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  #21  
Старый 18th June 2004, 15:36
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Re: Зарубежная пресса о теннисе

Начало серии статей известного тренера Дэна Торпа о лучших теннисистах современности:

BBC's Sport Academy

What makes a top tennis star?



Have you ever been amazed by the skills of your favourite tennis stars and wondered just how they do it?
We asked tennis coach Dan Thorp to analyse four of the world's top players and tell us exactly what to look out for when we're watching them at Wimbledon.

Dan has scrutinised the games of Andy Roddick, Serena Williams, Roger Federer and Maria Sharapova.

For each player, he's picked one aspect of their game in which they really excel and explained why it makes them so special.

So click on the links below to find out exactly what qualities make a tennis star shine!

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The showman: Roger Federer

Rogers' facts
Born: 8 August 1981 Basel, Switzerland
Lives: Bottmingen, Switzerland
Height: 6'1'' (185 cm)
Weight: 177 lbs (80 kg)
Plays: Right handed (single-handed backhand)
Tennis idols: Boris Becker, Stefan Edberg
Wimbledon titles: 1
World ranking: 1


Technically and tactically, Roger Federer is one of the most complete players the game has ever seen.

He can serve and volley, but he can also play from the baseline and dismantle his opponent with superb attacking ground strokes.

He is incredibly powerful and looks to unleash this at every opportunity. He also has phenomenal movement around the court.

Watch for this when he plays. No matter how hard the ball is being hit, he always seems perfectly balanced - in both defence and attack.

Federer has great touch and feel for the ball.

One minute he'll be crunching his forehand, the next he can be angling the most subtle stop volley imaginable.

His co-ordination levels are off the scale.

His hand-eye co-ordination enables him to strike the ball cleanly every time.

His body co-ordination enables him to link all the different muscle groups and body segments, giving him awesome power but also a graceful, effortless look.

His agility and balance are stunning for such a powerful build, enabling him to improvise and pull off the spectacular in difficult situations.

Official Roger Federer website

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The athlete: Serena Williams



Serena's facts
Born: 26 September 1981 Michigan, USA
Lives: Florida, USA
Height: 5'9" (1.75 m)
Weight: 130 lbs (59 kg)
Plays: Right handed (two-handed backhand)
Wimbledon titles: Two
World ranking: 10
Favourite food: Japanese/sushi


Serena Williams is one of the quickest players in the women's game.
Her rapid movement, speed of thought and quick reactions allow her to dictate the play no matter what the situation.


Serena hits all her shots with great power.

Power is the combination of strength and speed and it's vital to get the balance right.

Too much strength work can slow you down, but Serena has the balance spot on.

One of the most impressive things about Serena's athletic ability is that for all her strength and power she's still very flexible.

This helps her hit the ball hard by increasing her range of movement. It also helps when her opponents put her under pressure.

Watch how she manages to lunge out wide to shots under pressure. She almost seems to be doing the splits, yet maintains her balance and strength.

Official Serena Williams website

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The Fighter: Maria Sharapova



Maria's facts
Born: April 19 1987 Nyagan, Russia
Lives: Florida, USA
Height: 6' (1.83 m)
Weight: 130 lbs (59 kg)
Plays: Right handed
World ranking: 15


Maria Sharapova is a dogged fighter and determined competitor. She never gives up on any point and looks to chase down every ball.

Sharapova has followed a very carefully structured physical conditioning programme from a very young age.

As a result she is in fantastic condition and - importantly - she knows it.

Knowing she's in great shape gives her confidence during matches.

She uses her condition to intimidate her opponents, by chasing, hitting hard and being relentless in her efforts.

A big factor at the moment is the success of her fellow Russians.

It's much easier to be strong mentally if you can see other older players from similar backgrounds playing well and being successful.
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  #22  
Старый 18th June 2004, 16:04
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Re: Зарубежная пресса о теннисе

Серия статей о подаванах:

BBC's Sport Academy

The world's sharpest tennis serves



Ace facts
  • A player is said to have served an 'ace' when the receiver fails to even touch the ball when attempting their return
  • The last wooden racquet used in a championship was at Wimbledon in 1988
  • Tennis great Bjorn Borg won 11 Grand Slam titles in the 1970s and 80s using a wooden racquet. In 1991 Borg made a comeback wanting to prove his old-fashioned wooden racquet was still good enough. But he was blown away by little-known Jordi Arresse using a modern graphite racquet
The serve is a crucial part of a tennis player's game.

And nobody on this planet has got a serve as big as the one and only Andy Roddick.

The American's mighty weapon was unleashed at Queen's Club, dishing out an incredible 153mph serve.

The poor victim was Paradorn Srichaphan, as Roddick beat his previous record of 149mph he had shared with Greg Rusedski.

Serves have to be powerful and accurate.

Today's tennis stars are hitting the ball faster than ever before.

Some of the biggest hitters on the men's circuit regularly top speeds of over 140mph.

But a blistering serve is not always down to a player's style and physique.

A lot of it is to do with the racquets they use.

Instead of the old wooden frames, tennis racquets are now made of lightweight materials such as graphite.

The racquet heads are also larger which means they have a larger sweet spot.

But speed isn't always a good thing.

Many spectators believe the sport is becoming boring to watch because there are less rallies.

Now a new ball has been developed which could slow the game down again.

The new ball is bigger which means it travels through the air slower.

And that could mean bad news for some of the sport's master blasters.


Who are the master blasters?

So, who are the biggest hitters in world tennis? Check the Academy's top eight.

No 1: Andy Roddick



The fine American blasted a whopping serve of 153mph on 11 June 2004 at Queen's Club in London against Paradorn Srichaphan.
Not a bad warm-up for Wimbledon.

He had previously shared the fastest serve with Greg Rusedski but beat his own record by 4mph.

His latest effort is only 36mph short of the top speed of a Ferrari.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------

No.2: Greg Rusedski

Britain's power-hitter has now been pushed into second place, but he shouldn't be ashamed of his efforts in 2003.

His blistering 149mph was set during the ATP Cup in Indian Wells, California on 14 March 1998.

However, this monster serve was at altitude, which means the ball travels faster in the air than it would normally do at sea level.

So it just goes to show how impressive Roddick's efforts have been.

Some of the sport's biggest hitters are also among the tallest.

Roddick is 6ft tall, while Rusedski stands at 6ft 3ins, giving them exactly the right physique to produce these super serves.

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No 3: Mark Philippoussis


Known as the Scud.

Australia's Mark Philippoussis is nicknamed 'the Scud' because the strongest part of his game is his serve. Также известен как Pussy :D

A Scud was a type of missile used in the Gulf war in 1991.

Scud missiles were known for their power, but they sometimes had problems hitting a target accurately.

And so while the nickname was originally intended as a compliment, some sports journalists later used it to describe the erratic nature of Philippoussis' serve.

Mark's fastest recorded serve is 141 mph.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------

No 4: Marc Rosset


Ferocious serve

Marc Rosset, of Switzerland, is another big hitter - his fastest serve measured at 135 mph.

At 6ft 7 ins Marc is one of the tallest players on the ATP Tour.

He is nicknamed the Yeti because of his straggly long hair and beard.

And he can certainly scare the opposition with the ferocity of his serve.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------

No 5: Goran Ivanisevic


Record number of serves

The Croatian is renowned for his thundering delivery.

He served up a record 212 aces on his way to the Wimbledon title in 2001.

The fact that he plays left-handed makes it especially difficult for right-handed players to return his serve.

His advice on developing a super serve is simple.

"Grow tall, be physically strong and use the right technique."

---------------------------------------------------------------------------

No 6: Pete Sampras


Tape adds weight

'Pistol' Pete Sampras fired off a 135 mph serve in 2000.

The American is known to sometimes add lead tape to the top of his racquet to increase its weight.

This helps him serve even faster.

The record-breaking Californian has won 13 Grand Slam titles - more than any other men's tennis player.

He held the number one ranking for a record six consecutive years between 1993-1998.

He has won Wimbledon seven times.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------

No 7: Richard Krajicek


Летучий голландец

Flying Dutchman Richard Krajicek's mighty serve helped him lift the Wimbledon title in 1996.

His fastest delivery registered 135 mph on the speedometer in 1999.

He missed most of last season after undergoing surgery on his elbow.

He marked his comeback by overcoming another big hitter, Mark Phillippousis, in an epic 6-7, 7-6, 6-7, 7-6, 6-4 fourth round clash of the titans at Wimbledon earlier this year.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------

No 8: Venus Williams


Big hit in women's game

Venus Williams is renowned for her awesome power.

The elder of the two Williams' sisters, she blasted a record serve of 127.4 mph during the European Indoor Championships in Zurich, Switzerland in 1998.

Venus was already a famous tennis prodigy at 11 years of age.

She turned pro aged 14 and by 2000 she had clinched the Wimbledon and US titles - and retained both the following year.

She missed out on a Wimbledon hat-trick when she lost to her sister Serena in last year's final.

At 6ft 1ins she is one of the tallest women's tennis players.
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  #23  
Старый 18th June 2004, 16:29
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Re: Зарубежная пресса о теннисе

Keothavong eyes world stage
BBC


Keothavong took over the British number one spot last summer

Anne Keothavong has her eyes on a bigger prize after spending a year as British number one.

The 20-year-old wants to use Wimbledon as a springboard towards the top 100.

"It's nice to be British number one but at the same time I'm more concerned about working on my WTA ranking," she told BBC Sport.

"The national ranking will take care of itself. I don't play to be British number one. I'd much rather be in the top 100."

Women's tennis has been in poor health for so long in Britain that little is expected come Wimbledon.

But while the current crop of British women may not have made too many headlines so far, the leading names are young enough to remain ambitious for the future.

"Hopefully there will be more girls competing to be the top British player but I know for myself, Elena (Baltacha), Jane (O'Donoghue) - our number one priority is working on our WTA ranking," said Keothavong.

The East Londoner took the major step of heading to Arizona in December to join a training group under the tutelage of Spanish coach Rafael Font de Mora.

And although she returned in April, Keothavong insists her time away was well spent.

"It was different for me, a good experience, and I enjoyed it," she said.

"Being able to play in the sun makes a huge difference and I got to see tennis from a different perspective, in terms of different coaches and information coming at me.

"It was a good experience but it wasn't for me at the end of the day.

"The last few weeks I've been back in London working with Colin Beecher, and that's going really well."

Keothavong has a relatively low profile compared to Elena Baltacha, the player she replaced as British number one.

And she knows that without success at Wimbledon, on her least favourite surface of grass, that situation may not change in the near future.

"The country misses the rest of the year when we're grinding it out," she said.

"At times it's quite overwhelming, it's so different from the other 11 months of the year.

"It's always nice to do well in your home tournaments but I try not to worry about that too much. I just want to go out there and play well.

"I feel like I'm hitting the ball well if I can just stay positive and keep up the good work I've been doing."

Whatever she achieves at the All England Club, Keothavong is at least able to enjoy playing in her home town - for the most part.

"With the traffic in London it's a nightmare," she said.

"The last few weeks I've been driving across the city because we've been practicing at Wimbledon, and it's something like 17 miles.

"On some days it takes me up to two-and-a-half hours. London's still home, though, so it's nice to be back."
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  #24  
Старый 18th June 2004, 16:35
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Re: Зарубежная пресса о теннисе

Mauresmo keeps the faith
BBC



Amelie Mauresmo believes she can put the disappointment of the French Open behind her at Wimbledon.

The Frenchwoman admits she found it hard to carry the weight of expectation at her home Grand Slam, where she lost in the quarter-finals.

"I don't think I would be capable of dealing with that pressure all year long," the Wimbledon fourth seed told BBC Sport.

"I'm very relaxed here, there's not as much attention as in Paris."

Mauresmo is currently enjoying relative anonymity in England after going through an experience similar to that of Tim Henman at Wimbledon.

And having lost to Elena Dementieva when the draw had opened up invitingly, she claims to be over the loss and ready to make amends at Wimbledon.

"It was difficult for the next three or four days," she admitted.

"But then you start again, you hit the ball, and coming to England you get used to the grass.

