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Bernard Tomic holds second press conference to defend quitting after first set

Bernard TomicBernard Tomic held a second press conference after his first-round loss to Rafael Nadal at the Australian Open to defend himself for quitting because of a groin injury.

The Australian player was booed by fans for retiring after dropping the first set to Nadal 6-4. Tomic says he was hurt that the fans doubted and questioned him, so he went out of his way to defend himself. He spoke to the media again to explain that a doctor told him he could have been out for 3-4 months had he continued to play on his bad groin. He says he has a partial tear.

Tomic said getting booed was “unfair” and that he felt the fans “misunderstood” why he quit. He said he wanted to get his side out, which he was able to do.

I’m guessing the fans were booing because they were disappointed more than anything else. They paid to see a best-of-five set match between Tomic and Nadal and only got to see one set. Combine this with Tomic’s issues on the road and underwhelming performances on the court, and the fans have good reasons to be disappointed. Not only that, but based on what Tomic did against Andy Murray two years ago, they had reasons to suspect he could have been tanking.

Rory McIlroy: Caroline Wozniacki is the ‘right girl for me’

Rory McIlroy Caroline WozniackiRory McIlroy has been heavily scrutinized for his relationship with tennis player Caroline Wozniacki, but he is confident he has made the right choice for a life partner.

Speaking prior to the Abu Dhabi Championship this week, McIlroy discussed his engagement to Wozniacki. He got her an 8-carat ring because eight is his lucky number. He also thinks the engagement will help him.

“I feel I have stability in my life now and the engagement will only help with regards to knowing everything in my life is set. I mean, if you get engaged, you plan to spend the rest of your life with that person, so it is a big decision. But she’s definitely the right girl for me,” McIlroy said via The Telegraph.

McIlroy proposed to Wozniacki on New Year’s while the two were in Sydney by the Sydney Harbour bridge.

Not only does McIlroy have stability in his personal life, but he also has many legal matters sorted out. He had his split with his sponsors and management that turned into legal issues. The equipment issues following his departure from Oakley to Nike was sorted out, but he still has to settle with Horizon, his former management company.

Still, now that he’s been with the swoosh for several months, McIlroy appears to be back on track. He finished tied for sixth at the WGC-HSBC Champions in November, 11th at Tiger Woods’ Northwestern Mutual World Challenge, and he won the Australian Open in December. Based on his comments and the way he’s played, we’re expecting a great year from McIlroy.

Roger Federer hits crazy overhead winner with wicked spin (Video)

Roger Federer grinRoger Federer is so good that even when he mishits a ball, it still goes in for a winner.

Fed is playing doubles at the Brisbane International with Nicolas Mahut (you know him from his marathon match with John Isner) and the two beat Jeremy Chardy and Grigor Dimitrov (Maria Sharapova’s boyfriend) in three sets. At one point, Federer retreated to return a lob and hit an overhead for a winner. But the winner was unconventional; he hit the ball off the frame of his racket with so much backspin that the ball barely cleared the net and then bounced back over to Federer’s side.

All Federer could do was give an embarrassed grin.

H/T Bryan A. Graham

Rory McIlroy and Caroline Wozniacki engaged to get married

Rory McIlroy Caroline Wozniacki engaged

So much for all those rumors about Rory McIlroy and Caroline Wozniacki being on the outs.

The golfer and tennis player are now engaged to be married after McIlroy proposed on New Year’s Eve. Each athlete shared the good news on their Twitter accounts:

McIlroy called the engagement his first “victory of the year.”

Caroline shared the same three photos and added her commentary:

[Read more...]

Ekaterina Bychkova thinks Maria Sharapova-Grigor Dimitrov relationship is a PR move

Maria Sharapova Grigor Dimitrov

Russian tennis player Ekaterina Bychkova doesn’t make a whole lot of noise for her play, but she’s made some noise for questioning the relationship between Maria Sharapova and Grigor Dimitrov.

In an interview with Tribune Russia, Bychkova didn’t necessarily question whether the two tennis players were in love, but she did suggest that the relationship is a PR move.

Here’s how the interview Q&A went based on Google Translate:

- There was talk that she is not acting for any other reason …

- Pregnancy? Nonsense! Do you believe that Sharapova and Dimitrov …

- … Sharapova Dimitrov and love each other, and there are fears that this may adversely affect their professional careers.

- Love is love, and that’s fine, but this love PR still gives a bit … (laughs)

Tennis World had an even harsher translation of the comments.

“Love is love, but the one between her and Dimitrov seems like public relations stuff… It’s difficult to have relationships when you constantly travel around the world.”

If Sharapova and Dimitrov are together to enhance their images PR-wise, it wouldn’t be the first time celebrities got together for that reason. Many have said that’s what’s going on between Lindsey Vonn and Tiger Woods. But I don’t necessarily think that’s the case with Sharapova and Dimitrov.

If their relationship were just for PR purposes, then why didn’t Sharapova confirm it for several months? And if she were in a relationship to get a PR boost, wouldn’t her handlers have chosen a more marketable/well known male?

Sharapova certainly does some very creative things for PR purposes, but I don’t think this is one of them.

Maria Sharapova hires new coach – Sven Groeneveld

Maria Sharapova Sven Groeneveld

Maria Sharapova announced on Thursday that she has hired a new coach for the upcoming tennis season. The 26-year-old will be working with Sven Groeneveld (pictured far left), who has a reputation for helping to train and coach some of the top female players over the past two decades.

“I’m happy to announce my official partnership with Sven Groeneveld,” Sharapova wrote on Facebook. “We’ve been working together since I got back on the court and after seeing him on the opposing side for so many years, I’m excited to have him become a part of my team.

“It has been a very seamless transition and I have had a lot of fun with the hard work we have put in so far. Looking forward to the year ahead.”

Sharapova expressed similar optimism when Jimmy Connors was hired as her coach, but that partnership didn’t last very long. In fact, Sharapova only stuck with Connors for one match before ditching him. She missed the US Open and end of the season because of a shoulder injury that flared up in Cincinnati.

Groeneveld recently served as a coach and consultant at the Adidas Player Development Program. He most notably has coached Monica Seles, Mary Pierce and Ana Ivanovic. Hopefully for Sharapova’s sake this partnership works out well.

Maria Sharapova: Beef with Serena Williams is behind us

Maria SharapovaMaria Sharapova says the issues between her and Serena Williams are behind them.

Sharapova spoke with The Wall Street Journal in August about her candy line, and the subject of her beef with Serena came up. Sharapova was reluctant to speak about the topic and kept her response brief.

“We haven’t spoken too much about it,” she told The Wall Street Journal. “But we did [put it behind us]. We left a lot of what had happened in London.”

In case you forgot, Sharapova and Serena went at it before Wimbledon. Serena started it by taking subtle shots at Sharapova in a Rolling Stone article. Sharapova fired back by telling Serena to stick to her business and by calling out Williams’ relationship with her coach. Both players lost early in the tournament, while Marion Bartoli won it.

Though Maria says the beef is behind them, we think there is still friction between the two. Unfortunately they have not played each other since then. Sharapova has been out with a shoulder injury, though we could take a guess at how the match would go; Williams is 14-2 against Sharapova and has won every match they’ve played since 2005.

Racquet clap to Beyond the Baseline