Oct 9, 2009

TENNIS WATCH: On coaches, nudity, money & power, retirement & comeback, etc.

Since I'll be away for a couple of days, here's a longer than usual brief tennis news for you to read. Have a good weekend!
  • Finally James Blake has stopped working with long time coach Brian Barker after the US Open. He is now coached by Kelly Jones in Beijing. Although lost to Rafael Nadal 7-5, 6-7, 6-3 in the second round yesterday, Blake saved a match point to claw back to 5-5 and eventually won the second set.
  • Ernests Gulbis seems to improve a lot after getting help from new coach Hernan Gumy. He has won back-to-back ATP matches for the first time this season and advanced to the quarterfinals of Tokyo when Juan Monaco retired at 6-3, 4-1 yesterday.
  • Have we forgotten about Mario Ancic? I guess not. The Croatian has not retire from tennis to become a full time lawyer. He is expected to get medical clearance (from mononucleosis) to begin training again. Ancic hopes to return to the tour next January.
  • No.1 again next week, Serena Williams, on posing nude for the cover of ESPN The Magazine, "ESPN had a body issue, and they told me I had a great body and wanted me to be on the cover. So I was super flattered, but I wanted to do it classy and not trampy, for lack of a better word. It's tasteful and super cool, and I love it."
  • It's not a surprise when poll voted tennis stars Roger Federer (no. 8) and Andy Roddick (no. 35) as among the world's most influential men of the year.
  • Andy Murray is the 8th highest-earning sportsman in Britain with an annual income of £7 million, according to The Daily Telegraph.
  • Still on money, Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, like many other sportsmen who resides in Switzerland for tax purposes, will be unable to play in Basel. Tsonga's tax agreement with local Swiss authorities would become invalid if he were to earn money inside Switzerland.
  • Justine Henin will make her Grand Slam comeback at the Australian Open, tournament director Craig Tiley confirmed at the official event launch. Henin's first tournment back will probably be Brisbane Open.
  • While veteran players are planning a strong comeback, Amelie Mauresmo is considering retiring from tennis. In her website, she said, “Since I came back from the U.S. Open, I’ve been trying to practice but I can’t find again the desire to come back to competition. I don’t want to rush or force things. (I will take) some time to think before making a decision regarding the remainder of my career.”
  • Martina Hingis who is now given the green light to return to the tennis circuit after her two-year cocaine ban, chose to return to competition - but in horse riding. She is set to make an appearance in a show jumping contest in Switzerland this week.
  • Jelena Dokic's dad, Damir is on a hunger strike to protest his jail sentence for making threats against the Australian ambassador.
  • The Spanish tennis federation has narrowed its choice of venue for the Davis Cup final against Czech Republic to Valencia or Barcelona. The final decision to be announced this Saturday.
(Via AP,

Oct 8, 2009

Robin Soderling, Yanina Wickmayer kung fu fighting in Beijing

Robin Soderling and Yanina Wickmayer were said to receive some kung fu lessons at the China Open promotional event yesterday evening.

Using my research skill, I managed to find this picture of Soderling. His pose looked quite convincing, right? No?

Earlier, a teacher and his students from the Shaolin Temple put up a display before the players arrived, showing off different skills in kung fu, with some of them even breaking small metal rods over their heads.

(Via China Open official website)

Oct 7, 2009

Rafael Nadal goes green to win

I can't believe I still haven't write a single post about Rafael Nadal this week.

Do you like this green polo shirt and chequered navy blue shorts? I think this is his best gear so far after he ditched those sleeveless shirts and pirate pants.

After a successful start against Marcos Baghdatis on Tuesday, which he won 6-4, 3-6, 6-4, Nadal will play American James Blake in the second round tomorrow.

Hopefully this new gear will be his greencard to win a title in Beijing.

(Images by Feng Li/Getty Images)

Showdown of Champions KL 2009 set to launch by Anna Kournikova? (Updated)

Note: I was asked to remove this post by the organiser (not the first time I was asked to do so) but I'm going to repost this anyway.

I'm a blogger. I write based on what I heard and experienced. I can write whatever I want without reporting or explaining to anyone.

Besides, I don't think there's any harm in creating a buzz about this event. It's just like spreading the buzz about Justine Henin's comeback. It was good for her publicity. The same thing applies to this event too.

I'm still thinking about last week's ATP tournament and now I heard there could be another exhibition match in Kuala Lumpur coming this December.

And let's not forget that in February next year, Kuala Lumpur will host the WTA players in the Malaysia Tennis Classic.

My source (quite a reliable one) informed me that Showdown of Champions is set to take place sometime on December 19 & 20, 2009 at the Melawati Stadium.

The launching could be sometime on October 26 by Anna Kournikova; possibly going to take place at Starhill.

My source also added that 2 Russians, 1 from China and 1 from India will take part in this classy event.

If the Showdown organisers keep their promise to the fans at the Putra Stadium last year, we could be having Maria Sharapova right here in Kuala Lumpur.

Now let's wait for the official news.

