Mondays with Bob Greene
Stanislas Wawrinka beat Roger Federer 4-6 7-6 (5) 6-2 to win the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters in Monte-Carlo, Monaco
Donna Vekic beat Dominika Cibulkova 5-7 7-5 7-6 (4) to win the BMW Malaysian Open in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Nick Kyrgios beat Filip Krajinovic 7-6 (10) 6-4 to win the Sarasota Open in Sarasota, Florida, USA
Czech Republic beat Italy 4-0 at Ostrava, Czech Republic
Germany beat Australia 3-1 at Brisbane, Australia
World Group Playoffs
Russia beat Argentina 4-0 at Sochi, Russia
Canada beat Slovak Republic 3-1 at Quebec City, Quebec, Canada
France beat United States 3-2 at St. Louis, Missouri, USA
Poland beat Spain 3-2 at Barcelona, Spain
World Group II Playoffs
Romania beat Serbia 4-1 at Bucharest, Romania
Netherlands beat Japan 3-2 at ’s-Hertogenbosch, Netherlands
Sweden beat Thailand 4-0 at Lidkoping, Sweden
Switzerland beat Brazil 4-1 at Catanduva, Brazil
“I can see that when mentally I’m there and I’m fighting, I can play tennis, I can beat all the players. I did an amazing job.” – Stanislas Wawrinka, after beating Roger Federer in the final of the Monte-Carlo Masters.
“Of course, I’m very happy for Stan. It’s a huge win for him after winning his first Grand Slam this year, also to win his first Masters 1000. To take the opportunities when they’re there, that’s key in a tennis player’s career. So I’m very happy for him.” – Roger Federer, following his loss to Stanislas Wawrinka in Monte-Carlo.
“It’s always special to play Roger. We know it’s always a strange match, especially being in the final here. He’s my best friend on the tour. We respect each other so much. I’m just trying on the court to win the match. Before and after, we are still very good friends. During the match, we just try everything to win. Today I’m really happy to take that one.” – Stanislas Wawrinka.
“I have had to wait 10 years to beat him on clay. It was a long wait but I am pleased with the win and the way I played.” – David Ferrer, after beating Rafael Nadal on the clay in Monte-Carlo.
“I didn’t play the right way. I didn’t play with the right intensity with my forehand. I played too short. I gave him the chance to have the control of the point almost all the time.” – Rafael Nadal.
“I just rest now. I cannot play tennis for some time. How long, I don’t know. It’s really not in my hands anymore. I’m going to rest and see when it can heal 100 percent, then I will be back on the court.” – Novak Djokovic,
“Rafa’s not a machine. Sometimes he can play not so good. Maybe today he didn’t play his best tennis, and I played very good.” – David Ferrer.
“I was frustrated, let’s be honest. I did chuck a ball out of the stadium, I did scream sometimes. I was aggravated to a degree, but not to the extent where I totally lost it.” – Roger Federer, after hitting a ball out of the stadium in frustration during his match with Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.
“It’s amazing to hit triple digits. It’s a great milestone to say that you have a hundred, to be the first player to hit a hundred titles. Kind of snuck up on us pretty quick. Last few years we’ve been really hot. We always wanted to beat the Woodies’ record of 61. Then trying to clip Todd Woodbridge’s 83 titles. All of a sudden I’m at 99. It will feel a lot better when we do it as a team. We’ve always looked at our career as team titles, doing it together. That’s the huge goal for this year, to do it together.” – Mike Bryan, who won his 100 career doubles title and teamed with his twin brother Bob to capture their 98th crown.
“I think of myself as two different people. There’s the Serena Williams that everyone knows: She’s crazy. She can’t make a mistake. And she’s angry and just not nice, to be honest. I’m only that person for three hours a day, when I’m on the court. The rest of the time I’m just Serena. I’m the class clown.” – Serena Williams, in comments she told Fitness Magazine.
