Injured Nadal Head Doha; ATP/WTA Previews; Tennis-X Notes

by Staff | December 31st, 2011, 2:07 pm

Injured Nadal, Federer Headline 2012 Qatar ExxonMobil Open

Rafael Nadal has a bad shoulder, but that’s not keeping the Spaniard from getting in line for the appearance-fee bonanza this week at the Qatar ExxonMobil Open in Doha, Qatar, which also features defending champion Roger Federer looking to extend his fine run from the end of the 2011 season.
Nadal essentially stated that even with a bad shoulder, he is taking the Middle Eastern cash tour that this week also included the lucrative Abu Dhabi exhibition. After the Australian Open he says he will shut it down for a month to heal-up, missing the Dubai event.

Other seeds in Doha are Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Gael “Force” Monfils, Viktor Troicki, newly-minted Russian Alex Bogomolov, Jr., Mikhail Youzhny and Andreas Seppi.

Both Nadal and Federer will be tested in their openers — the No. 2-seeded Swiss against Russian former champ Nikolay Davydenko, and the Spaniard against German veteran grinder Philipp Kohlschreiber. Federer and Tsonga could reprise their 2011 ATP year-end championships final in the Doha semifinals.

The No. 7 Youzhny has a tricky opener against Ernests Gulbis, and other floaters in the draw include “Dr.” Ivo Karlovic and Dmitry Tursunov. Wildcards went to the Ukraine’s Sergei Bubka, Qatar’s Jabor Al Mutawa, and Tunisia’s Malek Jaziri.

Past champs in the field are Federer (2011,’06-05) and Davydenko (2010).

Murray and Stosur Lead but Williams, Clijsters Ready to Dance in Brisbane

The joint ATP/WTA Brisbane International in Australia this week touts Andy Murray and Sam Stosur as the top seeds, but under the surface among the lower ranks lies drama, especially on the women’s side.

Stosur will have to contend with the return of formerly-injured powerhouses Serena Williams and Kim Clijsters, in addition to former No. 1-ranked Serbs Jelena Jankovic and Ana Ivanovic. Joining Stosur, Williams, Clijsters and Jankovic among the women’s seeds are the dancing Andrea Petkovic, former French champ Francesca Schiavone, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Dominika Cibulkova.

Stosur’s draw sees her facing Clijsters or Ivanovic in the quarterfinals, and Serena likely waiting in the semifinals of the top half. The bottom half of the draw is particularly light.

“I’m really looking forward to coming back to Brisbane in 2012,” said “Aussie Kim.” “The last time I was there I played extremely well. The final against Justine was a big match. We were extremely focused and set the bar pretty high. I was so excited to win that match and am hoping to get that kind of preparation again. Having won Brisbane in 2010 and then the Australian Open in 2011, I’m looking forward to getting back to Australia to defend both my titles.”

Serena said she looks forward to giving the Australian fans the opportunity to see her.

“I have such a great fan base in Australia,” Williams said.

The No. 2 seed Petkovic starts against Shahar Peer, but no other floaters exist in the bottom half as the seeds Petko, Jankovic, Schiavone and Pavlyuchenkova are left to battle for semifinal spots.

Notably absent is defending champ Petra Kvitova, who defeated Petkovic in the 2011 all-unseeded final. Brisbane has been elevated to a WTA “Premier” event in 2012, tripling its prize money but still featuring only two Top 10 players for a “top-level” event. Clijsters (2010) and Lucie Safarova (2006) are returning champions in the field. Maria Sharapova withdrew from the event citing an ankle injury.

On the men’s side the top-seeded Murray is joined by fellow seeds Gilles Simon, Alexandr Dolgopolov, Florian Mayer, Kei Nishikori, Radek “The Worm” Stepanek, Jurgen “Tuna” Melzer and Aussie hope Bernard Tomic.

Murray starts against Kazakhstan purchase Mikhail Kukushkin, Tomic against French veteran Julien “United Colors of” Benneteau, Melzer against German Philipp Petzschner, and Simon (who lost in the first round last year) against the big-hitting American Ryan Sweeting in opening matches to watch for.

Other “floaters” in the field include American comer Ryan Harrison and Marcos Baghdatis meeting in the first round, former world No. 2 Tommy Haas, Jarkko Nieminen and Nicolas Mahut.

Defending champ Robin Soderling is missing the event, still struggling with mono that will also keep him out of the Australian Open. Former champs in the field are The Worm (2009) and Haas (2001).

