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Australian Open

Men’s Singles: Novak Djokovic beat Andy Murray 6-4 6-2 6-3

Women’s Singles: Kim Clijsters beat Li Na 3-6 6-3 6-3

Men’s Doubles: Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan beat Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi 6-3 6-4

Women’s Doubles: Gisela Dulko and Flavia Pennetta beat Victoria Azarenka and Maria Kirilenko 2-6 7-5 6-1

Mixed Doubles: Katarina Srebotnik and Daniel Nestor beat Chan Yung-jan and Paul Hanley 6-3 3-6 10-7 (match tiebreak)

/Junior Boys Singles: Jiri Vessely beat Luke Saville 6-0 6-3

Junior Girls Singles: An-Sophie Mestach beat Monica Puig 6-4 6-2

Junior Boys Doubles: Filip Horansky and Jiri Vessely beat Ben Wagland and Andrew Whittington 6-4 6-4

Junior Girls Doubles: An-Sophie Mestach and Demi Schuurs beat Eri Hozumi and Miyu Kato 6-2 6-3

Men’s Wheelchair Singles: Shingo Kunieda beat Stephane Houdet 6-0 6-3

Women’s Wheelchair Singles: Esther Vergeer beat Daniela Di Toro 6-0 6-0

Men’s Wheelchair Doubles: Maikel Scheffers and Shingo Kunieda beat Stephane Houdet and Nicolas Pelfer 6-3 6-3

Women’s Wheelchair Doubles: Esther Vergeer and Sharon Walraven beat Ariek Van Koot and Jiske Griffioen 6-0 6-2

Quad Wheelchair Doubles: Andrew Lapthome and Peter Norfolk beat David Wagner and Nicholas Taylor 6-3 6-4

OTHER

Bastian Knittel beat Daniel Brands 7-6 (4) 7-6 (5) to win the Heilbronn Open in Heilbronn, Germany

SAYINGS

“The last few years, when I was No. 1 or top three, I’ve always been kind of one of the players that could win it (a major). When I was younger, it kind of overwhelmed me a little bit. The pressure or the nerves that I put upon myself got sometimes in the way of what I was trying to do out there and what I had to focus on. I think now that I’m a little bit older … the pressure leaves as soon as I leave through that door. I think I was able to do that throughout this week, too.” – Kim Clijsters, about winning Grand Slam tournaments.

“I look at the tournament as a whole, it was excellent. I don’t think anyone would say that reaching a Slam final is a bad achievement. It’s a very, very good achievement.  Obviously right now there’s disappointment because you just lost the match. But when you look back over the tournament, you know, there’s not many people that can say they’ve made Slam finals. So, you know, I’ll be very happy with the way the tournament went. But I would have obviously liked to have gone one step further.” – Andy Murray, after losing to Novak Djokovic in the Australian Open men’s singles final.’

“I hope I can push tennis in the Chinese market, I hope more people can participate in the game. The more people you have – it’s like a pyramid – the peak can only get higher if there are more people at the bottom.” – Li Na, after taking the runner-up trophy at the Australian Open.

“If these guys are going to get upset, I’m going to continue to use it.” – Leander Paes, whose use of the word “vamos” apparently upset Argentina’s Juan Monaco and Spain’s Feliciano Lopez in their doubles match. Paes and fellow Indian Mahesh Bhupathi won the second-round encounter.

“I think at the end I was a little nervous. Also in the beginning, first game I was a little nervous, shaking a little. But I had to speak after my match, and I think that was the most difficult part of today.” – An-Sophie Mestach, after winning the junior girls title.

“Obviously it’s a sad situation to see such a great player end her career in this kind of way.” – Kim Clijsters, commenting on the retirement of Justine Henin because of a injured elbow.

“You never want to see player like Justine retire, because she’s great for women’s tennis. Her achievements were great. She has done a lot for women’s tennis. I played her so many times and I never beat her, so that’s probably the biggest memory that I have.” – Vera Zvonareva, on Justine Henin’s retirement.

Novak Djokovic

“That was last year. This is a new year. That’s how I have to look at it.” – Chanda Rubin, when asked about her house burning down on December 29.

“I’ve barely lost matches lately. So I’m happy with where my game is at, with where my condition is at. I’m really excited for what’s to come. This is obviously a bit of a blow. At the same time, I played a good tournament. I have no regrets. I left everything out there. We’ll see what comes next.” – Roger Federer, irked when asked if he felt he couldn’t win major tournaments any more.

SERBIAN NO. 1?

