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Eugenie Bouchard Hires Sam Sumyk as New Coach for 2015

Eugenie Bouchard Hires Sam Sumyk as New Coach for 2015

  • Posted: Feb 07, 2015

Genie Bouchard1 Eugenie Bouchard Hires Sam Sumyk as New Coach for 2015


Canadian star Eugenie Bouchard has reportedly hired a new coach to begin working with her from next week in Antwerp, Belgium.

According to the Toronto Star, the 20-year-old Bouchard has hired Sam Sumyk to replace her long-time coach Nick Saviano.

The decision to part ways came after Bouchard took part in a breakthrough season on the WTA tour – one that saw her win the Most Improved Player award at the end of the season. She reached the semi-final round of three of the four Grand Slam this year, and peaked with her first appearance at the Wimbledon final in July.

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Bouchard is also the first Canadian to reach the Wimbledon final and the first to reach a career-high No. 5 in the rankings. While she also managed to qualify for the WTA finals in Singapore, she failed to win a single match at the event.

While Saviano did not specify a reason for the split, but it appears that it was a civil and mutual one.

“This past year travelling with Genie to all of the majors has been a wonderful experience with memories I will cherish for a lifetime,” Saviano said.”I have no doubt that Genie will accomplish great things.”

It should be noted that Sumyk was working with former world No. 1 Victoria Azarenka as recently as the Australian Open, but it now appears that he has selected Bouchard as his new student.

Bouchard is scheduled to take part in the WTA event in Antwerp, Belgium next week.

Fed Cup World Group and World Group II Draws and Match-ups

Fed Cup World Group and World Group II Draws and Match-ups

  • Posted: Feb 07, 2015

Sharapova WTA Tour Fed Cup World Group and World Group II Draws and Match ups


This weekend features an exciting array of match-up in the first round of the Fed Cup tournament, and they will include a slew of stars that will look to help their respective countries advance to the following round. Ahead of the opening round, the ITF released the draws and match-ups for World Group and World Group II.

Four Zone Group events are also taking place this week: Europe/Africa Zone Group I in Budapest, Hungary (4-7 February); Americas Zone Group I in San Luis Potosi, Mexico (4-7 February); Asia/Oceania Zone Group I in Guangzhou, China (4-7 February); and Europe/Africa Zone Group II in Tallinn, Estonia (4-7 February).

World Group First Round

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Canada vs. Czech Republic
Venue: PEPS, Quebec City, CAN (hard – indoors)

Francoise Abanda (CAN) v Karolina Pliskova (CZE)
Gabriela Dabrowski (CAN) v Tereza Smitkova (CZE)
Gabriela Dabrowski (CAN) v Karolina Pliskova (CZE)
Francoise Abanda (CAN) v Tereza Smitkova (CZE)
Gabriela Dabrowski/Sharon Fichman (CAN) v Denisa Allertova/Lucie Hradecka (CZE)

Italy vs France
Venue: 105 Stadium, Genoa, ITA (clay – indoors)

Sara Errani (ITA) v Caroline Garcia (FRA)
Camila Giorgi (ITA) v Alize Cornet (FRA)
Sara Errani (ITA) v Alize Cornet (FRA)
Camila Giorgi (ITA) v Caroline Garcia (FRA)
Roberta Vinci/Karin Knapp (ITA) v Kristina Mladenovic/Pauline Parmentier (FRA)

Poland vs. Russia
Venue: Krakow Arena, Krakow, POL (hard – indoors)

Agnieszka Radwanska (POL) v Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS)
Urszula Radwanska (POL) v Maria Sharapova (RUS)
Agnieszka Radwanska (POL) v Maria Sharapova (RUS)
Urszula Radwanska (POL) v Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS)
Klaudia Jans-Ignacik/Alicja Rosolska (POL) v Vitalia Diatchenko/Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (RUS)

Germany vs Australia
Venue: Porsche Arena, Stuttgart, GER (hard – indoors)

Angelique Kerber (GER) v Jarmila Gajdosova (AUS)
Andrea Petkovic (GER) v Samantha Stosur (AUS)
Angelique Kerber (GER) v Samantha Stosur (AUS)
Andrea Petkovic (GER) v Jarmila Gajdosova (AUS)
Julia Goerges/Sabine Lisicki (GER) v Casey Dellacqua/Samantha Stosur (AUS)

