Genie Bouchard puts her foot in it again.

Genie Bouchard has put her foot in it once again. The feisty twenty something from Canada was involved in a pre Fed Cup interview and photo shoot with the Romanian team when her 66th ranked opponent Alexandra Dulgheru made to shake her hand. The Canadian refused to do so leaving a rather embarassing situation in front of the television cameras.

This is not the first time the Canadian has courted controversy as in a similar situation last year Genie decided that she did not want to shake Slovakian Kristina Kucova’ hand. Genie explained that she did not want to do the ‘shaky hand thing'” even though it seems to be becoming a Fed Cup ritual. It’s nothing personal towards her (Dulgheru) , I just don’t believe in wishing my opponent good luck before the match,” Bouchard told Romanian reporters. “After we play I will shake her hand, no matter what happens.”
It was an embarassing situation all round as the Romanian folded her arms and smiled.

Bouchard is developing quite a reputation for being feisty, unfriendly and unsporting towards her competitors on the WTA tour. The ‘butter wouldnt melt in my mouth’ type personality that Bouchard tries to play up to is destroyed by the Young Canadians immaturity and poor judgement. It is certainly no sign of weakness on her part if she shakes her opponents hand before a match.
bitchy bouchard
What type of image does this portray to young tennis fans throughout the world? That its ok to disrespect your opponents before a match? Surely tennis is about respect, courtesy and integrity and no matter what goes on on court that the players will shake on it after? Genie has a lot to learn and her management company should pull her to the side and say look that aint cool, show some respect to your opponents.

The best however was yet to come. The Romanian team clearly had the handshake snub on repeat in their team room before the match and used it as fuel for motivation. This obviously worked as Dulgheru surprisingly beat the Canadian 6-4 6-4 and celebrated with a fake handshake with her team mates. You could not write the script on this one. Perhaps Miss Bouchard will learn that what goes around certainly comes around.

Federer, Nadal & Djokovic on Monte Carlo Masters

Federer, Nadal & Djokovic thoughts on Monte Carlo Masters.

Federer
Roger Federer: his strong season so far and his preparations for the clay court season.

Rafael Nadal: downplays the pressure on his shoulders ahead of the clay court season.

Novak Djokovic: Roger Federer still deserves the crown for ‘King of ClayFederer

HEAD’s Martin Klizan captures Casablanca crown

martin klizanHEAD has begun the ATP World Tour clay season with title success after Martin Klizan crushed Spain’s Daniel Gimeno-Traver 6-2, 6-2 to win the Grand Prix Hassan II event in Casablanca, Morocco. It’s the third career trophy for the Slovak who also won on clay in Munich 11 months ago and indoors in St Petersburg in 2012.

The HEAD player, who endorses the Graphene Prestige, has never lost a final, with a perfect 3-0 record. The 25-year-old mounted a monster defense, saving all seven break points he faced over 76 minutes in North Africa. It was a sentimental win for the Racquet Rebel, who dedicated this victory to his grandfather, who passed away last week.

“It’s an amazing feeling right now. I wished to be a champion and today I am. I am very proud and excited now. The crowd was unbelievable, they always support me,” said Klizan, who broke four times on the way to victory.

In Houston, HEAD’s Fernando Verdasco began preparing his European spring clay campaign after reaching the semi-finals, where he gave Sam Querrey a fight in a narrow 7-5, 2-6, 6-4 loss. The World No. 30 won the title a year ago.  

Monte Carlo Masters Preview

Monte Carlo Masters – the most classy venue on the ATP tour. Perched on top of the hills in the principality of Monaco is the Monte Carlo Country Club venue of the first Masters 1000 series event on the clay. Nadal has owned this event for years winning 8 times in succession from 2005-2012 but more recently Novak and Stan have lifted the title.

Monte Carlo mASTERS PREVIEWThe Monte Carlo Masters has typically been a good barometer of success in Roland Garros. The clay is the same and the conditions are very like what the players will encounter in Paris. Nadal has won Roland Garros 9 times and on 7 of those occasions he has lifted the cup in Monte Carlo too.

