Business as usual for Serena Williams, Novak Djokovic, David Ferrer and Tomas Berdych who cruise into the second round in straight sets.

The first Slam of the season is already over for 7-time Grand Slam champion Venus Williams, defeated by Ekatarina Makarova. Is it time to retire for the 33 yr old?

Upset of the day: Luksika Kumkhum defeats Petra Kvitova

Last year she lost to Laura Robson in the second round, this year she was defeated by unknown 88-ranked Thai Luksika Kumkhum.
3 years ago, after her surprising Wimbledon victory, Petra Kvitova was seen as a future number one, who would challenge for Grand Slam titles, but she hasn’t so far lived up to expectations.

Seeds upsets:

Julia Goerges def Sara Errani (7), Jie Zheng def Roberta Vinci (12), Alison Riske def Elena Vesnina (23), Guillermo Garcia-Lopez def Tommy Haas (12)

Video highlights:


Tweet of the day: Ashleigh Barty

The young Aussie, ousted 6-2 6-1 by Serena, congratulates her opponent on Twitter. Refreshing.

Image of the day: L’Equipe

Stefan Edberg, Boris Becker and Ivan Lendl on the cover of L’Equipe, the French sports daily. Like in the good old days…
L'Equipe

Matches to follow on Day 2:

Andreas Seppi (23) – Lleyton Hewitt
Rafael Nadal (1) – Bernard Tomic: can Tomic cause an upset like Mark Philippoussis when he beat Sampras in 1996?

After Le Coq sportif, another classic brand is back on the tennis courts. ellesse announced earlier today they signed up and coming player Elina Svitolina and former world number 2 Tommy Haas as brand ambassadors.

ellesse brand ambassadors: Svitolina and Haas

The ellesse name is based on the initials LS of its founder, Leonardo Servadio, an Italian tailor with an innovative approach to styling and manufacture. In 1959, Servadio created a revolutionary stretch ski pant which established ellesse among the elite alpine social circles, making it the ultimate aspirational brand.
The famous half-ball ellesse logo combines the trips of a pair of skis with a cross section of a tennis ball, to symbolize the brand’s heritage in these sports.

Tennis greats Chris Evert, Guillermo Vilas and Boris Becker rocked ellesse on and off the tennis court in the 80′s.

Evert Ellesse Vilas

Read more on ellesse history here.

Andy Murray and Ivan Lendl

From L’Unità by Federico Ferrero
translated into English by Mauro Cappiello

In the tennis community, the alignment of stars looks like something magic. Everybody knows of the professional relationship, just as solid as the former Czech’s massive jaw, tying Ivan Lendl and Andy Murray: to merge the destinies of the terrible Ivan and the Scottish boy, a dream named Wimbledon. Now expired for the former number one who tried anything, even skipped the French Open, not to give up that last, desperate chance. But won only two shots against the target of the sacred fire of the Championships and failed both in 1986 and 1987. As a coach, on the other hand, Lendl has been able to eradicate the virus that weakened Murray in the Grand Slam, with the vaccine that he himself had experienced after four finals lost in Paris, Australia, and New York in the early eighties; Andy repaid him violating the ground of Wimbledon, for the delight of the British fans.

You know the news: former champion training a champion. There’s more, though. In these few weeks of preparation for the upcoming season, Roger Federer has withdrawn in his plastic hermitage of Dubai, where he sweats and moves, like the arms of the goddess Kali, parts of his business activities, especially those in real estate. The fallen king, after the upset of the last few months spent with an aching back, invited to share his training camp not a kid chosen among the juniors, or one of the lately unemployed professional coaches. He called Mr. Stefan Edberg, the master of the lost art of serve & volley, the heron with Scandinavian blood and movements inspired to Nureyev’s.

After splitting up with Paul Annacone, veteran Federer is still looking for an advisor for the last stage of his professional life: “We preferred to have him come here, away from everything,” because Roger is one who speaks in the plural and includes in his reasoning the faithful collaborator, and who knows what else, Davis Cup captain Severin Lüthi. But he himself decides; what he has thought for 2014 is not given to know, and yet there is a class wedding in the air.

