Tuesday, May 31, 2011

How To Choose Tennis Equipment

The right tennis equipment, gear and apparel can definitely affect the way athletes play. Using the right equipment can spell the difference between winning and losing. In tennis, there are several tennis equipments and all should be chosen carefully.

In tennis, the equipments that are frequently used include racquets, balls, court and practice equipment, clothing and shoes. All this equipment can help players improve their game. Sponsors of top tennis players study each tennis player before giving them their gears to make sure that the equipment they provided matches the player's playing style.

For amateur players who want to improve their game, there are some tips they should consider when buying their tennis gear.

The tennis racquet is one of the basics of tennis equipment. Without it, you cannot play tennis. There are several tennis makers such as Wilson, Babolat, Dunlop, Gamma and many more. Choosing the right tennis racquet does not depend on the price of the racquet.

Just because it is expensive does not mean that it is the right one for you. Usually, the playing style of each player determines the right kind of racquet for them. The size, head weight, frame material and strings of the racquet can affect your shot. For instance, a stiffer racquet with a heavier head is less likely to send the ball into unexpected angles.

This means that players who use this kind of racquet can control the angle of the ball easily. On the other hand a racquet with a stiffer frame is more powerful. Therefore, it is a choice between power and control. Normally, when you pick one, you have to give up the other. Fortunately, racquet makers are finding ways so that players can have both without sacrificing any of the two.

Tennis balls are also important. One of the early popular balls are the Slazenger tennis balls. Slazenger is a British company which produces all kinds of sports equipment, one of which is the famous Slazenger balls for tennis. The popular tennis ball manufacturers on the other hand, include Wilson, Dunlop, Gamma, Penn and Slazenger.

Tennis balls are 2.7 inches in diameter and are usually yellow green in color. Traditionally, there are two types of tennis balls: pressurized balls and pressure-less balls. However, in theory, there are 24 different kinds of balls varying in speed, felt and bounce production.

There are many brands of tennis balls that are being used in different tournaments tournaments. One of which are the Slazenger balls. The Slazenger Company is the appointed ball supplier of Wimbledon since 1902 until 2015.

When buying tennis balls either for practice or tennis tournaments, it is best to try all the available balls so that you can pick one that suits your game. The durability of the ball is also a crucial factor. A tennis ball with good quality normally lasts for a month. The type of surface you are playing will also determine which ball is best for you.

In the case of tennis clothing and shoes, there are several brands which also produce all kinds of tennis shoes and clothing for different types of players. Just like other tennis equipments, the right shoes and clothes for you depend on your playing style and other characteristics such as your body built. Those who want to fully enjoy tennis should make sure that they have the right equipment, apparel or gears.

For more information on tennis equipment and slazenger tennis balls, you can visit thetennisshop.com.au All your tennis equipments and accessories are here!

Djokovic, Federer near semi-final showdown

Updated May 30, 2011 06:58:00

Novak Djokovic and record-breaking Roger Federer closed in on a French Open semi-final showdown while hobbling Italian Fabio Fognini struck a colourful grand slam blow for the tennis underclass.

Second seed Djokovic took his winning run to 43 matches as he brushed aside France's Richard Gasquet 6-4, 6-4, 6-2 to set up a last eight clash with Fognini.

Federer, the 2009 champion and third seed, reached a record 28th successive grand slam quarter-final with a 6-3, 6-2, 7-5 win over best friend Stanislas Wawrinka.

He will next tackle either Spain's David Ferrer, the seventh seed, or ninth-seeded Gael Monfils of France.

That last 16 tie was suspended due to bad light with Monfils 6-4, 2-6, 7-5, 0-2 in the lead ahead of a Monday conclusion.

Unheralded Fognini, the world 49, became the first Italian man to reach the quarter-finals in 16 years by defeating Spain's Albert Montanes 4-6, 6-4, 3-6, 6-3, 11-9 in a 4 hour 22 minute battle.

Fognini saved five match points and needed a medical time-out for a left thigh injury which may yet rule him out of his first grand slam quarter-final.

The 24-year-old had been 4-1 down in the final set, then controversially called for treatment for cramping in his left thigh when he was two points from defeat in the 14th game of the decider.

But despite only able to move from side to side, and being called for a series of foot faults, he stunned his 30-year-old opponent, fighting off two match points in the 16th game of the final set and three more in the 18th.

"I am in a lot of pain. It's not cramp, I felt the muscle stretch," said Fognini, who committed 103 unforced errors in the match.

"I have 48 hours to recover. I don't know about the next match. I will go and see the doctor and then see what happens."

Djokovic rolls on

Unstoppable Djokovic is now just three wins short of matching Guillermo Vilas's record of 46 consecutive wins and one shy of John McEnroe's mark of 42 for an unbeaten start to a season set in 1984.

The red-hot Serb breezed to his fifth career win in six meetings against the 13th-seeded Gasquet.

"I'm happy with my game. I played a great match against a great player, but I got important breaks and made no mistakes after that," said Djokovic.

"I'm playing the best tennis of my life at the moment. But it's important to just focus on each match and see how far I can go."

Third seed Federer has reached the last eight without dropping a set as he continues to thrive at a Roland Garros tournament where the world's top two, Rafael Nadal and Djokovic, are expected to reach the final.

"Twenty-eight quarter-finals in a row, that's great, but that's another opportunity for me to go one step further," said Federer, who had shared the previous best of 27 with Jimmy Connors.

"That's why I'm very proud I accomplished that, and I hope I can go one step further than last year, and then we'll see."

In what was a repeat of the match-up at the same stage of Roland Garros last year, 16-time major winner Federer took his career record to 9-1 against Wawrinka, his Beijing Olympics doubles gold medal-winning partner.

Federer will be a comfortable favourite to win his quarter-final -- he holds an 11-0 record against Ferrer and is 5-1 with Monfils.


Tags: sport, tennis, france

First posted May 30, 2011 06:03:00

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The Wimbledon Collection - The 2004 Official Film

The Wimbledon Collection - The 2004 Official FilmNo Description Available.
Genre: Sports Highlights
Rating: NR
Release Date: 31-AUG-2004
Media Type: DVD

Price: $24.99

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Know About Essential Tennis Equipment

Tennis is also known as lawn tennis. It is a popular international racquet-and- ball sport that is played for recreational and competitive purpose. This can be played indoor as well as outdoor and consists of two players or a team of couple players that hit a rubber ball with the help of their racquets. There is net in between that divides the teams from the middle of the court. The court plays a significant role in this game.

Initially tennis was the game for aristocrats and was known as Court Tennis in USA, Royal Tennis in Australia, Jeu de Paume in France and Real Tennis in Great Britain. There are certain fundamental rules of this game but just like any other sport you need some basic tennis equipments to play this game effectively. Given below is the list:

Racquet: It is one of the most important tennis equipment to play this game. Today market is filled with variety of racquets for professionals as well beginners. There are major brands that specialize in manufacturing equipments.

They have everything that you need to improve the game of tennis. It is game that requires lot of stamina therefore the modern tennis racquet for an adult would be of dimensions 27" to 27.5". While choosing a racquet the following things have to be kept in mind like the head size, grip size, flex, length, sting patterns, weight and balance.

Tennis bag: This is important because you need a storage place where you can carry tennis equipments to play the game. Apart from being durable it should be portable also so that you can carry it everywhere without any hassles. Apart from physical stores there are online stores that sell tennis accessories. With the click of mouse you can select the product of your choice or order online.

Tennis shoes: These should not only be comfortable but court specific since the compatibility and conformity differs from pair to another. Like any other apparel make sure that your feet are protected. The toe area should have better protection than any other part of your foot as most of the tennis players use their toes for foreground grand strokes.

Nowadays tennis shoes come with special shock absorbers as well moisture absorbing mechanisms. Since this game requires a lot of sudden movement so make a wise decision of buying good shoes that will support and protect your feet.

Tennis clothing: This has undergone a complete metamorphosis than what it as several years back. Today tennis players have designer tennis apparels to suit their style and personality.

Most of the tennis shop stock up everything from boys' tennis apparel, girls' tennis apparel, neck tie coolers, ladies tennis apparel, men tennis apparel, stocks, caps, head gear to sweat bands.

Tennis ball machine: This is used by professionals as practice equipment. It helps players to handle all sorts of shots and practice footwork that their opponent might use. They come in different shapes and are great help.

Tennis Ball: This comes in different colors which can be green, yellow, white that is approved by USTA (United States Tennis Association). This has fixed size, deformation and weight.

All these are essential to play a game tennis.

Before purchasing essential tennis equipment it is always advisable to carry out a thorough research. This can also be done over the Internet that guides you through various online stores. These offer top-of-line tennis racquets, tennis shoes, tennis clothing and others necessities required for the game.

