Li Na boosts Asia Wimbledon Interest

Li Na French Open Winner

Li Na French Open Winner

The 2011 Wimbledon Championship is set to a smash hit amongst sport fans across Asia on ESPN STAR Sports’ platforms and networks, with tennis fans eagerly anticipating Li Na repeating her landmark French Open victory at the 125th edition of The Championships. [Read more…]

Helfant to step down from ATP


Adam Helfant ATP World Tour

Adam Helfant ATP World Tour

Adam Helfant will quit as executive chairman of the ATP World Tour at the end of the year after increasing the revenue and reserves of men’s tennis during his three-year stay.

The 46-year-old said he’s leaving for “professional reasons” without giving details. The tour’s commercial revenue will have risen by around 65 percent during Helfant’s time, the ATP said today in a statement. Its reserves are forecast to have increased by more than 1,100 percent in the period. [Read more…]

Li Na wins French Open

Li Na makes French Open history

Li Na makes French Open history

Li Na not only achieved a personal dream in winning the French Open, she made history for the nation of China when winning on Saturday in Paris.

Li beat defending champion Francesca Schiavone of Italy, 6-4, 7-6 (0) to take the women’s title at Roland Garros, becoming the first Chinese player to win a Grand Slam singles trophy. [Read more…]

Federer ends Djokovic winning streak

Roger Federer

Roger Federer

Roger Federer brought Novak Djokovic’s 43-match winning run to a sensational end Friday as the Swiss legend reached a fifth French Open final and a fourth Paris title showdown with five-time champion Rafael Nadal.

Federer, the 2009 winner, stunned the world number two Serb 7-6 (7/5), 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (7/5), a victory which not only shattered Djokovic’s hopes of making a first Roland Garros final, but also stalled his bid to take over as world number one. [Read more…]

Men rankings before French Open 2011

Rafael Nadal - Spain

Rafael Nadal - Spain

Men’s rankings

ATP singles rankings as of Monday 23 May 2011:

1. Rafael Nadal (Spa)

2. Novak Djokovic (Ser)

3. Roger Federer (Swi)

4. Andy Murray (GB)

5. Robin Soderling (Swe)

6. Tomas Berdych (Cze)

7. David Ferrer (Spa)

8. Juergen Melzer (Aut)

9. Gael Monfils (Fra)

10. Mardy Fish (US)

11. Andy Roddick (US)

12. Nicolas Almagro (Spa)

13. Mikhail Youzhny (Rus)

14. Stanislas Wawrinka (Swi)

15. Victor Troicki (Ser)

16. Richard Gasquet (Fra)

17. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (Fra)

18. Gilles Simon (Fra)

19. Florian Mayer (Ger)

20. Fernando Verdasco (Spa)

Women Rankings before French Open 2011

Caroline Wozniacki - Denmark

Women’s rankings

WTA singles rankings before French Open:

1. Caroline Wozniacki (Den)

2. Kim Clijsters (Bel)

3. Vera Zvonareva (Rus)

4. Victoria Azarenka (Blr)

5. Francesca Schiavone (Ita)

6. Samantha Stosur (Aus)

7. Na Li (Chn)

8. Maria Sharapova (Rus)

9. Petra Kvitova (Cze)

10. Jelena Jankovic (Ser)

11. Marion Bartoli (Fra)

12. Andrea Petkovic (Ger)

13. Agnieszka Radwanska (Pol)

14. Svetlana Kuznetsova (Rus)

15. Anastasia Pavlyunchenkova (Rus)

16. Kaia Kanepi (Est)

17. Serena Williams (US)

18. Julia Goerges (Ger)

19. Flavia Pennetta (Ita)

20. Shahar Peer (Isr)

Tennis Industry Association Uk For Joint Initiatives

Tennis Industry Initiatives

The Institute of Groundsmanship (IOG) has formed a collaborative relationship with the Tennis Industry Association UK (TIA UK) to work on joint initiatives to benefit their respective memberships.

Following recent talks between the two organisations, a number of areas of mutual interest have been identified where co-operation will help drive joint initiatives, particularly in terms of research and education as well as the provision of expert turf care advice via the TIA UK’s new Tennis Force scheme that provides preferential access to a range of high-quality products, services and specialist consultancy.

TIA UK is the only legally-recognised trade body serving the needs of all tennis business, promoting professional growth and fostering economic vitality. It represents over 60 member companies throughout the country, ranging from multi-million pound corporations to individual entrepreneurs, all of whom care and depend on the future of tennis.

“I am delighted that the IOG and the TIA UK have pledged to work more closely together,” says Geoff Webb, IOG Chief Executive. “We will be able to create opportunities and help raise the profile of both organisations.

“In particular, our recently much-enhanced Turfcare Advisory Services should prove of great interest to Tennis Force subscribers, while our members who are groundsmen at various tennis clubs will also be able to benefit from the scheme.

“TIA UK members will also be able to benefit from the IOG’s market-leading provision of training and education; a range of courses are available at vocational and non-vocational levels for all abilities, from basic taster courses and apprenticeships through to Foundation degree level.”

Among the IOG’s most high profile members is Eddie Seaward MBE, who is Patron of the IOG and the Head Groundsman at the All England Lawn Tennis Club. Head Groundsman Designate Neil Stubley – who will take over the reins from Eddie after the 2012 Olympics – is also an active IOG member.

