Mondays with Bob Greene
Roger Federer beat Alejandro Falla 7-6 (2) 7-6 (3) to win the Gerry Weber Open in Halle, Germany
Grigor Dimitrov beat Feliciano Lopez 6-7 (8) 7-6 (1) 7-6 (6) to win the Aegon Championships in London, Great Britain
Ana Ivanovic beat Barbora Zahlavova Strycova 6-3 6-2 to win the Aegon Classic in Birmingham, Great Britain
Pablo Carreno Busta beat Facundo Bagnis 4-6 6-4 6-1 to win the Challenger Citta’ di Caltanissetta in Caltanissetta, Italy
“I really enjoy winning titles. It is what I play for, to play and receive a standing ovation at the end.” – Roger Federer, after winning the Halle, Germany, title for the seventh time.
“He’s the king of kings of tiebreaks. “ Alejandro Falla, after losing to Federer in two tiebreak sets,
“Obviously I knew what I had to do today out on the court, and (Feliciano Lopez) is one of those competitors that when it comes to fast surfaces, he’s always very tricky to play. I just fought hard and left everything out on the court. That that was my main goal. I achieved what I was looking for.” – Grigor Dimitrov, after beating Feliciano Lopez to win at Queen’s Club.
“It’s tough to lose when you play such a great match. Overall it was a great week for me. It has been a great preparation for Wimbledon, and hopefully in Eastbourne next week I can do well again. It’s true that I’m feeling great.” — Feliciano Lopez.
“I’m thrilled. A childhood dream come true. Twelve years ago I went to school in Halle. I lived here for two or three years and played for the club. With my mom passing a few years ago, I dedicate this title to her. This is such a special moment for me. – Andre Begemann, who teamed with Julian Knowle to win the doubles at Halle.
“It’s very special to play Roger (Federer) and to beat (him) in a final. I really enjoyed playing with Andre and we got our first title together in our first tournament.” – Julian Knowle, after he and Andre Begemann won the Halle doubles title.
“It was a very tough match. They didn’t give us many chances on their serve. We managed to hang in there. At the end, we played some great points in both tiebreakers. It was good to take the lead early on and manage to keep that all the way.” – Alexander Peya, after teaming with Bruno Soares to win the Queen’s Club doubles.
“We played a good match. We didn’t lose serve. We just obviously didn’t quite get it done at the end.” – Jamie Murray, who with John Peers lost the doubles final at Queen’s Club.
“I know it’s a little unorthodox, but if it works for him, that’s what matters the most.” – Ana Ivanovic, on Andy Murray hiring Amelie Mauresmo as his coach.
“It’s bold, it’s fun, it’s something we’re all going to be talking about and good for Andy. He’s come up with his mother as his coach from a very young age, so he’s comfortable hearing from both genders about his tennis.” – Jim Courier, on Murray taking on a female as his new coach.
“It is not the gender of the coach that is important, it is the strength of the relationship between the coach and the player that will make the partnership work. Women have coached men for years, going back to Bobby Riggs and Eleanor Tennant. What is important is that this is what Andy feels is best for his current situation.” – Billie Jean King.
“I’m sure everyone’s intrigued to see how it’s going to play out and what she’s going to bring to his game’ – Stosur
“It’s unusual for a men’s player to be coached by a female, but he obviously sees there’s going to be some benefit. For me to pick a coach I couldn’t care less if they were male or female, so long as I think they’re going to be doing a good job.” – Samantha Stosur.
“She’s smart, she’s got a great game and Andy’s not going just to pick somebody for no reason. He’s going to have done his homework. So it’s a matter of him putting it together in his brain, and if she can add something there I think it’s a great choice. Most people will probably be surprised, but it may well work.” – Pat Cash.
