Roger Feder, Australian Open 2017
Day 1 – first round

Defending champion Angelique Kerber struggles but gets past Lesia Tsurenko in three sets.
– Number 4 seed Simona Halep is ousted by world number 52 Shelby Rogers 6-3 6-1.
– Playing in his first Grand Slam match since he became world number one, Andy Murray defeats Illya Marchenko in straight sets.
Stan Wawrinka and Marin Cilic survive five-set scare against respectively Martin Klizan and Jerzy Janowicz
– In his return to competition, Federer loses a set, but wins his first match since Wimbledon last year.
– Aussie teen Alex De Minaur, making is Grand Slam debut, fought back from a match point down to beat Gerald Melzer in a five-set marathon.

Day 2 – first round

– World number 2 Serena Williams and Novak Djokovic are safely through to second round despite challenging first round matches -on paper. 6-4 6-3 for Serena over Belinda Bencic, 6-1 7-6 6-2 for Djokovic over Fernando Verdasco.
– No trouble for Rafael Nadal who cruises past Florian Mayer 6-3 6-4 6-4. He next faces 2006 runner-up Marcos Baghdatis.
– Big troubles on the contrary for David Goffin who needs five sets to defeat young American Reilly Opelka.
– Playing in his 60th consecutive Grand Slam tournament, number 28 seed Feliciano Lopez lost to Fabio Fognini in straight sets.
– 37-year-old Ivo Karlovic fired 75 aces! to overcome Horacio Zeballos in a five-set marathon 6-7 3-6 7-5 6-2 22-20.

Day 3 – second round

– Another hard-fought win for world number one Angelique Kerber who defeats fellow German Carine Witthoeft 6-2 6-7 6-2. She’s turning 29 today.
– Garbine Muguruza booked her place in the third round with a clean 7-5 6-4 win over Samantha Crawford.
Andy Murray and Stan Wawrinka cruise into the third round with straight sets wins over Andrey Rublev and Steve Johnson.
Andreas Seppi rallies from 2 sets down, saves a match point and downs Kyrgios 1-6 6-7 6-4 6-2 10-8.
– Like Seppi, Mischa Zverev came back from the dead to defeat John Isner 6-7 6-7 6-4 7-6 9-7.
– Sydney runner-up Dan Evans registers the biggest win of his career so far with a four-set victor over Marin Cilic.
– Matches to follow on day 4:
Naomi Osaka – Johanna Konta
Lucie Safarova – Serena Williams
Marcos Baghdatis – Rafael Nadal
Radek Stepanek -David Goffin
Benoît Paire – Fabio Fognini

Angelique Kerber, winner of the 2016 US Open
The good

Stan Wawrinka: there’s a new champ in New York. The Swiss struggled to get past the first rounds, losing a few sets here and there and saving a match point in the third round. But he stepped up in the semifinals against Nishikori and outplayed Djokovic in the final. 3 Grand Slam finals, 3 titles.

Stan ✅ Stanimal ✅ Stan the Man ✅ And now #usopen Champion ✅ (📸: @dcarrollphoto)

Une photo publiée par @usopen le

Karolina Pliskova: before this tournament, she had not passed the third round in her 17 previous Grand Slams appearances. She took down Venus Williams and top-seeded Serena Williams to reach her first Grand Slam final.

Caroline Wozniacki: she’s two years younger than Kerber but it seems she’s been on the circuit for ever. She beat Svetlana Kuznetsova and Madison Keys en route to the semifinals.

“I came into this tournament ranked No. 74 in the world and probably people ruled me out, but it’s nice to prove people wrong once again.”

Lucas Pouille: he reached the quarterfinals after 5-sets marathon wins over Chiudinelli, Bautista Agut and Rafael Nadal. He seems to be the only French player to have both the game and the attitude. A player to watch out next year.

Laura Siegemund and Mate Pavic: they had never met before this tournament. They teamed up to win the mixed doubles title defeating CoCo Vandeweghe and Rajeev Ram in the final.

“It’s really kind of a blind date.”

Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares: they joined forces at the beginning of the season and won 2 Slam titles (the Australian and US Opens) since then.

