Picspam: Faces of elation.
The invitational tournament in Kooyong starts tomorrow (weather permitting) and features a rather intriguing field of Djokovic, del Potro, Haas, Soderling, Ljubicic, Tsonga Verdasco and Gonzalez.
Murray, Roddick and Federer haven’t exactly ruled out the possibility of playing a one-off match as a sweetener for the fans on Thursday or Friday.
Oh Jo-Willy, what happened to the fuzzy hair? 😦
Fish eyes v blue eyes.
At the press conference, players took turns to bitch about the ATP tournament schedule.
Verdasco, who allowed himself only 10 days rest after the Davis Cup before resuming training again, called for a longer off-season.
“I think every player would like to have at least two weeks off and then have more time also to prepare, you know. Not to be in a rush.”
“I didn’t play Abu Dhabi, I didn’t play Doha that I was supposed to play because, you know, to finish in the Davis Cup on the 7th (of December) is impossible.”
Djoko, who did have a 2 week break, still agreed, citing the short off-season as a hindrance to his acting ambitions.
No, I wasn’t being sarcastic.
“I got offered to be a part of this show which … is about the king who is one of the biggest names in our (Serbian) history,” he said.
“He was assassinated in France — I hate that part.
“But for now I’m going to skip it because the scheduling is too busy for me.”
Nole further went on to reveal that the Players Council will meet with the ATP this month to discuss the possibility of a longer off-season, ideally 2 months. Good for you.
No, I wasn’t being sarcastic there either.
“We are trying to fight for the players rights and I think it is very important that people understand how we feel,” the Serbian world number three told reporters.
“Listening to the top players, you get the fair point … (The season) is just too long. And definitely, having five weeks, four weeks … before the start of the new season is so, so little.
“We have to have at least two months and that’s the minimum, I mean, considering the season that we are playing and the amount of matches and the level we are playing.”
While Nole’s not exactly the picture-perfect advocate for players’ health, he believes that he’s in better shape this year for the Australian Open than last year.
“I was in the role of defending champion at a grand slam for the first time in my life so I was going through a lot of tough periods at the start of 2009.”
“I didn’t feel 100% physically ready for the tournament, then I changed my racquet and I think it all reflected on my game and on court, and I was going through a lot of stress periods.
“Unfortunately, I finished the way I did, but this year is quite different and I just hope it won’t finish that way.”
The difference in 2010, according to Djoko, is that he spent two weeks in high-altitude training in the Italian Alps before some more intensive training in Dubai. The contrasting conditions is believed to equip him better for the Melbourne heatwaves.
Easier said at a press conference than when you’re down 2 sets and the mercury hits 40C.