Previews: Federer in Davis Cup, WTA Events; Tennis-X Notes
by Staff | February 5th, 2012, 11:39 am

Davis Cup World Group — First Round 2012

Some marquee match-ups this coming weekend feature Roger Federer and Stan Wawrinka defending their home clay turf against the U.S., and Argentina going into Germany (on red clay?).
Here is the full line-up of World Group first-round meetings: Kazakhstan at Spain in Oviedo; Russia at Austria in Wiener Neustadt; France at Canada in Vancouver; U.S. at Switzerland in Fribourg; Italy at Czech Republic in Ostrava; Sweden at Serbia in Nis; Croatia at Japan in Hyogo; and Argentin at Germany in Bamberg.

Fearless predictions:

Spain d. Kazakhstan — Not your typical superstar Spanish line-up, but Nicolas Almagro leading will be enough to get the defending world champs Spain past the underpowered Kazakhs on their home red clay.

Russia d. Austria — Jurgen Melzer has no backup within the Top 100, and Russia is too experienced with the likes of American-turned-Russian Alex Bogomolov Jr., Nikolay Davydenko, Mikhail Youzhny and crew.

France d. Canada — One of the best ties of the weekend as France fronts Top 20 players Gael “Force” Monfils and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in singles, and Canada Milos “Big Babyface” Raonic. Each team also boasts a hall of fame doubles standout — France’s Micheal Llodra, and Canada’s Daniel Nestor. In the end the fragile Raonic is not up to carrying an entire team, and France is too deep. But this could be a great tie if the home Canadian fans can rally their troops.

Switzerland d. U.S. — The key to this tie is the red clay, American Kryptonite, as it’s Mardy Fish’s worst surface, but U.S. Captain Jim Courier will feel the pressure to play him as the highest-ranked player. John Isner can serve through the slow dirt, but the lack of two Bryan brothers is also a strike against the U.S. The Olympic doubles gold winners Roger Federer and Stan Wawrinka have too many factors in their favor, and it could easily be a 3-0 sweep.

Czechs d. Italy — Quick, can you name anyone on the Italian Davis Cup team? Exactly. No players in the Top 25 is too tough for a squad travelling to the Czech Republic to meet Tomas Berdych and Radek “The Worm” Stepanek. Break out the broom, 3-0 sweep.

Serbia d. Sweden — The lack of world No. 1 Novak Djokovic might be a blow for the Serbs…until you realize that Sweden, without the injured Robin Soderling, can’t bring a singles player to the table with a Top 300 ranking. Janko Tipsarevic and Viktor Troicki will be enough to clean-up this Swedish mess.

Croatia d. Japan — This is going to be one competitive tie as neither team brings overwhelming force. Kei Nishikori and Go Soeda will try and protect the home turf against the visiting “Dr.” Ivo Karlovic and Ivan Dodig. This is a coin flip, but the Japanese team will be under tremendous pressure at the Bourbon Beans Dome (not making that up) in Hyogo, while the Croats bring a little more experience.

Argentina d. Germany — Really Germany, indoor red clay to host Argentina? Really? David Nalbandian and Juan Monaco and Juan Ignacio Chela say thank you very much as they stroll into Bamberg. Germany’s other big news is that former world No. 2 Tommy Haas has made himself available, despite his ranking outside the Top 150. Germany will also bring out some combination of Florian Mayer, Philipp Kohlschreiber and Philipp Petzschner, but the red clay experiment against a claycourt nation will be a bust.

20e Open GDF Suez; Paris, France; Surface: indoor hard

Seeds: Maria Sharapova, Marion Bartoli, Li Na, Jelena Jankovic, Sabine Lisicki, Julia Goerges, Roberta Vinci, Anabel Medina Garrigues

Floaters: Lucie Safarova, Yanina Wickmayer, Kaia Kanepi, Christina McHale, Shahar Peer

Notes: 20th edition of the tournament; former No. 1 Amelie Mauresmo is the tournament director; tough openers include (5) Lisicki vs. Safarova, (4) Jankovic vs. Wickmayer (winner to face Kanepi-McHale winner), and (6) Goerges vs. Peer; wildcards went to France’s Alize Cornet and Pauline Parmentier; defending champ Petra Kvitova takes a pass, leaving no returning champions in the field; Mauresmo reached the final five times winning twice, and Martina Navratoliva (1993-94) is the only player to win back-to-back championships.

