TENNIS-X NEWS, NOTES, QUOTES AND BARBS
NADAL TO TENNIS — ‘LET’S TRY SOME TIME APART’ — After looking flat and at times uninterested during the year-end Masters, Rafael Nadal says he is struggling with his motivation, despite muddling through to claim the Davis Cup for Spain: “I have lost a little passion for the game. I have been a bit more tired than usual…I have been very happy and had the right attitude to play. But to compete was different, I wasn’t in the right frame of mind. We can find excuses, we can find problems, but I have not been happy about a few things this season. The end of the year has not been easy for me.” Nadal also responded to his reported rift with his coach/uncle Toni: “I don’t necessarily have to listen or take notice any more of what Toni says to me. I can make my own mind up now. Am I frustrated? That’s not the right word. In a career you come back or you go down. This is not my best moment and I need a lot of things to change. Small things, but these can change a lot of things at the end of the day.”
Daniela Hantuchova has shot a 2012 hot-ness calendar, with all the proceeds going to the House of Smile in Cambodia: “The photo shoot for the calendar was a lot of fun because we did it in Monte Carlo, where I live. The whole team was great once again and it was more fun than work, because we all knew it was for a great cause. All money from the calendar goes to the hospital in Cambodia where we are treating and taking care of orphans who are HIV positive. The improvement we have seen in their health the last few years has been incredible and it keeps us motivated to work even harder and help as much as we can.”…Robin Soderling missed the US Open with mono, and says he will also miss the 2012 Aussie Open…WTA World No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki did not reach a major final again this year. Just reminding…World No. 2 Petra Kvitova ended the year with a 12-match winning streak at the WTA Championships and Fed Cup. Was 6-1 in finals in 2011. Was 21-0 indoors. Just sayin’…Our pick for the 2012 Australian Open, you heard it here — Kim Clisjters…Maria Sharapova in 2012? With all the down time to rehab the shoulder, we like her too…Not that we’re the ones to talk about journalistic integrity, but shouldn’t journalists (major outlet(s) in the U.S.) who were paid by the WTA (tickets, hotel, etc.) to cover the WTA Championships note that in their stories they write covering the event?…The WTA made a donation of $25,000 to USANA Health Sciences’ “Ace Out Hunger” program, a charity that raises money for children around the world…Novak Djokovic during the year-end Masters: “You know, my body says that it’s overload. It has been too much this year. Obviously, mentally I feel a little bit drained. I just don’t have that freshness in my mind for the matches and I don’t have these dynamics that I had in all 10 months of the year. But this is something to be expected after the year that I had.” Djokovic added he would not play any events prior to the Aussie Open…Yannick Noah continues to say the media is a big part of the blame for doping issues in sports not being more prevalent: “There are side effects which you never read about on the front pages of the newspapers. We know there have been problems in the past with Italian footballers who are now seriously ill.”…ATP Player Council President Roger Federer is against a player strike in regards to the ATP calendar, and against a rankings system that takes into account two years of results as unfair to lower-ranked players: “It’s not been an option really, in my opinion,” Federer said of a player strike. “Next year’s season is going to be shortened by two weeks. That’s, I think, as much as we can squeeze it really because otherwise a lot of tournaments would have to go, or we would have four tournaments the same week, which I don’t think is a very smart idea, to be honest, for the game. It was brought up a few months ago, the whole boycott thing. It’s nonsense. It’s not going to happen any time soon. Things are good right now, so I don’t see a reason why we should just boycott. There’s absolutely no reason for it.”…Venus Williams beat little sister Serena in straight sets in an exhibition match in Medellin, Colombia…The search engine Bing says Maria Sharapova was the most-searched-for athlete on the web this year, followed by Tiger Woods, Serena Williams, Brett Favre, and Caroline Wozniacki…In what had to be a tough choice, the Danish Tennis Federation awarded Caroline Wozniacki with their country’s Player of the Year Award…When you’re on TV, those robbers know where you are — Swiss papers report that Jo-Wilfried Tsonga’s house in Switzerland was robbed as he competed at the year-end ATP Masters event in London…China’s Li Na on her 2011: “Life has changed a lot. I knew after the French Open when I went back to China the fans would be crazy. I came back home and a lady (on the street) said, ‘Li Na, I know who you are, I need a photograph with you, an autograph.’ She spoke so loud and everyone heard it. More people were coming so me and my friend were full-power running to the car…[Coach] Thomas [Hogstedt], he was very different to Chinese coaches. He always gave me confidence. First time he was saying ‘You can be in the Top 20.’ I said ‘Are you joking?’ because I didn’t believe it — I never had a coach say I can be Top 20.”…Tennis writer Dick Evans on Richard Krajicek for the new ATP CEO: “Naturally, you need other assets, and the multilingual Krajicek has plenty. If the ATP board members get cold feet and start looking outside the game for another corporate figure, they will be making a serious mistake.”