Rafael Nadal beat Novak Djokovic 6-3 6-1 to win the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters in Monte Carlo, Monaco
Sam Querrey beat Paolo Lorenzi 6-1 6-7 (3) 6-3 to win the Sarasota Open in Sarasota, Florida, USA
World Group Semifinals
Serbia beat Russia 3-2 at Moscow, Russia
Czech Republic beat Italy 4-1 at Ostrava, Czech Republic
World Group Playoffs
United States beat Ukraine 5-0 at Kharkiv, Ukraine
Japan beat Belgium 4-1 at Tokyo, Japan
Slovak Republic beat Spain 3-2 at Marbella, Spain
Australia beat Germany 3-2 at Stuttgart, Germany
World Group II Playoffs
France beat Slovenia 5-0 at Besançon, France
Switzerland beat Belarus 4-1 at Yverdon-les-Bains, Switzerland
Sweden beat Great Britain 4-1 at Borås, Sweden
Argentina beat China 4-1 at Buenos Aires, Argentina
Europe/Africa at Cairo, Egypt: Turkey and Georgia promoted to Europe/Africa Zone Group I in 2013; Norway and Denmark relegated to Group III
Americas at Guadalajara, Mexico: Chile and Mexico promoted to Americas Zone Group I in 2013
Europe/Africa at Cairo, Egypt: Lithuania and Tunisia promoted to Europe/Africa Zone Group II in 2013
Asia/Oceania Zone Group IV at Doha, Qatar: United Arab Emirates and Cambodia promoted to Asia/Oceania Zone Group III in 2013
“To start the clay-court season winning here is an amazing feeling. This tournament is very special for me.” – Rafael Nadal, after winning at Monte Carlo for the eighth straight year.
“It’s a historic moment for us. I cannot even believe that we are in the final. We came a long way and I’m very happy we were able to win this match.” – Jelena Jankovic, after leading Serbia into its first Fed Cup final.
“It’s very important to break that situation. It’s important to win a tournament another time. Especially (this) tournament. (Breaking) that situation (and) winning a Masters 1000, one of my favorites, (makes) everything perfect today.” – Rafael Nadal, about snapping a seven-match final losing streak to Novak Djokovic.
“It’s been a tough week, not just for me but for everybody in my family. We’re going through this together. In the end, I played the final and I’m really happy for that.” – Novak Djokovic, who just hours before he played his third-round match learned of his grandfather’s death.
“It was like a bullfight. She knocked me down and then I knocked her down.” – Tamaryn Hendler of Belgium, after losing her opening singles match to Japanese veteran Kimiko Date-Krumm 6-1 6-4.
“It has been such a long journey and we’ve worked so hard. We felt like the dark horses coming into this event – but very prepared dark horses. All that work has really paid off and it means so much to move on to the Group III stage. Imagine what we have achieved in our first season with less than 30 tennis courts in the whole of Cambodia. The complex in Doha has 27 courts. That puts this amazing feat in perspective. It is such an inspiration for all the tennis playing kids back home.” – Tep Rithivit, captain of Cambodia’s victorious Davis Cup team.
“It’s been a great couple weeks in Monaco with the Davis Cup and now the Monte Carlo Masters 1000 event. It’s always a pleasure to see Prince Albert II and the beautiful scenery. We couldn’t ask for a better place to win our 20th Masters 1000 title.” – Mike Bryan, after he and brother Bob won the Monte Carlo doubles.
“Usually you look through the rankings to see who’s playing well, and you look at some of the good match-ups, as well as who’s healthy, and put together the best team possible for that tie.” – Mary Joe Fernandez, when asked about the criteria she used in choosing the United States Fed Cup team.
“I love being able to participate in the Olympics. It’s so cool. You get to play for your country. You get to see the athletes from other sports. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and I’m trying to get my third-in-a-lifetime experience.” – Serena Williams, when asked about playing the London Olympics this summer.
“Hopefully both Serena and Venus will be ready to go. I have talked to them many times about Fed Cup and playing. They enjoy it. If it works and if they are healthy I expect them to be here.” – Mary Joe Fernandez, on the possibility of sisters Venus and Serena Williams playing on the same Fed Cup team again.
“I think it is more huge for the media for me to win singles (at the Olympics). For me, any medal is great. If I win singles, it would be awesome. If I win doubles, it would be awesome, or if I win mixed.” – Serena Williams, on playing in the Olympics.
