Best of February 2012:

She is not a one-hit wonder after all: 2011 US Open semifinalist Angelique Kerber beat Lucie Safarova, Monica Niculescu, Maria Sharapova, Yanina Wickmayer and Marion Bartoli en route for her first WTA title.

19 yr old Lara Arruabarrena-Vecino won her maiden WTA title in Bogota, playing in just her third WTA main draw and facing a 5-2 third set deficit in her opening match.

David Ferrer keeps flying under the radar and he keeps winning: after Auckland in January, he captured 2 titles in February: Acapulco and Sao Paulo.

Lleyton Hewitt recorded its 38th Davis Cup singles victory, a remarkable 14 more than by any other Australian player.

I love every time I put the gold jacket on and playing for my country whoever it’s against and my preparation is exactly the same

Manuel Orantes has been elected to the International Tennis Hall of Fame in the master player category. Orantes won the 1975 US Open by beating Jimmy Connors in the final, and he was the runner-up to Bjorn Borg at the 1974 French Open.

Like father, like daughter: Jessica Korda, daughter of 1998 Australian Open champion Petr Korda, won her first LPGA tournament this month. The place of her triumph: Australia of course.
A nice tribute to her father’s infamous “scissor kick”.

February tournament winners: Angelique Kerber (Paris), Daniela Hantuchova (Pattaya), Victoria Azarenka (Doha), Lara Arruabarrena-Vecino (Bogota), Sofia Arvidsson (Memphis), Agnieszka Radwanska (Doha), Timea Babos (Monterrey), Sara Errani (Acapulco), Su-Wei Hsieh (Kuala Lumpur), Roger Federer (Rotterdam and Dubai), Nicolas Almagro (Sao Paulo), Milos Raonic (San Jose), Juan Martin Del Potro (Open 13 Marseille), Jurgen Melzer (Memphis), David Ferrer (Buenos Aires and Acapulco), Kevin Anderson (Delray Beach)

Worst of February 2012:

The Arantxa Sanchez Saga: the Sanchez clan seemed to be a much more normal family than the Grafs and Seles’ … until Arantxa’s autobiography release.

Lleyton Hewitt will be sidelined for four months after having surgery on his left foot, but eyes a return in tile for the Olympics. Ranked 170th, the 31 yr old Australian, will have to rely on a wild card from the International Tennis Federation to contest the London Olympics.

Aravane Rezai, for her Fed Cup debacle.

Andy Roddick: beaten by Denis Istomin in San Jose, ousted by Xavier Malisse in Memphis, Roddick has plummeted to his lowest ranking since 2001 (31).

The Swiss Davis Cup team of Roger Federer and Stanislas Wawrinka: 0-5 loss against the US team on clay. Enough said.

Wimbledon Centre Court roof

If you are intrigued by what goes on behind the scenes at Wimbledon, Chris Gorringe‘s book Holding Court is a must-read. Gorringe tells the story of his 26 years journey as All England Club chief executive. The book is full of anecdotes about legendary players (McEnroe, Sampras, Borg to name a few), but also describes in details the structure of the Club, the organization of the Championships, and Wimbledon’s Long Term Plan.
A few pages are of course dedicated to the Centre Court roof, which has been the real star of the 125th Championships so far.

Enjoy of few extracts of Holding Court:

“When we had first laid out the LTP (Long Term Plan) in the 90s, a retractable roof had been possible in as much as the technology was available, but what had not been proved to our satisfaction was that you could have a sliding roof that would work for grass court tennis. We had not seen a roof design that would: retain the grass at a quality that would withstand two weeks of play, and that would not make it sweat and be slippery; that would provide the right ambiance for the spectators; and that would allow grass to grow for the rest of the year.”

Australian Open roof vs Wimbledon roof

“We did not have all the answers, but certain members of the media and our committee wanted it as they had be to the Australian Open and seen the roof in action there.
However, the Australians had a different set of circumstances. When they moved from Kooyong’s private members’ club to Flinders Park (now Melbourne Park), in order to finance the set-up, the main centre court had to be a stadium design, not just a tennis arena. They needed the stadium to be used for as many days a year as possible, for concerts or whatever, which meant adding a roof but saying goodbye to grass. Once grass is taken out of the equation, the addition of a roof becomes very much easier.
Theirs is infinitely heavier than ours, is not translucent in any way, and is presumably specially designed in order for it to work well for concerts or musical events: there is no escape of noise or light through their roof. As well as having the roof over the main stadium at Melbourne Park, they have also built an adjacent stadium – again another multi-purpose building with a roof on it.”