Fourteen times in his career Roger Federer has won a grass-court title, seven of them coming on the green carpet at Wimbledon. The Swiss master captured the Gerry Weber Open in Halle, Germany, for the seventh time Sunday by edging Alejandro Falla in two tiebreak sets. “I am very pleased with my performance,” Federer said. “I work hard and travel the tour to win these titles and not lose in the quarters or semifinals. With all the success I have had in the past, I need to aim for titles. I think I deserved the title this week.” Falla agreed. “He’s the king of kings of tiebreaks,” said Falla, who became the first player from Colombia to reach a grass-court tournament final. It was Falla who sent the first set to a tiebreak. Federer served at 5-3, only to be broken. The two traded service breaks to open the second set. “To win in a tiebreak is always a bit special; the euphoria, the emotion comes out,” Federer said. “I was able to deal with Falla’s strengths in the final and also (Kei) Nishikori’s in the semifinal.” It was the ninth time Federer has reached the Halle title match and his 79th career win. “I’ve left a little bit of my heart here,” Federer said. “I’m very pleased now to go to Wimbledon.”
Federer’s winning ways in tiebreakers didn’t help him repeat his performance of 2005 in Halle and 2003 in Vienna, the only two times he has won both singles and doubles in the same tournament. Federer and compatriot Marco Chiudinelli lost the Halle doubles final in a 12-10 match tiebreak to Andre Begemann of Germany and Julian Knowle of Austria after the two split the first two sets 1-6 7-5.
SIGNATURE GRASS VICTORY
Ana Ivanovic called it the perfect preparation for the upcoming Grand Slam tournament at Wimbledon. Everyone else called it a win – Ivanovic’s first title on grass. “I couldn’t ask for better preparation (for Wimbledon) than to win my first title on grass,” the Serb right-hander said after defeating the Czech Republic’s Barbora Zahlavova Strycova in straight sets. Told that she was following in the footsteps of former winners at Edgbaston in Birmingham, Great Britain, such as Billie Jean King and Martina Navratilova, Ivanovic said: “It definitely feels very special, not just to win my first title on grass, but to put my name next to champions like that.” Then she added, “Hopefully they can help me with my smashes.” A few missed overheads was the only downside to her impressive performance. She dictated play by standing just at or inside the baseline, forcing the action. Zahlavova Strycova broke Ivanovic to begin the match. After that it was Ivanovic who dominated, building a 4-1 lead in the first set and a 5-1 advantage in the second. It also was Ivanovic’s biggest title since she won the French Open in 2008. She has won six other WTA titles since her victory in Paris, but they all were smaller tournaments with less total prize money. Sunday’s victory was Ivanovic’s 37th match win of the season, the most in the WTA.
It may have been a tight victory at Queen’s Club, but it made Grigor Dimitrov the first player since Roger Federer and David Ferrer in 2012 to win titles on three different surfaces in the same year. His three-tiebreak win at the Wimbledon grass-court warm-up event follows triumphs on hard courts in Acapulco and clay in Bucharest. “It’s been amazing to be here and win the tournament,” Dimitrov said after his latest title. “I’m really happy to go through the match and win it in such a way.” And that was close. After losing the first tiebreak 10-8, he tied the score with a 7-1 tiebreak win in the second set, then captured the third tiebreaker 8-6. “I was one point away, so it’s disappointing, but this is tennis,” Spain’s Feliciano Lopez said. “I have to congratulate Grigor because he was a terrific fighter.” At 23 years old the youngest player in the ATP’s Top 20 rankings, Dimitrov celebrated his victory by running to the side of the court and giving his racquet to Chris Kermode, the ATP president who gave Dimitrov his first wildcard entry to The Queen’s Club tournament five years ago when Kermode was tournament director of the London event. Lopez had a match point at 5-6 in the second set. But his huge forehand return on a second serve banged into the net and Dimitrov went on to hold serve and send it into another tiebreak.
Dimitrov’s victory was cheered on by his girlfriend and French Open champion, Maria Sharapova.
Young American Taylor Townsend and Russian veteran Vera Zvonareva were given wild cards into the women’s main draw at Wimbledon. Playing in her first Grand Slam tournament main draw at Roland Garros, Townsend battled her way into the third round. She was runner-up in the girls’ singles to Switzerland’s Belinda Bencic at Wimbledon last year. Zvonareva, who missed almost 18 months due to illness and a shoulder injury, also was given a wild card into the women’s doubles, where she will partner Martina Hingis. Other wildcards announced earlier went to Silvia Soler-Espinosa of Spain, Kristyna Pliskova of the Czech Republic and three British players: Naomi Broady, Tara Moore and Samantha Murray.
