Site: O2 London
Dates: 20-27 November 2011
Surface: Hard
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O2 Arena with Clipper

Singles:

Group A: Novak Djokovic (1), Andy Murray (3), David Ferrer (57), Tomas Berdych (7)
Group B: Rafael Nadal (2),Roger Federer (4), Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (6), Mardy Fish (8)

Doubles:

Group A: Bob and Mike Bryan (1), Mahesh Bhupathi and Leander Paes (4), Robert Lindstedt and Horia Tecau (6), and Jurgen Melzer and Philipp Petzschner (7).
Group B: Michael Llodra Nenad Zimonjic (2), Daniel Nestor and Max Mirnyi (3), Rohan Bopanna and Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi (5), Mariusz Fyrstenberg and Marcin Matkowski (8).

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His name won’t mean much to sporadic tennis followers, but Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi will contend along with Djokovic, Nadal and Federer for the prize named after Stefan Edberg. Mauro Cappiello, founder and admin of STE…fans, the best Edberg tribute site on the web, explains why, in his opinion, he actually is the ideal winner.

At the end of last month, the nominees for the 2011 ATP Sportsmanship Award were made, so it will be Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi who will contend for the prestigious prize that was named after Stefan Edberg, once he retired from professional tennis back in 1996. With a disputable choice, the ATP decided to name a player unknown by large audiences like Pakistan’s doubles specialist Qureshi, together with three of the top four guys in the world singles ranking. But, even though his name won’t mean much to sporadic tennis followers and even though he will probably be overwhelmed by the other three contenders in the votations made by fellow members of the ATP World Tour, STE…fans wants to back Qureshi as the only deserving winner of the Award.

A career devoted to sports and peace
Considered he’s not an elite player, the 31-year-old man from Pakistan has done in terms of sportsmanship through the years (and not only in 2011) much more than what the other players have done combined. Through his sport, he’s gone beyond prejudice and discrimination from his country, promoting tennis as a mean for overcoming political barriers among different nations, which is the supreme way of “conducting at the highest level of professionalism and with the utmost spirit of fairness”, as specified in the award motivation.

After turning professional in 1998, Qureshi first came in the news in 2002, when he decided to partner Israeli Amir Hadad in Wimbledon and US Open doubles tournaments, despite the “cold relationships” that have always run between their two countries. This earned him and his doubles mate an Arthur Ashe Humanitarian of the Year Award for 2002. A prize that Qureshi also won last year, together with his current doubles partner, Indian Rohan Bopanna (by the way, where is his nominee for the 2011 Edberg Award?), another player from a country Pakistan has stormy relationships with.

In 2010, Aisam and Rohan have created a campaign, Stop War Start Tennis, with the aim of playing a tennis match in Wagah, on the border joining India and Pakistan, with both players on either side of the border.

The “Sportsmanship Award” is not the “Player of the Year Award”
There’s no need to add more to indicate Qureshi not only as the ideal winner of the award for this year, but also as the man who could reverse a trend that, in recent years, has seen the ATP give the prize not to the real sportsman of the year, but to the player with the best results in the season.

This has clearly happened in 2009 and 2010, for example, when Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal respectively have been voted “Sportsman of the Year”, when, in our humble opinion, they wouldn’t have either deserved a nominee. And let me remind you that, if it’s the other players who vote the winner, it’s the ATP who makes the nominees.

At the same time, it’s quite strange that, since 2004, the prize has gone to the year-end number one or two. Is it really so hard to find a true sportsman out of the top of men’s tennis? In our opinion, it’s a scandal that sportsmen like Mardy Fish and Andy Roddick didn’t get a nominee. Still they are American, so from a nation that gets high visibility, and are ranked or have been ranked in the top ten.

The impression is that the ATP is using this award to pump up the popularity of the most prominent players rather than to promote the fair spirit of tennis and positive behaviors by its protagonists, in and off court.

Questionable winners
We strongly believe that there should be an episode or a series of episodes to justify the nominee for a certain year and this has not happened recently.

