of the new string technology, not the crowded scheduling. that is what players/fans should ask the atp to regulate, not the schedule.

the top players play what? 28 or 30 weeks at the most. sensible players like Roger take 1 month break every 2 months are so.

you can be sure 90 players out of the top 100 think they want more tournaments. it is only the top 10 that make some serious killing on the money front.

the players’ main gripe is that they want less mandatory events so that they can demand heavy appearance fees from more tournaments. as it stands, players cant get appearance fees from mandatory tournaments.

lendl/connors played 100+ matches a season regularly. edberg/mcenroe/stich played doubles too. the biggest reason for the injuries is these crazy strings that demand more out of a players body than the older racquets.

grendel Says:

I made, on a another occasion, a comment on the Murray/Lloyd/injury/strike business broadly in line with Colin’s (at beginning of this thread). However, Cindy Brady makes a provocative post with three significant points. I hope she doesn’t mind me summarising them, because taken together they present a quite different aspect:

1)injuries are caused predominantly by the new string technology and not overscheduling.
2)the problem really is about more loot – the business about no appearance fees from mandatory events.
3)Lendl/Connors etc played 100+ matches without incurring injuries.

If these points are valid, then the top players are looking greedy, especially considering how much they earn already. However, there is a complication w.r.t. the new string technology. Sports technology evolves fairly rapidly and it is virtually impossible to go backwards – a certain level of expectation about “power” tennis is now rooted in the minds of tennis followers.

All the same, it looks like this is a more complicated business than I had originally envisaged. Perhaps someone in the know might like to comment on what Cindy Brady has to say? In short, is she right?

mat4 Says:

@Grendel, Cindy Brady:

I wrote a similar post but didn’t post it. The top 3 earn more than 1M $ of extra appearance fee by tournament. It is a good reason to ask for less mandatory tournaments. In the past, we have witnessed that top players used every occasion to play exhibitions and smaller events, or, like they do sometimes, to sign contracts and then fail to show up, mentioning various undefined injuries.

About the strings: Agassi says that the new string technology changed the game. Indeed. It allows a better control of the shots, longer rallies, sharper angles. There is no regulation in that area, and I don’t see how it can be introduced now.

Did tennis become more physical? I am not sure. I watched some matches from the 80 and 90 recently, and it was very physical then, too. But for players like Nadal, Djokovic and Murray who rely very much on defense and running abilities, it could be more physical. But, come on, they don’t play 5 setters every day, and this format doesn’t exist any more out of the GS. Then, they have an additional day of rest at the beginning of MS1000 tournaments. They play at least 20 matches less by season than players from 20 years ago. The only problem is that they can’t duck difficult matches and avoid each other.

It is very interesting that two of the most irresponsible tennis stars are complaining the most: Nadal, who plays every tournament he can, and Murray, known for “training new shots and strategies” at lesser events, or not showing at all (Dubai, Marseilles).

Skeezerweezer Says:

Great poat @ 1:09.

Strings, and rackets have made the game faster. They have also slowed down the surface. Therefore, to make up the difference players have had to run faster, longer, harder, prepare earlier, etc. It’s a much faster game now. Just you tube a match in the beyond this decade versus today.

I can see where it may be more taxing on the body than those days. But then again, guys actually train with weights, and have newer tech in nutririon. Until Lendl and Agassi, it was McDonalds, cigarretes and Beer.

Don’t know about all this talk about mo money for players and too much tennis. I thought this was all about the USO scheduling snafu so it wouldn’t happen again. The rest sounds like the Political version of “Pork”.

CW Says:

I won’t pretend to know anything about how the sponsorships, etc. work with the ATP but what most people are pissed about, mainly those who a) don’t play anymore and b) don’t play at all, is that the top 10 players are making all the money so should, therefore, just get over it. It’s almost like saying someone who makes cakes for celebrity events for a living has no right to complain when they’re told to make 18 cakes in one day. Granted, that’s a bit extreme, but it’s the impression I’m getting.

I do know that there’s choice in terms of tournaments played, but I sense the players feel an obligation to play tournaments where sponsorship and fan appearance is contingent on their arrival. I mentioned to someone that it seems there’s a great deal of “dance, monkey, dance” among fans and magazine/blogging pundits. My standpoint is there shouldn’t be hardcore gripes about the players desiring a more palatable schedule. As far as I know the top 30 players are mandated to play nine Masters Shields, all four Majors (obviously) and three or four lower ranked tournies (and I’m more than happy to be corrected if I’m wrong, so please do so). Granted, that may not seem a great deal of a sacrifice for having a job that most would kill for, but I don’t see the reason why there can’t be a legitimate compromise between the ITF and the players. It’s not as if these players aren’t putting in the work in the “off-season” and during the tournaments. They’ve worked hard for the titles they’ve won and, as with any competitive human, are full of pride. They put their all into playing to satisfy the masses but also to fill their obligations as ambassadors to the sport, front men for a sport that is truly underrated and underappreciated.

