Friday, July 15, 2011

The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes

The Computer Wore Tennis ShoesRyoma and the Seigaku tennis team have reached the Metropolitan Tournament, the
pinnacle of youth tennis. First up, the "golden pair" doubles team of Oishi and Kikumaru are
forced to resort to the unusual Australian formation to throw off their opponents. Then
Ryoma faces the "Lefty-Killer," who uses a dangerous and devastating twist spin. To fight
back, the Prince of Tennis must resort to amazing acrobatics and outrageous innovation!


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The Drum - Friday 17 June

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Tags: state-of-origin, sports-injuries, sport, australian-football-league, coaching, cricket, rugby-union, sports-organisations, tennis, ice-hockey, unrest-conflict-and-war, australia

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Sharapova to play Brisbane

Updated July 13, 2011 21:14:39

Wimbledon finalist Maria Sharapova will be among the star attractions at January's Brisbane International.

The world number five will use the WTA event to kickstart her preparations for the Australian Open.

The former world number one, was beaten in the fourth round at this year's opening grand slam.

Tags: tennis, sport, brisbane-4000, australia, qld

First posted July 12, 2011 11:25:00

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Agassi inducted into Hall of Fame

Posted July 10, 2011 14:23:00

Andre Agassi was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame on Saturday, almost five years after he retired from the game.

A former world number one who captured eight grand slam singles titles, Agassi was enshrined at a ceremony in Newport, Rhode Island, along with Fern Lee 'Peachy' Kellmeyer, a trailblazing administrator in women's professional tennis.

Agassi's achievements on the court ensured he would be remembered as one of the sport's greats but he tarnished his legacy with an admission in his autobiography that he used recreational drugs and once lied to escape a positive test.

Now 41, the American was in a reflective mood at his induction, admitting he made mistakes but was grateful for everything the sport gave him.

"I fell in love with tennis far too late in my life. But the reason I have everything I hold dear is because tennis has loved me back," he said.

"If we're lucky in life, we get a few moments where we don't have to wonder if we made our parents proud. I want to thank tennis for giving me those moments."

Agassi won his first grand slam title at Wimbledon in 1992 and his last in Australia in 2003.

He won the Australian Open four times, the US Open twice and Wimbledon and the French Open once, and is one of just seven men to complete the full set of grand slam events. He also won an Olympic gold medal at Atlanta in 1996.

In a long career in which his ranking and form fluctuated, Agassi won more than 60 ATP titles, including 17 Masters events, and held the number one ranking six times between 1995 and 2003 for a total of 101 weeks.

In 2001, he married fellow tennis Hall of Famer Steffi Graf of Germany. The couple have two children and live in Las Vegas.

- Reuters

Tags: sport, tennis, united-states

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Australia leading Davis Cup tie

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Australian Broadcasting Corporation

Broadcast: 10/07/2011

Australia is up 2-1 against China in the Asia-Oceania Davis Cup.

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Hewitt, Guccione win doubles

Hewitt, Guccione win doubles

Published:Sunday, July 10, 2011 12:07 AEST

Lleyton Hewitt celebrates with Chris Guccione after the Australian doubles pairing beat China's Gong Maoxin and Li Zhe during day two of their Davis Cup tie on July 9, 2011 in Beijing.

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Tennis Serve Tips and Technique

Contact Sport - Friday 10th June

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Tags: netball, cricket, state-of-origin, tennis, australia

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The Drum - Friday 8 July

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Tags: nrl, australian-football-league, cycling, golf, state-of-origin, rugby-union, soccer-world-cup, tennis, australia, france, england

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Favourites poised for Davis Cup semis

Posted July 9, 2011 14:09:00

Argentina cruised into the semi-finals of the Davis Cup and looked poised for a clash with defending champions Serbia, which moved into a 2-0 first-day lead away to Sweden.

France was also well placed going into the doubles after Richard Gasquet clawed back a two-set deficit against Germany's Florian Mayer in Stuttgart as last year's runners-up also won both opening singles.

Spain, despite missing deposed world number one Rafa Nadal, took a commanding 2-0 lead over hosts the United States in Austin, Texas and elsewhere there were rare Davis Cup outings for Roger Federer and Andy Murray in lower-tier ties.

Federer, the 16-times grand slam champion, returned to the competition after a near two-year absence to help Switzerland take a 2-0 lead over Portugal in a European Zone tie with an error-strewn four-set win against Rui Machado in Berne.

Murray made up for his recent Wimbledon semi-finals defeat in brutal fashion, thrashing Luxembourg's hapless Laurent Bram 6-0, 6-0, 6-0 for a rare "triple bagel" to level the Euro/Africa Zone 2 second-round tie at one apiece in Scotland.

While Federer and Murray went about their business, the serious action was taking place in the World Group, although Serbia's clash with Sweden was also something of a mismatch.

Even with newly-crowned Wimbledon champion and world number one Novak Djokovic pulling out of the singles with a knee niggle, Serbia made short work of the lowly-ranked Swedes who are without their powerhouse world number five Robin Soderling.

Viktor Troicki beat world number 297 Michael Ryderstedt 6-3, 6-1, 6-7, 7-5 before Janko Tipsarevic saw off Ervin Eleskovic in quick time when his opponent retired hurt with a knee injury trailing 6-2, 1-0.

Victory for Tipsarevic and Nenad Zimonjic on Saturday against the decent Swedish doubles duo of Robert Lindstedt and Simon Aspelin will put the Serbians through to a mouth-watering home tie with Argentina in September.

Argentina began already 2-0 ahead against Kazakhstan after its tie in Buenos Aires started a day earlier because of municipal elections on Sunday, and the south Americans took a decisive lead when Juan Ignacio Chela and Eduardo Schwank beat Evgeny Korolev and Yuriy Schukin in straight sets.

Argentina, for whom Juan Martin del Potro returned to action, did not drop a set in the three rubbers.

Gasquet comeback

The performance of the day was from Frenchman Gasquet.

He trailed by two sets against Mayer but hit back to win 4-6, 4-6, 7-5, 6-3, 6-3 before Gael Monfils then beat Philipp Kohlschreiber 7-6, 7-6, 6-4.

Mayer, ranked 20 in the world, suffered from cramps as Gasquet turned the match around.

"I've never had cramps in my life, and I'd drunk enough, both before and after the match, so it must have been the tension," he said.

"I could barely move in the fourth and fifth sets. It's a very bitter defeat."

In Austin, Feliciano Lopez gave Spain a winning start when he battled past American Mardy Fish 6-4, 3-6, 6-3, 6-7, 8-6 before world number six David Ferrer followed suit with a gutsy 7-6, 7-5, 6-3 victory over hometown favourite Andy Roddick.

"This win means a lot for me," the 31st-ranked Lopez said after beating world number eight Fish for the first time in their last four meetings. "I've been playing good the last couple of months.

American twins Bob and Mike Bryan, the world's top-ranked team, are scheduled to meet Lopez and Fernando Verdasco in Saturday's doubles in the best-of-five tie.


Tags: sport, tennis, argentina, france, germany, spain, sweden, united-states

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Hewitt, Guccione put Australia 2-1 up

Updated July 9, 2011 22:42:00

The serving power of Chris Guccione and returning prowess of Lleyton Hewitt earned Australia a crucial doubles victory and a 2-1 lead over China in the Asia-Oceania Davis Cup tennis tie in Beijing on Saturday.

With the first day singles split following a loss to debutant Marinko Matosevic and a win to Bernard Tomic, the doubles, played in front of a capacity crowd, was pivotal.

Hewitt and Guccione ultimately prevailed 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 over Gong Mao-Xin and and Li Zhe.

Left-hander Guccione remained unbroken for the entire match and served out each of the three sets, while Hewitt dropped his delivery just once in the first set.

Pugnacious Hewitt kept the Chinese pairing under constant pressure with his consistency on return of serve.

The Australians broke in the opening game of the match and staved off three break points on the Hewitt delivery in the fourth game.

The visiting pair secured the decisive break of the second set in the seventh game and took a stranglehold on the match with a further break in the fifth game of the third.

Australian captain Pat Rafter said he would wait to Sunday morning before deciding whether to use Hewitt in the reverse singles.

Hewitt has been troubled by a foot problem in recent months and Rafter wanted to see how his veteran pulled up on Sunday.

"He has had his problems with his feet and we have to see how he feels the next day, sometimes he is good, sometimes he is not," Rafter said of Hewitt.

The man himself was noncommittal about his potential involvement on Sunday.

"We make the right decision for our team and what's in the best interest of the team so you will find out tomorrow," Hewitt said.

If Hewitt does play it could be at the expense of Matosevic, who is scheduled to face Zhang Ze in the first of the reverse singles, with Tomic down to oppose Wu Di in the final rubber.

Hewitt felt Guccione and himself played well right from the start of the doubles.

"We took it to them, we had a very good game plan," Hewitt said.

"Chris and I play extremely well together and we have a lot of confidence in each other.

"We were pretty happy with the way we went today, our intensity was fantastic.

