Even the ball kid knows how important the water bottles are for Rafael Nadal.

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Good or not?

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Heather Watson British number 1 has made a great start to the 2015 season.  After partnering Andy Murray in the Hopman Cup, she went over to Tasmania and took part in the Hobart tournament.  She had already spoken highly of Murray, and that he gave her advise too about not getting annoyed on court, and just getting on with it if something went against you etc.

Her time with Murray at the Hopman Cup certainly seems to have sparked something, as does her off season training.  She progressed through the draw at Hobart without dropping a set in the earlier rounds of the singles (she was also in the doubles too).

Taking out higher seeds of Sloane Stephens, Roberta Vinci and Alison Riske (Heather wasn’t seeded here) all in straight sets, even mounting a come back from 2-5 down against Vinci in the first set and taking the match in straight sets.

After reaching both the semi finals of the singles and the doubles, Heather had to play both matches the same day to try and end up in the finals.  She won the semi final easily against Alison Riske (although she had to fight the rain as well as her opponent, 6 rain delays)  to be in her 2nd WTA singles final, she wasn’t so lucky in the doubles and lost in straight sets.

Onto the singles final, on a very windy day Heather faced American Madison Brengle, who had come through qualifying and had also taken out a lot of seeded players along the way.  This was not going to be a walk in the park for Heather.  It proved to be so as they exchanged breaks until 3-3.  At this point Heather stepped things up a gear and won the next 3 games to take the first set 6-3.  The second set was a little closer as both held their nerves and the score was 4-4.  Heather then broke serve an would serve for it at 5-4.  Although a little windy still, she held on and won the last game to 30, to take the trophy – only her 2nd on the WTA tour, but she certainly looks on form right now – and having fully recovered from Glandular fever that effected her towards the end of 2012 and through 2013.

 

 

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With Marin Cilic officially withdrawing from the Australian Open this morning, this set all the British fans in an excited although muted ( as no one wishes injury on any player, Cilic has withdrawn with a shoulder problem – the latest in a long list of withdrawls) spin.  British Number 2 James Ward who is ranked 101 (or 107 depending on where you look) was the next in line from the alternates to be a replacement.  We had known we needed one more withdrawal to save him having to go through qualifying (although he would have been top seed in that), but we were not sure at this stage if this was the one – we’d seen rumours already that Cilic was pulling out, so we needed confirmation that this meant James was in.

This means a couple of things, firstly we will have 2 British men in the main draw of the Australian Open, and it also means that James Ward is the first British male other than Murray to earn direct entry into the singles main draw of a slam since Tim Henman at the 2007 US Open.  We will have 3 men in the qualifying draw (released on Monday) those being Kyle Edmund, Liam Broady and Brydan Klein (I’ll also be keeping my eyes on James McGee (IRE) and Aljaz Bedene*(SLO) during the qualifying stages).

James spent some of the off season training in Miami with Andy Murray, and I’m hopeful this will have helped James, to the extent that he will win a round or 2 at the slam.  Mainly because his ranking and his bank balance will breathe a little easier.  Now we just need to make sure Andy and James don’t meet in the first round! <yikes>.

 

*Aljaz has entered all his paperwork and sat both the English test and the Citizenship test, as he would like to become a British player (he had wanted to be able to be picked for the Davis Cup team, however if what I’m hearing from the ITF is correct, they say he hasn’t submitted his request to be able to play for GB in time (they changed the rules on 1st January 2015 so that if you have played for one country in Davis Cup, you will not be eligible to play for another), whereas the LTA are saying it has been – will have to come back on that one!, however he will be British soon.

 

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So, Aljaz Bedene has followed in the footsteps of British number 1 Andy Murray and has made history.  He has progressed to the final of the ATP 250 in Chennai and is the first qualifier in the event history to achieve this.  As the 5th qualifying seed he got into the main draw progressing through each round without much trouble.

On entering the main draw, he was given a fairly tough route to the final, and had to take out higher ranking players on his way.  Firstly disposing of Lukos Rosol in straight sets (7-6, 6-3), in the second round he was up against the 2nd seed Feliciano Lopez, and again he disposed of his opponent in straight sets, this time without the need for a breaker – 6-4, 6-4.

In the Quarter Finals Bedene again had a seeded player, this time the 5th seed Guillermo García-López, this match was a bit tougher as for the first time he was forced to go all the way in a 3 set fight.  After dropping the first set 2-6, he pulled it out of the fire to take the next set 6-3 to level the match, a deciding set was on the way.  Aljaz took this final set comfortably with a scoreline of 6-3.  This meant he had booked his spot in the Semi final.

