26 May 2006

Roland Garros Draws Out

Finally the draws are running, good luck!!! and Allez!!

Women's singles draw

Men's singles draw

25 May 2006

Target Roland Garros

Follow the draw live!

By Guillaume Baraise

Thursday, May 25, 2006

In a first for the tournament, the draw for this year's French Open will partly be done by computer. Don't miss it - live on Friday from 11:30 CET, on the official
site. Fate, and of course the draw, can often play a major part in deciding who wins French Open. This Friday at 11:30 CET, all eyes will be at the Tenniseum, as the Roland Garros tennis museum is called, when the draw will take place. Favourites and outsiders alike will all be dying to know who they will be facing in the first round - and the big names of course will already be looking a little further.

The draw has traditionally been done by hand, but this year, in a first for the tournament, it will partly be done on computer. This will reduce the time required to around 40 minutes, making the draw more dynamic, exciting and fan-friendly, particularly for the tennis lovers following it live around the world on www.rolandgarros.com.

The women's singles will be drawn first, with unseeded players entered electronically into the system, before the 32 seeds are drawn by hand. Names to look out for include Amélie Mauresmo (number 1 seed), Kim Clijsters (2) and last year's winner Justine Henin-Hardenne (5). The seeds have been decided according to the world rankings as of 21 May.

The men's draw will be made in the same way straight afterwards, with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal seeded one and two respectively. All 32 seeded players will be looking to avoid some of the big names lurking outside the 32 in the first round - the likes of Marat Safin, Richard Gasquet and clay-court specialists Nicolas Almagro and Juan Ignacio Chela would be more than a handful for any opponent at any stage. Depending on the draw, they could well provide some first round fireworks.

Roland Garros

22 May 2006

Federer, Nadal Claim Prestigious Laureus Awards

Tennis’ 1-2 punch of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal captured the most prestigious awards in sport Monday evening at the 2006 Laureus World Sports Awards. Federer collected Laureus World Sportsman of the Year honors for the second year in a row, while Nadal claimed the Laureus Newcomer of the Year following stellar 2005 seasons in which each captured a circuit-best 11 titles and a record four ATP Masters Series shields.

Hollywood celebrities Teri Hatcher and Cuba Gooding Jr. hosted the seventh annual award ceremony staged at the Parc del Fòrum, honoring the achievements of the world’s best sportsmen and sportswomen in the period between February 1, 2005 and February 28, 2006 as chosen by the Laureus World Sports Academy – a 42 member jury made up of sports legends, including Boris Becker.

Federer took top honors over an elite field of sportsmen comprised of Fernando Alonso, Lance Armstrong, Ronaldinho, Valentino Rossi and Tiger Woods after producing a remarkable 81-4 season in 2005. He became just the fifth player in the Open Era to hold down the INDESIT ATP No. 1 Ranking for the entire year and also established an Open Era record of 24 finals won in a row. The 24-year-old Swiss once again rose to the occasion at Wimbledon and the US Open, successfully defending his titles to become the first man in almost 80 years to win both in back-to-back years.

“This is such a huge honor for me to win the Laureus Award for World Sportsman of the Year for the second consecutive year. Most importantly is the fact that I am being recognized outside of the sport of tennis on such a global stage alongside enormous sporting icons and legends as the other nominees,” said Federer.

Meanwhile, Nadal was selected over fellow tennis teen Andy Murray and nominees Paula Creamer, Lionel Messi, Danica Patrick, and Ben Roethlisberger. The Spaniard put together one of the most prolific seasons in ATP history, capturing a season record of 11 teenage titles, including the Roland Garros crown. The 19-year-old clay court king won 79 matches — 39 more than his 2004 total — and became the first teenager to finish World No. 2 since Boris Becker in nearly two decades

Said Nadal: "Wow, it is great to receive an award like this. I never thought this past year would be so good and I definitely did not expect anything of what's happening. I want to thank a lot of people but I guess I don't have enough space so I will thank the academy members of the Laureus for nominating me and to all the people who voted and normally follow what I do on court. I have a lot of fun playing but also enjoy these kind of achievements because it is something that goes beyond the world of tennis."

Professional tennis players figured prominently in each available category, with the Croatian Davis Cup team nominated for Laureus World Team of the Year, Kim Clijsters and Martina Hingis for Comeback Players of the Year, and Clijsters again for Sportswoman of the Year.

