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Maria Interrupted By Family At Post-Match Press Conference

During Maria Sharapova's post-match interview, after her defeat of Sam Stosur 6-4, 6-1, she was interrupted twice with family calls on her cell phone.   It's nice to see players laugh and smile and not take themselves too seriously, and you begin realize they actually have a life outside of tennis.  She talked about her shoulder injury and the linking of her website with Kei Nishikori's to raise money for Japan.  I asked her a question about her shoulder because I had heard reports that she still felt pain/numbness since her surgery, and I am still getting a kick out of my questions being on the interview transcript:

ME:   Do you have any pain remaining in that shoulder or numbness at all?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  No.  No, numbness anymore, no.  It sometimes depends on the conditions.  If it's cold and one day it's warm and all of a sudden it's cold, I just have to make sure I do an extra warmup.   You know, sometimes if I play for seven, eight days in a row and don't have a break, it's  you've got to take it easier a little bit than the other days.  Just things like that.  Nothing too overwhelming

Q.  Your website is linked with Kei Nishikori's at the moment about the Japan charity.  Can you talk about that a little bit or how you became involved or wanted to?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  Yeah.  Well, it's obviously a huge tragedy around the world right now.  Japan just is one of my favorite countries to visit.  First time I went there I think was 13 or 14 years old playing a junior tournament, one of the outside cities.  I've just had such memorable times there.  To see the country struggle so much as it is now, I think everyone is trying to do as much as we can.  Kei and I are trying to set something up for the tournament later in the year to help raise as much money as we can.  Yeah, I just hope that, you know, with the radiation, that gets taken care of as soon as possible so it doesn't spread and cause it to last really long.

I can totally see why she can be intimidating on the court, because even in her interview, when you ask her a question, she makes SERIOUS eye-contact and even I was wiggling a bit in my seat.  Here are some photos from her presser after the jump.....

Click to read more ...


There's Something About Nole

My little Novak Djokovic crush started back in 2009 at the US Open when I saw him play for the first time at Louis Armstrong Stadium, and then it was solidified when I saw this:

It was one of the first blogs that I posted, and I remember it clearly.  There was something about this kid that I really liked, but I had conflicting feelings at the time because although everyone knew he had potential, he was much more known for his multiple ailments than his tennis.  Plus I was a die-hard Rafa fan and really didn't have a lot of room in my heart for anyone else.  But as time has progressed, the little space in my heart that Nole possesses has grown.  I mean really, REALLY, how can you not love his sheepish grin, the charm that oozes out of him, and of course if you are a tennis fan, his amazing level of play this year.

Last night Nole demolished James Blake in the 3rd Round of the Sony Ericsson Open 6-2, 6-0.  He's now 20-0 for the 2011 season which is 3rd in the history books for the best start to a season (thanks Shelley) behind Lendl and McEnroe.  I was determined to go to his press conference to see what this kid was like in person.  He was fashionably late, (I almost missed my hotel shuttle because of it), but when he arrived, it seemed like he was right on time.  He's funny, cute, and completely approachable.  To sum it up in very non-professional terms.  He's awesome.


Sony Ericsson Open Order Of Play Monday March 28th

Clearly I'll be on Stadium court ALL DAY.


STADIUM start 11:00 am
[4] S Stosur (AUS) vs [16] M Sharapova (RUS) - WTA
[1] C Wozniacki (DEN) vs [21] A Petkovic (GER) - WTA

Not Before 2:00 PM
[3] R Federer (SUI) vs [32] J Monaco (ARG) - ATP
[1] R Nadal (ESP) vs F Lopez (ESP) - ATP

Not Before 7:30 PM
[21] A Dolgopolov (UKR) vs [15] J Tsonga (FRA) - ATP

Not Before 9:00 PM
[19] A Ivanovic (SRB) vs [2] K Clijsters (BEL) - WTA

GRANDSTAND start 11:00 am
C Berlocq (ARG) vs [7] T Berdych (CZE) - ATP
[Q] O Rochus (BEL) vs [13] M Youzhny (RUS) - ATP
A Medina Garrigues (ESP) vs [6] J Jankovic (SRB) - WTA