From what I’m reading most just think that the players are nothing more than whining, money-hungry “wusses” (which I assume is the popular turn of phrase for the players). However, I think the better description is tired and pissy. Not completely surprising given the tension at the tail end of the US Open. But, as I said, it’s not as if they just show up and win. They earn their wins and take pride in knowing that they had to fight for it.

They’ve fought in the past for scheduling compromises and “won”, getting DC shifted a bit from previous years. But is it really a huge deal if they’re allotted a bit more time in the off-season after the DC final, really? I mean are they really asking too much for some leeway in terms of how much time they get off after the official season has ended to spend time with their families or just do whatever they want? Many mention Roger Federer and how he’s not complaining, but really…he’s one guy who’s stood at the front line of this issue before and though may not be saying anything to ruffle feathers or warrant the attacks that (mostly) Murray is getting, don’t think he doesn’t support his fellow players. Novak completely supported the players at the US Open and he won the thing. He continues to support the players as he gets over his physical issues.

If it’s truly about them not getting anymore money, then don’t give it to them. Really, this is something that can be solved quickly and without squabbles. They just want some time off, so why not give it to them and not worry about upping the prize money (and adversely, the ticket prices) every year? There doesn’t seem to be a hell of a lot of complaint as regards their paycheques. They’re not even really thinking about it. It almost seems like a pacifying tactic: we’ll give them more money and they’ll just shut up about it. These cats are only human and a big paycheque is appealing, but when that’s not the issue at hand, I’m sure they’d be more than happy to let go of some of it just to be able to play at their best.

But really this “comment” is more of a question. I want to know a) why it’s so hard to get anything actually changed for the better for both parties and b) why people have a problem with players speaking up (I’d like it if the answers were mature, if you please)? I want to get down to the nitty-gritty and understand what’s really going on here. Why has this been an issue since the 80s?

dari Says:

I’m not cynical enough to think that the players want fewer mandatory tourneys so that they could have more time for non-mandatory ones with appearance fees. Not buying it. The ones who could actually merit those fees have more money than they can spend. The others need more tourneys to make their $.
The top guys just want rest and to not have to slip behind in the tight race to get it. They are the ones who are going deep in the tourney anyway.
But, it’s a good point about the strings Cindy. With his strings and long point grinding style, its no wonder rafa has the louder voice in this matter. Murray not far behind with no killer weapon and often playing longer defensive points. Fed for the most part has kept his two cents to the super Saturday issue and is known for keeping his points and matches short
So, which masters event could get demoted?
Votes, guys?
I feel they have it pared down just right, and can’t imagine any of the remaining no longer mandatory. Knee jerk reaction is Rogers cup or cincy, though these combine e

dari Says:

Whoops…combined events are not likely to be changed. Oh well, I guess it just goes back to who can hack it and keep healthy through all the gruel.

Little Wing Says:

dari, My vote goes to Bercy, i say downgrade it to a 500. That tourney really is unecessary, why have a Master 1000 at the end of the season right before the WTFs? The stands r pretty empty during the week and Paris already has RG.

dari Says:

LW, I also thought about bercy, but indoor gets no love as it is, so I let that one slide. Seems right choice though.
It will be some time before a decision has to be made, if at all.
I am glad to hear the guys speak up, though, they certainly deserve to be heard. I don’t think they will get that far, but I hope there is no strike with a complete shut down of the tour. I turned my nose up at US football and basketball for their strikes

Kimberly Says:

I agree, Paris is the one that should be. Takuing them one by one

Indian Wells-large draw, big prize money, combined event=no way

Miami–don’t even go there. I would kill but see same as Indian Wells.

Both the above events are played over two weeks with rest days in between a lot too. Most players don’t complain about these,

Montecarlo—already downgraded to optional, rich with history and tradition though. Could be a 500. But a lot of players miss it anyway.

Rome-too much history, really most important event in Italy. Can’t touch it.

Madrid—hmmmmmm. The spaniards would have a cow, or una vaca. Already have a 500 in Barcelona. And as Montecarlo was downgraded see no need to only have one mandatory masters. So there should be two. So it stays.

Rogers Cup–Only real tennis event in Canada.

CIncinatti–Could go. Already two other masters plus GS in the US. Plus Rafa never does well there. Put it as a 500 and most players will probably opt in anyway to prep for USO?

Shainghai–Important for tennis to be global.

Paris–I go with this one or CIncinatti. Paris already has RG, the stands are empty, and again Rafa never plays well here :)

jane Says:

Good reasoning Kimberly, I’d go along with your list.

margot Says:

My suggestion is, re-site all tournaments to Glasgow…;)

rogerafa Says:


Are you a Murray fan or his enemy? The poor chap will surely collapse under such monumental pressure;)

margot Says:

rogerafa: au contraire, Andy plays exceptionally well in his homeland surrounded by non-critical adoring fans :) Did you not see him well up after a brilliant Davis Cup performance?

rogerafa Says:


Your optimism is infectious but slams and other big events are slightly different proposition compared to feeble DC foes. The English media will probably set a permanent base in Glasgow specifically to hound him all year:( Have mercy:)

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