Stanislas Wawrinka has shown that being ahead of Roger Federer in the ATP Tour Rankings is no fluke. The “other Swiss” beat Federer for only the second time in their careers to capture his first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 title, the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters. “When I came here, for me it was more like a test. I knew I was playing good tennis, but I didn’t expect to win because the draw was so strong,” Wawrinka said. Instead, the 29-year-old Wawrinka came on strong in the second half of the final to capture the Monte-Carlo crown to go along with the Australian Open title he won in January. “When you win a match like this, it’s only one or two points, especially in the tiebreak,” Wawrinka said. “But I think I did a great tiebreak. I was serving big and being really aggressive. Then I took the advantage at the beginning of the third set. I saw that he was a little bit tired. Me, I was playing better and better, especially moving better.” Federer, who has never won Monte-Carlo, agreed with Wawrinka. “I think it’s one of those finals that I could have won,” Federer said. “But Stan was tougher at the end. I think he deserved it just a little bit more.” It was the first all-Swiss final on the ATP World Tour in 14 years, and was the fourth time Federer had reached the final at Monte-Carlo and lost, the first three times to Rafael Nadal. “I would have loved to have won a second title (this season) because I’ve come close a few times,” Federer said. “That’s my next objective, that I get to the very end more frequently. But clearly I’m happy that the clay court season started so well for me.”
Fresh off from winning two ATP World Tour Masters 1000 events, Novak Djokovic’s season is on hold because of an injury to his right wrist. With his right arm heavily taped, the Serb was visibly hampered in his semifinal loss at the Monte Carlo Masters to Roger Federer. The injury severely hampered Djokovic’s serve and backhand. “I just rest now,” Djokovic said. “I cannot play tennis for some time. How long, I don’t know. It’s really not in my hands anymore.” Ranked second in the world, Djokovic said there was one positive thing about his injury. “The good thing is I don’t need to have a surgery,” he said. “I don’t have any rupture or something like that.” He had complained earlier in the week about the pain, but said he felt better after taking a day off from playing and training. But a long quarterfinal win over Guillermo Garcia-Lopez aggravated the injury. “Long match, long rallies, heavy balls, definitely did not help the state of my arm,” said Djokovic, who was seeking to win his fifth straight Masters title. “The pain was there every single day from 10 days ago. At some stages it was very painful.”
A back injury and defeat in the Australian Open final has cost Rafael Nadal his confidence. At least that’s what the world’s top-ranked player is saying. “I don’t have to lie to anybody,” Nadal said. “After what happened in Australia it was little bit harder for me to find again the intensity, the confidence, the inside power that I always have.” Although he won a clay court tournament in Rio de Janeiro after the Australian Open, Nadal fell in the third round of the Indian Wells Masters and lost the final of the Miami Masters. Then came the Monte-Carlo Masters where Nadal lost in the quarterfinals to fellow Spaniard David Ferrer. Asked if his back was still bothering him, Nadal said: “No, no, the back is not an excuse. The back is in good shape. The physical performance is fine. No problem about that.” The left-hander vowed: “I’m going to fight to try to find that solution soon.”
It took 10 years, but David Ferrer has finally posted a win over fellow Spaniard Rafael Nadal on clay. Ferrer’s 7-6 (1) 6-4 win snapped Nadal’s 30-match clay-court winning streak and came in the quarterfinals in Monte-Carlo. The last time Ferrer beat Nadal on clay was in their first ATP World Tour meeting in Stuttgart, Germany. “I have had to wait 10 years to beat him on clay,” Ferrer said. “It was a long wait but I am pleased with the win and the way I played. I spoke with my coach and we had a clear game plan. But with Rafa, it’s always tough because he doesn’t allow you to follow it. The good thing was I was able to deal with his attacks and stay strong physically for the whole match.” Nadal said he failed to stay with his own game plan. “I didn’t play the right way,” the world’s top-ranked player said. “I didn’t play with the right intensity with my forehand. I played too short. I gave him the chance to have the control of the point almost all the time.” Nadal has won Monte-Carlo eight straight years until he lost to Novak Djokovic in the final last year.
