By Bob Greene
Stanislas Wawrinka beat David Ferrer 6-1 6-4 to win the Portugal Open men’s singles in Oeiras, Portugal
Tommy Haas beat Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-3 7-6 (3) to win the BMW Open in Munich, Germany
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova beat Carla Suárez Navarro 7-5 6-2 to win the women’s singles at the Portugal Open in Oeiras, Portugal
Adrian Ungur beat Diego Sebastian Schwartzman, 4-6 6-0 6-2 to win the Tunis Open in Tunis, Tunisia
Jiri Vesely beat Steve Darcis 6-4 6-4 to win the Prosperita Open 2013 in Ostrava, Czech Republic
Vasek Pospisil beat Michal Przysiezny 6-7 (7) 6-0 6-1 to win the Soweto Open in Johannesburg, South Africa
“It’s a sensational feeling to be quite honest. It was another one of those milestones that I hoped for, to maybe win this title one year. To have done that, this late in my career, is a big highlight for me.” – Tommy Haas, after winning the BMW Open.
“It feels great to have won a title again, as it was one of my goals at the start of the year. It was a challenge against a top four player. I am very happy with the way I played today. I was really focused and I made it difficult for him on my serve.” – Stanislas Wawrinka, after upsetting David Ferrer to win the Portugal Open men’s singles.
“Stan played a great match. I was never close to winning.” – David Ferrer.
“She was holding me back on the baseline, putting a lot of spin on the ball and moving me around. But I just tried to start playing point by point, fighting every point. It wasn’t easy, but I just tried to dig deep and fight, and that really helped me in the end.” – Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, who won the Portugal Open women’s title by beating Carla Suárez Navarro.
“Today I had chances to win the first set, but Nastia was playing so well at those moments, and then she played really, really well in the second set. She just kept getting better as the match went on and deserved to win today. But it was a really good week for me. I’m very happy I was able to make another final here.” – Carla Suárez Navarro.
“I think today both of us were so nervous and so tight. We’re just glad it’s finally over. It wasn’t the prettiest match for both teams, but we had some good points and definitely happy to win.” – Dmitry Tursunov, who teamed with Jarkko Nieminen to win the doubles in Munich, Germany.
“It feels extremely good. I don’t have that many (doubles) titles.” – Jarkko Nieminen, who won his third career ATP World Tour doubles crown.
“Today is a very sad day for sport and tennis in particular. Our president Brad has passed away.” – Rafael Nadal.
“He was always very nice to work with. Very honest and gentle. For me, it was hard seeing him not be the same anymore towards the end physically. But we can only appreciate what he’s done for us and what he did until the last moment he really possibly could. That will never go away.” – Roger Federer.
“He was a very brave man with the courage to stand up and try to change some things in our sport for the better. We remember him as a very calm, composed and intelligent man who loved this sport with all his heart while he was playing, coaching, and then as the president of ATP.” – Novak Djokovic.
“His knowledge, experience and enthusiasm will be a great loss to the whole sport.” – Francesco Ricci Bitti, International Tennis Federation (ITF) president.
“The recent prize money increases with the Grand Slams are perfect examples of Brad’s brilliant strategic management, and another example of how much he cared about our athletes and the sport’s long-term growth. His legacy as a leader, as a person, and as a father who always put his family first, will have an everlasting impact on tennis.” – Stacey Allaster, WTA Chairman and CEO.
“The tennis world lost a strong leader, true gentleman and a great friend today in ATP Executive Chairman and President Brad Drewett. Brad left an indelible mark on the game and everyone who knew him.” –David Haggerty, USTA chairman, CEO and president.
“Tennis has lost a great leader and human being who accomplished so much for the sport he loved.” – Ken Solomon, Tennis Channel chairman and CEO.