"Chris and I had to play a very clean and smart match to win today, which we did."

Guccione said the Australians were aware the Chinese combination had played together a lot.

"We needed to return well which Lleyton always does and it was good for me to get a bit of confidence up," Guccione said.


Tags: sport, tennis, australia, china

First posted July 9, 2011 18:48:00

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Hewitt steps up to bury Chinese

Updated July 10, 2011 16:24:00

A confident Lleyton Hewitt carried Australia one step closer to top tier Davis Cup tennis on Sunday, his singles win securing a 3-1 victory over China in the Asia-Oceania Group One second round tie in Beijing.

Hewitt, who was originally listed to play only Saturday's doubles match, replaced cup debutant Marinko Matosevic for the first of Sunday's reverse singles.

The 30-year-old South Australian, who combined with Chris Guccione to win Saturday's pivotal doubles rubber, fully justified the faith of team captain Pat Rafter.

Hewitt beat 382nd ranked Zhang Ze 6-2, 6-1, 4-6, 7-6 (7-2) to record his 37th win in 46 Cup singles rubbers.

With the tie secured, the remaining reverse singles rubber was scrapped.

It was doughty Davis Cup scrapper Hewitt's 20th win in 21 Cup hardcourt rubbers and improved his Australian all-time individual Cup record to 46-12.

The win qualified Australia for the World Group play-offs in September, when another victory will put it back in the World Group for the first time since 2007.

The draw for the play-offs is on Tuesday.

Among the other teams involved will be this year's World Group first-round losers, India, Russia, Czech Republic, Romania, Chile, Belgium, Croatia and Austria.

Australia apart, other Group One winners over the weekend included Brazil, Japan, Israel and Italy.

The 173rd ranked Hewitt broke Zhang three times in each of the first two sets.

Zhang had two breaks to Hewitt's one in the third and each broke once in the fourth, before Hewitt stormed away in the tie-break.

"I got subbed in to play today and I felt pretty confident going into the match and the first two sets I played extremely good tennis," Hewitt said.

"I played very well, I went out with a very good game plan and executed to perfection.

"I had a slight dip of intensity and concentration at the start of the third set, but to Zhang Ze's credit he fought extremely hard from then on in and changed his game plan and played well for the next two sets.

"I was happy to get out of it in the fourth set."

Rafter described his first tie as captain as very intense.

He praised the Chinese team, which did not field a single player ranked in the top 300, but won one singles rubber, took a set in two others and only lost the doubles by one break in each set.

"When I played it was very different, because you feel like you can control the situation whether you win or you lose, but sitting on the sideline I was just trying to relax as much as I could," Rafter said.

"We were very very impressed with the Chinese team, I thought they were absolutely brilliant the way they fought hard."


Tags: sport, tennis, australia, china

First posted July 10, 2011 16:00:00

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Australia, Swiss in Davis Cup play-off

Updated July 13, 2011 22:20:16

Lleyton Hewitt and Roger Federer are set to renew their famous Davis Cup rivalry after Australia drew Switzerland in a World Group play-off in September.

Australia will host the playoff which could potentially take place at Melbourne's Rod Laver Arena, the venue of Hewitt's miracle comeback victory over Federer in the World Group semi-finals in 2003.

Hewitt's incredible recovery from two sets to love and 5-2 down marked his last success over Federer for seven years during which the Swiss master embarked on 15-match winning streak over Australia's former world number one.

Hewitt eventually scored a hoodoo-busting triumph over the 16-times grand slam champion in Halle last year, but a Davis Cup rematch at Melbourne Park between the career rivals, friends and now family men would be one to saviour.

Still committed to the Cup cause, Hewitt and Federer each notched singles and doubles wins for Australia and Switzerland in play-off victories over China and Portugal respectively earlier this month.

Australia, under the leadership of first-year captain Pat Rafter, is bidding to rejoin the elite 16-nation World Group for the first time since 2007.

Rafter welcomed the Swiss challenge after Thursday night's draw in London.

"Switzerland will obviously be a tough opponent but certainly not unbeatable," he said.

"I will chat with Tony and our opinions in terms of surface etc, but I am excited by the challenge and I know the team will be too."

Switzerland also boasts world number 16 Stanislas Wawrinka who, like Federer, was unbeaten in the 5-0 playoff whitewash of Portugal in Bern.

Since losing to Belgium in the first round in 2007, Australia - 28-times Cup champion - has lost World Group playoffs to a Novak Djokovic-led Serbia in Belgrade, Chile away in 2008 and to Belgium in Cairns last year when Hewitt had to withdrew from the reverse singles with a wrist injury.

Australia also boycotted a play-off in India in 2009 due to security concerns.

This year's play-offs will take place from September 16-18, the same weekend as the World Group semi-finals.

In the other play-offs, Romania will host the Czech Republic, Russia will entertain Brazil, Canada goes to Israel, South Africa is home to Croatia, Chile hosts Italy, India travels to Japan and Austria visits Belgium.


Tags: tennis, sport, australia, switzerland

First posted July 13, 2011 22:03:29

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Thursday, July 14, 2011

Ferrer sends Spain through to semis

Ferrer sends Spain through to semis

Source:Matthew Stockman, Getty ImagesPublished:Monday, July 11, 2011 12:37 AEST

David Ferrer of Spain celebrates match point against Mardy Fish during the fourth rubber of the Davis Cup tie between USA and Spain at the Frank Erwin Center on July 10, 2011 in Austin, Texas.

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Saturday, July 9, 2011

Aussie Ebden chalks up Newport win

Posted July 6, 2011 11:26:00

Australia's Matthew Ebden is through to the second round of the ATP Hall of Fame Championships in Newport with an upset win over fourth seed Ryan Sweeting.

Ebden knocked off the American 6-4, 6-2 and next takes on unknown German Mattias Bachinger.

John Isner, top seed for the first time in an ATP World Tour event, also had an easy passage through to the next round, dismissing Slovakian Karol Beck 6-3, 6-2.

It was the big American's first ever win in the tournament following two consecutive first-round exits.

He is bidding to become the first top seed to take out the tournament since Vijay Amritraj claimed the inaugural edition way back in 1976.

Isner next takes on veteran Frenchman Arnaud Clement, who eclipsed last year's quarter-finalist Ryan Harrison 6-4, 6-1.

Frenchman Nicolas Mahut, a finalist in 2007, crushed Argentine Sebastian Decoud 6-1, 6-0 to book a second-round clash with sixth seed Olivier Rochus of Belgium.

Meanwhile at the WTA Swedish Open, Australia's Olivia Rogowska bowed out 6-2, 7-5 at the hands of Italian second seed Flavia Pennetta.

Top-ranked Dane Caroline Wozniacki advanced with a 6-4, 6-4 defeat of France's Alize Cornet.

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Aussie Ebden into Newport quarters

Updated July 7, 2011 13:20:00

Australia's Matthew Ebden advanced to the quarter-finals of the Hall of Fame Championships in Newport after a three-set win in the second round.

Ebden took down unknown German Matthias Bachinger 2-6, 6-4, 6-4 to set up a last-eight clash with Belgian Olivier Rochus.

The sixth seed recorded a 6-4, 7-6 (7-3) victory over Frenchman Nicolas Mahut.

Top seed John Isner of the United States eliminated Arnaud Clement 7-6 (8-6), 6-4 and next takes on compatriot Alex Bogomolov Jnr, who beat Belgian Ruben Bemelmans 2-6, 6-0, 6-1.

The other two quarter-finals will pit France's Edouard Roger-Vasselin against eight-seeded German Tobias Kamke and American qualifier Michael Yani against compatriot and wildcard Denis Kudla.

Meanwhile, top-ranked Caroline Wozniacki retired from her second-round match at the Swedish Open against local favourite Sofia Arvidsson because of a shoulder injury.

Wozniacki won the first set 6-2 and lost the opening game of the second when she was forced to quit.

Second-ranked Flavia Pennetta progressed with a 6-2, 6-3 defeat of Germany's Angelique Kerber.

Tags: sport, tennis, australia, united-states

First posted July 7, 2011 13:00:00

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The Drum - Friday 8 July

Published:Friday, July 8, 2011 6:05 AESTExpires:Thursday, October 6, 2011 6:05 AEST

Peter Wilkins hosts a discussion with actor and writer Brendan Cowell, Amanda Shalala from the Daily Telegraph, Steve Robilliard from ABC TV Sport and rugby league author Neil Cadigan.

Tags: australian-football-league, cycling, golf, nrl, rugby-union, world-cup, tennis, state-of-origin, australia, france, england

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Tomic takes it to China

Tomic takes it to China

Published:Friday, July 8, 2011 10:44 AEST

Bernard Tomic of Australia returns a shot to Zhang Ze of China during day one of the 2011 Davis Cup in Beijing on July 8, 2011.

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Counting Down the Many Benefits of Tennis for Kids

Agassi gets Hall of Fame nod

Posted July 8, 2011 06:32:00

Eight-time grand slam singles champion Andre Agassi will be inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame this weekend.

