Why not interview the man. Ivan Lendl International Junior Tennis Academy used it’s blog to interview Lendl. Good interview. Here are some excerpts:
What bring you the most joy in the process of working with these kids?
“I really enjoyed to see the kids and how much they improve. When they are working on something, and I could give a bunch of examples…when they are working on something and then I see them a month or two months later and they have improved also having results, having good results; going to tournaments and winning some trophies and beating players they were not beating before they came to our academy. That’s what I really like.”
What is the biggest challenge in working with Andy for you and/or Andy?
“I can not speak for Andy so I am not going to. For me, the travel. I don’t like the travel. I have traveled so much in my life that whenever I have to go somewhere, it’s the worst part of what we do together. The best parts are when we are on the court and we are preparing and practicing. I like the practice weeks a lot more than the tournament weeks because it’s more fun. You get to interact more and also you see how much better he can get or how much he is getting.”
Read the whole interview – HERE
“The Slice” blog came up with this You Tube video of an Andy Murray interview with Green carpet hosts Colin Fleming and Jean-Julien Rojer
You wouldn’t mess with Marat Safin. And you certainly wouldn’t mess with his mum. Rauza Islanova was a good enough player to be ranked in the top five in the former Soviet Union but it is in her role as coach that she came to prominence, with Safin, his sister Dinara Safina, Anna Kournikova and Elena Dementieva all coming through the famous Spartak Club in Moscow, where Marat’s father happened to be the director. Islanova used to take Marat along to the club when she was working and coached the future world No 1 between the ages of six and 13, before sending him packing to Spain, where facilities were much easier to come by. Famed as a hard task-master, she knew her own mind and was never afraid to speak it.
Needless to say, there were times when he children didn’t listen to her but her track record is second to none. Both Safin and Safina became No 1 and many, many more made it thanks to her coaching and moulding.
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Judy, a former Scottish national champion (she was the tartan Chris Evert), did not take kindly to past suggestions by Boris Becker and others that she was too closely involved with Andy’s career. “The apron strings stuff is ridiculous – Andy lives in Surrey, and lived in Wandsworth, South London, for a number of years before that. I have always lived in Scotland. But there are people who really think I travel with him around the world telling him what to do. I only attend six or seven competitions a year. There have been times when I have been around more often, but that has been when he is having a tough time and needs support.”
As Steve Bierley, the former tennis correspondent for The Guardian, once said, “Judy Murray should be held personally responsible for the ills of British tennis; she stopped producing children after she had Andy.”
Read the Whole article on Rauza Islanova – HERE
Read the Whole article on Judy Murray – HERE
Fish or chips? Richard Shepherd (Facebook)
“That’s a tough question, because it’s kind of suggesting the fish you get with fish and chips. I would never have battered fish, like cod from the chip shop. So I’ll go for chips.”
Which former player would you most like to have had a chance to play? Simon Preece
“My coach, Ivan Lendl. No question. I hadn’t watched many of his matches until I started working with him, then I started to watch some videos of his big matches. Now that I know him and have watched him a lot, he would be the most fun guy to go play. He was incredibly consistent, very rarely played a bad match, he did everything well – served well, good forehand, passed well, moved well.
“He improved his volleys a lot towards the end of his career as well to try and win Wimbledon. That was the sort of guy he was. He could have won more Slams, for sure. He missed a French Open to prepare better for Wimbledon, and when he started playing the Aussie that was on grass too. If the Aussie was on hard courts, I think he would have won more. Would I have beaten him? Depends on the surface. I think on clay he would have beaten me, on grass I think I might have beaten him and on hard courts… it would have been a good match!”
Thanx to “The Slice” blog
The fall-out from Lance Armstrong’s drugs confessions has reached the other side of the world. Leading players here at the Australian Open have been united in their condemnation of the American cyclist and several have backed the calls, first made by Andy Murray at the end of last year, for more blood tests. Most importantly, the International Tennis Federation is to increase its budget for drug testing and is set to introduce biological passports, along the lines of those used in cycling.