The bad

Garbine Muguruza: the French Open champion was knocked out of the tournament by Anastasija Sevastova in the second round.

“Today was just very difficult. Everything I was trying to do she was coming back and doing incredible shots.”

Aga Radwanska: overpowered by 18-year old Ana Konjuh in the quarterfinals. The question is no more “when will she win her maiden Slam” but rather “will she ever win a Slam”.

Andy Murray: beaten by Nishikori in a bizarre match, he seemed mentally tired. He’ll now focus on the Davis Cup semifinals against Argentina.

“I tried my best. I fought as hard as I could with what I had. I didn’t let anyone down — certainly not myself. I pushed myself as hard as I could over the last few months, and I’m very proud of how I have done.”

Milos Raonic: a shock defeat to qualifier Ryan Harrison in the second round. His explanation: cramps due to nervousness, (nervous to play Ryan Harrison?).

Marin Cilic: the 2014 champion looked like a title contender again but surprisingly fell to Jack Sock in the third round.

Gaël Monfils: what on earth was he doing against Novak Djokovic? Not sure he knows it himself. What a waste of talent.

Bernard Tomic: nothing to add.

The queen

She started the year ranked number 10 with a large defeat to Victoria Azarenka in the final of the Brisbane tournament. A couple weeks later she stunned Azarenka and Serena to win the Australian Open.
Fast forward 8 months Angelique Kerber is now the new number one and took home a second Slam trophy.
Is it the beginning of a new era for women’s tennis?

First selfie + 🏆😍! Thank you for your overwhelming support ❤#teamangie #nyc🗽 #usopen2016

Une photo publiée par Angelique Kerber (@angie.kerber) le

Photo credit: Satoshi Tsuboi

Andy Murray, 2012 US Open

From Andy Murray‘s autobiography Seventy-Seven:

The two main stadiums here are called Arthur Ashe and Louis Armstrong. One I love, the other I have never felt comfortable on. I just don’t like Armstrong and never have. Each time I’ve played on it I’ve struggled, and the 2012 championship was a case in point. I started strongly enough, beating Alex Bogomolov and Ivan Dodig in the first two rounds on Ashe and then had to play Feliciano Lopez of Spain over on Armstrong. And the jinx almost held because I couldn’t really settle properly. It can get breezy on the big courts; on Ashe it generally blows from the President’s Box end and you get used to that, but on Armstrong, where there’s no sense of being enclosed, the wind swirls and moves in different directions. You are most exposed to the sun playing day matches on Armstrong, too, and it can be so bright that tracking the ball gets really hard.

The grandstand in the Arthur Ashe Stadium gives more shelter from the wind and it’s built so that the sun moves across early in the day, providing plenty of shadow and shade. On Armstrong the sun is on the players for the whole day and it’s really intense. That made it difficult for me to settle, but the fact is that Lopez is not much fun to play. He had Alex Corretja, a former coach of mine, in his box.
As a result, I struggled physically, but somehow it was one of those matches that I found a way to win. I didn’t feel right at all, but somehow I got through. I used to be able to do that a lot of times in all the regular tournaments I played on tour and managed to get a really high degree of consistency throughout the year. However in the Slams that wasn’t necessarily the case. Now I’ve learned how to cope in situations when the pressure is on. I think about how my opponent might be feeling. I understand it all much better than I did before.

In the fourth round, I played well against a new big gun on the tour, Milos Raonic of Canada. We were playing on Ashe at night, which I really like. The conditions seem kinder in the evening and that was one of those really good nights. I read his serve well from early on and seemed to be able to anticipate everything he was going to do. That night I was quick and in command.

For the quarter-final against Marin Cilic of Croatia, the game was back on Armstrong and the pressure was really on. Cilic made sure that I felt it from the start, taking the first set and going on to take a 5-1 lead on the second.
When I got the first break back in that second set, we both sensed how important the next couple of games would be. And I started to feel that he was getting nervous. After that, I played on pure instinct. I got to balls I hadn’t been reaching before, chased everything down and got back into the match the hard way.
Perhaps if he hadn’t got nervous I wouldn’t have won, but there were nerves for me too. If you sense the opponent is tightening up and think, ‘I can get back in here, this is my chance’, the pressure increases on you. The guys who are behind aren’t the ones who tend to rush. They have all the time in the world, which is why it was surprising to see him hurry and make mistakes. It wasn’t as if I was blasting winners all over the court, so much as making as many balls as I could. Little by little, I started to reclaim the middle of the court, and he started to miss. That was it.

