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Nadal, Murray, Azarenka and Venus in Action at Sony Ericsson Open

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Nadal, Murray, Azarenka and Venus in Action at Sony Ericsson Open



Action at the 2012 Sony Ericsson Open gets under way today with Andy Murray taking on Alejandro Falla on Stadium Court. Murray is hoping for a repeat performance of 2009 where he was the champion in Miami. Top seed and world number one Victoria Azarenka begins her quest to defend her title in Miami when she faces off with Michaella Krajicek.

In the night session, three-time Sony Ericsson Open champion Venus Williams goes up against the reigning Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova. That match will be followed by Rafael Nadal versus Santiago Giraldo.
Nadal, a three-time runner-up in Miami is looking to secure his first Sony Ericsson Open title after losing in an epic third set tie breaker last year to Novak Djokovic.

Here is today’s complete order of play :

Friday, March 23, 2012

STADIUM Start 11:00 am

Alejandro Falla (COL) v [4] Andy Murray (GBR) ATP
Vania King (USA) v [15] Ana Ivanovic (SRB) WTA
[1] Victoria Azarenka (BLR) v Michaella Krajicek (NED) WTA
Nikolay Davydenko (RUS) v [10] John Isner (USA) ATP

Not Before 7:30 PM
[3] Petra Kvitova (CZE) v [WC] Venus Williams (USA) WTA
Santiago Giraldo (COL) v [2] Rafael Nadal (ESP) ATP

GRANDSTAND Start 11:00 am

[13] Gilles Simon (FRA) v [Q] Roberto Bautista-Agut (ESP) ATP
David Nalbandian (ARG) v [9] Janko Tipsarevic (SRB) ATP
[Q] Madison Keys (USA) v [5] Agnieszka Radwanska (POL) WTA
[11] Francesca Schiavone (ITA) v Ksenia Pervak (KAZ) WTA

Not Before 5:00 PM

[7] Tomas Berdych (CZE) v Nicolas Mahut (FRA) ATP
Marcos Baghdatis (CYP)/Sam Querrey (USA) v
[7] Leander Paes (IND)/Radek Stepanek (CZE) ATP

COURT 1 Start 11:00 am

[9] Vera Zvonareva (RUS) v [WC] Garbine Muguruza Blanco (ESP) WTA
[6] Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA) v Xavier Malisse (BEL) ATP
[25] Radek Stepanek (CZE) v Tommy Haas (GER) ATP
[20] Daniela Hantuchova (SVK) v [Q] Kateryna Bondarenko (UKR) WTA

Not Before 5:00 PM
Polona Hercog (SLO) v [7] Marion Bartoli (FRA) WTA

COURT 2 Start 11:00 am

Anna Tatishvili (GEO) v [16] Dominika Cibulkova (SVK) WTA
[WC] Alisa Kleybanova (RUS) v [22] Maria Kirilenko (RUS) WTA
[26] Milos Raonic (CAN) v [Q] Arnaud Clement (FRA) ATP
[16] Kei Nishikori (JPN) v Lukas Lacko (SVK) ATP
Grigor Dimitrov (BUL) v [29] Juan Ignacio Chela (ARG) ATP

COURT 3 Start 11:00 am

[18] Angelique Kerber (GER) v Jie Zheng (CHN) WTA
[18] Alexandr Dolgopolov (UKR) v [Q] Antonio Veic (CRO) ATP
[WC] Heather Watson (GBR) v [27] Lucie Safarova (CZE) WTA
[1] Liezel Huber (USA)/Lisa Raymond (USA) v
Julia Goerges (GER)/Samantha Stosur (AUS) WTA
[WC] Gisela Dulko (ARG)/Paola Suarez (ARG) v
[2] Kveta Peschke (CZE)/Katarina Srebotnik (SLO) WTA

COURT 5 Start 11:00 am

Robin Haase (NED) v [22] Jurgen Melzer (AUT) ATP
[19] Florian Mayer (GER) v Ivan Dodig (CRO) ATP
Marcelo Melo (BRA)/Juan Monaco (ARG) v
[WC] James Blake (USA)/Ryan Harrison (USA) ATP