Brad Drewett, a player, tournament director and executive chairman and president of the ATP, lost his battle with motor neurone disease, also referred to as Lou Gehrig’s Disease. He was 54. The Australian has been credited with making a number of changes within tennis and securing a greater share of Grand Slam tournament revenue for players as well as growing the sport in Asia. Recently, he was listed by the Sports Business Journal as one of the 50 most influential people in sport. Before he retired from playing in 1990, Drewett was ranked in the top 40 in singles and top 20 in doubles. In 2006, he was named ATP Chief Executive Officer for the International Group, overseeing the operations in the Middle East, Asia and Pacific regions. From 2003 to 2005 he led the region as Managing Director. In January 2012, he was named ATP executive chairman and president. This past January, he announced he had amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a disease that affects voluntary muscle activity, including speaking, walking, breathing and swallowing. When he announced a new sponsor on the opening day of the Australian Open, his speech was noticeably slurred. He had planned to step down once a successor was found. He died at his home in Sydney, Australia.
Age is just a number to Tommy Haas. In his 10th attempt at the Munich, Germany, tournament, the 35-year-old won the BMW Open for the first time. And he beat defending champion Philipp Kohlschreiber in the first all-German final in Munich in 48 years. “I can hardly believe that I still managed to win here after such a long career,” Haas said. He became the first 35-year-old to win an ATP Tour title since Fabrice Santoro captured Newport, Rhode Island, USA, in 2008. It was Haas’s fourth title in Germany and 14th overall. With the victory, Haas will move up to 13th in the world rankings. So far this year Haas has reached the final in San Jose, California, USA, and upset top-ranked Novak Djokovic in his run to the semifinals in Miami, Florida, USA. “Every time you win a title, it’s a reflection of putting everything together the whole week,” Haas said. “It doesn’t happen that often. You’re really proud of those moments.”
STAN’S THE MAN
Switzerland’s Stanislas Wawrinka, playing aggressively right from the start, dominated their baseline rallies to upset top-seeded David Ferrer and win the Portugal Open. “Stan played pretty well from the baseline and he had a good percentage of first services. He surpassed me in everything,” Ferrer said after losing to Wawrinka for just the fourth time in 11 career meetings. The winner won the first five games of the match and closed out the opening set in 30 minutes. With the two tied at 4 in the second set, Wawrinka broke Ferrer at 30, then held to capture his fourth career ATP World Tour title and first of 2013. “It is going to be tough to return to the Top 10, but I am definitely playing better than last year and I am improving,” said Wawrinka, who is ranked 16th in the world. “Today I got the confidence that I can beat a top four player in a final on a clay court.”
Juan Martin del Potro withdrew from the Madrid Open because of a viral infection. Last year the Argentine reached the semifinals at the Spanish clay court event. “He has a virus and will not be fit to play. We wish him a fast recovery,” a statement on the tournament’s website said. David Goffin of Belgium took del Potro’s place in the main draw.
Big-serving Ivo Karlovic of Croatia is recovering in a hospital in Miami, Florida, USA after being admitted with viral meningitis. Ranked as high as 14th in the world at one time, Karlovic was rumored to have suffered a stroke. But his wife Alsi said it wasn’t true. “Ivo did not have a stroke, as some outlets have stated,” she said in a statement released by the ATP Tour. “Rather, he has viral meningitis. We ask for privacy during his recovery process. We thank everyone for their support and well wishes.” The 6-foot-10 (2.08m) Karlovic last played at a Challenger in Sarasota, Florida, USA, last month.
For a while it looked as if Carla Suárez Navarro was finally going to beat Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and win a tournament title. Both would be firsts for the Spaniard. Alas, neither was to be. Suárez Navarro took a 5-3 lead in the opening set. But Pavlyuchenkova staved off three set points – one in the ninth game and two more in the 10th – before winning 10 of the last 12 games of the match. “I had a slow start, the Russian said. “I was a little bit disappointed about that. It was the third match this week I started like that. Also, Carla was playing really well.” The winner called her coach – Martina Hingis – onto the court in the first set. “I think I just needed some positive words from Martina out there,” Pavlyuchenkova said. It paid off as she beat Suárez Navarro for the fifth time without a loss and captured her fifth career title – her first on clay. Suárez Navarro fell to 0-5 in WTA finals.
STOPPED BY BACK
A back problem has caused Venus Williams to withdraw from the Madrid Open. The 32-year-old American, once ranked number one in the world, pulled out of the clay-court event before her first-round match against Spanish wild card Anabel Medina Garrigues. Williams was replaced in the draw by Switzerland’s Stefanie Voegele, who lost to Medina Garrigues 6-3 6-3.
