Mondays with Bob Greene
Pablo Cuevas beat Joao Sousa 6-2 6-1 to win the SkiStar Swedish Open in Båstad, Sweden
Roberto Bautista Agut beat Lukas Rosol 6-3 4-6 6-2 to win the Mercedes Cup in Stuttgart, Germany
Lleyton Hewitt beat Ivo Karlovic 6-3 6-7 (4) 7-6 (3) to win the Hall of Fame Championships in Newport, Rhode Island, USA
Simona Halep beat Roberta Vinci 6-1 6-3 to win the Bucharest Open in Bucharest, Romania
Andrea Petkovic beat Shelby Rogers 6-3 6-3 to win the Nürnberger Gastein Ladies in Bad Gastein, Austria
Kaia Kanepi beat Teliana Pereira 6-2 6-4 to win the Open GDF Suez de Biarritz in Biarritz, France
“I was five years old when I first hit a tennis ball. I never wanted to learn another sport and I still don’t. I loved playing this game. I never thought any of this would be possible. It always felt a little bit like an accident. This is an incredible honor, an amazing achievement. I will forever be humbled by this.” – Lindsay Davenport, on being inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame.
“We’ve had some tough times with surgeries the last few years. But it’s nice to know that all that hard work has paid off.” – Lleyton Hewitt, after finally winning the Hall of Fame Championships in his third consecutive appearance in the final.
“Last year when I was in the hospital I didn’t know if I would be able to do this again. To be here and do this now it’s an unbelievable feeling.” – Ivo Karlovic, who had viral meningitis and been in a coma before beginning his comeback at the Newport, Rhode Island, tournament a year ago.
“I want to play every match and every tournament to reach as high a ranking as possible.” – Simona Halep, following her Bucharest Open victory over Roberta Vinci.
“Simona is an incredible tennis player and she has a phenomenal game. I gave it my best and I actually managed to get to 2-0 in the second set, but she was too strong.” – Roberta Vinci.
“It’s really difficult to win a tournament on grass and then go to Wimbledon and win a couple matches there and then, with only a few practices on clay, come here and win the title. It’s really amazing.” – Roberto Bautista Agut, after winning on clay in Stuttgart, Germany.
“It’s a super feeling, I am totally happy, I want back into the top 10 and I am just playing good tennis. My serve and my footwork can still improve but I am playing well.” – Andrea Petkovic, following her winning the Gastein Ladies trophy.
“I had an incredible time. This has definitely been a week I will never forget.” – Shelby Rogers, a qualifier who reached her first WTA final before losing to Andrea Petkovic.
“Now I know exactly how it feels for those who have reached the top of Mount Everest, and the view from up here is amazing.” – Nick Bollettieri, after being inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame.
“Hitting the ball was always something that came very natural to me. It was a blessing. It happened at a young age. I didn’t realize it was that hard to do, that I had a special talent. … Everything else about the game took work and was a struggle. But that was also the reason I fell in love with it.” – Lindsay Davenport, talking about her huge ground strokes.
“She led the pack in changing the game. The tennis you see today, when you see Petra Kvitova win Wimbledon, I think of Lindsay. She was the one who opened the door to that. The way she was just describing hitting the ball, that’s the way every woman player wants to hit the ball.” – Jane Brown Grimes, talking about Lindsay Davenport.
“I can speak first hand to the fact that Jane’s skilled diplomacy was crucial to the survival of the WTA tour as she was able to navigate the tricky waters of attracting and keeping desirable sponsorships while distancing our association with past relationships with controversial brands. It was a pivotal time for women’s tennis and it put us on a secure course for the future.” – Chris Evert, introducing Jane Brown Grimes as a new inductee into the International Tennis Hall of Fame.
“There’s so many examples in this sport making room for tolerance and understanding in a world often torn by bitter conflict. So tennis has grown bigger and stronger and richer, but it has also done what Dwight Davis set as a goal when founding Davis Cup in 1900, to promote goodwill internationally. I feel so very lucky to have played a very small role in this amazing story, and to be recognized in this way in front of so many friends and family and fans is more than I could ever have imagined.” – Jane Brown Grimes, accepting her entry into the International Tennis Hall of Fame.
“Wheelchair tennis brought so much to my life. The challenge to work on my tennis game, I just love to practice and see if all you work for will reveal in the matches. But it also helped me deal with my life in a wheelchair. Being around all those active, young, independent, positive-minded sports people showed me how great my life in a wheelchair still could be. I’ve learned so much from all the other players and I’m grateful for that. I hope that with all I have learned I am able to inspire others.” – Chantal Vandierendonck, on being inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame.