COURT 6 Start 11:00 am

[WC] Aleksandra Wozniak (CAN) v[28] Monica Niculescu (ROU) WTA
Frederico Gil (POR) v [32] Philipp Kohlschreiber (GER) ATP
Colin Fleming (GBR)/Ross Hutchins (GBR) v
Mardy Fish (USA)/Mark Knowles (BAH) ATP
Yung-Jan Chan (TPE)/Marina Erakovic (NZL) v
Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS)/Vera Zvonareva (RUS) WTA
Olga Govortsova (BLR)/Anastasia Rodionova (AUS) v
Vera Dushevina (RUS)/Shahar Peer (ISR) WTA

COURT 7 Start 11:00 am

[31] Kaia Kanepi (EST) v Silvia Soler-Espinosa (ESP) WTA
Lourdes Dominguez Lino (ESP) v [24] Flavia Pennetta (ITA) WTA
[32] Nadia Petrova (RUS) v Simona Halep (ROU) WTA
Lukas Rosol (CZE) v [24] Marcel Granollers (ESP) ATP
Jarmila Gajdosova (AUS)/Klara Zakopalova (CZE) v
Nuria Llagostera Vives (ESP)/Arantxa Parra Santonja (ESP) WTA

COURT 8 Start 11:00 am

[4] Robert Lindstedt (SWE)/Horia Tecau (ROU) v
David Marrero (ESP)/Fernando Verdasco (ESP) ATP

Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi (PAK)/Jean-Julien Rojer (NED) v
Pablo Andujar (ESP)/Carlos Berlocq (ARG) ATP

[6] Sara Errani (ITA)/Roberta Vinci (ITA) v
Raquel Kops-Jones (USA)/Abigail Spears (USA) WTA

Iveta Benesova (CZE)/Barbora Zahlavova Strycova (CZE) v
[WC] Anna-Lena Groenefeld (GER)/Petra Martic (CRO) WTA

Feliciano Lopez (ESP)/Marc Lopez (ESP) v
Florian Mayer (GER)/Viktor Troicki (SRB) ATP

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Andy Murray Speaks to the Media at the Sony Ericsson Open

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Andy Murray Speaks to the Media at the Sony Ericsson Open



Andy Murray will play his first round match at the 2012 Sony Ericsson Open on Friday. Murray, the 2009 Sony Ericsson Open champion, sat down with the media to answer questions regarding his training, the Olympics and the speed of the courts at Indian Wells versus Miami. Here is what Murray had to say.

Q.  How have things been going with you for the last couple of days here?  Obviously you’ve been practicing hard.  How’s it been?

​ANDY MURRAY:  It’s been good.  It’s been really warm, good, tough conditions to train in.  Very windy, as well, today.  It often gets like that during the tournament, so it’s actually been really good to get used to that. ​I mean, conditions are very different the last week in Indian Wells, so the only positive about playing badly there is that I got an extra few days to get ready for the tournament here, get used to the conditions a little bit longer.
 
​Q.  No aches and pains?

​ANDY MURRAY:  Yeah, everything feels good.  Again, I mean, there’s only a few things that, you know, after last week you need to look forward and then look at all the positives.  You know, that’s another thing, is the few extra days to sort of rest the body. ​It’s quite a long start to the year with the training I did before Dubai, as well.  Good to just get a few days to let things settle down and get ready.
 
​Q.  Have you been hitting mainly here or at the university?

​ANDY MURRAY:  I hit here every practice except one.  I hit at the courts off site in the Key Colony. ​But, yeah, I have been here the rest of the time.  The courts at the university are much quicker than here.  They repainted the ones here only a few weeks ago.  They were just starting to do that when I was training here before Dubai. So the court is a bit slower.
 
​Q.(MiamiTennisNews.com) Are you finding the courts here faster than Indian Wells?  What’s your take on that?

​ANDY MURRAY:  I mean, the courts at Indian Wells are very slow.  They’re also very slow here, too.  I mean, the ball, because of the dry air in the desert, is faster than it is here, so the court plays a bit slower here.
 
​Q.  With the Olympics approaching this summer at Wimbledon, how are your feelings going into it?  Are you starting to feel any pressure escalating, or going one day at a time?

​ANDY MURRAY:  Not yet.  I have been asked now pretty much every week.  I’m sure that will build up more and more in the leadup to it, but I have a lot of other things occupying my mind now other than the Olympics.  But it should be great.  ​You know, I think with it being at Wimbledon as well that will probably add an extra  add a little bit extra pressure, but also make it extra special, as well. Yeah, I was involved in the last Olympics.  I didn’t play well, but it was a great experience being around all the other athletes and stuff.  So hopefully I can have a good run there, and I look forward to it.
 