The records keep falling for the Bryan brothers. Mike Bryan became the first player to win 100 tour-level doubles titles when he and twin Bob Bryan captured the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters, defeating Ivan Dodig and Marcelo Melo 6-3 3-6 10-8 (match tiebreak). It was the 98th team title for the Americans. It was the fifth title in a row for the Bryans and extended their winning streak to 21 matches. The 35-year-olds have not lost since the Memphis, Tennessee, USA, final in February. The brothers’ goal now is to win 100 titles together. “I will feel a lot better when we do it as a team,” Mike Bryan said. “We’ve always looked at our career as team titles, doing it together. That’s the huge goal for this year, to do it together.” Brother Bob said their goal is to hit the century mark before Roland Garros. “We’ve got two tournaments or three coming up before the French,” Bob Bryan said. “It’s incredible to see what he’s done. I guess I’m knocking on the door. The Californian pair have now won the Monte-Carlo Masters four times and lead with 29 ATP World Tour Masters 1000 titles together.
Donna Vekic is out to prove she belongs with the best players on the WTA tour. The 17 year old from Croatia won her first WTA title – the BMW Malaysian Open – by posting her first win over a Top 10 player, Dominika Cibulkova. “I’m so happy – I don’t know what to say, I’m so, so happy,” Vekic said. She was runner-up in her first two WTA finals – at Tashkent in 2012 and Birmingham in 2013. And she was close to losing at Kuala Lumpur as she trailed Cibulkova 7-5 5-4. But Vekic reeled off seven straight games to take the second set and grab a 4-0 lead in the third. Cibulkova, herself a young player on the rise in the rankings, did not go down easily. She staved off three match points at 5-2 and eventually forced a tiebreak. When Vekic closed out the 5-7 7-5 7-6 (4) victory with a forehand winner, she finished the match by winning one more point than her Slovakian opponent, 122 to 121. Vekic also had 11 aces to just two for Cibulkova. At 17 years, 10 months and 23 days old, Vekic is the first player under 18 to win a WTA title since American Vania King captured Bangkok in 2006. “It was a very tough match,” Vekic said. “She played very well throughout the whole match. I was up 5-1 in the third set and she came back out playing insane. So I’m happy I was able to get through in the end.”
S’IL VOUS PLAIT
Not surprisingly, the French Open will pay out more this year than ever before. The men’s and women’s champions will each earn 1.65 million euros (USD $2,277,640), an increase of 150,000 euros (USD $207,059) from last year. Gilbert Ysern, tournament director at Roland Garros as well as French Tennis Federation director, said “this notable increase in Roland Garros prize money is part of the plan that was put in place for 2013 until 2017.” In all, total prize money for the clay court Grand Slam tournament increased by 3 million euros (USD $4.1 million) from last year. The biggest increases have come for those losing in the early rounds.
Being with his wife when she gives birth is Roger Federer’s top priority. Consequently the Swiss star could possibly miss this year’s French Open. The day before Christmas Federer announced he and his wife Mirka were expecting their third child, although they have not said when. The 32-year-old Federer says he still does not know the due date. “So we’re just waiting,” Federer said. “It’s a priority for me trying to be there, trying to support my wife. I’ve played enough tennis matches. Missing a tournament or missing a match wouldn’t change anything for me.”
Normally when Rafael Nadal misses his first serve, he just reaches into his pocket for the second ball. At Monte-Carlo, however, he had to get the second ball from a ball person. That’s because of a problem the Spanish ace had with the pockets in his shorts. “The ball comes out of the bottom of them and gets in the way,” the world’s top-ranked player told Teledeporte. “We’ll try to sort it out for the next tournaments, but here it won’t be possible.” Pete Sampras always had just one ball at a time, as does Serena Williams. But Nadal, like many of today’s male players, grabs two balls and puts one in his pocket. “When you have been doing something the same way for so many years, when there is a change you have to think about it and it makes things a bit more difficult,” Nadal said. “But it’s better to do it that way than have the ball popping out of the bottom of your shorts, which is quite uncomfortable.”
