Welcome to the December 2008 issue of Tennis Server INTERACTIVE!
Rafael Nadal named
Tennis Server 2009 Player of the Year.
December is the time of the year in which we look back on the entire
tennis season and Ray Bowers has the honor of naming the Tennis Player of
the Year and the Tennis Nation of the Year. This year Spain took home the
honors as Tennis Nation of the Year, while Rafael Nadal edged over Venus
Williams to be named Player of the Year. Read Ray's analysis and selection
of the winners in his article Player of Year 2008.
Today (December 21st) is also the 2008 Winter Solstice for those of us in
the Northern Hemisphere. The winter solstice occurs at the instant when
the Sun's position in the sky is at its greatest angular distance on the
other side of the equatorial plane from the observers hemisphere... it
also marks the shortest day of the year in terms of daylight for those of
us above the Equator, and the longest day of the year for our friends down
under. This month Ron Waite uses the occasion to lay out a plan for how
tennis players should change their training regimen during December in his
article Winter Tennis Solstice.
Looking back across 2008, I feel it has been a mixed bag for us at Tennis
Server. On the one hand, this year we continued expanding our coverage of
the pro game, attending, photographing and reporting on far more
tournaments than ever before, and adding Jane Voigt's wonderful editorial
to our offering. But on the other hand, the evolution and enhancement of
the web site that began in 2007 didn't continue into 2008, newsletters and
column postings were often very late, and many of the features we had
planned to add this year have not yet made it to fruition. The primary
cause of this was a series of non-tennis related things going on in my
life that made it very difficult to devote the time to the web site that
has been needed to move things forward. I remain hopeful (but not quite
100% certain) that 2009 will see us make further progress in all of these
Your source for
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2009 Australian Open Tennis Tickets Melbourne Australia 1/19-2/1
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2009 Sony Ericsson Open Tickets Miami 3/25-4/5
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Thanks in 2008 go to our wonderful team of contributing writers and
photographers... Ray Bowers, Ron Waite, John Mills, Tom Veneziano, Jane
Voigt, Tony Severino, Vince Barr, Pablo Sanfrancisco, Harvey Rubin, Mark
Sanderson, John Meaney, and Kristin Adams, and of course to you, our
readers who make it all possible. We are looking forward to resuming our
reporting again starting with the Australian Open in January. On behalf of
myself and our entire team, I wish you a wonderful holiday and a fantastic
Publisher and Editor-in-Chief
Here's what's on our side of the Net this month:
The Tennis Warrior by Tom Veneziano - Exclusive to Tennis Server
This Month's Tennis Server Columns
Upcoming Tournaments and Exhibitions
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Many players make decisions on the tennis court based not on success
principles but on feeling secure. They feel that with security comes
safety, but this muddled thinking is a delusion. Let me give you a perfect
SUCCESS WITH RISK
In doubles drills I teach players to advance to the net and position
themselves approximately halfway between the net and service line. From
this position they are in excellent striking distance when they receive a
high short ball, and when they volley they are closer to their opponents
which shortens their reaction time. There is a positive mental attitude
connected with playing aggressive offensive tennis. Sounds spectacular,
doesn't it? So what's the problem? The problem is, they are put at risk
for a lob over their heads. And with any risk comes the much-maligned, the
most terrifying and the much-feared... FAILURE!
SECURITY WITH SAFETY
To avoid the horrors of failure, players will seek warm, cozy security and
rush to the service line. There, they feel safe and can more comfortably
cover the lob. This is perfectly logical, yet they unknowingly create an
array of unfortunate circumstances. Here are three:
They are now vulnerable to balls that land at their feet.
They present their opponents with an opportunity for more reaction time.