Party like a rock star at China Open's dinner party

I love players party. It was a shame that HCFoo wasn't invited to the Batik party held at Mandarin Oriental Hotel last week. Hmmphh....

It looked like a MTV awards show at China Open's dinner party last night.

The players including Marat Safin, Andy Roddick, Novak Djokovic and James Blake dressed up like rockstars while Maria Sharapova, Maria Kirilenko, Serena Williams and Svetlana Kuznetsova glammed up for the evening party.

Serena Williams: I'm shy... 'cause y'all have seen me nude by now.

Short pants made of garbage bag and a see-through shirt? Bad taste.

Marat Safin can wear whatever he wants and still look pretty.

Poor Makiri. First it was Stella Mccartney... now it's Andy and Shrieky.

(Images via

China Open upsets Marat Safin fans over farewell party

Marat Safin: I can't believe you did that to my fans...

The organiser of China Open recently announced in their official website that they are planning to throw a party for Marat Safin who is about to retire end of this season.

The party is supposed to involve some hardcore Safinator fans.

However things didn't work out between the fans and the organiser.

Now, probably there'll be no ceremony after all. Maybe a 'fake' one, according to fino7marat, one of the fan who's involved in the issue.

SORRY, We are cheated by China Open

I apologize for making a new thread, but there is something really important to tell you.

Weeks ago I posted a thread about asking for ideas of marat's retiring ceremony, but things changed now.

I bet you have read the interview after round 1, and obviously Marat did not know about the ceremony.

A few days before I posted the idea thread, the organizer of China Open contacted our forum and said we would design the ceremony and we spent a long time trying to make our design better. But things going on changed thoroughly.

They only wanted the ceremony to last for onlt 5~7 mins and we, yes, argued with the organizer and the ceremony might last for 15 mins. that could be OK.

Oh, and the organizer said that all our designs as well as our hard work had gone to dustbin. They will design the ceremony.

Today, they told us the ceremony will last for only a few minutes and my friends were angry about that because they are not informed about the decrease of time.

They were not ever offered tickets for today's match. how much did my Friends helped the organizers to make it better!

OK, my friends showed their objection, saying that they will not take part in the ceremony which they devoted themselves to.

And the Organizer refused their demand to increase the ceremony time at last.

so there won't be a ceremony. that's ok, because marat doesn't want to have one.

Oh, they did not even contact with Marat before but they said that Marat was happy to have one, on the official website.

there won't be a ceremony. perhaps there will be a faked one.

True safinholics will not give marat our wishes but some faked ones who work for China Open may appear at the party.

I am just soooo sad now.
Sorry to fino7marat and the rest of the Safinator fans. It must be a huge disappointment for you guys after all the brainstorming.


Sake barrel cracking ceremony without the REAL Samurai

It only takes one player to complete this group.

The REAL Samurai, Sam Querrey!

However the rising son of America has been sidelined for four-to-six weeks after injuring his right forearm in a freak accident in Bangkok.

He could have joined Gael Monfils, Kimiko Date Krumm, Ayumi Morita, Juan Martin Del Potro, Lleyton Hewitt, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, to crack the sake barrels during a welcome reception on Day 2 of the Rakuten Japan Open Tennis tournament at Hotel Grand Pacific Le Daiba yesterday.

(Images by Kiyoshi Ota/Getty Images)

Oct 6, 2009

Kei Nishikori fit to play Wii but not Japan Open

Kei Nishikori, who recently underwent a small microscopic surgery to remove a minor bone spur, was at the EA booth at the Rakuten Japan Open Tennis Championship yesterday.

Sporting a wavy new hairdo, Nishikori was there to promote EA Sports Grand Slam Tennis, developed specifically for the Wii.

Nishikori is one of the characters featured in the popular game (Asian edition).

(Images via

Serena Williams (almost) bare it all in ESPN 'The Body' Issue

A fully nude Serena Williams gets the cover on ESPN The Magazine's upcoming ‘The Body’ Issue.

Serena is one of six athletes who will debut on newsstand on October 18, 2009.

Nice try ESPN but Sport Illustrated’s popular swimsuit issue is still the winner.

(Image via

Ivo Karlovic and Adam Levine: Separated at birth?

I hope you can tell the difference between Ivo Karlovic and Adam Levine (Maroon 5).

With his famous 'spank that ace' dance at Wimbledon and collaboration with Novak Djokovic on a rap song, Dr Ivo is fast becoming the rock star of tennis.