Two Top 10 Players Head ATP Chennai Open

The Aircel Chennai Open in India may seem like the dregs of events this week up against the oil-rich Qatar ExxonMobil Open and Brisbane, but in actuality the event boasts more Top 10 power than Brisbane, and almost the same main draw cut-off around a No. 100 ranking for you draw nerds out there.

Top 10ers Janko Tipsarevic and Nicolas Almagro head the field, joined by seeds Stan Wawrinka, Milos “Big Baby” Raonic, Ivan Dodig, Fabio “The Fabulous One” Fognini, Xavier “X-Man” Malisse, and Olivier “The Roach” Rochus.

The Top 4 seeds receive first-round byes to entice them to, well, come to India in the first place, but some opening-round hot-as-India action is still in the mix.

Tipsarevic will start against the winner of Indian wildcard and touted player Yuki Brambri vs. Slovak Karol Beck. Wawrinka could also start against an Indian if American-college-trained Somdev Devvarman can get by France’s Eric Prodon, and Raonic could start against Sam Querrey in a serving throw-down if the American can get past Romanian Victor Hanescu in his opener.

Former champs in the field are Wawrinka (2011) and X-Man (2007).

Top Seed Lisicki, Dokic on Collision Course at WTA Auckland

No Top 10 players are in sight, but a Top 20 contingent of Sabine Lisicki, Shuai Peng, former Slam champ Svetlana Kuznetsova and Flavia Pennetta lead the field this week at the ASB Classic in Auckland, New Zealand.

Also among the seeded players are Julia “Gorgeous” Goerges, Roberta Vinci, Yanina Wickmayer and Monica Niculescu.

Lisicki starts against French wildcard Virginie Razzano, and in the second round lurks a possible meeting with former Top 5 drama queen Jelena Dokic. Lisicki could meet the No. 5 Goerges in the quarterfinals, and the No. 4 Pennetta in the semis if the seedings hold.

Other wildcards went to Kiwi Sacha Jones and Slovak Maggie Rybarikova.

Last year Hungary’s Greta Arn defeated Wickmayer in the final. This year the unseeded Arn starts against the No. 5 seed Goerges. Returning champs in the field are Arn (2011) and Wickmayer (2010).

James Blake has pulled out of Brisbane and the Australian Open citing personal reasons…Lleyton Hewitt starts the season with a reportedly bad toe injury, even though he hasn’t played competitively since the Davis Cup in September…South African Kevin “Mr.” Anderson pulled from Brisbane citing a knee injury…Brit Heather Watson pulled from Auckland with an ankle sprain…Kiwi Sacha Jones will reportedly play under the Aussie flag…When Wikipedia does a better job of documenting tournament history than the WTA website does, that is kinda sad…Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario was named the Spanish Fed Cup captain…The USTA billed the Russian tennis federation $75,000 for Alex Bogomolov, Jr., who changed his tennis citizenship status from American to Russian after being enticed by the Russians. No word yet as to whether the Russians will stroke a check to the USTA. USTA head Patrick McEnroe said “He has received quite a bit of support, it’s an ITF decision and at the USTA we are exploring our options,” he told Yahoo! Sports. “I certainly believe…I have no issue with Alex personally. From the USTA standpoint, he was born in Russia, he has family there, he should repay the USTA. He’s actually signed something saying that and we’ll see what happens.”…Andy Murray has brought on Ivan Lendl as his full-time coach…So to retake the No. 1 ranking in 2012, Rafael Nadal’s plan is to play the lucrative Abu Dhabi exo with a bad shoulder, then shut it down in February, skipping the ATP Dubai event? Cash is king, and obviously more important than retaking No. 1…No. 88-ranked Swedish teen Lucas Renard was given a six-month suspension after admitting he violated the sport’s anti-corruption rules, “contriving or attempting to contrive the outcome” of a match. He was fined $5,000, and four months of the ban will be suspended if he successfully completes anti-corruption education training (which, we guess, is someone yelling at him “Don’t try to fix matches, dumb-ass!”)…Bethanie Mattek-Sands says she is recovered from her rotator cuff surgery and with Mardy Fish will represent the U.S. at the Hopman Cup exo in January…The WTA Tour is entering the final year of its title sponsorship with Sony Ericsson, and the phone giant says it will not renew after 2012…Venus Williams, who pulled from Auckland, says she hopes to be healthy for the Australian Open…Maria Sharapova pulled from Brisbane citing an ankle injury, but says she will be ready for the Australian Open…France’s Jeremy Chardy and Aravane Rezai will receive Aussie Open wildcards under the Aussie-French Slam reciprocal agreement. The U.S. wildcards go to Jesse Levine and Madison Keys, who won the USTA Australian Open Wild Card Playoffs tournaments…Kazakhstan has bought-off another Russian player in No. 39-ranked 20-year-old Ksenia Pervak, and the Russian tennis establishment is pissed: “I’m upset and angry about Pervak’s switch to the Kazakhstan national team,” Vladimir Kamelzon, head coach of the Russian team, told RIA Novosti. “I just can’t understand Pervak’s decision, and I will never accept it.”…Alex Corretja is the new Spanish Davis Cup captain…35-year-old German Rainer Schuettler says 2012 will be his last year.

