The hottest player on ATP 2015 – The leader will surprise you!

stock-photo-22379769-question-mark-tennis-balls-alphabetWe are two months into the ATP tennis season and the March American Hardcourt season is almost upon us. All the big four have been in action and have assumed their positions in the top 4 rungs of the ATP rankings. Djokovic won his 5th Australian Open in January defeating Andy Murray in the final. Federer won in the first week of the season in Brisbane and picked up another title in Dubai as he defeated the aforementioned Djokovic in the final in straight sets.

Murray has had a stop start season so far. In some matches Murray can demonstrate his immense talents and show he is very much a part of the top 4 but consistency has so far eluded the Scot. He lost to Frenchman Gilles Simon in Rotterdam and against Borna Coric in Dubai. Both these matches Murray was soundly beaten and showed signs of Murray of old. The tetchy irritable body language of old seems to have infiltrated Murrays game once again . What is probably most concerning is that Murray seems unwilling and uncapable of changing his game when it is clearly not working in a match.

Rafael Nadal is still getting game time as he recovers from injury. The Spaniard surprisingly has yet to win a title though is likely to get his hands on a trophy in the Argentian Open in Buenos Aires as he faces his buddy Juan Pico Monaco.  Berrer, Berdych and Fognini have already beaten the Spaniard in 2015 as he frequently dodges questions of decline and retirement. One thing that must be said is that in the defeats Nadal has always got at least a set which gives his fans some hope.

So which of the top 4 is the match leader in 2015?  Federer, Djokovic, Murray? No, none of these guys. It is actually 32 year old Spaniard David Ferrer. The veteran lifted his 3rd trophy of 2015 as he won the Abierto Mexicano following on from the Doha Open in January and the Rio Open in Brasil. The self styled road runner, who many thought would run out of steam in his 33rd year is showing that there is still plenty of gas left in the tank. Athough his favourite surface will certainly be clay courts, Ferru has beaten top 10ers Nishikori and Berdych in his championship runs.000a3bd8-642

March will be a massive month for tennis fans with Indian Wells and Miami Open in Key Biscayne. If he can win one of these he will certainly be in the mix for the clay court season.

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Tsonga’s Deuce

image006JO-WILFRIED TSONGA SIGNS DEAL WITH CAPRI-SUN

IMG, a global leader in sports, fashion and media, today announced a new deal for its client Jo-Wilfried Tsonga with Capri-Sun, a French juice brand distributed by Coca-Cola Enterprises. Launched in 2007, Capri-Sun is France’s leader in the fruit juice market, and had a record 2014, selling more than 137 million units and growing its sales and distribution by 17 percent.  

As part of the deal, Tsonga will become Capri-Sun’s brand ambassador, appear in TV, print and digital advertising, and support Capri-Sun’s mission of encouraging children to get involved in sports and living a healthy and active lifestyle. 

We are very pleased to be working with Jo and having him as the face of Capri-Sun, a young brand that has been growing very fast since 2007 in France. By partnering with Jo, Capri-Sun hopes to capitalize on his immense popularity as well as the global reach of tennis, the second most popular sport in France.  We chose Jo as our ambassador because we are huge fans of his game, his charismatic personality, and immense popularity with people of all ages,’’ said Ilan Ouanounou, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for The Coca-Cola Company

Tsonga added: “I was very fortunate to play tennis since I was a young kid and it forced me to work hard and set goals. I want to help children get involved in sports because it will help them develop their personalities and forge friendships. I am delighted to be an ambassador for Capri-Sun and look forward to working with the company on encouraging children to live healthy and happy lives.”

 Tsonga, currently ranked World No.12 (as of Week of February 23, 2015), has a career high ranking of World No.5, achieved week of February 27, 2012.  The Le Mans native has 10 career ATP titles and has been the finalist at the 2008 Australian Open and the 2011 ATP World Tour Finals in London. He has reached the semifinals of the 2013 Roland Garros and the 2011 and 2012 Wimbledon.  Tsonga signed a global representation deal with IMG in July 2014.

 

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Titles for Head with Karlovic and Simon!

2015 Australian Open - Day 1HEAD Racquet Rebels have landed a one-two title punch in ATP World Tour finals, with ace-maker Ivo Karlovic winning the Delray Beach title while Gilles Simon claimed a second career trophy indoors in Marseille.