Serbia’s Davis Cup captain Bogdan Obradovic believes Australian Open men’s singles winner Novak Djokovic can become number one in the world this year. “Djokovic has improved in every department and, quite frankly, I expected him to beat (Andy) Murray after the way he played throughout the tournament,” Obradovic told Reuters news agency. “He has become mentally and physically stronger, he is even more accurate with his passing shots than in 2008 and can win points quickly when he needs to. With all that in mind, it will be very difficult to stop him from becoming the world number one this year, if he keeps playing at this level throughout the season.” To become number one, Djokovic would have to surpass top-ranked Rafael Nadal of Spain as well as Switzerland’s Roger Federer. The Serb beat Federer in the semifinals before crushing Great Britain’s Andy Murray 6-4 6-2 6-3 in the title match. “Djokovic has gone to another level,” Obradovic said. “He is a different player and a different person, more confident than ever before in his career.”

SENIOR SWINGER

Goran Ivanisevic is back – at least for one tournament. The former Wimbledon champion is returning to ATP competition at the PBZ Zagreb Indoors this week, partnering Croatia’s top player, Marin Cilic, in doubles. Ivanisevic won Wimbledon in 2001 after gaining entry to the grass-court Grand Slam event with a wild card. Three years later he announced his retirement from the men’s tour at Wimbledon. He recently has been playing on the senior tour, but said he is entering the ATP tournament as a way of promoting the event in his home country.

STAY-HOME MOM?

With her fourth Grand Slam tournament title – her first other than the US Open — Kim Clijsters is becoming a little hesitant about her future. “I do think this is probably my last full season that I’ll be playing,” said Clijsters, who has made it known that she would like to have more children. Still, “I also would like to try and keep going until the (2012 London) Olympics,” she said. “I’ve never played the Olympics, which is little under a year and half. Then we’ll see after that.” Clijsters came from behind to beat China’s Li Na 3-6, 6-3, 6-3 in the Australian Open final. The Belgian retired in 2007, got married and had a baby. She returned to tennis in 2009 and won her second US Open, a title she successfully defended last September. She said her return to tennis was made with “the Olympics in my mind. I wanted to try to keep going till then,” she said. “I obviously never expected things to be going so well so quickly. I thought it was going to take a little bit more time to get back into the rhythm or get back into my routine of traveling with a family and everything.”

SINO STAR

Call it Laugh Night at the Open. Li Na reached the Australian Open women’s single final, where she lost to Kim Clijsters 3-6 6-3 6-3. But the Chinese player won the respect of all tennis with her strong, penetrating ground game, her bubbling personality and a string of one-liners. Asked about her preparation for her semifinal match, Li cracked up the audience when she said she had trouble sleeping because of her husband’s snoring. Asked what had inspired her when she was down a match point in the second set of her semifinal against top-ranked Caroline Wozniacki, Li replied: “Prize money.” The first person from Asia – male or female – to reach a Grand Slam tournament singles final, Li again starred in the post-match on-court interview after losing to Clijsters. “I’ve made many jokes about my husband, but it doesn’t matter if you are fat or skinny, handsome or ugly, I will always follow you, always love you,” she told him. The 28-year-old Li is the second oldest woman to play in an Australian Open final – trailing Chris Evert, who was 33 when she lost to Steffi Graf in 1988. Her previous best Grand Slam performance was last year’s Australian Open semifinal appearance where she was defeated by Serena Williams 7-6 (4), 7-6 (1). She even took her defeat in the final in stride. “Also for myself, doesn’t matter today if I win or lose because I tried my best at tennis already,” she said.

STRANGE TWIST

Marina Erakovic said she couldn’t play for New Zealand in this week’s Fed Cup competition because she was injured. Since Sacha Jones, New Zealand’s top player, was also injured, the nation withdrew its team from the women’s team competition. But Erakovic entered this weeks’ USD $25,000 International Tennis Federation (ITF) tournament in Rancho Santa Fe, California, USA. Asked how Erakovic was too injured to play for her country, but not injured enough to play an ITF event, Tennis New Zealand CEO Steve Johnson said: “We’ve been talking to all of our players over the last several months about selection for the team. Then it transpired she wasn’t going to play and she was going to go to America and she had a bit of an injury so she was withdrawing from the team. With that and with Sacha’s injury, plus with an injury to Katherine Westbury, we had our top three people unavailable for the team, so the decision was made to withdraw reluctantly. The injury wasn’t the key reason she withdrew. It was part of the reason why she withdrew.” Erakovic did withdraw from the Rancho Santa Fe tournament.