They are not in a position to hit winners when the opportunity
So they still fail, but safety is so alluring that they prefer security to
The interesting paradox is that players may fail many more times playing
incorrectly, but failing is irrelevant since they feel so wonderfully
secure! And they do not even realize they are doing anything wrong. But if
just one time they move up closer to the net and fail... It is the end of
the world as they know it! The player whines, "This is horrible, this
can't be correct, nothing is working, lobs are constantly going over my
head, my pro must have lost his mind!"
Bottom line - Players are more comfortable failing as long as they are in
their comfort zone. They have three separate scenarios to choose from: 1)
Do the right thing; 2) Do the wrong thing; or 3) Stay in the comfort zone.
For most players right or wrong is irrelevant - the only priority is to
stay in their happy comfortable zone of security. This is a huge problem
because inside a player's comfort zone, wrong becomes right. And, believe
me, players will fight a coach tooth and nail to hold on to a wrong that
is within their comfort zone. This is the main reason why learning
something new is so difficult.
PROS ARE VULNERABLE TOO!
It is my opinion that Andy Roddick is struggling to come out of his
comfort zone and venture to the net more often, especially behind his
booming serve. Remember, pros are human too. They do not like to venture
outside of their comfort zone any more than you do. Many pros will rally
from the baseline, putting their opponent in deep trouble with a
well-placed laser groundstroke, and then stand there watching as the
opponent hits a weak return. If only they had advanced to the net! They
would have had an easy volley and created extra pressure on the opponent.
With the exception of Roger Federer and a few other players, this strategy
is outside of many pro's comfort zones. Thus they let many golden
opportunities slip by.
COMFORT ZONE CHALLENGE
During practice, sneak out of your comfort zone in these three areas:
Move out of your comfort zone by closing in when venturing to the net in
doubles (approximately halfway between the net and service line). Staying
on the service line is a band-aid solution until you learn how to advance
to the net correctly.
Move out of your comfort zone by not being so tentative when hitting
your shots. You do not have to kill the ball, but let's start being
positive and going for your shots (without tentativeness and
Move out of your comfort zone by not letting high floaters bounce at the
net. Close in on the ball and put it away... now!
Make your pro happy... take a risk!
Previous columns from Tom Veneziano are online in the Tennis Server's
Tennis Warrior Archive.
In Tom Veneziano's book "The Truth about Winning!", tennis players
learn in a step-by-step fashion the thinking the pros have
mastered to win! Tom takes you Step-by-step from basic mental
toughness to advanced mental toughness. All skill levels can learn
from this unique book from beginner to professional. No need to
change your strokes just your thinking.
Audio CDs by Tom Veneziano:
The Refocus Technique: Controlling Your Emotions in Tennis.
Think Like a Pro -- 2 Audio CDs. Three minute free sample (real audio):
Training for Pressure Play -- Audio CD. Four minute free sample (real
Recent Tennis Server Columns
Between the Lines by Ray Bowers
In his December column, Ray names Tennis Server's 2008 Player of the Year.
Player of Year 2008
And in his November 26th column, Ray also reviewed the ATP, WTA, and Davis
Cup year end Championships. See:
Season's End and the Triumph of Spain
Drills and Tips: Turbo Tennis by Ron Waite
Just as it is for the pros, December is a time that all of us can use to
take a break from our usual tennis training regimen and change things up a
bit to rejuvenate ourselves. This month Ron Waite tells us just how to do
Winter Tennis Solstice
Player Tip: "Tennis Anyone?" by USPTA Pro John Mills
What is "net candy?" That is what your opponents call it when you pop up
an easy high ball to them and they "kill it" at you or your partner. This
month John tells you how to get off the sweets and stop giving your
opponents "net candy." See:
Net Candy in Doubles
WILD CARDS Guest Column of the Month
A popular saying goes: "Fool me once, shame ^on you; fool me twice shame
In our December Wildcards, Tony Severino talks about how not to get fooled
twice on the tennis court. See:
Fool Me Twice by Tony Severino
Our WILD CARDS column showcases guest writers on the
Tennis Server web site. If you have an interest in
submitting a WILD CARDS column, please contact us
by using this form
and we will reply with details on how to submit a column.