World Group II First Round

Netherlands vs. Slovakia
Venue: Omnisport Apeldoorn, Apeldoorn, NED (clay – indoors)

Kiki Bertens (NED) v Anna Karolina Schmiedlova (SVK)
Arantxa Rus (NED) v Magdalena Rybarikova (SVK)
Kiki Bertens (NED) v Magdalena Rybarikova (SVK)
Arantxa Rus (NED) v Anna Karolina Schmiedlova (SVK)
Richel Hogenkamp/Michaella Krajicek (NED) v Magdalena Rybarikova/Anna Karolina Schmiedlova (SVK)

Romania vs. Spain
Venue: Danube Arena, Galati, ROU (hard – indoors)

Simona Halep (ROU) v Silvia Soler-Espinosa (ESP)
Irina-Camelia Begu (ROU) v Garbine Muguruza (ESP)
Simona Halep (ROU) v Garbine Muguruza (ESP)
Irina-Camelia Begu (ROU) v Silvia Soler-Espinosa (ESP)
Alexandra Dulgheru/Monica Niculescu (ROU) v Lara Arruabarrena/Anabel Medina Garrigues (ESP)

Sweden vs. Switzerland
Venue: Helsingborg Arena, Helsingborg, SWE (hard – indoors)

Rebecca Peterson (SWE) v Timea Bacsinszky (SUI)
Johanna Larsson (SWE) v Belinda Bencic (SUI)
Johanna Larsson (SWE) v Timea Bacsinszky (SUI)
Rebecca Peterson (SWE) v Belinda Bencic (SUI)
Sofia Arvidsson/Susanne Celik (SWE) v Viktorija Golubic/Xenia Knoll (SUI)

USA vs. Argentina
Venue: Pilara Tennis Club, Buenos Aires (clay – outdoors)

Paula Ormaechea (ARG) v Venus Williams (USA)
Maria Irigoyen (ARG) v Serena Williams (USA)
Paula Ormaechea (ARG) v Serena Williams (USA)
Maria Irigoyen (ARG) v Venus Williams (USA)
Tatiana Bua/Nadia Podoroska (ARG) v Taylor Townsend/CoCo Vandeweghe (USA)

French Tournament Organizer Reveals Djokovic, Federer, and Nadal Cost 1 Million Euros in Guarantees for Small Events

French Tournament Organizer Reveals Djokovic, Federer, and Nadal Cost 1 Million Euros in Guarantees for Small Events

  • Posted: Feb 05, 2015

Rafael Nadal Wrist French Tournament Organizer Reveals Djokovic, Federer, and Nadal Cost 1 Million Euros in Guarantees for Small Events


It is well known that the top ranked players on the tour are not motivated to play ATP 250 level events. Outside the Top 5, it is possible to find a sprinkle of high-level talent at these events, yet it will take more than a pretty penny to sway the Big Four with the Almighty Dollar.

French tournament director François Caujolle, who heads the Marseille Open – a 250 level event on the ATP World Tour – revealed that the top three players on the tour, Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, seemingly cost approximately 1 million Euros.

“We were close to Roger Federer, but he wanted 75,000 euros,” said Caujolle (via “A few years later, we contacted Rafael Nadal, who asked for 300,000 euros. Subsequently, we tested with Novak Djokovic, who would accept only 400,000 euros. Today, however, you can’t have one of them for less than a million.”

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While inflation has clearly played its part, there is no denying that tournaments are in a tough position when if comes to analyzing a cost-benefit analysis. On one hand, brining in one of the top players will increase ticket sales, yet is it enough to make up for the hefty price tag? What if the top players gets injured and is forced to withdraw from the tournament?

However, Caujolle appeared confident that his tournament will one day host one of the top players.

“We will try to bring one of the top 3 in the next year.”

The Marseille Open is set to begin on Feb. 16.

ATP Investigates Foul Play in Tunisian Withdrawal Ahead of Israeli Encounter

ATP Investigates Foul Play in Tunisian Withdrawal Ahead of Israeli Encounter

  • Posted: Feb 05, 2015

jaziri1 ATP Investigates Foul Play in Tunisian Withdrawal Ahead of Israeli Encounter


Following suspicious actions earlier this week, the ATP World Tour is investigating an incident where a Tunisian tennis player retired from a match that he was winning, and would have lead him to an encounter against an Israeli in the following round.

