Mauresmo pulls out of Wimbledon doubles
- Defending Wimbledon women's singles champion Amelie Maursemo has withdrawn from the doubles
with partner Tatiana Golovin because of injury.
A statement from the All England Club on Wednesday said the Frenchwoman had decided to withdraw
because of a "minor strain".
"She feels this is a precautionary measure and is confident it will not hinder her singles,"
the statement said.
Fourth seed Mauresmo, who easily won her opening match in the singles on Tuesday against American
Jamea Jackson, has been struggling with a thigh injury since the French Open.
She did play at Eastbourne last week, however, reaching the final where she lost to world number
one Justine Henin.
Mauresmo's title challenge spurred by SW19 effect
Amélie Mauresmo did her best to smile sweetly when Justine Henin's name was mentioned: "She's
been unbeatable for the last four weeks. Let's hope she's not for the next couple." The Wimbledon champion and the Belgian
world No1 used to be considerable friends, but that all ended at the Australian Open last year when Henin pulled out of the
final with stomach problems, brought on by anti-inflammatory drugs, when 6-1, 2-0 down. She then suggested immediately afterwards
that Mauresmo had not been playing particularly well. It was the French woman's first grand slam title and Henin's retirement
undoubtedly robbed her of the immediate exhilaration of becoming a champion, exacerbated by her faint praise.
The ill-feeling was increased in Doha when Mauresmo's coach, Loic Courteau, suggested to Carlos
Rodriguez, Henin's coach, that she might apologise. "Apologise for what?" snapped back Rodriguez. And so the frostiness has
continued. After Mauresmo beat Henin in last year's Wimbledon final, the Belgian put her arms around her, but it was not a
move that led to any rapprochement. The French woman has also still not forgiven Martina Hingis for the remarks she made about
her sexuality after the 1999 Australian Open final.
Some might regard this as a weakness in Mauresmo's character, although it could be equally argued
that such stubbornness was one of the factors that enabled her to hold her nerve twice against Henin to finally win the two
majors that her talent so richly deserved. Those nerves have not suddenly subsided, and remain a perennial obstacle at Roland
Garros, but her return to the All England Club yesterday brought back a surge of good memories. "I don't know if you can put
it into specific words, it was just a good overall feeling. I'm really looking forward to the tournament."
Mauresmo lost to Henin in the Eastbourne final on Saturday, that win confirming the four-times
French Open champion as the favourite for the one major she has yet to win. Henin's third successive win at Roland Garros
was her sixth slam title, edging her ahead of Venus Williams and Hingis, and two behind Serena Williams. Mauresmo considers
the Williams sisters - who have five Wimbledon titles between them - along with herself, Henin, and Maria Sharapova, as the
players most likely to win the title.
Mauresmo had popped into the All England club before playing in East Sussex. "It was a little
empty but all the memories came back, moments I am still enjoying." Should she win again this year she would, of course, enjoy
equal prize money: "It's a great step forward, showing the example to everybody." Including the French, who quickly followed
The Wimbledon champion has not had the best of times since last year's victory, and underwent
an appendix operation in March. "I struggled a lot at the end of last year. It was disappointing. Then it took me some time
to recover from surgery. But I found some rhythm and confidence in Eastbourne, and I'm hoping that the grass season can put
me back where I should be." That said, she was in indifferent form before last year's Championships, but immediately felt
good in her opening match, which she won without dropping a game against the Croatian qualifier, Ivana Abramovic. "It was
a key moment for me. I was not playing a great player, but I managed to produce great tennis. Then I thought 'OK, I have the
Wimbledon feeling.' It felt wonderful."
Mauresmo has a potentially awkward quarter-final against this year's beaten French Open finalist,
19-year-old Ana Ivanovic of Serbia ,who had a fit of nerves of Mauresmo proportions at Roland Garros where Henin beat her
6-1,6-2: "It was understandable for Ana but it was a great experience and she is learning all the time. She played great tennis
throughout. I thought last year that Nicole Vaidisova was a little bit ahead of the new group of young players, but Ana has
come on extremely strongly. She's been working very hard and she's taken the lead."
Last year Mauresmo beat Ivanovic reasonably comfortably in the fourth round. Should they meet
again this time it could be altogether trickier for the champion.
Serena Williams was in the mood to rip up telephone directories for fun in the second week of
this year's Australian Open: "I'm still the best player when I am playing well. It's hard for anyone to beat me, that's just
a fact. I don't think anyone that has to play me goes home and shouts with joy. I'm feeling good and I'm not suffering from
any injuries, and for me it's always been about feeling healthy."