Weekend Half Time

The show which aired 29/5/2011

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Presented by Cameron Green and Sacha Mirzabegian

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Djokovic into French semis

Updated May 31, 2011 06:14:00

Second seed Novak Djokovic was handed a place in the French Open semi-finals on Monday when scheduled last eight opponent Fabio Fognini was forced out of the tournament with an injury.

The 24-year-old Italian, who had been due to play his first major quarter-final, injured his left thigh in his marathon five-set fourth-round win over Albert Montanes on Sunday.

"It's the most difficult decision I have made. It was my first grand slam," said Fognini, the first Italian man to reach the last eight in Paris since Renzo Furlan in 1995.

"I was crying last night. But I had the treatment and I decided to retire. I had another scan this morning and we knew that to play would aggravate the injury to the left thigh. But this is sport, this is tennis."

Top seed Rafael Nadal reached the final eight with a 7-5, 6-3, 6-3 win over Croatian veteran Ivan Ljubicic and will next face Roland Garros bogeyman Robin Soderling, the only man to have beaten the great Spaniard in Paris in 43 matches.

Fifth seed Soderling, who has reached the last two finals, losing to Roger Federer in 2009 and Nadal in 2010, beat French 18th seed Gilles Simon 6-2, 6-3, 7-6 (7-5).

Nadal, bidding for a sixth French Open title to take him level with Bjorn Borg, has looked a shadow of his usual self in Paris, shaken by the form of Djokovic, who could take his title and number one spot before the week is out.

His mood would not have been improved by knowing that the Serbian second seed was excused quarter-final duty when scheduled opponent Fabio Fognini of Italy withdrew with a torn left thigh muscle.

"There was a lot of wind today, which made it very awkward," said Nadal, before dismissing suggestions that Djokovic, who will not play until Friday, might lose the rhythm that has brought him 41 successive wins this year.

"After he doesn't lose a match all year with 40-something straight victories, you think he's out of rhythm now?" Nadal asked at his news conference.

"Today the result was very positive for me, winning in three sets without too many problems. It's fantastic to be in the quarter-finals."

Fognini, who had been due to play his first career grand slam quarter-final, suffered a tournament-ending injury in his marathon five-set fourth-round win over Albert Montanes on Sunday.

"It's the most difficult decision I've made. It was my first grand slam quarter-final and I am playing the best tennis of my career," said Fognini, the first Italian man to reach the last eight in Paris since Renzo Furlan in 1995.

Djokovic said he felt sympathy for Fognini, a player he has defeated in both of their career meetings.

"Walkover from Fognini. Bad luck for him, hope he recovers fast. Today I get to enjoy Paris in a different way," wrote the Serb on Twitter.

Soderling, who needed a fifth match point to defeat Simon for the sixth time in eight meetings, said he feels inspired every time he comes back to Paris.

"I have good memories of this tournament. I have won a lot of great matches here and I get a great feeling every time I come back," said the Swede, who famously defeated Nadal in the fourth round in 2009.

French ninth seed Gael Monfils, a 2008 semi-finalist, set-up a last-eight clash with third seed Federer after defeating Spain's David Ferrer, the seventh seed, 6-4, 2-6, 7-5, 1-6, 8-6.

Monfils had led by two sets to one when the tie was suspended on Sunday night and despite squandering three match points in the ninth and 11th games of the decider on Monday, the 24-year-old eventually held his nerve.

"I had a problem with my ankle so I was happy to come off on Sunday night," said Monfils.

"On the match points, I was a bit rushed and was vulnerable. But I told myself just to focus on the simple stuff, be aggressive and confident about the shot. This is one of the best wins of my career."

Argentina's Juan Ignacio Chela shattered Alejandro Falla's dreams of becoming the first Colombian man to reach a Grand Slam quarter-final with a 4-6, 6-2, 1-6, 7-6 (7-5), 6-2 win.

"I was sure I'd never get to this stage again because of my age," said 31-year-old Chela, who made the last eight in 2004. "Now I feel younger."

He will face either British fourth seed Andy Murray, who is carrying an ankle injury, or Serbia's 15th sees Victor Troicki for a place in the semi-finals.

Murray recovered from two sets to love down to pull level with the Serbian Davis Cup winner when darkness halted their tie. Troicki won the first two sets 6-4, 6-4 before Murray took the next two 6-3, 6-2.

The match will be played to a finish on Tuesday.


Tags: sport, tennis, france

First posted May 30, 2011 20:04:00

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Djokovic cruises into quarter-finals

Published:Monday, May 30, 2011 7:26 AESTExpires:Sunday, August 28, 2011 7:26 AEST

Serbian tennis player Novak Djokovic is through to the quarter-finals of the French Open after thrashing Richard Gasquet in straight sets.

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Federer times a backhand

Federer times a backhand

Published:Monday, May 30, 2011 7:00 AEST

Roger Federer hits a backhand during his men's fourthe round match against Stanislas Wawrinka on day eight of the French Open at Roland Garros on May 29, 2011 in Paris.

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Sunday, May 29, 2011

Honing Tennis Skills

Tennis Skills Level Up

Agassi, Sampras, Kournikova and Hingis are some of the names immortalized by the game of tennis. Tennis had been a popular sporting event in the international scene. It could be played in singles or doubles. Since its creation, it had evolved drastically. This evolution or change had gone 'virtual' and simulation various tennis software are out in the market to hone and sharpen tennis skills.

Tennis: In Virtual Reality

Tennis software is an application that could be use to hone or work on related tennis skills through personal computer platform. It is a useful utensil that gets an individual an overall feel of the game. This software is designed to aid professional, amateur or rookie tennis players to play the game better. Since this is a virtual or simulation software, it may include some of these features like, phonebook, match scheduler, game and practice reports, stroke rating and charting, play notebook, drill library, helpful tips and of course, game analyzer. These elements would surely give tennis aficionados a feel of what it is to be involved, in a way or two, in tennis at the comfort of using their own personal computers. That is what tennis plus technology is all about.

Tennis: Throughout the History

According to accounts, tennis began in France during the 12th century and at first it was the palm of the hand that was used as a paddle or a racket to hit the ball. Rackets emerged in the scenario in the 16th century and during this period, the term 'tennis' was used as well. Tennis was played indoors and the ball was allowed to hit the wall. Royalty like Henry VIII of England really loved the game (the real tennis). In the late 1870's, the rules were devised and standardized. This evolution was made possible by the first championship games at Wimbledon, London.

The rules were propagated by the International Tennis Federation (formerly known as International Lawn Tennis Federation) in the early 1920's. This movement had made tennis and its rules stable for almost eighty years. The tie-breaking rule was just the notable change since the federation started implementing the rules. In the late 1920's, the first professional tennis tour was initiated and some French and American players performed exhibition games to paying patrons. Since then, professional tennis had been commercialized and its popularity soared internationally. Today, tennis is being played and enjoyed by a lot of individuals worldwide. Basics of tennis are also taught in some physical education classes and courses to promote healthy lifestyle and to promote the sports as well.

Playing Tennis

Almost all individual could possibly play tennis. To excel in tennis, an individual should have an interest in the sports itself. Investing on tennis paraphernalia (like sports gear, apparel and rackets) is definitely a must. Moreover, mental and physical preparation should also be considered because tennis is also considered a game of wits and tactics. Nonetheless, tennis should be played with passion and devotion in every game. In every sports, it is how an individual play the game that matters most.

Click here to learn more about tennis software or know about tennis court dimensions

The Wimbledon Collection - Legends of Wimbledon - Bjorn Borg

The Wimbledon Collection - Legends of Wimbledon - Bjorn BorgAs Wimbledon fever takes over tennis courts up and down the country Legends of Wimbledon – Bjorn Borg offers a unique insight into the life of one of the all-time greats of men’s tennis.

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Wozniacki crashes out in Paris

Wozniacki crashes out in Paris

Published:Saturday, May 28, 2011 10:01 AEST

Caroline Wozniacki wipes her face with a towel as she shows her dejection during the women's singles round three match against Daniela Hantuchova on day six of the French Open at Roland Garros on May 27, 2011.

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Nadal powers on, Murray in injury scare

Posted May 28, 2011 23:27:00

Top seed Rafael Nadal and fourth seed Andy Murray both reached the last 16 of the French Open on Saturday but while the Spaniard hardly broke sweat, Murray finished with a damaged right ankle.

The 24-year-old Scot had been coasting along at 6-2, 2-1 and deuce on German Michael Berrer's serve when he jarred his right ankle badly trying to run down a drop shot.

Murray won the point, but he hopped about in agony and then collapsed onto his back in the red dirt of the Suzanne Lenglen showcourt.