The player in question, Malek Jaziri, took the first set off Denis Istomin in Round 1 of the Open Sud de France. He later retired from the match after he suffered an elbow injury and called for the trainer on two occasions.

This incident immedialtey took center stage, as in 2013, the Tunisian Tennis federation forced Jaziri to withdraw from am ATP Challenger match against Israeli opponent Amir Weintraub in Uzbekistan. This led to the International Tennis Federation placing a ban on Tunisia from the 2014 Davis Cup.

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After conducting their investigation, the ATP confirmed that the Tunisian’s retirement was indeed due to an elbow injury. The Associated Press first broke the story.

“Given a previous incident involving the player’s national federation in 2013, we are looking into any wider circumstances of his withdrawal as a matter of prudence,” the ATP said in a statement to the AP.

Here is Jaziri’s reasoning as quoted by Fédéric Bernès in l’Équipe (via @markalannixon)

“My phone is off, it’s not working. I haven’t received any orders or pressure. I’m playing Denis, he’s no piece of cake. I hadn’t looked at my next match, and even if I’d known … I got a golfer’s elbow at the Australian Open (reached the 3rd round). The travelling after, the time differences, that didn’t help. I’ve only hit the ball once in the last eight days. I took pain killers but I’m still hurting. Not so much when I hit the ball, but just after bringing the racquet back. It’s like a tendinitis in the forearm. You have to be smart in cases like this – I’ve got some big tournaments ahead in Memphis, Indian Wells, Miami and I didn’t want to run the risk of aggravating the problem. My cervical vertebrae really hurt this morning.”

It should be noted that over the past few decades, Arab countries have boycotted all forms of sporting events against Israeli opposition in protest for the harrowing situation unfolding in Palestine.

Serena Williams Announces Return to Indian Wells

Serena Williams Announces Return to Indian Wells

  • Posted: Feb 05, 2015

Serena Williams9 Serena Williams Announces Return to Indian Wells


On Wednesday, world No. 1 Serena Williams announced her long awaited return to Indian Wells following a 14-year absence from the tournament.

Williams vowed never to return to the event after being ferociously booed at the 2001 final against Kim Clijsters, after sister Venus withdrew from the match hours before the final. Her return to the event this year would have marked a significant step in a potential reconciliation between the two parties.

From her article on TIME:

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“Thirteen years and a lifetime in tennis later, things feel different. A few months ago, when Russian official Shamil Tarpischev made racist and sexist remarks about Venus and me, the WTA and USTA immediately condemned him. It reminded me how far the sport has come, and how far I’ve come too.”

“I’m fortunate to be at a point in my career where I have nothing to prove. I’m still as driven as ever, but the ride is a little easier. I play for the love of the game. And it is with that love in mind, and a new understanding of the true meaning of forgiveness, that I will proudly return to Indian Wells in 2015.”

Serena hinted at a possible return to the event during the 2014 Australian Open, after watching a movie about the late South African President Nelson Mandela, and became inspired by his message of reconciliation. However, she withdrew ahead of the tournament, and now it looks like 2015 will be the year of reconciliation.

Martina Navratilova: Madison Keys the embodiment of ‘big game tennis’

Martina Navratilova: Madison Keys the embodiment of ‘big game tennis’

  • Posted: Feb 05, 2015

Madison Keys1 Martina Navratilova: Madison Keys the embodiment of ‘big game tennis’


While the Australian Open proved to be a tournament that saw the tour’s respective No. 1 players lift the season-opening Grand Slam trophies, it was also a fortnight that brought with it the rise of a new face in American tennis.

Madison Keys, who last year became the highest ranked teenager on the tour, broke into the Top 20 on the WTA tour when she worked her way through a draw that included Petra Kvitova and Venus Williams to reach the semi-final stage in Melbourne. It was there, however, that her streak ended with a loss to eventual champion Serena Williams.

Although 18-time Grand Slam champion Martina Navratilova was in Australia as the coach of world No. 8 Agnieszka Radwanska, she could not help but be impressed with Keys over the fortnight.