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38 Comments for Injured Nadal Head Doha; ATP/WTA Previews; Tennis-X Notes

Humble Rafa Says:

Tennis-x notes should be called the injury notes. Happy to contribute though.

Ben Pronin Says:

“No. 88-ranked Swedish teen Lucas Renard was given a six-month suspension after admitting he violated the sport’s anti-corruption rules, “contriving or attempting to contrive the outcome” of a match. He was fined $5,000, and four months of the ban will be suspended if he successfully completes anti-corruption education training (which, we guess, is someone yelling at him “Don’t try to fix matches, dumb-ass!”)”

Not to nit-pick but he didn’t really do anything wrong. He was going to be the lucky loser at an event and he was 20 minutes late to his match so they gave his spot to someone else. He offered his replacement a cut of the money he’d earn without thinking about it. He wasn’t trying to fix any matches he just wanted to play and said the first thing that came to his mind. Of course the ATP has overreacted because they need to appear like they’re doing something instead of going after the big fish that could disturb the order of tennis.

Kimberly Says:

conspiracy theories in place again Ben?

Miles Says:

Sorry, you’ve got EVERYTHING wrong when it comes to Nadal’s shoulder injury, playing Abu Dhabi and taking February off.

He’s not injured anymore, he’s recovered but lacks practice, therefore plays 2 easygoing exho matches to test himself.

He takes February off not to heal injury, but to practice, since he had missed basic training in December when he WAS injured.

His relevant quotes:

“The positive thing is that I spent over an hour on court against a player who is playing with fantastic rhythm,” said Nadal. “I said before that I arrived without my best preparation, so the most important thing is that this match helped me improve. That’s the perfect practice to keep improving a bit.”
“His (Ferrer’s) level of legs, his movement was much better than mine today.”
“My shoulder is better but the problem is when you have an injury with the shoulder all the muscles around lose all the power.”
“I felt OK, not perfect but OK, but I need a little bit more power for everything. A little bit more confidence with the shoulder to hit the balls with enough power, to hurt the opponent. I need time for that. You always play a little bit scared of the injury and I need time to play without thinking about that.”

Kitty Says:

Does this place have a bias against Nadal or something? It seems everything posted about him here is nothing more than an attempt to take the p*ss out of him. You could at least try to hide your bias just a little bit so as not to be so obvious.

Michael Says:

@kitty. In answer to your question – YES this place does have a bias against Nadal. I would put it down to extreme envy!!

Kitty Says:

@Michael. There is definitely a smart*ss,sarcastic tone that is in nearly every single thing written about Rafa here. Is this place run by Fedtards or Djokotards? Either way it puts me off of visiting this site when all I see about my favorite player is nothing but nasty,jab riddled comments. It also slants people’s opinions about Rafa as if he doesn’t take enough sh*t from people as it is.

alison hodge Says:

kitty i agree to a certain degree about what you say about rafa,as he is my favourite too,but fortunatly there are many fare fans on the forum too,fans who give rafa alot of credit for what he has achieved, fans of roger and nole who only expect the same in return,and then you dont do yourself any favours by calling fans of those players fedtards or djokotards,you only end up alienateing yourself.

marko Says:

@alison Well said.

@Kitty, I don’t think this site has a particular bias against Nadal, but you did pick the thread which discusses yet another (the umpteenth) pre-injury declaration from Nadal when he’s unsure about his chances for the upcoming tournament. It’s getting a little tedious, seriously.

Kitty Says:

Get real. Calling those people what they are is no insult to them. They refuse to give Rafa credit for anything,make snide comments about him constantly,take everything he says and does and twist it around into something it isn’t,and are generally nasty to him all the time. If you think those types deserve anything less than having their garbage thrown back in their face you’re nuts.