…World No. 1 Novak Djokovic reportedly has a brief role in the upcoming movie The Expendables 2…Ryan Harrison has signed on coach Grant Doyle, the former coach of Sam Querrey…Judy Murray named the new Fed Cup captain? Really? they do know Andy can’t play Fed Cup, right? Maybe in a dress? ‘This is my other daughter, Andrewetta, she’ll now be playing No. 1 for us’…Marat Safin was voted into the Russian Federal Parliament, the Duma, revealed a press release from the ATP Champions Tour. A member of Vladimir Putin’s United Russia party, Safin was elected into the Duma’s lower house as a representative for the Nyzhny Novgorod region, approximately 500k from Moscow. “I could go and make commercials left and right and pretend like I am a celebrity, but that is not me,” Safin said. “I never did this, I never liked it. I had a few months of thinking ‘Should I do this or should I not’ but now I am pretty sure of what I’m doing and I want to do it. This is a completely new life, a new way of thinking, new way of doing things that’s nothing to do with tennis or sports at all. But the two things definitely have one thing in common and that is that you need to have a character. You have to be strong and you have to know where you’re going, what you want to do, and you have to be able to make sacrifices. I will be working for the next five years day after day, sitting in an office, wearing a suit. I will have good days, bad days and I will have to fight once again like I’ve been fighting on the court. It will be complicated.” — Our over-under is he lasts 10 months…Caroline Wozniacki reportedly signed a one-year coaching deal with Ricardo Sanchez, former coach of Jelena Jankovic…Roger Federer is reportedly building a $17.5 million chalet complex in the Swiss Alps for his family and his parents, including all the super-modern amenities you can think of, and garage space for nine cars…According to tennisworldusa, “The mother of Italian tennis star, Flavia Pennetta has been sentenced to one year in prison. Pennetta’s mother, Concetta, was sentenced for an involuntary manslaughter charge stemming from a fuel explosion incident at the family’s farm. Pennetta and another man who worked on the farm were also ordered to pay 150,000 Euros to the victim’s family. Apparently, the victim died when two fuel trucks exploded at the farm while he was in one of them.”…We gotta agree with Roger Federer that the year-end Masters deserves a best-of-five final…The WTA granted a one-time waiver to Caroline Wozniacki and Victoria Azarenka to play in the World Tennis Charity Invitational in Thailand on Jan. 1. Players are not usually allowed to compete in exhibitions during Premier-level tournament weeks, but the waiver was granted since all the proceeds from the event are going toward the victims of floods in Thailand. John Isner and Paradorn Srichaphan will also play in the exo…According to 10sballs.com, WTA players who compete at the Hopman Cup will be fined by the WTA, and the tournament will pay the fines…Spain’s Davis Cup triumph was tempered by Rafael Nadal’s announcement that he would not be available in 2012 since he will be focusing on the Olympics, and captain Al Costa says he might not return to lead the team as well…Roger Federer is sad — sad that it looks like the Madrid Masters event, run by nutbag Ion Tiriac, will change their claycourts to the color blue for 2012: “This is a long story, but I find it sad that you have to play on a surface the players don’t accept,” Federer told dpa. “I find it sad that a player like Rafa, at a tournament on his own country, has had to fight against a surface that does not want to play on. I would listen to Rafa on such an issue. It’s sad, yes, that we will play on a surface that is not accepted by all players.”…SI.com’s Bruce Jenkins has friends, and he and his friends don’t like the ATP year-end event: “A friend of mine named Steve Tignor, one of the better tennis writers in the country, follows both tours with a passion. He’s never short on a well-seasoned take, or the type of insight rarely found. But even this tennis nut has his limit. Pondering the appeal of the World Tour Finals, which concluded Sunday in London, he admitted on tennis.com, “I just want to get away from those people for a while.” No such luck. The theme song of the men’s tour should be that popular favorite, “How Can I Miss You When You Won’t Go Away?” — Ah yes, Steve Tignor, whose “well-seasoned take(s)” included a lengthy diatribe back in the day on why Rafael Nadal would never become No. 1 in the world because of his ugly strokes. Jenkins final thought: “When Nadal admitted playing with “a little bit less passion for the game,” it spoke to an event that should go away — because it wouldn’t be missed.” — Yes, the storied ATP Masters event won’t be missed. Thankfully it will still be here when you’re retired. We’ve seen better insight on Bleacher Report…Alex Bogomolov Jr., the ex-husband of U.S. Playboy bunny Ashley Harkleroad, officially changed his nationality from American to Russia, and will represent Russia in international play…Spectators at an Italian exhibition got a shot of Williams sister boob when the strap on Venus’ top snapped during play…Russian Anna Chakvetadze, who made a foray into Russian politics after semi-retiring in 2010 due to varying illnesses, will apparently make a comeback in 2012 starting at the WTA Hobart event…Roger Federer says he is targeting the Davis Cup and Olympics in 2012, and says he will play Switzerland’s opening round (for the first time since 2004) when they host the U.S. on Feb. 10 in Fribourg, Switzerland.
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