This year Nadal is neither on form nor favourite for the event. The Spaniard has had poor and inconsistent results by his own high standards and would not be favourite to add to his titles. Novak Djokovic has been head and shoulders the number one player on the tour this year, he has won the three biggest events of 2015 and his game translates well to the clay. He is a big favourite to lift the title on Sunday.

monte carlo mastersStanislas Wawrinka has had a rollercoaster of a 2015 thus far but performed particularly poorly in the American hardcourt spring in Indian Wells and Miami. The Swiss could meet his countryman Roger Federer in the quarter finals a repeat of the 2014 final match. He is probably most comfortable on the dirt and his explosive game is a match for anyone in  the draw.

The so called next generation of players are also primed to go deep in this event. Guys like Kei Nishikori, Grigor Dimitrov, Milos Raonic are all accomplished clay courters and can cause damage to the draw.  Watch out for some surprises this week as players will struggle to get used to the clay courts.

 

Humble Nadal cleans the dirt!

nadal humbleRafael Nadal cleaned the clay courts on his last practice at home before heading to the Monte Carlo Masters and the beginning of the European Clay Court swing. If ever we needed proof that Nadal has remained humble despite his huge success on the clay then these photos are it.

The first photo shows Nadal watering the court with a hose. You would think the 14 time grand slam champion and 9 time French Open would have someone brush the court for him. But  not Rafa. Nadal has stayed humble and never got obsessed with his own self significance, fantastic for all tennis players to see.Nadal cleans dirt

This photo shows Rafael Nadal and Juan Pico Monaco brushing courts after practice sets in Mallorca. All kids out there, no matter what you have won stay humble, work hard and remember tennis is only a game and you are no better or worse than the next person!

Murray to wed Kim Sears in Dunblane

murray wedding

Andy Murray will wed his English Rose Kim Sears in a lavish ceremony on Saturday 11th April.  The two have been inseparable since Murray began his pro career almost ten years ago. Kim Sears is the daughter of former GB Fed Cup Captain Nigel Sears and is a keen tennis player too.

The two will marry in Murrays home town of Dunblane in the Church of Scotland Cathedral followed by the the meal at the recently acquired Cromlix House luxury hotel . Cromlix House luxury hotel is situated just outside Glasgow and is located within lavish grounds and gardens. Murray’s best men are expected to be Ross Hutchins former ATP doubles player and Jamie Murray, Andy’s elder brother.

Guests rumoured to be attending include Elton John and husband David Furnish, David and Victoria Beckham and even Prince Harry. Murray clarified that none of his fellow top 4 members Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer or Novak Djokovic would be in attendance and it would only be family and close friends in attendance.

Making headlines

In January this year Kim was embroiled in a little controversy at the Australian Open as she swore during Murray’s match in the Quarter Final but generally Kim steers clear of the limelight and lets her fiancés tennis doing the talking.

Murray has always dodged questions on his dislike for English people and was once quoted about who he will be supporting in the World Cup ‘ anyone but England.’ This drew some controversy from English based media but as Andy will remind us he lives in England and Kim is a proud English women, clearly the media have tried to make a mountain out of a molehill.

Interview – David Sammel Author of Locker Room Power

locker room power
David Sammel Tennis Coach

There are winners & there are losers. It’s your Locker Room Power that decides what you’ll ultimately be….

As I walk into the room the first thing that strikes me is what a presence this guy has. He is a big guy, but not just in size at well over 6ft, he’s got this commanding aura that takes over the room. He stands to greet me with a warm smile and introduces
himself as Dave, he has put me at ease but you know this guy doesn’tsuffer fools gladly and means business.

The tennis world has a lot of respect for David Sammel. He was named as a world top 50 coach by Nike from 1996-2002, he furthered his coaching career with prominent roles as National Coach and National Coach for Men for the Lawn Tennis Association.
In 2006 David set about founding the Monte Carlo Tennis Academy, alongside Jez Green with the goal to establish a top International High Performance Tennis Centre. The academy relocated to Bath and in partnership with Bath University, became
TeamBath-MCTA of which David is now Head Coach.
David tells me he has over 25 years in world tennis, coaching international players to career high rankings, many of whom have represented their countries in the Davis Cup and Olympics. Recently appointed an official ATP Coach member as recognition
of his many years on tour, he regularly contributes to interviews in the UK tennis media including BBC Radio 5, The Times, Sky Sports and is a contributing editor for Tennishead Magazine and www.tennisone.com.