Wimbledon Centre Court roof

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Murray’s record at Wimbledon:

2005: (world ranking 312, wild card)
– R1 vs George Bastl (qualifier) 6-4 6-2 6-2
– R2 vs Radek Stepanek (14th seed) 6-4 6-4 6-4
– R3 vs David Nalbandian (n°18) 7-6 6-1 0-6 4-6 1-6

2006: (world ranking 44)
– R1 vs Nicolas Massu (n°31) 6-1 6-4 6-4
– R2 vs Julien Benneteau 7-6 6-4 4-6 6-1
– R3 vs Andy Roddick (n°3) 7-6 6-4 6-4
– R4 vs Marcos Baghdatis (n°18) 3-6 4-6 6-7

2007: missed due to wrist injury

2008: (world ranking 11)
– R1 Fabrice Santoro 6-3 6-4 7-6
– R2 Xavier Malisse (WC) 6-4 6-2 6-2
– R3 Tommy Haas 6-4 6-7 6-3 6-2
– R4 Richard Gasquet (n°8) 5-7 3-6 7-6 6-2 6-4
– QF Rafael Nadal (n°2) 3-6 2-6 4-6

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Murray’s chances were greatly enhanced by the withdrawal of defending champion and world number one Rafael Nadal. That left Murray as the top ranked player in his half of the draw.

Andy Murray, 2009 Wimbledon

First round: Andy Murray vs Robert Kendrick (76)
Head to head: Murray 3-0

Year Tournament Surface Winner Score in final
2006 Newport Grass Murray 6-0, 6-0
2006 US Open Hard Murray 6-2, 1-6, 6-3, 6-3
2007 Miami Hard Murray 6–3, 6–1

On Tuesday 23th June, at 5.09 pm, Andy Murray opened his 2009 campaign against Robert Kendrick. All British hopes rely on Murray, who could be the first Brit to win the Championships since Fred Perry in 1936.
His first round opponent, Robert Kendrick, is a journeyman player, ranked 76 and whose ATP singles record is 15-28.
He has only won 3 Grand Slam matches during his career, but the last time he played on Centre Court, in 2006, he lead Rafael Nadal by 2 sets to 0, before falling in 5 sets.
And the match was indeed more difficult than expected, as Murray lost the second set tie-break. It was an entertaining match with big server Kendrick coming to the net as often as possible. But Murray remained solid and focused and won in 4 sets: 7-5 6-7 6-3 6-4.

About his next opponent, Ernests Gulbis: “I’ve got a very tough opponent. Gulbis has caused some upsets in the past and is a huge hitter of the ball. I’m going to need to be on my game to beat him.”

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Murray’s tweet: letter from the Queen

Andy Murray, letter from the Queen

Andy Murray, letter from the Queen


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Second round: Andy Murray vs Ernests Gulbis (74)
Head to head: 2-0

Year Tournament Surface Winner Score in final
2008 Queen’s Grass Murray 5-7, 6-1, 6-4
2008 St. Petersburg Hard Murray 6-4, 6-2

It only took 1hour and 28 minutes for Andy Murray to destroy the talented but lackluster Latvian, who was a surprise quarter finalist at Roland Garros in 2008. The Scot looked like a boss from first point of the match and played a near perfect match, hitting 36 winners for only 5 unforced errors.

Murray: “I thought I played well. It was much better than the first match. There weren’t that many moments in the match when I was under a lot of pressure. There wasn’t that much nerves and huge points”.

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Murray’s tweet: snack game

Andy Murray, snack name game
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Third round: Andy Murray vs Viktor Troicki (30)
Head to head: 2-0

Year Tournament Surface Winner Score in final
2008 St. Petersburg Hard Murray 6-3, 6-3
2009 Miami Hard Murray 6-1, 6-0

Andy’s third round opponent is big hitter Viktor Troicki who is …allergic to grass: “I’m allergic to grass courts, not just at Wimbledon but at other tournaments as well, there’s something in the air that bothers me.”
Apparently he is allergic to Murray’s game too: the last time they met at Miami, Murray destroyed him 6-1 6-0. He played again a near perfect match and advanced to fourth round with an easy 6-2 6-3 6-4 win.
Interesting stat fact for Murray: everytime he beat Troicki in a tournament, he won it.