​Q.  Fernando González is going to retire this tournament.  Do you have any opinion about his career or his decision?

​ANDY MURRAY:  Yeah, well, about the decision, it’s completely his decision.  I don’t have an opinion on that. ​I have an opinion on his career, though.  I think everybody would agree he’s one of the most exciting players to watch.  He had a massive forehand, one of the biggest probably ever.  He could hit winners from anywhere on the court.  Great character.  He’s quite up and down emotionally, but that’s something that made him fun to watch.  Yeah, I practiced with him quite a lot and I get on very well with him.  He’s a really nice guy, too.  So I wish him well with his retirement.  He had a fantastic career.
 
​Q.  He is trying to find some good players to play in Chile in order to get his retirement…

​ANDY MURRAY:  Yeah, he obviously doesn’t think I’m a good player because he’s not asked me yet (Laughter.)  ​But, yeah, I’m sure there will be a lot of guys that will be up for playing some exhibitions against him and stuff.

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Djokovic to Headline Opening Weekend at The Sony Ericsson Open

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Djokovic to Headline Opening Weekend at The Sony Ericsson Open


Novak Djokovic, the 2011 Sony Ericsson Open champion, will commence the defense of his title when he takes to courts in Miami on Saturday, March 24. Djokovic will headline the evening session of the tournament’s opening weekend.

Djokovic will face a stacked field that includes Rafael Nadal and former Sony Ericsson Open Champions Roger Federer, Andy Roddick and Andy Murray.

MiamiTennisNews.com will once again be providing live media coverage from the tournament. Join our Facebook Fan page at http://www.facebook.com/MiamiTennisNews and follow us on Twitter under the user name @MiamiTennisNews at http://twitter.com/MiamiTennisNews for news, live scores, and results.

Here is the official tournament press release :

WORLD NO. 1 NOVAK DJOKOVIC TO OPEN EVENING SESSION PLAY ON SATURDAY, MARCH 24
MIAMI, Fla. (www.sonyericssonopen.com) – World No. 1 Novak Djokovic will begin his quest to defend his 2011 Sony Ericsson Open title on Saturday, March 24 (Session 10) at 8:00 p.m. Djokovic’s opponent, along with the rest of the men’s field, will be determined on Monday, March 19 when the tournament draw is announced.

The two-time Sony Ericsson Open champ (2011, 2007) has become a fan favorite in Miami having played in some of the tournament’s most thrilling matches en route to capturing the Butch Buchholz Championship Trophy.

Djokovic looks to join the company of Andre Agassi and Pete Sampras, by becoming the third man in tournament history to win at least three titles; and the first, since Roger Federer (2006, 2005), to record back-to-back wins at the Sony Ericsson Open.

Tickets to the 2012 Sony Ericsson Open are on sale now and can be purchased by phone (305-442-3367) or via internet at www.sonyericssonopen.com. An electrifying two weeks of tennis conclude with the women’s final on Saturday, March 31 and the men’s final on Sunday, April 1.

Djokovic, started the year off strong, claiming his third Australian Open title. The fun-loving Serbian star, plans to build on his remarkable 2011 campaign which saw him collect three of the four Grand Slams including, the Australian Open, Wimbledon and the US Open.

The five-time Grand Slam champion became World No. 1 on July 4, 2011 after his win at Wimbledon. Earlier this year, Djokovic received the prestigious Laureus Sportsman of the Year Award in London beating out some of the world’s best in their respective sport including Usain Bolt (Track and Field), Dirk Nowitzki (Basketball), Sebastian Vettel (Motor Racing), Lionel Messi (Soccer) and Cadel Evans (Cycling).

Djokovic will face a field featuring 10-time Grand Slam winner Rafael Nadal; 16-time Grand Slam champion and two-time Sony Ericsson Open winner Roger Federer; Grand Slam champ and two-time Sony Ericsson Open winner Andy Roddick; and 2009 Sony Ericsson Open champion Andy Murray.