Rafael Nadal put a punctuation point on his latest title. The Spaniard won the Monte Carlo Rolex Masters for the eighth consecutive year, and this time with a thorough thrashing of top-ranked Novak Djokovic. The win ended a run of seven straight losses to her Serbian rival in title matches. The victory ran Nadal’s winning streak to 42 in a row at Monte Carlo and was his first tournament title since the 2011 French Open. “I always loved this tournament since I was a kid,” Nadal said after winning his 47th career title. “One of my dreams was to play here. It’s a historic tournament (where) you see all your idols when you are a kid playing here.” Nadal now leads his head-to-head series with Djokovic 17-14, but it was his first win over the Serb since the 2010 ATP Finals in London. Djokovic had beaten Nadal in three consecutive Grand Slam finals.
SERVING A WIN
Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova found her winning ways just in time to power the Czech Republic into the Fed Cup final where it will be defending its title. Kvitova beat Francesca Schiavone 6-4 7-6 (1) in the reverse singles to give the Czechs an insurmountable 3-0 lead over Italy. “It was important for me to win; it’s a confidence booster,” said Kvitova, who has played only three matches – and lost two – on the WTA Tour since helping the Czech Republic win its first-round Fed Cup tie in February. The defending champion Czechs will take on Serbia in November’s final. “I really wanted to be in the final again,” Kvitova said. “It’s unbelievable. It was an unbelievable feeling (to win).” Sara Errani defeated Andrea Hlavackova to give Italy a point before Hlavackova and Lucie Hradecka took the doubles to make the final score 4-1. Italy’s Flavia Pennetta retired from the doubles at 5-6 because of a wrist injury.
Jelena Jankovic won both of her singles matches to lead Serbia into the Fed Cup final for the first time. After Ana Ivanovic won the opening reverse singles to give Serbia a 2-1 lead, Jankovic clinched the tie with a6-1 6-4 victory over Russia’s Svetlana Kuznetsova. Trailing 3-0 in the second set, Jankovic won five consecutive games and closed out the victory on her first match point. Jankovic had won the first point for Serbia, defeating Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova before Kuznetsova stopped Ivanovic in the second match on opening day. In the reverse singles, Ivanovic beat Pavlyuchenkova 3-6 6-0 6-3, winning 10 straight games after losing the first set to take a 4-0 lead in the third. Serbia will face defending champion Czech Republic in the final in November. It was Serbia’s first Fed Cup victory over Russia in four meetings.
Cambodia wasn’t just satisfied with making its Davis Cup debut. Playing at The Khalifa International Tennis & Squash Complex in Doha, Qatar, the Cambodian team of Kenny Bun, Pannhara Man, Samneang Long, Vetu Mam and captain Tep Rithivit won promotion from the Davis Cup by BNP Paribas Asia/Oceania Zone Group IV to Zone Group III in 2013 by beating Turkmenistan 3-0. Also earning promotion to Group III next year was the United Arab Emirates, who defeated Qatar 2-1. The largest annual international team competition in sport, Davis Cup by BNP Paribas had 123 nations competing in 2012.
After replacing Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal as the number one-ranked tennis player in the world, Novak Djokovic took over some of their honors also. The Serb has been named one of Time Magazine’s Top 100 Most Influential People in the World. Djokovic was one of six athletes named to the list, joining Jeremy Lin, Lionel Messi, Oscar Pistorious, Tim Tebow and Yani Tseng. “While he yukked it up, he also upped his training regimen and refined his exquisite baseline shot-making,” Bill Saporito, Time’s sports editor, said of Djokovic. “No one has a more lethal backhand down the line. He got mentally tougher, too.” It marks the fifth time in six years that an ATP World Tour player has been selected for the Time 10. Federer was on the list in 2007 and 2010, while Nadal was named in 2009 and 2011.
The clay-court season is now out for Kim Clijsters. The Belgian is skipping the French Open and the entire clay-court season as she has been recovering much slower than expected from a hip muscle team suffered during the Sony Ericsson Open in Miami, Florida, in March. “My current physical condition does not allow me to be ready for Roland Garros,” said Clijsters, who will resume training in about three weeks and hopefully be ready for the grass courts. She is entered into the Rosmalen, Netherlands, grass court tournament in mid June, one week before Wimbledon. She also hopes to play the Olympic tennis event, which will be held at Wimbledon.