SENT TO JAIL?
European media is reporting that Bernard Tomic’s father, John, has been arrested after allegedly head-butting his son’s training partner, Thomas Drouet. There are reports that the 29-year-old Drouet’s nose was broken after the former tour player tried to break up an argument between the Tomics. In a statement, Tennis Australia said it was working closely with ATP officials who are investigating the incident. The ruckus reportedly occurred after Bernard Tomic suffered his third first-round loss of the year, this time to Czech veteran Radek Stepanek at the Madrid Open.
The International Tennis Federation (ITF) backed the referee who awarded a Davis Cup Asia/Oceania Group II tie to New Zealand because of an unplayable court. Pakistan was defaulted when their home tie played in Myanmar was halted because of a hole in the court. Pakistan had won the first match and was leading in the second when referee Ashita Ajigala of Sri Lanka ruled that the grass court in Yangon had become unplayable and dangerous. The Pakistan Tennis Federation (PTF) appealed the ruling, but the ITF’s Davis Cup Committee upheld the referee’s decision. There were only two grass courts at the facility where the tie was played. “The Committee noted that the poor quality of the original match court led the referee to designate the practice court as the match court,” the ITF said in its statement. The tie was played in Myanmar after New Zealand refused to visit Pakistan because of safety concerns. The PTF could still appeal to the ITF Board of Directors, the ITF statement said.
SET FOR PARIS
Alex Kuznetsov and Shelby Rogers have earned wild cards into the main draw at the French Open. Kuznetsov received the men’s wild card by having the best combined results at clay court Challenger tournaments in Sarasota and Tallahassee, Florida, USA, as well as Savannah, Georgia, USA. Rogers earned her wild card in the women’s singles main draw by accumulating the greatest number of WTA ranking points at two of the three USTA Pro Circuit USD $50,000 clay-court events in Dothan, Alabama; Charlottesville, Virginia, and Indian Harbour Beach, Florida, USA. The 26-year-old Kuznetsov was the junior runner-up at Roland Garros in 2004. When she was a junior, the 20-yearold Rogers won the USTA Girls’ 18s National Championship to earn a wild card into the main draw of the 2010 US Open, her only appearance in a Grand Slam tournament main draw.
SHOWTIME FOR SISTERS
A documentary about the Williams sisters in 2011 – Venus and Serena – will have its theatrical release this week. Serena, in a video introduction that will be shown at a theater in New York City, says that 2011 was “one of the most difficult years of my whole entire life.” The New York screening will be hosted by Billie Jean King and John McEnroe. Maiken Baird and Michelle Major spent almost four years trying to convince the sisters to participate in the first feature-length documentary on their lives. At the time of the negotiations, Serena and Venus were ranked one and two in the world. But just after the filming began in January 2011, Venus dropped out of the Australian Open with a hip injury, the first time she had ever withdrawn from a Grand Slam tournament. A couple months later, Serena was hospitalized with a pulmonary embolism. By September, Venus announced she had been diagnosed with Sjögren’s syndrome, an autoimmune disease that can cause muscle pain, arthritis and fatigue. The film also deals with their father, Richard Williams, and has little-seen footage from their early days in Compton, California, USA.
Chris Evert has struck back at her former fiancé Jimmy Connors, who hinted in a new book at their relationship ended because she had an abortion. “In his book, Jimmy Connors has written about a time in our relationship that was very personal and emotionally painful,” Evert said in a statement. “I am extremely disappointed that he used the book to misrepresent a private matter that took place 40 years ago and made it public without my knowledge. I hope everyone can understand that I have no further comment.” The two were at the top of tennis when they both won Wimbledon singles titles in 1974 and were due to get married later that year. In his memoir, “The Outsider,” Connors hints he broke off the relationship. “An issue had arisen as a result of youthful passion,” he wrote. “I was perfectly happy to let nature take its course and accept responsibility for what was to come. Chrissie, however, had already made up her mind that the timing was bad and too much was riding on her future. … It was a horrible feeling, but I knew it was over. Getting married wasn’t going to be good for either of us.” Evert was 19 at the time, Connors three years older.