She reached three successive Wimbledon finals between 2002 and 2004, defeating her older sister
twice before being hit off the court by Maria Sharapova in 2004, the last time she lost to the Russian. And nothing was more
savage then her 6-1, 6-1 win over Sharapova in this year's Australian Open final. In a similar vein, Venus was at her own
intimidating best when she defeated Sharapova in the 2005 Wimbledon semi-finals, and then went on to win her third singles
title at the All England club. This time they are due to meet in the fourth round, while Henin may play Serena in the quarter-finals.
Should either or both the Williamses not reach the final, then they are clearly going to have a major influence on the outcome
of the title.
RAIN FRUSTRATES MAURESMO
Amelie Mauresmo's second round match was delayed due to torrential rain in Paris on Thursday.
The French former world number one was one set up over Nathalie Dechy, and the players
were in the middle of a second set tie-break when the heavens opened at Roland Garros.
They will resume at 4-2 to Dechy on Friday, competing for a place in the third round where
the victor will face Lucie Safarova.
Matches involving seeds Svetlana Kuznetsova (3), Anna Chakvetadze (9), Anabel Medina Garrigues
(24) Ai Sugiyama (21) and Martina Muller (32) were also interrupted by the rain.
In the men's draw, the inclement weather also ended an epic clash between Jonas Bjorkman
and Ivo Karlovic.
The Swede raced into a two-set lead over Karlovic, before being pegged back to 2-2.
When the rain came Bjorkman was a break up in the final set, but again the players will
have to return to complete the match on Friday.
MAURESMO MAKING PROGRESS
The Frenchwoman was made to work hard for her 7-6 (7-3) 6-4 victory over fellow compatriot
Mauresmo looked to cruising towards an early lead after racing ahead 4-2 in the first set,
but some sluggish shot-selections allowed the ninth seed to force the game into a tie-break before Mauresmo finally regained
And it was not until the ninth game of a tight second set that the tournament favourite finally
made her quality count by breaking her opponents serve to set up victory.
Mauresmo will now face another Frenchwoman, fifth seed Marion Bartoli, in the semi-finals after
her 6-1 4-6 6-3 win over Russia's Elena Vesnina.
Second seed Jelena Jankovic looks most likely to meet Mauresmo in the final after she made
her way into the other semi with a 6-3 6-4 victory over Maria Elena Camerin of Italy.
Jankovic will now meet sixth seed Anabel Medina Garrigues after she came from a set down to
beat China's Na Li 2-6 6-3 7-5.
Top seed Mauresmo beaten in Rome
Amelie Mauresmo's French Open preparations took a knock when she lost 7-5 6-7 7-6 to Samantha Stosur
in round two of the Italian Open in Rome.
The top seed was playing her second tournament since appendix surgery and twice failed to take match
"I guess I didn't keep the intensity the way I should have," she said.
"I have nothing much to say but that I'm just disappointed, and obviously I guess the lack of matches
showed a little bit at that moment."
Stosur had not even won a set in their previous five meetings but kept her head as Mauresmo missed
match points in the ninth and 13th games of the deciding set.
Mauresmo saved a Stosur match point herself, before Stosur successfully challenged a call on a Mauresmo
return, which turned out to be long.
That set up Stosur's second match point, which was converted when Mauresmo put a forehand return out.
"It went game-for-game until the third set, I had to keep fighting, try my best and see," said Stosur.
"I pulled it out in the tiebreaker."
Second seed Svetlana Kuznetsova and third seed Jelena Jankovic eased through, with straight-sets wins
over Mara Santangelo and Tamira Paszek respectively.
Last year's runner-up Dinara Safina reached round three after a bizarre start to her game with Kaia
There were 10 breaks of serve in the first 11 games before Safina sealed a 7-6 (7-5) 6-2 win.
ROME (Reuters) - With Amelie Mauresmo struggling after a two-month layoff following surgery and many
of the world's top women missing, the chances for an outsider to take next week's Italian Open claycourt title in Rome have
rarely looked so good.
Mauresmo, who won in Rome in 2004 and 2005, returned to competition at the claycourt German Open in
Berlin this week - her first tournament since undergoing an operation to remove her appendix in March.
The 27-year-old Frenchwoman was hoping for a good run to give her match practice ahead of Roland Garros
at the end of the month.
Instead, she fell in the third round to 21-year-old Julia Vakulenko, who lies 50 places below her in
the world rankings.
"It's extremely frustrating. In Rome I hope to get as much time as possible on the courts," said Mauresmo.
"I'm physically fit and am totally recovered from the appendectomy. I now need as many matches as possible
before the French Open."
In the absence of world number one and French Open champion Justine Henin, who is sitting out the tournament
as she prepares for Roland Garros, and world number two Maria Sharapova, who is out with a shoulder injury, Mauresmo will
start as top seed.
The retirement of world number five Kim Clijsters and the late withdrawal of defending champion Martina
Hingis with a back injury have reduced the field further.