Upcoming Tournaments and Exhibitions
January 4 - 10, 2009
Brisbane International (Men and Women) Brisbane, Australia
Men: Outdoor, Hard, $484,750, Sgl 32, Dbl 16
Women: $220,000, 32M/32Q/16D, Hardcourt/Outdoors
January 5 - 10, 2009
ASB Classic (Women) Auckland, New Zealand
$220,000, 32M/32Q/16D, Hardcourt/Outdoors
Qatar ExxonMobil Open (Men) Doha, Qatar
Outdoor, Hard, $1,110,250, Sgl 32, Dbl 16
Chennai Open (Men) Chennai, India
Outdoor, Hard, $450,000, Sgl 32, Dbl 16
January 11 - 17, 2009
Medibank International Sydney (Men and Women) Sydney, Australia
Women: $600,000, 32M/32Q/16D, Hardcourt/Outdoors
Men: Outdoor, Hard, $484,750, Sgl 28, Dbl 16
Moorilla Hobart International (Women) Hobart, Australia
$220,000, 32M/32Q/16D, Hardcourt/Outdoors
Heineken Open (Men) Auckland, New Zealand
Outdoor, Hard, $480,750, Sgl 28, Dbl 16
January 19 - February 1, 2009
Australian Open (Men and Women) Melbourne, Australia
Women: 128M/96Q/64D, Hardcourt/Outdoors
Men: Outdoor, Hard, A$10,142,240,Sgl 128, Dbl 64
Tennis Server Ticket Exchange: 2009 Australian Open Tennis Tickets
February 2 - 8, 2009
Movistar Open (Men) Vina del Mar, Chile
Outdoor, Clay, $496,750, Sgl 28, Dbl 16
PBZ Zagreb Indoors (Men) Zagreb, Croatia
Indoor, Hard. 450,000 euro, Sgl 32, Dbl 16
SA Tennis Open (Men) Johannesburg, South Africa
Outdoor, Hard, $500,000, Sgl 32, Dbl 16
February 7 - 8, 2009
Fed Cup First Round (Women)
Russia v China, P.R. @ Russia
France v Italy @ France
USA v Argentina @ USA (Surprise, Arizona)
Czech Republic v Spain @ Czech Republic
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Çocuklar en değerli varlıklarımız. Doğumundan itibaren hayatımızın odak noktası onlar. Kendi yaşamımızda yapamadığımız, başaramadığımız herşeyi yaptıklarını, başardıklarını görmek en büyük hayalimiz. Tüm bunları düşünürken onların da birer birey olduklarını bazen unutuveriyoruz. Belki de hırslarımız, beklentilerimiz tüm bunları görmemize engel oluyor. Çocuğumuz, derslerinden hep yüksek not almalı, sınıfın, okulun en başarılı öğrencisi olmalı. Eğer olmazsa da, ilk karşılaşılan başarısızlıkta kıyaslamalar, sorgulamalar yapılır. Bu durum "Biz tüm imkanları seriyoruz önlerine" diye başlayan ve sonu gelmeyen üstelik tüm sunduklarımızı çocuğumuzun kafasına vura vura yaptığımız konuşmalarla devam eder.
Gerçekten de okul başarısı çok önemli. Ancak, çocuğun hayatını sadece evden okula, okuldan kursa gidip sonra eve gelinen, sabah yeniden okula gidilen bir yarı açık ceza evine çevirmek ne kadar doğrudur? Bu süreç içinde sosyal etkinliklerin yeri nerededir?
Her geçen gün etrafımızı koca koca binaların sardığı günümüzde, çocuklarımız bizim kadar şanslı değiller. Doya doya oynadığımız, koşup enerjimizi boşalttığımız oyun alanları da yok çocuklarımızın.
