Petra Kvitova Scoops Top WTA Player Prize:
In probably the least surprising revelation of the year, Petra Kvitova dominated the WTA awards by scooping four prizes, including player of the year. The 21-year-old lifted her first Grand Slam at Wimbledon, climbed to victory at the WTA Finals in Istanbul and then led her Czech Republic side to Fed Cup victory in the final against Russia. Starting the year as the world’s No.34, she finished just behind Caroline Wozniacki as the world No.2. “This season has been simply a dream,” Kvitova said. “It is an incredible honour to win the player of the year award and join the ranks of some of the best players that have ever played the sport, especially Martina Navratilova. I will always cherish the 2011 season and look forward to building on it.” Kvitova also walked away with the gongs for the most improved player of the year, the fan’s favourite breakthrough of the year and the Karen Krantzcke Sportsmanship Award awarded for professionalism, attitude and sense of fair play. Germany’s Sabine Lisicki won comeback player of the year for her titles at Dallas and Birmingham and for reaching the Wimbledon semis where she lost to Maria Sharapova. Kvitova’s fellow Czech Kveta Peschke and her Slovenian partner Katarina Srebotnik won doubles team of the year, and Romania’s Irina-Camelia Begu won newcomer of the year after rising from No.214 to No.38 in the world during 2011. Agnieszka Radwanska picked up the award for the fans’ singles player of the year, while Victoria Azarenka and Maria Kirilenko were voted their doubles pairing of the year. Finally, Italian star Francesca Schiavone was given the Player Service Award for being the player who did the most to help her fellow pros through the WTA Players’ Council.
Novak Djokovic- Andy Murray and Rafa Nadal -Roger Federer in London:
The draw for the ATP World Finals was made on Tuesday with two sets of great friends and rivals set to do battle. World number one Novak Djokovic was placed in Group A alongside good friend Andy Murray, David Ferrer and Tomas Berdych. 2010 finalists Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer will do battle in Group B alongside Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Mardy Fish. Djokovic beat Murray for his first Grand Slam of the year in Australia back in January although Murray won their last encounter in the Cincinnati final. Nole was, however, forced to pull out halfway through with a shoulder injury. Federer won the final between him and Nadal last year, while Tsonga will not relish facing him again so soon after his disappointing Paris final defeat last weekend. That game will come up first on Sunday afternoon, before Nadal and Fish do battle in the evening session. Murray will go in to the fight against Ferrer on Monday afternoon, before Djokovic faces Berdych in the evening. In the doubles, the Bryan brothers were paired with Mahesh Bhupathi/Leander Paes, Robert Lindstedt/Horia Tecau and Jurgen Melzer/Philipp Petzschner in Group A, while Michael Llodra/Nenad Zimonjic will do battle with Daniel Nestor/Max Mirnyi, Rohan Bopanna/Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi and Mariusz Fyrstenberg/Marcin Matkowski in Group B.
It was a good time all round for Roger Federer in Paris last week. He finally broke his second Paris hoodoo, having at last secured the French Open title in 2009, by defeating Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-1, 7-6(3) in the final of the Paris Masters. Just being in the final made him the first man to ever reach that stage of all the ATP Masters 1000 events, and by winning the title he is now one behind Rafael Nadal’s record of 19 Masters titles on the all-time list. It means he goes in to this weekend’s ATP Tour Finals on a 12-match winning streak and that he won’t finish a season without a Grand Slam or a Masters title for the first time since 2001. His victory over Juan Monaco in the quarter-finals was also the 800th of his career. “I’m amazed by how well I played,” Federer said of his time in the French capital. “I’m really ecstatic to have played so well this week from the first ball to the end. I had many attempts to win Paris-Bercy and for some reasons I had not been able to win it earlier, so it’s a special victory.”
Costa Praying for Rafael Nadal and David Ferrer:
Spanish Davis Cup captain Alberto Costa has revealed he isn’t worried about Rafa Nadal and David Ferrer having to make the quick transition from the ATP Finals hard courts to clay for their upcoming Davis Cup final with Argentina, but he is concerned that one of them might pick up an injury during their time in London. Speaking of the Argentines, he also admitted he wasn’t sure who they would be using. “They will come with five players,” Costa said. “Del Potro and Nalbandian are the strong base, but do not rule out that Nalbandian may not play the first day [in singles]. And the doubles may be [Juan] Monaco, [Juan Ignacio] Chela, or [Eduardo] Schwank. Del Potro is getting his level back [to where it was] before his wrist injury, and next year will be back on top,” he continued. “And Nalbandian has been injured, but we know that he’ll be ready for Seville. He’s a super talent who has not won a regular basis because of physical problems. But in a particular week he can play great. They are very dangerous, balanced and tough.”