Given David has accumulated this huge wealth of knowledge and experience it’s not surprising it had to manifest itself, and this came to be known as the philosophy thatis ‘Locker Room Power’.
David explains “Locker Room Power (LRP) exists at every level and in every walk of life. Understand it and you create an edge. Awareness gives you a chance to block it from your mind when facing opponents who use LRP to intimidate, knowingly or by
the nature of their standing in the sport. Bottom line, ignore it and you will be a victim of LRP. Embrace the concept and learn how to create your own LRP and your ability to succeed will increase, as will your consistency because others will make your
job easier.”

DAVID SAMMEL – INTERVIEW
David stresses to me in his own words “This isn’t fluffy, it’s hard work, it’s not a ‘feel good’ process, but rather a realistic method of how to approach and apply the work needed to improve and succeed, unlocking the key to understanding the
secrets of mental toughness.” Despite LRP having its roots in Tennis, David has run numerous successful ‘LRP workshops’ with several Premier League Football Clubs and is now venturing in the International Rugby scene.

After years of pressure David finally bowed to demand and put his philosophy to paper in his latest paperback book “Locker Room Power: Building an Athlete’s Mind.” The book is well structured, allowing the reader to dip in and out of chapters, which
are beautifully bite sized, dealing with all the different aspects of LPR. Not so much book you read cover to cover, more a reference you’ll come back to again and again. David Sammel has a somewhat infectious personality, I spent an hour with him and
came back thoroughly inspired. Does LRP work, who am I to judge when top sports pros already recognise LPR is giving them the edge…

David’s book is available to buy on his website . Also available on Amazon in both Paperback and e-book format, and available to
download on iTunes.

Freelance interview. Rights released

Djokovic turns up Miami Heat on Murray

HEAD’S NOVAK DJOKOVIC CAPTURES FIFTH TITLE IN MIAMI AND THIRD INDIAN WELLS – MIAMI TITLE SWEEP
DJOKOVIC MIAMI TROPHY
HEAD Racquet Rebel and World No. 1 Novak Djokovic claimed a piece of tennis history on Sunday at the Miami Open. With his seventh straight win over fellow HEAD player Andy Murray, the Serb captured a fifth crown in Miami and became the first player to complete the Indian Wells – Miami title sweep three times. In a HEAD-to-HEAD final Djokovic, who promotes the HEAD Graphene XT Speed, took a 7-6(3), 4-6, 6-0 victory over Murray.

“Winning the double again means a lot of positive things and contributes to my confidence. I could not ask for a better start of the season winning three big titles,” Djokovic said after beating a blistering sun and a tough opponent. “Andy made me work though even I’m sure he felt the same as I did. Overall it was a great battle, and I’m proud to have been a part of it.”

It was the seventh win in a row for Djokovic over Murray, who recommends the HEAD Graphene Radical. Djokovic stands 18-8 over his fellow Racquet Rebel.

Murray left disappointed again.
Murray, the ATP No. 4, was disappointed to lose but is driven to improve by his rivalry with Djokovic. “Congratulations to Novak – I’m not quite at his level yet. I do feel that I’m getting closer. I just have to keep working hard,” said Murray who is the fifth player in the Open Era to reach at least four Miami finals, joining Andre Agassi (8), Novak Djokovic (5), Pete Sampras (4) and Rafael Nadal (4).

With Tomas Berdych three HEAD Racquet Rebels entered the semifinals in Miami. Berdych who promotes the HEAD Graphene Instinct was fighting hard against Andy Murray, but had to accept the power of the Scot after a 4-6, 4-6 in two sets.

Career slam not the only target for Djokovic 

Novak Djokovic might be the overwhelming world number one at the moment but the Serbian star has spent the majority of his career in the shadows of Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer. But with the 2015 season now well under way, it’s clear to most tennis fans that Djokovic is the current king of the men’s game and in no immediate danger of being replaced at the top of the world rankings.

The popular Serb, who gained even more fans than before by inviting a ball boy to join him in the shade during a break in play in last year’s French Open (see below), has been the dominant force in the men’s game for much of the past couple of years. He started 2015 by winning the Australian Open for the fifth time to cement his place at the top of the rankings.