Onlar okuldan, kurstan, dersten zaman kalırsa bilgisayarda strateji oyunları oynuyor, televizyon seyrediyor. İşte tüm bu sebeplerle bir spor aktivitesi çok önemli çocuk gelişiminde.
Birçok spor dalı içinden tenisi seçmek çok daha yararlı olabilir çocuk için. Çünkü tenis sporunun hoş bir özelliği var. Kuşaklar boyu yaş sınırı olmadan yapılabilecek bir spor. Önce anne babanızla sonra çocuklarınızla ve torunlarınızla paylaşabileceğiz ortak zamanlar yaratabilir size. Artık çocukluk dönemi bitip de ergenlik dönemi başladığında, biraz daha dışarı yönelecek olan çocuğunuzla böyle bir bağ kurmak hem sağlam çocuk – ebeveyn ilişkisi kurmanızı hem de ailecek keyifli bir sosyal etkinlik yapabilmenizi sağlayabilir.
Tüm spor dalları gibi tenisin de çocuğun bedensel ve zihinsel gelişimi ve eğitimi üzerinde azımsanamayacak kadar olumlu etkileri vardır:
* Tenis, çocuğun daha sağlıklı ve zinde olmasını sağlayacaktır.
* Motor gelişimi hızlanacak, bedensel hareketlerini daha iyi kontrol edebilecektir.
* Düzenli tenis oynayan çocuklarda, kasların çalışması ve vücuda daha fazla oksijen taşınması sebebiyle çocukların büyüme ve gelişme hızları da olumlu yönde etkilenecektir.
* Günümüzde çok sıkça karşılaştığımız çocuklarda obezite, dolaşım bozukluğu gibi daha çok hareketsiz yaşama bağlı rahatsızlıkların önlenmesine yardımcı olur.
* Günümüzün en çok karşılaşılan ve çocuklarımızın başa çıkmakta zorlandığı stres, kaygı, depresyon, sıkıntı gibi psikolojik kaynaklı sorunlarla daha kolay başa çıkma becerisini kazanacaklardır.
* Bir işi başarmanın, bir aktivitenin içinde bulunarak işe yarama duygularının verdiği kendine güveni sağlayacaktır. Güven eksikliğinin sebep olduğu başarısızlıkların giderilmesine yardımcı olacaktır.
* Tenis sporuyla ilgilenen çocukların daha iyi konsantrasyon sağladıkları görülür. Sporun, dikkat eksikliğine neden olan konsantrasyon sorunu üzerinde de oldukça olumlu etkileri olduğu bilinmektedir.
* Ayrıca uzmanlar, küçük yaşlarda tenise başlayan ve bunu bir yaşam biçimine dönüştüren bireylerde, ilerleyen yaşlarda kemik, kas, kalp v.b. rahatsızlıkların görülme olasılığının diğer bireylere oranla çok düşük olduğunu söylerler.
* Çocuğun diğer akranlarıyla ortak bir aktivite yaptığı sosyal çevre içinde bulunuyor olması, çevresiyle daha iyi ilişkiler kurmasına ve sosyalleşmesine yardımcı olacaktır. Agresif tavırlardan uzak, uzlaşmacı bir kişilik geliştirmesinde de etkili olacaktır. Üstelik enerjini bu şekilde doğru yönlendiren çocukların ders başarılarının da yükseldiği görülmüştür. Böylece, zamanı iyi kullanmayı da öğrenecektir.Üstelik, uzmanlar ergenlik dönemine gelindiğinde sosyal aktivitesi olan çocukların bu karmaşık ve biraz da riskli olan dönemi en hasarsız şekilde atlatacaklarını söylerler.
Tüm bu olumlu etkiler göz önüne alındığında çocuklarımız için yapmayı atladığımız onun başarısı üzerinde olumlu etkileri olabilecek aktiviteler içinde bulunmasını sağlamak için çok da geç kalmış sayılmayız.