ABOUT THE SONY ERICSSON OPEN: The 2012 Sony Ericsson Open will be played March 19-April 1 at the Tennis Center at Crandon Park in Miami. The two-week combined event is owned and operated by IMG and is widely regarded as the most glamorous event on the ATP and WTA Tours drawing over 300,000 guests each year including the biggest names in music, entertainment and sports. The Sony Ericsson Open is one of nine ATP World Tour Masters 1000 series events and a Premier Mandatory event on the WTA Tour, and features the top men’s and women’s tennis players in the world including defending champions Novak Djokovic and Victoria Azarenka. For ticket information, call (305) 442-3367 or visit the website at http://www.SonyEricssonOpen.com.

ABOUT SONY ERICSSON: Sony Ericsson is a 50:50 joint venture between Sony Corporation (“Sony”) and Telefonaktiebolaget LM Ericsson (“Ericsson”). In October 2011 it was announced by Sony and Ericsson that Sony will acquire Ericsson’s stake in the company and that Sony Ericsson will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Sony. The transaction is expected to close in January 2012 and is subject to regulatory approvals. Over the years Sony Ericsson has brought together the best communication technologies with superior entertainment user experiences to create its Xperia™ line of the ‘most entertaining smartphones’ in the mobile handset industry. With its global corporate functions in London, Sony Ericsson has sales and marketing operations in all major regions of the world, as well as manufacturing in China, and product development sites in China, Japan, Sweden and Silicon Valley, California. For more information, please visit: www.sonyericsson.com/press.

ABOUT IMG: IMG Worldwide is a global sports, entertainment and media business, with nearly 3,000 employees operating in 30 countries around the globe. IMG’s areas of expertise are diverse and wide ranging: IMG College; IMG’s Joint Venturesin China, Brazil and India; IMG Media; IMG Events and Federations; IMG Fashion; IMG Models; IMG Art+Commerce; IMG Clients; IMG Academies; IMG Consulting and IMG Licensing. More information is available at www.imgworld.com.

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Murray Wears Down Djokovic for Cincinnati Title

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Murray Wears Down Djokovic for Cincinnati Title


Image ©Marricio Paiz

This afternoon, Novak Djokovic tried to will his way to a tenth season title and maintain a perfect mark in finals. Unfortunately for the world number one, his body didn’t cooperate.

Broken for the second time in the second set, a mentally and physically battered Djokovic waved the white flag. Consequently, with a 6-4, 3-0 victory, Andy Murray collected his second Western and Southern Open trophy; his seventh Masters 1000 crown.

With a historic fifth Masters 1000 title this season, Djokovic was attempting for the third time to win back to back such trophies. Yet, his last two matches, Djokovic with a record of 57-1 showed signs of vulnerability.

In the quarterfinals, Djokovic dropped the opening set against Gael Monfils and had to climb back. Then in the semifinals, his opponent, Tomas Berdych served for the initial set before losing it and eventually retiring with a shoulder problem.

With Djokovic not at his best, Murray took advantage early on. By forcing his rival into errors, Murray secured the break in the opening game. With Djokovic’s forehand landing wide, Murray easily consolidated for 2-0.

Still Djokovic battled back. After fighting off a break point to hold serve in the third game, Djokovic had his first break point later in the set when Murray flubbed a backhand. Although Murray erased that one, Djokovic converted on the next to level the set at 3 all.

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Rafael Nadal Answers to the Press at Sony Ericsson Open

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Rafael Nadal Answers to the Press at Sony Ericsson Open



World number one Rafael Nadal sat down with the press this afternoon at the Sony Ericsson Open.  Nadal answered questions about Roger, Federer, Novak Djokovic, Juan Martin Del Potro and issues with his serve at Indian Wells.  On the social media front, Nadal has no plans to join Twitter at the moment. Here is his complete interview with the media.

Q. I know you’ve won almost everything in this sport, but not Miami. Is this kind of one you’d like to get? I think you’ve won 6 out of 9 Masters?

RAFAEL NADAL: No, I play every tournament with the same motivation. It’s always play well and then I gonna have a good result. In this tournament I think I had two finals, another semifinal. So I had the chances; I didn’t win. Is impossible win in every place. I just accept the challenge and try to play my best tennis. That’s only way to win the tournament where all the best players of the world are playing.

Q. Is it tougher than most because it comes right after Indian Wells and you always seem to go deep into that draw?

RAFAEL NADAL: No. No, I don’t think so.

Q. Did you consider playing in the soccer game the other night? I know you went to watch. Did you consider playing?

RAFAEL NADAL: I would love, you know, but for me is important ‑ probably most important ‑ part of the season right now since Indian Wells until Wimbledon. I had the knees problems and seriously, I don’t want any risk right now, no?