A wedding, however, that has just been celebrated at Djokovic‘s, it will be not as fine and elegant but seems to be the answer to that same design from above: the name chosen by Nole, in fact, is Boris Becker. Bum Bum, the phenomenal boy of Wimbledon ’85, the diver of total tennis. So the Triad of the game of modern era would be ready to be reunited with weird similarities: Becker was never able to run his tank over Paris, Djokovic, equally, is chasing in the City of Light the last Slam missing in his own collection. Like Lendl and Murray, from a failure and a half as singles to the common triumph. Novak has convinced his longtime mentor, Marian Vajda, to submit to the role of assistant coach, now the team leader is Boris, who has not done much to keep his reputation after retirement. Aged 46, in the third millennium Becker has been known for his poker mania and a facelift, but Nole is enthusiastic, and so is Boris: “I am sure that together we will have great gratifications,” which will have to pass through the dismantling of Rafa Nadal. The only one who remained faithful to the family agreement, Rafa, at the moment working in Manacor with Uncle Toni to start biting at the next Australian Open.

If astrology were a science in tennis, Nadalito should alert us of a new liaison, maybe with the crazy John McEnroe. To restore a wise men committee, Ivan, Stefan, Boris, MacGenius, legends of a heartbreaking, varied tennis, knocked out by a bulldozer called progress.

Which partnership will be the most successful in 2014?

  • Federer-Edberg (57%, 24 Votes)
  • Djokovic-Becker (29%, 12 Votes)
  • Murray-Lendl (14%, 6 Votes)

Total Voters: 42

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For more infos on Federer-Edberg partnership, check out Mauro’s website STE… fans

Lotto Sport turns 40 this year and celebrates its anniversary with a book retracing its rich history: Lotto, una leggenda italiana (Lotto, an italian legend).

Lotto was established in 1973 by the Caberlotto family (who were the properties of the football team Treviso) in Montebelluna, northern Italy. Tennis shoes signaled the beginning of production, followed by models for basketball, volleyball, athletics and football.
Over the years, Lotto sponsored top tennis players like Martina Navratilova, Boris Becker and Thomas Muster.

From 1973 to 2013, the book features 40 iconic images that each immortalize a key moment of Lotto, be it an event, a very special fan as Pope Francis, a team like Milan or Juventus, or an athlete of the caliber of Dino Zoff or Ruud Gullit, Martina Navratilova and Boris Becker, Dino Meneghin or Luca Toni.
Each picture is accompanied by a text in italian and english.

A few pics from the book: Martina Navratilova, Francesca Schiavone, Boris Becker and John Newcombe.

Martina Navratilova

Martina Navratilova

Martina Navratilova

Francesca Schiavone

Francesca Schiavone

Boris Becker

John Newcombe

Lotto, una leggenda italiana is on sale on Amazon for 60€.

Photo credit: Lotto Sport

Risk tennis a lost art form

Earlier this year I wrote an article about the pace of indoor surfaces and the demise of indoor carpet on the ATP and WTA tours. (see article here) Quick indoor carpet has been completely phased out in favour of medium paced indoor hardcourts based on the plexicushion surface. The slowing down in surfaces has led to a convergence in style of play and allowed defensive minded players to get to the very top of the game and stay there.

Recently Roger Federer called for surfaces to speeded up once again “It’s an easy fix. Just make quicker courts, then it’s hard to defend,” Federer said. “Attacking style is more important. It’s only on this type of slow courts that you can defend the way we are all doing right now.”

Roger Federer

When I spoke to the ATP spokesman back in February, he clearly gave the view the surfaces were slowed down and carpet phased out because there were too many complaints that the big serve was dominating tennis. That is a pity because my article clearly dispelled the myth that faster surfaces were only dominated by big servers, I pointed out that many baseliners loved the quicker surfaces.

Players like Ivan Lendl won over 30 tournaments on indoor carpet, much more tournaments on one surface than most players win in an entire career. Lendl won 5 year end Masters titles (ATP World Tour) and played in 8 straight finals between 1982 and 1989. Also Lendl won these titles against the likes of John McEnroe, Boris Becker, and Stefan Edberg.

Monica Seles was another player who excelled on indoor carpet, and yet both she and Lendl won multiple titles at the French Open, the slowest surface on tour. Martina Hingis also excelled on indoor carpet. In the mens game, Andre Agassi, Gustavo Kuerten, Lleyton Hewitt and Alex Corretja won the year end championships indoors whilst Jim Courier played in finals in 1991 and 1992 and Michael Chang in 1995.
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