In today’s semi final he again faced a seeded player in Roberto Bautista Agut.  This again proved to be a fight as they exchanged the first 2 sets to the same scoreline, with Bautista Agut striking first with a 3-6 closing.  Aljaz was not in the mood to go quietly and fought back to seal the 2nd set by the same scoreline (6-3) so for the second match running he would have to do it the hard way.

In the last set, he was toe to toe with his opponent and held on well to force a breaker.  Those of us supporting him (underdog/selfish reasons*) held our breath, as we entered this vital stage of the match, could he hold on and book a spot in the final.  Well, it was very tense and he had to save 4 match points, but he did it.  He made the final!, taking out 3 seeds along the way.  Tomorrow in the final he will yet again face Stan Wawrinka (head to head 1-1) – this will be their 3rd meeting at this tournament! Can Aljaz go all the way and take out the number 1 seed along the way?  It’s going to be tough, but I don’t see any reason why he can’t give it a very good try.

Now, those eagle eyed amongst you may well wonder why I’ve written about this, as I write very much about the British tennis players* – well therein lies the clue.  Aljaz, although from Solvenia, has lived in Britain since 2008 and is hoping to become a British citizen, all his paperwork is in, we are now just waiting for the boxes to be ticked, this will be great news for British Tennis to have another player who can push for 3rd/4th (and perhaps even 2nd spot, but I’d like James Ward to break into the top 100 this year and win a round or 2 at a slam, more of that in another article), so although he isn’t strictly speaking “one of ours” yet, It shouldn’t be long coming and then we can add him to our numbers and his history to ours

 

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petra kvitova serious face for 2015

Watch out WTA Tour, Petra Kvitova has her serious face on ;)

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The IPTL was a great success in its very first year. However, it has come at a large price.

Apparently Gasquet decided not to play as his compensation would have been much lower than Tsonga’s “For me there was [only]250K dollars” he said “There wasn’t 1 million dollars like for Jo. I felt like I needed time to rest”

We just wonder how much money made the likes of Federer, Djokovic, Sharapova and Serena.

250K dollars for 3 weeks work isn’t bad!

richard-gasquet-jo-wilfried-tsonga-london-2012-olympics

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Simona Halep petra kvitova making dumplings in china

Simona Halep and Petra Kvitova seemed to have a lot of fun making dumplings at the Chinese WTA Tour event in Shenzhen.

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samantha stosur in brisbane ready for wta tour tennis event

Samantha Stosur is starting her 2015 Australia Open onslaught with a the Brisbane International.

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Eugenie Bouchard Practicing for Australian Open 2015 at the Hopman Cup in Perth

January 2, 2015

Eugenie Bouchard is back in Australia and getting ready for the Australian Open 2015 with a lead in at the Hopman Cup in Perth.

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Rufus – The Real Hawk-Eye [Stella Artois UK Advertising] (Video)

January 1, 2015
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Sloane Stephens Working Hard Training in the Gym (Video)

December 31, 2014

Sloane Stephens is hoping to have a strong 2015 and it looks like she is getting in some great shape.

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Ana Ivanovic Boyfriend/Dating Bastian Schweinsteiger?

December 30, 2014

Training session for @AustralianOpen @AnaIvanovic with an observing @BSchweinsteiger pic.twitter.com/GQ98QwB2UQ — Luis Fernández (@LFernandezAyala) December 26, 2014 It seems like Ana Ivanovic may have a new boyfriend, Bastian Schweinsteiger. It seems like the German footballer is having some good relax time at the moment in Melbourne.

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What am I looking forward to in 2015?

December 27, 2014

This is a very easy question for me to answer.  A resurgent Andy Murray winning titles and preforming well in Grand Slams.  In fact, I’m backing him to win at least one slam this tennis year.  As a Brit, of course I’d love him to win Wimbledon again so this will be my pick, but […]

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Dominika Cibulkova Looking Sexy as She Wins Most Popular Athlete of the Year in Slovakia

December 23, 2014

Dominika Cibulkova looking very sexy as she won the most popular athlete of the year in Slovakia! Wish I was there

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Tommy Hilfiger Signs Rafael Nadal as global brand ambassador for the Tommy Hilfiger underwear and Tommy Hilfiger Tailored collections

December 17, 2014

It has been confirmed that Rafael Nadal has signed to Tommy Hilfiger Group. Rafael Nadal will become the global brand ambassador for the Tommy Hilfiger underwear and Tommy Hilfiger Tailored collections beginning in Fall 2015. “Rafael Nadal has been a longtime personal friend and supporter of our brand, and I’m continuously inspired by his dedication […]

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Victoria Azarenka Driving Gangster Style

December 3, 2014

Victoria Azarenka thought she would throw up her hood in the car??? Im hoping it was raining outside.

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