Late Summer Injuries:
Roger Federer has pulled out of next month’s Shanghai Masters, citing a need to “rest and recuperate” some “niggling injuries” following a long summer. He hasn’t been seen since Switzerland’s impressive win over Australia to return to the World Group of Davis Cup play and his next scheduled tournament after he ruled himself out of the Asian event is his home show; the Swiss Indoors, Basel, starting October 31. “After consultation with my team, I’ve unfortunately decided to pull out of the Shanghai Masters in order to take some necessary time to rest and recuperate after a long summer,” said the 16-time Grand Slam winner. “I have very fond memories of Shanghai so I will miss this amazing tournament and all my loyal Chinese fans, but I look forward to returning to China next fall.” World number one Novak Djokovic has also announced he will not be participating in the China Open, one of the warm-up tournaments leading up to the Shanghai Masters. The current Australian Open, US Open and Wimbledon champion pulled out of Serbia’s recent Davis Cup defeat to Argentina to relinquish their grip on the trophy, and hasn’t recovered sufficiently.
Murray Plays Down Strike Talk:
Following the talk last week of a potential player strike should the ATP fail to listen to player’s complaints about an overcrowded season, world No.4 Andy Murray has again played down the rumours of an upcoming strike, insisting it will only be a last resort. “We’re only proposing small chances, a few less mandatory events and some more rest periods,” he told reporters at the Kuala Lumpur Open. “Tennis is in a great place right now and no one is yet talking about a strike. There are just a few minor things we’d like to see changed and we hope to sit with the ATP and other officials and discuss them. Two or three more weeks off a season is what we are thinking of. There is no rush. I never said anyone wanted to strike, we hope it doesn’t come to that. But we do want some small changes. I don’t think we’re talking about anything major. We’d like to talk and see what can be done. It would be good to see changes made sooner rather than later.”
Clijsters back to Square One:
Belgian ace Kim Clijsters has confirmed she has split with her coach Wim Fissette in order to return to working with Carl Maes. “Wim does not feel entirely in place in his current role in Kim’s coaching team and wants to go his own way,” a statement read. Elsewhere, Jelena Dokic has confirmed she is again working with her previously estranged father, Damir, and that he has “changed greatly”. In an official statement, she said: “My partner Tin Bikic and I have visited my father at his home to finally put an end to our disagreement. I initiated the meeting as I want to reunite my family and allow us all to get on with our lives and be happy. This has gone on too long. I am in a very positive and confident frame of mind in my life and I really wanted to do this because I believe it is the right thing to do both for me and for all of my family. My father was very receptive and I believe he has changed greatly. He understands that I am my own person who makes my own decisions.” Young American Melanie Oudin has also returned to USTA coach Tom Gullikson after splitting with Brian DeVilliers.
Mayer Joins Winner’s Circle:
Germany’s Florian Mayer lifted his first ATP Tour title at the BRD Nastase Tiriac Trophy last week, becoming the first German to win there. Having lost all four of his previous finals he made light work of Spain’s Pablo Andujar, racking up a 6-3, 6-1 win in just 72 minutes. “The beginning was not perfect, I was so nervous today,” said Mayer. “I wanted to win so badly. My legs were heavy. I was lucky at the beginning, he was 3-1, 40/15 up in the first set. Today he made some untypical mistakes and once I got a break in the second set I relaxed and played better.” Andujar seemed disappointed when he said: “There was a point at 3-1, 40/15 when I hit a double fault and it completely changed the match. Maybe he got more confident and I lost some of my confidence.”
Scheepers another Maiden Winner:
South African Chanelle Scheepers was celebrating her maiden debut title too last week after defeating Magdalena Rybarikova in straight sets to take the WANLIMA Guangzhou International Women’s Open 6-2, 6-2. She became the first woman from her country to win a WTA title since Amanda Coetzer won at Acapulco in 2003. “All of my other matches were tough, but today was the day it all clicked,” said the 27-year-old. “I thought I was hitting my groundstrokes well. I was really consistent and tried to move her around. I didn’t give her a lot of mistakes. I don’t remember much about the match point. I was so in the moment. I know it was a long point, but it seemed so long ago. I was fighting every match [in the tournament] – all of them were difficult in their own way.”
Bryans Take Tennis to San Quentin:
In the full knowledge that the prison ran a strict “no hostage” policy, the Bryan brothers went in to the infamous San Quentin last week to give tennis clinics to some of the inmates. Donning their Wimbledon whites, and only able to take their racquets and photo Ids with them, they went behind bars to take on inmates of one of the USA’s most hostile prisons. Despite admitting early nerves, they soon got in to the swing of things with their new company. “When Mike and I stepped on the court, everyone stopped what they were doing and gathered around. My hands were shaking as I hit the first few balls but as the time went by and we got to talk to the guys, I loosened up,” said Bob in an online column for the ATP. “I was blown away by the genuine enthusiasm these guys had for our sport. They would cheer, clap, and heckle their fellow inmates as they tried to take us on in doubles. I had a laugh when I heard a few of them had lost packs of “smokes” because of our first round US Open loss. Oops!”
Chakvetadze to Turn to Politics?:
World No.157 Anna Chakvetadze has announced that she is set to run for parliament in her native Russia. The 24-year-old is one of three parliamentary candidates put forward by the Right Cause Party; a pro-business group with public support. Without a title since the Slovenia Open last year, she has missed most of 2011 with a mystery illness and appears to be looking at other lines of work. Whether she will be able to continue her tennis career if she is successful is unknown.
Baghdatis Hits Double Century:
Cypriot Marcos Baghdatis’ win over the American Alex Bogomolov Jr at the Kuala Lumpur Open in Malaysia was the 200th win of his professional career.
Nadal and Tipsarevic Bare All:
World No.2 Rafael Nadal and Serbia’s Janko Tipsarevic have both stripped bare for underwear modelling campaigns. Nadal has followed up his summer work with Armani by modelling their new undies range, while Tipsarevic is making his first foray in to the world of modelling with his new shoot for Extreme Intimo. “I lead a very active and dynamic lifestyle and that can be quite arduous sometimes,” said Tipsarevic. “I like feeling good in my own skin, which is to be expected because it is only through comfort, quality and safety that I can overcome all the obstacles and achieve my goals.”
Tsonga on the Rise:
Following on from his title win at Metz last week France’s Jo-Wilfried Tsonga has risen three places to No.7 in the South African Airways ATP World Rankings this week. The race for the ATP Tour finals is now hotting up and he appears to be making his move at the right time. His countryman Gael Monfils is the unlucky man to drop out of the qualification spots. Italy’s Andreas Seppi is in to the Top 50 at No.49 while Argentina’s Maximo Gonzalez jumps 19 to enter the Top 100 at No.91, Allejandro Falla jumps 21 to No.93 and Italy’s Flavio Cipolla is up six to No.96. Chanelle Scheepers celebrated her maiden WTA Tour title by jumping from No.73 to No.41 in the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour Rankings to cap a memorable week for the South African. Croatia’s Petra Martic is at a career-high No.47 this week while Magdalena Rybarikova re-enters the Top 50 after her Guangzhou final defeat to Scheepers. Urszula Radwanska (No.88) and Stephanie Foretz Gacon (No.98) are back in to the Top 100.