Roland Garros 2014: How to grow old gracefully with Tennis - UBITENNIS
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Roland Garros 2014: How to grow old gracefully with Tennis

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TENNIS ROLAND GARROS 2014 – This year should be known as a banner year for growing old gracefully with tennis as the sport of a lifetime. There are 38 men over the age of thirty. This is the oldest group ever assembled to compete at Roland Garros. From Paris, Cheryl Jones

 

Interviews, Results, OOP, Draws from the 2014 Roland Garros

As usual, at least for the last nearly ninety years, the last month of spring always brings Roland Garros and for the past few years – buckets of rain. Even with the overcast skies and brief periods of showers, the crowds were buzzing with excitement. Children carrying grossly oversized tennis balls were anxiously seeking out their idols, hoping that they would be able to collect an autograph or two. The scene isn’t right out of a Norman Rockwell painting, but if he was French and living in the twenty-first century, he would feel right at home creating a portrait of the happy faces, filled with anticipation of spectacular terre battue play for a magazine that could be the French version of the Saturday Evening Post – “Samedi Soirée Poste”, as it could be known.

Alas, that is a fantasy. The real Roland Garros is filled with top of the line tennis players. Along with the opening day draw, there are oddities and factoids that would thrill anyone with an appetite for trivia, as it relates to players in competition. (Trivia is defined as, details, considerations, or pieces of information of little importance or value.) Actually dictionaries might have been too quick to generalize when spelling out this definition. Today, it seems as if every little thing might have an impact somewhere down the line, and 2014’s Roland Garros information could fit into that defined useless category, but in reality, it is important. Actually it’s a part of history and the books will have the information packed away for opening at some later date.

The men and women’s draw each has 128 participants. This year should be known as a banner year for growing old gracefully with tennis as the sport of a lifetime. There are 38 men over the age of thirty. This is the oldest group ever assembled to compete at Roland Garros, surpassing 2012 when there were 37. It will be interesting to see how the oldsters progress this year. (It is difficult to think of anyone who is under forty as old, but in tennis, there are rocking chairs waiting in the wings once a player has blown out thirty candles on their birthday cake.)

Roger Federer, one of those oldsters is 32, soon to be 33. He has moved on to the next round, defeating Lukas Lacko of Slovakia, 6-2, 6-4, 6-2. He, along with Gaston Gaudio is the only other man to have taken the title home, other than Rafael Nadal over the past ten years. Federer has been a busy guy this year dealing with a lot more than tennis. His wife, Mirka gave birth to their second set of twins on May 6, 2014. The two boys joined his daughters who will be five in a few months. The girls, Myla Rose and Charlene Riva, are big sisters to Lenny and Leo. The Swiss maestro has always done things in a big way, and something tells me that the world of tennis will be watching the children for signs of their father’s magnificent command of the game. He seemed relaxed and confident today as he moved on to face Diego Schwartzman, a qualifier from Argentina, in the next round. His success will be the top of many not so trivial conversations if his winning ways continue.

Another point for the trivia books that is evident here in Paris is the lack of American players after the first few rounds. It has been a very long time since anyone advanced beyond the first week. Robby Ginepri made it through to the round of 16 in 2010. John Isner advanced to the next round by defeating Pierre-Hughes Herbert, 7-6, 7-6, 7-5. Isner has the record for the longest match in Roland Garros history and as a topper, at Wimbledon he and Nicolas Mahut battled for three days for “the” longest match in history. It was an exhausting match that took over 11 hours and 5 minutes of playing time. The final set was a doozy, ending up at – 70-68. At twenty-nine, he is inching toward the oldster’s club, but today he was an American who moved forward with gusto, joining his compatriot, Sam Querrey who defeated Italian, Filippo Volandri 7-6, 6-4, 6-3. Hope seems to be percolating for the Americans. This might be the year where the second week will not be American-less. Tomorrow will offer up other opportunities when Michael Russell faces Alejandro Gonzales who is Colombian, and Donald Young will face Dudi Sela, an Israeli.

Yes, there are American women in the competition, but they have fared so much better than the men, with Serena Williams as the defending champion. She easily dispatched her French opponent, Alize Lim today, 6-2, 6-1. Her sister, Venus, who has been dealing with a myriad of serious health issues during the past several years, felt some magic again and managed to pull out a good win over Belinda Bencic of Switzerland, 6-4, 6-1. (At 33, Venus is in the women’s version of the oldsters group, along with Serena who is 32, and more fit than ever.)

This is Roland Garros and it is a big part of why I love Paris in the springtime. There’s magic on the terre battue. Tomorrow it may sizzle, and it’s not quite summer!