The third time was the charm for Lleyton Hewitt. After losing in the final on the grass at Newport, Rhode Island, USA, for the last two years, Hewitt finally captured the Hall of Fame Championships by besting huge-serving Ivo Karlovic. And it didn’t come easily. The veteran Australian served for the match in the second set and squandered two match points on Karlovic’s serve. But the former world number one finally prevailed to capture his 30th career ATP title and his second of 2014. “It was obviously very tough the last couple of years,” said Hewitt, referring to his loss to John Isner in the 2012 final and to Nicolas Mahut in the title match a year ago. “Last year I served for it as well. That just makes it more gratifying.” The 33-year-old Hewitt has had five surgeries in five years. He and his 35-year-old opponent made this the oldest final in the grass-court tournament since it was first held in 1976 and the oldest ATP final showdown so far this season. Hewitt never managed a break point on Karlovic’s serve in the final set, but staved off three breaks points on his own serve to force the tiebreak. The Australian won five of the final six points to capture the title. “Just had to focus on what I needed to do,” Hewitt said. “I was just focusing on trying to hold serve in the third set. I t was a tough match. I was really happy to get through.”
The Hall of Fame Championships turned out to be doubly rewarding for Hewitt. After capturing the singles title, he teamed with fellow Australian Chris Guccione to win the doubles, defeating Jonathan Erlich and Rajeev Ram 7-5 6-4.
SIMONA THE BEST
It was fitting that Simona Halep captured her home tournament, the Bucharest Open. Top-seeded and ranked third in the world, Halep took just 68 to down the second-seeded Roberta Vinci for the third time in five career meetings. Halep, nine years younger than her 31-year-old Italian opponent, was runner-up at Roland Garros in June and a semifinalist at Wimbledon earlier this month. “I really wanted to play this tournament and win it,” Halep said. “Today’s final was a very emotional one. The crowd was amazing and I want to thank everybody who played a part in the tournament.” Vinci entered the final with an incredible 9-1 record in WTA title matches. But she knew who she had to beat to win in Bucharest. “I knew ever since yesterday that it was going to be difficult,” the Italian said. Halep has won eight WTA titles – six last year and two so far this season.
The home crowd had even more to cheer about. Joining Halep in taking home a trophy was the Romanian team of Elena Bogdan and Alexandra Cadantu. They won the doubles title by besting Cagla Buyukakcay and Andreja Klepac. It was the first WTA title of any kind for both Bogdan and Cadantu.
SWEDISH OPEN STAR
Pablo Cuevas won his first ATP Tour-level title when he captured the SkiStar Swedish Open by stopping Joao Sousa. Cuevas becomes the first ATP World Tour champion from Uruguay since Marcelo Filippini triumphed in St. Poelten, Austria, in May 1997. Filippini also won the Swedish Open in 1988. The 28-year-old Cuevas missed the entire 2012 season following knee surgery. He has been one of the top performers on the Challenger circuit and is currently ranked 111th in the world. Against Sousa, Cuevas dominated in all aspects of the game. Sousa was seeking his second ATP World Tour title. He became the first Portuguese to win a tour-level trophy last year in Kuala Lumpur.
Roberto Bautista Agut was bombarded with 13 aces, but still managed to win his second title in as many months. Seeded third in the clay-court event, Bautista Agut downed Lukas Rosol to win the Mercedes Cup in Stuttgart, Germany. Rosol slammed 13 aces, but he was unable to halt the winning game of the 23-ranked Spaniard. “Since the start of the season I believed a lot in myself and my work,” Bautista Agut said. “I’ve been playing really well, won a lot of matches and it was only a question of time before this happened.” His victory on grass at ‘s-Hertogenbosch last month was the first of Bautista Agut’s career. “I was looking to find a good rhythm, but the serve was not working at all,” Rosol said. “I had to risk a lot with my shots. The level was not as good as the previous rounds and it’s a pity because I felt really good this week.” Bautista Agut is the ninth Spanish champion in Stuttgart and the sixth in the last 10 years.
Andrea Petkovic once was ranked in the top 10 in the world. She is on the way to returning to that lofty perch if her performances this season are any indication. The German won her second title of 2014 at the Gastein Ladies by beating surprising American Shelby Rogers. Petkovic also won in Charleston, South Carolina, USA, in April. “I wanted this victory so badly,” Petkovic said. “I am very relieved. Shelby played very aggressive tennis. I didn’t know her game, but I’ve done some research on YouTube.” Roger had to qualify for the main draw and had never been beyond the second round of a WTA event before. Ranked 147th in the world, the 21-year-old from South Carolina had never beaten a player ranked in the top 50 until this tournament. En route to the title match, Rogers beat 16th-ranked Carla Suarez Navarro, 40th-ranked Camila Giorgi and 14th-ranked Sara Errani – all in straight sets.