His 6-3, 6-3 victory over Donald Young was especially satisfying to HEAD’s “Dr. Ivo,” who endorses the Graphene Radical and swung it with lethal force in Florida. Karlovic is back on winning track just a week shy of turning 36. “It is unbelievable,” he said. “It was really satisfying also for me to do this at my age, and it gives me a boost of confidence when I go into the other tournaments at Indian Wells and Miami I was focused; I was doing my thing and it paid off.” It was the first trophy for the Racquet Rebel since winning Bogotá two years ago and was marked by a massive 91 aces on the week from the 2.11-metre-tall Croatian who serves out of the tree-tops. He finished the title rush with 13 aces in the match and saved all four break points he faced.

Similar success story for HEAD’s Gilles Simon (Graphene Prestige) in France, who beat Gael Monfils 6-4, 1-6, 7-6(4) to back up his Marseille trophy from 2007. Simon, aged 30, now owns 12 career titles. “It was a great week, but a tough one physically,” said Simon. “I’m happy I won here since I won my first tournament in Marseille. I hope it won’t be the last one.” It’s been a hot month indoors for Simon, who beat faced fellow HEAD player Andy Murray a week earlier in Rotterdam and now stands 11-4 in 2015.

HEAD Players Martin Klizan and Philipp Oswald doubled up and defeated Pablo Andujar and Oliver Marach 7-6(3), 6-4 to win the title at the Rio Open. The Slovakian/Austrian duo added a second team title to their resume. “I think we’re going to drink a little bit tonight,” Klizan said about their planned celebrations. “We’ll see what’s going to happen.”

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Nadal keen to bounce back in Argentina  after Rio Exit

Rafael+Nadal+Rio+Open+2015+Day+2+EQ1OIpQfIlQlRafael Nadal was beaten once again in 2015 as he suffered a shock semi final loss to Italian Fabio Fognini in the Rio. Copa Claro Open.  It was the first time the clay court specialist lost in the semi finals of a tournament in 52 attempts and another sign that he is someway off his best.Rafa was hoping to win this clay tournament to put behind the disappointment of recent results and reestablish his position as the number one on clay.  The 28-year-old is recovering from yet another injury and operation and has yet to show that number one form. Having had a relatively sluggish start to the 2015 campaign, Nadal was hoping that a win on the clay would add more confidence to his game.

For a player who this year will turn 29 there will be further inevitable questions about retirement and sliding down the rankings especially in light of his serious and often career threatening injuries. Nadal is great at  accumulating titles on the dirt and 2015 he will be under the microscope in a big way as he attempts to win Roland Garros for a mind boggling tenth time. Any further shocking losses will be used as further fuel to the retirement fire.

Nadal was the marquee player in Brazil and much was expected of his return to South America but Italian Fognini proved more than a difficult opponent. Nadal steam rollered the first set 6-1 but then uncharacteristically was unable to maintain the high standards he had set himself. Fognini dominated in the second and third sets as the Italian sealed an unexpected but thoroughly deserved victory. Some will claim Nadals quarter final match finishing at 351am in the morning as the major factor in this loss, but Rafa fans cannot deny that 3 tournaments played with no finals in 2015 does not make good reading.

Nadal will hope that a quick return to action this week in Argentina will achieve the desired match practice and some confidence ahead of the March US open hardcourt swing. You can see can see the latest tennis odds at Willhill betting , will Nadal finally make a final? Nadal typically does well on this courts but will face all the biggest names on their favoured surface in the American Spring series.

Nadal is by far the highest ranked player in Argentina, a draw made up almost exclusively of European and south American dirtballers. The second highest seed is Tommy Robredo followed by Fognini and Carreno Busta. The opening rounds should afford Nadal to make those tweaks to the game he needs plus find the intensity in his game which appeared to desert him in the humidity of Rio. It remains to be seen if Rafa can maintain his nerve and lift his very first title of 2015.

One thing is for sure, back Nadal into a corner and criticise his form but do not under any circumstances write him off. Nadal possesses the unique ability to conjure up something from nothing. Discount him at your absolute peril, he has made us all look stupid before.

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Wozniacki Suffers More Disappointment in 2015 after Dubai Exit

indexCaroline Wozniacki had to endure yet another disappointment after being knocked out of the Dubai Championships by Simona Halep. Wozniacki was hoping to win this tournament to put behind the disappointment of the recent Grand Slam results. The 24-year-old is yet to win a Grand Slam in her career, but she is regarded as one of the promising players. She finished as the runners up in the U.S. Open yet again in 2014, but was hoping to win the Dubai Championships to add more confidence to her game. Betfair expects the wait for a Grand Slam to continue, as Wozniacki is given distant odds of 22/1 for success at the French Open.

