Andy Murray signs deal with 19 Entertainment

On January 6, 2009 by

The famous management company which is currently responsible for sport stars including David Beckham has penned a deal with Andy Murray. 19 Entertainment is owned by Simon Fuller, the man responsible for the Spice Girls. The management company will look after the interests of the player both on the court and away from it.

After the deal was agreed, Fuller revealed that he was “very excited to be working” with the young British tennis star. Andy Murray is currently under the management of Ace Group but this contract will expire early in March. Murray has also penned a deal with CAA Sports, which will represent him in America. CAA Sports has experience of representing top tennis stars, with Novak Djokovic currently on its books.

Andy Murray’s brother, Jamie, who is best known for his exploits in the Wimbledon mixed doubles event, has signed the same deal. Fuller believes that the “innovative partnership” which currently exists between CAA Sports and 19 Entertainment will provide “global support” for the young pair. Andy Murray has shared the excitement of Fuller, revealing that it is a “fantastic opportunity”.

Hopes are high that Andy Murray will win a Grand Slam this year and the support offered by 19 Entertainment and CAA Sports will allow him to focus purely upon improving his game. Although the British tennis star’s profile has been steadily rising since he reached the final of the US Open last year, he has remained focused and professional, showing a maturity which belies his tender age of 21.

Murray warms up in style

On January 5, 2009 by

Andy Murray has warmed up in style for the upcoming tennis season with victory in the exhibition event in Abu Dhabi. Murray’s victorious run in the tournament included yet another victory over Roger Federer.

The Scot beat the tennis legend in convincing style and came up against Rafael Nadal in the final. Murray beat Nadal 6-4, 5-7, 6-3 to collect the prize money of $250,000. The confidence boost which will result from these two victories will be of great benefit to the tennis player, who has been tipped by many to win a Grand Slam title in the near future.

Murray’s first real challenge of the season will come later this month at the Australian Open, although he will have another chance to hone his already impressive skills before this tournament at the Qatar Open. Nadal and Federer are also attending this event in Doha and will undoubtedly be hoping for more success.

Nadal believes that Andy Murray “has a good chance to win in Australia”, something which Murray has revealed he is aiming for, and was also keen to congratulate him on his win. Furthermore, Nadal revealed that he personally played a “very good match” but was simply outclassed by the young Scot.

Murray was in impressive form against the Spanish player and should have finished the match sooner than he did. All in all, early performances from the Scot bode well for the major tournaments of 2009 and have simply added to the hype surrounding the talented youngster.

Murray ready for Grand Slam victory

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Andy Murray has spoken out about his successful year in the world of tennis, despite recently missing out on the prestigious BBC Sports Personality of the Year award.

The player believes that he is coming close to winning a Grand Slam, an achievement which has always been a dream for the Scottish youngster. Andy Murray is still only twenty-one years of age but has climbed the world rankings this year to reach the lofty position of number four.

Reaching the US Open final was a highlight of his year and, although he was defeated by Roger Federer, his impressive run in the tournament proved to his many fans that he is capable of winning a Grand Slam in the near future. Murray stated that he did not believe he was able to win a major title until he came so close to victory in the USA.

The confidence that Murray, who has been working with a new coach since the latter stages of last year, has gained from his impressive season has given him the motivation to “work hard this off-season”.

He believes that putting in that extra effort in the short-term will give him the best chance of winning a Grand Slam next year. The player recognised that achieving this ambitious goal will be “very hard” but he is determined to give it his “best shot”.

Although Murray’s year has been filled with high points, the player was keen to discuss the low points as well. One such disappointment came at the Beijing Olympic Games, where Murray crashed out in the first round.

He has since blamed this failure on unprofessional behaviour during the build-up to the tournament. Despite this minor setback last summer, Murray’s growing confidence and self-belief should set off alarm bells in the minds of all his competitors.

Sampras speaks out about tennis stars

On December 8, 2008 by

It’s been a fantastic year for Andy Murray, the rising star of British tennis. He has managed to reach the final of the US Open and he now stands at number four in the world rankings.

Murray may have thought that his year could not be made any better. However, he has now received the backing of Pete Sampras, a true legend in the world of tennis.

Critics of Andy Murray believe that he does not have the ability and natural talent to match the likes of Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer. However, whilst Sampras agrees that Murray is “one notch below” these two players, he feels he is “on the edge of breaking through”.