Agassi, among only seven men to achieve a career singles Grand Slam, spent 101 weeks ranked number one in the world during a 20-year career that also included a 1996 Atlanta Olympic singles title.

The 41-year-old American is the husband of another Hall of Famer, 2004 inductee Steffi Graf.

"I'm truly honoured to be recognised alongside the greatest players of tennis," Agassi said.

"Tennis has given me everything in my life. It has given me my wife. My tennis career afforded me the opportunity to make a difference in other people's lives."

The induction will come in a ceremony during the semi-finals of the ATP Hall of Fame Championships grasscourt event.

"We are looking forward to a great weekend at the International Tennis Hall of Fame as we celebrate the induction of one of the most exciting athletes of our sport," Hall of Fame chief executive Mark Stenning said.

Agassi won 60 career titles, including the 1995, 2000, 2002 and 2003 Australian Opens, the 1994 and 1999 US Opens, the 1992 Wimbledon and 1999 French Open crowns.

Agassi's 1999 French Open triumph made him the first man to have won a career Grand Slam on three different surfaces - grass, clay and hardcourt.

Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, Don Budge, Roy Emerson, Rod Laver and Fred Perry are the other men to complete the career Grand Slam.

Agassi, who played for Davis Cup-winning US teams in 1990 and 1992, turned professional at age 16 in 1986, won his first ATP crown the following year and retired in 2006 after a third-round loss at the US Open.


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Tomic levels Davis Cup tie

Updated July 8, 2011 22:21:00

In-form Bernard Tomic pulled Australia level in its Davis Cup Asia-Oceania tie against China in Beijing after debutant Marinko Matosevic suffered a heartbreaking five-set loss.

Matosevic led one set to love and two sets to one before going down 4-6, 6-3, 3-6, 6-4, 6-4 to Di Wu.

Wimbledon quarter-finalist Tomic overcame a second-set blip to beat Ze Zhang 6-3, 5-7, 6-4, 6-4.

Lleyton Hewitt and Chris Guccione will contest Saturday's doubles rubber against Mao-Xin Gong and Zhe Li.

Melburnian Matosevic, who beat Wu in Caloundra earlier this year and is ranked 263 places higher than him at 141, was disappointed he could not close out his match.

"I was just very nervous out there and I made too many unforced errors," Matosevic said.

"I think I have just got to learn to cope with the moment better in a high intensity environment like Davis Cup.

"I was two sets to one and 1-0 up and had 15-40 and a few break points but I just couldn't do it, I made too many errors today."

Tomic, who at 71 is ranked 311 places higher than Zhang, improved his Davis Cup singles record to 3-0.

Tomic said he played much better at Wimbledon than he did on Friday.

"It was a very good learning experience for me and a lot tougher than I thought it was going to be," he said.

"He played pretty well today, so I am happy that I won it and that it's one-all now.

"I need to improve my concentration for the game on Sunday."

Captain Pat Rafter did not rule out bringing in Hewitt for the reverse singles on Sunday.

"There's a possibility he could play singles, but we have to wait and see how he goes in the doubles tomorrow first," he said.

He joked he would not have taken the job if he had known it was going to be so hard.

"The Chinese players are very disciplined and they are very tough and they make you beat them and I am very impressed with the way they went about it, they did a very good job," Rafter said.

"It was a bit tough for M (Matosevic) and Bernard was very lucky in the end to get through that match, but you have to give a lot of credit to the Chinese boys - I thought they were very, very tough today."


Tags: sport, tennis, australia, china

First posted July 8, 2011 20:19:00

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The World of Tennis - The Transformation of a Gentleman's Game

Friday, July 8, 2011

Teaching Kids How to Play Tennis

Teaching Kids How to Play TennisCoach Dick Gould makes learning the basic skills and strategies of tennis easy and fun! He provides the students with step-by-step instruction, designed to develop their confidence and skill level. Among the topics covered on this DVD are: racquet control drills, forehand, backhand, movement drills, rally drills, practice games, net play, serving and how to keep score. This comprehensive DVD is an invaluable guide for young players, parents and coaches. 81 minutes. 2006.

About the Coach: Few coaches in the history of any sport have been able to reach the level of success that Dick Gould has achieved at Stanford. After coaching for 38 years and winning 17 national titles, Coach Gould retired at the end of the 2003-04 season and assumed the position of Director of Tennis. Coach Gould was named the Intercollegiate Tennis Association Coach of the Decade in the 1980’s and again in the 1990’s.

Price: $30.00

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The Fundamentals of Tennis: Complete Set, Professional Tennis Instruction and Lessons

The Fundamentals of Tennis: Complete Set, Professional Tennis Instruction and LessonsThe Fundamentals of Tennis DVD series is the essential tennis lesson package for those wishing to play at their highest potential. Tennis Professional Mike Pratt breaks down all aspects of the modern game for each stroke, packed with hitting sessions, examples, tips, slow motions, and matrix effects that make learning the strokes quickly and easily. Order all the videos together for incredible savings! Makes the perfect gift for the tennis enthusiast!

Each DVD is a comprehensive guide to achieving a beautiful and powerful modern tennis stroke. The lessons provide professional step-by-step instruction that make the strokes easy to follow and even fun to watch. This is an excellent resource for all those players wishing to build the perfect tennis foundation for racking up match wins. Basic enough for complete beginners to follow yet so thorough that advanced players will keep watching to improve their games. The complete set offers all three of our revolutionary professional tennis instruction videos!

The Fundamentals of Tennis Complete Boxed Set includes:

1) A Winning Serve

2) A Winning Backhand

3) A Winning Forehand

These tennis lessons are unmatched in visual quality and visual aids. Overlay footage, slow motion effects, hitting sessions after each segment, as well as our unique rotating matrix effects are wonderful for understanding body positioning for each part of the stroke, making learning easy and fun.

Own this revolutionary tennis set at an unbelievable price today. Read each DVD's individual description on to learn more!

Price: $49.95

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Junior champ home from Wimbledon

Published:Tuesday, July 5, 2011 7:26 AESTExpires:Monday, October 3, 2011 7:26 AEST

Queensland's 15-year-old tennis champion Ash Barty has returned home to celebrate with loved ones.

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Tags: tennis, brisbane-4000

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Wimbledon champ Barty reunites with idol

Published:Wednesday, July 6, 2011 7:25 AESTExpires:Tuesday, October 4, 2011 7:25 AEST

Wimbledon girls' singles title winner Ashleigh Barty has been congratulated by her tennis idol Evonne Goolagong-Cawley after returning home to Brisbane.

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Thursday, July 7, 2011

Queenslander Barty into girls' final

Posted July 2, 2011 22:52:00

Queensland's Ashleigh Barty has the chance to become Australia's first winner of the Wimbledon girls' title in more than three decades on Sunday.

The 15-year-old booked a spot in the final with a 6-4, 6-1 victory over Indy De Vroome of the Netherlands.

Debbie Freeman is the only Australian to have won the girls' title back in 1980.


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Weekend Half Time

The show which aired 26/06/2011

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(duration: 54:49; filesize: 24.9)

Presented by Cameron Green and Sacha Mirzabegian

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Schiavone keeps lid on resurgent Dokic

Updated June 21, 2011 06:22:00

French Open finalist Francesa Schiavone survived a stern first round test on Tuesday morning from Australia's rejuvenated Jelena Dokic, who showed flashes of the old magic as she returned to Wimbledon's Centre Court.

Australian number three Dokic, who is rebuilding her troubled career, had the world number seven reeling in the second set before a rain break interrupted her flow and Schiavone came back to win 6-4, 1-6, 6-3 under the Centre Court roof.

Schiavone, so at home sliding around on clay, finds it tougher going on grass and her best performance here was reaching the quarter-finals in 2009.

Dokic, 28, is rebuilding her career and this was her first Wimbledon Centre Court appearance in nearly a decade. She has made the main draw here only twice in the past seven years but gave Schiavone a tough examination.

Dokic won just one tour match last year but won Kuala Lumpur in February - her first title since Birmingham in 2002.

Dokic burst on the scene at Wimbledon's Centre Court in 1999 when, as a qualifier, she knocked out the top seed Martina Hingis. She went on to reach the semi-finals the following year.

Dokic reached fourth in the world rankings in 2002 but her well-documented problems with her father took their toll and she fell to finishing the 2006 season at number 621.

In what ended up as only the fourth match completed under the Centre Court roof, the Australian seemed in her element, throwing in the odd chip and letting her hard-hitting, flat strokes do the talking.

The first set went to 4-4 before Schiavone broke to take it 6-4. Dokic then surged into form to take the second set 6-1.

The players were dead level, at 1-1 and deuce on Schiavone's serve in the deciding set, when heavy rain began to fall.

The Centre Court roof was sent into action, just five hours into the tournament. The translucent roof takes 10 minutes to close and a further 30 minutes for the climatic conditions inside to stablilise.