Great Britain’s top woman player, Laura Robson, has decided to undergo surgery on her left wrist, meaning she will miss both the French Open and Wimbledon. She was plagued by the left wrist problem throughout this year, playing just one match, and losing that to Kirsten Flipkens 6-3 6-0 in the first round of the Australian Open. She had retired because of the long-standing injury I her opening match against Yanina Wickmayer at a warm-up event in Hobart, Australia. Currently ranked 64th in the world, Robson announced on her Facebook page that she will have the operation, which will be performed by the same Minnesota-based doctor who operated on the wrist of former US Open champion Juan Martin del Potro. “I wanted to inform my lovely supporters that I have decided to have minor wrist surgery at the Mayo clinic with one of the best wrist doctors in the world, Dr. Richard Berger,” Robson wrote. “Dr. Berger is very confident that I will be able to return to the tennis court pain free before you even have time to miss me.” The 20-year-old Robson won the Wimbledon girls’ singles title in 2008 and reached a career-high of 27thin the rankings last year.
SEEKING A COACH
Andy Murray hopes to have a new coach by next month’s French Open. The 26-year-old Murray won the London Olympics singles gold, the US Open and Wimbledon with Ivan Lendl as his coach. But the two announced their split last month and Murray is seeking a replacement. “The plan is to think exactly what I need over the next week, two weeks,” Murray told BBC Sport. “There’s a lot of factors you need to look at and I would hope I would have someone in place by the French Open, but I don’t want to rush it. I don’t want to get someone just because they’ve won a lot of tournaments or were great players.”
No one was more surprised than Donald Young when an umpire assessed him a warning for what he said in a first-round match at the Sarasota ATP Challenger tournament in Sarasota, Florida, USA. What Young muttered after putting a backhand into the net was “son of a biscuit.” After being given the warning for his comment, the former world junior number one told the umpire: “Come on Keith, don’t give me crap for that, man, I said ‘son of a biscuit.’ That’s a problem? That’s a problem now?” Despite the warning, Young won his first-round match, beating Alexander Zverev, a 16-year-old qualifier from Germany. He then beat Zverev’s brother, Mischa, in the next round before losing to Nick Kyrgios of Australia. Kyrgios went on to win the Sarasota tournament, stopping Serbia’s Filip Krajinovic 7-6 (10) 6-4 in the final.
The men’s tournament in St. Petersburg, Russia, is moving to Tel Aviv, Israel. The ATP Board of Directors, meeting in Monte-Carlo, approved the tournament’s move, and now needs only a final agreement of conditions between the tournament and the ATP World Tour. “After 19 memorable years in St. Petersburg, the time has come for us to take the tournament in a new direction,” said Ruslan Linkov, a tournament representative. “We are very excited about the opportunities that lie in Tel Aviv and look forward to hold a successful event in September.” The tournament will be held at the Israel Tennis Centre at Ramat HaSharon this September and will offer USD $1,000,000 in prize money. It will be the first ATP World Tour event held in Israel since 1996.
Poland’s Agnieszka Radwanska, Romania’s Simona Halep, Brazil’s Teliana Pereira and Uzbekistan’s Sabina Sharipova have been named the first four winners of the 2014 Fed Cup Heart Award. The four recipients were decided more than 60,000 fans casting ballots on FedCup.com and FedCup.com/es. The winners will receive a check to be donated to their chosen charity. It is Radwanska’s second career Heart Award for her performance in the World Group and World Group II first-round category. The other three were Zone Group I winners. The Fed Cup Heart Award recognizes players who have represented their country with distinction in Fed Cup competition.