Novak Djokovic revealed here that he had not been blood-tested for “six or seven months”. In 2011 only 21 tennis players worldwide – 18 men and three women – were blood-tested out of competition by the ITF, which administers the sport’s anti-doping programme, and by the World Anti-Doping Agency. Murray, who had a maximum of three such tests in 2011 and none at all in 2010, says he would welcome more.
Read more – HERE
Good recap of the Wednesday action at the Australian Open on Tennis X blog (CLICK HERE)
TENNIS-X NEWS, NOTES, QUOTES AND BARBS
Roger Federer has 17 wins over Nikolay Davydenko. Davydenko has just one win in his last 17 matches against Top 10 players…Hard luck case Brian Baker will need right knee surgery and will be out four months after tearing his lateral meniscus today against Sam Querrey…Want some streaks? We got them: Serena Williams has won 17 straight matches…Ryan Harrison has lost 16 straight matches to Top 10 players…Novak Djokovic has won 17 straight at the Australian Open…Andy Murray has won his last 8 Grand Slam matches…Venus Williams has won 7 straight matches…Aggie Radwasnka is on an 11-match win streak, winning all 22 sets…Lukas Lacko has lost 13 straight matches to Top 10ers…Bernard Tomic has won all 9 matches this year…And after leading 5-2 in the third set against Zheng Jie, Sam Stosur is on a 5-game losing streak…Who will have a better career,Madison Keys or Donna Vekic?…Serena Williams and Venus are still scheduled for doubles later Thursday, so maybe the right ankle is OK. Then again maybe not…Andy Murray’s worst Grand Slam loss by ranking was to No. 91 Arnuad Clement, today he’ll face No. 100 Joao Sousa…For the second straight year no Australian women reached the third round at the Australian Open… Ther is more to this section at the link above.
The point at 5:45 was one of the best points all year.
This was a cat-and-mouse exchange that lasted way longer than any live spectators anticipated.
To see all the video’s – CLICK HERE
- Are These The 10 Best Shots Of The 2012 ATP Season? [Video] (tennis-x.com)
From the ATP web site.
2012 By The Numbers… Novak’s 5 M.P. Saved Tops List
First-Time ATP Winners
Only one player won his first ATP World Tour title in 2012, compared with 10 in 2011. As players competing for their first ATP World Tour title went 1-15 in finals this season, 23-year-old Martin Klizan was the only breakthrough, triumphing at the St. Petersburg Open with a straight-sets win over Fabio Fognini. He became the first Slovakian to win a tour title since Dominik Hrbaty triumphed at Marseille in February 2004.
It was a mark of how competitive the ATP World Tour was in 2012 that the longest winning streak any player was able to put together was Roger Federer’s run of 16 matches in February-March. In 2011, Novak Djokovic had opened with a staggering 41-0 mark, while a year earlier Nadal had compiled a 24-match winning run.
Winning Titles Without Losing A Set
Rafael Nadal reminded the tennis world of his clay-court supremacy in 2012, winning three titles at Monte-Carlo, Barcelona and Rome without the loss of a set. Novak Djokovic was also able to win an ATP World Tour Masters 1000 title with a clean slate over six matches, retaining his title in Miami.
See the whole article – HERE
“Tennis Connected” has released their predictions of the year end top 10 players on the ATP tour. See if you agree. Better yet, write it down and see if you do better at the end of the year. Here is a few excerpts from this years article:
1. Novak Djokovic: Pound for pound, I can’t see anyone playing better on all four surfaces next year than Djokovic. He’s exceptional on hard-courts (the bulk of the season) and his clay and grass results are only second to Nadal and Federer. He’ll have his share of points to defend in ‘13, but nothing like what he faced in 2012. That being said, Djokovic should start strong and benefit from the 1500 points he gained at the WTF.
2. Andy Murray: It should be a good year for Murray, but not good enough for No. 1. The clay will again hurt his chances at the top spot, while the immense pressure at Wimbledon (even more pressure than before if you can believe it) should strike him there, and let’s not forget about his defense in New York later that summer. If there’s one solace for Murray over the upcoming season, it will be the Masters events. Not performing well in the elite tournaments in ‘12, Murray will have tons of room to improve.