After taking painkillers and having the ankle strapped at a medical time-out, Murray resumed to clinch the break and lead 3-1.

But clearly still in some discomfort, he then dropped serve for the first time in the match and screamed out his frustrations at his coaching staff in the tribunes.

Limping between rallies and looking distraught, Murray somehow dug in to break the Berrer serve again and then held his own comfortably enough to lead 5-2.

Murray took the set 6-3 to go two sets up, but he still looked in some discomfort and requested another medical time-out from the umpire at the next change of ends.

Another break in his favour gave him the perfect start to the third set and he then won the next three games to go 4-0 up.

Murray duly wrapped up a third straight straight sets win but there will be serious doubts about his fitness ahead of his fourth tie against Serbian Davis Cup hero Viktor Troicki on Monday.

The 15th seeded Troicki saw off Alexandr Dolgopolov of Ukraine 6-4, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 to reach the last 16 of a major event for the first time.

Nadal made it through to the fourth round with a 6-1, 6-3, 6-0 win over Croatian qualifier Antonio Veic in a centre-court mismatch.

It was the Spaniard's 41st win at Roland Garros against just the one defeat since he made his debut in 2005, but such was the paucity of the opposition that the win will answer few questions about his actual form.

His next opponent will be either compatriot Fernando Verdasco, against whom he has a 11-0 win-loss record, or Croatian veteran Ivan Ljubicic, who were in action on Court 1 later Saturday.

Nadal had admitted he was struggling to find his best form after two uncustomary tough opening rounds against giant American John Isner, who took him to five sets, and Spanish compatriot Pablo Andujar.

But he wasted no time in getting on top of Veic, the world number 227, who made it through the qualifiers and then scored a five sets win over Russia's Nikolay Davydenko to reach the third round in what was just his second major event.

The five-times defending champion smoothly moved 4-0 ahead before Veic got off the mark but the first set was pocketed by the Spaniard 6-2 in just 26 minutes.

Veic put up some resistance at the start of the second and had a break point but Nadal erased that with a big crosscourt forehand after a bruising rally.

That was about as good as it got for the Croatian who found himself overpowered by the five-times champion for the remainder of a one-sided contest.


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Wozniacki and Schiavone advance

Updated May 26, 2011 06:50:00

Top seed Caroline Wozniacki and defending champion Francesca Schiavone ignored the fickle favours of the French Open crowd to reach the third round on Wednesday.

Wozniacki felt the wrath of the Roland Garros fans after disputing a line call in her 6-3, 7-6 (8-6) defeat of Aleksandra Wozniak, while Schiavone's 6-1, 6-2 win over Vesna Dolonts unfolded at a half-empty Court Phillipe Chatrier.

Wozniacki, bidding to win a first ever Grand Slam, meets 28th seed Daniela Hantuchova in the last 32, with Schiavone - the first ever Italian woman to win a major - set to face Chinese 29th seed Peng Shuai.

Having won her first set 6-3, Wozniacki found herself 6-3 down in a second-set tie-break when an attempted lob was called long by a line judge, handing Wozniak three set points and a huge chance to level the match.

Wozniacki, the 20-year-old world number one, took exception to the decision and a stand-off with the umpire ensued, prompting jeers to ring out around the Court Philippe Chatrier arena.

The delay appeared to unsettle Canadian qualifier Wozniak, however, and when play resumed she conceded the next five points in succession to hand Wozniacki a place in round three.

"The ball was going very fast, it wasn't slow, and if both the linesman and the umpire didn't see it when it was going like this, I wanted the linesman to confirm it was the mark that was shown," explained Wozniacki.

The centre court was pock-marked by empty seats by the time Schiavone arrived to tackle world number 101 Dolonts in the early evening, despite warm sunshine illuminating proceedings on the western edge of the French capital.

Dolonts, making her main draw debut at Roland Garros, broke Schiavone in her opening game but the tenacious 30-year-old broke straight back and took a 3-1 lead when the Russian found the net with a backhand from the back of the court.

Schiavone promptly sewed up the first set and was quickly on the front foot in the second, breaking Dolonts three times in succession and then overcoming a brief late flurry from her opponent to complete a 72-minute victory.

Russian third seed Vera Zvonareva came within a whisker of succumbing to the biggest upset of the tournament to date before eventually prevailing 4-6, 7-5, 7-5 against injury-stricken German qualifier Sabine Lisicki.

Lisicki, the former world number 22, spurned a match point at 5-2 up in the third set before the injury jinx that kept her off the courts for five months last year returned, prompting a long injury time-out that left her in tears.

Her opponent's momentum having evaporated, Zvonareva proceeded to win the next five games in succession to reach the last 32, after which a weeping Lisicki departed the scene on a stretcher.

Australian eighth seed Samatha Stosur, beaten by Schiavone in last year's final, crushed Romanian 19-year-old Simona Halep 6-0, 6-2 in her second-round match.

The 27-year-old world number six takes on Gisela Dulko in the third round, after the unseeded Argentine comfortably beat Bulgarian 32nd seed Tsvetana Pironkova 6-4, 6-2.

"It's a good match-up for me," said Stosur on the draw with Dulko.

"We know each other's games quite well. It will come down to who can play better on the day."

There were also victories for Serbian former world number one Jelena Jankovic, France's Marion Bartoli and 2009 champion Svetlana Kuznetsova of Russia, the 10th, 11th and 13th seeds respectively.

Bartoli beat Belarusian qualifier Olgo Govortsova 6-4, 6-7 (1-7), 6-2, Jankovic saw off Russia's Vera Dushevina 6-3, 6-2 and Kuznetsova crushed Romanian 20-year-old Irina-Camelia Begu 6-1, 6-1.


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First posted May 26, 2011 06:05:00

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Sharapova serves to Yung-Jan Chan

Sharapova serves to Yung-Jan Chan

Published:Sunday, May 29, 2011 8:33 AEST

Maria Sharapova serves to Yung-Jan Chan during their women's third round match at the French Open on May 28, 2011, in Paris.

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The Drum - Friday 27 May

Published:Friday, May 27, 2011 6:05 AESTExpires:Thursday, August 25, 2011 6:05 AEST

Peter Wilkins hosts a discussion with Debbie Spillane from ABC NewsRadio, Craig Norenbergs from ABC Grandstand and Amanda Shalala from ABC News 24.

Tags: gambling, nrl, tennis, state-of-origin, australia

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Stosur goes for the forehand

Stosur goes for the forehand

Published:Friday, May 27, 2011 8:46 AEST

Samantha Stosur of Australia hits a forehand during the women's singles round three match against Gisela Dulko of Argentina on day six of the French Open at Roland Garros on May 27, 2011 in Paris, France.

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Djokovic marches past Del Potro

Posted May 29, 2011 00:28:00

Novak Djokovic made it 40 wins in a row this year by defeating Juan Martin del Potro of Argentina 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 6-2 to reach the last 16 of the French Open on Saturday.

In a match held over from late Friday when the two men parted company at one set all, Djokovic once again showed the composure and killer instinct that have been a feature of his stunning unbeaten run since January.

He will next play back-to-form Frenchman Richard Gasquet for a place in the quarter-finals in a tie that is sure to fire up the partisan Paris crowd on Sunday.

The match resumed out on the Suzanne Lenglen showcourt 18 hours after fading light had forced them off and Djokovic was the first to be put under pressure saving a break point in the fifth game after a 23-shot rally.

But in the following game he broke Del Potro to take a 4-2 lead and from there he comfortably pocketed the second set.

The tempo and ball-striking continued to be fierce into the fourth set and once again it was Djokovic who struck first setting up two break points in the third game with a deft drop shot after a punishing 26-stroke rally.

Del Potro saved the first of these but an untimely double fault followed and Djokovic had the break.

The second seed got to 4-1 and serving, but let his concentration slip for once to allow Del Potro to get to 0-30.

The giant Argentinian then defied his size by sprinting in to return a near perfect Djokovic drop shot and when the Serb blasted long, the South American had a lifeline.

It did not last long.

Djokovic once again unleashed a salvo of big hits off both flanks and Del Potro was unable to stay the pace, fluffing a weak backhand into the net on set point.

The Serb comfortably served out for his 40th consecutive win in 2011.

Djokovic will match John McEnroe's 42-match winning streak set from the start of 1984 should he reach the semi-finals here.

He is also aiming to become the first player since Jim Courier in 1992 to win the Australian and French Open titles in the same year, taking him halfway to the fabled Grand Slam of tennis.


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Stosur chases greener pastures

Updated May 28, 2011 16:23:00

Samantha Stosur's shock exit from the French Open has raised questions once more about her ability to land a first major title.