Q. What did you think of the game? We heard that Andy Murray and Baghdatis were the best players.

RAFAEL NADAL: I didn’t see all the game, because I had to work with a sponsor in another place. But they told me, yeah. But remain the star, remain me. (Laughing.) No, seriously, Baghdatis and Murray told me ‑‑ Djokovic told me that Baghdatis and Murray was playing unbelievable. They lost 5‑2, so, anyway, important thing is not the result, is the charity of the event. I think was really good because the crowd was full there, very good atmosphere. After in the dinner with Nole, I was there supporting the dinner, too. So I think was fantastic, too. That’s important, always be active in these charity events, especially for Japan at this moment.

Q. About 10 years ago you probably would have been one of the taller players on the tour. Now you play guys like Querrey and Isner, Raonic and even Djokovic and these guys are 6’3″ and higher. Do you feel like the game is going in that direction? Just gonna get taller and taller? Is it tougher to play against these guys, too?

RAFAEL NADAL: Yeah, but the best players of the world play from the baseline. That’s true. Djokovic is very good from the baseline. Federer is very good from the baseline. Myself. Last couple of years, my best quality is from the baseline. Murray is from the baseline. Soderling, too. Davydenko, too, Berdych, too. That’s true, is coming ‑‑ Del Potro is the only one, but he’s characteristic is from the baseline, too. Is true that the game is coming very tall guys, but at the end of the day, I think the best players of the world and the players who are in the top are players who plays from the baseline. Is true is not easy play against Isner, against Karlovic, against Raonic, but we will see if that is the right way to be in the top. I don’t know.

Q. Is there anything that you notice from your game at Indian Wells that you feel you could improve on in this tournament?

RAFAEL NADAL: A lot of things. (Smiling.) I think during the tournament I didn’t play really good. It wasn’t a good level for me. Semifinals and final I improved my level of tennis, but during the final my serve worked terrible. So that’s the first thing. I have to serve better if I want to have chances to compete against all the players. And from the baseline, seriously, I think I finished the tournament playing much better than the beginning of the tournament. So that’s always a very positive thing.

Q. Did you and Toni work on your serve? Did you find out what was wrong with it?

RAFAEL NADAL: We hope so, but we never know. (Smiling.) We gonna see tomorrow how it works hopefully better.

Q. What is it that you love about playing tennis?

RAFAEL NADAL: I love the competition. Yeah. I love the support in general, all the sports. Tennis is my sport, so I like the tennis and especially I love the competition.

Q. What is your perception of Djokovic? Over the years he was joking, doing impersonations, this and that. He’s still very funny, but he seems to have tried to tone down a little bit maybe. He’s playing very, very, very well now. What is your relationship with him? What do you think the perception of him among the players is?

RAFAEL NADAL: My relationship with him always was fantastic. We are close. I think he’s a funny guy, but he’s not playing now better because he’s not doing his imitations or these things. That’s for sure. You know, always the people, when somebody is playing very well, try to found the things outside of the tennis. Seriously, the only thing what matters is what’s happen inside the court. Outside the court you can do imitations all the day, or you can do anything. You can’t go out every night, that’s for sure, no? But you can do anything. You can have a really normal life and play very well or play very bad. That doesn’t affect inside the court.

What he’s doing well is he’s playing with confidence. His level probably is not much higher than three years ago or two years ago or one year ago. I always saw him as fantastic player. His potential always was very, very high. Everybody knows how good is him, and he can do what he’s doing now. He started the season like in 2008 and was the same. So is nothing new. We will see what’s going on. I think he’s a very complete player because he can play on all of the surfaces very good, and that’s an advantage. He started better than possible, so he’s in a very good position.
But the season always is long, and we will see what is going on.

Q. Novak recently joined Twitter. You’re very present on Facebook. Do you have any plans to join Twitter?

RAFAEL NADAL: Not for the moment. I happy with the Facebook. I don’t know. No, for me is enough for the moment.

Q. I want to ask you also about the Bacardi, the thing you’re involved in with drinking responsibly. Can you talk about that? I wasn’t at the event, but can you just tell us a little about that, the campaign.