For a player who started out playing an age of 15, there have been inevitable comparisons with one of the best players seen in the women’s game – Serena Williams. Wozniacki is yet to accumulate titles in the same way Serena Williams has done, but the two players could be similar in terms of longevity. When posed with such a question, Wozniacki says that there is almost no possibility that she will be in the game for another decade. Williams is one of the older tennis players at 33 while her sister, Venus Williams, is 34.

Much was expected of Wozniacki in Dubai, but Romanian top seed Halep proved more than a difficult opponent. Wozniacki displayed her talent at will in the first set, but it was the Halep show from the second set onwards. Halep secured a 2-6 6-1 6-1 victory to set up a date against Karolina Pliskova in the final on Saturday. Halep is now the favourite to win the tournament. At the end of the match, Wozniacki conceded that she had made too many mistakes from the second set in order to be anywhere close to beating her opponent.

Wozniacki is good friends with Serena Williams and she is hoping to use the advice from the 19 Grand Slam winner. Serena is yet to announce retirement and her good form right now may see her continue playing at least for a couple of years. Wozniacki refused to rule out playing in a decade’s time, but she says that such an eventuality seems difficult at the moment. The Danish tennis star will have to focus more on holding her nerve towards the end of tournaments. She has finished as runners-up in two Grand Slams while also reaching the semi-finals on three occasions. It remains to be seen if she can maintain her nerve can go all the way for her first title success.

She has not excelled much on clay courts with the quarter-final appearance in the 2010 French Open being the best of her career. This is something that Wozniacki will be looking to address in the 2015 edition. Serena Williams continues to reign as the favourite to win the title. Betfair offers odds of 3/1 for the American to lift the title once again while Maria Sharapova is close second at 4/1. Given her good performances in the U.S. Open, it is not surprising to see Betfair expecting the 24-year-old to be successful in the 2015 U.S. Open at odds of 16/1.

This year is proving to be difficult for the Danish star. She started out with a loss in the Auckland finals against Venus Williams. This was followed by a retirement due to injury in Sydney. Australian Open failed to provide any comforts, as Wozniacki suffered a second round exit at the hands of Victoria Azarenka. The world No.5 can only hope for better times ahead.

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McGee set to make debut in Dubai desert

UntitledIrelands Number 1 tennis player James Mc Gee is set to make is debut at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships having been offered a wildcard into the ATP 500 event. The Dubliner takes on Portugese player Joao Sousa in the first round at 2pm tomorrow and will attempt to bridge a gap of over 150 ranking points to make it to the second round. Should Mc Gee win he is likely to face Andy Murray should he overcome  big serving inform Gilles Muller. This will represent a huge opportunity for James and a massive carrot, ranking boost and payday awaits if he wins this match. Currently ranked at 208 in the world, McGee has the tools to join the worlds elite in the top 100. A wildcard into the biggest ATP500 on tour is fantastic, heres hoping he can capitalise on it now and use it for future success.

The Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships boasts a stellar field featuring Djokovic, Murray, Federer and Berdych plus a host of other top ATP stars. Federer will be aiming for his 7th title in the desert having won his 6th title against Berdych last year. This will also be Djokovic first appearance since his Aussie Open triumph last month. Dubai always is a great warmup to my favourite tournament of the year in Indian Wells California and the standard of tennis is always very high. The fast courts always produce thrilling matches.

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GOAT Federer celebrates the Year of the Goat in Dubai

UntitledThe Greatest Tennis Player of All Time Roger Federer celebrated the Chinese New Year and the year of the Goat in Dubai ahead of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships starting next week. This will be Federer’s first appearance since his shock 3rd round loss in the Australian Open in January. Federer will likely be second seed in the event he won in 2014 and the Swiss will be super keen to regain some form ahead of the American Hardcourt season in Indian Wells. Surprisingly Federer has pulled out of the Key Biscayne Miami tournament, a tournament Federer has enjoyed success at before.

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Tennis its a Love Game Happy Valentines Day

i_heart_tennis_postcards_package_of_8Here at LoveTennisBlog, it would be remiss of us not to acknowledge St Valentine’s Day. We all share a passion for the great game whether we play, watch, wii play, read, listen and/or even dream about it.