"It's a completely different environment for me.

"It's good to be more relaxed and in this atmosphere, which is really nice."

With Justine Henin-Hardenne and Kim Clijsters out through injury and the Williams sisters struggling, surely Wimbledon represents another great chance for Mauresmo to break her Grand Slam duck?

"That question was asked at the French Open," she smiled.

"Of course it's more open this year, probably more than ever.

"But I think it's still a pretty strong draw and of course I want to play well and show that I can get some big titles."

There is no doubt that Mauresmo has the power and athleticism to succeed on grass, as she proved on her way to the semi-finals in 2002 before losing to Serena Williams.

"A couple of years ago I really felt my game was very effective going forward," she said.

"I think I'm capable of volleying pretty well so I have a lot of hope for the next few weeks."

That the 24-year-old has so far failed to land a major title has been largely put down to a mental fragility.

But she is trying to keep enough faith in her ability to go for the attacking gameplan required in SW19.

"Sometimes it just comes and sometimes, when everything doesn't go your way, you have to push yourself a little bit more," said Mauresmo.

"That's what I'm practicing on court these days - to not even think about it and just do it."

So, it's the final Saturday of Wimbledon and Mauresmo is preparing to take on Serena Williams in the final.

Does she believe she can win?

"I think a few years ago I wouldn't have said 'yes' but today, I think so," she said.

"If you go on court without the belief you can win there's no way you're going to."
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  #25  
Старый 18th June 2004, 22:37
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Re: Зарубежная пресса о теннисе

Blake withdraws from Wimbledon

WIMBLEDON, England (AP) -- James Blake pulled out of Wimbledon on Friday, joining a growing list of withdrawals from the year's third Grand Slam tournament.

Blake, who hurt his neck and spine last month, was replaced in the draw by 132nd-ranked Potito Starace of Italy, a loser in qualifying. The 40th-ranked Blake was injured when he fell and slammed into a net post while chasing a drop shot during a practice session in Rome after losing at the Italian Open.

Starace upset 10th-seeded Sebastien Grosjean at the French Open, then held match points against 2000 U.S. Open champion Marat Safin in the third round before losing in five sets. Starace, whose performance in Paris lifted him 70 spots in the ATP Tour entry rankings, will face No. 20 Tommy Robredo in the first round at the All England Club, where play starts Monday.

Rafael Nadal (broken left foot) and Nicolas Escude (right shoulder tendinitis) also pulled out of Wimbledon and were replaced by players who lost in qualifying. Nadal, ranked 47th, could have met No. 2 Andy Roddick in the second round. That spot in the field instead went to 128th-ranked Alexander Peya of Austria.

At 17 last year, Nadal became the youngest player to reach Wimbledon's third round since Boris Becker did it at 16 in 1984.

Eight-time major champion Andre Agassi, three-time French Open winner Gustavo Kuerten, reigning French Open champ Gaston Gaudio and Younes El Aynaoui withdrew from Wimbledon earlier.

Top-ranked Justine Henin-Hardenne and No. 2 Kim Clijsters are skipping the grass-court major for health reasons, too.
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  #26  
Старый 19th June 2004, 01:01
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Re: Зарубежная пресса о теннисе

Wimbledon men's seed report & predictions
Jon Wertheim, Sports Illustrated

Men's Report (Nos. 1-16)

1. Roger Federer: Defending champion has as easy an early draw as we can recall -- plus the highest seeds in his half are clay-court specialists Guillermo Coria (No. 3) and Juan Carlos Ferrero (No. 6). He ought to coast for four rounds, get tested by Lleyton Hewitt in the quarterfinals and meet Roddick in the final.

2. Andy Roddick: Like Federer, he sure can't complain about his draw -- and his path was made even easier when teenager Rafael Nadal withdrew. If he brings his serves to week two, he could claim Slam No. 2.

3. Guillermo Coria: First off, good for him for sticking to his schedule and playing two grass tune-ups. Big question is how is he coping with his meltdown in the final at Roland Garros. His play over the past 10 days has provided few definitive answers. Speed and consistency make him dangerous, but we can certainly see him losing to either hard-serving Wesley Moodie in round one or lefty Wayne Arthurs in round two.

4. David Nalbandian: A finalist in 2002, Nalbandian's grass skills are beyond reproach. A shame he starts off against Mario Ancic, but if he survives the onslaught of lefty serves -- and he should -- he'll be around awhile.

5. Tim Henman: Surprised he wasn't seeded a spot higher. But again Their Tim has a decent shot to -- altogether now -- become the first Brit since Fred Perry to win the Big Crumpet. He ought to at least equal his showing in Paris and reach the semis. Then it's simply a matter of nerves.

6. Juan Carlos Ferrero: Clearly he hasn't been 100 percent physically all year. Could skate by for a few rounds, but can he survive Sebastien Grosjean?

7. Lleyton Hewitt: Player to watch. The 2002 champion is showing shades of his old self, and he can't complain about his draw. (Ivo Karlovic is far, far away.)

8. Rainer Schuettler: Not the player he was a year ago. His lack of a bread-and-butter weapon will hurt him, particularly on grass.

9. Carlos Moya: Consistent disappointment in Slams of late and has never advanced beyond the second round at Wimby.

10. Sebastien Grosjean: Though he hasn't won big in a while, he tends to play well on grass, particularly when his draw is ?clair-soft.

11. Mark Philippoussis: A finalist last year, he has history on his side. But you never like to enter an event on what is for all intents a seven-match losing streak -- excluding the World Team Championship.

12. Sjeng Schalken: Haven't heard much from the Sjengster lately.

13. Paradorn Srichaphan: His game is well-tailored to grass, and it's about time he has a strong performance in a Major. If he can get by hard-serving Karlovic, his draw opens up for a few rounds.

14. Mardy Fish: Another one due for a strong Slam. Assuming he can survive Joachim Johansson -- and has improved his fitness as much as his camp claims -- he has a real opportunity.

15. Nicolas Massu: Um, no.

16. Jiri Novak: Potential tough first-round matchup against mercurial Xavier Malisse, but then the skies part a bit.

SEEDS TO WATCH (Nos. 17-32)

17. Jonas Bjorkman: Give him credit for getting his singles game back to this point after a detour outside of the top 50. Athletic, attacking style works well on grass, but he has a tough first rounder against Raemon Sluiter.

19. Marat Safin: Always a threat. (And not just to the standards of decency.)

20. Tommy Robredo: Better grass courter than you might think and aided by the late withdrawal of first-round opponent James Blake (No. 40). He'll now face Blake's replacement, 132nd-ranked Potito Starace of Italy.

23. Max Mirnyi: Good wins have been few and far between recently, but his big serve always makes him dangerous.

24. Fernando Gonzalez: Like Forrest Gump's box of chocolates, you never know what you're getting.

26. Taylor Dent: Isn't his year designed to peak right about now?

27. Robby Ginepri: Like most Americans not named Roddick, he's due for a strong Slam.

31. Mikhail Youzhny: Big serve, nifty scythe backhand and primed for a good showing.

DARK HORSE NATION

Joachim Johansson: Went into hiding during clay-court season but a 135 mph serve is a nice weapon on grass.

Thomas Johansson: Just to be safe. Two Johanssons are better than one.

Raemon Sluiter: The male version of Els Callens.

Tommy Haas: Slowly but surely coming back.

Greg Rusedski: Has displayed signs of life lately.

Yen-Hsun Lu: Plenty of room on the bandwagon.

Goran Ivanisevic: Just in case.

FIRST-ROUND MATCHES TO WATCH:

Robredo vs. Starace

Nalbandian vs. Ancic: Exceptional returner against exceptional server.

Schuettler vs. Soderling: Possible first-round upset special.

Coria vs. Moodie: See above.

Srichaphan vs. Karlovic: Not exactly an ideal first round matchup for Srichaphan, a player in need of a good performance at a Major.

PREDICTIONS

Semifinals: Federer vs. Fish and Henman vs. Roddick

Finals: Federer vs. Roddick

WIinner: Roddick
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  #27  
Старый 19th June 2004, 02:47
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Re: Зарубежная пресса о теннисе

Coetzer retires after 16-year tennis career
Associated Press

South Africa's Amanda Coetzer retired Friday after a 16-year tennis career in which she won nine singles and nine doubles titles.

Coetzer, 32, reached a career-best ranking of No. 3 in 1997, when she reached the semi-finals at the Australian Open and French Open, beating Steffi Graf at each event. She also beat Graf 6-0, 6-1 that season at Berlin, the worst loss of the Hall of Famer's career.

Coetzer beat three women when they were ranked No. 1: Graf, Martina Hingis and Lindsay Davenport.

Playing a limited schedule in 2004, Coetzer went 2-3 in tour events and her ranking slid from 25th to 89th.

"It's been an amazing journey for me," Coetzer said in a statement released by her agent. "I've been fortunate to have the opportunity to play the sport that I love."
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  #28  
Старый 19th June 2004, 02:53
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Re: Зарубежная пресса о теннисе

UPDATED WIMBLEDON PENPIX
SportingLife

MEN

1. ROGER FEDERER
Federer has built on last year's magnificent Wimbledon title win by clinching four titles this year, including his second Grand Slam win at the Australian Open. Simply imperious last year and any repeat of that form will surely garner him a repeat success.

2. ANDY RODDICK
The brash American was taught a grass-court lesson by Roger Federer last year but the game's biggest server has all the attributes to win in on grass. Almost certain to be in the mix-up and a revenge chance against the star would be thrilling.

3. GUILLERMO CORIA
Coria reigns as the undisputed clay-court great despite his recent loss in the French Open final. But on grass his form is another matter entirely. Has failed to win in just two previous visits to Wimbledon and that record may continue.

4. DAVID NALBANDIAN
Nalbandian has surprised just about everybody by building on his shock 2002 final appearance and becoming one of the best players in the world. At home as much on grass as anywhere else, the confident Argentinian has a real hope of reaching the last four.

5. TIM HENMAN
Henman has fought back well from the shoulder injury which threatened to wreck his 2003 and memorably reached the last four at the French Open. But after four semi-finals and the quarters last year, the annual question is, has Henman missed his chance to finally reach his first Grand Slam final?

6. JUAN CARLOS FERRERO
The Spanish clay-court great has been racked by injury and fitness concerns this season and will not relish Wimbledon fortnight. Reached the fourth round last year but was always up against it and cannot be fancied to make much of an impact.

7. LLEYTON HEWITT
Left reeling last year when as defending champion he was the subject of one of the tournament's biggest-ever shocks against Ivo Karlovic. Has lost some of the edge which swept him to the 2002 crown and the likes of Federer and Roddick have gone ahead.

8. RAINER SCHUETTLER
The German has been hovering in the world's top 10 almost unnoticed since a brilliant 2003 when he reached the Australian Open final and the fourth round in the three other Slams. But after a bad start to 2004 Schuettler remains an outside bet.

9. CARLOS MOYA
The former French Open champion remains very much a clay court specialist and it would be a surprise to see him in the latter stages. Only seeded so high because of his performances on other surfaces. Did not even play at Wimbledon in 2002 or 2003.

10. SEBASTIEN GROSJEAN
Over the last couple of years has quietly become one of the best grass court players around. Reached semi-finals at Wimbledon last year after beating Henman in the quarter-finals. Has reached the final at Queen's for the last two years.

WOMEN

1. SERENA WILLIAMS
Recently returned from a knee injury which ruled her out since last year's Wimbledon. Hit back with a win in Miami but the biggest problem for Serena may be battling the fact that the aura of invincibility which once surrounded her has disappeared.

2. ANASTASIA MYSKINA
The leading Russian is in form after winning the French Open and likes the grass, having reached the fourth round last year and won the 2002 DFS Classic in Birmingham. Has shown remarkable consistency over the past year but will need to improve on a Wimbledon record that, overall, remains poor.

3. VENUS WILLIAMS
Venus' balletic grass-court grace has delighted Wimbledon crowds and swept her to the last four finals. But an abdominal injury then an ankle problem have stalled her progress in recent weeks, and she is no longer a cert for final number five.