Stosur had looked in superb touch in the opening two rounds at Roland Garros before putting in an inexplicable display in her third-round loss to Argentine Gisela Dulko.

The early departure could see Stosur lose her prized top-10 ranking but what will really haunt her is missing another great opportunity to become a major winner.

Last year's gut-wrenching defeat in the Roland Garros final to Francesca Schiavone was painful enough for Stosur.

This year's defeat will eat away at her as the remaining field is one of the weakest at a major tournament for years.

It has no Justine Henin (recently retired), no Williams sisters (absent), no Kim Clijsters (knocked out in second round) and no world number one Caroline Wozniacki (knocked out in third round).

An hour after last year's French Open final, Stosur was in shock.

This year, the reality of her shattering third-round exit on Friday seemed to have hit her a bit earlier.

She battled to hold back tears at times during her press conference and it was obvious there had been some waterworks post-match.

Stosur had blown another chance and despite putting on a brave front, she knows that tennis has a cruel habit of moving on quickly from those that do not seize the moment.

The Queenslander said she would try to use the extra time on her hands to sharpen up her skills on grass before Wimbledon next month.

Grass has traditionally not been a strong suit for Stosur, her heavy top spin tending to allow for the ball to sit up a bit too much for her rivals.

In her eight trips to Wimbledon, she has only reached the third round on one occasion.

Stosur planned on trying to quickly put Friday's setback behind her.

"I think basically that, (I have to) move on," she said.

"The year is not finished yet there is still a few months to go and this is only the second grand slam of the year.

"As disappointing as it was to leave here in the third round, I think now I have got a really good opportunity to prepare myself as best as possible for Wimbledon and try to have a good result there and then on the hard courts.

"It is obviously very disappointing, it is hopefully not the end of the world. It is not going to change the way I play and the way I go into my next match."

Stosur will play in the WTA event in Eastbourne next month in the lead-up to Wimbledon.


Tags: sport, tennis, australia, france

First posted May 28, 2011 16:09:00

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Djokovic edges Del Potro

Published: 29/05/2011 00:22:38

Serbia's Novak Djokovic reacts after a point to Argentina's Juan-Martin Del Potro during their men's third round match in the French Open at Roland Garros on May 28, 2011. Djokovic won the match in four sets to make it 40 consecutive wins for 2011.

Djokovic edges Del Potro

Serbia's Novak Djokovic reacts after a point to Argentina's Juan-Martin Del Potro during their men's third round match in the French Open at Roland Garros on May 28, 2011. Djokovic won the match in four sets to make it 40 consecutive wins for 2011.

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Advanced Table Tennis

Advanced Table TennisTake your skills to the advanced level with the help of Christian Lillieroos and Eric Owens. This highly informative program presents the techniques, training methods and playing strategies needed to become a champion. Among the topics covered are: grip, timing, technique, consistency, playing with and against long pips rubber sheets and the five point training system. This DVD is a must have resource for any intermediate to advanced level table tennis player.

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Media Call: Kim Clijsters

Published:Friday, May 27, 2011 12:24 AESTExpires:Thursday, August 25, 2011 12:24 AEST

Second seed Kim Clijsters said she was left frustrated after squandering two match points to lose in three sets to world number 114 Arantxa Rus at the French Open.

Tags: sport, tennis

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Schiavone continues title defence

Schiavone continues title defence

Published:Thursday, May 26, 2011 6:48 AEST

Italy's Francesca Schiavone hits a return to Russia's Vesna Dolonts during their Women's second round match at the French Open on May 25, 2011. Schiavone won the match 6-1, 6-2.

Tags: sport, tennis, france

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Gajdosova bows out of French Open

Gajdosova bows out of French Open

Published:Sunday, May 29, 2011 12:31 AEST

Australia's Jarmila Gajdosova reacts during her match against Germany's Andrea Petkovic during their Women's third round match in the French Open at Roland Garros on May 28, 2011. Gajdosova bowed out of the tournament 2-6, 6-4, 3-6.

Tags: sport, tennis, france

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Media Call: Maria Sharapova

Published:Friday, May 27, 2011 12:18 AESTExpires:Thursday, August 25, 2011 12:18 AEST

Seventh seed Maria Sharapova says she showed her fighting spirit by coming from a set down to defeat world number 188 Caroline Garcia at the French Open.

Tags: sport, tennis

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Gajdosova continues French run

Gajdosova continues French run

Published:Friday, May 27, 2011 6:22 AEST

Jarmila Gajdosova of Australia hits a backhand during the women's singles round two against Anabel Medina Garrigues of Spain on day five of the French Open at Roland Garros on May 26, 2011.

Tags: sport, tennis, france

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Gajdosova bows out of French Open

Gajdosova bows out of French Open

Published:Sunday, May 29, 2011 12:31 AEST

Australia's Jarmila Gajdosova reacts during her match against Germany's Andrea Petkovic during their Women's third round match in the French Open at Roland Garros on May 28, 2011. Gajdosova bowed out of the tournament 2-6, 6-4, 3-6.

Tags: sport, tennis, france

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Clinical Federer on cruise control

Posted May 27, 2011 23:34:00

Roger Federer cruised past Serbia's Janko Tipsarevic 6-1, 6-4, 6-3 on Friday to reach the French Open last 16 as his low-key Roland Garros campaign continued.

The third seed and 2009 champion will face either close friend and Swiss compatriot Stanislas Wawrinka or seventh-seeded Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga for a place in the quarter-finals.

Federer, the 2009 champion and playing in his 46th consecutive grand slam, had been pushed by Tipsarevic in a five-set marathon in the third round of the Australian Open in 2008.

But there was to be no such drama on Friday.

Federer romped through the first set in just 19 minutes with two breaks of serve, allowing his 26-year-old opponent just 10 points.

On a chilly Suzanne Lenglen court, where the temperature hovered around 19 degrees, the Swiss was a break to the good for a 3-2 lead in the second set and backed it up for 4-2, fighting off the only break point he faced.

Tipsarevic, the 29th seed, who had never got beyond the third round in his seven previous visits to Paris, was soon two sets down when he dumped a backhand service return into the net.

Federer laid a further foundation for victory with a break in the first game of the third set and the match was over in just an hour and a half when the sunglasses-wearing Serb popped a lazy backhand out of play.


Tags: sport, tennis, france

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Li Na through to fourth round

Li Na through to fourth round

Published:Saturday, May 28, 2011 8:52 AEST

China's Li Na hits a forehand during the women's singles round three match against Sorana Cirstea of Romania on day seven of the French Open at Roland Garros on May 28, 2011. Li posted a comfortable 6-2, 6-2 win to advance to the fourth round.

Tags: sport, tennis, france

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Thursday, May 26, 2011

Clijsters glad to end Paris exile

Posted May 25, 2011 10:56:00

Kim Clijsters admitted it was great to be back at Roland Garros for the first time in five years, a return marked by a straight sets win in the French Open first round.

The Belgian second seed, whose last appearance ended in a semi-final defeat to compatriot Justine Henin in 2006, looked decidedly rusty on her claycourt return before seeing off Anastasiya Yakimova of Belarus 6-2, 6-3.

But the 27-year-old, a two-time finalist and who already has the US and Australian Opens under her belt, insists the old hunger is still there.

"I'm even more excited," said Clijsters, whose first final appearance in Paris was 10 years ago against Jennifer Capriati.

"I was really looking forward to it. I remember that I played some matches on Suzanne Lenglen court. I remember that I didn't really like it too much. Now I was like, 'great, I get to play there.'"

Clijsters was a serious injury doubt in the lead-up to the French Open.

She did not play a claycourt event after a freak injury caused by dancing barefoot at a family wedding.

That extended an absence from the tour already stretching back to Miami in March because of a shoulder problem.

But her determination to make Roland Garros this year after missing out in 2010 through injury was as solid as ever.

"Even after Australia, all my workouts were with the clay season in mind. So it was disappointing when it (the ankle injury) happened, but it kind of just gave me another extra spark," she said.

"Last year I had the experience of not playing here and I didn't like it at all. I came to watch (Belgian compatriot) Kirsten Flipkens play, and that made it all even a little bit worse.

"So that motivated me more to work hard with my ankle and to go see my trainer a few times a day to heal faster."

Clijsters is still careful with her schedule.

The bulk of her five-year absence from Paris was due to retirement when she married basketball player Brian Lynch and started a family.

Daughter Jada, now four, was courtside to see her mother win her opener.

Clijsters watched some tennis from home during her recent time off court, even cheering on Maria Sharapova when the Russian, who has also been plagued by injuries, won the Rome International two weeks ago.