RAFAEL NADAL: I think is a very important social campaign, especially I think for everybody, but for the young people more. The campaign is champions drink responsibly, but is a social campaign about if you have to go out, have a plan how to come back home safely. Is a campaign about if you go out, you don’t need to drink crazy. You can drink few glasses of alcohol, but drink alcohol‑free and drink water. Is important quality than quantity. That is the campaign, no? For sure I think everybody knows when you go out and you go for party with your friends, alcohol is part of that, part of the night. But sometimes seems like you go out and you have to drink like crazy. In my opinion, that’s not like this. That’s the campaign. I think it’s important campaign. I’m very happy to be the ambassador.

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Novak Djokovic Addresses Media at Sony Ericsson Open

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Novak Djokovic Addresses Media at Sony Ericsson Open



World number two Novak Djokovic sat down with the press this afternoon at the Sony Ericsson Open.  Djokovic answered questions about soccer, Juan Martin Del Potro, and Andy Roddick.  He also commented on his recent entry into the social media outlets of Twitter and Facebook. Here is his complete interview with the media.

Q. You’re awake. You must be really tired with all that’s been going on.

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yes, well, it’s been exhausting couple of days, you know, from Indian Wells, traveling to Colombia, playing an exhibition match ‑‑ which, by the way, was amazing and great atmosphere and great reception we got there ‑‑ and then came back and we had, of course, the charity event, football match, and then the dinner that was going on. So it was a lot of obligations, but still, it was enjoyable, because it was all for the good cause; we had a lot of fun yesterday.

Q. How are you taking your first loss of the season against the Strikers?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yes, not great. (Laughter. We scored two goals. I mean, it’s good enough for the first time, you know. We were just discussing right now in the locker room how we need to work on our game. We are planning actually to play couple of more similar charity football games throughout, you know, the next six, seven, eight months. You know, I’m not gonna say still where and when, but we have something in our minds. Hopefully we can make that happen, because most of the players really, we love playing football, and you could see that. You know, you could see that they are enjoying playing that sport and of course being very competitive, even though it was first time that we managed to become a team. But we wanted to win badly. Yeah, but it was fun.

Q. Who’s the best player?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Ah, the best player? Baghdatis. Second best, Murray. They scored both one goal and they were good.

Q. Do you worry about injuries? I mean, soccer, even if you’re playing a charity event, you could still twist your ankle or something.

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, you know, we didn’t think about that too much, to be honest, you know. (Smiling.) It was more of adrenaline rush that we had of just being there. To be honest, in the first place, everybody didn’t expect that event to be that successful. And it was incredible, you know. Big thanks to everybody who came there, and of course media and all the players, the Strikers and everybody. You know, it was a great cause obviously, and obviously and everybody felt the need to show their support. But on the other hand, it was ‑‑ you know, it was sport that we love to play, but we don’t have an opportunity to be able to play an official match with the referees. But it was great. You know, I don’t think they thought about injuries that much, but we had to sign the paper that they are not responsible for our injuries, like in States. It always works like that. (Laughter.)

Q. With everything that’s been going on, have you had a chance to reflect on what has just been an amazing start to the season?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Um, the best couple of months of my career, definitely. Um, playing really, really well on the court, feeling emotionally very stable, and I just have more self‑belief that I can play good tennis, you know, and that I can win against any player on the tour. It’s really important, you know. I always had, I think, that quality, but mentally I was having a lot of ups and downs, and I didn’t have enough confidence on the court when I played the big players in the big events. But now it’s different, you know. It took time. It took definitely time for me to come to this point where, you know, where I play, I think, the best tennis of my life. It took a lot of patience, a lot of hard work, but it all comes from that. It all comes from dedication.

Q. How did you address those mental up and downs? Was there one thing that made a difference?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: It’s very hard to make a difference between a private life and your professional life. There were some things that affected my game, you know, from private life. It was hard, for me, to kind of, you know, show my best on the court. You know, bottom line is this is mental game. Everybody’s physically fit, and, you know, everybody’s working really hard each day. But if you’re not stable emotionally, then you’re not able to perform your best on the court. Now things are coming together, so just happy for that.

Q. Can you tell me about all your experiences in Bogota?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I cannot tell you about all the experience, but I can tell you the experience that we had on the court. (Laughing.) It has been a fantastic trip for us. Even though it was very short, it was maybe one day, but we didn’t have much sleep, that’s for sure. You know, from Indian Wells we had a long travels, and we slept for a couple of hours only that day before the exhibition event. We had a lot of activities. We had a tennis clinic with sponsors, with kids, and we had a lot of media activities, as well. And then, you know, we went back to the stadium where we played the match. It was packed. I think it was 14,000 people. It was, for me, the best atmosphere in the exhibition match that I have experienced ever. I was not aware of the popularity of tennis in Colombia, to be honest. It was amazing. The president of the country came, and we really felt ‑‑ we really felt great.