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Ash Barty Reveals ‘Excitement’ After Mixed Doubles Medal In Tokyo

Ash Barty has revealed her excitement after her and John Peers won Australia’s first Olympic tennis medal for 17 years.

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Ash Barty and John Peers (@ITFTennis - Twitter)

Ash Barty revealed her excitement at winning Bronze in the mixed doubles in Tokyo with John Peers.

 

The world number one along with doubles specialist John Peers claimed Australia’s first tennis medal at the Olympics since 2004.

Despite benefiting from a bronze medal match withdrawal from Novak Djokovic and Nina Stojanovic, that hasn’t taken away the happiness of claiming an Olympic medal.

Speaking to the Channel 7 programmes Sunrise Barty proudly spoke about the achievement, “It’s been an amazing week for both John and I,” Barty was quoted as saying by Tennis Australia.

“We’ve played some great tennis, probably the best we’ve ever played together. To walk away with a medal and contribute to the team total here in Australia has been incredible.

“Johnny and I, we put ourselves in a position all week to play good tennis and I feel like we really deserve this one. We were so close to being in that gold medal play-off and I think for both of us, it’s been awesome. We’ve played great. I felt like we really deserved this one for Australia.

“No, I think for us it’s excitement. I just hope as athletes, as a whole Australian team that’s here – all 480 odd of us – we can bring a smile to people’s faces at home when they’re sitting on the couch enjoying watching us trying (to) go out there and do Australia proud.”

As for John Peers it was an achievement of a lifetime, inspired by the traditional Olympic spirit, “Any chance you get to represent your country and to do it alongside Ash, to be able to say we’re the first mixed doubles medallists at an Olympics for Australia is something really special,” the 33 year-old commented.

“There was so much uncertainty leading into the Games and to be able to see the way the Australian team’s come together and sort of really bonded has really shown the Australian spirit, the way that all the athletes get behind each other.

“To be able to show the Olympics is going on in uncertain times is just something really special and unique and hopefully it can be the turning point for the world, and Australia, to come out the other side.”

Both will be hoping that this week will be the start of something special for Australian tennis as they will look to capitalise on this success in three years time in Paris.

Next for John Peers will be Washington next week where he and Filip Polasek are the top seeds.

While Ash Barty will be starting her preparations for the US Open in Cincinnati which starts on the 16th of August.

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Czech Republican Trailblazers Inspire Krejcikova and Siniakova To Olympic Gold In Tokyo

Barbora Krejcikova and Katarina Siniakova reflect on Czech Republic’s Olympic past after Olympic gold.

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Barbora Krejcikova and Katarina Siniakova (@WeAreTennis - Twitter)

Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova admit that former Czech Republican trailblazers inspired them to win doubles gold in Tokyo.

 

The top seeds claimed gold with a 7-5 6-1 win over Switzerland’s Belinda Bencic and Viktorija Golubic.

After edging a tight opening set, the Czech Republican duo eased to victory to claim gold in Tokyo.

It was a historic gold as the pair went one better than trailblazers Jana Novotna and Helena Sukova who won silver in Seoul 1988 and Atlanta 1992.

After the victory today Krejcikova paid tribute to those before them and said that they were inspired by those who came before them, “The motivation we got from the previous medallists is really big,” the Roland Garros champion told the ITF website.

“I think we got really inspired by them. I think we really need to thank them because without them we just wouldn’t have the motivation and the inspiration.

“It’s really big. We’re really happy and really grateful that we could be here. We did such a great job during these 10 days and we have this beautiful gold medal. It’s pretty much a dream come true.”

While Katerina Siniakova also outlined how special it is to win the gold medal as the top seeds remain the team to beat in the Women’s doubles game, “It’s really special this one,” Siniakova admitted.

“I really enjoyed my whole time here. It was really tough and I’m so glad we kept fighting and in the end we have this one, this gold medal. It’s really amazing. I feel so honoured I got to represent my country.”

The Czech Republican will be favourites to win their fourth grand slam at the US Open in late August.

As for Bencic and Golubic, it has been a successful tournament especially for Bencic who won Olympic gold yesterday.

After the match Bencic admitted it’s not just about Olympic medals and that its about the memories created, “It’s not just about the medals or the titles, it’s about the memories you create that will last forever,” Bencic claimed.

“To share this with Viki is unbelievable. The whole week I never felt like I was in a normal tournament or playing alone. She was alongside me the entire way. I always tell her we won this gold medal together as well.