STEP ASIDE

It was a distraction that neither Dmitry Tursunov nor his semifinal opponent, Andrej Martin, had encountered on the ATP tour. Rain forced the USD $50,000 Singapore ATP Challenger semifinals to be moved indoors at the Singapore Island Country Club. But one club member, apparently unhappy about losing court time, continued to play tennis with his children on the court next to Tursunov and Martin. “No one has complained,” Kenneth Low, Sports Management Group managing director, said when questioned. “The club members and patrons were very supportive. We asked them (the members) to stop playing and they did. It didn’t occur to them that they should stop.” Tursunov, who was once ranked 20th in the world but was unseeded in this event, went on to win the tournament, defeating Lukas Rosol of the Czech Republic in the final 6-4 6-2.

SPREADING THE CHEER

Tennis is the most international of all sports. This week’s WTA top 10 rankings feature 10 different nationalities for the first time. Denmark’s Caroline Wozniacki retains her top ranking, with newly-crowned Australian Open champion Kim Clijsters of Belgium switching places with Russia’s Vera Zvonareva. Reigning French Open champion Francesca Schiavone of Italy rose to a career-high number 4, followed, in order, by Australian Samantha Stosur, American Venus Williams, Australian Open runner-up Li Na of China, Jelena Jankovic of Serbia, Victoria Azarenka of Belarus and Poland’s Agnieszka Radwanska. Israel’s Shahar Peer is ranked 11th in the world. The men’s top 10 currently includes players from eight different countries: Spain’s  world No. 1 Rafael Nadal and compatriots David Ferrer and Fernando Verdasco, plus Roger Federer of Switzerland, Novak Djokovic of Serbia, Sweden’s Robin Soderling, Andy Murray of Great Britain, Czech Tomas Berdych, American Andy Roddick and Russian Mikhail Youzhny.

STANDING TALL

American twins Bob and Mike Bryan won their fifth Australian Open men’s doubles and kept India’s Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi from completing a career Grand Slam. The Bryans, who captured the title 6-3, 6-4, have held the number one ranking in doubles for the past eight years., and have won the US Open men’s doubles three times, and the French Open and Wimbledon once each. This year’s Australian Open title increased their record for most tournament doubles titles in the Open Era to 68, seven better than the old mark held by Australians Mark Woodforde and Todd Woodbridge. Bhupathi and Paes were playing as a team in their first Grand Slam tournament since 2002. The Indian pair was seeking a career Grand Slam, each having won the French Open, US Open and Wimbledon either together or with other partners.

SHE’S PREGNANT?

The Times of India reports that Spanish singer Enrique Iglesias and tennis star Anna Kournikova are expecting their first child. The two have been dating since 2001, although they are famously cagey about their romance, according to website Stuff.co.nz.  The web site said Kournikova has lately taken to wearing flowing clothes that cover her figure. It is believed that she is trying to hide a growing baby bump, with the couple said to have recently announced the news to friends and family.

STRUCK DOWN

When the BNP Paribas Open is held March 7-20 in Indian Wells, California, USA, the tournament will feature one of the strongest fields outside Grand Slam tournaments. The top three men and top three women singles players are expected to be on hand. Besides Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, Caroline Wozniacki, Vera Zvonareva, and Kim Clijsters, the tournament also will feature its two defending champions, Ivan Ljubicic and Jelena Jankovic, as well as the past six women to win the tournament title. Nadal will be seeking to join Federer, Michael Chang and Jimmy Connors as the only men to have won the Paribas Open three times. Clijsters will be trying to become the first woman to win three Paribas Open titles. The tournament will also feature Hawkeye replay technology and video displays on all match courts, making the event the first to have such technology on eight courts, according to event organizers.

SLOBODAN STILL BOSS

Despite the actions of Novak Djokovic’ father, Slobodan Zivojinovic has been reelected president of the Serbia Tennis Federation (TSS). Zivojinovic held on to his post with a landslide victory in the balloting. A Wimbledon semifinalist in 1985, Zivojinovic became TSS president in 2003 and won his third four-year term after 502 of the 690 delegates voted for him despite some delegates, led by Srdjan Djokovic, boycotting the balloting. “Serbia won the Davis Cup and became world tennis champions despite Zivojinovic and his aides being in charge all these years, not thanks to them,” the senior Djokovic told the session before leading his supporters in a walkout. “You people have nothing to do with Serbia’s recent tennis success; you don’t care how hard our children had to work to get to the top and how much the parents had to sacrifice.” Led by Novak Djokovic, Serbia beat France 3-2 to win its first Davis Cup title.