(Via safinafan at

Oct 5, 2009

More tennis on Astro SuperSport, Eurosport in October

ATP World Tour 500's: China Open 2009

(Channel 811)

09 Oct 1100 Quarter Finals: Session 1 (Live)
09 Oct 1900 Quarter Finals: Session 2 (Live)
10 Oct 1200 Semi Finals (Live)
11 Oct 1530 Final (Live)

WTA Tour Beijing (Live)

(Channel 814)

05 Oct 1500 1st Round
06 Oct 1500 1st Round
07 Oct 1500 2nd Round
08 Oct 1500 Round of 16
09 Oct 1500 Quarter Final
10 Oct 1600 Semi Final
11 Oct 1900 Final

ATP World Tour 500's: Rakuten Japan Open Tennis Championship 2009

(Channel 816)

09 Oct 1100 Quarter Finals (Live)
10 Oct 1100 Semi Finals (Live)
11 Oct 1230 Final (Live)

ATP World Tour 1000's: Shanghai ATP Masters 1000 presented by Rolex

(Channel 816)

12 Oct 1400 1st Round (Live)
13 Oct 1400 1st Round (Live)
14 Oct 1400 2nd Round (Live)
15 Oct 1400 Last of 16 Round (Live)
16 Oct 1400 Quarter Finals (Live)
17 Oct 1630 Semi Finals 1 (Live)
17 Oct 2000 Semi Finals 2 (Live)
18 Oct 1630 Final (Live)

(Images via

HCFoo's Top Ten Malaysian Open Moments Wrap-up

1. The whole world witnessed Fernando Verdasco and Feliciano Lopez touchdown in Kuala Lumpur with their identical LV bags :)

2. First meeting with tennis idol, Asia's no.1 Rendy Lu Yen-hsun.

3. Uncut exclusive interview with Fernando Verdasco.

A conversation with chair umpire Carlos Bernardes on the Centre Court.

5. From bad to lasting good impression - Robin Soderling smiled and said 'hi' to me when I first arrived at the Putra Stadium. So, I forgive him for beating Rafael Nadal at the French Open earlier this year.

6. Signature photo shoot at KLCC with Nikolay Davydenko, Fernando Verdasco, Robin Soderling and Fernando Gonzalez - one of the most important off-court moments for the Proton Malaysian Open.

7. The other off court event at KL Tower with David Ferrer, Feliciano Lopez and their parrot friend was really fun!

8. Our favourite match was the one between Rendy Lu and Marcos Baghdatis! Rendy saved three match points to take the third set into a tiebreak. Although Rendy lost to Baghdatis we truly enjoyed the match on the first day of the Malaysian Open tennis tournament.

9. Attending the Main Draw Ceremony.

We met so many tennis friends this week - Zahirah, Joash, Ong, Giri, Eugene, Ron, Ann, Mei Kiteroad, Nazz, Peter, Claire, Tracy, Lynthia, Sammie, Su Lynn, CK, Danny, Lim, Darren, Joshua, Asri and the gang, etc. (let me know if I missed out your name). We even bumped into our 'FB friend' and former host of tennis magazine (ESPNStar) ACE, Georgina Chang!

We would like to say thank you to the organiser IMG and sponsor Astro for given us so many opportunities throughout this ATP tennis tournament.

(Photo credit to HSFoo/

Unseen before practice photos: Lesson learnt

Practice court supposed to be a popular hangout place for tennis fans during any tennis tournament.

However, it was a different case at the PROTON Malaysian Open last week.

The seats at the practice courts (gym hall) were empty. Popular players came in and out without being mobbed by fans simply because there were almost none.

The crowd was slightly better when the players practice on Court 1, behind the Centre Court.

Hopefully the number of fans at the practice courts improve next year.

We attended a few practice sessions and here are some of the pictures we've got.

Left - Thumbs up from Rohan Bopanna
Right - Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi experimenting a simple yoga position

Igor Kunitsyn - "What are you looking at?"

Mikhail Youzhny - Maybe it's a Russian thing. They are not impressed with Nikon-toting mamarazzi

Tennis talk - David Ferrer, Andre Sa, Marcelo Melo, Jose Acasuso

Left - Marcelo Melo says hi to Jose Acasuso
Right - Ferrer crotch grab picture revealed

Keep your chins up, Acasuso

Happy people are beautiful people - Jose Verdasco, Fernando Verdasco and Feliciano Lopez

Fernando Gonzalez arrives at the practice court with his entourage

(Photos credit to HSFoo/

Weekend winners: Nikolay Davydenko, Gilles Simon, Maria Sharapova

Top seed Nikolay Davydenko defeated Fernando Verdasco 6-4, 7-5 to win the Malaysia Open on Sunday.

Poles Mariusz Fyrstenberg and Marcin Matkowski took the doubles title after beating Igor Kunitsyn and Jaroslav Levinsky 6-2, 6-1.

In Bangkok, Gilles Simon won the Thailand Open after down Viktor Troicki 7-5, 6-3 for his first ATP title of the year and sixth overall.

In the doubles final, Americans Eric Butorac and Rajeev Ram beat Guillermo Garcia-Lopez and Mischa Zverev 7-6(4), 6-3.

Meanwhile, on Saturday, Maria Sharapova won her first tournament since returning from a 10-month injury layoff when Jelena Jankovic retired because of an arm injury in the first set of the Toray Pan Pacific final.

Sharapova was up 5-2 at Ariake Colosseum when the seventh-seeded Serb took a timeout to have her right arm examined by the trainer. Jankovic returned to the court and lost the first two points of the eighth game before retiring.

(Via AP; Images via Yahoo! Sports)

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