4. AMELIE MAURESMO
Mauresmo is one of the form players of 2004 and possesses the talent to reach the top. But doubts remain over her mental strength on the biggest stage. Seven times the Frenchwoman has reached the last eight of a Grand Slam, but she is yet to lift a major trophy.

5. LINDSAY DAVENPORT
It is four years since Davenport last reached a Grand Slam final but having overcome the injuries which threatened to prematurely end her career, Davenport remains a threat on grass. Won Wimbledon in 1999 and no reason why she can't go close again.

6. ELENA DEMENTIEVA
In good form after reaching the French Open although. Has excellent groundstrokes but her poor service action has cost her under pressure. Reached fourth round last year but should do better in the absence of Justine Henin-Hardenne and Kim Clijsters.

7. JENNIFER CAPRIATI
Back in top form this season and craving one of the two Grand Slam titles which have eluded her since her dramatic career revival. Capriati has grass-court pedigree and should fancy her chances this year with questions over many of her rivals.

8. SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA
The fast-rising teenager came from nowhere to reach the Wimbledon quarter-finals last year. Followed that up by making the third round in the next two Grand Slams, but is still learning and will have to wait to show her best.

9. PAOLA SUAREZ
Argentinian who reached the fourth round last year having only got past the first round once previously. In partnership with Virginia Ruano Pascual is one of the leading doubles players in the world and is now starting to make an impact in singles.

10. NADIA PETROVA
Petrova burst onto the scene by reaching the French semi-finals last year and clay is probably her best surface. But Petrova's powerful game has also swept her to the fourth round at Wimbledon in 2001 and she may cause an upset or two.
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  #29  
Старый 19th June 2004, 04:35
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Re: Зарубежная пресса о теннисе

Wimbledon women's seed report
Jon Wertheim, Sports Illustrated

Women's Report (Nos. 1-16)

1. Serena Williams: Two-time defending champ won't lose a set until the quarterfinals, where she'll meet her recent nemesis Jennifer Capriati. Hungry for revenge and playing on her best surface, it's hard to see Serena losing that one.

2. Anastasia Myskina: Newest member of the Slam Club will arrive with an aura. But we can't envision her living up to her seeding, much less piggy-backing on her success at Roland Garros. She has a versatile game but lacks the weaponry to compete with Serena and Venus on grass. (Random aside: She starts out against Lubomira Kurhajcova, who squandered a 6-0, 5-0 lead in her last Grand Slam match against Lisa Raymond.)

3. Venus Williams: The body willing -- no small condition -- we're getting the vibe she could win her first Major since 2001.

4. Amelie Mauresmo: As always, the key to her success is between her ears. On paper -- particularly with the missing Belgians and the rusty Williamses -- she is a decent bet to win her first Slam. But a) How is she recovering from her French Open disappearing act? and b) Will she hold it together when she and Svetlana Kuznetsova are deep in the third set?

5. Lindsay Davenport: How's the knee? The answer could be the difference between deep disappointment and a deep run. Quietly, she has put together an awfully nice year thus far. And though it was five years ago, she has won this thing before. But if she can't move, it's hard to see her lasting beyond the middle weekend.

6. Elena Dementieva: Serve will get punished in a way it didn't on clay, plus she is likely to meet Myskina in the quarters.

7. Jennifer Capriati: Capster can't be unhappy about her draw -- she should have a shot at beating Serena for the third time in six weeks or so.

8. Svetlana Kuznetsova: She came within a point of beating Myskina at the French, and now she's on the surface best suited to her emerging game. Look out.

9. Paola Suarez: A good bet to win the title ... in doubles. A generous seeding given the surface. It wouldn't be a total shock if she lost her first match -- she'll face Shenay Perry.

10. Nadia Petrova: She's a solid player who is still awaiting her big breakthrough. Not a bad grass-court player, but unfortunately she is in the same quadrant as Serena and Capriati.

11. Ai Sugiyama: Results have trailed off of late but she could make some noise in a quarter that is fairly wide open.

12. Vera Zvonareva: Star has dimmed a bit. We wouldn't expect her to find her game on grass courts, but her draw is exceptionally easy.

13. Maria Sharapova: Let's see if all that Speedminton pays dividends for its spokesperson. She reached the French Open quarters on her worst surface, so what will she do on grass? We're predicting an appearance in the semis.

14. Silvia Farina Elia: Credit her for sustaining her high level of play well after her 30th birthday, but her Slam expiration is consistently in the third or fourth round.

15. Patty Schnyder: Tempermental lefty has never done much at the All England Club.

16. Anna Smashnova-Pistolesi: Career record at Wimbledon is 3-9.

SEEDS TO WATCH (Nos. 17-32)

17. Chanda Rubin: Welcome back.

20. Elena Bovina: Big server who could move up from the Russian B team.

22. Conchita Martinez: A decade after she won her lone Slam, she is still a threat given the right circumstances.

24. Mary Pierce: Good for at least a few rounds.

26. Lisa Raymond: Playing on her best surface. She might get tested in her first match by Shinobu Asagoe, though.

27. Alicia Molik: Big dark horse. Powerful serve plus a game built for grass.

28. Emilie Loit: We're only including her here because she won't face a top-100 player until the third round.

29. Dinara Safina: Too bad she'll likely face Kuznetsova in round three.

30. Eleni Daniilidou: It's about time her results in Majors bore some resemblance to her talent level.

31. Amy Frazier: Like Jonas Bjorkman, let's acknowledge her second-career wind.

DARK HORSE NATION

Karolina Sprem: Her results at garden-variety tour events have so far dramatically outstripped her showings at Slams.

Daniela Hantuchova: Suddenly showing signs of life again.

Tatiana Golovin: Talented teenager working her way up the ranks.

Maria Kirilenko: See Golovin.

FIRST-ROUND MATCHES TO WATCH

Mauresmo vs. Jelena Kostanic: Mauresmo should win, but Kostanic is an experienced player who will make her work.

Mary Pierce vs. Virgina Ruano Pascual: Two veterans: one powerful, the other crafty.

Catalina Castano vs. Martina Navratilova

Frazier vs. Kirilenko

PREDICTIONS

Semifinals: Serena vs. Kuznetsova and Venus vs. Sharapova

Finals: Serena vs. Venus

Winner: Venus
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  #30  
Старый 19th June 2004, 15:31
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Russians more than worth watching
Scotsman

THE Russians are coming, but as far as Wimbledon is concerned it is a prospect to relish rather than fear.

Teenage prodigy Maria Sharapova, who became the new darling of the All-England Club a year ago, and French Open champion Anastasia Myskina head a group of five Russian challengers who will decorate the courts at SW19 with skill - after a tune-up on Eastbourne’s lush grass.

Sharapova, who has taken over Anna Kournikova as the pin-up of the courts, will be joined by Svetlana Kuznetsova, Elena Bovina and Dinara Safina, who are all flying high in the women’s rankings.

Sharapova burst on to the scene last year, roaring - almost literally with her sometimes disconcerting high-pitched squeal on serve - through to the semi-finals, on grass, in Birmingham, and then making a splash in her Wimbledon debut.

There she reached the last 16, defeating Bovina and the highly- talented Jelena Dokic in the process, before bowing out to Kuznetsova.

Initially labelled "the new Kournikova" for her long blonde hair and good looks, Sharapova quickly established herself in her own right, and genuinely believes she can go to the very top of the women’s game.

"Every day I want to be No.1," she said. "There is no doubt in my mind that I can win the big tournaments."

Until recently, Kuznetsova was perhaps best known as the doubles partner of the great Martina Navratilova.

They won five titles together last year and reached the US Open final, but the 18-year-old from St Petersburg has since earned plaudits for her singles play.

She reached the quarter-finals at Wimbledon last year, defeating Sharapova before eventually falling to Justine Henin-Hardenne, who, along with compatriot Kim Clijsters, won’t be competing this year due to injury.

At 6ft 2in, Bovina is a sight to behold and ideally suited to grass court tennis while Safina is the younger sister of former men’s world No.1 Marat Safin, and a more than useful player in her own right.
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  #31  
Старый 19th June 2004, 15:36
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У Налбандяна травма
BBC



Wimbledon fourth seed David Nalbandian could miss next week's grasscourt grand slam with a rib injury.

The Argentine, a runner-up at the All England Club in 2002, was forced to retire after just five games of an exhibition match against Chilean Nicolas Massu on Friday.

Nalbandian is yet to make any statement on his condition but there are fears in his camp he could be forced to withdraw from Wimbledon. A semi-finalist at the U.S. Open last year, Nalbandian has been seeded to meet Britain's Tim Henman in the quarter-finals.

The injury is a major blow to a player who uses strength and fitness to grind down opponents from the baseline. While not considered a traditional grasscourt player, the burly Nalbandian enjoyed a magical run at the tournament in 2002, reaching the final in his first grasscourt tournament before losing to Lleyton Hewitt.

One glimmer of hope for the Argentine is that, being in the bottom half of the draw, he will not be expected to play his first round match until Tuesday. Nalbandian has a tough first round draw against acrobatic Croatian Mario Ancic.

If he is forced to withdraw, his place will be taken by a lucky loser from the qualifying draw. Wimbledon, the only one of the four grand slams to be played on grass, takes place from June 21 to July 4.
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  #32  
Старый 19th June 2004, 18:40
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Re: Зарубежная пресса о теннисе

BIG BETS ON RODDICK
BettingZone



Andy Roddick is man punters are plunging on in the run-up to Wimbledon.

He is shortening the gap on market leader Roger Federer after a spate of bets forced his price down.

Ladbrokes reported a bet of Ј30,000 on the A-Rod at odds of 4/1 - and immediately cut Roddick to 3/1 for glory in SW19.

That came hot on the heels of a Hills punter backing the Queen's Club winner to the tune of Ј10,000 at 7/2.

The Leeds-based firm also reacted to that, trimming Roddick to 3/1.

Defending champion Federer remains the man to beat according to the layers.

He's a best price of 5/4 with Blue Square, but is odds-on in places.

Tim Henman is next in the betting - a general price of 6/1 is widely available.

Bet365, who have issued a number of specials on the tournament, go just 5/2 that Henman - who is scheduled to meet Roddick in the last four - reaches the final for the first time.

The same firm are convinced that the winner will come for the first three in the betting.

They offer just 1/10 that one of Federer, Roddick and Henman lifts the trophy - 11/2 the field.
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  #33  
Старый 19th June 2004, 19:53
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Zvonareva eyes Slam success
BBC



Vera Zvonareva hopes to be the Russian success story at Wimbledon after her compatriots dominated the French Open.

The 19-year-old is keen to follow the example of Roland Garros finalists Ana Myskina and Elena Dementieva.

"I think it inspired all of us because before we didn't have anybody in the top 20 and now we have three or four in the top 10," she told BBC Sport.

"We all practice together and seeing Myskina and Dementieva in a Grand Slam final gave everybody a lift."

With 13 players in the world's top 100 and more young players coming through, Myskina could be the first of many Russian Grand Slam winners.

But Zvonareva, who is ranked 14th in the world and won her second career title in Memphis in February, only sees the national rivalry as positive.

"It's really good that the Russians have proved they can do well at the Grand Slams," she said.

"We have lots of pressure but not just because of the competition between Russians - it's a competition between everyone."

Zvonareva's best Grand Slam performance to date was a quarter-final place at Roland Garros last year.

But the Muscovite also made the last 16 at Wimbledon and does not see any reason why she cannot make the breakthrough on grass after reaching the semi-finals in Eastbourne.

"If you are mentally and physically ready you can do well at any Grand Slam," said Zvonareva.

"I practiced for one week on grass in Moscow, but it's not real grass.

"But for me I can play on any surface, it doesn't matter."

And when asked her opinion of the decision to hand 47-year-old Martina Navratilova a singles wild card, and so potentially deny a young Briton a place, Zvonareva is similarly straightforward.

"People want to see her play and they still have three wild cards for the younger players," said the Russian.