D Spor Tenis Aktif
Tenis Dünyası Dergisi
Genel Yayın Danışmanı
ATP Stats guru Greg Sharko
ATP Bracket Challenge Circuit -- BNP Paribas Masters
The final ATP Bracket Challenge of the season at the BNP Paribas Masters in Paris gets underway Sunday with another outstanding field assembled.
There are four former champions in the tournament, led by last year's winner David Nalbandian, Nikolay Davydenko (2006), Tomas Berdych (2005) and three-time champ Marat Safin (2000, '02, '04). Overall, every player in the Top 10 and 18 of the Top 20 in the South African Airways ATP Rankings are in the draw.
There are 10 players in contention for three singles positions remaining for the season-ending Tennis Masters Cup in Shanghai. Last year Nalbandian came into Paris No. 25 in the ATP Race before jumping to No. 9 with the title. In addition, Frenchman Richard Gasquet went from No. 13 to No. 8 after reaching the semifinals in Paris to qualify for Shanghai.
The field is led by World No. 1 and last year's runner-up Rafael Nadal, who leads the ATP circuit with eight titles and an 80-10 match record. The Spaniard will meet the winner of Michael Llodra and a qualifier in his opening round match and the first seed he could meet is No. 16 Gael Monfils in the third round. Monfils opens with Safin or a qualifier. In the quarterfinals, Nadal could play No. 6 Nikolay Davydenko (Nadal leads 3-1) or No. 12 Stanislas Wawrinka (Nadal leads 3-0).
In the second quarter of the draw, No. 4 seed and Madrid champion Andy Murray takes on the winner of Marcos Baghdatis (Baghdatis leads 2-0) and Sam Querrey (Murray leads 1-0). The first seed Murray could meet is No. 15 Fernando Verdasco (they played in St. Petersburg semifinals) in the third round. Verdasco plays the winner of Tommy Robredo and French wild card Jeremy Chardy. In the quarterfinals, Murray could encounter No. 8/defending champ David Nalbandian (Nalbandian leads 1-0) or No. 9 Juan Martin del Potro (Murray leads 2-0). Nalbandian and del Potro have played each other the last past two weeks (Madrid, Basel).
In the bottom half of the draw (third quarter), No. 3 Novak Djokovic plays the winner of wild card Adrian Mannarino and Dmitry Tursunov in his opening round and the first seed he could face is No. 13 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (tied 1-1) in the third round. Djokovic beat the Frenchman in this year's Australian Open final before Tsonga won the last meeting in the Bangkok final last month. Tsonga meets countryman Marc Gicquel or Radek Stepanek in his opening round match. In the quarterfinals, Djokovic could meet No. 7 Andy Roddick or No. 10 Gilles Simon. Roddick plays the winner of Janko Tipsarevic (tied 1-1) and Feliciano Lopez (Roddick leads 4-0). Simon's first opponent is between the winner of countryman Paul-Henri Mathieu (Mathieu leads 3-0) and Igor Andreev (Simon leads 2-0). Both Roddick and Simon are battling for the three remaining spots for the Tennis Masters Cup. Roddick is No. 6 in the ATP 2008 Race and Simon is No. 8 (as of Friday).
In the final quarter of the draw, No. 2 Roger Federer, who's best result in Paris was the quarterfinals (2002-03), plays the winner of wild card Josselin Ouanna (never played) and Robin Soderling (Federer leads 7-0) in his opening round match. The first seed the Swiss could meet is No. 14 Richard Gasquet in the third round (Federer leads 6-1) and in the quarterfinals he could play No. 5 David Ferrer (Federer leads 8-0) or No. 11 James Blake (Federer leads 8-1). Ferrer and Blake enter Paris No. 9 and No. 10, respectively, in the ATP 2008 Race, and they could meet in the third round (Blake leads 1-0).