STEPPING ASIDE

Steven Martens has resigned as player director of Great Britain’s Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) and will become general secretary of the Royal Belgian Football Association. A former Belgian Davis Cup captain, Martens had been was at the LTA for four years and took up the player role in 2008. An LTA statement said Martens had led a “significant change program in the way performance tennis is structured and delivered across the country.” There was no mention of a successor to Martens.

SO DESERVING

Fern Lee “Peachy” Kellmeyer is the newest inductee into the International Tennis Hall of Fame. Selected in the contributor category, Kellmeyer will join Andre Agassi at the induction ceremonies into the shrine at Newport, Rhode Island, USA, on July 9.  Kellmeyer, who will turn 67 on Feb. 19, was a champion of gender equity six years before Title IX became law. In 1973 she became the first employee and tour director of the Women’s Tennis Association and currently serves as WTA operations executive consultant. During her career she also directed WTA operations and player and tournament relations and was involved with every major policy decision. Thanks in part to her efforts, prize money increased from USD $309,000 in 1973 to USD $86 million in 2010, and the number of tournaments grew from 23 in the United States to 53 in 33 countries. Kellmeyer was a top junior in the late 1950s. In 1959, when she was 15, she played in the US National Championships, which became the US Open in 1968. She played tennis on the men’s varsity team at the University of Miami in the early 1960s, the first woman to do so in Division I. She graduated from Miami in 1966 and received a master’s degree from Florida Atlantic in 1974.

SPANISH WOE

Rafael Nadal believes he suffered a hamstring tear during his Australian Open quarterfinal match against fellow Spaniard David Ferrer. “I know what I have,” Nadal was quoted by wire service EFE as saying in Spanish. “I have nothing important, it is a broke (muscle) fiber. I have the point perfectly located and I know what it is.” Nadal was seeking his fourth consecutive Grand Slam tournament title – a “Rafa Slam” – when he suffered the injury and was upset by Ferrer 6-4 6-2 6-3. “I would prefer (not to) talk a lot about the injury,” Nadal said right after the match. “He played at a very high level and I wasn’t able to compete against him tonight. Seems like I always have problems when I lose, and I don’t want to have this image, no? I tried my best all the time. But it is obvious that I didn’t feel at my best. I had a problem during the match, in the very beginning. After that, the match was almost over.”

SHE’S BACK

Magdalena Maleeva, who retired in 2005, has been named to the Bulgarian Fed Cup team that will compete this coming weekend in the Europe/Africa Zone Group I playoffs in Eilat, Israel. Other members of the squad include Wimbledon semifinalist Tsvetana Pironkova, Elitsa Kostova and Dia Evtimova. “I’m not prepared very well because I have two kids to care for. but I did some training when I played with Boris Becker and (Bulgarian Prime Minister) Boyko Borisov,” Maleeva joked, referring to the charity match during the Zagorka Tennis Cup finals last summer in Sofia, Bulgaria. Once ranked as high as fourth in the world, Maleeva said Dora Rangelova, the captain of the team, persuaded her to participate in Fed Cup. Maleeva, who will turn 36 in April, ended her competitive pro career in 2005. However, in September 2010 she participated in the national championships and won, triggering speculations about an eventual comeback. The top Bulgarian tennis player took part in 41 matches with the Bulgarian Fed Cup team – 26 singles and 15 doubles. Her last Fed Cup appearance was in 2005 when she was the team’s captain.

STAYING THE COURSE

Venus Williams says she has no plans to retire from tennis. The 30-year-old American injured the psoas muscle in her groin during a second-round match against Sandra Zahlavova of the Czech Republic. She fought through the pain and won the match, but then had to retire after the first game of her third-round matchup with Germany’s Andrea Petkovic. “I just obviously couldn’t play,” Williams said. “I mean, just couldn’t move. Just too painful. It’s super disappointing because this is just not how I envisioned my Australian Open being.” Williams has won seven Grand Slam tournaments, including five Wimbledons. The Australian Open was her first tournament since last year’s US Open because of tendinitis in her right knee.

SIGNAGE

When Ekaterina Makarova and Kim Clijsters walked onto court to play their fourth-round Australian Open match, the chair umpire put a stop to things. The umpire, Mariana Alves of Portugal, said the sponsor logo on the front of Makarova’s shirt was too large and instructed the Russian to change the shirt before the match could begin. When Makarova returned to the court, she had moved the logo from the front of her shirt to her right sleeve, where larger logos are permitted. The Grand Slam Rule Book specifies that advertising logos on the front of the shirt cannot exceed four square inches if there is one logo, or two square inches if there are two.

