2008 Tennis News Archive
Unfortunately, a large amount of my 2008 information has been lost or corrupted. Many apologies for this. Below is what remains.
DAVIS CUP FIRST ROUND
No major surprises in the first round of the Davis Cup this year, with all the fancied nations coming through, some more easily than others.
Defending champions USA came through a potentially tricky tie away to Austria with a convincing 4-1 scoreline. Whilst American singles players Andy Roddick and James Blake played with their usual racket and string combinations, (see Tennis Pros & their Strings), doubles players Bob and Mike Bryan used the Prince Ozone Tour racket rather than the Prince O3 Speedport Black they started using after Wimbledon last year. Mike Bryan started suffering from elbow problems towards the end of last year, (which caused the Bryans to miss the Masters in Shanghai), and a switch to the Ozone Tour could well be an attempt to find a more comfortable racket. The brothers use the multifilament Tecnifibre NRG2 string, which is excellent for absorbing vibrations.
Last year’s runners up and previous year’s winners Russia won the most eagerly awaited tie against Serbia, but were hugely helped by illnesses suffered by Serbia’s two singles players, the new Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic, and Janko Tipsarevic. An interesting feature of this tie was that when Serbia’s stand in singles player, Viktor Troicki, took Russia’s No 1 Nikolay Davydenko to five sets Troicki was using the Prince Ozone Tour racket, the 2008 upgrade to the O3 Tour, whilst Davydenko, Prince’s premier male singles endorsee, played with last year’s O3 Tour. Davydenko used his usual Polystar Energy strings strung at 55/53lbs, whilst Troicki used Luxilon Big Banger Original strings.
Another Luxilon Big Banger Original user, Tommy Robredo, led a Rafa Nadal and David Ferrer-less Spain to an easy 5-0 victory over Peru in Lima. Peru’s top player, Luis Horna, was only fit enough to play in the doubles, and Peru were unable to win a set in any of the five matches. Spain’s No 2, Nicolas Almagro, also uses Luxilon Big Banger Original, and like Robredo, plays with Dunlop rackets.
Finally, possibly the biggest surprise of the first round was that Great Britain was able to win a match away in Argentina. Jamie Baker was the man who prevented the whitewash with a stright sets win over Augustin Calleri, and he did it with the new Boris Becker 11 racket, and Pacific Polygut hybrid strings.
AUSTRALIAN OPEN REVIEW
A new Grand Slam men’s singles winner for he first time since Marat Safin won in Melbourne in 2005, and a third different Grand Slam title for Maria Sharapova were the end results in this year’s Australian Open.
Novak Djokovic gave Wilson’s new [K]Blade Tour a perfect debut, with a four set win over Jo-Wilfred Tsonga in the men’s final. Tsonga also used a [K]Blade racket, the slightly larger headed [K]Blade 98, to give Wilson a dream start to the 2008 Grand Slam season. Although he didn’t have the Tecnifibre red triangle logo stencilled on the strings, Djokovic used Tecnifibre X-One Biphase strings as he did last year, at a tension of 55lbs. Tsonga used Luxilon Big Banger Alu Power strings at 60lbs. Semi-finalists Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal used their normal Wilson racket/Wilson and Luxilon strings, and Babolat racket/Babolat strings set ups, (see Tennis Pros & their Strings for full details).
Maria Sharapova took the ladies’ title with her trusty Prince O3 White racket and Babolat VS Team strings. Her victory maintained the long running success of natural gut strings in the ladies’ singles at Grand Slam events. Ana Ivanovic finished as runner up in a Grand Slam for the second time in her first big event since switching from Wilson to Yonex rackets. Ivanovic’s weapon of choice is the RQiS 1 Tour, the same racket used by Lleyton Hewitt. She continues to use Luxilon Big Banger Alu Power strings. Prince had a superb tournament, with three of the four ladies’ singles semi-finalists using their O3 rackets. As well as winner Sharapova, they had Daniela Hantuchova, (Ozone 7), and Jelena Jankovic, (the new O3 Speedport Pro White), in the semis.
Wilson [K]Blade rackets were used by both Venus and Serena Williams, both sisters choosing the 104 sq in head [K]Blade Team frame, and stringing with Wilson natural gut at 65lbs and 67lbs respectively.