The top eight ranked boys and girls on the 18-and-under International Tennis Federation Junior World Rankings at the end of the year will compete in the ITF Junior Masters, a new event that be held next April at the Sichuan International Tennis Centre in Chengdu, China. According to the ITF announcement, the competition will consist of two knock-out singles events, with each player guaranteed three matches to determine their final finishing position. The Sichuan International Tennis Centre, which was built in 2008, has already hosted a number of international events. The new competition will be played three match courts, including a 6,000-seat stadium court.
SPLIT ENDS, TOO?
When Danish star Caroline Wozniacki showed up to caddy for her fiancé Rory McIlroy at a par-3 hit and giggle event prior to The Masters, she had dyed her hair pink. By the final round other the golf major, Wozniacki’s hair was its normal blonde. But returning to her natural color may not have been easy. The tennis star posted on social media: “Does anyone know if semi-permanent hairy dye from the brand Manic Panic washes off completely after a little while?” Gold Digest writer Dan Jenkins wrote on social media: “High-level talk on Augusta National veranda: ‘Exactly what color is Caroline Wozniacki’s hair?’ I’m going with a blend of violet and stupid.”
The chairman and CEO of the WTA, Stacey Allaster, is the first person from the tennis industry to be given the Great Wall Friendship Award. The award, established by the Beijing Municipal Government, acknowledges global professionals and experts who have played instrumental roles in facilitating the development of China’s capital. “It is an honor to receive this award, and this is an accomplishment to be shared with the entire China Open team,” Allaster said. “Together we shared a vision to build the China Open into one of the world’s most exciting sports entertainment events in the world. With the success and growth of the China Open, the WTA will host 10 events in China in 2014 as women’s tennis continues to grow and develop within the region.” Since the Great Wall Friendship Award was first given in 1999, 176 honorees from 30 countries have been selected. Of those 176, only three have been from the sports industry: Allaster; Hein Vergruggen of the Netherlands, chairman of the International Olympic Committee Coordination Commission for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games; and American basketball star Stephen Marbury, who now plays for the Beijing Ducks. Besides Allaster, 14 other foreign experts received the Great Wall Friendship Award.
Paul Annacone, an Australian Open doubles champion and coach of both Roger Federer and Pete Sampras; Judy Murray, mother of Andy Murray and Great Britain’s Fed Cup captain, and Patrick McEnroe, USTA Player Development general manager, will be among the keynote speakers at this year’s Tennis Teachers Conference, which will be held in New York City in conjunction with the US Open. The four-day conference, beginning August 22, will bring together the leading tennis teaching professionals and coaches to share best practices. The event offers educational resources, facilitating innovative teaching techniques and creating networking opportunities among the members of the various associations. The conference also will include a series of interactive on-court sessions and presentations.
Kuala Lumpur: Timea Babos and Chan Hao-Ching beat Chan Yung-Jan and Zheng Saisai 6-3 6-4
Monte-Carlo: Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan beat Ivan Dodig and Marcelo Melo 6-3 3-6 10-8 (match tiebreak)
Sarasota: Marin Draganja and Henri Kontinen beat Ruben Ramirez Hidalgo and Franko Skugor 7-5 5-7 10-6 (match tiebreak)
TOURNAMENTS THIS WEEK
(All money in USD)
$2,562,150 Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell, Barcelona, Spain, clay
$592,239 BRD Nastase Tiriac Trophy, Bucharest, Romania, clay
$644,900 Porsche Tennis Grand Prix, Stuttgart, Germany, clay
$250,000 Grand Prix De SAR La Princesse Lalla Meryem, Marrakech, Morocco, clay
TOURNAMENTS NEXT WEEK
$590,148 Portugal Open, Qeiras, Portugal, clay
$590,148 BMW Open by FWU AG, Munich, Germany, clay
$125,000 Tunis Open, Tunis, Tunisia, clay
$117,586 Prosperita Open 2014, Ostrava, Czech Republic, clay
$250,000 Portugal Open, Qeiras, Portugal, clay