Source: atptennis

16 May 2006

The Battle of Great Tennis

What great tennis we have enjoyed this weekend, on one hand, the great final of the Masters Series in Rome; a little more than 5 hours of emotion and ecstacy in which both gladiators extended themselves with some magnificent tennis. We were not wrong when we predicted that it would be one of those finals where the players would have to fight it out right till the last point on the Roman red clay, and these two men of tennis, exhausted by the physical and mental effort that this final took, have declined to participation in the Masters Tennis Series of Hamburg.

The result that we saw - a glorious victory for Rafael Nadal and a glorious defeat of Roger Federer on the court of Foro Italico. It has been a very long time since we saw Federer have to battle so hard on a tennis court and as glorious a defeat that it was for Federer, it added even more to the achievment and to the historical significance of the young Spaniard, Rafael Nadal. Reports of this great match will indeed go down in the record books, newspapers, blogs and forums - as much for the feelings and the heart-warming beauty of the sport, as well as for the outstanding result.

Nadal now equals the record of Guillermo Vilas for 53 consecutive victories on the clay courts, besides also equaling Borg in titles gained by players younger than 20 years, with 16 titles; on another note, Roger Federer equals Vilas in the number of reached consecutive finals of the era open with 13. Federer is only 5 finals away from reaching the record of Ivan Lendl, the highest consecutive finals reached in the open era with 18.

This weekend's final on red clay has shown that Roger Federer, now more than ever, is closer to obtaining his Parisien dream. With a few small adjustments and with the help of his trainer Tony Roche, Federer is a great favorite to raise a glass in Roland Garros, but the clear favorite is still the red clay king himself, Rafa Nadal.

On the women's side, this weeks sensational victory went to Nadia Petrova, who defeated Henin-Hardenne in the final of the Berlin Open, winning her third title, in a match that lasted almost 3 hours.

The runner-up Henin Hardenne, su gozo en un pozo

Petrova ascends to No.3 in the new WTA rankings and becomes the best Russian of the moment, over Sharapova. On another note, the Chinese players Yan/Zheng scored another victory in the doubles final with a win over doubles team Dementieva/Pennetta, adding even more success to the emerging Chinese women of the tennis.

Nadia Petrova

This week the WTA now goes onto play in Rome and the ATP to Hamberg, we hope that in the next week we will go on to enjoy even more great tennis.


Sony Ericsson
WTA Tour Singles
(as of May 15, 2006)

Race to the Sony Ericsson
WTA Tour Championships
Singles Standings
(as of May 15, 2006)

INDESIT ATP Rankings (as of May 15, 2006)


10 May 2006

Navratilova wins on Czech Return

Martina Navratilova won her first match in the Czech Republic since defecting from the country 20 years ago.
Watched by a crowd of 4,000, the 49-year-old teamed up with Czech player Barbora Strycova to beat Olga Blahotova and Ahsha Rolle 6/2 6/3 in Prague.

"The return means a lot for me," said Navratilova, who received a standing ovation as she arrived on court.

"You can't prepare for it. I kept telling myself I had to do something to make sure it wouldn't affect me."

Made in China

A new week begins, and we have the opportunity of giving a special mention to the historical landmark that has been obtained by the Chinese girls of the tour, with the harvest coming this week in Estoril, a truly enviable result for any sporting nation. We found it impossible to choose any one person as our 'Player of the Week' as all of the Chinese girls performed so well during these last seven days, to choose just one who be an insult to their compatriots, who all played with such talent and determination. When we speak of China and tennis in the open era, the first memory that springs to mind goes back to Roland Garros 1989 - and to a young American/Chinese player, Michael Chang, who went on to leave his eternal mark of the red clay of Paris. His battle was epic with the then world number one, Ivan Lendl, to whom he defeated after 4 hours in the 4th round - leaving everyone overwhelmed. Finally, Michael Chang would take that Grand Slam title after defeating Stenfan Edberg in the final, the main news at the time was not only the fact of his Chinese origins, but also his age at the time - 17 years and 3 months.

A regular in the top ten of the ATP over several years, Chang amongst many other accolades, also obtained a career high ranking of number two in the world. His 1989 speech still resonate within the Parisian walls of Roland Garros, 'God bless to all and in special the town of China"; stands out because of it's mixture of genuine gratitude and a more personal element.