"If they're good they'll move up the rankings and get in the draw, and she only takes up one wild card."
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  #34  
Старый 19th June 2004, 20:49
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Wimbledon Facts & Figures
Yahoo
June 19, 2004


Key facts and figures for Wimbledon:

Dates

June 21 to July 4; no matches scheduled on middle Sunday, June 27

Site

All England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club

Format

Men play best-of-five-set matches, women play best-of-three

Singles fields

128 men, 128 women

Total prize money

$17,667,250

Singles champion prize

Men, $1,096,550; Women, $1,020,110

Defending men's champion

Roger Federer

Defending women's champion

Serena Williams

Last year

Williams beat older sister Venus for the fifth time in a span of six Grand Slam finals, including second straight year at Wimbledon; Federer lost just one set en route to his first major title, beating Andy Roddick in the semifinals and Mark Philippoussis in the final.

Past Wimbledon champions entered

Federer ('03), Lleyton Hewitt ('02), Goran Ivanisevic ('01); Serena Williams ('02-'03), Venus Williams ('00-'01), Lindsay Davenport ('99), Conchita Martinez ('94), Martina Navratilova ('78-'79, '82-'87, '90)

Noteworthy

No man has captured consecutive major titles over the past 17 Grand Slam tournaments, a record in the Open era (which dates to 1968). That mark will increase to 18 because French Open champion Gaston Gaudio won't play at Wimbledon.

Quoteworthy

``I don't think I'll ever sit there and be arrogant enough to say, 'If I don't win, then it's a bad tournament.' Obviously, it would be outstanding if I did win, and I'd be so happy. But it's not life or death, winning and losing.'' -- Andy Roddick.
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  #35  
Старый 20th June 2004, 03:46
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Emerging Russian star Sharapova has Grand goals
June 19, 2004
SportsLine.com


WIMBLEDON, England -- Martina Navratilova sure can spot tennis talent when she sees it.

At an exhibition in Moscow a dozen years ago, she saw a girl brandishing a racket and encouraged her to seek serious coaching, perhaps in the United States.

Next week at Wimbledon, both Navratilova and that kid -- Maria Sharapova -- will be competing. And while Navratilova, now 47, is playing singles at the All England Club one last time before retiring, Sharapova, now 17, considers herself a title contender.

"When I was 5, I did an exhibition with thousands of kids, and Martina Navratilova was there," Sharapova recalled. "She told my dad I had a lot of talent."

At the time, Sharapova wasn't aware the advice was coming from an 18-time Grand Slam singles champion.

"I had no idea who she was. I didn't know anything about tennis," Sharapova said. "To tell you the truth, I wasn't a big fan of anyone. I knew tennis was a big sport, but I never had anyone I looked up to."

Her country never had a female Slam champion until two weeks ago, when Anastasia Myskina beat Elena Dementieva in an all-Russian final at the French Open. Led by that duo, Russia has six of the top 13 women at Wimbledon, including No. 8 Svetlana Kuznetsova, No. 10 Nadia Petrova, No. 12 Vera Zvonareva and No. 13 Sharapova, plus No. 20 Elena Bovina. None is older than 22.

Sharapova eventually might be the best. And she knows it.

"It would be a dream come true if I were to win Wimbledon," she said. "Realistic? Why not?"

Perhaps her confidence was inherited from her father, Yuri. Approached after Maria won her third-round match at the French Open, he told reporters to come back "after the tournament." Then he added: "After she will win, we will talk."

Alas, Sharapova lost her quarterfinal, her first at a major. At Wimbledon in 2003, she reached the fourth round, tying the best showing ever by a female wild card here.

With No. 1 Justine Henin-Hardenne and No. 2 Kim Clijsters sidelined, and the Williams sisters trying to regain their top form, Wimbledon appears wide open.

"Sharapova could be a dangerous player, for sure," former pro and ESPN analyst Mary Joe Fernandez said. "She's looking to be another superstar."

It's been a circuitous route.

Born in Siberia, Sharapova moved to a Black Sea resort at 2, began playing tennis at 4, and entered Nick Bollettieri's Tennis Academy in Florida at 9. She also has worked in Los Angeles with Robert Lansdorp, who coached Tracy Austin.

Sharapova, who signed with the modeling agency which represents Tyra Banks, has been compared with Anna Kournikova, but there's a key difference: Sharapova has won a tournament -- three, actually, including last week on grass at Birmingham.

Her English is nearly flawless, and the WTA Tour is eager for her to help promote the game. Its new ad campaign includes a poster with Sharapova on court and the tagline, "A woman's gotta do what a woman's gotta do."

In Sharapova's case, that includes shrieking after shots. At Birmingham last year, she was warned by tournament officials when an opponent -- and players on another court! -- complained about high-pitched grunts.

She's toned it down, and her game keeps improving. Success at Wimbledon might hinge on beating countrywomen: Sharapova, who meets 120th-ranked qualifier Yulia Beygelzimer in the first round, could play Bovina in the third, Myskina in the fourth and Dementieva in the quarterfinals.

"I know I have a long career ahead of me," Sharapova said. "It's kind of a dream come true. But on the other side, I think I still have a lot more to go."
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  #36  
Старый 20th June 2004, 03:54
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Martina picks Mauresmo for Wimbledon crown
Times of Oman

LONDON — If anyone knows a Wimbledon winner when she sees one it’s nine-time former winner Martina Navratilova.

And the all-time great says that this year, Amelie Mauresmo will become the first French woman to hold aloft the famour silver platter since the legendary Suzanne Lenglen in 1925.

“The question marks over the health of so many top players makes this year’s women’s singles more open than it has been for years,” Navratilova said recently.

There is one person who has avoided the injury curse, however, and she is Mauresmo. On that basis I make her my favourite for the title,” she said of the clay-court specialist who reached the semifinals in 2002.

Mauresmo has been playing great tennis this year and if she can stay healthy, probably has a better shot than anybody. She can certainly adapt to the conditions and has started to make an effort to be more attacking this year.

On grass she will find that so much easier, especially coming in behind her penetrating serve,” said the Wimbledon legend.

The 24-year-old Mauresmo has long been regarded as one of the most naturally-talented players on the women’s circuit, but her fragile mental state has let her down time and time again and she has yet to win a Grand Slam title.

Her latest “collapse” came late last month when she once again froze on the Roland Garros centre court as Russia’s Elena Dementieva knocked her out of the French Open at the quarterfinal stage.

It’s all about coping with the pressures of a partisan French public, pressures that perhaps have their only equivalent in the weight that descends on Tim Henman’s shoulders as Wimbledon approaches.

Free from those high expectations, Henman rolled into the French Open semifinals on clay and Mauresmo is looking to go farther on grass.

My grass-court game is quickly coming back, I no longer have back pain, my service is working well, which is vital for winning on grass. Everything is just great,” said Mauresmo who, nevertheless, suffered a minor hiccup on Friday when she was beaten by Daniela Hantuchova in the Eastbourne quarterfinals.

I love playing on grass. Compared to Roland Garros I feel much more calm and more comfortable than I do over there.”

Mauresmo has been seeded fourth and she starts with what should be a fairly routine match against Jelena Kostanic of Croatia.

The big threat to Mauresmo will of course come from the Williams sisters who have dominated Wimbledon between them since 2000 with two wins for Venus and two for Serena.

The last two finals indeed have seen Serena defeat Venus and neither will live long in the memory.

It was after last year’s win that Serena had an operation her knee that saw her lose her World No. 1 status and kept her on the sidelines until March.

Venus, meanwhile, has also struggled. The abdominal strain that hampered her in losing to Serena here last July dogged her for months and then she twisted an ankle while preparing on clay for Roland Garros.

Both sisters exited early in Paris within the same hour losing to players they would have been expected to brush aside just a year ago.

What their physical and mental states will be coming into London, where Serena is the top seed and Venus is third, is anyone’s guess.

But their games are especially effective on grass and as they are in different halves of the draw there is the additional incentive of a third straight all-Williams final.

“It feels great to be back and to know at 1pm on Tuesday I will be playing my first match,” Serena said on her official website.

“It’s exciting and there’s nothing to beat that feeling. I’ve been spending the week practicing in the hot sun in Florida. We’re relaxed.”

With the absences through injury of Belgian pair Justine Henin-Hardenne, the title-holder and Kim Clijsters, the list of likely winners is smaller than in previous years.

Surprise French Open winner Anastasia Myskina of Russia and Dementieva, whom she defeated in a woeful Roland Garros final, have no record to speak of on grass and American duo Lindsay Davenport and Jennifer Capriati are beginning to show signs of wear and tear.

If there is to be a serious challenge from the back of the field it would more likely come from the younger Russian set of Svetlana Kuznertsova, Vera Zvonareva or Maria Sharapova.
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  #37  
Старый 20th June 2004, 12:03
Kasper Kasper вне форума
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Winners of the Week /14-20 june/

ATP Nottingham Open 2004 - Paradorn Srichaphan
The Sunday Telegraph



Тhe Nottingham Open presented by The Sunday Telegraph has a new champion. Paradorn Srichaphan, who celebrated his 25th birthday on the first day of this year’s tournament, staged a spirited and sensational fight back over his Swedish opponent to win his first ever grass court tournament 1-6, 7-6 (4), 6-3 and first ATP title since Long Island in 2003. Srichaphan becomes the first No. 1 seed to win The Nottingham Open presented by The Sunday Telegraph in its 10 year history.

Srichaphan (THAI) and his opponent, Thomas Johansson (SWE) captivated the capacity crowd on centre court. All 3232 spectators (and the millions of viewers watching live on Sky TV) were treated to an impressive display of singles tennis as the world number 14 from Thailand exchanged powerful shots from the baseline with Johansson, the 2001 Nottingham Open champion and 2002 Australian Open champion. In 2002, when the players last played each other, Srichaphan had triumphed in their singles match at the Chennai Open, winning 4-6, 6-3, 6-2.

After rain disrupted the start until 2.30pm, Srichaphan took the first game of the match on his serve with Johansson, aiming to be the first qualifier to win the tournament, taking the next game on his own serve. However, the power of the Johansson backhand coupled with unforced errors on serve by Srichaphan saw the Swede leading 4-1 in the first set after only 15mins of play. Five minutes later Johansson had taken the first set 6-1. The 29 year-old Swede, who missed almost the entire 2003 tennis season due to a serious knee injury, maintained a ferocious tempo against Srichaphan. However, with Johansson 1-0 and 40-30 up in the second game of the second set, Srichaphan cracked two excellent shots including an ace on serve to gain a foothold in the match. Johansson took the next to lead 2-1 in the second set after 40mins of play. Serving, Srichaphan then produced two double faults in the next game to quickly be 3-1 down and Johansson then advanced to 4-1 on serve. Johansson was making few unforced errors and maintaining relentless pressure on the Thai.

However, with the match looking close to its conclusion, Srichaphan then produced a hot streak in his play to break Johansson’s serve, and within fifteen minutes take the second set to 5-5. Both players took the next two games on their own serve to take the match to 6-6 in the second set. Johansson won the next game on serve. By the start of a tense tie-break, Srichaphan had finally warmed to his task and in a spirited display was putting pressure on the Swede who only 20mins earlier had been serving for the title and the 51,400 Euro winners cheque. At 4-4 in the second set tie-break, a driving shot from the baseline put the Thai 5-4 ahead. Serving with real venom, Srichaphan increasingly came into the match and it was Johansson who then made an uncharacteristic unforced error to give Paradorn a deserved second set 7-6 (4). An appreciative packed gallery applauded the fight back of the Thai and the sensational tennis on display.

In the third and final set, both players took their service games. Srichaphan took the next game on serve to lead 2-1 in the final set and then broke Johansson’s serve to lead 3-1. At 5-2 for Srichaphan, the increasingly confident Thai looked on course to victory. However, Johansson saved the next match on serve but with the match at 5-3, Srichaphan then came out to serve for the match. A strong serve and brief rally saw Johansson hit the net with his return and after 1hr and 53 minutes of gripping tennis, Paradorn Srichaphan sank to his knees as the new Nottingham Open champion.

A smiling Srichaphan said at the post match press conference: “It’s like a dream to come back and win the match (after losing the first 1-6) because he was playing really well at the beginning and his returning was very good. I just tried to hold my serve (in the second) and play the tie-breaker … I would love to and think I will (return next year) to defend my title before the grand Slam (Wimbledon). I always like to come back to play the tournaments that I’ve won.”