Not Before 4:30 PM
[5] F Schiavone (ITA) vs [9] A Radwanska (POL) - WTA
[25] G Simon (FRA) vs P Cuevas (URU) - ATP

COURT 1 start 11:00 am
[WC] S Stephens (USA) / Y Wickmayer (BEL) vs [7] B Mattek-Sands (USA) / M Shaughnessy (USA) - WTA
M Mertinak (SVK) / D Norman (BEL) vs [7] R Bopanna (IND) / A Qureshi (PAK) - ATP
[8] R Lindstedt (SWE) / H Tecau (ROU) vs J Isner (USA) / S Querrey (USA) - ATP
S Stakhovsky (UKR) / M Youzhny (RUS) vs [2] M Mirnyi (BLR) / D Nestor (CAN) - ATP
[8] V Azarenka (BLR) or [25] D Cibulkova (SVK) vs [17] A Pavlyuchenkova (RUS) or [12] P Kvitova (CZE) - WTA

COURT 2 start 11:00 am
S Peng (CHN) vs [26] A Dulgheru (ROU) - WTA
P Petzschner (GER) vs J Tipsarevic (SRB) - ATP
[11] N Almagro (ESP) vs F Mayer (GER) - ATP
[15] M Bartoli (FRA) vs [28] J Groth (AUS) or [3] V Zvonareva (RUS) - WTA

Not Before 5:00 PM
[1] B Bryan (USA) / M Bryan (USA) or [WC] R Harrison (USA) / J Sock (USA) vs O Marach (AUT) / J Tipsarevic (SRB) - ATP

COURT 3 start 3:00 pm

Not Before 3:00 PM
A Kleybanova (RUS) / Z Yan (CHN) vs S Peer (ISR) / S Peng (CHN) - WTA
L Dlouhy (CZE) / P Hanley (AUS) vs [4] J Melzer (AUT) / P Petzschner (GER) - ATP


Photos: Juan Martin Del Potro Press Conference

Juan Martin del Potro is playing top ten tennis again (to me), and all his fans can heave a huge sigh of relief now that his wrist injury seems to be a distant memory.  Today he defeated Robin Soderling at the Sony Ericsson Open convincingly, 6-3, 6-2, and after his match I got a chance to stand across from him in his post-match interview, (with a room full of Argentinian press) and the thing that amazed me most was how is someone soooo tall and dominating, could end up being so shy and quiet.  It's a very interesting and endearing mix.  Here are some highlights from his interview:

Click to read more ...


Sony Ericsson Open: John Isner Press Conference

Ok, let me first just say, this boy is TALL.  I mean, I knew that, but when he walked by me headed to his post-match press conference, I really had no idea how that would measure against my 5'6" height.  He is in a whole nother atmosphere.  Anyway here are some of the better Q & A from his press conference:

Click to read more ...


Rafa = Danger

I witnessed my first mid-day Rafa practice today and it experience.

I was walking on my way to the Devvarman/Ferrer match when I saw a HUGE group of people watching a practice court and, of course, the player on it was none other than Rafael Nadal.  I calmly approached the fence about 3 rows back and then madness ensued. 

I started getting shoved and pushed from behind by sweaty bodies, all to the soundtrack of screaming, crying, and Rafa grunting.  It was DANGEROUS people.  I went around to the other side to get away from the horde and got some better shots.

You knew when Rafa was leaving, because the screaming came to a cresendo.   I get it, Rafa is a rock star, but the craziness was otherworldly.  Kudos to the Sony Ericsson Open to giving fans such great access to players, but double the kudos to the security guards who have to deal with this on a daily basis.  They literally risk life and limb protecting Rafa.   


Video: NovAndy and the Best Doubles Point Ever

I'm really sad that I missed the Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic doubles match yesterday, but it conflicted with the Feliciano Lopez and Fernando Verdasco match that I was also interested in.  I could hear all the cheers from their court while watching Team Pretty, and this is what the crowd was apparently cheering for.  This point is incredible. Enjoy!