Dokic had been in full flow but the break halted her momentum and the Italian number one returned the better for the short rest.

Schiavone broke for a 3-1 lead when Dokic fired wide but the Australian broke back immediately to love.

The Italian had a break point at 4-3 up and won it when Dokic double-faulted to leave her serving for the match.

Dokic, still full of fight, had break points four times but Schiavone hung on and moved to match point with a powerful ace.

She shot long to take it back to deuce then earned a second match point, winning it when Dokic hit a return long.

After the match, Dokic said she thought the rain break affected her momentum.

"I did lose some momentum. She did a couple things differently that she didn't do up until that point," she said.

She said she was disappointed at her second opening round exit in a row at a grand slam, considering her good form at other tournaments this year.

"It will hurt for a couple days," she said.

"I'll be thinking about, you know, what I could have done differently. I was just unlucky today.

"She came up with a few great shots when she really, really needed to, that usually maybe she wouldn't have.

"For me it was the other way around. So, yeah just disappointing."

Schiavone faces either Barbora Zahlavova Strycova of the Czech Republic or Canadian qualifier Aleksandra Wozniak in the second round. Their match did not get underway Monday due to the rain.


Tags: sport, tennis, england

First posted June 21, 2011 05:53:00

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The Drum - Friday 24 June

Published:Friday, June 24, 2011 6:05 AESTExpires:Thursday, September 22, 2011 6:05 AEST

Peter Wilkins hosts a sports discussion with Jessica Halloran from the Sunday Telegraph, Cameron Green from ABC News Radio and AFL author Tony Wilson.

Tags: grief, unions, australian-football-league, boxing, golf, nrl, socceroos, tennis, state-of-origin, australia

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Djokovic stuns Nadal at Wimbledon

Last Updated: Mon, 4 Jul 2011 02:22:00 +1000

Novak Djokovic won his first Wimbledon title on Sunday, dethroning champion Rafael Nadal to celebrate his coronation as new world number one in style.

The a 6-4, 6-1, 1-6, 6-3 triump was the 24-year-old Serb's third grand slam title, to add to his 2008 and 2011 Australian Open victories, and 50th win his past 51 matches.

Djokovic, who will succeed Nadal as world number one on Monday, also denied the Spaniard, the champion here in 2008 and 2010, an 11th grand slam title.

"This is the best day of my life, this is the tournament I always dreamed of winning," the Serb said following the presentation ceremony.

"When you are playing the best player in the world, Rafa Nadal, I had to play at the top of my game and I think I played my best match on grass."

Djokovic went into the final with a 11-16 losing record against Nadal over their five-year rivalry but having won all four of their clashes in 2011 and all in finals.

Serve dominated until the 10th game when from 30-0 up Nadal handed his opponent a set point with a forehand error which Djokovic gobbled up, forcing another wild forehand out of the Spaniard to take the opener after 41 minutes.

The Serb had been the more convincing in the rallies and Nadal, who committed just seven unforced errors in his semi-final win over Andy Murray, was already up to eight by the time Djokovic was 1-0 ahead in the second set.

Djokovic was taking control of the final and was a break up at 2-0 when he brilliantly anticipated a Nadal drop shot before scampering across court to execute a wonderful, wrong-footing backhand.

The Serb broke again for a 5-1 lead when a powerful drive left Nadal scrambling and off-balance, and he could only pat the return wide.

A confident hold to love gave Djokovic the set 6-1 when Nadal found the net.

But Nadal, who had won all five of the pair's previous grand slam clashes, carved out his first break points of the final in the second game of the third set to open a 2-0 lead which was soon 3-0 courtesy of a confident love service game.

Djokovic served up a first double fault to be broken again in the sixth game before Nadal pulled off a third successive love game to take the set.

The Serb saved a break point in the first game of the fourth set and made the most of his reprieve with a break to lead 2-0.

But a net cord fell in Nadal's favour and gave him the break back in the third game.

A subdued Nadal then slipped 3-5 down as a brilliant defensive rally from Djokovic forced an error from the Spaniard.

The trophy was the Serb's when on his first match point when Nadal went long with a backhand.


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Wimbledon Highs and Lows: Day Four

By Steve Pearce at Wimbledon

Posted June 24, 2011 09:03:00
Updated June 24, 2011 09:19:00

OK. Lleyton Hewitt. This is the match Australian tennis fans have been waiting for since the draw was made nearly a week ago here at the All England Club. The 2002 champion against the number five seed. And of course it's on Centre Court.

Now Hewitt is on an awful run both on and off the court. Injuries have nearly crippled the former world number one, but he keeps battling on despite a ranking that is in freefall. His record here is amazingly consistent. He's reached the third round or better for the last eight years, ever since that stunning first-round loss to Ivo Karlevic as defending champion in 2003. That said, he's only once got past the quarter-finals other than in 2002, and that was six years ago when he lost to eventual winner Roger Federer in the semi-finals.

The tightest of first sets goes the way of Hewitt in a tie-break, with the Australian in good form, although neither player faced or gained a break point, so there's little in it.

While this is all happening on Centre, women's defending champion Serena Williams has continued her topsy-turvy week with a come-from-behind win over Romanian Simon Halep. German Julia Goerges has also won, which I only mention because she is a very good young player, and an outside chance to challenge for the title. She's also very pretty which gets her plenty of attention too, but it's her tennis that's really getting her noticed by most. Anyway, back to Centre Court.

Hewitt's really warming to this. At 3-2 up on serve, he forces two break points, the first of the match, which Soderling saves, one with an ace. But Hewitt is dictating terms with his greater court nous and he's moving the Swede around the court and out of his comfort zone. Then comes the moment of the match and the shot of the tournament so far. On his third break-point at 4-3, Hewitt makes a great return which just drops in. Soderling then thumps his backhand for what he thinks is a certain winner across the court but somehow a scampering Hewitt gets a racquet on the ball and falling over he hits a stunning winner from outside the tramlines. This is vintage stuff. Serving for the set, he makes no mistake, and against all the odds leads by two sets.

The third set continues much as the first two, with very little in it, but Hewitt just in control, physically and tactically. As the match continues, Novak Djokovic is through on Court One, but nobody is looking in any other direction than at Centre. Can Hewitt do it?

Not yet. Serving behind at 5-6 proves too much of a strain and the first sloppy service game of the afternoon hands Soderling his first break points and two set points. He only needs one and we're going to four under the roof.

In the press room, Serena is bleating about her scheduling on Court Two, which she does most times when she's put there. Pretty tiresome really, although of course, she's right - they'd never put Federer or Nadal there. But commercial realities can be harsh. Sharapova v Robson clearly has great interest in the UK and is on Court One, and the French Open champion and third seed Li Na has every right to be put on Centre. So is it about her or about women? There's the facts, you decide. Truly, you would have thought she would have learned there are more important things in life. Anyway.

All is as it has been on Centre. Two breaks of serve all afternoon, and none yet in the fourth . But the pressure of serving from behind again gets to Hewitt, who's lost the momentum in the match and some of the control as Soderling works his way back into it. The Swede levels it with his second set point after a 40 minute set and we're going the distance. The veteran Australian must find a way back into the match, and he'll be serving second which has hurt him in the last two sets. He's produced three of the best shots you'd want to see, but he could be on his way out.

And that's exactly what happens. Hewitt manages the break, but then makes the cardinal error of handing it straight back and when the crunch moment comes to serve to stay in the match at 4-5, his service crumples and he's broken to love. The match goes the way of the Swede, just.

Serving first in the deciding three sets helped him, no doubt, but probably more so is just the fact that that Hewitt couldn't maintain the standard of the first two sets and Soderling gets some free points with his thumping serve and booming forehand.

So, we're down to two Australians in the singles and it's only Thursday. Jarmila Gajdosova is a set up in her match and Tomic is yet to go on court as the heavens open again and for the umpteenth time this week, play is suspended.

When the players come back onto court, I have to tell you it is FREEZING! This cannot be summer, although I did grow up here so you'd think I'd be ready for this sort of climate, but after the last two years of 25 degrees every day, this is a rude shock.

Anyway, Gajdosova is through now. She did it easily in the end as you may have expected she would. It's third round time for Jarka now, the last 32 players, so she's reached the point where she was supposed to. It's Caroline Wozniacki next. Probably. The top seed didn't get on court today against France's Virginie Razzano but when she does tomorrow she should beat her and set up a Saturday match with our girl.

Well, she is ours now isn't she?

So, Hewitt out. Not up, not down, but out. He still remains positive about his future, and you have to respect him for that. He's talking Davis Cup in China, and then the American hard court swing leading up to the US Open. Let's hope that foot heals well.

Bernard Tomic is now on court and after not too long finds himself two sets down against Russian Igor Andreev. A man who for many years dated Maria Kirilenko; a fact that he was almost better known for than his tennis. Anyway, he's playing pretty well, against my predictions, and Bernie doesn't look like he's enjoying the weather much at all.

