APIA INTERNATIONAL SYDNEY
Sydney, Australia; Surface: hard
Men’s Seeds: Fabio Fognini, David Goffin, Philipp Kohlschreiber, Julien Benneteau, Leonardo Mayer, Pablo Cuevas, Jeremy Chardy, Martin Klizan
Men’s Floaters: Juan Martin del Potro, Nicolas Almagro, Vasek Pospisil, Sam Querrey, Bernard Tomic
Men’s Notes: Only one Top 20 entrant in No. 19 Fabio Fognini…Wildcards went to the wrist-hobbled former US Open champ Del Potro, and Aussies Sam Groth and Marinko “Mad Dog” Matosevic…(1) Fognini after a bye could open against Del Potro, who starts against Sergiy Stakhovsky…Other openers of interest are (6) Cuevas vs. Almagro, (4) Benneteau after a bye likely meeting Pospisil, (7) Chardy vs. Querrey, and (3) Kohlschreiber after a bye likely facing Tomic…It is Del Potro’s first event since Feb. 2014…Marcel Granollers pulled from the field citing a knee injury… Del Potro beat Tomic in last year’s final…Tomic has appeared in the final the last two years…No appearance by four-time champ Lleyton Hewitt…Returning champs in the field are Del Potro (2014) and Tomic (2013).
Women’s Seeds: Simona Halep, Petra Kvitova, Agnieszka Radwanska, Caroline Wozniacki, Angelique Kerber, Ekaterina Makarova, Dominika Cibulkova, Flavia Pennetta
Women’s Floaters: Alize Cornet, Belinda Bencic, Madison Keys, Sabine Lisicki, Svetlana Kuznetsova, Lucie Safarova, Sam Stosur, Andrea Petkovic, Barbora Zahlavova Strycova
Women’s Notes: Six Top 10ers among the seeds…Crazy number of unseeded floaters…Tough starts for (3) Radwanska vs. Cornet, (4) Woz vs. BZS is a rematch from last week’s three-set semifinal in Auckland, Keys vs. the former world No. 2 Kuznetsova, and the former US Open champ Stosur vs. the hot-handed Safarova…Tournament officials dissed former world No. 1 and 2013 Sydney champ Victoria Azarenka who requested a wildcard, opting instead to go with Aussie Jarmila Gajdosova and Russian Daria Gavrilova…Missing is Tsvetana Pironkova, who upset Kerber in last year’s final (UPDATED: Pironkova qualified to the main draw, and according to Wog Boy looks hot in person)…Radwanska (2013) is the lone former champ in the field…In the last 11 years only one American has appeared in the Sydney final (Serena Williams r-up in 2010), compared to 1980-2003 when Americans appeared in 18 of 22 finals.
Auckland, New Zealand; Surface: hard
Seeds: David Ferrer, Ernests Gulbis, Roberto Bautista Agut, Kevin Anderson, Tommy Robredo, Santiago Giraldo, Guillermo Garcia-Lopez, Steve Johnson
Floaters: Juan Monaco
Notes: One Top 10 seed in Ferrer and not a lot of unseeded talent about…Possible noise makers include heralded former top junior Borna Coric, Austrian riser Dominic Thiem, and uneven American “The” Donald Young…(5) Robredo starts against Monaco…Wildcards went to Coric and Kiwis Jose Rubin Statham and Michael Venus…Pulling from the event were defending champ John Isner (fatigue), Gael Monfils (personal), and Jack Sock (hip surgery recovery)…The Bryan brothers, who have never won Auckland, are the top seeds in doubles…The four-time winner Ferrer (2013-11,’07) is the lone returning champ in the field.
Hobart, Australia; Surface: hard
Seeds: Casey Dellacqua, Zarina Diyas, Camila Giorgi, Sloane Stephens, Klara “Kookie” Koukalova, Mona Barthel, Alison Riske, Roberta Vinci
Floaters: Lauren Davis, Kaia Kanepi, Annika Beck, Christina McHale
Notes: No Top 25 players in the draw…Tough starts for seeds (1) Dellacqua vs. the confident American Davis, and (8) Riske vs. McHale in an all-American…Wildcards were awarded to Daniela Hantuchova and Aussies Olivia Rogowska and Storm Sanders…American Varvara Lepchenko pulled from the draw…Barthel (2012) is the lone former champ in the field…Barthel is 1-1 career in Hobart finals…In last year’s final Spaniard Garbine Muguruza beat Kookie (then known as Klara Zakopalova).