Tennis Force is a member-focused service designed to assist tennis clubs, schools, parks venues, organisations and coaches to improve the business of tennis. The scheme complements and is a natural extension to The Tennis Book, the TIA UK’s directory of member products and services.

Directly linking the industry with registered users, Tennis Force offers a menu of selected high-quality products, services and consultancy advice at preferential rates or special conditions via TIA UK membership – plus a free Resources helpline that provides information on the British tennis industry, tennis statistics and signposts to sources of tennis-related data.

“The TIA has pledged to improve communication throughout the industry and the inclusion of the IOG as a collaborator is greatly welcomed,” continues Steve Matthews, Chairman of TIA UK and Sales & Operations Director of David Lloyd Leisure, who also serves as an LTA Counsellor.

He adds: “The IOG is effectively the governing body for sports turf groundsman and the lead body representing its members and the turf care industry, which includes artificial turf, and we look forward to developing our relationship on behalf of the tennis trade.”

In addition to Tennis Force, the TIA UK’s Research Project is high on the agenda for future talks. “The more organisations we can draw into research, the more robust and meaningful will be the results,” says Phil Sandilands, TIA UK Board Member charged with headlining the initiative. “I am also looking forward to developing these ideas with Geoff and the IOG team.”

Clijsters tumbles to Azarenka in Miami

Kim Clijsters questions her mental strength in defeat to Victoria Azarenka in the Miami last eight of the Sony Ericsson Open.

Clijsters concedes to Azarenka

Clijsters concedes to Azarenka

The defending champion, who saved five match points in the previous round against Ana Ivanovic, lost 6-3 6-3. [Read more…]

Djokovic moves on up

Novak Djokovic proved he is a real threat for the world number one spot with victory over Rafael Nadal in the BNP Paribas Open final in Indian Wells.

Djokovic beats Nadal

Djokovic beats Nadal

The Serbian, who guaranteed the number two ranking by defeating Roger Federer in the semis, beat Nadal 4-6 6-3 6-2 in two hours and 25 minutes.

Djokovic, who won the Australian Open in January, remains unbeaten in 2011 following his 18th victory of the year.

He moved up to second in the rankings – behind Nadal – on Monday.

And after defeating the Spaniard in a final for the first time in six attempts, he will surely have his sights set on overhauling him for top spot soon.

Sunday’s final was a pulsating encounter from the outset, with the feeling of a Grand Slam clash, and both men were keen to stamp their authority as early as possible.

Nadal had the first chance at 2-2, 0-40, but four break points went begging as he appeared to get edgy at the key moments, before he finally converted his fifth oppportunity.

Djokovic, bristling with intent, hit back straight away with a spectacular backhand cross-court winner and a forehand up the line to make it 3-3, only to then slip behind again with the first really loose game of the day.

Nadal was able to keep Djokovic at bay as he served out the set and it was now a question of whether the Serbian, who had not suffered a defeat since losing to Federer in London four months ago, had the energy to come back.

The second set was a desperately tight and tense affair, with both men producing spectacular winners and plenty of errors under pressure too, but it was Djokovic who edged it with two breaks to Nadal’s one.

The Spaniard’s serve let him down as he made just 25% of first serves and, despite hitting back immediately after slipping 4-2 behind, Djokovic made it three successive breaks and then levelled the match in a gripping ninth game.

History suggested that Nadal would be the stronger in the closing stages but he began the decider with a poor game, finding the net with a smash and hooking a forehand wide to drop serve again.

If Nadal was wilting, Djokovic was getting stronger by the minute, and he swept into the net to angle away a confident forehand volley for 2-0 before the pressure told once again on Nadal’s serve and he was broken for a fourth time in succession.

With Djokovic in this mood, a double break proved an impregnable lead, and he showed no sign of the nerves that once afflicted him at key moments as he saw out the match with another confident service game to love.

“I want to congratulate Rafa on a great tournament,” Djokovic said afterwards. “He had to lose but he has started off the year very well.

“It’s always a pleasure to play you. For me, you are the greatest player ever and a good friend so I wish you good luck.”

Nadal responded: “You started the season fantastic so all the best for the rest of the season. Well done. I lost today but I lost to one of the greatest.”

Wimbledon in 3D

The climax of this year’s Wimbledon Championships will be broadcast live in 3D to selected cinemas around the world for the first time, it has been announced.

Wimbledon Open Championship

Wimbledon Open Championship

The All England Club, which organises the tennis grand slam, has struck a “multi-year” deal with Sony to air the men’s semi-finals as well as the finals in both the men’s and women’s tournaments.

The 3D coverage will be produced in partnership with the BBC, the host broadcaster of the tournament, and will also be offered to international broadcasters. Sony will also work with theatrical distribution partner SuperVision Media to take the action into cinemas.

“Wimbledon is renowned for its heritage and sense of tradition,” said All England Club CEO Ian Ritchie, who said the deal would be particularly useful for engaging younger audiences. “At the same time we are always looking for ways to improve the presentation of The Championships by successfully blending that tradition with innovation.”

Sony Europe president Fujio Nishida added: “With the Live 3D Wimbledon experience available in hundreds of 3D cinemas across the world, many more people will be able to enjoy one of the world’s most iconic sporting events as though they were actually at Wimbledon.”