The figure of Michael Chang is key in all this analysis, he is a goodwill ambassador for Chinese sport, his influence was the motivating factor that has sparked this new tennis revolution in China. Michael Chang, without a doubt has been a contributing factor in the Olympic movements choice to hold the next Olympic Games in the great city of Beijing. Chang with the spirit that characterised him as a professional player, never wavered in this persistence to introduce and makethe game popular in the country of his parents. Nevertheless, the work ahead was hard, partly by the lack of experience of the Chinese coaching technicians and by the lack of tennis facilities that existed at the time. Today China is a very different place - it's name is synonymous with modernity; modern cities, tennis facilities that are cutting edge and growing at a rapid rate. The Chinese know that to cultivate the elite players of the sport greatly depends on the technical structure of excellence and a national pride that is a strong motivating factor. (something which is sadly missing from other countries, the UK being one) Nowadays, approximately a million Chinese play tennis as their chosen recreational activity and all you have to do is look at Internet sites such as ebay to realise that China is now one of the biggest suppliers and manufacturers of tennis rackets in the world today (if you look carefully, you will probably even see a sticker on the handle of your racket saying "Made in China")

Even so, at this present time tennis, in relative terms is still a less popular racket sport compared to others such as table tennis or badminton in China, but it's still becoming a sport with a high degree of growth and popularity. The secret to these last successes of Chinese tennis, probably are due to the approach that is taken by the Chinese Tennis Federation along with the international Tennis Federation, is raising and carrying out. They are convinced that constructing one organised structure in which the knowledge and the experience flow from one player to the next, generating success on a multiple level. The basic objective consists of formal training from the first stages so as to initiate them with a good grounding, and to form not only new tennis players, but also to make new trainers from the first levels who give continuity to the process; in addition, the players are also fully accompanied and supported by their trainers at all tournaments and with as much attention on WTA, not just on ATP (as many other countries) They are given financial and logistic support so that the promising tennis players can tour in America and Europe with the best possible conditions, all this within the framework and knowledge that they will be hosting the future Olympic games of the 2008.

The statistical data for this special country and it's association with women's tennis is outstanding; Jie Zheng, that has been the first Chinese player to reach R16 of a Grand Slam, she was also the second Chinese player to win a WTA title in Hobart (2005), the first Chinese tennis player to win an official WTA title was Na Li in 2004 at Guangzhou. In Estoril, Zheng has gained his second official WTA title,defeating her compatriot Na Li, the first all-Chinese final in WTA history. The Estoril final was the fifth time on the tour that two players of this nationality reached the singles semifinals, but never before have they meet in a WTA final. In addition, the Estoril double title was also taken by a Chinese pair, Ting Li and Tiantian Sun (a regain of their title from last year) it is their second doubles title of the season, the other being won in Pattaya - in addition, it is the eighth title obtained by this pairing on WTA tour. The same partnership also won gold at the Athens Olympic Games defeating none other than Virginia Ruano Pascual and Conchita Martinez, gaining China's first Olympic gold for tennis. China is now the third most successful country on the women's tour behind Russia, with it's champions Maria Sharapova winning in Indian Wells over Elena Dementieva, and Svetlana Kuznetsova winning in Miami over Sharapova, and France thus, with Amélie Mauresmo prevailing in Paris over her compatriot Mary Pierce. We hope that the successes continue for this country and for it's tennis players.

Martina's Missing Trophies

Earlier this week, Tennis legend Martina Navratilova was angry to learn that some of her Wimbledon Trophies has been sold at an online auction, according to reports in a USA Today report.

Her 1979 Wimbledon doubles trophy (won with her then doubles partner Billie Jean King) and two singles medallions, fetched a staggering $39,000 on Lelands.com - a US based sports memorabilia auction site.

"I'm very upset," the nine-time Wimbledon singles champ reportedly said from Warsaw, where she was competing in doubles at a Sony Ericsson WTA Tour event. "I have no idea how any of my trophies could end up on an auction site. I am missing a couple of semifinal medallions from 1976 and 1980, and also a few things have gotten lost over the years, but I don't remember giving any of my trophies to anyone, especially Grand Slam trophies. I would never give away a Grand Slam trophy."

A Lelands.com spokesman said the name of the person who provided the Wimbledon memorabilia for auction has been given to the tennis legend's attorneys who reportedly contacted the auction house on Wednesday.

"I would like to know how they have authenticated that it's my trophy," the 49-year-old Navratilova said. "They didn't get in touch with me to even check if it was missing."

Nearly two months ago another great of tennis, Bjorn Borg, shocked the world of tennis by announcing his intention to auction five of his Wimbledon singles trophies for 'financial security.'

Borg later decided not to sell the trophies after receiving phone calls from several former tennis stars, including John McEnroe.