ATP Bracket Challenge Circuit -- Mutua Madrilena Masters Madrid
The seventh ATP Bracket Challenge begins Sunday at the Mutua Madrilena Masters Madrid with a star-studded line-up featuring every player in the Top 30 South African Airways ATP Rankings. There are four former winners in the field, led by defending champion David Nalbandian, World No. 2 Roger Federer (2006), World No. 1 Rafael Nadal (2005) and wild card Marat Safin (2004).
There are four singles positions remaining to qualify for the Tennis Masters Cup in Shanghai. Last year David Nalbandian came into Madrid No. 33 in the ATP Race and he captured the title along with Paris to finish No. 9. Nalbandian is in a similar position this year, coming into Stockholm at tied for No. 26 in the ATP 2008 Race.
While four spots are up for grabs, the Top 4 of Nadal, Federer, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray have already secured a place in next month's year-end championship.
Nadal is playing in his first tournament since reaching the semifinals at the US Open last month (l. to Murray). But the Mallorca native did appear in the Davis Cup semifinals three weeks ago, leading his country to the final with wins over Sam Querrey and Andy Roddick. The 22-year-old left-hander could wrap up the year-end No. 1 ranking in Madrid, depending on his and Federer's results. Nadal, who enters with an ATP-best 77-9 match record (27-4 in ATP Masters Series play) and eight titles, takes on the winner of Nicolas Kiefer-Ernests Gulbis in his opening round match. The first seed he could face is No. 15 Richard Gasquet in the third round (Nadal leads 5-0). In the quarterfinals, Nadal could meet No. 6 David Ferrer (Nadal leads 6-3) or No. 10 Stanislas Wawrinka (Nadal leads 3-0).
In the second quarter of the draw, No. 3 Novak Djokovic is coming off a semifinal appearance last year (l. to Nalbandian). The 21-year-old Serb trails No. 2 Roger Federer by 22 points in the ATP 2008 Race and could overtake the Swiss by the end of the season. Djokovic opens against the winner of Dmitry Tursunov and a qualifier and the first seed he could play is No. 14 Ivo Karlovic (Djokovic leads 1-0) in the third round. In the quarterfinals, Djokovic could face No. 5 Nikolay Davydenko (Davydenko leads 1-0) or No. 11 James Blake (Djokovic leads 1-0). Davydenko could meet countryman Marat Safin for the second week in a row. Safin, who beat the top Russian in the quarterfinals of Moscow, opens with Michael Llodra.
In the bottom half of the draw (third quarter), No. 4 seed Andy Murray, who won the last ATP Masters Series tournament in Cincinnati in August (d. Djokovic), opens with the winner of Nicolas Almagro and a qualifier. The British No. 1's first seeded opponent is No. 13 Fernando Verdasco in the third round (Murray leads 3-0). In the quarterfinals, he could encounter No. 8 Andy Roddick (Murray leads 4-2) or No. 12 Fernando Gonzalez (tied 1-1). Gonzalez has an 8-6 career mark in Madrid, reaching the final two years ago (l. to Federer) and quarterfinals in 2005 and last year. Roddick is 2-4 lifetime in Madrid.
In the last quarter of the draw, No. 2 Roger Federer attempts to win his first ATP Masters Series title of the year. He is is 14-3 lifetime in Madrid, winning two years ago and reaching the final last year. He faces the winner of Juan Monaco (Federer leads 1-0) and Radek Stepanek (Federer leads 5-2) in his opening round match. Federer could face No. 16 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the third round (have never played). In the quarterfinals, Argentines David Nalbandian (Federer leads 9-8), the defending champion, and Juan Martin del Potro (Federer leads 2-0), the No. 7 and 9 seeds, respectively, are looming. Nalbandian has a tough draw, having to face the Rainer Schuettler-Tomas Berdych winner and then possibly his countryman (Nalbandian leasd 1-0) in the third round. Nalbandian is trying to become the first player to defend his title in the tournament's short history (since 2002).