And thank you Marko for proving yet another one of my points. I can also bet you are one of people who says Nadal will be injury prone,yet when he actually has an injury you disbelieve him,and call him a liar. This kind of stuff is all over tard websites like this one. Have a look at MTF to see just what I mean.

Oh,and where is the scorn for Djokovic and his supposed injuries and constant retirements when he’s losing? If anyone deserves scorn for that type of behavior it’s him.

marko Says:


You seem to have a lot of hatred in you, so I’m just going to wish you and your favorite Spaniard a VERY Happy New Year :)

sopho Says:

“pre-injury declaration from Nadal”

What does it ever mean “pre-injury”? That he plans to get injured in future? He said he HAD been injured in December. You really ARE full of bias, which prevents you from comprehending what Nadal did say. More accurately, you deliberately do not want to comprehend.

For the umpteenth time, he said he comes into 2012 undeprepared because he had an injury recently and couldn’t work out fully in the off season. He will try to play himself into form at Abu Dhabi and Doha for the AO. In February he intends to gain full physicall fitness for the rest of this exceptionally long season (Olympic year).

See, not so difficult to comprehend. But of course, you’ll surely come up with another snide remark about some sinister conspiracy by evil Nadal.

Pathetic and typically tardish. A lot of hatred in you, as can be clearly seen.

Angel Says:

Nadal is already making excuses and the season even hasn’t begun, this is so classical of him. He should stop the lame excuses, start accepting that he is being outplayed and try to do something about it on court instead of saying that he lost because he was injured or not at 100%. He is so pathetic.

Humble Rafa Says:

“pre-injury declaration from Nadal”

What does it ever mean “pre-injury”? That he plans to get injured in future? He said he HAD been injured in December.

Folks, calm it down.

Pre-injury does not mean injury in the future. It means an injury excuse after a loss. If there is no loss, well nothing happens to the pre-injury remains pre-injury.

I am planning to release the Humble Rafa – Injury Notes & Eqituette, which will explain the different modes of injury – pre, during and post injury. It also explains how Rafa Nation can counter awkward claims made by internet posters on various websites. I will write it during my next intermediate term injury.

Michael Says:

Don’t bother Humble Rafa. Not interested in your gibberish!

Kathy Says:

Well said sopho. There is a lot of truth in the old adage, ‘There are non so blind as those that will not see.’

Peter P. Says:

Oh, great, here comes “Angel” with a snide remark on Nadal conspiracy instead of “marko”.

You haters are like a swarm of locust.

Let me guess: you hate Nadal because he beat your idol Federer too many times? Or he may bother your idol Djokovic in future?

For those who want information and not blind hate, try google TV IB3 clips from Nadal’s practices in December. This is a local TV station in Mallorca that has a camera crew and reporters at his practices, which are all open for public.

They documented how his serve and forehand suddenly got like a powder puff and finally he had to practice only his backhand for 5 days. Of course, TV reporters asked what’s going on and he explained he overstretched his shoulder.

He then went to his doctor in Barcelona for a treatment and then stopped his training for 10 days, which left him with no time to fully work on his conditioning for the new season.

He played his 2 Davis Cup matches against Argentina with antiinflamatory injection in his shoulder, as the team doctor explained to the press.

So you haters may as well rejoice, Nadal really did hurt his shoulder in December and this may hamper the beginning of his season.

Kimmi Says:

humbel rafa – lol :)

RZ Says:

Kitty, using “tard” at the end of a word when it’s clearly a reference to the word “retard” **IS** insulting and offensive.

Zvezda Says:

Interesting: “The USTA billed the Russian tennis federation $75,000 for Alex Bogomolov…”
Did USTA sent a check to Czech tennis federation for Lendl and Navratilova? Or they might did it in Monika Seles case? What about paying German tennis federation for Tommy Haas and many others?
Just currious how much is USTA transparent regarding immigration and emigration policies.

Skeezerweezer Says:

^ tard = hate = who wrote it? PP…There ya go.

Dory Says:

Chennai Open must be the worst tournament on the ATP Tour. The umpiring is so awful, always incorrect line calls. The polish and quality of the courts and court-side areas is also completely lacking. I am surprised it even got ATP 250 status. They should really step it up in the umpiring department and introduce hawk-eye/challenge system.

jane Says:

I am watching Berdych and Dimitrov in Perth, which is, I assume, the Hopman Cup? 7 all in the second set tiebreak, Berdych won set one. Dimitrov is playing too defensively imo.

jane Says:

Spoke too soon; Dimitrov fought off two match points and has forced a third set. Only am too tired to stay up, zzzzzz.

madmax Says:

Going on from the title of this thread, I found something that Nadal did say. He has given an interview (full interview in El Pais/ but couldn’t find the full one)….this is what was said and reported:

But it is the body and mind of Nadal which may attract most attention.