Like the rest of the top eight seeds, Mauresmo has a bye into the second round but there she faces
a potentially difficult match with the winner of the first-round contest between Australia's Samantha Stosur and home favourite
Svetlana Kuznetsova, the world number four, heads the challengers in the other half of the draw.
The Russian, who finished runner-up at Roland Garros last year, is coming into form on clay and beat
compatriot Nadia Petrova 7-6 6-4 on Thursday to reach the semi-finals in Berlin.
Of the other leading players, third seed Jelena Jankovic of Serbia, a Berlin quarter-finalist, is in
the shape to claim her third title of the year.
Jankovic has been one of the most consistent players on the women's circuit this season, winning the
hardcourt event in Auckland at the start of the year then adding the claycourt title at Charleston in March
Mauresmo slumps to Berlin defeat
Second seed Amelie Mauresmo suffered a dramatic collapse as she went out of the German Open to Julia
The pair resumed their held-over last-16 match with Mauresmo leading 6-2 1-1 but the Frenchwoman won
just two games on the resumption.
Ukrainian Vakulenko followed up her 2-6 6-1 6-2 win with a 6-3 5-7 6-3 victory over eighth seed Dinara
Justine Henin trailed Jelena Jankovic 3-6 4-4 in their quarter-final when play was halted by bad light.
Earlier, world number one Henin had few problems beating Maria Elena Camerin 6-1 6-3 in the last 16.
The winner of the Henin-Jankovic match will meet Svetlana Kuznetsova, who defeated Nadia Petrova 7-6
(7-5) 6-4 in Friday's first quarter-final.
I was a step slow all day. What can you do, what can you
say? Just keep practising
World number three Mauresmo was playing her first tournament after a two month lay-off to recover from
an appendicitis operation.
She lost the first seven games on Friday's resumption and when she finally won a game to trail 2-1
in the final set, she shook her racquet and screamed in joy.
However, a double-fault two games later saw Mauresmo slip 4-1 down and the match was over soon after.
"What can you do, what can you say? Just keep practising," said Mauresmo. "I need the rhythm of more
matches, competition. I was a step slow all day."
World number 53 Vakulenko had to go through the pain barrier in her second match of the day after hurting
"I am really pleased to have got to the semi-finals, but the game against Safina was hard, because
the foot got really sore during the rain break and I had to take anti-inflammatories to dull the pain," she said.
"I am looking forward to the semi-final on Saturday, I just hope I can walk on the foot when I get
up in the morning."
|Weather worries for world No 3 Mauresmo
BERLIN: Amelie Mauresmo is more worried about the damp
Berlin weather than about her opponents at the $1.34mn Qatar Telecom German Open.
Returning to competition after having
her appendix removed almost two months ago, the French World No 3 was thrilled to see Berlin basked in warm sunshine on Sunday,
but steady rain yesterday and more bad weather forecast for the week has left her fearful she might not be able to get the
kind of practice she needs to kick-start her clay court campaign in style leading up to the French Open.
“If it rains
like this my preparations for the French Open will be hit,” said Mauresmo, who will be playing her first round match
only tomorrow. “I came to Berlin early to get a feel of the clay, but looks like I’ll have to wait.”
the second seed, also paid tributes to her close friend Kim Clijsters who announced her retirement from tennis on Sunday at
the age of 24 after a brilliant career that saw her win 34 titles.
“Kim was a player who brought great joy and enthusiasm
to the game wherever she played,” Mauresmo, the 2004 titlist here, noted.
“She has been thinking about retirement
for quite some time now so I am sure that she is really convinced it’s the right decision for her.
players on the WTA Tour are going to miss her a lot and I wish her the very best in her new life. Personally, I always enjoyed
our rivalry because it brought the best out in both of us.”
The Qatar telecom German Open boasts of seven players
in the top-10 with World No. 1 Justine Henin leading the star cast.
Henin yesterday became the first player to win three
titles this season when she defeated Ukrainian Alona Bondarenko in the final of the J&S Cup in Warsaw, which was postponed
by a day because of rain.
The pugnacious Belgian had titles in Dubai and Doha earlier this year and will be keen to avenge
her defeat to Russian Nadia Petrova in last year’s Berlin final.
Her record on all surfaces is excellent and yesterday’s
Warsaw title was her 11th clay court crown in a total of 32.
Henin, who won the Berlin title in 2002, 2003 and 2005, also
praised compatriot Clijsters’ contribution to the game, crediting her with pushing her to scale greater heights.
have almost grown up together so it was pretty emotional when Kim announced her retirement,” said Henin.
have a lot of respect for her, for what she did as a person and as a player. We have helped each other to play better. It
has been a good concurrence for us.