SAYS GO AWAY

A relative of French player Aravane Rezai will be barred from women’s events indefinitely for what the WTA said was a “serious safety matter.” The WTA statement did not identify the relative of give any details of the incident, which apparently happened during the just-concluded Australian Open. “The health and well-being of our players is the number one priority for the WTA,” the statement said. “A serious safety matter has been brought to the WTA’s attention, which has resulted in a family member of Aravane Rezai being indefinitely suspended from all future WTA events pending our investigation.” Citing the player’s privacy, the WTA would give no any further details. A French newspaper, Le Parisien, said Rezai’s father had been involved in an altercation with his daughter’s boyfriend before her first-round match, which she lost.  “I’m not trying to make excuses but I had a big problem this morning,” Rezai said after the defeat.

SPONSORS

Kia Motors is delighted with his sponsorship of the Australian Open tennis championship, thanks to its very visible signage and the fact its brand ambassador, Kim Clijsters, won the women’s singles. The Korean automaker said the public relations benefits generated by sponsoring the Australian Open are estimated to be worth $700 million. “About a billion people from some 160 countries watched the Australian Open, and Kia’s logo was extensively exposed. We expect that the publicity gained through media exposure would be worth 17 percent more than last year’s $600 million,” the carmaker said in a statement. A Kia official declined to reveal the size of the sponsorship deal, by past press releases by the company said it is a “multi-million dollar sponsorship.” Kia’s sponsorship began in 2002, and in 2008 the firm extended it for five years to 2013. Kia posted better-than-expected earnings last week with its net profit in 2010 reaching 2.25 trillion won – up 55.4 percent from a year earlier.

SHARED PERFORMANCES

Heilbronn: Jamie Delgado and Jonathan Marray beat Frank Moser and David Skoch 6-1 6-4

SITES TO SURF

Fed Cup: www.fedcup.com

Johannesburg: www.satennisopen.co.za/

Zagreb: www.zagrebindoors.com/

Santiago: www.movistaropen.cl/

Rotterdam: www.abnamrowtt.nl/

San Jose: www.sapopentennis.com

Costa do Sauipe: http://tenisbrasil.uol.com.br/brasilopen/

Paris: www.opengdfsuez.com/

Pattaya City: www.pentanglepromotions.com/pattaya-open-2010.html

Midland: www.DowCorningTennisClassic.com

Cali: www.campestrecali.com

TOURNAMENTS THIS WEEK

(All money in USD)

MEN

$486,500 PBZ Zagreb Indoors, Zagreb, Croatia, hard

$442,500 SA Tennis Open, Johannesburg, South Africa, hard

$358,250 Movistar Open, Santiago, Chile, clay

FED CUP

World Group

Australia vs. Italy at Hobart, Australia, hard

Russia vs. France at Moscow, Russia, hard

Slovak Republic vs. Czech Republic at Bratislava, Slovak Republic, hard

Belgium vs. United States at Antwerp, Belgium, hard

World Group II

Estonia vs. Spain at Tallinn, Estonia, hard; Slovenia vs. Germany at Maribor, Slovenia, clay; Serbia vs. Canada at Novi Sad, Serbia, hard; Sweden vs. Ukraine at Helsingborg, Sweden, hard

Group I

Europe/Asia Zone, at Eilat, Israel, hard, round-robin, four pools: Austria, Belarus, Bulgaria, Croatia, Denmark, Great Britain, Greece, Hungary, Israel, Latvia, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Switzerland

Americas Zone, at Buenos Aires, Argentina, clay, round-robin, two pools: Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru

Asia/Oceania Zone, at Nonthaburi, Thailand, hard, round-robin, two pools: China, Chinese Taipei, India, Japan, Kazakhstan, Korea, Republic, Thailand, Uzbekistan

Group II

Asia/Oceania Zone, at Nonthaburi, Thailand, hard, round-robin, two pools: Hong Kong China, Indonesia, Iraq, Kyrgyzstan, Oman, Pakistan, Philippines, Singapore, Turkmenistan

TOURNAMENTS NEXT WEEK

MEN

$1,565,000 ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament, Rotterdam, the Netherlands, hard

$531,000 SAP Open, San Jose, California, USA, hard

$442,500 Brasil Open, Costa do Sauipe, Brazil, clay

WOMEN

$618,000 Open GDF Suez, Paris, France, hard

$220,000 PTT Pattaya Open, Pattaya City, Thailand, hard

$100,000 Dow Corning Tennis Classic, Midland, Michigan, USA, hard

$100,000 Copa Bionaire, Cali, Colombia, clay



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About Bob Greene
Bob Greene, the esteemed former Associated Press tennis writer, wraps up the week that was in international tennis with his “Monday’s With Bob Greene” column – a revival of his popular weekly feature at the AP.

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