Q. With all the matches you won now, is there a danger of becoming too confident?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I guess it’s never enough to have, you know ‑‑ more confidence you have, I guess, there is no limits in confidence, you know. It’s really important to be able to have a feeling that you can win against anybody in the court. I think the bottom line is that it’s all about confidence, and only couple of points basically decide the winner when you are playing against the top players, against Roger, Rafa, you know, Murray, all these guys. It’s very high level of tennis, and, you know, if you’re able to be calm in the certain moments, to be confident, to go for the shots, you know, then you will have a success. I guess in last two, three months, that’s the state of, you know ‑‑ that’s the feeling that I have right now, and it keeps on going well for me. But it’s only a start of the year. I want to move on. I’m using the experience that I had two years ago, three years ago when I won a Grand Slam, when I won Indian Wells, and then I lost here first round. I had a lot of opening‑round losses throughout the year, and I wasn’t managing to be consistent with the success. This time I will do differently.
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Spotlight Miami: The Sony Ericsson Open Has Arrived

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Spotlight Miami: The Sony Ericsson Open Has Arrived


 
The Sony Ericsson Open singles draws for the women and men have been released.  There are a bevy of potential semifinal match-ups to salivate over.

On the ATP side, Rafael Nadal, the world number one may battle 2009 finalist Tomas Berdych in the quarterfinals.

With Roger Federer dropping to the number three in the rankings, the Swiss could clash with Nadal in the semifinals.  Moreover, Federer may contend with defending champion Andy Roddick in the quarterfinals.

If the draw plays out according to the seeding, in the bottom half, David Ferrer and Robin Soderling will be slated to meet in the quarterfinals.  However, Juan Martin Del Potro could spoil that face-off.

Also located in the bottom section is the hottest player on tour, world number two Novak Djokovic. The Serb could have a rematch of this year’s Australian Open final in the quarterfinals with Andy Murray.

Whether it’s Del Potro, Ferrer or Soderling in the semifinals, at this stage, Djokovic seems ready to mow over all comers.

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Venus Withdraws from Sony Ericsson Open

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Venus Withdraws from Sony Ericsson Open



Citing an abdominal injury, Venus Williams has withdrawn from the 2011 Sony Ericsson Open.

Here is the official press release from the Sony Ericsson Open tournament :

VENUS WILLIAMS WITHDRAWS FROM SONY ERICSSON OPEN

MIAMI, Fla. (www.sonyericssonopen.com) – Three-time Sony Ericsson Open champion and
7-time Grand Slam winner, Venus Williams, has withdrawn from the 2011 Sony Ericsson Open.

Williams is forced to withdraw from this year’s tournament due to an abdominal injury she incurred earlier this year at the Australian Open. The tennis star is currently receiving ongoing rehabilitation at home and released the following statement.

“I am very sorry to not be playing in the Sony Ericsson Open this year. It is one of my favorite tournaments on the circuit, especially because it is so close to my home in South FL. I look forward to returning to the tour soon.”

“It is unfortunate that Venus Williams will be unable to play at this year’s Sony Ericsson Open. She will be missed and we wish her a speedy recovery,” said Adam Barrett, Sony Ericsson Open Tournament Director. “We hope to see her back on the courts soon.”

Despite Williams’ withdrawal fans will still be able to see exhilarating matches as the women’s field features power players including defending Sony Ericsson Open champion Kim Clijsters; current World No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki; and three-time Grand Slam champion Maria Sharapova.

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Can Nadal Make it Four in a Row or Will Federer Defend?  Australian Open Preview

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Can Nadal Make it Four in a Row or Will Federer Defend? Australian Open Preview


1969 was the year when Rod Laver accomplished the calendar grand slam for the second time.  Laver had done so previously in 1962.  At the Australian Open, Rafael Nadal will attempt to become the first person to hold all four majors simultaneously, although not in the same calendar year.  Like Nadal, Roger Federer has won three majors in a single year on multiple occasions, but never held all four.  With a historic sixteen majors, Federer, the defending champion, will be one of the competitors trying to halt Nadal from revising  the tennis annals.  Indeed, if the Australian Open draw holds up, Nadal’s route to his second title is fraught with red flags.