But from somewhere he finds the will to fight his way back into the match and grabs the third set to keep his Wimbledon campaign going just as the sun is setting in London. Not that we have really seen it all day, or we would all be a lot warmer than we are.

So, back tomorrow for Tomic and Andreev to decide who will meet Robin Soderling in the third round.

Surprise of the day goes to Sabine Lisicki for knocking out Li Na, the third seed and French Open champion. Li had two match points and twice served for the match, but the German managed to win. Now that is a serious boost for the injury-prone 21-year-old, and a serious reality check for Li after two consecutive major finals.

And comeback of the day has to go to Soderling. To be two sets down against Hewitt takes a big effort to come back and win. That's a big upside for the Swede, who may yet still be given the task of ending Australia's involvement in the men's singles here for 2011. On today's performance it's an opportunity he'd clearly relish.

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Wednesday, July 6, 2011

London summer hits Wimbledon

London summer arives at Wimbledon

Published:Tuesday, June 21, 2011 4:38 AEST

A tennis fan uses her umbrella to shelter from the rain on the first day of the 2011 Wimbledon tennis championships in south-west London, on June 20, 2011.

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Media Call: Lleyton Hewitt

Published:Monday, June 20, 2011 11:06 AESTExpires:Sunday, September 18, 2011 11:06 AEST

Australian tennis player Lleyton Hewitt said it has been hard over the past few days to get a feel for the outdoor conditions in the lead-up to Wimbledon with wet weather hampering preparations.

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Saville takes Wimbledon glory

Saville takes Wimbledon glory

Published:Sunday, July 3, 2011 6:01 AEST

Australia's Luke Saville kisses the trophy after beating Britain's Liam Broady in the boys' final of the 2011 Wimbledon Championships at the All England Tennis Club on July 2, 2011.

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Tennis Coaching DVD - from Lleyton Hewitt's Coach Peter Smith - 'The Development Stage' by Virtual Tennis Coach

Tennis Coaching DVD - from Lleyton Hewitt's Coach Peter Smith - 'The Development Stage' by Virtual Tennis Coach

South Australian Peter Smith has 40 years experience as a Teaching Professional. Twice voted Australian Tennis Coach of the Year,
Peter is most widely known as the long term coach of former World No. 1 and Wimbledon Champion Lleyton Hewitt.

His debut coaching DVD looks at 'The Development Stage' and provides simple, effective coaching advice for anyone interested in
learning to play tennis. As a tutorial for developing players, this DVD is a sound investment, as the instruction is simple, easy to
understand and, more importantly, easy to implement. Covering all the essential basic stokes and their variations, the DVD is
delivered in a beautifully designed folding sleeve featuring overviews of the main teaching points.

DVD Chapters

Serve, Forehand, Backhand, Volleys, Smash, Backhand & Forehand slice, a guide to grips

DVD Extras

Interviews with some of Peter Smith's former pupils including:

Lleyton Hewitt Former World No.1, US Open and Wimbledon Champion

John Fitzgerald Former World No.1 (doubles), current Australian Davis Cup Captain

Darren Cahill Coach to Andre Agassi

Roger Rasheed Coach to Gail Monfils

A Tribute to the late Peter Carter Coach to Roger Federer

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"In my mind he's the best technical coach out there"
Lleyton Hewitt
Former World No. 1, US Open and Wimbledon Champion

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in Australia in the past two decades in terms of producing world class players"

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Former World No.1 (doubles), current Australian Davis Cup Captain

"This DVD is a sound investment. The instruction is simple, easy to understand and, more importantly, easy to implement".
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Price: $29.99

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Youzhny head over heels at Wimbledon

Youzhny head over heels at Wimbledon

Published:Tuesday, June 28, 2011 8:30 AEST

Mikhail Youzhny slips as he tries to hit a return to Roger Federer during Wimbledon on June 27, 2011.

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Media Call: Pat Rafter

Published:Wednesday, June 29, 2011 9:17 AESTExpires:Tuesday, September 27, 2011 9:17 AEST

Pat Rafter talks about Australia's Davis Cup team to play China and Bernard Tomic's chances against Novak Djokovic in Wimbledon.

Tags: sport, tennis, australia, china, england

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Dokic ready to chase top-30 spot

Updated June 21, 2011 15:45:00

Jelena Dokic still believes she is on track to be seeded at next year's Australian Open despite her return to Wimbledon Centre Court ending in heartache.

The 28-year-old's gripping three-set loss to 2010 French Open champion Francesca Schiavone marked her sixth opening round exit in eight majors.

The result was particularly painful as Dokic has made such great strides this year, winning a WTA tour event in Malaysia and reaching the final in a lead-up tournament in the Netherlands last week.

"My next goal would be (reaching the) top 30 (in the world), being (ranked) 45 now," she said.

"I will try to get that, work hard for that until the end of the year.

"I would like to be seeded at the Australian Open to avoid first rounds like this.

"Maybe if I played her in the third round or something, then, you know, you have even more matches (and it) would have been different.

"I'm in a position where I can kind of think about that now."

Since her heartwarming run to the quarter-finals at the 2009 Australian Open, Dokic has only won two matches at eight majors.

But Schiavone had no doubt that Dokic could continue her climb up the rankings, the Australian having already elevated her status from 135 to 45 this year.

"Of course she can," she said.

"She can play really well.

"But, you know, tennis is a very special sport, so you have to play every tournament at a high level for years and years.

"So I think she's coming back, but she needs more time.

"For example, today in the third set, she had opportunity and she didn't catch."

Dokic had defeated Schiavone in their previous three encounters and favoured her chances at the All England Club, easily her most successful major venue.

But as the Italian showed in her win over Samantha Stosur at last year's French Open final, she has a knack of grinding out wins against much more gifted opponents.

Schiavone, this month's Roland Garros runners-up, is not renowned for her play on grass but prevailed 6-4, 1-6, 6-3 with the match completed under the roof following afternoon showers.

Despite rolling her ankle in the second set, Dokic looked to be in control of the contest before rain hit with the scores level at 1-1 in the deciding set.

Following a 50-minute delay as the roof was closed and time allowed for the appropriate conditions, sixth seed Schiavone showed all of her cunning by readjusting her game.

She became more positive and used her slice to unsettle Dokic after the Australian had pummelled her with her booming ground strokes in the second set.

"For me it was fantastic," Schiavone said about the break.


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First posted June 21, 2011 15:05:00

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Tomic charges into final 16

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Australian Broadcasting Corporation

Broadcast: 26/06/2011

Bernard Tomic has become the first 18-year-old in 21 years to make the top 16 at Wimbledon.

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Wimbledon Highs and Lows: Day Three

By Steve Pearce at Wimbledon

Posted June 23, 2011 10:21:00
Updated June 23, 2011 10:25:00

Venus Williams has had some highs and lows in her career. She's a five-time winner of this very tournament and around the turn of the century, she was the most dominant player in the game. It was a time when she also added a couple of United States Open crowns.

Now 31 and on her way back after six months out of the game with injury, she's through to play Japanese veteran Kimiko Date-Krumm on Centre Court.

As is normal for Wimbledon this year, it's raining of course, but these days, that doesn't stop anything on the main arena.

Nobody gave the 40-year-old much of a chance against Venus, but those are the best times for an upset are they not? And Kimiko clearly agrees.

She races away to a big lead in the first set, it's 3-0, then 5-1, and the tennis from the veteran is outstanding. Date-Krumm blows her first chance for the set with a pair of double-faults, Williams won't give in and she fights and blasts her way back to 5-4. The stage is set. She has a third set point, but Williams finds the angles to take the point, and it's back to deuce. Now a break-point for 5-5....and a netted volley gets us back on serve.

It's high-level tennis and Williams is sensing blood... she forces a set point of her own at 30-40 on the Date-Krumm serve. Can she complete the comeback? Not yet. A point for the breaker. 54 minutes in and nothing can separate them. But this will.

D-K (I have to shorten this!) has the early advantage at 3-0. Now it's 4-1. Then a stunning winner from D-K gives her four set points. Make that three. And now two. A backhand wide and we're back to one. A big serve and it's time to change ends again. D-K then somehow grabs an eigth set point with a forehand that just catches the line, by coincidentally an eighth of an inch. Then finally a backhand error into the net and D-K takes the first set. Outstanding.

Let's get a bit of background. D-K made the semi-finals here in 1996, losing to Steffi Graf. Yes, 1996. She reached number four in the world a lifetime ago. She took 12 years off, and then came back in May 2008. She won a WTA singles title in 2009, the day before her 39th birthday, and made another final last year in Osaka. It's a great story. Right, now we're all up to speed, let's press on as this is good.

Williams goes a break of serve up early in the second set and despite some rocky moments, she holds onto it until setting up a set point at 30-40 and 3-5 on the D-K serve. Williams is largely in control now with her forehand dictating the play, she misses the first set point with a smash into the net, but grabs her second chance and we're level.