Defending champion Marin Cilic, former world number one Lleyton Hewitt and American Sam Querrey will play the AEGON Championships at Queen’s Club in June. The field for the grass-court warm-up for Wimbledon also includes Andy Murray, Tomas Berdych, Juan Martin del Potro and Jo Wilfried Tsonga. The tournament begins June 10. While Cilic will be seeking a second straight title, Hewitt will be going for a record fifth crown. The Australian is tied with Boris Becker, John McEnroe and Andy Roddick with four Queen’s Club titles.
Two of the players – Andy Murray and Tomas Berdych – are already scheduled to play on finals day. Murray and Tim Henman will play Berdych and Ivan Lendl in Rally Against Cancer, a doubles exhibition to raise money for the Royal Marsden Cancer Charity.
David Nalbandian has undergone surgery on his right shoulder. The Argentine’s shoulder was operated on by his personal doctor, Angel Luis Cotorro, in Barcelona, Spain. Nalbandian said he hopes to be recovered in time to play for Argentina against the Czech Republic in a Davis Cup World Group semifinal in September. Doctors have said it will take four months for Nalbandian to recover.
For the first time in nine years, Rafael Nadal will play in Roger Federer’s hometown tournament. Organizers of the Swiss Indoors in Basel, Switzerland, said their field for the October 19-27 event will be headed by five-time champion Federer, Nadal and defending champion Juan Martin del Potro. The last time he played in Basel, in 2004, Nadal lost a first-round match to Rainer Schuettler of Germany. He also lost early to another Spaniard, Feliciano Lopez, in 2003, the only year he and Federer were both in the Basel field. The Swiss Indoors, played on carpet then, is now a hard-court tournament.
Maria Sharapova made a one-day trip to Moscow to present her “Sugarpova” candy brand to the Russian market. She has introduced her candy to several other markets, including the United States. But she says tennis remains her main focus. “Right now tennis is the most important for me,” she said. She also said she plans to compete in the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. A small pack of “Sugarpova” sweets sells in Moscow for 175 rubles (USD $5.66).
SERVING UP PORSCHES
Rumors are floating that the new Porsche 911 4S being driven by Bulgarian tennis star Grigor Dimitrov is a present from Maria Sharapova. The Swiss media is reporting that Dimitrov’s new vehicle is the same car Sharapova received for winning the Porsche Open in Stuttgart, Germany. “I am not a car collector, but my friend is mad about them,” Sharapova said. In his bio, Dimitrov lists cars among his hobbies. Dimitrov, who turns 22 later this month, and the 26-year-old Sharapova have been an item since the start of the year. And while neither player has confirmed the relationship, they haven’t denied it either.
Johannesburg: Prakash Amritraj and Rajeev Ram bat Purav Raja and Divu Sharan 7-6 (1) 7-6 (1)
Munich: Jarkko Nieminen and Dmitry Tursunov beat Marcos Baghdatis and Eric Butorac 6-1 6-4
Oeiras (men): Santiago Gonzalez and Scott Lipsky beat Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi and Jean-Julien Rojer 6-3 4-6 10-7 (match tiebreak)
Oeiras (women): Chian Hao-Ching and Kristina Mladenovic beat Darija Jurak and Katalin Marosi 7-6 (3) 6-2
Ostrava: Steve Darcis and Olivier Rochus beat Tomasz Bednarek and Mateuz Kowalczyk 7-5 7-5
Tunis: Domink Meffert and Philipp Oswald beat Jamie Delgado and Andreas Siljestrom 3-6 7-6 (0) 10-7 (match tiebreak)
TOURNAMENTS THIS WEEK
(All money in USD)
$4,404,383 Mutua Madrid Open, Madrid, Spain, clay
$125,000 Kunming Challenger, Kunming, China, hard
$5,273,930 Mutua Madrid Open, clay
$100,000 Open de Cagnes-Sur-Mer Alpes-Maritimes, Cagnes-Sur-Mer, France, clay
TOURNAMENTS NEXT WEEK
$3,470,878 Internazionali BNL d’Italia, Rome, Italy, clay
$111,351 BNP Paribas Primrose Bordeaux, Bordeaux, France
$2,369,000 Internazionali BNL d’Italia, Rome, Italy, clay
$100,000 Sparta Prague Open, Prague, Czech Republic, clay