Serena Williams had no problems winning both of her Fed Cup singles matches for the United States against Ukraine, dropping just eight games and never more than three games in any set. But it wasn’t as smooth as it looked. In both matches, Williams was broken while serving for the match. And the sixth game of the first set against Lesia Tsurenko lasted 22 points as Williams served three aces, three double faults and saved two break points. “I felt I won that game and I kept giving it away,” Williams said. “I kept hitting double faults. That game was really good for me to get through, for sure.” With Williams leading the way, the Americans swept Ukraine 5-0 with Christina McHale capturing both of her singles matches and Liezel Huber and Sloane Stephens winning the doubles.
Julien Benneteau of France fractured his right elbow and sprained his right ankle when he fell in his opening set against third-seeded Andy Murray at the Monte Carlo Rolex Masters. A former French Open quarterfinalist, Benneteau trailed 6-5 when he slipped and rolled his ankle while scampering to retrieve a shot from the baseline. He hurt his wrist while trying to break his fall. “When he went down, he was making quite a lot of noise,” Murray said. After being treated extensively, Benneteau continued to play, but only briefly before retiring from the third-round match.
Stephanie Vogt of Liechtenstein and Veronica Cepede Royg of Paraguay have clinched spots in the 2012 Olympic tennis event, which will be held July 28 through August 5 at Wimbledon. The International Tennis Federation (ITF) confirmed the two players selected by the Tripartite Commission from nations with small Olympic teams. The 22-year-old Vogt will become the first player from Liechtenstein to compete in an Olympic tennis event. The 20-year-old Royg will become the first player from Paraguay to compete in Olympic tennis since Rossana de los Rios in 2000. There will be 56 direct entries into the singles, with eight ITF places in the men’s singles and six ITF places and two Tripartite Commission Invitation places in the women’s singles. There will be 24 direct acceptances and eight ITF places in the men’s and women’s doubles, while there will be 12 direct acceptances and four ITF places in the mixed doubles. A maximum of six men and six women will be allowed per country, with a maximum of four singles players, two doubles teams and two mixed doubles teams. Entries for mixed doubles will be taken from those players already competing in singles or doubles.
Tokyo’s Ariake Coliseum is a special place for veteran Kimiko Date-Krumm. The 41-year-old beat Belgium’s Tamaryn Hendler to help lead Japan to a 4-1 victory in a Fed Cup World Group playoff. Sixteen years ago, the Japanese right-hander enjoyed perhaps the finest triumph of her career. Then 25 years old and known as Kimiko Date, she beat Steffi Graf in a 12-10 third-set marathon that would be one of the greatest in the history of Japanese tennis. The reverse singles win leveled the tie at 2-2 before Japan won the doubles to move into the World Group semifinals for the first and only time. Following the Fed Cup loss, Graf would go on to win Roland Garros, Wimbledon and the US Open titles. It was Date’s final year before a nearly 12-year retirement from the sport. In 2008, Date and Graf played an exhibition match at Ariake to commemorate the 12th anniversary of their battle. After Date won 6-2 6-3, Graf said she should consider returning to the WTA Tour. Three weeks later, at the age of 37, Date-Krumm announced she would play again.
SECOND TITLE OF YEAR
Twins Bob and Mike Bryan won their third Monte Carlo Rolex Masters doubles title, beating the second-seeded team of Max Mirnyi and Daniel Nestor. It was the 20th ATP World Tour Masters 1000 team crown for the Americans. “It feels nice to win again in Monte Carlo, especially against two legends, Danny and Max,” said Boy Bryan. “They’ve been playing great the last 15 months and hopefully we’ll all get to play in many more big matches.” The top-ranked Bryans did not lose a set in winning their second tournament title of the year. It was their 77th career title.