The French Open champion claims that a weakening of his drive contributed his to lose the world number one ranking to Novak Djokovic last year.

“Over the years you’ll lose a little intensity,” he told El Pais recently. “You burn with the (amount of) competition. For the past seven years I’ve been ranked in the top two.

“The main thing is to play again with the passion and intensity needed,” he says.

Nadal also feels his game became too predictable, and that he needs to make a conscious effort to hit his ground strokes from inside the court more often. And he says he aims to make this a habit rather than wait till he faces top players before producing iBut it is the body and mind of Nadal which may attract most attention.

The French Open champion claims that a weakening of his drive contributed his to lose the world number one ranking to Novak Djokovic last year.

“Over the years you’ll lose a little intensity,” he told El Pais recently. “You burn with the (amount of) competition. For the past seven years I’ve been ranked in the top two.

“The main thing is to play again with the passion and intensity needed,” he says.

Nadal also feels his game became too predictable, and that he needs to make a conscious effort to hit his ground strokes from inside the court more often. And he says he aims to make this a habit rather than wait till he faces top players before producing it.

If anyone can find the full interview it might answer those questions more fully?

grendel Says:

jane, in the end Dimitrov lost (3-6, 3rd set) but Berdych had this to say:”He (Dimitrov) is playing really well, he’s going to be improving and he’s improving in the last couple of months but he’s going to be really dangerous this year and as he just showed right now he can play really well. I’m pretty happy to start the year with a win,”.

Dimitrov and Pironkova beat Berdych and Kvitova in the doubles.

Everyone always wants everything at once. To hear some speak, Dimitrov might as well retire now and stop wasting everybody’s time.

Steady as she goes is how I look at it. Dimitrov is gradually becoming a formidable presence. Emphasis on “gradually”.

jane Says:

Thanks for the update grendel. Yeah, I had checked to see if it was in fact Hopman and noticed then that Dimitrov/Pironkova had won. Grigor was sometimes hitting beautfiul deep groundstrokes but he did tend to play a little too far back at times, maybe in an attempt to defend against Berdych’s power. He smartly took advantage on second serves, and that is how he pulled out the tiebreak. He is a fun player too watch.

carlo Says:

Of the promising young guns I enjoy Dimitrov and Tomic the most. But Raonic and Nishikori are the ones I take most seriously. In Brisbane, Tomic was very entertaining winning 6-2,4-6,7-5 over Benneteau. The kid is flamboyant but is he over the top or will all that attitude work for him? Have to wonder.

carlo Says:

Ha! That link. Isner top ten, Wozniaki wins a GS, Djokovic wins FO – that’s 3 of my picks, Jane. He writes what I was thinking about Fish and Roddick.

Not that I imagine Isner winning a GS, but he could get close and win enough to edge himself into the top 10. At age 26, he’s going to make a push. That’s the feeling I had watching him late last season. And Djokovic aiming for FO is to be expected. Wozniaki, well, I think she’ll get a slam this year – but I thought that last year.

Good news for for Vasek Pospisil. He made it through qualifying into Chennai main draw.

carlo Says:

Relating to Fleming in your 1st link, Jane.

I didn’t read the Wertheim one yet.

jane Says:

carlo, I am thrilled about Pospisl; I am hoping he breaks into the top 50 this year. I actually prefer his overall game to Raonic’s as it’s more varied. But he doesn’t have quite the huge weapon that Milos has in his serve.

Glad you found the links mildly amusing, even. :)

dari Says:

Happy New year, everybody!
That boil near Roger’s eye and the way he is playing are frightening :/
Hope he has good health and good form. In fact wishing everyone good health and that AO is light on the injuries and heavy on the heat!

JustMe Says:


What boil would that be? Does Fed have some new ailment, or are you looking at a picture from 2008?

dari Says:
From abu dhabi
What the heck?

Skeezerweezer Says:


Got this fresh report from another site on Feds bump;

“He tried a Nadal lasso forehand and failed….”

Hey its ok to tease your fav ;)

Ben Pronin Says:

Kimberly, not a conspiracy theory, just a fact. That’s what happened and there was no reason for the ATP to give him such a long ban except for that they need to look like they’re doing something.

Top story: Rafael Nadal Confirms He'll Skip Wimbledon, Focus On Olympics