Andy Roddick Criticises ATP Structure:
Andy Roddick is really starting to show his age by becoming increasingly more grumpy with the world. This time, he has taken a swipe at the ATP leadership structure, stating that the current set-up doesn’t favour the CEO, which is why that seat seems to be constantly changing. Currently, the seven-man board consists of three player representatives, three tournament representatives and the CEO to give a deciding vote should he need to. Roddick feels that unfair pressure has seen his career span three men in that position. Current incumbent Adam Helfant will leave the role on December 31, with Roddick hoping something can be done to make the next one stick around more long-term. “I think at a certain point you have to look at the system as being flawed as opposed to continually looking for the scapegoat,” he said. “You don’t go into negotiation and have someone represent both sides. It just doesn’t happen in any business transaction or negotiation. I don’t think it’s the CEO’s fault. It’s an impossible situation. I think the system is suspect. Hopefully someone can get in there and win the battle of rhetoric one of these times and get someone to approve some changes. But under the present system, he really can’t. Some of the good ol’ boys club have it figured out pretty good. It’s not an easy position. It’s not as if we haven’t had smart people.”
Leander Paes Denies Mahesh Bhupathi Split:
Leander Paes has denied reports that he and Mahesh Bhupathi are about to end their doubles partnership with the latter eyeing a pairing with Rohan Bopanna, one eye on next summer’s Olympics in London. “As things currently stand, Mahesh and me have not yet decided to part ways as such,” Paes told MiD DAY. “We have the all-important ATP World Tour Finals that begin on Sunday and after that tournament we will sit down together to have a discussion to decide about our respective futures. When Mahesh and me got together (after nine years) we had clearly announced that we would take the partnership ahead one month at a time and see how things pan out. It was never a long-term thing. But having said that, we have not yet decided to part ways as such.’”
Carlos Moya Back at No.1:
Spaniard Carlos Moya completed a perfect debut season on the ATP Champions Tour by winning his fourth-straight title 6-3, 6-4 over Mariano Zabaleta in the Royal Guard Champions final in Santiago, Chile. In turn he secured the year-end No.1 ranking. “For the first year to finish at No.1 is all I could hope for, it’s great,” said Moya. “After I lost to Thomas [Enqvvist] this week I knew I had to try to beat Mark [Philippoussis] in straight sets, not just for a final place but to get those extra rankings points as well. And I was on my way to doing that and then suddenly I got a bit tired, he started to play a bit better and I had to save match point to get the victory. Then I had to wait for [Agustin] Calleri to beat Enqvist before I knew my fate so it has been very up and down this week with the rankings. I was lucky in some ways but now I am very relieved that I am sure to be No. 1 at the end of the year.”
Guy Forget About the Davis Cup:
L’Equipe is reporting that Guy Forget is about to step down as the French Davis Cup captain to take over the tournament director’s job at the Paris-Bercy Masters. Henri Leconte, Arnaud Clement, Sebastien Grosjean and Amelie Mauresmo are names they are touting as possible successors.
Venus Williams Goes Green:
Venus Williams has revealed at a sports conference in Qatar that she has added a lot more vegetables to her diet after discovering that she was suffering from Sjogren’s syndrome earlier this year. The 31-year-old added that she hoped the changes would help her play a full schedule next year. “I changed my diet completely, so lots of vegetables,” she said. “I (altered) my mind frame completely because I was the person who always ate their steak first and their salad second. My goal next year is to play a full schedule. It will take some work to get there, but I’m no stranger to hard work. I love the game. The racket feels right in my hand and I’m planning on going right back to where I was at the top of the rankings in the singles and doubles sometime within the next 12 months.”
Rankings Almost Finalised for 2011:
With most players’ seasons now over for 2011 the South African Airways ATP World Rankings almost have a finished look. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga climbs above Tomas Berdych going in to the ATP Finals in London, while Janko Tipsarevic climbs two to No.9 to finish his year in the Top 10. American John Isner climbs six and he will finish the year in the Top 20 at No.18. Philipp Kohlschreiber is up eight to No.43 in the world, while Tommy Robredo drops out of the Top 50. Carlos Berlocq (No.65) and Nicolas Mahut (No.78) climb 10, while Tobias Kamke leaps 16 places to No.92 in the world, and Jeremy Chardy is up seven to No.97.