"I think she looked more happy than I have seen her, besides a Grand Slam, obviously. She looked extremely happy," she said.

"And I enjoyed the emotions that her boyfriend gave and all that stuff. You know, the cute stuff."

Clijsters and Sharapova have something in common, apart from Grand Slam titles and a history of injuries.

Sharapova also has a basketball player in her life, NBA star Sasha Vujacic.

"They're big, but they're softies," said Clijsters.


Tags: sport, tennis, france

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How Your Pink Tennis Purchase Puts Cancer Charities In The Black

Choose Your Pink Tennis Gear From A Respected Brand

If you like tennis and the color Pink, you can now indulge yourself in some superb tennis gear from a select group of top sporting brands, and help a deserving pink ribbon tennis charity into the bargain. The Pink Ribbon symbol has grown rapidly in popularity and appears on a wide variety of sporting goods, especially golf and tennis. Companies using the ribbon on their product lines promise to pay a percentage of profits or a fixed amount to one of the Pink Ribbon Breast Cancer charities for an agreed period. Though it's true, that some companies have jumped on the bandwagon, as much in an effort to increase sales as to give to charity, most pink tennis products are supplied by some well known, well respected household names like Wilson and New Balance.

Wilson Give Cancer Sufferers The 'Hope' To Overcome Their Illness

Perhaps the best known range of charitable tennis gear is the 'Wilson Hope' selection of pink tennis shoes, bags, tennis balls and other tennis accessories. Wilson are at the forefront of 'responsible' sports manufacturers with their eco-friendly methods of production. They aim to minimize any harmful effects their business has on the environment. It's no surprise then, that they've embraced the chance to make a positive contribution to the many lives that are damaged every year by this pervasive illness. The 'Hope' refers to empowering sufferers to believe they have both the will and the way to conquer their illness. Wilson are noted in the world of tennis for supplying high quality tennis racquets, tennis bags, apparel and shoes to some of the world's best players like Roger Federer, the Williams sisters and Justine Henin, and some of the world's finest tennis balls to tournaments like the US Open.

Wilson Pink Tennis Products Deliver Both Style & Performance

Their iconic three racquet 'Wilson Hope' pink tennis bags and single racquet backpacks are about the most stylish that money can buy. If you also use a can of the Wilson Hope Extra Duty Pink Tennis Balls for Your Tennis Game, you'll be making a very powerful statement about your concern for ridding the world of Breast Cancer, whilst encouraging others to take up the cause, and at the same time giving to vital income to charities keen to help anyone affected by the disease. If you're a woman who really wants to 'push the boat out' for Wilson's chosen charity, The Breast cancer Research Foundation, a pair of Wilson Tour Vision Lady tennis shoes will also benefit the charity and equip you with leading edge tennis shoe technological excellence to rival any on the market, (and they look pretty good too!).

New Balance Are Long-Haul Partners In The Race For The Cure

Speaking of pink tennis shoes, 'New Balance' are no slouches in this department too. They've been giving money to Breast Cancer Research since 1989. They actually supply the '760', the official shoe of the Susan G Koman Race For The Cure, a long established annual walking event in the US to raise funds and awareness for Pink Ribbon Cancer Research and The Susan G Komen Foundation. Susan's brave fight against cancer ultimately led to the creation of the Pink Ribbon symbol, when, so impressed with her sister's selfless desire to help others better cope with Breast Cancer during her own fight for life, Nancy decided to carry forward her sister's wishes on her death. This led to The Susan G Komen Foundation and the 'Race For The Cure'. During the 1990 Race for the Cure, a handful of participants wore pink ribbons and a few were handed out by the Komen Foundation. Next year, all the walkers were given a pink ribbon to mark their participation. The symbol spread quickly across the United States with the involvement of Self Magazine and guest writer, Evelyn Lauder's decision to distribute a pink ribbon at all Estee Lauder's cosmetic counters around the country. Apart from cutting edge athletic shoes, New Balance produce some sporty tops, pants and socks advertising the pink ribbon and your support for the cause. All articles in their 'Lace Up For The Cure' Collection will benefit the Foundation by 5% of the retail price. They guarantee at least $500,000 per year.

Reebok, Under Armour And Brooks' Pink Crusades

Other important brands helping Pink Ribbon charities include sporting shoes and apparel manufacturers Reebok, whose 'In It To End It' campaign should provide up to $750,000 for the Avon Breast Cancer Crusade. Top fundraisers during the operation will be rewarded with custom Reebok apparel. Two other notables are 'Brooks', with the 'Brooks For her' collection, donating 6.25% of the retail price to three worthy Breast Cancer Charities: the 'Young Survival Coalition', the 'Making Memories Breast Cancer Foundation' and the 'Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center', and 'Under Armour'. This rapidly growing American company is fast making a name for itself producing high performance sports apparel, and now has it's own 'Power In Pink' collection to benefit Breast Cancer Charities.

'Think Pink' To Help Reduce 'Pink Abuse'

Though all these charities work hard all year round to benefit Breast cancer Research, October is the month earmarked to draw maximum exposure to Pink Ribbon events. You'll no doubt notice the ribbon on many products as you shop, not just on sporting goods, but if you've time, try to dig a little deeper into just how much of your money will actually benefit which charity, and for how long? There's been concern recently, due to the proliferation of Pink Ribbon products, that not all Pink Ribbon campaigns are as beneficial as others. The 'Think Pink' initiative aims to highlight 'Pink Abuse', where campaigns end prematurely though the product is still being sold, where campaign costs outweigh the benefits and where some companies promote Pink products yet are involved in the manufacture of others where carcinogens are used. Don't worry too much - even an under performing Pink Ribbon product is likely to benefit cancer charities to some degree, but if you have a few moments to spare, just check the percentage of the sale price earmarked for the charity, how long the campaign lasts, and which charity will get the funds. If this isn't immediately clear, move to the next product, because as with most things in life, transparency goes hand in hand with honesty.

Cheri Britton is the editor of 'Women's Tennis Apparel' and 'Ball Machine For Tennis'. In her tennis fashion and clothing website, she reviews and showcases the latest styles in tennis dresses, skirts and skorts, women's tennis bags and shoes. She highlights in particular the tennis dress worn by the best women players on the WTA tour, and has an special fondness for the designer tennis clothing of Stella McCartney for Adidas.

Her new tennis ball machine website is devoted to comparing these mini mechanical devices with regard to price, portability, useability, features and suitability to the individual owner or buyer. Quality manufacturers such as Lobster, Tennis Tutor, SAM. Playmate and Wilson produce a range of models to engage the tennis game of beginners through to professional tennis players. The right ball machine will quickly take your tennis to a higher level, at a time place and frequency of your choosing. Oh, and tennis machines are great fun and fantastic for your fitness as well!

On the odd occasion she's not working on her websites, Cheri watches more tennis than is good for her, reads, visits places of historical interest and beauty, and relaxes with a pint or two of real ale (or something stronger!)

French Open tears put stars in shade

Updated May 25, 2011 06:57:00

Grieving Virginie Razzano and struggling former champion Ana Ivanovic have flooded the French Open with tears, sweeping winning drawcards Maria Sharapova and Kim Clijsters into the shade.

French 28-year-old Razzano was inconsolable as she recounted how fiance and coach Stephane Vidal, who died from a brain tumour eight days ago, had encouraged her to play Roland Garros.

Ivanovic, the 2008 champion and former world number one, also broke down as she vented her mounting frustration at seeing her career bedevilled by a series of stomach and wrist injuries.

"I am very emotional, I was here for Stephane," said Razzano, after her 6-3, 6-1 defeat by Australian 24th seed Jarmila Gajdosova.

"It was really hard to come on the court, there was a lot of emotion and a lot of pain. That pain will always be there. I tried to make a tribute to Stephane. It was mission impossible but I gave my all."

Ivanovic, the 23-year-old 20th seed, lost 7-6 (7-3), 0-6, 6-2 to Sweden's world number 64 Johanna Larsson.

After committing 45 unforced errors, Ivanovic wept as she revealed how a left wrist injury had restricted her ambitions.

"I had stomach problems at the start of the year. But I felt healthy before Indian Wells, then hurt my stomach again at the Fed Cup. It's been stop and go," the Serbian said.

"It is very frustrating. It's inflammation of the wrist but I didn't suffer it playing, I woke up with the problem.

"The bone has slipped and has caused friction. I'm very upset."

Meanwhile, second seed Clijsters, playing at Roland Garros for the first time since 2006, swept past Belarusian Anastasia Yakimova 6-2, 6-3.

Clijsters, the reigning US and Australian Open champion, has been Paris runner-up twice, in 2001 and 2003, but had not played in the event since losing in the 2006 semi-finals to compatriot Justine Henin.