The runner-up, Thomas Johansson (SWE) said: “Yes, everything was looking good (for me) until 6-1, 5-2 and then all of a sudden I lost a little bit of concentration and Paradorn started to play really well and he stopped making unforced errors and started to serve a lot better. It’s all credit to him … it’s a good effort to turn this match around.”


Quotes of the tournament

Paradorn Srichaphan
· (His thoughts at 3-5 (30-0) down in the second set: “I just thought that this is going to be a quick day (defeat) for me; maybe this is not to be my day.”
Paradorn Srichaphan
· “I will return to London today because I’m playing at Wimbledon on Monday.”
Paradorn Srichaphan
· “My draw (at Wimbledon) is pretty tough and I’ll just try to play one match by one match.”
Paradorn Srichaphan
· (Who will win Wimbledon this year?) “Me, I don’t know – I’m not ready yet to win a Grand Slam but inside of me I would love to. I have to play more consistently to win the Grand Slams … it’s not easy but my goal for Grand Slams is always to play the second week.”

Greg Rusedski (GBR)
The 2003 Nottingham Open champion, Greg Rusedski, having fought back in a 2hr 57min thriller to win 2-6, 7-6 (4) 6-3 to defeat Kucera (SVK) in the first round:
· “I didn’t make any unforced errors and I returned well. Things started to come together. It’s really satisfying to get that win; it has been a while.
· “The serve and volley art is going; it’s a dying breed and that’s unfortunate.”

Jonathan Marray (GBR)
Following his first round win, 7-6 (4), 2-6, 6-3 over 2002 Nottingham Open finalist, Wayne Arthurs (AUS).
· “Serve and volley … that’s my game and I’ve confidence in it and it’s working at the moment

Robin Soderling (SWE)
After defeating 1998 / 2002 Nottingham Open champion, Jonas Bjorkman in the second round.
· “I don’t like to play Swedes … they are all friends of mine. I still have his (Bjorkman’s) autograph somewhere.”

Jonas Bjorkman (SWE) and 1998/2002 Nottingham Open champion
Jonas Bjorkman (SWE) after defeating Aisam Ul-Haq Qureshi (PAK) in the first round:
· “It’s a great centre court and an honour to be out there playing the first match. The grass is terrific and I don’t think you can find anywhere better than this one (centre court).”



WTA The Eastbourne 2004 - Svetlana Kuznetsova
18th June 2004 - Report by Rob Eyton-Jones



Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova battled back from the brink of defeat to win her first ever grass court title at the Hastings Direct International Championships at Eastbourne today.

The second seed was at one stage two points from defeat when wild card Daniela Hantuchova served for the match in the second set. But Kuznetsova came from behind to win 2-6 7-6 6-4.

"It is another great result for Russian tennis," said Kuznetsova, who will turn 19 on the first Sunday of the Wimbledon fortnight where she was a quarter-finalist on her debut last year and is seeded eight this time.

"But I must stop giving opponents a set start because that makes it much more difficult.

"I got frustrated because I made too many simple mistakes to begin with. I find it hard to get into matches sometimes and I was playing a much-improved player today.

"I hit with her at the start of the week but all I could do in the final was stay in there with her and hope my game came together. Happily it did. Now everyone wants to know how I will play at Wimbledon. I can't say I am going to win it but I'm one of many who could."

Hantuchova won the first set in just 30 minutes and she missed an opportunity to wrap up the match at 6-5 in the second.

"I had the match in my hands but didn't do anything about it," she said. "In the end I was just trying to make her play as many balls as possible because her serve was better controlled than mine in the wind and she finished the best

"But I would settle for a week like this after winning four matches against good players and I've shown myself I can get back into the top 10 again - this time maybe even better than before."

In the doubles final Kuznetsova and fellow Russian, Elena Likhovtseva lost out 6-4 6-4 to Alicia Molik from Australia and Spain's Magui Serna.



WTA Ordina Open 2004 - Mary Pierce
BBC Sport



Mary Pierce warmed up for Wimbledon by beating Klara Koukalova in straight sets at the Ordina Open to win the first grass court title of her career.
The Frenchwoman took the first set on a tiebreak against her Czech opponent and proceeded to wrap up a 7-6 6-2 victory.

She had finished off her rain-delayed semi-final against Russian Lina Krasnoroutskaya earlier in the day, completing a 6-2 6-2 victory.

Pierce was back on court three hours later to claim her 16th career title.

She raced to a 5-0 lead against the Czech with a mixture of volleys and deft drop shots.

But Koukalova recovered to force a tiebreak and led 5-1 before Pierce reasserted herself and clinched the set when Koukalova double faulted.

Koukalova double faulted again to give Pierce a break at 2-1, and a series of unforced errors in the seventh game gave the Frenchwoman a second.

Pierce proceeded to serve out the match to leave her in good heart as she heads to Wimbledon.

"It's great to win another tournament. It's been a while," Pierce said

"I played a lot of matches on grass...I feel more comfortable on it every year, understand it better, know how to play on it -- it's the surface that really does suit my game, once I know what I'm doing out there."
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Старый 21st June 2004, 00:49
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Men's Look Forward: Wimbledon
Bob Larson Tennis

Tennis is a gossipy place, even for players who are retired. Martina Hingis has retreated to the broadcast booth, and has managed to be the subject of controversy even so: She doesn't like picking winners in matches. Which looks like common sense from here, but it has her broadcasting partners pleading with her to pick someone.

But, at least at Wimbledon, one can sympathize. Suppose she names Roger Federer as her Wimbledon favorite: She'll be accused of favoring her countryman and one-time Hopman Cup partner. But suppose she doesn't name Federer. Even if it doesn't spark resentment at home, she will be going against the player who is the obvious choice.

Especially this year, when most of the other candidates are having their problems. Based on recent results, almost everyone agrees that this is one of Tim Henman's big chances -- but, owing to Wimbledon's use of an additive seeding formula (as opposed to a multiplicative formula, that might actually have taken Guillermo Coria down to a reasonable seed), he wound up seeded a mere #5 (though the withdrawal of David Nalbandian makes him an effective #4; Wimbledon, being a Slam, did not promote seeds; #33 seed Luis Horna took Nalbandian's place). The other strong candidate is, of course, Andy Roddick, who like Federer has a grass title this year and has only one grass loss in the past year. But -- well, can he beat Federer on grass? Sure, he has the serve -- but Federer's serve, while it doesn't set technicians scrambling to recalibrate the radar gun, is more than good enough on grass, and his backhand is perfect for the stuff, and when it comes to net play, it's no contest.

And the other candidates all have question marks. Lleyton Hewitt is a past Wimbledon champion -- one of only three past champions in the draw, in fact, Federer and Goran Ivanisevic being the others. But even though he's doing better this year than last, he still hasn't returned to his 2002 form. Sebastien Grosjean is a very good grass player (12-5 record at Wimbledon, with a semifinal last year and back-to-back Queen's finals), and we could make a case that he should have been seeded for the final eight -- but he just doesn't have the results at the big events. David Nalbandian is a former finalist, but he had to withdraw due to an injury sustained in an exhibition. Guillermo Coria has struggled just to win matches on grass -- though he did very well at 's-Hertogenbosch. Juan Carlos Ferrero hasn't been much better than Coria historically, and he's in terrible shape right now. Ditto Rainer Schuettler, whose form remains way off. Carlos Moya dislikes this surface enough that he's been known to boycott Wimbledon, though he's planning to play this year. Mardy Fish has fallen in love with grass, but Federer disassembled him at Halle, and he pulled out of Nottingham; he's probably not ready to win a Slam yet anyway. Ivanisevic is having his farewell tour; he's not a candidate to win. Mark Philippoussis hasn't won a match in ages -- and he and Ivanisevic are the only past finalists in the draw. (It's an amazingly inexperienced field, when you think about it.) Nicolas Escude, who would have been our candidate for Best Dark Horse, had to withdraw.

What it all adds up to is a field sorely lacking in favorites. Federer doesn't look nearly as likely to win as, say, Pete Sampras did in the mid-Nineties -- but while "field" looks like a pretty good bet to come out on top, it's hard to pick a candidate out of "field" who can make a real run at Federer.

That's especially so since players are withdrawing so fast. By Saturday night, with the draw just two days old, we had five Lucky Losers: Benneteau, Pescosolido, Peya, Sanguinetti, and Starace. Most of them replaced pretty good players, too: Nalbandian, Escude, Nadal, Blake.

Of course, time and chance (read: The Draw) happen to them all. In Federer's case, Chance as a threat will probably emerge first in the form of either Thomas Johansson or Nicolas Kiefer in the third round. Then, probably, Paradorn Srichaphan, though Feliciano Lopez -- who has made the fourth round in both his previous Wimbledons -- is also in that part of the draw, and Ivo Karlovic also lurks. After that comes Hewitt -- or maybe Marat Safin, or Mikhail Youzhny if the Russian is over his flu. Ivanisevic is also in that part of the draw.

Down in Roddick's quarter, things look if anything a big easier. Like Federer, he has an easy path to the third round. There, he is supposed to face Taylor Dent -- but while grass is ideal for Dent's game, he really doesn't bring anything to the court that Roddick can't match, and he's more fragile. Federer, as we saw, will have a tough fourth round match; Roddick, who would face Nicolas Massu or Andrei Pavel or possibly Alexander Popp, may not. And he's supposed to face Schuettler in the quarterfinal. The other high seed in that section is Sjeng Schalken, and he's in a big of a funk, too; we might well see a surprise quarterfinalist (e.g. Robin Soderling or Todd Reid or maybe even Todd Martin or Guillermo Canas).

#3 seed Coria might well be in trouble from the very start; he opens against Wesley Moodie, who is in an obvious slump after his breakthrough year last year but who definitely likes this surface. After that, Coria would face perhaps Wayne Arthurs (though they were supposed to face off at Queen's, and Arthurs fell). Then Ivan Ljubicic or Wayne Ferreira, then Mardy Fish or Jonas Bjorkman or Arnaud Clement or Joachim Johansson. Get through that, and he faces Ferrero -- or, more likely, Grosjean. Every one of those matches would be tough even for a natural grass-courter, and that Coria assuredly is not. Plus the Argentine has to be tired, having made the Roland Garros and 's-Hertogenbosch finals and played Queens also.

The most interesting quarter of all, though, is surely the one formerly headed by Nalbandian, since that's the one he has abandoned to Henman. And Henman's draw is quite nice: A clay-courter, then Flavio Saretta (surprisingly good on grass, but assuredly not in Henman's league). The first seed he would face is Arazi, who is no fan of grass, then Philippoussis, slump and all, or Gonzalez. Then whoever comes through in Nalbandian's place -- Jiri Novak, perhaps, or Tommy Haas or Xavier Malisse or Mario Ancic, who was supposed to face Nalbandian in the first round. (James Blake was also in that section, but he was forced to withdraw.) The British have to be cheering. Will Henman, who lost early at Queen's, be up to the pressure?

Noteworthy First Round Matches.

This being grass, there aren't that many really threatening unseeded players. But there are quite a few hot matches.

T. Johansson vs. (29) Kiefer. Thomas Johansson gave a pretty convincing demonstration at Nottingham that he's back (at least on fast surfaces). Kiefer also likes grass, and he's in better form than he's been in for years. It's quite a contest.

Karlovic vs. (13) Srichaphan. Srichaphan is less likely to be surprised by Karlovic than was Lleyton Hewitt last year. But Srichaphan isn't the grass player Hewitt is, either.

Youzhny vs. Ivanisevic. Youzhny was sick last week. Ivanisevic is serving well, but the rest really isn't there. It may be a crummy match. But it may also be the last of Ivanisevic's career; how can you not want to watch?

(3) Coria vs. Moodie. Coria has overcome his grass jinx. Moodie is in a slump -- but he likes the surface. The French Open finalist may at last win a Wimbledon match, but it's no sure thing....

Arthurs vs. Mayer. We all know about the Arthurs serve. Mayer is starting to look like a pretty good prospect. An interesting contest at the very least. The winner faces the Coria/Moodie winner.