Williams knows a thing or two about grass and she takes the early break in the decider. But almost astonishingly D-K has a break point at 0-2 and Williams double-faults. Two hours and 11 minutes in D-K serves her first ace on break point down. It's been that sort of match. Now it's a fifth break point at 1-2... but it too slips by for Williams. Six saved. Nine minutes in this game and it's back to deuce. And after 10 minutes and six break points it's 2-2.

At 5-5, the level of the tennis is back to where we were in the first set, although maybe the tiredness is beginning to set in as both players make a couple of mistakes. But this has been a physically draining match. And it's 5-6 and D-K must serve to stay alive again. She does but the problem with serving second is that unless you break serve you are always up against it. Just ask Nicolas Mahut... if you dare.

6-7, 0-15, then a forehand long and 0-30, the pressure builds, 15-30 as Williams goes long... then a mishit forehand five minutes short of three hours, it's two match points for Williams and she grabs her chance as D-K goes wide with the pass. 6-7, 6-3, 8-6. Best match so far this year... two hours and 56 minutes.

Andy Murray is really giving German Tobias Kamke the run-around on court one. It's just one of those mismatches, not of seismic proportions, but enough to be very comfortable for Murray.

Midway through the third (and final) set, Kamke ends up on his backside as Murray strolls back to win another point. There is no upside in this for the German. Enough said and Murray takes the match, albeit with a bit of a wobble at the end.

It's time to take a wander down to the outside courts to consider the fortunes of the two Aussies playing today. Both weren't Australian two years ago, but in the parochial nature of international sport, that is hardly relevant. Aussie, Aussie, Aussie, etc.

Jarmila Gajdosova (more recently Groth until her split with Sam) wasn't in the mood to hang around against a decidedly thin and unwell looking Alona Bondarenko. She did though find herself a break down in the first set at 4-5, and in a degree of trouble. But Jarka (as she's known) is a fighter, and she takes the next three games and the set. Bondarenko is consistent in a sort of Davydenko-type of way, but much as Bernie was always the winner yesterday, so Jarka was today. It was just a matter of time, and not much of that elapsed before she was through on a blustery court 10 7-5, 6-3.

Things are looking up for Gajdosova, but not so for the other former East European to join our ranks Anastasia Rodionova. She was thumped 6-1, 6-2 by Andrea Hlavackova, who'll now meet Jarka in the second round.

So one from two, and overall three from seven. Neither good nor bad really. We shall see how they all fare from here.

On the way back, one of the bright up-and-coming stars of the women's game, German Julia Georges, thrashes her opponent to move into the second round. That's what the outside courts offer you really... a chance to see three matches in the space of an hour or so. Well sort of.

But the day belongs to Venus and Kimiko. Great match. Full of drama and plenty of highs and lows. What else could anyone want? Oh, and Rafa got through too.

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Wozniacki ramps up Wimbledon sexism row

Updated June 24, 2011 23:14:00

World number one Caroline Wozniacki added to the growing controversy over Wimbledon's decision to banish leading female stars to the outside courts as the Dane insisted she deserved to play on Centre Court.

Wozniacki was the latest woman to be scheduled away from the All England Club's two main show courts while lower ranked players like Feliciano Lopez and Daniela Huntuchova were placed on Centre Court on Friday.

Defending women's champion Serena Williams launched a scathing attack on club officials, effectively accusing them of sexism, after she and sister Venus - who have nine Wimbledon titles between them - were both sent to play on Court Two this week.

Wozniacki ignored her exile on Court Two to beat France's Virginie Razzano 6-1, 6-3 and set up a third round clash against Australian 27th seed Jarmila Gajdosova.

But the 20-year-old was unhappy at being shoved out to the far reaches of the complex and said: "Obviously I think I deserve to play on one of the bigger courts.

"Hopefully my next match I'll have the chance to play on one of the bigger ones. We have to see."

The main reason why so many top women have played away from Centre Court and Court One is the All England Club's unofficial policy of having two men's matches in the three ties scheduled on each of the show courts.

Wozniacki claims that is unfair and she added: "I think everyone wants to play on Centre Court. I think some days it would be nice if there were two women's matches in there.

"It's tradition and I think the traditions are tough to change here. It's Wimbledon, so you never know. Here you just need to play.

"It's up to the tournament to decide where we're going to play. I just go out there and I try to win.

"Serena played on Court 2 and she's won here so many times. So if she can play on Court 2, then I guess I can too."

Wozniacki has failed to make it past the Wimbledon fourth round in four attempts.

But the 20-year-old needed 59 minutes to win her first round match and she made short work of dispatching Razzano in just over an hour.

Razzano played the recent French Open in honour of her fiance and coach Stephane Vidal, who died from a brain tumour last month.

The world number 96 is determined not to let the tragedy ruin her career and she enjoyed a gritty three-set victory over India's Sania Mirza in the first round.

But she never looked likely to shock Wozniacki after losing the first set in emphatic fashion.

Wozniacki's power and precision was too much for Razzano to handle and the Dane broke for a 3-1 lead in the second set before serving out the match.


Tags: sport, tennis, united-kingdom, england

First posted June 24, 2011 23:00:00

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Isner, Mahut reunite at Wimbledon

Isner, Mahut reunite at Wimbledon

Published:Wednesday, June 22, 2011 10:48 AEST

John Isner and Nicolas Mahut hug after their first round match on day two of Wimbledon on June 21, 2011. Isner won the match 7-6, 6-2, 7-6.

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Sharapova, Lisicki set-up big-hitting semi

Updated June 29, 2011 08:11:00

Big-hitting duo Maria Sharapova and Sabine Lisicki set-up a mouth-watering Wimbledon semi-final on Wednesday morning with the Russian golden girl impressively hammering home her title credentials.

Fifth seed Sharapova, the 2004 champion, and now the overwhelming favourite for the title following the fourth round defeats of Serena and Venus Williams, brushed aside Slovakia's Dominika Cibulkova 6-1, 6-1 in her quarter-final.

Lisicki, the first German woman to make the semi-finals since Steffi Graf in 1999, and only the second wildcard to reach the last four, saw off French ninth seed Marion Bartoli 6-4, 6-7 (4-7), 6-1.

Cibulkova, who had stunned world number one and top seed Caroline Wozniacki in the last 16, never looked like repeating that upset against Sharapova.

"It's an honour to be in the semi-final. It's a few years since I've got past the fourth round so it's a great chance to take it a step further," said Sharapova, who believes she has got stronger as the tournament has progressed.

"I certainly feel like I've improved, especially from my second round. I think that's really important if you want to get to the later stages," she said.

"You have to step it up because the matches will only get tougher and you're going to be playing better players."

Lisicki, whose career went into a tailspin when an ankle injury left her barely able to walk, is determined to capitalise on her shock run, just in case it's her last opportunity.

The 21-year-old recovered from wasting three match points in the second set to defeat Bartoli, the 2007 runner-up, who had defeated four-time winner Serena Williams in the fourth round.

Lisicki had already been a quarter-finalist in 2009 before disaster struck in 2010 when an ankle injury picked up in Miami sidelined her for five months and sent her ranking plummeting to 218.

"I'm more experienced and calmer. Two years ago it was different. I was more nervous. I couldn't sleep so good," said the German.

"But now it's different. After the injury, I know how fast it can be gone. I just try to enjoy every minute that I'm on the court."

Lisicki fired 52 winners past Bartoli and hit the 121mph serving mark just as she had done when she knocked out China's French Open winner Li Na in the second round.

Thursday's other semi-final will see Czech eighth seed Petra Kvitova face Belarus's Victoria Azarenka.

Fourth seed Azarenka buried her grand slam quarter-final jinx to reach her first Wimbledon semi, defeating Austria's Tamira Paszek in a match played on two different courts.

Azarenka had lost all of her previous four quarter-finals at the majors, but the 21-year-old shook off that record to win 6-3, 6-1 against her unseeded opponent.

She dedicated the win to her mother who was celebrating her birthday on Tuesday.

"I wanted to give her a good gift, I wanted to play beautifully," said Azarenka, who has lost her last two matches to Kvitova - here in the third round in 2010 and in May's Madrid Masters final on clay.

"Petra is a great player. The grass suits her, she has a huge serve. I will have to play my best tennis."

The match had started on Court One but after Paszek had won the first game, the contest was suspended at 1820 GMT because of the slippery conditions caused by the heavy rain which had disrupted the day's schedule.

One hour later, the two players resumed the contest but this time under the roof of Centre Court.

Kvitova secured a second successive semi-final spot with a 6-3, 6-7 (5-7), 6-2 win over Bulgaria's Tsvetana Pironkova.

Kvitova, who could become the first left-hander to win the women's title since Martina Navratilova in 1990, had dropped just 15 games in her first four matches.

Pironkova, a semi-finalist last year and who put out five-time champion Venus Williams on Monday, pushed Kvitova but the 32nd seed was out-muscled.

"I am so happy to be in the semi-final. I made some mistakes in the second set and was a bit down mentally," said Kvitova.

"It's great to be back in the semi-final and now I have more experience of the Centre Court."

Jana Novotna was the last Czech woman to lift the Venus Rosewater Dish awarded to the women's champion back in 1998.