She will next face Arantxa Rus of the Netherlands.

"I was excited to be back out there," said Clijsters, whose participation in Paris was under threat because of an ankle injury.

"I moved well and was aggressive. There's a few things that will have to be better. I didn't always hit the lines like I wanted to."

Sharapova had little trouble disposing of Croatian veteran Mirjana Lucic 6-3, 6-0, as the former world number one began her campaign to clinch a first French Open title.

It took the seventh-seeded Russian just 56 minutes to seal victory as her 29-year-old opponent, playing the tournament for the first time in eight years, was overwhelmed, winning just four points in the second set.

"It was a tough beginning because she started off serving really big, and I didn't get too many looks on second serves," said Sharapova, who captured the Rome claycourt tournament in the run-up to Paris.

"But once I got a good rhythm I felt like I started playing better and better."

Sharapova, who sported diamond-encrusted earrings, has never got beyond the semi-finals in Paris. She next faces French wild card Caroline Garcia.

Fourth seed Victoria Azarenka, a quarter-finalist in 2009, breezed past Andrea Hlavackova of the Czech Republic 6-3, 6-3.

Azarenka, at a career-high four in the world after a 2011 that has seen her capture titles in Miami and Marbella and finish runner-up in Madrid, now faces either Pauline Parmentier of France or Russia's Ksenia Pervak.

Chinese sixth seed Li Na, who reached the Australian Open final this year, struggled past Czech Barbora Zahlavova Strycova 6-3, 6-7 (6-8), 6-3 and she will next face Spain's Silvia Soler Espinosa.

After Heather Watson became the first British woman to win a match at Roland Garros in 17 years on Monday, Elena Baltacha joined her compatriot in the next round with a 7-5, 6-2 win over US qualifier Sloane Stephens.


Tags: sport, tennis, france

First posted May 25, 2011 06:23:00

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First round agony for Ivanovic

First round agony for Ivanovic

Published:Wednesday, May 25, 2011 6:53 AEST

A dejected Ana Ivanovic of Serbia reacts as she heads towards defeat during the women's singles round one match against Johanna Larsson of Sweden on day three of the French Open at Roland Garros on May 24, 2011.

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SPORTSKOOL - Grand Slam Tennis with Brad Gilbert

SPORTSKOOL - Grand Slam Tennis with Brad GilbertBehind every great tennis player is a great coach, and there are no coaches greater or more successful than Brad Gilbert. Since retiring from the pro tour (where he was ranked as high as #4 in the world), he has mentored superstars Andre Agassi, Andy Roddick and Andy Murray, and has been called the greatest coach of all time.

And now he's bringing all of his secrets right into your home, thanks to Sportskool.

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Stosur returns during second round win

Stosur returns during second round win

Published:Wednesday, May 25, 2011 8:52 AEST

Samantha Stosur returns the ball during her second round over Simona Halep at the French Open at the Roland Garros in Paris on May 25, 2011.

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Wozniacki stops for a photo

Wozniacki stops for a photo

Published:Wednesday, May 25, 2011 10:58 AEST

Fans take a photo of themselves with Caroline Wozniacki after her victory over Kimiko Date-Krumm during their first round match at the French Open at the Roland Garros in Paris on May 23, 2011.

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French Open

The world's best tennis players gather at Roland Garros in Paris for the 2nd grand slam event of the year, the French Open.

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Gajdosova moves to second round

Published:Wednesday, May 25, 2011 7:23 AESTExpires:Tuesday, August 23, 2011 7:23 AEST

Australian tennis player Jarmila Gajdosova has defeated Virginie Razzano in straight sets to advance into the second round of the French Open.

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Tags: tennis, australia, france

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Instant Tennis Tip - The 5 Elements of Ball Control in Tennis

I like to tell my students that if they can hit the ball over the net and in the court they are good

If they can hit the tennis ball over the net and in the court, and land it anywhere they want, I will sit down and enjoy watching them play.

If they can hit the tennis ball over the net and in the court, and land it anywhere they want, and do so with varying spin and power, I will buy a ticket to sit down and enjoy watching them play.

In tennis, hitting with great power is fun, but ball control is much more important. Anyone who wants to learn how to play tennis should concentrate on mastering the 5 elements of controlling a tennis ball. This will result in the ability to vary your shots according to any situation.


The first obstacle any tennis player must deal with is the net. For a shot to be successful it must first clear the net before it lands in the court. Beginner tennis players should focus on clearing the net by 5 - 8 feet on all their shots from the baseline.


In general, a ball that lands deep in the court is a better shot than a ball that lands short. However, there will be times you want to deliberately hit the ball short. Beginner tennis players should practice placing their shots to different depths on the court. Remember, where the ball lands is directly related to the height of the ball. Height Equals Depth.


After you master height and depth, I recommend beginner tennis players move on to mastering direction. Don't get too complicated here. Just try to direct every ball to either the left or to the right.


After you've mastered hitting the tennis ball with different heights, and to different depths and directions it's time to move on to spin. Learning to put spin on the ball is definitely a more advanced concept and a clear sign that you are moving to the next level as a tennis player. You can hit a tennis ball with topspin, backspin, sidespin, or relatively no spin.


This is the last element of ball control in tennis. A player should move on to hitting a tennis ball with power only after they have learned the previous elements and how they can be combined to create shot variety.

Mastering all 5 elements of ball control takes lots of practice. It's what separates the good players from the elite players. I suggest beginner tennis players focus on the first three in order. Practice hitting the tennis ball over the net, into the court, land it anywhere you please. Then you can work on hitting a tennis ball with spin and power. After that, who knows, maybe someone will buy a ticket to watch you play.

Andreas Radermacher

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Dynamic Tennis Warm-Ups DVD - Better Preparation for Better Performance

Dynamic Tennis Warm-Ups DVD - Better Preparation for Better PerformancePerfect your preparation for your next match! Get your muscles ready quickly--and correctly--for tennis training and competition using a dynamic warm-up. Drawing from the latest research, training expert Mark Verstegen demonstrates how to prepare the body for forward and backward movements, side-to-side movements, and variable all-court movements in three dynamic warm-up routines you can use right out of the box. By regularly incorporating a dynamic warm-up into your tennis training, you will improve your movement efficiency and overall play. The three routines in this DVD serve as a great starting point for developing a challenging conditioning program.

Raise your on-court performance with the Dynamic Tennis Warm-Ups DVD, tested by the best players in the game at USTA training centers and Athletes' Performance training facilities.

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Clijsters makes long-awaited French return

Clijsters makes long-awaited French return

Published:Wednesday, May 25, 2011 11:16 AEST

Belgium's Kim Clijsters hits a return to Belarus's Anastasiya Yakimova during their Women's first round match in the French Open on May 24, 2011.

Tags: sport, tennis, france

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Nadal survives French Open scare

Updated May 25, 2011 13:22:00

Defending champion Rafael Nadal risked a shock French Open elimination against big-serving American John Isner before prevailing in five sets to reach the second round.

Bidding for a record-equalling sixth Roland Garros crown, an off-colour Nadal had to fight back from a one-set deficit to win 6-4, 6-7 (2-7), 6-7 (2-7), 6-2, 6-4 in a four hour, five minute thriller on Court Philippe Chatrier.

"Tres, tres difficile!" said Nadal in an on-court interview, after a victory he greeted by leaping off his feet and punching the air.

"He was a very, very tough opponent. His serve is almost unstoppable at times, so I just want to congratulate him for this fantastic match.

"It's important to go through these difficult moments. I would prefer to win in three sets but I'm trying to be positive so maybe that can help me in the future."

Nadal went through last year's tournament without dropping a set and had never lost a set in the Roland Garros first round, but he found himself 2-1 behind after being undone by Isner's booming serve in consecutive tie-breaks.

Isner took a 5-2 lead in the first tie-break and when a wayward return from Nadal gifted the American four set points, Isner grabbed the opportunity to level the match with a lusty serve that left the champion floundering.

The 24-year-old was not patrolling the clay with anything like his usual authority and two spurned set points in the third set allowed Isner to drag him into another tie-break.

Once again, Isner assembled a 5-2 lead and when Nadal needlessly netted a backhand the American pounced, slamming home a forehand return to take the set.

Isner proved his stamina by outlasting France's Nicolas Mahut in a world record 11 hour and five minutes marathon at Wimbledon last year, but Nadal closed the door on an upset by asserting control of the fourth set.

With a packed central court scenting an upset, Nadal dug deep to level the match and then procured the single break of serve he needed in the decider to take his place in the second round where he faces Pablo Andujar.

Murray cruises

British fourth seed Andy Murray comfortably moved into the second round by dispatching stylish French qualifier Eric Prodon 6-4, 6-1, 6-3 on Court Suzanne Lenglen.