In these two videos, you can see Roger Federer smash a racquet in frustration in Miami and speak roughly to the chair umpire in the US Open final against Juan Martin Del Potro.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w-e-Ud-ly04[/youtube] [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AZB9JfhzLzE[/youtube]

Those episodes both happened in 2009, when he was voted “Sportsman of the year”, overcoming the nominees of Ivan Ljubicic, Jarkko Nieminem and Carlos Moya. Generally speaking, Roger Federer is certainly a sportsman who has done a lot for tennis, in and off-court. He also has Stefan Edberg’s endorsement. After the two met last year in Stockholm, Stefan said: «He’s very smooth and easygoing, so I think he’s a great, great, great guy for tennis in general, I think both on and off the court». But, the fact that he is named every year, even when he doesn’t deserve it, just because he is Roger Federer, is ridiculous.

This other video shows Rafael Nadal vividly contest a decision by the umpire at the London ATP World Tour Finals, after the Hawk-Eye had shown his indication of a ball out was wrong.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BJgYfTmzuYw[/youtube]

Earlier in Wimbledon, he was (rightly) accused by his third round opponent Philipp Petzschner of requesting a “strategic” medical time out when down two sets to one. Both episodes happened in 2010, when the Spaniard was voted “Sportsman of the Year”, overcoming the nominees of Marin Cilic (?), Taylor Dent and Roger Federer.

None of us who witnessed Stefan Edberg’s career needs to be reminded that Stefan never talked roughly to an umpire, never smashed a racquet in anger and never used a medical time out to escape a difficult score situation. That’s why the Sportsmanship Award was named after him and that’s why it should never be delivered to a player committing one of the above during a tennis season.

Vote for your 2011 Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award winner»

Article written by Mauro Cappiello, founder and admin of STE…fans – a tribute to Stefan Edberg.

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2011 Davis Cup semifinals

Spain, Serbia, Argentina and France battle this week end for a place in the 2011 Davis Cup final.

Spain vs France

Spain leads by 1-0 after Rafael Nadal‘s easy win over Richard Gasquet 6-3 6-0 6-1. Gasquet lost his serve in the first game of the match and after that there was only one player on the court.
And 2-0 for Spain, David Ferrer dispatched Gilles Simon 6-1 6-4 6-1.
Llodra and Tsonga totally dominated Spanish heartthrobs Lopez and Verdasco 6-1 6-2 6-0. 2-1 for Spain before the reverse singles on Sunday.
Nadal secures Spain’s spot in final, the third in four years, with his win 6-0 6-2 6-4 win over Tsonga.

Rafael Nadal

Serbia vs Argentina

Novak Djokovic pulled out of Serbia’s opening singles match against David Nalbandian. He was replaced by Viktor Troicki.
David Nalbandian gave the first point to his team with his four sets win 6-4 4-6 6-2 6-3.

Defending champion Serbia is in big trouble after Janko Tipsarevic’s loss to Juan Martin Del Potro.
The Serbian team came back to 1-2 after the victory of their doubles team.
In the fourth rubber, Novak Djokovic retired, trailing Juan Martin del Potro 6-7 0-3.

Argentina will face Spain for a remake of the 2008 Davis Cup final.

Juan Martin del Potro

Which team will win the 2011 Davis Cup?

  • Spain (78%, 18 Votes)
  • Serbia (13%, 3 Votes)
  • Argentina (9%, 2 Votes)
  • France (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 23

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2011 US Open by the numbers

US Open Men's Final - 027

4

For the fourth consecutive year, the men’s final has been played on Monday.

6

Sixth defeat in a row for Nadal against Djokovic. All in 2011 and all in finals. Nadal still leads the overall series 16-13.
It would be time to have a game plan and stop playing again and again on Djokovic’s backhand, Nadal. (check out Nadal-Djokovic head-to-head here).

64

Victories for Djokovic in 2011, against two losses.

31

Sam Stosur ended a 31-year drought for Australian women when she became the first since Evonne Goolagong at Wimbledon in 1980, to capture a Grand Slam on Monday.
Goolagong didn’t wait long to congratulate her, texting Sam Stosur moments after her US Open win to say: “Twinkletoes, you finally have got what you deserved”
Next challenge for Sam: win the Australian Open in front of her home crowd. Last Aussie to capture the title is Chris O’Neil who surprised everybody for her one and only career title at the Open in 1978.

2000

Serena can keep behaving like an asshole: her latest outburst during the US Open final cost her only $2000. Her behavior is simply indefensible.
Chris Evert said she “was so surprised how disrespectful and rude” Williams was to umpire Eva Asderaki and called the $2,000 hit “like dinner for Serena.”
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