Tags: sport, tennis, england

First posted June 29, 2011 05:56:00

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Djokovic stuns Nadal at Wimbledon

Last Updated: Mon, 4 Jul 2011 02:22:00 +1000

Novak Djokovic won his first Wimbledon title on Sunday, dethroning champion Rafael Nadal to celebrate his coronation as new world number one in style.

The a 6-4, 6-1, 1-6, 6-3 triump was the 24-year-old Serb's third grand slam title, to add to his 2008 and 2011 Australian Open victories, and 50th win his past 51 matches.

Djokovic, who will succeed Nadal as world number one on Monday, also denied the Spaniard, the champion here in 2008 and 2010, an 11th grand slam title.

"This is the best day of my life, this is the tournament I always dreamed of winning," the Serb said following the presentation ceremony.

"When you are playing the best player in the world, Rafa Nadal, I had to play at the top of my game and I think I played my best match on grass."

Djokovic went into the final with a 11-16 losing record against Nadal over their five-year rivalry but having won all four of their clashes in 2011 and all in finals.

Serve dominated until the 10th game when from 30-0 up Nadal handed his opponent a set point with a forehand error which Djokovic gobbled up, forcing another wild forehand out of the Spaniard to take the opener after 41 minutes.

The Serb had been the more convincing in the rallies and Nadal, who committed just seven unforced errors in his semi-final win over Andy Murray, was already up to eight by the time Djokovic was 1-0 ahead in the second set.

Djokovic was taking control of the final and was a break up at 2-0 when he brilliantly anticipated a Nadal drop shot before scampering across court to execute a wonderful, wrong-footing backhand.

The Serb broke again for a 5-1 lead when a powerful drive left Nadal scrambling and off-balance, and he could only pat the return wide.

A confident hold to love gave Djokovic the set 6-1 when Nadal found the net.

But Nadal, who had won all five of the pair's previous grand slam clashes, carved out his first break points of the final in the second game of the third set to open a 2-0 lead which was soon 3-0 courtesy of a confident love service game.

Djokovic served up a first double fault to be broken again in the sixth game before Nadal pulled off a third successive love game to take the set.

The Serb saved a break point in the first game of the fourth set and made the most of his reprieve with a break to lead 2-0.

But a net cord fell in Nadal's favour and gave him the break back in the third game.

A subdued Nadal then slipped 3-5 down as a brilliant defensive rally from Djokovic forced an error from the Spaniard.

The trophy was the Serb's when on his first match point when Nadal went long with a backhand.


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Nadal returns ball to Sweeting

Nadal returns ball to Sweeting

Published:Thursday, June 23, 2011 10:39 AEST

Rafael Nadal returns the ball to US player Ryan Sweeting at the Wimbledon Tennis Championships at the All England Tennis Club in London on June 22, 2011.

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Serena, Sharapova on semis collision course

Updated June 26, 2011 06:12:00

Defending champion Serena Williams and 2004 winner Maria Sharapova remained on a Wimbledon semi-final collision course as only six of the top 10 seeds made the fourth round.

Four-time winner Williams, who needs to make the semi-finals to avoid dropping out of the top 100, eased past Russia's Maria Kirilenko 6-3, 6-2 in easily her most dominant display at the tournament so far to reach Monday's fourth round.

Williams will face France's Marion Bartoli, the 2007 runner-up, who made the last 16 after beating Italy's Flavia Pennetta in a tense affair where she kicked her own father off court.

Seventh seeded Williams had come into her 12th Wimbledon on the back of an 11-month injury lay-off, recovering from a foot injury and life-threatening blood clots on her lungs.

But after needing three sets to see off Aravane Rezai and Simona Halep in her first two matches, the 29-year-old looked back to her best on Court One.

She fired down 10 aces and 32 winners past the outclassed 27th-seeded Kirilenko, wrapping up victory on her third match point.

"I'm feeling better and glad to still be in the tournament," said Williams.

"I just need that rhythm that I have been missing and keep serving like I did did today."

Fifth seed Sharapova saw off Klara Zakopalova of the Czech Republic 6-2, 6-3 and will tackle China's Peng Shuai for a place in the quarter-finals.

"I haven't been past the fourth round for a few years so I am happy to get where I am. I hope to go one step further and even more," said Sharapova.

"It's great to be in the second week. The opponents will get tougher but raising your level is what it's all about at the grand slams."

Peng, the only Chinese player left in the draw after the second round exits of French Open winner Li Na and Zheng Jie, reached the fourth round for the first time with a 6-2, 7-6 (7-5) win over unseeded Hungarian Melinda Czink.

Top seed Caroline Wozniacki reached the fourth round for the third successive year with a 6-3, 6-2 win over Australia's Jarmila Gajdosova.

Wozniacki, still searching for a first grand slam title, will next face Slovakian 24th seed Dominika Cibulkova who booked her last 16 place with a 6-4, 1-6, 6-3 win against German 16th seed Julia Goerges.

"I'm really happy about the way I played. Jarmila has a great game for grass with a big serve and big forehand," said the 20-year-old top seed.

Father expelled

Bartoli was involved in an extraordinary on-court bust-up with her father who she banished from the stands on her way to beating Pennetta 5-7, 6-4, 9-7.

Bartoli ordered her father and coach Walter, as well as her mother, from the court after the first set.

"I was so tired and exhausted that really I had to express my emotions somehow," said the 26-year-old Frenchwoman.

"I saw them after the match and they understood completely. It was not against them. It was just that we played a very long first set, and I was exhausted and I was tired and I was feeling worse and worse."

Two former French Open champions made their exits from the tournament.

Ana Ivanovic, the Serb 18th seed and a former world No.1, crashed out 6-2, 7-6 (7-0) at the hands of Czech world No.81 Petra Cetkovska who had not won a match on tour all year before Wimbledon.

Francesca Schiavone, the 2010 French Open winner and Roland Garros runner-up just three weeks ago, lost 3-6, 6-4, 11-9 to Austrian world No.80 Tamira Paszek.

Meanwhile, big-hitting Sabine Lisicki, who knocked out French Open champion Li Na in the second round, made the last 16 for the second time in three years by defeating Japanese qualifier Misaki Doi 6-4, 6-2.


Tags: sport, tennis, england

First posted June 25, 2011 22:55:00

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Nadal escapes serious injury

Posted June 28, 2011 21:17:00

Defending champion Rafael Nadal said on Tuesday that he will be fit to play his Wimbledon quarter-final against Mardy Fish after a scan revealed he had not suffered a serious left foot injury.

The world number one suffered the injury in the first set of Monday's last 16 win over Argentina's Juan Martin del Potro and immediately revealed that his future participation in the tournament was in doubt.

But the 25-year-old revealed on his Facebook page that he will be fit to tackle Fish on Wednesday.

"Yesterday after the match I went to take an MRI at a London hospital," he said.

"During the match I thought I had something serious. But as the match went on the pain got better and thankfully the tests don't show an injury.

"Today I will practice at 4:30pm and I'll play tomorrow. Thanks all for the support."

Nadal needed to have his left foot taped at 6-6 in the first set tie-break of Monday's Centre Court clash - won 7-6 (8-6), 3-6, 7-6 (7-4), 6-4 by Nadal - and told reporters after the match he was not optimistic about playing on Wednesday.


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Wimbledon Highs and Lows: Day Six

By Steve Pearce at Wimbledon

Posted June 26, 2011 11:42:00
Updated June 26, 2011 11:44:00

Good start by Jarka here on Centre Court. She's going for her shots (which she has to) and she's held her first service game with some ease. Now you may need some background, as we've flown straight into this.

It's day six and there's the last two Australians in action at the All England Club. One is Jarmila Gajdosova (Jarka), and the other is Bernard Tomic, but more about him later.

Let's focus on Jarka as she's first on Centre Court, after the traditional first Saturday welcome to a host of sporting stars including Australia's own 1958 champion Ashley Cooper. The welcome for the armed forces personnel who volunteer their time to help run these championships is particularly uplifting.

After the formalities it's back to the tennis. 3-2 to Wozniacki on serve in the first set. No hiccups for either player to this point and we've played 13 minutes.

A poor service game though hands Wozniacki a crucial break of serve 11 minutes later and at 5-3 she can serve for the first set. A couple of missed first serves, some poor placement on the second and a netted backhand could prove costly, and probably will.

The Australian isn't far off though at 30-all in the next game, she's in control of the next point but a beautiful back hand lob lands on the baseline and Wozniacki takes the set on the next point. At this level the margins are wafer thin, and it's going to be tough from here against the top seed.

Jarka then plays her best game of the match so far, beginning to dictate play with her deep pounding groudstrokes, moving the Dane around probing for the opening. Now can she break? The answer is not quite, but she's getting closer.

Then trouble as a backhand into the net is followed by a backhand from Wozniacki that just catches the line for love-30. A mis-hit forehand flies long and 15-40 and two break points. Two nice volleys at the net save them both.