Furthermore, Sampras believes that the young Brit is set to win a major title in the very near future. If anyone can be trusted on the subject of tennis, it is surely Pete Sampras. During an extremely successful career, the player won fourteen Grand Slam titles and was a popular character with tennis fans all over the world.

Confidence was one thing that Sampras was not short of on the tennis court and the legend believes that Andy Murray needs to increase his level of self-belief if he is to succeed quickly. Sampras thought, whilst watching the US Open final, that Murray was lacking the self-belief that he could win and this proved detrimental to his game.

Whilst the American was keen to praise Murray, he cast doubts over the long-term success of Nadal. Nadal won the Wimbledon title this year at the expense of Federer, who had not lost on grass since 2002. However, Sampras believes that Nadal will not prove a serious threat to Roger Federer for too long, since it “takes a lot less energy" for Federer to “stay on top”.

Stefanki teams up with Andy Roddick

On December 2, 2008 by

Andy Roddick has announced that he will receive the coaching services of Larry Stefanki before the start of the 2009 tennis season.

Roddick, who is twenty-six years of age, ended this season ranked number eight in the world but he has endured a slightly disappointing season, which culminated in a forced withdrawal from the Masters Cup as a result of an unfortunate ankle injury.

On the brighter side, he did manage to reach the quarter-final stages of the US Open earlier this year but the American tennis player is now looking forward to teaming up with fellow American, Larry Stefanki.

Stefanki has previously coached the legendary tennis player, John McEnroe, as well as British tennis favourite, Tim Henman. He was recently employed by Fernando Gonzalez and, in the past, he managed to guide Yevgeny Kafelnikov to the top of the world rankings.

Although he played tennis professionally for several years before becoming a coach, he only reached a top ranking of thirty fifth in the world and Stefanki did not really start to make a name for himself until he entered the world of coaching.

Until relatively recently, Andy Roddick was being coached by Jimmy Connors. The famous pair started working together in the summer of 2006 but decided to split earlier in the tennis season. The American player is hoping that teaming up with such a legend in the world of coaching will spur him on to another impressive Grand Slam win at some point during the 2009 tennis season.

Djokovic beats Davydenko to win in Shanghai

On November 18, 2008 by

For British fans of Andy Murray, who was knocked out of the Masters Cup by Nikolay Davydenko in the semi-finals, the final of the competition may have held little excitement.

The final saw Davydenko meet Novak Djokovic, who had shown mixed form throughout the tournament and was perhaps lucky to be in the final. However, in reality the match was a thrilling one and was ultimately dominated by the Serb, who was also successful in the Australian Open earlier this year.

Djokovic won the match 6-1, 7-5, and his performance was a far cry from the ones seen in last year’s competition. In the 2007 Masters Cup, Djokovic lost all his matches and paled into insignificance in the face of tougher competition.

This year though, the Serb, who is still only twenty-one years of age, was truly ecstatic after the final point was played. He revealed that the victory is a “great achievement” and he also believes the event is on a par with a Grand Slam tournament, since the best eight tennis players compete against each other for glory.

The forehand which had proved to be lethal in the Australian Open was once again on show for Djokovic, and Davydenko was simply unable to cope with its power and accuracy. Davydenko remained rooted to the baseline for large parts of the match and seemed unable to hit with any accuracy from this point on the court.

This remained the pattern of the match throughout the opening set and it certainly seemed as if Davydenko was going to be taught a lesson in powerful tennis during the second set as well.

However, he eventually managed to find some kind of form and Djokovic started to become visibly nervous. Davydenko did enough to bring the score to 5-5, but a series of unforced errors handed the advantage to the Serb once again. Djokovic took full advantage of the opportunity to win the match and claim an impressive title.

Injured Nadal to Miss Davis Cup Final

On November 17, 2008 by

Rafael Nadal has pulled out of Spain’s Davis Cup final against Argentina. The world number one has been nursing a knee injury for months and has already seen both the Paris and Shanghai Masters tournaments slip away from him. Nadal’s doctor has warned the Spaniard that he could be out for at least another six weeks.

Nadal was forced to abandon his Masters Cup match against Nikolay Davydenko at the end of October amid fears that prolonged activity could exacerbate the tendinitis in his right knee. His rival, Roger Federer, also succumbed to injury during the Paris Masters but returned to action shortly afterwards.

Emilio Sanchez Vicario, the captain of the Spanish Davis Cup team, was disappointed to hear that Nadal had withdrawn from the match but remained adamant that his team could still be successful in the city of Mar del Plata. “We should not talk about Nadal anymore” he was quoted as saying. The captain continued to state that everyone should be trying to do their "best for Spain”.