TENNIS-X NEWS, NOTES, QUOTES AND BARBS
Victoria Azarenka is reportedly pain-free from the foot and knee injuries that sidelined her for much of the time last year, and the broken heart from breaking up with the music artist Redfoo…Jelena Jankovic told Tennis.com she almost retired at the end of 2014 due to back pain…Why does the Tennis Channel promo for their coverage of the Aussie Open feature Li Na? Stone…Marin Cilic is officially out of the Aussie Open with a shoulder injury — maybe should have rested it during off-season instead of playing through he pain to collect IPTL cash?…Victoria Azarenka talking to the New York Times about having a breakdown last May while painting: “Just doing weird stuff; I didn’t know what I was doing. I was upset, and I was lazy, and I just wiped my hands on my shirt, just everything on my shirt, on my pants. And I woke up the next day and had a meeting in this restaurant with Nike people, and I didn’t feel like dressing up. I just put on that shirt and those pants, and I come into the restaurant. And the Nike people, they’re like: ‘Oh my God, that’s a cool shirt. Where did you buy it?'”…WTA Sydney officials turned down a wildcard request from former No. 1 Victoria Azarenka, instead giving wildcards to Aussie Jarmila Gajdosova and Russian-hope-you-turn-your-nationality-to-Aussie Daria Gavrilova. Ouch…Juan Martin del Potro says he will attempt to play through his wrist pain to compete at Sydney and the Australian Open, because he misses tennis. “I missed the tour,” the Argentine said in an e-mail sent by his press agent to Bloomberg news. “Those feelings outweigh the pain in the wrist…” Sounds smart to us!…In more dumbass news, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga says he will miss the Australian Open due to forearm inflammation. The Frenchman entered the off-season with injury but played the lucrative IPTL in Asia instead of recuperating…ESPN will air more hours of tennis in the U.S. in 2015 than in any prior year…ESPN’s Pam Shriver on 2015: “Robin Soderling will announce a comeback”…India’s Leander Paes is in his 25th season on tour…Andy Murray says his shoulder is sore all the time while medical scans are showing nothing. Uh oh…The ATP has launched another marketing campaign, this time called “Be the One.” As the ATP says, “The style of Be The One is unlike anything the ATP World Tour has done in recent years. It combines emotive imagery of players with bold graphics…The campaign features bespoke photography as each player engages directly with fans by staring intensely at the viewer.” Bespoke photography? Bold graphics? Groundbreaking stuff! Or as Facebook commenter Wino Eliott put it, “I am ‘the one’…..lot of toss, another media company spinning shite directed by the ATP…..corrupt sport as ALL sports are that have CORPORATE sponsorship and BETTING possibilities.” Way to ALL CAPS THAT MESSAGE HOME Wino. Have another draught…Brit Laura Robson’s wrist injury she has suffered over the last year will keep her out of the Australian Open. She will reportedly make her comeback in February or March on the minor league ITF circuit…The WTA fined their Hong Kong event $10K for “disparaging” remarks about Euguenie Bouchard after the Canadian bailed on their event following last year’s US Open, and the tournament is having none of it. “I see this as an act of bullying and intimidation and I ask that this [Hong Kong Tennis Association] council responds responsibly to such injustice from the WTA,” said HKTA President Herbert Chow. Nobody disparages Genie!…Gael “Force” Monfils pulled from Auckland for personal reasons, as did John Isner after his U.S. team reached the final of the Hopman Cup exhibition this week…Can you name the No. 2-ranked American man after John Isner? It’s Steve Johnson. Wow. Both played college tennis…How much is Simona Halep enjoying being a top player and getting that appearance cash — playing events in both weeks prior to the Aussie Open? She will learn. You’ll all learn!…We thought Serena was all warm and fuzzy these days, hanging with bestie Caroline Wozniacki at the end of 2014, complimenting others, having charity events, showing her warm side, giving lollipops to children, but Evil Serena reared her head yesterday at the Hopman Cup when she choked the mixed doubles and called the chair umpire a liar! YOU’RE A LIAR! Here’s to an eventful 2015!
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