PTT Pattaya Open; Pattaya City, Thailand; Surface: hard

Seeds: Vera Zvonareva, Dominika Cibulkova, Daniela Hantuchova, Maria Kirilenko, Zheng Jie, Galina Voskoboeva, Sorana C�rstea, Vania King

Floaters: Heather Watson, Kimiko Date-Krumm, Sania Mirza

Notes: Seed quality starts solid with Top 10er Zvonareva but then falls off the table; up-and-coming Brits Laura Robson and Watson in the draw, the latter opening against (8) King; former champs in the field are Hantuchova (2011) and Zvonareva (2010-09); Hantuchova beat Sara Errani in last year’s final.


WOZ’S DAD CANS HER COACH — Caroline Wozniacki dropped from No. 1 to No. 4 when the new WTA Rankings came out after the Australian Open where she lost in the quarterfinals. Wozniacki then canned her coach of only two months, Spain’s Ricardo Sanchez. Wozniacki’s father, Piotr, announced the split saying it wasn’t a good fit, while Sanchez said he couldn’t coach the former No. 1 because dad was always up in his business. “I have great respect for Piotr, who has never played tennis himself, and for the work he has done,” Sanchez told Ekstra Bladet. “But he has his way of doing things, and I have mine.” He said “Caroline was just confused” by having two coaches “who wanted different things.” Wozniacki said, “I also felt that he could not make a big difference for me personally as a player. Therefore we decided to terminate the relationship.”

The New York Post reported that Serena Williams appeared go on a date in Paris this week with Bulgarian tennis player Grigor Dimitrov, going out to eat and visiting various sites. Serena is 30, Dimitrov is 20. Go Serena…Aussie star Bernard Tomic has pulled from the ATP San Jose event as he needs to attend a court date to address two traffic offenses and barricading himself in his house to avoid police. He is also selling his $150K bright orange BWM that has been getting him into trouble. San Jose officials first said Tomic was withdrawing from the tournament due to a “leg injury,” but when it was revealed he was playing Davis Cup with said leg injury, his withdrawal reason was amended to “personal reasons.” Class all around…Former doubles No. 1 Paola Suarez of Argentina is coming out of retirement to play the Olympics…Gabriela Sabatina told the Argentina media, to paraphrase, ‘Women’s tennis today is boring as hell and they just bang the ball with no variety. I miss players like Justine Henin.’ Word…India’s Sania Mirza says that with all her injuries she will concentrate on making the Olympics in doubles and bag the singles…Victoria Azarenka took millions away from Melbourne, but flies her coaches home in coach while she is up in first class? Thanks for nothing, you know where you guys sit, literally.

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37 Comments for Previews: Federer in Davis Cup, WTA Events; Tennis-X Notes

scineram Says:

Anyone with a bright orange BMW should be fined.

“‘Women’s tennis today is boring as hell and they just bang the ball with no variety. I miss players like Justine Henin.’ Word”

It is pretty much the same with the men’s game. It certainly looked like that from the semifinals up.

RZ Says:

I read somewhere that apparently Dmitrov’s girlfriend was at the dinner with Gregor and Serena.

Eric Says:

Speak for yourself as to being unable to name an Italian Davis Cupper. Of the top of my head there’s Starace, Seppi, and Fognini. It amazes me that those that profess to be tennis fans are only familiar with players ranked in the top 20. Anyone that checks the results and tournament draws on a regular basis should know the names and countries of the guys that play. Especially, someone that writes about the sport as a profession.

Kimmi Says:

remove that picture of roger, it does not do him justice.

Kimmi Says:

wozniacki should sack her dad and look for a new coach…independently.

Skorocel Says:

„until you realize that Sweden, without the injured Robin Soderling, can’t bring a singles player to the table with a Top 300 ranking“

Where are the golden days of Borg, Edberg, Wilander, Pernfors, Tillstrom, Norman, Bjorkman, Gustafsson, Larsson, etc.? And I thought our (Slovak) tennis is in crisis…

Wog boy Says:

Kimmi, you are right, he doesn’t look himself on the picture, but on the other hand nobody can avoid ageing not even the GOAT :-)

Wog boy Says:

Actually it Is old picture. At least it looks like one.

jane Says:

True, France will likely beat Canada, as Raonic isn’t quite at the level of beating la Monf and Tsonga, and Pospisl, though having a nice all round game, probably isn’t either. And then I am not sure Nestor/Dancevic will get like Llodra/Benneteau will. Still, one has to say, this must be the best, most promising Canadian DC team ever, and that’s heartening. I wish I could go watch live, but tickets are quite expensive, over $100 US each some up to $400!

jane Says:

“get like” should be “gel like”, meaning Llodra and Benneteau have played lots together; not sure about Nestor and Frankie.