The semi-final against Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic on Ashe was a freak show. There were high winds, which it’s all about who hits the ball best that day. It was about who could manoeuvre the ball around and come up with the right shots and the smartest shots. I feel like I have a bit more variety in my game than Tomas, so the conditions helped me and hindered him more than me. It was almost comical because of the wind conditions and I was laughing a little inside at how ridiculous the points were. All the same, it was semi-final of the US Open, and it was a great opportunity.
I aced Berdych when the ball bounced twice before it reached him. That has never happened the whole time I’ve been on the tour, but there was stuff taking place put there that had never happened in my entire life. If you had wanted to, you could easily have spun the ball from your opponent’s court back onto your own side because the breeze was so strong.
Playing a proper point became impossible and, in all the chaos, I managed to lose the first set. After that, I felt like I was cruising. I took the second and third sets easily and I had two break points in the fourth. Then Berdych started to serve and volley with much greater consistency, coming into the net more. After that, things changed quickly. I was 5-7 6-2 6-1 up and he had enough break points to put me 5-1 down in the fourth. That was the point when I started the fight back and ended up taking it to a tie-break.
I went 5-2 down in that and realized that I’d gone from a commanding position to win the match to one where it looked likely to go into a fifth. I’d had the momentum with me, and then I was on the verge of blowing it through my bad play and his consistency. The conditions were ridiculous, but that’s no excuse because it was the same for both of us. It was so, so difficult, but I was fought back and won, I was just pleased to get it over and done with.

My post-match conference took a surreal turn. I knew that both Sir Sean Connery and Sir Alex Ferguson had been at the match, but I wasn’t expecting to suddenly be confronted by both of them. I had spoken to Sean Connery on the phone before the game, but I’d never even met Alex Ferguson. That made it a weird situation and, to be honest, I didn’t know what to say to either of them. Both are quite intimidating presences in their own way. I’ve seen Sir Alex on TV so many times and it seems like he’s really intense. You get the feeling that if you say the wrong thing when he’s doing his job, he’s going to bite your head off.
But he came to the press conference with a massive smile on his face. He was really relaxed – I think he might have had a couple of drinks – so it was cool.

Indian Wells Tennis Garden

Thanks to Gary, some beautiful photos from players, officials and crowds at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells.

Main Stadium, Indian Wells

Working Alone

Camera Men 1
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Marin Cilic, Indian Wells 2016

2014 US Open champion Marin Cilic defeated Richard Gasquet for the first time of his career and reached the quarterfinals of the BNP Paribas Open. It is only his sixth appearance in a Masters 1000 quarterfinal!

Richard Gasquet

Richard Gasquet
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Tim Henman's retirement, 2007

From Andy Murray: tennis ace, by John Murray

All Davis Cup ties are important, but this one particularly so. It would be Henman‘s final match before he retired. Andy was determined to see him off in style.

“I want to play my best. I’m going to fight until the last point,” he said. “I’m not going to want to let the team down or let Tim down. I’d feel terrible if I was the one that was responsible for losing Tim’s last tie.”

He didn’t have anything to worry about giving his boyhood hero a fitting farewell. In fact, at times, it looked like a pumped-up Henman could beat Croatia single-handed.

On the first day, at the grounds where he had given British fans so many happy memories over the years, the veteran cruised to a straight sets win over Roko Karanusic, while Andy proved his fitness with a five-set triumph against Marin Cilic. Then Henman and Jamie Murray completed the job in the doubles on the second day, to the delight of the Wimbledon faithful. The brothers had played a perfect support act as Henman took centre stage one last time.

Amidst all the applause and emotion as the Englishman waved goodbye, it was easy to forget what the result actually meant: GB had qualified for the World Group!
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