He will play Italy's Simone Bolelli for a place in the last 32.

"It was a tough match," said Murray, whose best Roland Garros performance was a quarter-final showing two years ago.

"There was no rhythm to the match at all. He didn't want to have long rallies so he hit a lot of drop shots and changed the pace of the ball."

Fifth seed Robin Soderling, runner-up for the last two years, overcame a second-set wobble to defeat American lucky loser Ryan Harrison 6-1, 6-7 (5-7), 6-3, 7-5 and set up an encounter with Albert Ramos-Vinolas of Spain.

Austrian eighth seed Jurgen Melzer, a losing semi-finalist last year, beat Germany lucky loser Andreas Beck 6-3, 6-4, 6-2, but there was a shock defeat for 11th-seeded claycourt specialist Nicolas Almagro of Spain.

Almagro has won three claycourt titles this year and reached the Roland Garros quarter-finals on two occasions, but he came a cropper in a 3-6, 2-6, 7-6 (7-3), 7-6 (7-5), 6-4 defeat by Polish qualifier Lukasz Kubot.

"He's a very aggressive player and he hit the ball well today," Almagro said.

"I started the match well, won the first two sets but then lost the tie-break. I served for the match in the fourth set. Nothing to do.

"He was better than me and in the end, he beat me."

Kubot, who had never won at the French Open before, prevailed in three hours and 50 minutes and will now meet Carlos Berlocq of Argentina.

Rising Ukrainian star Oleksandr Dolgopolov, the 21st seed, 20th-seeded German Florian Mayer and America's Sam Querrey, the number 24 seed, also came through their first-round ties.


Tags: sport, tennis, france

First posted May 25, 2011 06:00:00

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Nadal fights to avoid upset

Nadal fights to avoid upset

Published:Wednesday, May 25, 2011 6:35 AEST

Rafael Nadal of Spain celebrates match point during the men's singles round one match against John Isner of USA on day three of the French Open at Roland Garros on May 24, 2011. Nadal came from a set down to avoid a first-round exit, beating Isner 6-4, 6-7, 6-7, 6-2, 6-4.

Tags: sport, tennis, france

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Stosur charges into third round

Updated May 25, 2011 21:47:00

Samantha Stosur showcased her title credentials by crushing Romanian Simona Halep 6-0, 6-2 on Wednesday to move into the third round of the French Open.

The Australian's power game overwhelmed the Romanian for the second straight year at Roland Garros, this year's victory coming in 66 minutes.

Stosur thought the imposing manner of her victory showed how much she had matured on the court.

"Getting off to that good start and being mentally tough and picking up the game as the match went on is really encouraging," she said.

She will play world number 51 Gisela Dulko in the next round, the Australian holding a 2-0 edge in their head-to-head including a victory last month on clay in Madrid.

"It is a good match-up for me, we played a three-setter in Madrid which I was able to get through and we both know each others games quite well," she said.

"I have to go out and still play aggressively and she can play very well and be tricky."

Fellow Australian Anastasia Rodionova joined Stosur in the second round with a 6-1, 6-4 victory over unheralded Edina Gallovits-Hall.

It is the second year in a row that Rodionova has reached the last 32 in Paris.

Rodionova won the match in 71 minutes and will next play the winner of third seed Vera Zvonareva and German qualifier Sabine Lisicki.

Rodionova upset Zvonareva in the second round at Roland Garros last year, before the Russian went on to reach the final of Wimbledon and the US Open.

Queenslander Stosur was shifted off centre court for the first time in five matches at Roland Garros on Wednesday morning.

With the likes of world No.1 Caroline Wozniaki and Roger Federer opening proceedings on the two main showcourts, the Australian was pushed onto court 1.

She instantly made herself comfortable, racing through the first set in just 26 minutes.

Stosur's game cooled off momentarily early in the second set with some wayward shots.

But no sooner could Halep enjoy the fact she was on the board than Stosur had broken back and seized control of the match.

Despite the occasional lapse, Stosur's performance demonstrated she is going to be tough to beat again this year.

The high bounce she is producing off the clay from her heavy top-spin tends to neutralise all but her tallest opponents.

There is talk among the players that the new Babolat balls used in Paris are producing even more bounce on the red dirt than normal, which plays into the Australian's hands.

Stosur has said she has noticed very little difference with the balls, but she is sponsored by Babolat and had the benefit of receiving a box of them the week before the grand slam.


Tags: sport, tennis, australia, france

First posted May 25, 2011 21:40:00

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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Aussie men aced at French Open

ELEANOR HALL: Australian tennis fans woke up to some depressing news this morning.

For the first time in almost a century, Australia doesn't have a player in the second round of the men's French Open.

Our reporter Simon Santow has been speaking to Scott Draper, a former player and now the development manager for Tennis Australia.

SCOTT DRAPER: I was a part of a, you know an era, where there was, I think we were, there was us, America and Spain at one point who had the most players in the top hundred, and it was very hard for me, you know, a top 50 player in the world to get a run in our Davies Cup team.

And there's no question that these sort of times are tough, but I think there are a lot of reasons for that, and we could spend all day talking about those reasons. But I can assure you that there's plenty of people like me involved in Tennis Australia, who are very passionate about turning this around and it is heading in the right direction, there's no question about that.

We have plenty of good kids coming through, and I wouldn't be involved unless I was excited about where we're headed.

SIMON SANTOW: So fans ought to be a bit patient, do you think?

SCOTT DRAPER: You have to be. There's no question that the game, it's a lot harder to make it to the top level of tennis these days, there's more nations being represented, it is taking longer for kids to get their first point in transition into the top 100, and we are definitely trying to have a whole host of good, young juniors coming through to try and making it into the professional ranks.

SIMON SANTOW: There'd be many people, Scott Draper, who would say look, it's not a surprise, this has been a slide that has been going on for a long time now.

SCOTT DRAPER: One of the trends that's definitely evident in terms of international tennis is that there's a lot more, so many more countries being represented now, I think there's about 140 nations playing Davies Cup competition now. The number of countries that have been represented in the top 100, it's a 50 per cent increase over the last 20 years.

You know we're not going to use, I guess, stats or those numbers as excuses. I think we are absolutely, you know, working towards having a very good crop of young players coming through, and I think we do.

There's been some great results in recent times. You know the Junior Davies Cup team, the boys won in 2009, and we've got Ben Mitchell making the finals of Wimbledon last year. We've got some great girls coming through in Ash Barty, and plenty of others.

You know, James Duckworth, another teenager, just won in Poland in a futures event. There's only two teenagers in the top 200 at the moment, one's Ryan Harrison and one's Bernard Tomic.

SIMON SANTOW: So two teenagers across the world?

SCOTT DRAPER: Yeah, there's only two.

SIMON SANTOW: And one of them is Australian?

SCOTT DRAPER: One of them is Australian, yes.

SIMON SANTOW: On the face of it that sounds like a great deal of potential. Is there a problem, do you think in converting that potential into hardnosed results? Are Australian young players hungry enough, I suppose, and desperate enough to keep winning?

SCOTT DRAPER: I think that that's something that we are definitely addressing, I'm a big believer in that also.

SIMON SANTOW: So you have detected that sort of softness?

SCOTT DRAPER: Absolutely. But I think that, and that is just a generic comment obviously, there's plenty of individuals out there who aren't that way, there's a lot of kids working their butt off to realise their dream to become a professional tennis player, but I think that a lot of the, you know, I guess, the western countries have been experiencing a little bit of that.

There's so many opportunities and resources available, especially for Grand Slam nations like ours where we can provide a lot. I think we're always trying to find the balance between making them tough and I guess, mollycoddling them.

My new role is development manager for Tennis Australia is certainly something I'm passionate about. I'm a big believer in physicality and mentality.

SIMON SANTOW: Why do you think it is that the women are doing better?

SCOTT DRAPER: Personally, I think there's more opportunity in the female game. I think the depth of men's tennis has always been there and it's increasingly so. I think there's a bit of room for more physicality in the women's game.

I mean, if you look at the difference between men and women in general, obviously strength is one of the main differences that you look at in terms of the difference of standard and I think, because in Tennis Australia we do have, well I think pretty much world leading sports science, one of the areas we do address is the physicality, and I think that the girls are reaping the benefit of that resource.

ELEANOR HALL: And that's the development manager for Tennis Australia Scott Draper, speaking there to Simon Santow.

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Pro Tennis Lessons "Ultimate Volleys and Net Game"

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Gajdosova advances at French

Updated May 24, 2011 21:04:00

Jarmila Gajdosova brushed aside ungainly Frenchwoman Virginie Razzano 6-3, 6-1 to breeze into the second round of the French Open.