Twins Karolina and Kristyna Pliskova won 10 of the final 11 points in the match tiebreak to capture the Gastein Ladies doubles crown. The sisters beat Andreja Klepac and María-Teresa Torró-Flor in the final for their second WTA doubles title together. They are the only twins in the history of women’s tennis to win a WTA doubles crown as a team. “The final wasn’t looking that good for us,” Karolina Pliskova said. “We were losing almost the whole time and we were down 5-0 in the tiebreak, too. But we were still hoping we could win and we still played every point, and with a little bit of luck we came back and won. So we’re really happy. It’s our second title, and second one in Austria.”
SPLITS WITH COACH
Ana Ivanovic is looking for a coach again. The former world number one announced on her web site that she and Nemanja Kontic had split by mutual agreement. According to a brief statement, Kontic’s contract expired after Wimbledon and after “amicable discussions,” it was not renewed. While Kontic was her coach, Ivanovic won three titles this season, including the grass-court Wimbledon warmup event at Birmingham, Great Britain. She announced the new coach will be announced “in the coming weeks.”
Remember Nick Kyrgios? He’s the 19-year-old Australian who shocked Rafael Nadal at Wimbledon. Saying he wants to spend more time at his home in Canberra, Australia, Kyrgios has split with his coach Simon Rea. “My desire to be at home more in Canberra when I am not at tournaments has driven me to make the decision for change within my team,” Kyrgios said in a statement. “Not only is Simon a great coach but he is a great person and I wish him all the best in the next phase of his coaching career.” Kyrgios had worked with Rea since he won the Australian Open junior boys singles title last year. Australian Davis Cup coach Josh Eagle and Canberra-based academy coach Todd Larkham will take over for Rea in coaching the youngster.
SUPER CHAMPIONS ALL
Lindsay Davenport highlighted the ceremony for the five new inductees into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, Rhode Island, USA. The three-time Grand Slam tournament singles champion was joined in the induction ceremonies by coaching legend Nick Bollettieri, Dutch wheelchair tennis star Chantal Vandierendonck, long-time tennis executive Jane Brown Grimes and British author and broadcaster John Barrett. The newest members bring the Hall total to 238 honorees from 20 nations.
The 38-year-old Davenport won the 1998 US Open, 1999 Wimbledon, 2000 Australian Open and the gold medal at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. “To be with all the greatness here is overwhelming,” Davenport said at the on-court ceremony. She finished the year as the top-ranked woman player in 1998, 2001, 2004 and 2005. She helped the United States team win three Fed Cup titles and captured three Grand Slam tournament doubles titles.
The 82-year-old Bollettieri has coached 10 players who became number one in the world, including Hall of Fame members Andre Agassi, Jim Courier, Monica Seles and Boris Becker. He has also worked with Maria Sharapova and sisters Serena and Venus Williams. He founded his own boarding school and tennis academy in 1978, which has evolved into a facility with offerings in eight sports and more than 900 year-round students.
Vandierendonck, who was injured in a 1983 car accident, was ranked number one in women’s wheelchair singles for 136 weeks and doubles for 107 weeks. The 49-year-old is a five-time Paralympic medalist.
The 82-year-old Barrett is a former British Davis Cup captain as well as a noted author, journalist and television commentator on tennis. He was the “Voice of Wimbledon” on the BBC from 1971 until 2006. His wife, the former top-ranked player Angela Mortimer Barrett, was inducted into the Hall in 1993. Agassi and Steffi Graf are the only other married couple in the tennis shrine.
Brown Grimes has been involved in tennis for more than 40 years. She is a former managing director of the Women’s Professional Tennis Council (now known as the WTA Tour Board), was president of the USTA and president of the International Tennis Hall of Fame.
SNARED BY POLICE
Police in Prague, Czech Republic, have arrested a man who they say threatened “a publicly known person” in a phone call. In announcing the arrest, police spokeswoman Gabriela Holcakova would not confirm Czech media reports that the targeted person was Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova. Holcakova said the 23-year-old man was arrested as police considered the threats serious. The incident follows criticism of Kvitova for moving to Monaco to avoid paying higher taxes.