ATP Bracket Challenge Circuit -- ATP Masters Series Cincinnati
The sixth ATP Bracket Challenge begins Monday at the Western & Southern Financial Group Masters in Cincinnati with an outstanding field assembled. This year's draw includes nine of the Top 10 players (16 of the Top 20 overall) in the South African Airways ATP Rankings.
In last year's final, World No. 1 Roger Federer captured his second tournament title in three years with a 6-1, 6-4 victory over James Blake. Federer looks to get back on track after an opening round loss in Toronto. In addition to Federer, two-time champion Andy Roddick (2003, '06) and Carlos Moya (2002) are former winners in the draw.
World No. 2 Rafael Nadal, who is closing in on the No. 1 ranking, has reached the quarterfinals once ('06) in four previous appearances (3-4 record). No. 3 Novak Djokovic is 1-3 in his career in Cincinnati. Federer, Nadal and Djokovic have captured 11 of the last 14 ATP Masters Series titles in 2007-08, with Nadal winning five times, Djokovic four and Federer twice. One of the threesome has reached the final in each of the last 14 Masters Series tournaments.
Federer, who is 13-5 lifetime in Cincinnati, takes on the winner of a qualifier and American Robby Ginepri in his opening round match. Federer comes into the tournament with a 43-10 match record on the season and two ATP titles (Estoril, Halle). He is looking to capture his first title on hard courts and first ATP Masters Series title in �08. The first seed Federer could meet is big-serving No. 16 Ivo Karlovic in the third round (Federer leads 6-0). Possible quarterfinal opponents include No. 6 Andy Roddick (Federer leads 15-2) and No. 12 Tommy Robredo (Federer leads 8-0).
In the second quarter of the draw, No. 4 seed Nikolay Davydenko, a semifinalist last year, opens against the winner of Janko Tipsarevic and Carlos Moya. Davydenko is 2-0 against Tipsarevic but 2-4 against Moya. The Russian's first seeded opponent is No. 15 Radek Stepanek, who leads 4-3 (winning last three meetings) in the third round. Other seeds in that section include No. 11 Richard Gasquet (vs. Michael Llodra) and No. 8 Andy Murray. Gasquet is 1-3 lifetime in Cincinnati while Murray reached the quarterfinals two years ago. If Gasquet gets through his opener, he would take on the winner of Russians Dmitry Tursunov and Marat Safin in round two.
In the bottom half of the draw, in the third quarter, No. 3 Novak Djokovic meets the winner of a qualifier and Simone Bolelli. The first seed Djokovic could face is No. 13 Fernando Gonzalez (vs. Tomas Berdych) and along with Berdych, Wimbledon quarterfinalist Feliciano is also a possible third round opponent. In the quarterfinals, Djokovic could meet No. 7 and last year's runner-up James Blake, No. 9 Stanislas Wawrinka (vs. Thomas Johansson) or dangerous floaters Nicolas Kiefer and Gilles Simon. They were playing each other in the Toronto semifinals.
In the last quarter section, No. 2 and Wimbledon champion Rafael Nadal meets the winner of a qualifier and Frenchman Florent Serra. The first seed the Spaniard could play is No. 14 Mikhail Youzhny (vs. Tommy Haas). Although Nadal leads the series 7-4, he is 3-4 on hard courts against the Russian. Other seeds he could face in the quarterfinals are No. 5 David Ferrer (Nadal leads 6-3) or No. 10 Fernando Verdasco (Nadal leads 6-0).
ATP Bracket Challenge Circuit -- ATP Masters Series Toronto
The fifth ATP Bracket Challenge of the season gets underway Monday at the Rexall Centre in Toronto, Canada for the Rogers Masters.
This year's draw includes nine of the Top 10 players (16 of the Top 20 overall) in the South African Airways ATP Rankings. There are valuable ranking points at stake with 500 going to the champion and 350 to the runner-up. In last year's final, World No. 3 Novak Djokovic defeated top-ranked Roger Federer 7-6(2), 2-6, 7-6(2).