But of course, love is a big thing in tennis – it’s declared in every single match that is played professionally or otherwise! How I hear some of you ask? By the scoring system of course. It is a well known saying that ‘love means nothing to a tennis player’ because love always refers to a blank score. ‘Love-forty’ is not a good place to be when you are serving. When your opponent ‘leads one set to love and 5 games to love’, it’s even worse and almost time to pack your bags.

I remember playing club doubles one evening as the brass band practised ‘Love is in the air’ in the nearby church hall. I didn’t realise the irony until I got home after losing the set. It could have been a scene straight out of the movies.

So how did ‘love’ get into tennis?

According to Wikipedia:

The origin of the use of “love” for zero is disputed; it is possible that it derives from the French word for the egg (l’œuf) because an egg looks like the number zero. “Love” is also said to derive from “l’heure” or “the hour” (more likely to be translated as “the time”) in French. Another possibility of the origin comes from the Dutch expression “iets voor lof doen,” which means to do something for praise, implying no other reward (so monetary gain would be zero). The word ‘lof’ has changed over time to ‘love’.

Thank goodness for that. The umpires have enough trouble having to pronounce some surnames not to have to struggle with saying ‘loef’ or ‘lof’ a hundred times every match.

As we approach Valentine’s Day and the shops bombard us with cards, chocolates and flowers, we thought we would explore and pull together a list of things to buy your Valentine, with tennis in mind. In honour of the scoring system, we will list them in cost order with an option to suit every budget:

Love – 0 A tube of tennis balls. So there is a recession on and you are choosing the low cost option. Well, they are a very practical gift and who can honestly say, hand on heart, that they ever have enough tennis balls?

Love – 15 Check out www.biscuiteers.com for a tennis racket shaped biscuit card as pictured below, gift wrapped and posted out for your convenience. There is also a function when ordering to leave a personal message – soppy or otherwise – meaning your Valentine can tell, only if you want them to know, who sent you the tennis treat. They are such a novelty, you might not want to eat them at all! But when you do decide to sample just perhaps the racket, you will enjoy the delicious crunchy biscuit, preferably washed down with a nice big cup of tea.

 

Love – 30 A tennis book – not very romantic I hear you ask? I haven’t finished…scribe a little love note in the front covers to act as an endless reminder of the special occasion. There is lots of tennis books out there, just make sure you know what’s already in their collection before you buy. The Tennis Gallery at Wimbledon offer a great selection of books and deliver your books for free!

Love – 40 If you/your partner owns a Ninendo Wii, buy your loved one the Grand Slam tennis game by EA Sports. A fantastic selection of courts at each of the 4 Slams and plenty of pro’s at your discretion with great graphics and Pat Cash as your personal commentator. If you don’t have access to a Wii, then why not go the whole hog and buy one!

Love – Game A Wimbledon branded duvet. I know, I didn’t think the All England Club would have this on their merchandise list either but they do. Your partner can snuggle up in bed in this crispy white duvet set and dream of holding up the trophy as they sleep. Available online from the Wimbledon Shop.

Love – Set Surprise your loved one with a weekend to the most romantic city in the world, Paris! It’s advisable to book flights anytime between 24th May and 6th June so as to catch the French Open, earning you double brownie points. You might not get up the Eiffel Tower for fear of losing a game at Roland Garros, but there is a good view of it from the top of the Philippe Chatrier Court as seen in the pic to the left, just to the top right of the TV screen. Oh la la!

Love – Match This present really is the pièce de résistance – build them a tennis court! Yes, it is far fetched but what did you expect as the most romantic thing to buy your tennis loving partner? Outdoor or indoor, this present is guaranteed to be a hit, year after year, if you can afford it that is!

If you wish to receive any of the above on 14th February, I suggest you print of this blog entry and leave copies strategically placed around your pad to ensure maximum exposure. If you prefer to be direct and don’t beat about the bush, forward the link by email so they know exactly what to get you.

And never fear if you as a single person, if the prospect of Valentine’s Day is filling you with dread, it doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate as being LoveTennisBlog fans, raise a glass of the bubbly to the game itself. Watch the live tennis this week in Argentina, Doha Rotterdam or Memphis, cosy up with a box of chocolates and indulge in the fact that ‘love means nothing to a tennis player’.

Happy Valentines Day!