After seemingly comfortable initial two rounds, Nadal may see Marin Cilic in the round of 16.  Despite disappointing results the remainder of 2010 after a semifinal placement in Melbourne, for Cilic knowing that he’s gone that far at this major can be an inspiration.  Moreover, the only time these two met in 2009, Cilic was the victor. In the quarterfinals, Nadal also has a few pesky potential opponents to look forward to: Mikhail Youzhny, David Ferrer and David Nalbandian.  On any given day, these men can be a real thorn on any individual’s side.

The second part of the top half of the draw has Robin Soderling and Andy Murray as the top seeds.  Either player could clash with Nadal in the semifinals.  Soderling appears to have a favorable trek until the round of 16 where he will possibly collide with Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, the 2007 Australian Open finalist and 2010 semifinalist.  On the other hand, 2010 finalist Murray may get Juan Martin Del Potro, Marcos Baghdatis or Jurgen Melzer.  Del Potro, the 2009 U.S. Open champion, and Baghdatis, the 2006 Australian Open finalist, would be a contest for anyone.  Whether it’s Murray, Soderling or Tsonga in the semis, Nadal will have to his hands occupied in order to reach his second Australian Open final.

To say Federer is hungry for the title is an understatement considering the implications if Nadal prevails. Could Mardy Fish or Sam Querrey trouble the defending champion in the round of 16?  Possibly.  However, with Federer’s four titles out of five his last five tournaments, it’s unlikely anyone will down him early on. Both Gael Monfils and Stanislas Wawrinka have a win over Federer, but are a combined 2-11.  Therefore, it’s inconceivable that either Monfils or Wawrinka will upend Federer in the quarterfinals.  Once again, Andy Roddick may find himself in the position of needing to go through Federer to advance to the semifinals.  Despite Roddick’s 2-20 against Federer, he is the most formidable rival who can actually put a crimp in Federer’s style.

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Roger Federer Beats Rafael Nadal for His Fifth ATP World Tour Finals Title

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Roger Federer Beats Rafael Nadal for His Fifth ATP World Tour Finals Title


Today, Roger Federer claimed his fifth year-end ATP finals title with a superlative performance over a defiant, but defeated world number one, Rafael Nadal, 6-3, 3-6, 6-1.

In the 22nd meeting of an illustrious rivalry that will leave a great legacy for the game for years to come, Nadal and Federer captivated audiences world-wide with a final that sparkled with explosive shot making, drama and as many twists and turns as a Shakespeare play.

The world number one and two are polar opposites with one thing in common; an extraordinary will to win. While many began to question Federer’s mental strength following his failure to capitalize on two match points against an often mentally fragile Novak Djokovic in the semi-finals of the US Open earlier in the year, Federer seemed to have shrugged off any niggling doubts of his own authority in matches in the run up to the final.

Questions have also been raised about Nadal’s physical problems.  A shoulder injury in his serving arm caused Nadal to take a five week break before the ATP Finals and his recurring knee problems are always a concern.  Many wondered how Nadal’s body would cope after a grueling three set match against Britain’s Andy Murray in the semi-finals.   The tennis world waited with baited breath to see how the latest act in tennis’ greatest rivalry since Andre Agassi and Pete Sampras would play out.

In the opening set, Nadal described Federer as “unplayable” and it was evident from the outset that the Swiss Maestro was back to his absolute best. The players went tactically toe to toe until the seventh game when Nadal’s continued tactic of playing to Federer’s backhand backfired spectacularly.  With a superb cross court winner from that wing, Federer gained the break of serve.  Then, the former world number one closed out the first set 6-3 with a forehand winner in just 32 minutes.

But, with a dramatic swing of momentum, like an incensed lion released from its cage, Nadal characteristically pounced on Federer’s drop in form in the second set.  By switching tactics, Nadal secured a break of serve in the fourth game through working the Federer forehand with spectacular success. Federer took a tumble in the fifth game following an unkind net cord for Nadal and so did his form, allowing the Spaniard to pull ahead with a comfortable 4-1 lead.

The remainder of the second set went with serve.  Nadal held his nerve after losing the first point when serving out the set at 5-3 by finishing Federer off with a wonderfully executed backhand slice right at the master’s feet. Game on.

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