But then another unforced error on the backhand hands a third break point to the Dane, and her incredible defence eventually forces the error from Jarka and she's a set and a break down on Centre Court.

A cross court backhand brings up a break point for Jarka, but she doesn't take her chance and Wozniacki hits back with a forehand winner. It's 3-1. Now a backhand wide puts Jarka under immense pressure at 0-30, but with impressive serving and groundstrokes she digs her way out.

She is finding her range and some good angles but can she find the consistency to break the Dane? The backhand is still the problem. Too many errors and too many free points for Wozniacki.

We've played an hour and it's nearly over for the Australian. 2-4. Amazing defence from Wozniacki makes it a tough game to hold, a missed forehand handing Caroline a second break point.

A backhand (you guessed it!) goes wide and that's 5-2 and a set down in an hour and two and that's it.

A couple of minutes later and that really is it. She had to be at her best to beat Caroline, but sadly she wasn't quite at the level needed and we're down to one. Not a bad effort, but still just short of what's needed to beat the really top players. Neither down nor up, just middle really, par for the course.

You have to say for Bernard Tomic to be the last Australian standing is an achievement in itself for the 18-year-old whatever happens on court number one this afternoon. For Jarka, she's got to play far more consistently against players who give her absolutely nothing like Caroline, who had just five unforced errors for the match. Gajdosova had 12, and importantly served just 53% of her first serves in against 70% for the Dane.

Let's move on.

It's Davis Cup in a few weeks, in fact a bit less, and the new captain Pat Rafter just had a word with a few of us here. Hewitt is looking a likely starter for the tie in China which is quite surprising and along with Tomic and the odd support act; maybe Australia might be halfway to getting a competitive team back together. Not competitive yet in the sense of winning the thing, not that they can do that this year anyway.

All this reminds me that last night, Tennis Australia threw a bit of a bash for John Newcombe to celebrate the anniversary of the last of his singles wins here in 1971.

Most of the tennis hierarchy is in London at this time of year, and therefore it was a very packed 'Australian' house last night that celebrated all things Newcombe, with a barbecue and a couple of beers. Inside of course, because it's been raining all week, but it was well attended and so it should be.

It does also appear that Rafter's captaincy of the Davis Cup team has thawed relations between Australia's top two men. Not thawed to the point of speaking much or arm around the back type of thawing, but a thaw none the less. If it's the case it can only be to the benefit of all. And Australian men's tennis needs a boost.

Excellent start from Tomic. He's broken Soderling to 15 with a mixture of great defence, good returns and superb passing shots. He's held comfortably too and leads 3-0. For good measure he breaks him to love this time and it's 4-0. Now it's 5-0 and we've played 12 minutes. Am fairly sure this is happening so will just pinch myself hard to check.......yes, it's real. What a start for the 18-year-old. Soderling has no idea what's happening.

Belatedly, he wins a point. But he looks stunned. Brilliant back hand winner from Tomic. But the Soderling takes a game. 14 minutes in. The next game goes to love and Tomic takes the set in 17 minutes 6-1. Absurd. A couple more of those and we'll be done inside the hour.

Two break points saved by Tomic in the second game of the second set. Could be pivotal. Great hold by the Australian, his slice on the backhand is definitely the shot Soderling is enjoying the least.

The trainer is then on for the Swede who's feeling dizzy on court and has had an upset stomach for a couple of days. He says he's been taking Voltarin. They give him something else and we carry on, but he doesn't look great. But then again neither would you if you were being pummelled by Tomic.

Two more break points for Tomic both saved by the Swede at 2-2. Now another. The slice again provokes the error with Soderling's footwork all over the place and it's 3-2.

It looks like once again an Australian will lead Soderling by two sets to love here this year.

But now Tomic is getting involved in some heavy hitting and the Swede's liking that. A serve and volley to finish and that'll do it for 4-2. And then after an hour and seven minutes on court it's two sets to love 6-1, 6-4. What's the script from here?

At 3-4, we're treated to two of the most marvellous rallies you'd wish to see if you enjoy the sliced backhand. Both points have more than 10 exchanges over the net by a mere whisker, with the spoils shared by each player. But the match itself is going the way of Tomic.

Soderling's serve is coming under increasing pressure again, but he holds his nerve and leads 5-4. Now the pressure is on Tomic. This is where it all changed for Hewitt on Thursday. But Tomic holds with ease and it's 5-all. Maybe this story ends with a tie-break?

Xavier Malisse is leading Jurgen Melzer in their match and is looking the likely opponent for Tomic on Monday. A backhand down the line makes it 30-all on Soderling's serve, then Soderling nets a forehand and it's break point for the Australian.

He saves it with an ace on a challenge. Dramatic stuff. A sprayed forehand and it's another break chance. This time the Swede goes wide with the forehand and Tomic is on the brink.

But suddenly Tomic has tightened up and the errors come - a sprayed forehand which gives up two break points. He saves one with an ace.

Then Soderling is a 16th of an inch wide with a forehand. It's Deuce, that would have been a tie-break. Then the Swede is just long with his trade mark forehand and it's match point. The Australian takes it with his first opportunity with a big serve out wide and it's fourth round time for Tomic. 1 hour 52 minutes. That is a significant win for him and for Australian tennis.

Afterwards, Tomic can hardly contain his pleasure at the win and Soderling is grumpy and short on plaudits for the 18-year-old. But never mind, he's heading back home and Tomic will play Malisse on Monday.

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Tomic shocks Soderling to advance

Published: 26/06/2011 05:52:16

Australia's Bernard Tomic reacts after beating Swedish player Robin Soderling during the men's single at Wimbledon on June 25, 2011. Tomic won 6-1, 6-4, 7-5 to advance to the last 16.

Tomic shocks Soderling to advance

Australia's Bernard Tomic reacts after beating Swedish player Robin Soderling during the men's single at Wimbledon on June 25, 2011. Tomic won 6-1, 6-4, 7-5 to advance to the last 16.

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Murray makes another Wimbledon exit

Murray makes another Wimbledon exit

Published:Saturday, July 2, 2011 7:29 AEST

British player Andy Murray reacts after losing to Spanish player Rafael Nadal during the men's single semi-final at the Wimbledon Tennis Championships on July 1, 2011. Nadal won 5-7, 6-2, 6-2, 6-4.

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Tsonga flies at Wimbledon

Tsonga flies at Wimbledon

Published:Tuesday, June 28, 2011 7:43 AEST

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga jumps over chairs as he plays a point against Fernando Gonzalez at Wimbledon on June 25, 2011.

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Hewitt falls to Soderling

Published:Friday, June 24, 2011 1:53 AESTExpires:Thursday, September 22, 2011 1:53 AEST

Australia's Lleyton Hewitt was taken out by fifth seed Robin Soderling at the Wimbledon tennis tournament.

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Thousands give Djokovic hero's welcome

Updated July 5, 2011 11:39:00

Thousands of Serbian tennis fans gave Novak Djokovic a royal reception in central Belgrade after the 24-year-old arrived home to celebrate winning his first Wimbledon title.

Djokovic, who leapt to the top of the ATP rankings in the process, was greeted by a deafening roar as he arrived in an open-top bus which took hours to reach the Serbian parliament square from the airport.

Traffic on the main motorway ground to a halt as fans got out of their cars to salute Serbia's most popular athlete, whose entire family paraded alongside him on a giant stage where rock bands entertained the crowd.

"This is absolutely unbelievable and I owe all of you eternal gratitude for this reception," an elated Djokovic said as he held aloft the trophy he won with an emphatic four-set win over Spaniard Rafa Nadal in the final.

"The time has come to bare all my emotions to you and all I can say is that you are the best in the world because only Serbian fans can throw a party like this.

"You have made the happiest day of my life even better and I dedicate this trophy to you," said Djokovic, who will lead Davis Cup holder Serbia in its quarter-final tie away to Sweden next weekend.

"We have a soul that is second to none and with the team event coming up, I can promise you we will do everything in our power to win it all again."

Djokovic and his two younger brothers then joined rock, pop and folk bands on stage in singing local chartbusters, as fans lit flares and waved Serbian flags.

Some of them produced banners taunting Nadal, who relinquished the world number one spot to his fierce rival.

"Are you watching this from Madrid, Rafa, and keep practising that backhand of yours," one of them said.

The frenzy culminated when Djokovic and his family engaged in a traditional Serbian folk dance as fireworks lit the skies above Belgrade on a warm evening.

"Young people are here in droves because they look up to this extraordinary young man and draw inspiration from his accomplishments," said former Davis Cup coach Radmilo Armenulic.

"He is a role model and a true champion, finding the strength and willpower in his family and close friends, which is the best way to keep your life on the rails.

"As for his game, I am in no position to give him any advice because he is so superior on the court."

Former handball international Igor Butulija added: "As a former top-level athlete I know how much more difficult it is to reach the top as an individual, hence Djokovic's triumph must stand as the most remarkable achievement in Serbia's history."


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First posted July 5, 2011 11:04:00

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