Seeded for the first time at a major, Gajdosova appeared to enjoy her new status as she overpowered the world number 96 in one hour and eight minutes on centre court at Roland Garros.

She will play the winner of Italy's Corinna Dentoni and qualifier Anabel Medina Garrigues of Spain in the next round.

The 24th seed joins compatriots Samantha Stosur and Anastasia Rodionova as Australia's remaining players in the women's draw.

It had been an emotional past few weeks for both players.

Gajdosova officially split from her husband last month, while Razzano's fiance died a fortnight ago following a nine-year battle with a brain tumour.

After bringing up the win, the Australian appeared to express her condolences to Razzano at the net.

Although she had the odd wobble on serve in the first set, Gajdosova saved six of seven break points and always looked like she was a chance of breaking Razzano.

The Frenchwoman did her best to stay in the contest but could not handle the power of Gajdosova's ground strokes in cool conditions in Paris.

Gajdosova enjoyed a breakthrough season in 2010, using fourth round appearances at Roland Garros and Wimbledon to propel herself up the rankings.

And on Tuesday's showing, she looked well on track for a possible third round meeting with 15th seed Andrea Petkovic of Germany and potential fourth round showdown with Kim Clijsters.


Tags: sport, tennis, france

First posted May 24, 2011 21:00:00

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Tomic suffers first-round exit

Tomic suffers first-round exit

Source:Matthew Stockman, Getty ImagesPublished:Tuesday, May 24, 2011 6:12 AEST

Bernard Tomic looks on during a break in the men's singles first round match against Carlos Berlocq of Argentina on day two of the French Open on May 23, 2011 in Paris.

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Djokovic, Federer off to winning starts

Posted May 24, 2011 12:15:00

Novak Djokovic took his unbeaten record in 2011 to 38 wins before Roger Federer demonstrated to the unstoppable Serb that he is still a French Open force.

Second seed Djokovic enjoyed a 6-2, 6-1, 6-3 dismissal of hapless Dutchman Thiemo De Bakker in the first round before 16-time major title-winner Federer romped to a 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 (7/3) win over Spain's Feliciano Lopez.

Also going through on a sweltering day at Roland Garros was former US Open champion, and 2009 semi-finalist here, Juan Martin del Potro, a winner in four sets against Croatia's Ivo Karlovic.

But sixth seed Czech Tomas Berdych, a semi-finalist last year, wilted in the heat, losing in five sets to French qualifier Stephane Robert, the world number 140.

One day after his 24th birthday, the red-hot, world number two Djokovic comfortably saw off the 71st-ranked De Bakker in just 92 minutes.

Djokovic, who is likely to depose Rafael Nadal as world number one by the end of the tournament, is also favourite to snatch the Spaniard's French Open title, having seen off his rival in the Madrid and Rome claycourt finals.

His win on Monday took him to within four victories of equalling John McEnroe's 1984 record for a winning season start of 42 triumphs.

"It's my favourite grand slam, even though I haven't won it yet," said Djokovic, a semi-finalist in 2007 and 2008.

"I've been playing really well on clay. I've won three (claycourt) tournaments (Belgrade, Madrid and Rome) in the last few weeks, so I'm trying to build on that confidence," added Djokovic, whose complete winning streak has now reached 40 matches, stretching back to Serbia's Davis Cup triumph in December.

Djokovic, the Australian Open champion, who has seven titles under his belt already this year, will play either French wild card Benoit Paire or Romania's Victor Hanescu for a place in the last 32.

World number three Federer, playing at his lowest seeding in eight years at a grand slam, is taking part in his 46th consecutive major.

He had won all his previous eight matches against Lopez but would have been wary of an opponent who had a match point in their last encounter at the Madrid Masters second round earlier this month.

However, he was in little danger on Monday, cruising to victory against a player who has now lost eight times in the first round in 11 Paris visits.

Federer will next tackle French wild card Maxime Teixeira for a place in the last 32.

"It was different to Madrid, the conditions were slower and Feliciano maybe didn't get as many free points as he thought he might have done," said 2009 champion Federer.

"It was important for me to be solid on my serve from start to finish, which I was. I think I played a good match."

Argentina's del Potro overcame a first-set blip to defeat Karlovic.

Del Potro, who was a doubt for the tournament because of a hip injury, having missed the 2010 event due to wrist surgery, claimed a 6-7 (7/9), 6-3, 7-5, 6-4 win.

The 25th-seed hit 21 unforced errors to Karlovic's 42 and will next face Slovenia's Blaz Kavcic, with Djokovic a potential third round opponent.

"I'm not thinking about Djokovic," said Del Potro. "Kavcic is playing well. I'll need to play good tennis, probably better than today."

Top seed Nadal, bidding to equal Bjorn Borg's record of six French Open titles, gets his campaign underway on Tuesday against John Isner of the United States.

Berdych, a semi-finalist last year and the Wimbledon runner-up, slumped to a shock 3-6, 3-6, 6-2, 6-2, 9-7 defeat against Robert, despite having had a match point at 5-4 in the final set.

It was 31-year-old Robert's first career win at Roland Garros and just his second victory in eight grand slam appearances.

The only other seeds to tumble out on Monday were French number 22 Michael Llodra, who lost 6-7 (5/7), 6-3, 6-3, 6-3 to Belgian qualifier Steve Darcis, and Canadian 26th seed Milos Raonic.

He went down 6-4, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 to Germany's Michael Berrer.


Tags: sport, tennis, france

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No Fed Cup guarantees from Stosur

Updated May 24, 2011 12:53:00

Samantha Stosur's coach says there are no guarantees about when the world number six will next play Fed Cup for Australia.

The French Open finalist, who is set to play her second-round match against Simona Halep at Roland Garros on Wednesday, skipped last month's tie against Ukraine.

Stosur missed the Melbourne tie in an effort to collect enough points to maintain her high ranking and prepare for the current French Open.

In the thumping right-hander's absence, Australia was beaten and will consequently drop back to World Group II next year.

Her coach and Fed Cup captain David Taylor said it was a difficult balancing act for the 27-year-old, who has been a committed member of the national team for years.

A higher ranking allows for easier draws and they are invaluable as Stosur pursues a maiden grand slam title.

"It is hard," Taylor said.

"The precedent has been set by those top players like Roger Federer when he came out publicly and said the ITF (International Tennis Federation) just don't listen.

"So consequently participation by top 10 players in Davis Cup and Fed Cup is very low.

"So I don't know.

"Sam probably has to be at that level now where it is very important to maintain her ranking.

"She is very passionate about representing her country and I think she will always try to make it work.

"I don't think she is going to guarantee it."

If it comes down to a choice, there is a strong argument that Stosur capturing a grand slam would be more beneficial to the sport in Australia than her Fed Cup participation.

"I think that is bigger for tennis in our country," said Taylor.

"She is very passionate about playing for Australia but winning a grand slam, you represent your country every time you walk on the court, not just necessarily in a team event.

"Fed Cup does mean a lot to her but winning a grand slam is every player's dream."

But for now, the Queenslander's focus is on world number 67 Halep.

Stosur defeated Halep in straight sets in the opening round at Roland Garros last year and Taylor said she was wary of the Romanian.

"She is better than she was last year," said Taylor.

"It is great that Sam has played her and knows what to expect from her and she is obviously pretty heavily favoured."


Tags: sport, tennis, australia, france

First posted May 24, 2011 12:52:00

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Tomic bows out of French Open

Updated May 24, 2011 12:14:00

Australia's men have produced an unwanted slice of tennis history with their worst showing at the French Open since the tournament turned international in 1925.

Bernard Tomic, the youngest player in the men's competition, was dismissed in straight sets by Argentine journeyman Carlos Berlocq in warm sunshine on court 10.

The South American dished out a lesson on how to play on clay in his 7-5, 6-4, 6-2 victory in two hours and seven minutes.

Tomic's opening-round exit on Monday meant that Australia was without a presence in the men's singles draw in the second round for the first time since 1949.

The nation had no player in the main draw in that year.

The last time Australia had a representative at Roland Garros but failed to have a presence in the second round was back in 1925, the year the tournament first allowed international players.

With Lleyton Hewitt pulling out of the tournament on Sunday with injury, Tomic was left to fly the flag for Australia for the second straight grand slam.

The 18-year-old showed a lack of patience against the seasoned claycourter, losing his serve on seven occasions and producing 46 unforced errors to his opponents 23.

"I think he played much better than I did," said Tomic.

"I had a lot of opportunities in the first set and didn't take it.

"He definitely played much better and was stronger throughout the whole match."


Tags: sport, tennis, france

First posted May 24, 2011 06:04:00

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