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“Madison was hitting the ball so hard and so well,” Navratilova told EuroSport. “Basically, the match was on her hand; either she’d hit a winner or she missed. That is how you feel when you play against her – you feel like you are defending. Petra Kvitova was outhit, and I didn’t think I would say that about her unless it was perhaps Maria Sharapova and Serena Williams.”

“It is big game tennis, and Madison Keys is the embodiment of that.”

Another player that impressed Navratilova immensely was Venus Williams, who rose to No. 11 on the tour following her quarter-final finish in Melbourne. She defeated Marisa Torro-Flor, Lauren Davis, Camila Giorgi, and Radwanska before falling to Keys in the final eight.

In fact, the Czech native believes Venus is more than capable of regaining a spot in the Top 10 if she continues to play at this standard.

“I think she could get back in the Top 10 if she keeps playing the way she did. She ran out of gas a little bit (in Melbourne) after playing two three-setters in a row. Her fighting spirit is just inspirational.”

WTA Rankings Update: Williams Extends Dominance, Keys Enters Top 20

WTA Rankings Update: Williams Extends Dominance, Keys Enters Top 20

  • Posted: Feb 04, 2015

Serena Williams33 WTA Rankings Update: Williams Extends Dominance, Keys Enters Top 20


As many would have expected, the season-opening Grand Slam event had a significant impact on the WTA rankings for February. While some remained firmly mounted at the top, others found their way into the Top 20, like rising star Madison Keys.

Keys, who was a top 30 competitor, was propelled into the Top 20 for the first time in her career when she reached the semi-final stage of the Australian Open this year. Working alongside Lindsay Davenport since the off-season, Keys is now the first player born in 1995 onwards to reach that ranking (according to the WTA).

“We’ve been working on returns a lot,” Keys said. “That was definitely an area where I was trying to get better. I knew Petra had such a great serve, so I was really trying to get every return into play, and I was able to do it. It was one of those nights I think I was just feeling it, and I didn’t question it.”

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Other notable American advancemets in the rankings were completed by Venus Williams, who jumped to No. 11 following her appearance in the quarter-final round of the Aussie Open.

1. Williams, Serena (USA) 9430
2. Sharapova, Maria (RUS) 8210
3. Halep, Simona (ROM) 6571
4. Kvitova, Petra (CZE) 6480
5. Wozniacki, Caroline 4564
6. Ivanovic, Ana (SER) 4425
7. Bouchard, Eugenie(CAN) 4365
8. Radwanska, Agnieszka (POL) 4270
9. Makarova, Ekaterina (RUS) 3285
10. Kerber, Angelique (GER) 3130
11. Williams, Venus (USA) 2790
12. Petkovic, Andrea (GER) 2735
13. Errani, Sara (ITA) 2551
14. Pennetta, Flavia (ITA) 2441
15. Safarova, Lucie (CZE)2425
16. Jankovic, Jelena (SER) 2360
17. Navarro, Carla Suarez (ESP) 2295
18. Cibulkova, Dominika (SLO) 2137
19. Cornet, Alize (FRA) 2125
20. Keys, Madison (USA) 2100

ATP Rankings Update: Murray Back in Top 4

ATP Rankings Update: Murray Back in Top 4

  • Posted: Feb 04, 2015

Murray10 ATP Rankings Update: Murray Back in Top 4


Following an entertaining fortnight in Melbourne, much has changed on the ATP World Tour, particularly the rankings that separated the top players. Once again, the ‘Big Four’ have taken their rightful place atop the rankings. Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, and Andy Murray are once again the Top 4 players on the tour.

While Murray became the tour’s first four-time runner-up at the Australian Open without winning the title, he did manage to find his way back into the Top 4 with his performances over the fortnight. Murray fell as low as No. 12 before working his way back up with a strong finish to 2014.