W. Ferreira vs. (28) Ljubicic. Another contest that just might be a last-of-career. It has potential apart from that: Ljubicic's weapon is his serve, and Ferreira likes facing big servers.

Clement vs. J. Johansson. Clement loves fast courts; he's never won a grass title, but he has a couple of finals. Johansson is a monster server. The contrast, at least, should be good. The winner will face Mardy Fish; that should be another fine contest.

Gambill vs. (23) Mirnyi. Gambill is a mess, game-wise, but he serves well and has a Wimbledon quarterfinal on his record (though he hasn't done all that well here otherwise). Mirnyi has never done as well on grass as his game would suggest. And Gambill can perhaps hurt him with his returns. It's a hard match to predict.

Boutter vs. (6) Ferrero. Boutter has been almost invisible lately, but he does serve big and play the net pretty well. Ferrero has been hurt and almost as hard to spot as the Frenchman, and he doesn't have a grassy game at all.

Verkerk vs. Davydenko. Neither is likely to do well here; Verkerk hasn't learned grass, and Davydenko likes slow surfaces. But it's another nice contrast.

(16) Novak vs. Malisse. Two years ago, Malisse made the semifinal here. He utterly failed to follow it up. But it showed what he could do. Maybe he'll finally wake up again this year.

(8) Schuettler vs. Soderling. Another slumping seed against another big server.

Reid (WC) vs. (30) Spadea. Spadea doesn't like grass much. Reid is Australian and promising; his big breakthrough came at Queen's last year. It's perhaps the ideal situation for the kid.

T. Martin vs. Canas. Todd Martin loves grass, but Guillermo Canas, when he's healthy, isn't bad on it either; he made the fourth round here in 2001, and also made the 's-Hertogenbosch final that year. And both are desperately trying to get back on track. The winner faces Sjeng Schalken, who is slumping a bit, so it's a real opportunity.

(15) Massu vs. Popp. On grass, Alexander Popp has had two careers: Wimbledons 2000 and 2003, and everything else. At both those Wimbledons (the only two in which he's made the main draw), he's made the quarterfinal. Other than that, he had only 21 ATP wins from 2000 through 2003, inclusive. Think this guy likes grass? And Massu hates it. But the Chilean is, in every other regard, much the better player.

The Rankings.

Looking at our spreadsheet of safe points, it almost feels as if there are a bunch of players making a desperate attempt to get out of the Top Ten: Andre Agassi and Gaston Gaudio aren't here, and Juan Carlos Ferrero and Rainer Schuettler have a fair number of points to defend that they don't seem in shape to deal with, and David Nalbandian's withdrawal opens a real possibility that he will fall out of the Top Five.

But, in fact, we almost certainly won't see more than two new Top Ten players, and it would be no real surprise if there were only one. It's quite possible, in fact, that we'll end up with exactly the same Top Ten we started with.

But we might actually see a change at the top. This is Andy Roddick's one real chance at Roger Federer in the next few months: Federer has champion's points to defend, and Roddick only semifinalist points. Federer's lead coming in was big enough that that still gives him a 365 point edge in safe points, but that is surmountable for Roddick. Barely. He needs at least a semifinal to have any hope. If Federer makes the fourth round, Roddick needs a final. If Federer makes the semifinal, Roddick needs a title. And if Federer makes the final, Roddick can't pass him even by winning Wimbledon.

There is a theoretical possibility that Guillermo Coria could pass Roddick and take the #2 spot. But it's really very theoretical: He needs at least a final to do it.

There is, on the other hand, a real contest for David Nalbandian's #4 spot. He had a relatively slight lead, and fourth round points to defend. Carlos Moya is breathing down his neck; pending receipt of last week's official rankings from the ATP, it appears that Moya needs only one win to pass him. Ferrero can pass him with a fourth round. Henman can do it with a quarterfinal -- and he's now seeded for the semifinal. Even Rainer Schuettler could pass him with a semifinal.

The gap between #9 Agassi and everyone below him is so large that it's possible that Agassi will keep the spot, even though he loses fourth round points. The guy most likely to pass him is, of course, Lleyton Hewitt, who needs a quarterfinal to do it. Looking at the next few guys down, there don't seem to be any other strong candidates -- the best is Marat Safin, but he needs a final. So the odds really are strong that the Top Ten when this is over will be, in some order, Federer, Roddick, Coria, Nalbandian, Moya, Ferrero, Henman, Schuettler, Agassi, and Hewitt.

Several guys, of course, risk big falls. Sebastien Grosjean, with semifinalist points to defend, could end up below #20. Sjeng Schalken, a 2003 quarterfinalist, could end up below #25. Jonas Bjorkman, also a quarterfinalist, could be in the #35 range. But the biggest losses, potentially, will be those suffered by Mark Philippoussis and Alexander Popp. Philippoussis, with finalist points on his record and in terrible form, is likely to fall below #50. And Popp doesn't have much of a ranking anyway, and he has quarterfinalist points to defend.

Key Matches

It's surprisingly hard to pick these out this year. For example, the key matches for Roddick and Federer are the quarterfinal and the semifinal, respectively: Roddick must win his quarterfinal to have any chance at Federer (and that's if Federer loses early); for Federer, winning the semifinal clinches the #1 spot. And all those guys who are backed up behind David Nalbandian are too close together for any particular round to be significant; it's very much a case of who lasts longest. Though it seems a pretty good bet that, if Tim Henman holds his de facto #4 seed, it will earn him the #4 ranking.

For Lleyton Hewitt, a quarterfinal should spell the #9 ranking. That makes his key match the Round of 16 against (probably) Safin. It's big for Safin too, though: If he wins it, he'll very possibly be Top 12, giving him better seeding at the U. S. Open.

For Sebastien Grojean, the big match is his Round of Sixteen against Juan Carlos Ferrero (or whoever replaces him), because he probably needs to win that to stay Top 15. If he does win it, he has a very good chance of being a semifinalist, too.

Sjeng Schalken has a key match in the third round; he probably needs that to stay Top 20, though the opposition in that round isn't all that strong. He might face Thomas Enqvist.

Taylor Dent and Andy Roddick have a big match in the third round; for Dent, a win could spell a Top 25 spot.

The one player we'd pay most attention to in the first round (apart from Ivanisevic and Philippoussis, for their various reasons) is Coria's match with Moodie. Having had a great tournament at 's-Hertogenbosch, winning his first Wimbledon match could be very big for the Argentine.
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Старый 21st June 2004, 01:05
Kasper Kasper вне форума
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Women's Look Forward: Wimbledon
Bob Larson Tennis

Women's tennis is a cyclical thing. In 2000, we really didn't have much certainty about who would win any of the Slams. By 2002, "Serena Williams" was the obvious answer. Now, in 2004, we're completely up in the air again. Justine Henin-Hardenne can't win Wimbledon; she isn't here. Kim Clijsters would be dubious even if she were here, which she isn't. Anastasia Myskina is the top-ranked woman in the field, but very many people consider her a fluke (though it's worth noting that Myskina has done better on grass than she had on clay before winning Roland Garros -- indeed, a month ago, most people would have said that clay was her worst surface). Serena Williams is the defending champion, but she doesn't look as dominating as she did, having won only one title in the past year and of course having avoided even the thought of a warmup. Venus Williams picked up her clay results, but then started carrying nagging injuries again. Amelie Mauresmo is a former semifinalist, but she lost too early at Eastbourne.

Most people would probably list Serena as the favorite, but that's definitely favorite with a lower-case f, not Favorite. Let alone Big Favorite.

Of course, a lot depends on each player's path. Serena is fairly well off in that regard, opening against Zheng Jie, then Stephanie Cohen-Aloro or a qualifier. It gets a little more interesting in the third round; she will presumably face Magui Serna or #30 seed Eleni Daniilidou. Daniilidou is a former 's-Hertogenbosch winner, but she's been hurt and slumping. Serna once made the Eastbourne final, but she's pretty messed up, too. Serena should have an easy fourth round, against Francesca Schiavone or Patty Schnyder; she might have to face Jennifer Capriati again in the quarterfinal.

#2 seed Myskina also has a fairly easy first few rounds: Lubomira Kurhajcova, then Aniko Kapros or Mervana Jugic-Salkic. Amy Frazier (or Maria Kirilenko) in the third round she can probably handle. But then things get sticky. She's to face either #13 seed Maria Sharapova, who won Birmingham, or #20 Elena Bovina, who beat Silvia Farina Elia at Eastbourne. Or, maybe, Daniela Hantuchova, who is also in that part of the draw. Whichever it is, it's a very tough Round of Sixteen; had Wimbledon seeded the women for grass, it wouldn't have happened. If Myskina comes through that, she's supposed to face Elena Dementieva, whom she beat at Roland Garros -- though Dementieva doesn't like grass much; Alicia Molik or Chanda Rubin or Ai Sugiyama or even Tamarine Tanasugarn may be a better candidate.

#3 seed Venus has reason to be less than thrilled. In fact, she has about the worst draw that could possibly be imagined. Her first round opponent, Marie-Gayanay Mikaelian, is a former Top 40 player, though she's a mess right now and probably not a threat. But, if form holds and there are no withdrawals, Venus's second round opponent would be Karolina Sprem, the top unseeded player (though one who prefers slower surfaces). Then comes Meghann Shaughnessy, who has won two of her last three matches with Venus. Then, potentially, Magdalena Maleeva, who also has two wins over Venus in this millennium; they are, other than Serena, the two leading Venus-beaters of the last three and a half years (since the start of 2001, Venus has 23 losses: Six to Serena, two to Clijsters, two to Maleeva, two to Shaughnessy, and one each to Dementieva, Henin, Hingis, Kuznetsova, Mauresmo, Myskina, Raymond, Schett, Seles, Testud, and Zvonareva). And then, if form hold, Davenport, who hasn't beaten Venus since 2000 but who is certainly the best of the players not seeded for the semifinal. (Though, of course, she has that bad knee.) If Davenport doesn't come through, Zvonareva is the other top player in that eighth, and it also contains grass-loving Saori Obata, fine-serving Samantha Stosur, and spinmistress Emilie Loit. Looking at that draw, we can't help but think Venus would have been better off to be seeded lower.

#4 seed Amelie Mauresmo has little reason to be happier. She opens against Jelena Kostanic, which is by no means good news for her, though Kostanic tends to like slower surfaces. The second round isn't too bad. But in the third, she has to face Lisa Raymond, who loves grass -- or perhaps Shinobu Asagoe, who loves grass even more. In the fourth round, she will have to deal with either Silvia Farina Elia, whose favorite surface is grass, or Mary Pierce. And then, if the seeds hold, Svetlana Kuznetsova, who was a quarterfinalist last year and has improved since.

All in all, it meets the criterion for a balanced draw: Almost everyone will hate it.

We actually did have some rather interesting qualifying results. Tatiana Panova made it through qualifying, and is finally looking like she might hit the Top 100 again soon. Angelique Widjaja also qualified, so she's clearly recovering from her injury problems. So too Virginie Razzano. But Alexandra Stevenson played a marathon second rounder with Galina Voskoboeva (that may be the ultimate tall-and-slow match in WTA history), and though she won 7-6 3-6 10-8, she lost in the third round, perhaps tired out by her efforts. Nicole Vaidisova, the highly-touted prospect, lost her opener to Maret Ani. Ani would beat another player making a comeback, Yoon Jeong Cho, before losing to Razzano.

Noteworthy First Round Matches.

One curious side effect of the many injuries on the WTA Tour lately, and of the refusal to seed by surfaces, is that there are surprisingly many tough grass floaters: The Japanese, Asagoe, Obata, and Morigami, all of whom like grass a lot; Virginia Ruano Pascual, who has beaten both Serena Williams and Martina Hingis at this very tournament; Anne Kremer, who had two very good grass events coming in; Sprem; Tamarine Tanasugarn, who until last year had five straight fourth rounds here; Daniela Hantuchova, finally coming back to life. That translates into quite a few quality first round matches.