STRAIGHT TO THE BANK
Players at this year’s US Open Tennis Championships will split a record purse of USD $38.3 million. In announcing the 11.7 percent increase in prize money, the United States Tennis Association (USTA) said the men’s and women’s singles champions will each earn USD $3 million, a record payout at the year’s final Grand Slam tournament. Winners of each round of the singles competition will be given a double-digit percentage increase over last year. “This year’s prize money increase continues the commitment to make the US Open one of the most lucrative purses in all of sports,” USTA chairman Dave Haggerty said in a statement. The total purse for the US Open’s singles, doubles and mixed doubles competitions will exceed those at two of the other three Grand Slam tournaments. Wimbledon this year had a total prize pool of nearly USD $42 million. This year’s US Open qualifying tournament will offer more than USD $1.5 million in prize money for the first time, an 11 percent rise over 2013.
SAYS I DO
Wimbledon champion Novak Djokovic is now a married man. Djokovic and longtime girlfriend Jelena Ristic were wed in Podgorica, Montenegro, four days after he defeated Roger Federer in the Wimbledon final. When he won the grass-court Grand Slam tournament title, he dedicated the victory to his fiancée “and our future baby.” The two first met in high school and have been together for more than eight years. They are expecting their first child later this year. The civil wedding was held in a park above a beach close to the luxury Montenegro islet Sveti Stefan and was attended by the families, close friends and some hundred guests, according to reports. A religious ceremony was held a few days later. Among those attending the civil ceremony were tennis players Maria Sharapova, Viktor Troicki, Nenad Zimonjic and Janko Tipsarevic as well as Djokovic’s coach Marian Vajda and his wife.
Saying she was not fully recovered from the ailment that caused her to pull out of the doubles at Wimbledon, Serena Williams withdrew from this week’s tournament in Båstad, Sweden. According to Collector Swedish Open officials, Serena Williams does not want to compete until she is 100 percent recovered. Serena won the clay-court event last year.
The Mercedes Cup tournament in Stuttgart, Germany, is switching from clay to grass. The ATP World Tour 250 event will be played on grass courts beginning next year. At this year event, which was played on clay, the new grass courts were officially open. Following the ceremony, former Wimbledon champions John McEnroe and Michael Stich played an exhibition match, which was won by the 55-year-old McEnroe 6-4 5-7 10-8 (match tiebreak). “The change to grass is a great opportunity for the Mercedes Cup,” Stich said. “I congratulate the tournament on this brave step. Now the grass court season will finally be extended by one week. It is good that the players will have more time to manage the difficult transition from clay to grass.”
Bad Gastein: Karolina Pliskova and Kristyna Pliskova beat Andreja Klepac and María-Teresa Torró-Flor 4-6 6-3 10-6 (match tiebreak)
Båstad: Johan Brunstrom and Nicholas Monroe beat Jeremy Chardy and Oliver Marach 4-6 7-6 (5) 10-7 (match tiebreak)
Biarritz: Florencia Molinero and Stephanie Vogt beat Lourdes Dominguez Lino and Teliana Pereira 6-2 6-2
Bucharest: Elena Bogdan and Alexandra Cadantu beat Cagla Buyukakcay and Karin Knapp 6-4 3-6 10-5 (match tiebreak)
Newport: Chris Cuccione and Lleyton Hewitt beat Jonathan Erlich and Rajeev Ram 7-5 6-4
Stuttgart: Mateusz Kowalczyk and Artem Sitak beat Guillermo Garcia-Lopez and Philipp Oswald 2-6 6-1 10-7 (match tiebreak)
Båstad (women): http://women.swedishopen.org/
TOURNAMENTS THIS WEEK
(All money in USD)
$1,619,600 bet-at-home Open, Hamburg, Germany, clay
$663,610 Claro Open Colombia, Bogota, Colombia, hard
$125,000 Kaohsiung Challenger, Kaohsiung, Taiwan, hard
$250,000 Collector Swedish Open, Båstad, Sweden, clay
$250,000 TEB BNP Paribas Istanbul Cup, Istanbul, Turkey, hard
TOURNAMENTS NEXT WEEK
$580,272 Crédit Agricole Suisse Open, Gstaad, Switzerland, clay
$580,272 Vegeta Croatia Open, Umag, Croatia, clay
$568,805 BB&T Atlanta Open, Atlanta, Georgia, USA, hard
$125,000 President’s Cup, Astana, Kazakhstan, hard
$250,000 Baku Cup, Baku, Azerbaijan, hard
$125,000 Zhonghong Jiangxi International, Nanchang, China, hard
$100,000 President’s Cup, Astana, Kazakhstan, hard