1. Djokovic, Novak (SRB) 13,045
2. Federer, Roger (SUI) 9,205
3. Nadal, Rafael (ESP) 5,745
4. Murray, Andy (GBR) 5,460
5. Nishikori, Kei (JPN) 5,205
6. Raonic, Milos (CAN) 4,845
7. Berdych, Tomas (CZE) 4,660
8. Cilic, Marin (CRO) 4,105
9. Wawrinka, Stan (SUI) 4,050
10. Ferrer, David (ESP) 3,965
11. Dimitrov, Grigor (BUL) 3,465
12. Tsonga, Jo-Wilfried (FRA) 2,520
13. Gulbis, Ernests (LAT) 2,420
14. Lopez, Feliciano (ESP) 2,220
15. Anderson, Kevin (RSA) 2,125
16. Bautista Agut, Roberto (ESP) 1,975
17. Robredo, Tommy (ESP) 1,845
18. Isner, John (USA) 1,765
19. Simon, Gilles (FRA) 1,730
20. Monfils, Gael (FRA) 1,725

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Novak Djokovic Beats Andy Murray and Wins Fifth Australian Open Crown

Novak Djokovic Beats Andy Murray and Wins Fifth Australian Open Crown

  • Posted: Feb 03, 2015

djokovic61 Novak Djokovic Beats Andy Murray and Wins Fifth Australian Open Crown


World No. 1 Novak Djokovic overcame his own physical fatigue on Sunday evening in Melbourne to topple one of his top rivals Andy Murray to become the first five-time Australian Open men’s singles champion in the Open Era.

Djokovic, who is now one title away from equalling Roy Emerson’s tennis record of six titles Down Under, defeated Murray in four sets 7-6(5), 6-7(4), 6-3, 6-0 for the third time in a final on Rod Laver Arena in a match that lasted 3 hours and 39 minutes.

With his win, it was only right that Emerson himself handed Djokovic the trophy. It marked the Serb’s eighth overall Grand Slam trophy, which puts him alongside tennis greats such as Andre Agassi, Jimmy Connors, Ivan Lendl, and Fred Perry.

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“I’m so privileged and honoured and grateful to be standing here for the fifth time, to be in an elite group of players, with legends of our sport out here watching,”

This is also the third time that Djokovic has stopped Murray from claiming the Australian Open title. They met in the 2011 and 2013 finals, both of which Djokovic won. Murray also took part in another final in Melbourne, one that he lost to Roger Federer in 2010, which makes him the first four-time runner-up at the Aussie Open without winning the title.

“It’s been my most consistent Grand Slam throughout my career, I just haven’t been able to win it,” said Murray in his runner-up speech. “We put in a lot of hard work to try and get back in this position after what was a difficult year last year. Unfortunately, we couldn’t quite do it tonight, but I’m a little bit closer than I was a few months ago and we’ll keep working hard to try and get there. I’ll try and come back next year and have a slightly different outcome in the final.”

Serena Williams Wins Historic 19th Grand Slam Title After Beating Maria Sharapova

Serena Williams Wins Historic 19th Grand Slam Title After Beating Maria Sharapova

  • Posted: Feb 01, 2015

Serena Williams35 Serena Williams Wins Historic 19th Grand Slam Title After Beating Maria Sharapova


On Saturday night, Serena Williams successfully became the only professional competitor on the WTA tour with 19 Grand Slam titles when she defeated world No. 2 Maria Sharapova in straight sets to capture her sixth Australian Open title.

While the match was closer than the scoreline presents it to be, Williams maintained control of the match and eventually concluded it with a 6-3, 7-6(5) win.

The emotional Williams had much to say during her post-match speech.

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“I have to congratulate Maria, who played a wonderful, wonderful match tonight. She really pushed me tonight. She played so well and gave us a great final – not only for you guys, but for women’s tennis and all of the sponsors who support our sport and all of us. I’m honored to play you in the final.

“Growing up I wasn’t the richest, but I had a rich family in spirit and support, and standing here with 19 championships is something I never thought would happen. I went on the courts with just a ball, a racquet and a hope. That’s all I had. So all you guys who want to do something or be something, just never give up. You never know what can happen or who you can inspire. I’m just so honored.”

Sharapova, who has now lost 16 consecutive matches to Williams, was humble and respectful in the post-match speech.

“First of all I’ve got to congratulate Serena on creating history and on playing some of her best tennis,” Sharapova said in her runner-up speech. “It’s an honor playing against her. I haven’t beaten her in a really long time, but I love it every time I step on the court to play her because she’s the best, and as a tennis player you want to play the best, so congratulations on such a great achievement.

“It’s been a long couple of weeks here for me. I was almost down and out in the second round, and I gave myself a second life in this tournament. It wasn’t enough today, but I love it here. I’ve had some of my best memories on this court and my toughest losses, but that’s life as a tennis player.”