Victoria Azarenka is expected to return to the WTA tour at Eastbourne this week following a three-month absence because of a foot injury. The 24-year-old Belarusian has not played since March, who she attempted a comeback after missing two months with the injury. “I’ve worked hard to rehabilitate my injury and to get fit for my return,” said Azarenka, a two-time Australian Open winner who is currently ranked eighth in the world. “The grass courts are world class, which will give me the best possible start to the second half of the season and the perfect preparation for Wimbledon.”
SHOCKER AT HALLE
It wasn’t that Rafael Nadal didn’t know about Dustin Brown’s huge game on grass. It’s just that the world’s number one player couldn’t get past the man he had called “very dangerous.” Just four days after winning a record ninth Roland Garros title, Nadal was thrashed 6-4 6-1 by Brown in his first match at the Gerry Weber Open in Halle, Germany. “I lost today because my rival was playing better than me,” Nadal said. “And at the same time, as I said yesterday, the transition from clay to grass is difficult, especially when you arrive a little bit tired and not at 100 percent. But I tried my best.” Ranked 85th in the world and into the tournament with a wild card, Brown became the lowest ranked player to defeat a world number one since American Mardy Fish – ranked 98th at the time – upset Roger Federer at Indian Wells, California, USA, in 2008. Brown, who has had much better success in doubles than singles, limited Nadal to just 10 points in the second set. “I’ve had a lot of great wins before, but this was my first time playing a world number one at home in Germany and on grass, my best surface,” he said. Brown then lost the next match to fellow German Philipp Kohlschreiber.
STUMBLE IN LONDON
Andy Murray is the reigning Wimbledon champion and home favorite at the Aegon Championships at The Queen’s Club in London, where he has won the title three times. Tell that to Radek Stepanek. The Czech veteran recorded his first Top 10 win in nearly two years to shock Murray 7-6 (10) 6-2. “Beating him is actually a great win for me,” Stepanek said. “When you play the best ones, you’re going to come out with your best. I think that’s what I did today. Definitely it’s special to play on grass in England after he won Wimbledon and he won the Olympics here.” Murray was the defending champion at the Wimbledon warm-up event, which he also won in 2009 and 2011.
SHARING A SIDE
Thanks to a wildcard from the All England Club, Martina Hingis will be playing Wimbledon for the first time in seven years. The Swiss star, who won Wimbledon singles in 1997, will be playing doubles only at the famed grass court Grand Slam tournament. Hingis also won doubles at Wimbledon, teaming with Helena Sukova in 1996 and Jana Novotna in 1998. This time, her partner will be Russia’s Vera Zvonareva, a former doubles winner and singles runner-up. Hingis last played at Wimbledon in 2007, when she lost in the third round of singles. She hasn’t played doubles at the All England Club since 2000. Hingis has been playing doubles this year with Sabine Lisicki, but the German is now concentrating on singles.
Also being granted a wildcard entry into the men’s singles main draw is Marcos Baghdatis of Cyprus.
Just as Rafael Nadal was ready to capture the men’s title at Roland Garros for the fifth consecutive year, viewers in Great Britain had to change television channels to stay tuned. The match was televised on ITV1 – or at least most of the match was. But two points into what turned out to be the final game, ITV1 announced it was going to show a newscast and the tennis was being moved to ITV4, a digital-only channel that not everyone can see. ITV insisted it had made viewers aware of the changeover several times in advance. “The coverage on ITV 4 overlapped for several minutes to ensure viewers need not miss any action,” the company said. “We apologize for any inconvenience the change in channels caused to any viewers.” For those who didn’t or couldn’t switch, Nadal won 3-6 7-5 6-2 6-4.
Australia’s Daily Telegraph is reporting that the two-year relationship with tennis star Victoria Azarenka and singer Redfoo may be growing chilly, if not cold. According to the newspaper, Redfoo is planning on making music in Australia where he is a judge on a TV show, while Azarenka returns to the WTA tour this week at Eastbourne, Great Britain. The two were seen together wearing matching chunky glasses at a musical performance in Sydney, Australia.