Antoni Nadal, Rafael’s uncle and coach, was the first to express concern about his nephew’s fitness, and wrote off his chances as early as last week. ‘Uncle Toni’ told reporters that Rafael is still in a great deal of pain and had been training “very badly.”

Marcel Granollers has been chosen to replace Nadal in Argentina despite being ranked 56th in the ATP world rankings. Tommy Robredo – usually the most likely substitute for Nadal – is too unfit to play. Granollers is expected to make an appearance in the doubles matches but his involvement in other events may be limited.

The Davis Cup final begins on the 21st of November 2008 and lasts until the 23rd of that month.

Nalbandian defeated by Tsonga

On November 3, 2008 by

David Nalbandian, who shockingly managed to knock Andy Murray out of the Paris Masters tournament, has been surprisingly defeated by Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the final. The Frenchman beat Nalbandian 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 and managed to qualify for the Masters Cup.

The title was only Tsonga’s second in his career and he was visibly pleased with the result. He stated that the match was the perfect end to “a great season for me” and he was also pleased at the prospect of travelling to Shanghai.

The Masters Cup will be held in Shanghai in the middle of November and Tsonga will compete against seven other tennis players.

The Frenchman dominated the match by serving extremely well. He served 25 aces, whilst Nalbandian managed only four. Nalbandian was quick to praise Tsonga after the match, stating that he fully deserved his victory. In winning the title, Tsonga became the first Frenchman since 2001 (when Sebastien Grosjean was victorious) to win the tournament.

Nalbandian’s gracious attitude was not apparent on the court, with the player showing visible signs of frustration. The eighth game saw him smash his racket on the ground in anger.

However, he managed to briefly put these emotions behind him and held serve in the following game. Furthermore, the tenth game saw Nalbandian leading 0-40. However, Tsonga managed to save these break points and the player struck a majestic ace to take the game to match point. The final rally was won by the Frenchman and the French crowd were truly ecstatic with the result.

Nalbandian stops Murray’s superb run

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Andy Murray’s impressive winning streak was brought to an end by a superb performance by David Nalbandian in the quarter-finals of the Paris Masters.

The Argentine won the match 7-6 (7-3) 6-3 to remain one of the few top players in the world yet to succumb to the skills of the young Scot. To be fair to Andy Murray, this was only the second time he has come up against Nalbandian. The first time was during Wimbledon in 2005, when Murray was half the player he is today.

The British player was keen to succeed in the Paris Masters and he started the match confident of extending his amazing 14-match winning streak. However, Nalbandian was in truly fine form and dominated the tie-break of the first set.

After the match, Murray spoke of his disappointment at losing the match and exiting the Paris Masters but he revealed his satisfaction at his general performance. Furthermore, he was full of praise for his opponent, stating that the Argentine “played really well”.

Nalbandian agreed with Murray’s praise, stating that he played "almost” perfectly and managed to return the ball very well throughout the match.

After an extremely impressive year, Murray has started to show signs of fatigue recently. This comes as no surprise given his exploits in recent tournaments including the US Open.

This fatigue appeared to impact upon his usually reliable service game. Murray was quick to point out “the one thing I didn’t do, that I have done well in the last few weeks, is to serve well”.

Safin reveals he may quit tennis

On October 31, 2008 by

Russian tennis player Marat Safin has revealed that he may retire from the sport. The announcement came following a disappointing exit in just the first round of the Paris Masters.

The defeat was the latest in a series of shocking results for the tennis player, who is only 28 years of age. Juan Monaco beat the former world number one 6-0, 7-6 (7-4).

Safin has previously won the US Open and the Australian Open but has not won a title since 2005. He is ranked 31st in the world, but earlier this year he slipped as low as 90th.

The player’s confidence has been knocked by disappointing results against players including Igor Kunitsyn, who beat Safin in Moscow earlier this month.

The Russian tennis player has now expressed his desire to “sit down and relax” and attempt to live a life without “any tennis” for at least a few months.

After this break, Safin will reconsider his position but it is possible that he will never return to the sport which has brought him so much happiness.

Safin was keen to point out that he is under no pressure to make any immediate decision, since he has nothing “to prove or show” to anyone. He spoke of injuries which have blighted his career and left him “struggling” to find any kind of form.

However, physical problems have been joined by psychological problems. The Russian has revealed the “uncomfortable position” of finding himself ranked “70 and 30 and 50” when he used to dominate the top places.