Wog boy Says:

As much as I love Novak playing for Serbia I think he should give it a miss this year. He has a chance to write a history, tennis history this year and he should focus on that. The problem is he himself, he wants to play and who is going to tell him not to.

Humble Rafa Says:

wozniacki should sack her dad and look for a new coach…independently.

Independence doesn’t come easy. I can tell you from first hand experience. Uncle Toni picks the color of the shirt I wear on a tennis court. Enough said.

Wog boy Says:

Stella, where is your comment, I was looking for your name in that link but you didn’t post one:)
I didn’t mean anything bad, but just that we are all ageing, including GOAT. I often say when I see some people, that I haven’t seen in a while, that they aged or they are old because they are in their 50’s and my supervisor (wife) reminds me how old I am (in my 50’s) and to have a good look of myself in the mirror. We (I) often see others but not ourselfs (myself). I don’t know if that happens to others but it does happen to me, time and time again:(

carlo Says:

Skorocel – Lacko is making progress at least. :) Youzhny was too good, sadly. But, Slovak girls are doing well. When I watched that Auckland tournament, I really liked Hrbaty commentating in English. He played one match there and lost – so, still active, but barely.

“Big Babyface” is a horrible nickname for Milos. Wish these people wouldn’t call him that.

And yeah. Naming a DC team for Italy isn’t too difficult.

Humble Rafa Says:

remove that picture of roger, it does not do him justice.

Some people can’t stand the fact that The Arrogant One’ hair is a little out of place. It is a real photo, not photoshopped. Deal with it!

Humble Rafa Says:

“Big Babyface” is a horrible nickname for Milos.

I am in a unique situation of having come up with names for tennis players. Big Babyface is appropriate. Take it from an expert.

Wog boy Says:

Ok, what do you think about chances of Novak winning Laureus award, today…….any. ?

jane Says:

Wog Boy, I am not sure: he’s been nominated before, twice, for “break through” in 2008 and 2009. But he’s never won. But the year Rafa won was the year he won three slams, and Nole had the streak on top of that and he just won at the AO. So, yeah, he has a chance – just don’t know how much of one. ^_^.

Wog boy Says:

Jane, thrid time lucky !

Fingers crossed

Michael Says:

Leading his Country to a Davis Cup win is one of the trophies missing in Roger’s cabinet and this is a minor glitch in his otherwise illustrious career. Ofcourse, Roger is handicapped by the fact that Switzerland doesn’t boast of a good team. But Wawarinka is not an ordinary player and I am sure Roger can bring glory for his Country if he takes this up seriously. Afterall, the pair of Roger and Wawrinka won the Olympic doubles.

Michael Says:

Wog Boy, I hope Novak heeds your advise. He has already won the Davis Cup for his Country once. The current year has also the Olympics apart from the major tournaments and Novak has so much points to defend. His rival Nadal has made the wise choice not to participate in Davis Cup and hope Novak follows suit. He should not overcook and automatically become a candidate of fatigue. Remember last year too he had this shoulder problem which spoiled his show at the fag end of the season. This year he has to be wise in organising his calendar.

Skorocel Says:

@carlo: Lacko is indeed talented, but he’s not a youngster anymore (he’s 24). Hope he can continue with this form. If not, then he can at least say to his kids one day: I bageled Rafa Nadal! ;-)

About Hrbaty in Auckland, which year was that? I remember he beat Nadal in the finals there in 2004 (per withdrawal, no less). And what about that commentating? Did he do some commentary for the local TV or what?

Wog boy Says:

Jane, thanks very much, I am at work and was just about to check when I saw your post.
Good on you young man, you deserved it, and they look nice , Jelena and Novak.

@Michael, I agree but it is up to Novak.

carlo Says:


Hrbaty was commentating for the Auckland tournament THIS year. For the tournament – not sure if it was for a local TV station. I was listening to him on a lemonsport livestream channel that entire week before AO. He also played in that tourny, but lost, I think, 1st round main draw or in qualifying :/ Very good humored about it, too.