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6 Nations Weekend 2 Set to Sizzle!

The 6 Nations 2015 has begun and in weekend one we saw away victories for England and Ireland and a narrow defeat for the plucky Scots. We have yet to really see any fireworks as many of the teams are getting up to speed playing with each other and their patterns and drills. England have certainly been the form team so far, who would have predicted they beat Wales in the own backyard especially after the 30-3 demolition in 2013. Ireland were functional but lacked depth or line breaks and the creativity from 10 or the midfield was sadly lacking. France struggled to victory against a reinvigorated Scots team playing a simple running game.

England take on Italy in the weekends first match at Twickenham and no doubt the 3 lions will be looking to consolidate that victory against the Welsh. In Italy’s first game they were poor and had Ireland been better they should have put more points on them. England in all likelihood will put 40 or even 50 points on this Italian team, better in every facet of the game.

The second match sees les verts play les bleus in Dublin. France will attempt to boss the Irish pack around the field and then set their brilliant runners like Wesley Fofana, Bastareaud and Teddy Thomas on the green jerseys. Ireland narrowly beat the French in Paris in March 2014 22-20 but had a pass gone to hand in the last seconds of the game the French would have won. Ireland welcome back potentially Sexton, Heaslip and Sean O Brien, three world class performers which hopefully will add some needed dynamism to the Irish team. Ireland must not get into an arm wrestle with France, there will be only one winner if that is the case. Ireland must box smart, kicking and chasing accurately and maneuvering the big french pack around. The backrow must be at their best to starve Dusatoir and his chums of ball and Sexton really needs to get Henshaw and Payne moving through the French defence.

In the final game of the weekend, Scotland play Wales in Murrayfield. Many commentators accused Wales of being one dimensional, and playing the Warrenball type game ( big guys taking the ball up, taking the tackle then bigger guys running over the top of them to score) This style has been found out and as England proved last weekend with a total team effort they can be beaten. The Scottish revival is still in its infancy, but this match will be one they will target for a win. The usually passionate Murrayfield crowd need to get behind the home team quickly and Finn Russell must keep the Welsh pegged back with accurate kicking out of hand. Once in the right areas, then the Scots can play rugby. Im hoping this one will be an absolute try fest!

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8 time Slam Champion headed for GB US Davis Cup Tie.

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AGASSI SERVES UP BILT GYM INNOVATION LAUNCH WITH DLL 2015
Tennis legend to visit UK on eve of GB-US Davis Cup clash

Three-time Davis Cup winner Andre Agassi visits Essex on February 26th – just eight days before Great Britain and the United States lock horns in the competition.

The American tennis icon will attend the official European launch of his cutting-edge gym concept BILT by Agassi & Reyes at David Lloyd Leisure’s state-of-the-art Chigwell club. The timing couldn’t be better with Davis Cup Captain Leon Smith leading the British team against the US in Glasgow on March 6th.

Agassi won the Davis Cup in 1990, 1992 and 1995 and his views on the forthcoming encounter, on what will be a rare public engagement in the UK, should make fascinating listening – particularly after Andy Murray’s Australian Open defeat earlier this month. The former World No.1 will field questions on his BILT by Agassi & Reyes range – an innovative line of fitness machines modelled on his own custom-made equipment honed over a 20-year playing career. The range – providing ideal strength and conditioning training for any sport – is being rolled out across David Lloyd Leisure clubs in the UK and Europe.

Agassi is in a select group to have won all four Grand Slam events, including The Wimbledon Championships in 1992, staying virtually injury-free throughout. He puts that down to the three critical factors he and fitness coach Gil Reyes have put into the creation of his range – Strength, Conditioning and Safety.

Key pieces of the BILT by Agassi & Reyes range include:

The Change of Direction (COD) machine
The Power Stride
The Quad
The Olympic Flat Bench

Agassi said: “I’m delighted that the hard work and passion that has gone into many years of development has been recognised by David Lloyd Leisure, the pioneer in the UK’s premium fitness sector. We look forward to developing our relationship further as David Lloyd Leisure continue their club improvements over the years.”

Scott Lloyd, CEO of David Lloyd Leisure, which is rolling out an ambitious gym innovation programme in addition to a £50m upgrade of its clubs, added: “We want to make the gym as enjoyable, motivating and inspirational in every possible way. David Lloyd Leisure is always looking to invest in new, innovative and exciting facilities, products and programmes for our members.”

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