Serna vs. (30) Daniilidou. Both slumping. Both have had good grass results. Daniilidou is ranked higher but has been hurt. If both have off days, it will be terrible -- but if they play well, it could be the best match of the first round.

Morigami vs. (15) Schynder. Schnyder hates grass so much that she initially didn't sign up for Wimbledon. Morigami is your standard grass-loving Japanese. It's a much worse draw for Schnyder than it looks.

Asagoe vs. (26) Raymond. Lisa Raymond likes grass. But Shinobu Asagoe led the Tour in grass wins last year. And Raymond hasn't been playing very well lately. This is another one with high potential.

(24) Pierce vs. Ruano Pascual. Mary Pierce just won her first grass title, and has certainly improved her game on the stuff. But Ruano Pascual is perhaps better at surprising top players on grass than any other player in the game.

(9) Suarez vs. Perry. Shenay Perry doesn't have much grass experience, but her results so far this year have been pretty good, and Suarez likes clay.

Kremer vs. (19) Zuluaga. Fabiola Zuluaga is another clay-courter, and Anne Kremer has cut her ranking almost in half after two weeks of grass events. They still have more than 150 ranking places between them, but grass probably makes them at least even.

Panova (Q) vs. (28) Loit. Another comeback player -- and facing a player who isn't noted for power.

Castano vs. Navratilova (WC). We probably don't have to talk this up. On this surface, Navratilova has a chance -- and if she takes it, it will almost certainly be her last Slam singles victory.

Douchevina vs. (21) Maleeva. Promising young Russian against a veteran who, until the past couple of years, didn't like grass at all.

Sprem vs. Granville. The top unseeded player vs. a player who first made her mark at Wimbledon two years ago. With the winner facing Venus Williams.

(17) Rubin vs. Bartoli. Ordinarily, not much of a contest. But can Rubin actually play?

Janes (WC) vs. (11) Sugiyama. Of all the Japanese, Sugiyama probably likes grass least, and she is not playing her best right now. Janes is probably not a threat away from grass, but on grass -- well, maybe.

Keothavong vs. Pratt. Keothavong is, along with Janes and Elena Baltacha, the closest the British women have to a hope. But she's a head case, and Pratt is a canny Australian veteran. Can someone get through to the British player?

Hantuchova vs. Reeves. Not much of a match in itself, but if Hantuchova can do well, it might easily signal more damage to come.

(31) Frazier vs. Kirilenko. Another Veteran-vs.-Young-Russian contest.

The Rankings.

The injuries at the top are truly taking their toll. Had Kim Clijsters been able to play this week, she would have had a genuine shot at the #1 ranking. With Clijsters out, Justine Henin-Hardenne is guaranteed the top spot even though she isn't playing either. Instead, it is Clijsters who is under threat at #2.

Under threat twice, in fact, since Anastasia Myskina is only 800 points behind her in safe points, and Amelie Mauresmo is less than 40 points behind Myskina. And that means that if either Myskina or Mauresmo wins Wimbledon, she is #2. Indeed, a final might be enough to move either one there, if she earns very good quality points.

Obviously the contest between Myskina and Mauresmo for the #3 ranking is very tight. If neither manages to make it to #2, the one who lasts longer will probably be #3, though once again it depends on quality points.

Chances are that Henin-Hardenne, Clijsters, Myskina, and Mauresmo will still be the top four, in some order, when this is through. Mauresmo is more than 700 points ahead of Elena Dementieva and Lindsay Davenport, which means that either woman would have to reach at least the final to overtake her. Dementieva and Davenport are neck-and-neck for #5; again, whichever lasts longer is likely to get the spot. Though Jennifer Capriati has an outside shot; she's about 400 points back, which means she could possibly pass them with a semifinal (especially since she has to beat Serena Williams to reach that semifinal), though it will likely take a final if she faces a quarterfinal opponent other than Serena.

The only other player with more than 2000 safe points is Svetlana Kuznetsova, so she is nearly guaranteed to stay Top Ten, and has a very good chance to move up to #8 or higher.

That leaves two spots in the Top Ten. Venus Williams had one of them coming in, and Serena the other -- but they were finalist and champion, respectively. Venus is #13 in safe points, and Serena a mere #25. Venus has a reasonable shot it make it back; Serena's only hope is a title, and even that might not do it. It's almost impossible to tell who will take their places, though. Ai Sugiyama is #9 in safe points, and Paola Suarez #10, but Sugiyama, Suarez, Nadia Petrova, Vera Zvonareva, Venus, and Patty Schnyder are all within about 200 points of each other,. These players could end up in any order. Three other players (Smashnova-Pistolesi, Sharapova, and Schiavone) are within about 400 points of Sugiyama; they too could make some noise in that contest -- especially Sharapova, who likes grass.

Those 17 appear nearly sure to stay in the Top 20 when all is over. The other three spots are up for grabs, with literally anyone in the Top 100 having the theoretical chance of moving that high.

We do of course see several players in danger of precipitous drops. Other than Serena, the player who is in the most trouble is probably Shinobu Asagoe, winner of that famous match with Daniela Hantuchova last year. #44 coming in, she's a mere #62 in safe points. Aniko Kapros, #49 coming in, also faces the threat of falling below #50. And Silvia Farina Elia, #19 coming in, has 302 points to defend and is likely to end up below #20.

We will, incidentally, see some familiar names go off the rankings this week. Iroda Tulyaganova dropped off last week. Mirjana Lucic will go this week. Iva Majoli won't vanish quite yet, but she may fall below #300. And Daja Bedanova will fall to around #350, with no cure for her problems in sight.

Key Matches

A lot of our key matches are fairly deep in the draw, and may not come off. But we'll mention what we can.

First Round: Morigami vs. (15) Schnyder. Morigami comes in at #57. A win means she stays around there; a loss puts her below #60. For Schnyder, a loss will probably end her chances of staying above #16 -- and so hurt her chances at events where she likes the surface better.

First Round: Asagoe vs. (26) Raymond. For Asagoe, a loss means falling below #60; a win will probably keep her above it. But if Raymond loses, she might well fall out of the Top 30.

Second Round: (6) Dementieva vs. Tanasugarn. Elena Dementieva, despite her disappointment at Roland Garros, has reason to be pleased with her year. But she didn't play any grass warmups, and she doesn't like the surface. Tamarine Tanasugarn is in an awful slump, but she really likes grass, and could finally get her year back on track with a win here.

Second Round: Sprem vs. (3) Venus Williams. Wimbledon will be Venus's ninth event of 2004. Six of those events were not Slams. She has two more tournaments before her special ranking expires. She really needs to get her ranking up. And Sprem is the first of the many challenges we outlined in the introduction to this column.

Third Round: (6) Dementieva vs. (27) Molik. Alicia Molik is at a career high, but she has 102 points to defend. An early loss might cost her her Top 30 ranking. Her draw isn't too bad until this round. If she can win this, she should be Top 25.

Third round: (13) Sharapova vs. (20) Bovina or Hantuchova. Sharapova had her first really big results on grass last year, and backed them up at Birmingham. But she probably needs to reach the fourth round to stay in the Top 15. And she'll have to face either a fellow Russian or the suddenly-back-in-form Hantuchova.

Quarterfinal: (1) S. Williams vs. (7) Capriati. If Serena wins this, it should at least keep her in the Top 20 after Wimbledon. If Capriati wins, though, she has a shot at breaking back into the Top Five.
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Старый 21st June 2004, 01:18
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Wimbledon 2004 Prospects
Ray Bowers

The ranks of the top superstars in women's tennis have been almost impenetrable to outsiders for several years. Prior to Roland Garros 2004, the leading seven women had been the winners of the last fifteen Slams and runner-ups in most of them.

Since mid-2003, however, one after another of the superstars have been brought down by injuries. Then came the revolution of Garros 04, which affirmed what appeared to be a successor group, mainly populated by players aged 22 and younger. What was especially remarkable was that the successor group was made up almost entirely of players from Russia.

It may be that the Garros verdict was illusory, as cold and rainy weather greatly slowed conditions of play during mid-tournament. The slow conditions generally helped defensive tactics while hurting attackers. The heavier hitting power of the old guard was significantly reduced in effect. Thus if faster conditions prevail at Wimbledon, as seems likely, the familiar superstars could very well reassert their supremacy.

THE SUPERSTARS (OLD GUARD)

Especially hampered by the extreme slowness at Garros were Serena and Venus Williams. Serena's serve, which produced multitudes of aces in her past Slam triumphs, was instead returned consistently by Capriati in her quarter-final win over Serena. Serena furthermore had competed little since her Wimbledon triumph last year, though at Garros she seemed at full strength physically. Venus, who had withdrawn from the recent final in Berlin with an ankle sprain, also appeared in good health.

The sisters have captured the last four Wimbledons, each sister winning twice and Venus twice runner-up to Serena. Neither Henin-Hardenne nor Clijsters, the two Belgian players who took over the top rankings in late 2003, will be playing Wimbledon. (Henin has a viral illness, and Clijsters is having wrist surgery.) With both sisters robust and their foremost competition absent, another Wimbledon trophy thus seems a strong possibility for the Williams family, especially Serena, who is still just 22.

Davenport, Capriati, and Mauresmo complete the older elite group. All three lost to Russian players in late rounds at Garros 04 and may indeed be fading from superstar rank. Of the three, probably the strongest Wimbledon candidate because of her extreme power in serving and stroking is Davenport, 28, who won the event five years ago. Capriati, 28, and Mauresmo, 24, are strong hitters with good mobility, but are no longer at a level above all outsiders.

THE RUSSIANS

A year ago at Wimbledon the Russian contingent placed five members, all at age 21 or less, in the round of sixteen. Most of them faltered in the next round, thereby yielding to the U.S. women the badge of winning the most matches in the tournament. But in each of the subsequent Slams--the U.S., Australian, and French Opens--Russian females won more singles and doubles matches than the women from any other nation.

Most of the young Russian stars are from Moscow. They are generally tall, ranging from 5-8 to 6-2, all at 130 pounds or more. Nearly all of them have two-handed backhands. All are good movers on the court, all can drive the ball firmly as needed, and all seem to have excellent temperament and competitive outlook. Two 22-year-olds are the core--Anastasia Myskina and Elena Dementieva--whose late-round victories at Garros over Venus, Capriati, Davenport, and Mauresmo dazzled the world. Meanwhile not far behind are Vera Zvonareva, 19, and Nadia Petrova, 22, who are both in the world's top twenty.

Two other members may be even more promising. Svetlana Kuznetsova, 19, is probably the most powerful of the group, at 5-9 and 160 pounds. When Svetlana played Myskina in the fourth round at Garros, the score reached six-games-all in the third set before the eventual tournament champion prevailed. Kuznetsova scored twice as many winners during the match as did Myskina, but she also committed almost twice as many errors. Perhaps even more precocious is Maria Sharapova, just 17, who talks like an American. Maria last month reached the final eight at Garros and last week won the grass-court event at Birmingham. A year ago at Wimbledon she carried Kuznetsova to a 7-5 third set.

Meanwhile Kirilenko, 17, took a set from Serena Williams at Garros. Safina, 18, sister of Marat Safin, is nearly six feet tall and reached the fourth round at last year's U.S. Open. Bovina, at 6-2 and 160, reached the fourth round at Melbourne Park 2004. Meanwhile Kuznetsova and Likhovsteva, who is 28, were the runner-up pair at this year's Australian and French Opens and rank #2 in the year's doubles race. Petrova and her American partner, Shaughnessy, are #3.

Strong serving provides extra advantage on grass. The young Russians are not superior in this realm. To illustrate, five members of the superstar group and four Russian players reached the fourth round at Garros. The fastest server of the Russians was Kuznetsova, at average first-serve velocity in that round of 95 mph (153 kph)--the same value posted by the slowest-serving member of the old guard, Capriati. (The average value for the other seven players reaching the fourth round was 89.)

But if grass benefits the big server, it can also help the weaker serve, adding penetration and unpredictability off the bounce. Surely the sliced serve of Dementieva, for example, which handicapped her at Garros, will be more effective on Wimbledon grass.