He’s got personality and makes an interesting, energetic comme’

Didn’t realize Lacko was 24. He looks younger than say, Djoker. I like his serve and he has a decent flat, powerful forehand/solid backhand. From what I watched of him the past month, I’d say he was at the best I’ve seen him against Donald Young 2nd round AO. (That’s right, a bagel to Nadal is his claim to fame :D ), but I hope he can do more. Maybe top 30? I noticed Youzhny really exploited Lukas’ movement in that Zagreb final. Perhaps if he sheds a couple kg’s? Youzhny is so light on his feet and clever at net. When Dr. Youz is in good form, it’s easy to see why he used to be top ten.

Wow. good for Nole, Jane. He certainly deserves it!

carlo Says:

I remember now, Skorocel, also why I liked Hrbaty commentating: he gives more information on players, having played them and knows the newer players too. He speaks with a lot of confidence and he’s not trying to be politically correct or gushing all over certain most popular players. It’s refreshing. He just says what’s on his mind. :)

mat4 Says:

There is one thing i don’t quite understand. Why has Canada chosen to play the DC match against France in Vancouver? Wasn’t Belgrade a much better option? ;-)

Wog boy Says:

Cheeky mat4 :-)

Australian Fed.cup team without Stosur looks like this: Rodionova (Russia), Gajdosova (Slovakia), Dokic (Serbia), evene better, Australian weight lifting team during Olympic games 2000 in Sydney hardly spoke any english and hardly could understand each other, they came from Bulgaria, Romania, I think Armenia as well :-)

jane Says:

What can I say mat4? I guess Serbians like Canada? We have a nice little multi-cultural thing going on over here. ;) Born, but not raised, in some cases, correct?

mat4 Says:


I think Dancevic is of croatian descent.

I almost settled in Quebec 18 years ago, but it was not meant to be. Though I was born in the Alps, it seems that your climate is to cold for me.

Wog boy Says:

mat4, I was very close to go to Canada myself when I made up my mind about leaving, Yugoslavia, and I am cold weather person, I can’t stand hot weather, but I already had few of my mates who moved to Sydney and bought house so it was safer bet for me to go to Australia and start again from zero. When ever I start this story with my doughters they say …” ohhh no, not again please, you are the same like that Greek from Big Fat Greek Wedding move….” it looks like I am telling my lifestory to often :-)
Canada was very popular with us in 70’s and 80’s as country to move in, if we had a choice.

mat4 Says:

I rewatched some matches from the middle of the last decade (watching Safin-Federer now).

Nadal has definitely changed the face of tennis and introduced an unprecedented level of intensity and physicality on every point.

A few matches are not enough, of course, to refresh someone’s memories, but I can’t stop thinking how much Roger Federer has improved in the last couple of years. Will have to rewatch the Rome final between Fed and Rafa because I have the impression that Rafa has made everybody play tennis just like on clay. With his amazing ability to retrieve everything, he forced others to have more patience and to change there patterns. to build more the points.

mat4 Says:

@Wog boy:

Yes, we both went East, but you got much farther.

mat4 Says:

Found the highlights of the Rome 2006 final. Just asking myself (the highlights are always a distorted picture of a match, just like novels are distorted versions of life, but much prettier) how did Roger lost that match? He spent most of his time in the court, when Rafa is in the tramlines. His game plan looks perfect.

skeezerweezer Says:


re: Rafa…yeah I remember when Agassi played Rafa and he ( Agassi ) still had some game left and Agassi would hit one deep in the corner and let up at that point ( cause against anyone else he played in his time it would either be a winner or a weak return back ), whereas Rafa replied with not only getting it back but a winner at that. Rafa did bring a new level. That is you have to keep playing the point out, no matter if you think you hit a winner or not. Now, with the new players, they all can turn defense into offense.

Wog boy Says:

I posted after final findings of some university professors and specialist who said that that final was like two consecutive marathons not by the mileage Nole and Rafa made but by the eneregy they spend because they move in a burst and spend more energy and marathon runners have same rhyithm for 42km.
They also worked out that during the match they lost 3-5 kg, had to replace 12-15 l of water, spent 80% of their energy, their temperature rose to 40-41 degrees etc etc alltogether almighty effort by both champions. And yes, I think Nadal was in pain more then Nole at the end.

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