STANDING IN LINE
American men are standing in line for a chance to play mixed doubles with Serena Williams at the London Olympic Games. John Isner, America’s highest-ranked men’s singles player, is the latest to join the Serena Sweepstakes. “I may be the odd man out,” Isner said. “But I’m pretty good friends with Serena. Might need to bribe her, maybe send a gift in the mail to get her to play with me.” Other candidates to team with Serena are Andy Roddick and the Bryan brothers, Bob and Mike, as mixed doubles has been added to this year’s Olympic program. “A girl loves to have choices,” Serena said earlier. “Obviously the Bryans are like the world’s best doubles players. Andy and I are super, super close. Personally I love John. You’re not going to break the guy. It’s an automatic I-don’t-know-how-many games. I think it’s so hard to choose. I don’t know if you just throw everyone’s name in a hat and figure out what happens next. ‘Regardless, we want to do really well and take home a medal for the country. That’s what it’s all about.”
SIGNS WITH ESPN
John McEnroe will add Wimbledon to his ESPN announcing duties this summer. The seven-time Grand Slam tournament champion has worked the US Open for ESPN since 2009. As a player, McEnroe won 77 singles titles, including four US Open titles and three at Wimbledon. He also won 10 additional major championships in doubles or mixed doubles. While known for his brash on-court behavior, McEnroe has earned a reputation for insightful and outspoken commentary on television. “His rare combination of insight, candor and personality behind the microphone mirrors the multi-talented player he was on the court,” John Wildhack, ESPN executive vice president, production, said in announcing the multi-year contract.
STARS ON PARADE
Tennis Hall of Famers Chris Evert and Mats Wilander will join Todd Martin and others on May 6 for an afternoon of tennis to raise money for “Match for a Cure.” The vent will be held at the Omni Amelia Island Plantation in Amelia Island, Florida, USA. The headline event is an “Ultimate Miracle Match” pitting Martin against Bill Przybysz, the Miracle Match Foundation founder who is a leukemia survivor and tennis professional.
Although he reached the final of the Monte Carlo Rolex Masters, it was not a good week for Novak Djokovic. Just hours before his third round match against Alexandr Dolgopolov, Djokovic learned of the death of grandfather. When he completed the rain-interrupted victory over his Ukrainian foe, Djokovic crouched down, his hands on his knees. He then appeared to wipe away tears with his forearm before pointing with both hands to the sky. Dolgopolov stood at the net, applauding. Djokovic skipped the post-match news conference, with a spokesperson for the ATP World Tour saying the Serb “just felt totally exhausted physically, mentally and emotionally.” Following the final, where he lost to Rafael Nadal, Djokovic said he felt emotionally drained. “I definitely don’t want to take away anything from Rafa’s win. He was a better player,” Djokovic said. “But it’s a face that I just didn’t have any emotional energy left in me.” At the post-match interview, Djokovic said he had not decided what his schedule will be over the next few days. “I obviously have to go to visit my grandfather’s grave and see, because I wasn’t there (at the) funeral yesterday (Saturday),” he said. “So I’ll be there.”
Monte Carlo: Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan beat Max Mirnyi and Daniel Nestor 6-2 6-3
Sarasota: Johan Brunstrom and Izak Van Der Merwe beat Martin Emmrich and Andreas Siljestrom 6-4 6-1
Davis Cup: www.daviscup.com
TOURNAMENTS THIS WEEK
(All money in USD)
$2,179,536 Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell, Barcelona, Spain, clay
$523,619 BRD Nastase Tiriac Trophy, Bucharest, Romania, clay
$125,000 OEC International Tennis Challenge, Kaohsiung, Taiwan, hard
$740,000 Porsche Tennis Grand Prix, Stuttgart, Germany, clay
$220,000 Grand Prix de SAR La Princesse Lalla Meryem, Fès, Morocco, clay
Asia/Oceania Group III at Tehran, Iran, clay (round-robin, eight nations in two pools): Bangladesh, Iran, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Malaysia, Oman, Syria, Vietnam
TOURNAMENTS NEXT WEEK
$523,619 BMW Open, Munich, Germany, clay
$523,619 Estoril Open, Estoril, Portugal, clay
$484,000 Serbia Open, Belgrade, Serbia, clay
$125,000 Tunis Open, Tunis, Tunisia, clay
$220,000 Budapest Grand Prix, Budapest, Hungary, clay
$220,000 Estoril Open, Estoril, Portugal, clay
Seguros Bolivar Tennis Champions, Medellín, Colombia, hard
Europe Zone Group III at Sofia, Bulgaria, clay (round-robin, 13 nations in four pools): Albania, Andorra, Armenia, Bulgaria, Georgia, Greece, Iceland, Lithuania, Macedonia, Malta, Montenegro, Norway, San Marino