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Fourth round: Andy Murray vs Stanislas Wawrinka (18)
Head to head: 4-3

Year Tournament Surface Winner Score in final
2005 Davis Cup Clay Wawrinka 6-3, 7-6(5), 6-4
2006 Miami Hard Wawrinka 7-5, 3-6, 6-4
2008 Doha Hard Murray 6-4, 4-6, 6-2
2008 Marseille Hard Murray 3-6, 7-6(5), 6-1
2008 Rome Clay Wawrinka 6-2, 7-6(5)
2008 Toronto Hard Murray 6-2, 0-6, 6-4
2008 US Open Hard Murray 6-1, 6-3, 6-3

It was an epic battle for Murray and an historic day for Wimbledon: the day that night play came to Wimbledon. Murray’s fourth round match was played under the new roof (at last!) after a rain shower. Nearly 13 million Brits tuned in to watch Andy Murray’s five set thriller against Stanislas Wawrinka. And thousand of fans were glued in front of the big screen on Henman Hill.
Wawrinka is a talented but inconsistent former top 10, whose best performances were a win against Roger Federer in Monte Carlo, and an Olympic gold medal in Beijing in 2008 with the same Federer. No one expected the 18th seed to play at such a high level.
In fact, Murray had to play at an incredible level just to survive in the match. He finally prevailed 2-6 6-3 6-3 5-7 6-3 after three hours and 56minutes.
And all Andy had to say, was he was not happy with the roof.

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Murray’s tweet: pizza anyone?

Andy Murray, pizza
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Quarter final: Andy Murray vs Juan Carlos Ferrero (WC)
Head to head: 1-0

Year Tournament Surface Winner Score in final
2009 Queen’s Grass Murray 6-2, 6-4

The last wild card to reach the Wimbledon quarter finals was Goran Ivanisevic in 2001, who won the title after an epic 5 five sets thriller against Pat Rafter. But the 2003 French Open champion is not of the same caliber on grass as the big server from Split, and Andy Murray stormed into the Wimbledon semi final for the first time of his career after a victory over Ferrero.

Murray: “A semi-final is something I’ve not experienced here before but at the US Open last year I played a semi-final against the number one in the world (Rafael Nadal). I’m going to have a tough match but I feel like I can win if I play well.”

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Murray’s tweet: Beckham

Andy Murray, message by Beckham
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Semi final: Andy Murray vs Andy Roddick
Head to head: 6-2

Year Tournament Surface Winner Score in final
2006 San Jose Hard Murray 7-5, 7-5
2006 Cincinnati Hard Roddick 6-3, 6-4
2007 San Jose Hard Murray 7-6(8), 6-4
2007 Memphis Hard Roddick 6-3, 7-6(4)
2007 Miami Hard Murray 5-3 RET
2007 Miami Hard Murray 5-3 RET
2008 Queen’s Grass Roddick W/O
2008 Masters Hard Murray 6-4, 1-6, 6-1
2009 Doha Hard Murray 6-4, 6-2

Roddick had lost six of eight encounters with Murray, including the last three. But Roddick was in the form of his life: thanks to his work with new coach Larry Stefanki, he had never been in better physical shape. Fitter, faster, his game has changed , and he’s not only a big serve and an explosive forehand anymore. Murray has grown stronger and matured mentally as well. But Murray was once again way too passive, and the risks Roddick took payed off.
Like during his match against Wawrinka, Murray just tried to survive. The full packed Centre Court and Henman Hill never seemed to believe in Murray’s victory, neither did he. Roddick dashed Murray’s hopes with a 6-4 4-6 7-6 7-5 win after an impressive attacking game display.
Britain will have to wait at least another year to see a home winner triumph.

Andy Roddick: “Andy Murray has a great game and he will do great things in the future but today was my time, and I was determined to take my chance.”

Andy Murray: “I thought I played well, the statistics look good, but Andy put in a gret performance and there is no argument with that. I just wish I could have done better.”

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Murray’s tweet: thanks

Andy Murray, thanks
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What will be Murray's performance at this year's Wimbledon?

  • SF (40%, 2 Votes)
  • QF (40%, 2 Votes)
  • R3 (20%, 1 Votes)
  • Winner (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Runner-up (0%, 0 Votes)
  • R4 (0%, 0 Votes)
  • R2 (0%, 0 Votes)
  • R1 (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 5

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