9. Marin Cilic: From what I’ve seen from Cilic the past few seasons, I truly believe it’s only a matter of time before he starts challenging for majors. He’s got the height and court speed to give anyone fits, and his lack of fan fare will bode well for him in the coming years. Don’t look for Marin to be in a slam final in the next 12 months, but I think it’s reasonable to predict that he’ll be more of a factor on a regular basis.
A Few of the Comments:
Shalomo on December 4th, 2012 1:05 pm
I predict Nishikori will make it into Top 10 – not Cilic. Raonic will probably be 8-9. Nadal will have 0 points to defend for half the year so he’ll rebound to number one.
Kate on December 4th, 2012 12:44 pm
I’d be surprised if Ferrer finishes as low as number 8. He’s made real improvements to his game – serve, court positioning, transition game to the net, more aggressive groundstrokes. These improvements have enabled him to have a dominant record over Del Potro, Berdych, Tsonga, Tipsarevic and Gasquet this year. Whilst it’ll be hard to repeat the 7 titles, I think he will have another successful season. I think he and Del Potro will end the year ranked 5 and 6, in any order.
To read the entire article and to even add your opinion – CLICK HERE
and HERE for last years top 10 predictions.
On that fateful morning, Murray was with his older brother Jamie, who was 10–both had been making their way to the gym, fortunately they were told to hide under a desk in the headmaster’s study and survived the horrific attack. Hamilton had burst into the gym and began firing shots indiscriminately; his victims were aged between 5 and 6 years old. After three minutes, Hamilton turned his gun on himself.
In his book, Murray talks about how he had attended a youth group run by Hamilton and how his mother sometimes gave him rides in her car. Murray writes, “the weirdest thing was that we knew the guy [Hamilton]. He had been in my mum’s car. It’s obviously weird to think you had a murderer in your car, sitting next to your mum.”
The British number 1 tennis star also described why he finds it so difficult to recall all those memories from that day, writing “that is probably another reason why I don’t want to look back at it. It is just so uncomfortable to think that it was someone we knew from the Boys Club. We used to go to the club and have fun. Then to find out he’s a murderer was something my brain couldn’t cope with.” Hauntingly, Murray said “I could have been one of those children.”
In an interview by ESPN, Murray’s mother Judy described the moment she received that difficult call from the school saying, ”I said nothing, grabbed my car keys and jumped in the car and made my way over like every other mom,” adding ”(it’s) the worst thing, the worst thing you could imagine having to go through in your life kind of sitting, waiting not knowing whether your child was alive or dead you can’t imagine what that was like.”
Murray’s grandparents were also interviewed by ESPN. His grandmother Shirley Erskine told the sports channel ”I think deep within him he wanted to do something, to put Dunblane on the map for the right reasons rather than the wrong reasons.”
Read the whole article at:
Matt Cronin’s tennisreporters.net came up with it’s year end Top 50 Men. The top 5 were Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray and David Ferrer. The article has two paragraphs on each player.
Here are few excerpts:
Novak Djokovic: Yes, in 2012, he only won one major, the Aussie Open, but he also reached the Roland Garros final, the Wimbledon semis, the US Open final and when a lot of chips were on the line heading into the fall over who the Player of the Year was, he grabbed Shanghai and the ATP World Finals to seal POY honors.
David Ferrer: Has there ever been a more beloved world No. 5 than the gritty and gusty Ferrer? Perhaps not. Everyone loves his hustle, the way he always fight to the last ball, how much he has improved his serve and has been willing to go on the attack more. But while he clearly had a better year than anyone ranked below him, he didn’t even end the year ranked higher than Nadal, who stopped playing in late June.
As Ferrer has said, it’s more than possible that every member of the Big 4 is simply better than he is. In 2012, he went 0-3 against Djokovic and Nadal, ran his record to 0-14 vs. Federer with two losses, and split matches with Murray. He needs to go after the ball more against those players, but it is altogether possible that outside of Murray, that even if he does, he will be pushed back. But here’s hoping he reaches his first Slam final in 2013 in great shape because it would be a lot of fun to see the 30 year old sprinting wall to wall to in an attempt to win his first major. That would cap off one of the most dedicated careers of any 21st century competitor.