Meanwhile the wonderful court mobility, shot-making, and temperament shown by Myskina and other Russian stars at Garros should be just as admirable at Wimbledon. Without doubt, several Russians will penetrate very deep in the tournament this year. Indeed, a championship trophy for a Russian player is not beyond possibility.

THE PREDICTIONS

But it seems to me more likely that the general effect of the expected fast conditions at Wimbledon will turn matters toward the heavier-serving old guard, reinforcing that group's greater experience on turf. A healthy Serena must be favored to win the tournament despite her limited competitive play in the last twelve months. Venus is not far behind. There should be several fascinating match-ups across the Russian and the superstar groups. It should be especially interesting to track the tally of match wins by nation.

Here are the eight sections of the draw, players shown in seeded order. My own predictions, which always include at least four reversals of the seeded order, are offered.

--S. Williams (seeded 1), Schnyder, Schiavone, Daniilidou, Golovin. Golovin at 16 reached the recent final at Birmingham. But no problem for a healthy Serena here.

--Capriati (seeded 7), Petrova, C. Martinez, Dechy, Vento-Kabchi, Schaul. Although her record in 2004 has been indifferent, Petrova defeated Capriati in their last meeting, at Garros last year. Petrova.

--Mauresmo (seeded 4), Farina Elia, Pierce, Raymond, Kostanic, Asagoe. The Italian player had a nice run at Wimbledon last year, reaching the quarters and then winning a set from Clijsters. She won a set from Mauresmo in losing at Rome this year. Farina Elia.

--Kuznetsova (seeded 8), Suarez, Zuluaga, Safina. Kuznetsova keeps getting better.

--Davenport (seeded 5), Zvonareva, Loit, Dokic, Dulko. The Russian player has never defeated Lindsay. The choice is Davenport.

--V. Williams (seeded 3), Smashnova-Pistolesi, Maleeva, Shaughnessy. Venus is too strong for the others.

--Dementieva (seeded 6), Sugiyama, Rubin, Molik, Jankovic, Pisnik. Dementieva did not compete in the grass tune-ups after her disappointing final at Garros. The Australian player is a strong server, and she took a set from Myskina at the recent Garros. Molik.

--Myskina (seeded 2), Sharapova, Bovina, Frazier, Hantuchova. Though Myskina should prevail on another surface, Sharapova's record on grass has been excellent. Sharapova.

Having avoided a difficult showdown with Capriati, Serena should comfortably prevail over Petrova in their quarter-final meeting. Kuznetsova should defeat Farina Elia with equal comfort. I believe Venus will prove too athletic for Davenport, and that Sharapova will continue her rise, defeating Molik. In what should be superb semi-final meetings, both sisters will prove themselves yet ahead of their Russian teen-aged opponents. Serena then will continue her dominance over her sister to win her third straight Wimbledon.

THE MEN'S SINGLES -- TWO PRIME FAVORITES

A dominating serve has even greater extra value on grass in men's tennis. Until recent years, most players reaching the late rounds at Wimbledon were the ones whose strengths were in serving and net play--Sampras, Ivanisevic, Krajicek, Philippoussis, Rusedski, Henman, and Rafter. Things seemed to change in 2002, when baseliners Hewitt and Nalbandian reached the final, and of late the grass texture and soil firmness at Wimbledon have been adjusted to slow the bounce somewhat. But normalcy returned last year when the servers and the volleyers again ruled. The champion, Federer, came to net behind all or nearly all first serves, and the players who advanced to face him in the late rounds were big-servers Philippoussis and Roddick.

The analysis here rests on earlier calculations measuring how well various predictor tournaments correlated in their results with past Wimbledons. Then, by taking each player's results at recent predictor events and weighting them according to the historical correlations, I obtained values indicating each player's probability of winning Wimbledon 2004.

The exercise employed fourteen predictor tournaments. The earliest predictor for Wimbledon 04 is Wimbledon 2002, and the most recent is the Queen's/Halle 2004 pair, which is our heaviest-weighted predictor, at 12.0%. (The grass-court tune-ups at Queen's and Halle are played simultaneously two weeks before Wimbledon and are here treated as a single tournament.) The Nottingham/s'Hertogenbosch 2004 pair is held the week just before Wimbledon, too late for inclusion here. All Slams and Masters Series events of 2004 to date are used in the calculations. Grass-court events compose slightly over 50% of the total weighting. The predictors and their weights are listed in the footnote.*

Shown with each candidate below is his computed raw score along with numerical odds for his winning the tournament. The odds, which are rounded here, are calculated directly from the raw scores and scaled to an overall probability of 1.0. Two prime candidates emerged.

#1. Roger Federer, raw score 5.51 (odds 3-1)

It seems fitting that the defending champion, who performed so magnificently in winning Wimbledon 2003, should emerge as our top candidate. The completeness of his perfection a year ago is rarely glimpsed in our sport. We saw high mastery in the champion's forceful serving, in the variety, control, and accuracy of his stroking, in his net play, and in his court movement. What proved critical was Federer's ability to return Andy Roddick's serve consistently by blocking it back. (Andy summoned only three aces in their semi-final meeting; Roger hit 17.) Later in the year Roger won Masters Cup in Houston, and in 2004 he claimed Australian Open and Indian Wells. Now 22, he is probably now entering his prime years. Having just won the grass-court tune-up at Halle for the second straight year, Roger is deservedly the Wimbledon favorite, though his margin by our calculations is slight.

#2. Andy Roddick, 5.48 (odds 3-1)

Andy's first and second serves remain the game's best. During 2003, he led all tour pros in number of aces, far ahead of runner-up Philippoussis and third-place Federer. He also led in percentage of serving games won, at 91%. (Federer was second.) At Queen's last week, Andy set a new world's record with a serve clocked at 153 mph. He won the tournament, defeating Grosjean, Hewitt, Srichaphan, and Ancic, repeating his victory of 2003.

Along with his superior serving ability, Roddick, now 21, also brings a firm ground game including superior ability in attacking balls at or inside baseline. He has worked to improve his net ability, and is now seen in fore-court far more often than previously. But his reactions at net and his volleying skills remain behind the rest of his game. Still, it would seem that if Federer again decides to return serve conservatively, Andy must follow serve to net often, forcing Roger into riskier returns.

Federer and Roddick are seeded first and second and cannot meet until the final round. They have played each other twice in the last twelve months. Andy won at Canadian Open, winning a third-set tiebreaker. Roger won at Masters Cup. Our calculated odds prior to rounding are 2.84-1 for Federer to win the tournament and 2.87-1 for Roddick.

THE NEXT FIVE

A substantial gap separates the top two from the next five, who are themselves well separated from the rest.

#3. Lleyton Hewitt, 3.17 (odds 11-1)

Lleyton has often performed well on grass, having won Queen's three times, twice defeating Pete Sampras there. (This year Hewitt reached the Queen's final, losing to Roddick closely.) He won Wimbledon two years ago, but in 2003 he became the first defending champion to fall in the first round, losing to heavy-serving Karlovic. Reflecting his stated goals, Hewitt's prime achievement last year was in carrying Australia to the Davis Cup championship, defeating Federer on Rebound Ace in the Cup semi-final in September and then defeating Ferrero on grass in the Cup final. He has been remarkably successful in adapting his strengths, which are not in serving and volleying, to the grass-court game.

#4. Sebastien Grosjean, 2.89 (14-1)

With Andre Agassi having withdrawn citing hip trouble, Sebastien Grosjean moves into our fourth position. This 5-9 French star has lived in Florida since 1999. Last year his record on grass was excellent--he defeated both Hewitt and Henman at Queen's and then Henman again in reaching the semis at Wimbledon. He was again runner-up this year at Queen's, losing to Roddick in two close sets. In his court speed Grosjean is in the class of Hewitt and Coria.

#5. Sjeng Schalken, 2.86 (15-1)

The slender Netherlander, 27, at 6-4 is neither an overpowering server nor a persistent volleyer. His natural strength is in his ground game, but he reached the quarter-finals at Wimbledon in each of the last two years. He won the grass tune-up at s'Hertogenbosch last year but lost in the first round of that event this week to young Ancic.

#6. Tim Henman, 2.73 (17-1)

Henman has reached the quarters at Wimbledon in seven of the last eight years, missing out in year 2000 by just one match. But he has never reached the final. He played well at Garros last month, attacking net often including behind most first serves. He finally lost in the semis to Coria after leading by a set and a break. His good showing using attacking tactics in Paris suggested readiness to break out upward on grass, but then he lost his first match at Queen's. Still, his chances instinctively seem better than the odds stated here.

#7. David Nalbandian, 2.63 (20-1)

Nalbandian has been held back many months by intermittent troubles with his left wrist, which is employed in his two-handed backhand. He was an unexpected runner-up at Wimbledon two years ago, and last year he won three matches before bowing to Henman in four sets. He nearly reached the final at U.S. Open last year, narrowly losing to eventual winner Roddick in five sets. His strength is in relentless firm hitting, largely from back court.

BIG SERVERS AND OTHERS

For all other players, the calculated odds for winning the tournament are longer than 40-1. Still, the gradations of ability are narrow, and there are many with the ability to advance deep in the tournament, especially any big server when his serve is working well.

The super servers include Mark Philippoussis, who played very well as Wimbledon runner-up a year ago, and Marat Safin, who missed the tournament last year with injury. Left-handed Rusedski and Max Mirnyi are powerful players at 6-4 and 200 pounds, both relentless in serve-and-volley tactics. Rusedski advanced well in the early rounds at Nottingham. The Croatians Ancic, Karlovic, Ljubicic, and former champion Ivanisevic are high-velocity servers, as are Aussie Wayne Arthurs and German player Popp.

Not since Manuel Santana in 1966 has a player from Spain or South America won the men's singles at Wimbledon. Aside from Nalbandian, who is listed above, the most likely candidate from these clay-court places is Coria, who was hurting in the Garros final but played anyway in the grass tune-ups immediately afterwards. He lost in the first round at Queen's but won his first match at Nottingham. Guillermo has shown success on hard courts, having reached the final at Miami this spring, for example, where he won a set from Roddick. Coria ranks #9 in our Wimbledon-prediction calculations, at 57-1 odds. Other plausible candidates are hard-serving and hard-hitting Carlos Moya, who missed the last two Wimbledons, and Juan Carlos Ferrero, who was U.S. Open runner-up last year but has been ill in recent months. We will not enjoy the wondrous backhands of Gaston Gaudio, the recent winner at Garros, and Gustavo Kuerten, as both wielders will be absent with injury.

Of the U.S. contingent, after Roddick the strongest candidate is Mardy Fish, who was the only player to win a set from Federer in last year's Wimbledon. Fish reached the recent final at Halle this year but withdrew from Nottingham with hip trouble. Nearly co-equal by our calculations is Taylor Dent, an energetic serve-and-volley player. Still a warrior at age 33 is Todd Martin. From Asia is Paradorn Srichaphan, an all-around player who at #8 and 46-1 odds is just outside our top group. Relentless hitter H-T Lee, who won four matches at Queen's before narrowly losing to Grosjean, was eliminated in the second round of the Wimbledon qualifiers being held this week in London. From Europe are fine net player Bjorkman and Jiri Novak, who is #10 in our ranking at odds 59-1 and won three matches at Halle before losing to Federer.

THE PREDICTIONS

In making the official seedings at Wimbledon extra weight is given to grass-court events, though not as much as our analysis recommends. Last month our computer correctly named five of the eight quarter-finalists at Garros, outperforming the official seeded list where only three of the first eight seeds actually reached the quarters. The eight sections of the Wimbledon draw follow, players shown in order of raw scores from our number-crunching. The high-eight players in the official seeding are also shown. The predictions in all cases follow the computed scores.

In the quarter-finals, our predicting scheme chooses Federer over Hewitt, Grosjean over Coria, Henman over Nalbandian, and Roddick over Schalken. Then Federer and Roddick become the strong choices to win in the semis. Finally, by narrow margin Federer should defeat Roddick to win the championship again.

I believe that pro tennis and its history bring people worldwide together in a splendid way. Fans everywhere can admire the skills and courage of players regardless of origin. Best wishes to all for a great Wimbledon.
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