With the French Open next on the grand slam menu, Djokovic is heading to Paris in the knowledge that victory at Roland Garros would complete a career slam of major titles if he wins the one grand slam title that has so far eluded him. On the two occasions Djokovic has reached the final of the French Open, it has been Rafael Nadal who has beaten the Serb on his way to the title in 2012 and 2014. During a period in time in which the Spaniard has racked up nine French Open titles, it has become almost expected that nobody but Nadal will win a grand slam on clay.

But with Nadal struggling with both form and fitness heading into the second major of the season, that could all change. And based on current form, it is hard to see beyond Djokovic (6/4 with betfair to win the tournament at the time of writing) as being the obvious choice as to who will win should the Nadal fail to show up in Paris in late May. Federer has started the season in disappointing fashion, as has Andy Murray, and it really looks to be a straight race between Djokovic and Nadal for the French Open title this year.
Djokovic career slam
by Marianne Bevis

But a career slam might not be the only target for Djokovic in 2015, with some fans tipping the Serb to be in with a chance of becoming the first man since Rod Laver’s grand slam-winning 1969 season to win all four major tournaments in a year. Djokovic came close in 2011 to matching the Australian legend when he became the sixth player to win three grand slams in a season, and there is little denying that the 27-year-old is a better player than he was four years ago. With the Australian Open title already in his bag, Djokovic’s confidence in achieving that rare feat would significantly increase should he add that first French Open crown to his collection. After seeing off 2014 champion Stan Wawrinka in the semi-finals, Djokovic beat Andy Murray for a third time in the final in Melbourne to claim his fifth Australian Open title.

So, how is Djokovic looking when heading into the rest of the grand slam tournaments in 2015?

French Open

On paper, there is only one winner of the French Open in a season in which Djokovic has dominated and Nadal has struggled. But Djokovic will be well aware the game isn’t played on paper – in this case, unfortunately for the Serb, it’s played on clay, a surface on which Nadal is the undoubted king. But despite the fact Nadal has won nine of the last 10 French Opens, Djokovic will never have a better chance of winning the one title that has so far eluded him. The Spaniard has been struggling with injuries in recent weeks and his withdrawal from the tournament would be a huge boost to Djokovic’s chances. But the 27-year-old will no doubt want to beat Nadal in the final to really prove he deserves the title.

Wimbledon

Djokovic will no doubt head into Wimbledon full of confidence after such an excellent recent run at the All England Club. The Serbian has reached the final in three of the last four tournaments, lifting the famous trophy in 2011 and again in 2014. A heart-breaking defeat in the final in 2013 was clearly a motivation behind Djokovic’s incredible performances last summer on the way to a thrilling five-set victory over seven-time Wimbledon champion Roger Federer in the final. The chance of winning four grand slam titles in a year could be all the motivation he needs this year.

US Open

The French Open might be the only major title Djokovic has not won but there is an argument to claim the US Open has been the Serb’s most unlucky grand slam event. While he won the tournament in 2011, Djokovic has been a beaten finalist on four other occasions and he’ll be determined to make sure he ends his four-year wait for a second title at Flushing Meadows, especially as there is a season grand slam on the line.

Federer clothing for Clay Swing 2015

Roger Federer’s clothing has always complimented the way the great man plays tennis.The superstar of the game has a unparalleled style and elegance on court which matches up well with his Nike style.  Federer  will take to the  European Clay court swing this Spring in the latest collection from Nike.

Rather unusually this year Federer has chosen to play 4 warmup tournaments before he sets foot on the hallowed turf of Roland Garros. The Swiss will attempt to wrestle control of the clay court crown from his arch rival and current King of Clay Rafael Nadal.
Federer Nike 2015

This year we have seen Nike move away from giving Federer that all over matching look to a subtle blend of contrasting colours. Nike name the colours ‘light retro, teal and key lime,’ Green and grey to us mortals a nice combination nonetheless. Federer clothing is a must for every Federer fan out there!

The jersey comes with a collar and the signature RF Nike logo and is produced in the Nike DRI FIT fabric The training tops in the bottom corner of the photo are also a departure from Federer’s typical attire. The colour of the warmup jacket is not my thing but I have no doubt the GOAT will carry it off perfectly.

I have always been a fan of the colour scheme on Nike shoes and this clay model is certainly a winner.

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