Read the whole article – HERE
- Former world number 2 tennis player Andrea Jaeger traveled to Scotland after 16 children shot in Dunblane school massacre in 1996
- Jaeger mentored and comforted 2012 U.S. Open Champion Andy Murray
Sixteen years ago tennis player Andrea Jaeger was so touched by the devastating massacre of 16 children at Dunblane, Scotland, in 1996 that she flew 5,000 miles to help and helped inspire U.S. Open champion Andy Murray.
Today she unfortunately found herself once again at the scene of a brutal school shooting as she arrived to lay flowers at the makeshift memorial of Sandy Hook Elementary.
Speaking of her humanitarian work with her Little Star foundation, Andrea, 47, said she hoped that one child from the tragic Connecticut school could one day emulate Murray.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2248714/I-came-lay-flowers-offer-help-Woman-comforted-Dunblane-massacre-survivors-1996-inspired-tennis-champion-Andy-Murray-arrives-Sandy-Hook.html#ixzz2FBj0Om4Z
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‘I arrived around one week after the attack and brought as many tennis rackets as I could with me from Colorado,’ said Andrea (who was a former world number two and retired in 1987).
‘The kids were shaken up, but some like Andy who had to hide (during the shootings) were quiet and seemed haunted.
‘We set up a net and a court, and we played a game of tennis.
‘Andy was already playing tennis by then and he definitely had an idea of how to hold a grip and he successfully passed me on the court.
‘He was small but pretty good.
‘Of course he had to hide during the attack (carried out by the 43-year-old gunman Thomas Hamilton) and a lot of people didn’t really know till recently that he was even there during the massacre.’
DUNBLANE MASSACRE – March 1996
On 13 March 1996, unemployed former shopkeeper Thomas Hamilton, 43, walked into the Dunblane Primary School armed with four handguns. He shot and killed 16 children and one adult before committing suicide.
Future tennis champion Andy Murray attended the school at the time and was forced to take cover in a classroom. Murray has previously stated that he was too young to understand what was happening and is reluctant to talk about it in interviews.
In his autobiography Hitting Back he states that he attended a youth group run by Hamilton, and that his mother gave Hamilton lifts in her car.
Excerpted from The Daily Mail
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2248714/I-came-lay-flowers-offer-help-Woman-comforted-Dunblane-massacre-survivors-1996-inspired-tennis-champion-Andy-Murray-arrives-Sandy-Hook.html#ixzz2FBkNLiKw
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- Andy Murray reveals his pride at helping hometown Dunblane to heal (dailyrecord.co.uk)
- Andy Murray: Since the Olympics I walk down the street with my head up (guardian.co.uk)
My heart goes out to all those poor children, their families and the community in Newtown in Connecticut, so so sad
“I think, on the men’s side Andy Murray will be difficult to beat this year,” Tiley said. “Novak is a defending champion, he is playing great tennis, he is obviously tough to beat, but I think Andy Murray is someone who we are going to see even more.”
“In the women’s draw, I think, Maria,” Tiley said. “I think she was probably playing the best tennis at the end of the year. Azarenka is playing great tennis and she won here last year obviously and this was her first breakthrough.”
So what are the odds?
On the Men’s side you can pay as little as 5/4 for Novak Djokovic (meaning a bet of four Euro’s will win you 5 Euro’s so you wil get back 9 Euro’s, the 5 you won plus the 4 you bet). You can get as high as 32/21 for a bet on Djokovic. Andy Murray is anywhere from 9/4 to 41/12. Roger Federer 15/4 to 59/10. Rafa is between 5/1 and 8/1. The reason the odds are in Euro’s is because gambling on sports is legal in London. If you want to take a chance on am American long shot you can get anywhere from 50/1 to 379/1 on John Isner. If you really want a long shot you can get 1,000/1 on Donald Young.
On the Women’s side Bet365 lists Serena Williams at 6/4; Victoria Azarenka at 11/4; Maria Sharapova at 7/1; Petra Kvitova at 9/1 and Christina McHale will bring in between 200/1 and 300/1.