Just because he has won 17 Grand Slam tournament singles titles doesn’t mean Roger Federer is a master of the moment. In his semifinal match, Federer apparently forgot the score. When Kei Nishikori hit a backhand into the net on match point, Federer quickly returned to the baseline, preparing to serve again as Nishikori approached the net to shake hands. “It was the first time in my career in over a thousand matches,” Federer said of his faux pas.
Monica Seles, a member of the International Tennis Hall of Fame, and billionaire Tom Golisano say they are getting married. Both live in Florida and have been dating since 2009. During her career, which was interrupted for two years after she was stabbed on court by a man from the audience, Seles won nine Grand Slam tournament singles titles. She retired in 2003. The 72-year-old Golisano is the founder of Paychex, the second largest payroll processor in the United States. He is a one-time owner of the Buffalo Sabres of the National Hockey League, made an unsuccessful bid for baseball’s Los Angeles Dodgers in 2012 and is currently trying to purchase the National Football League’s Buffalo Bills. He also was a candidate for governor of New York State in 1994, 1998 and 2002.
For the second straight year three tennis players have been named to Forbes magazine’s list of the Top 100 World’s Highest Paid Athletes. And, for the second straight year, Maria Sharapova, Li Na and Serena Williams are the only women to make the list. For the 10th straight year Sharapova is the top-earning female athlete with USD $24.4 million. That puts her 34th on the Top 100 list. Li Na is 41st with earnings of USD $23.6 million, while Williams is 55th with USD $22 million. In compiling the list, Forbes includes prize money, endorsements, exhibitions and appearance fees paid out between June 1, 2013, and June 1, 2014. The list is topped by boxer Floyd Mayweather, who earned USD $105 million in two fights during the year. Soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo of Portugal was third with USD $80 million and National Basketball Association (NBA) star LeBron James third with earnings of USD $72.3 million. The top male tennis players were Roger Federer seventh with earnings of USD $56.2 million, Rafael Nadal ninth with USD $44.5 million and Novak Djokovic 17th with earnings of USD $33.1 million.
STOPPED FOR LIFE
A Russian who was found guilty of betting and match-fixing has been banned from playing professional tennis for life. The Tennis Integrity Unit said 27-year-old Andrey Kumantsov was found guilty of 12 charges committed from 2010 through 2013. Kumantsov, who had been ranked as high as 261 in the world, has not played a match this year. He has career earnings of USD $103,856. Details of how Kumantsov broke the rules were not given.
SIGNED TO HELP
British tennis has signed veteran coach Bob Brett to help with player development in Great Britain. The 60-year-old Australian has previously coached Boris Becker, Goran Ivanisevic and Marin Cilic, among others. Brett will oversee all aspects of the Lawn Tennis Association’s (LTA) high performance program in a bid to develop “a consistent stream of players who can be competitive at the very highest level,” according to LTA chief executive Michael Downey.
Birmingham: Raquel Kops-Jones and Abigail Spears beat Ashleigh Barty and Casey Dellacqua 7-6 (1) 6-1
Caltanissetta: Daniele Bracciali and Potito Starace beat Pablo Carreno Busta and Enrique Lopez-Perez 6-3 6-3
Halle: Andre Begemann and Julian Knowle beat Marco Chiudinelli and Roger Federer 1-6 7-5 12-10 (match tiebreak)
London: Alexander Peya and Bruno Soares beat Jamie Murray and John Peers 4-6 7-6 (4) 10-4 (match tiebreak)
Wimbledon Tennis: www.wimbledontennis.co.uk/
TOURNAMENTS THIS WEEK
(All money in USD)
$686,314 Aegon International, Eastbourne, Great Britain, grass
$581,864 Topshelf Open, ‘s-Hertogenbosch, the Netherlands, grass
$644,900 Aegon International, Eastbourne, Great Britain, grass
$226,750 Topshelf Open, ‘s-Hertogenbosch, the Netherlands, grass
TOURNAMENTS NEXT WEEK
MEN and WOMEN
Wimbledon, Wimbledon, Great Britain, grass (first week)