“She’s been a great player and it’s time for her to turn the page
and do something else in here life and everyone has o respect that.
“She did a lot for the game, for Belgian tennis
for sure, and I think I will have great memories of her that I will keep.”
Third seeded Svetlana Kuznetsova and fourth
seeded Martina Hingis are Henin’s and Mauresmo’s projected rivals in the semifinals. Hingis captured the 1999
title in Berlin, but since her comeback from retirement, she has played here only once, losing to Mauresmo in the quarter-finals
Meanwhile, Nicole Vaidisova, who was slotted to be the No.6 seed, pulled out on Sunday because of a wrist injury.
am very disappointed to not be able to play in Berlin,” the World No.8 said.
“I flew all the way here hoping
my wrist would get better. As I was born in Germany I feel a special connection with this country and was hoping to do well.
It was my first time here in Berlin; I am hoping to be back next year able to compete.”
Mauresmo commits to Pilot Pen
The Pilot Pen received its second commitment from a top-ranked
player today when defending Wimbledon champion Amelie Mauresmo announced she would play in New Haven.
The 2006 Australian Open and Wimbledon women's singles champion
became the first female player to commit to the 2007 Pilot Pen Tennis tournament on Tuesday. Mauresmo has played in New Haven
seven times in the first nine years of the tournament. She has had a lot of success at the tournament reaching the quarterfinals
five times (1998, 1999, 2001, 2002, 2006), the 2003 semifinal and the 2005 final.
In August the third-ranked Mauresmo
will look to add a Pilot Pen title to her already impressive resume.
The good news for Mauresmo is that her Pilot Pen
nemesis is unlikely to play in the Pilot Pen. Lindsay Davenport, the 2005 Pilot Pen singles champion, has beaten Mauresmo
in New Haven five times since 1999. But Davenport is pregnant and is expecting to deliver her first child in June. Davenport
didn't officially announce her retirement when news of the pregnancy broke late last year she said she has "no plans to play
Mauresmo has also been on the sidelines recently after undergoing an emergency appendectomy last month.
27-year-old Mauresmo hasn't played since losing to Justine Henin in the final at Dubai in late February. She has won 24 career
singles titles and has won more that $13 million.
Mauresmo was originally planning to return to the tour later this
month at the J&S Cup in Warsaw, Poland. But she is not on the official acceptance list. Mauresmo's official web site lists
the May 5-13 German Open as the next tournament on Mauresmo's calendar so it is likely she will return at the Berlin, Germany
"We are delighted to have Amelie join the Pilot Pen field early," Pilot Pen Tennis tournament director Anne
Worcester said in a statement. "As she is the defending Wimbledon champion, it is especially appropriate to announce her entry
on the day that Wimbledon is announcing equal prize money levels for women for the first time in Wimbledon history."
2007 Pilot Pen will be held Aug. 17-25 at the Connecticut Tennis Center in New Haven.
Former Fairfield resident and
ninth-ranked James Blake previously committed to play in the Pilot Pen men's tournament.
Mauresmo is coming off a career
year in 2006 in which she held the world No. 1 ranking for a significant portion of the year; won her first career major at
the Australian Open and followed that by winning at Wimbledon; and won two titles on the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour at Paris and
This year, she continued her success at Antwerp, winning her third title there. She also reached the final
of Dubai, before withdrawing from her next few tournaments due to acute appendicitis. She has since recovered and will return
to the tour in the coming months.
For tickets, how to become a volunteer, or more information about the tournament,
please call the Pilot Pen Tennis Box Office, 888-99-PILOT, 203-776-7331, or log on to www.pilotpentennis.com.
Mauresmo honoured with WTA award
Amelie Mauresmo was named the Women's Tennis Association (WTA) Tour player of the year for 2006
in Miami on Friday.
The French favourite won her first Grand Slam title at the Australian Open at the beginning of last
season and then added the Wimbledon title in July.
Among other players to be given awards by the poll of tennis journalists were Martina Hingis and Jelena
Swiss star Hingis won comeback player of the year and Serbian Jankovic was voted most improved player.
Mauresmo, who is currently recovering from an appendectomy, also won in Paris and Antwerp and was ranked
number one for 34 weeks in a row.
Former world number one Hingis returned from a three-year lay-off to win twice in 2006 and climb to
seventh in the rankings.
Jankovic lost 10 of her first 11 matches before rallying to end the year with a 44-17 record and a
run to the US Open semi-finals.
American Lisa Raymond and Australian Samantha Stosur repeated as WTA doubles team of the year. They
won 10 titles in 2006, including a French Open crown.
Belgium's Kim Clijsters, 2005's player of the year, won sportsmanship and humanitarian awards, and
Polish teen Agnieszka Radwanska was named top newcomer.