In addition to Federer, a two-time winner in Toronto (2004, '06), and Djokovic, other former champions include World No. 2 Rafael Nadal (2005), Andy Roddick (2003), Guillermo Canas (2002) and Marat Safin (2000). Thomas Johansson, who won the title in 1999, is playing in the last round of qualifying on Sunday.
Federer, Nadal and Djokovic have captured 11 of the last 14 ATP Masters Series titles in 2007-08, with Nadal winning five times, Djokovic four and Federer twice. One of the threesome has reached the final in each of the last 14 Masters Series tournaments.
Federer, who is undefeated in the Rexall Centre (12-0), takes on the winner of a qualifier and Frenchman Gilles Simon in his opening round match. Federer comes into the tournament with a 43-9 match record on the season and two ATP titles (Estoril, Halle). He is looking to capture his first title on hard courts and first ATP Masters Series title in ‘08. The first seed Federer could meet is No. 14 Fernando Gonzalez in the third round (Federer leads 11-1). Possible quarterfinal opponents include No. 6 Andy Roddick (Federer leads 15-2) and No. 12 Tommy Robredo (Federer leads 8-0).
In the second quarter of the draw, No. 4 seed Nikolay Davydenko, a quarterfinalist last year, opens against the winner of Carlos Moya and Tommy Haas. Davydenko is 3-1 against Haas but 2-4 against Moya. The Russian's first seeded opponent is No. 15 and fellow countryman Mikhail Youzhny (Davydenko leads 3-1) in the third round. Other seeds in that section include No. 11 Radek Stepanek (vs. Feliciano Lopez) and No. 7 James Blake. Stepanek advanced to the semifinals last year.
In the bottom half of the draw, in the third quarter, defending champion Djokovic meets the winner of Canadian No. 1 Frank Dancevic and Mario Ancic. Djokovic has won two of the three previous encounters with the Croat. The first seed Djokovic could face is No. 13 Fernando Verdasco (vs. Thomaz Bellucci) and dangerous floaters include '02 champion Guillermo Canas and Robin Soderling. No. 8 Andy Murray and No. 9 Stanislas Wawrinka are possible quarterfinal opponents. Wimbledon semifinalist and 2000 winner Marat Safin (vs. Sam Querrey), who is unseeded, also is a threat.
In the last quarter section, No. 2 and Wimbledon champion Rafael Nadal meets the winner of Canadian wild card Peter Polansky and former Top 10 Marcos Baghdatis (Nadal leads 5-0). The first seed the Spaniard could play is No. 16 Tomas Berdych (vs. Jarkko Nieminen). Although Nadal leads the series 4-3, winning the last three, one of the Czech's wins came in Toronto two years ago. Other seeds he could face in the quarterfinals are No. 5 David Ferrer (Nadal leads 6-3) and No. 10/'06 finalist Richard Gasquet (Nadal leads 4-0).
ATP Bracket Challenge Circuit -- ATP Masters Series Hamburg
Welcome to the fourth ATP Bracket Challenge of the 2008 season and here's the draw analysis and a few tips for ATP Masters Series Hamburg, which features nine of the Top 10 players in the South African Airways ATP Rankings and 16 of the Top 20 overall (as of Saturday).
Four-time champion and World No. 1 Roger Federer along with No. 2/last year's finalist Rafael Nadal lead the field. This is the third and final clay ATP Masters Series tournament of the year. Federer has won 25 of his last 26 matches in Hamburg, capturing titles in 2002 (d. Safin), '04 (d. Coria), '05 (d. Gasquet) and last year (d. Nadal). With both players losing before the semifinals in Rome, they will be looking for a strong result in their last tournament in preparations for Roland Garros. Nadal has not lost in back-to-back clay court tournaments since July 2004.
Federer, who is off to an 11-2 start on clay this season, comes into the tournament as the top seed for the fourth time. The Swiss superstar will face the wi