“When we will be 80 years old and have a coffee, we will talk about these moments and I cannot wait for that.”

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Tokyo Olympics Daily Preview: Sascha Zverev and Karen Khachanov Play for Gold

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Karen Khachanov celebrating victory earlier this week in Tokyo (twitter.com/ITFTennis)

48 hours after ending Novak Djokovic’s bid for a Golden Slam, a feat only achieved by German Steffi Graf, Sascha Zverev looks to win another gold medal for Germany.  But a big-hitting Russian stands in his way, one who owns a winning record against Zverev on hard courts.

 

The last day of tennis in Tokyo will also host two gold medal matches in doubles.  In women’s doubles, Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova have won three Majors, and now go for a gold medal against Switzerland’s Belinda Bencic and Viktorija Golubic.  For Bencic, it’s an opportunity to win a second gold medal in as many days.  

In addition, a pair of teams representing the Russian Olympic Committee will face off for gold in mixed doubles.  Will Elena Vesnina be able to recover from a devastating loss in Saturday’s women’s doubles bronze medal match?  Vesnina and Veronika Kudermetova held four match points, only to lose the last six points of the match and fail to reach the podium.

Sunday’s play gets underway at 3:00pm local time.

Sascha Zverev (4) [GER] vs. Karen Khachanov (12) [ROC] – Second on Centre Court

Overall they have split four previous encounters, but Khachanov leads 2-1 on this surface, which includes their two most recent meetings.  And neither of those have been close.  At the 2018 Paris Masters, it was 6-1, 6-2.  At the 2019 Rogers Cup, it was 6-3, 6-3.  The event in Paris was the biggest title run of the Russian’s career, and a week where he also defeated Dominic Thiem and Novak Djokovic.  However, he hasn’t won a title, or even reached a final, ever since.  And prior to his run to the quarterfinals of Wimbledon, Khachanov was only 16-14 on the year.  But it is worth noting he’s 4-0 lifetime in ATP finals, with his other three victories coming at 250-level events.

Zverev is certainly the far more accomplished player.  He owns 15 career titles, which includes four Masters events, as well as the 2018 ATP Finals.  And he’s reached the semifinals or better at Majors three times, something Khachanov is yet to achieve.   Though I do wonder just how much scar tissue was created by his loss in the final of last year’s US Open, where he was up two sets before eventually losing in a fifth-set tiebreak.  Both he and Dominic Thiem played a considerably nervy match, and this will be Zverev’s first best-of-five final since that painful loss.

And that could be a significant factor on this day: the men’s singles gold medal final is the only match at the Olympics that is best-of-five.  Zverev possesses a much stronger record in best-of-five, and a far superior record in five-setters.  As per Tennis Abstract, Sascha is 16-9 in fifth sets, compared to Karen’s record of 6-7.  And Khachanov’s two most recent five-set wins were not pretty.  A few weeks ago in the fourth round of Wimbledon, against Sebastian Korda, 13 out of the 18 games in the fifth set were breaks of serve.  And last summer at the US Open, he was only able to come back from two sets down thanks to the cramping of Jannik Sinner. 

So who is the favorite to win gold?  Their head-to-head favors Khachanov, while recent form and best-of-five experience favors Zverev.  And the German has been serving excellently throughout this tournament, striking 40 aces and only three doubles, especially impressive for a player who has suffered from double fault issues in the recent past.  However, Zverev had a much easier road to this final than Khachanov.  Other than Djokovic, Sascha faced no one ranked inside the top 40, while Karen beat three top 30 players.  The Olympics are an event which often produces surprising tennis results.  And these are two men who are known to get tight in big matches.  But considering the way Zverev has been serving, and the confidence boost his upset of Djokovic should provide, I give Sascha the slight edge to become an Olympic champion.

Other Notable Matches on Sunday:

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Andrey Rublev (4) [ROC] vs. Elena Vesnina and Aslan Karatsev [ROC] – Vesnina not only lost a heartbreaker on Saturday, she and Kudermetova also served for the championship a few weeks ago at Wimbledon, before losing 9-7 in the third.  And Vesnina and Karatsev were defeated in the mixed doubles final at Roland Garros, the same event where Pavlyuchenkvoa lost in the women’s singles final.  Who will realize redemption on Sunday?

Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova (1) [CZE] vs. Belinda Bencic and Viktorija Golubic – The Czechs are of course the favorites, with three Major titles as a team.  The Swiss are a new team formed exclusively for this event.  But don’t count them out, especially with Bencic coming off a gold medal victory in singles on Saturday evening.

Sunday’s full Order of Play is here.

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