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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old Jan 30th, 2007, 11:44 AM Thread Starter
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Bangalore 2007

Serena to arrive on February 10

Special Correspondent

BANGALORE: Australian Open champion Serena Williams will arrive in Bangalore on February 10 to take part in the Sony Ericsson WTA Bangalore Open which begins at the KSLTA Stadium on February 12.
Serena's stunning triumph down under has come as a shot in the arm for the organisers, and she and the Indian ace Sania Mirza will be the top stars of the event.
"We expect Serena to be here on February 10 and her victory could not have come at a better time," said an elated KLSTA secretary C.S. Sunder Raju. "Serena was gracious enough to confirm her participation here much before the Australian Open and her great win at Melbourne will galvanise the tournament here," he added.
If Rafael Nadal did the trick for the ATP Chennai Open by ensuring a full house, Serena is expected to do that at Bangalore. The KSLTA hopes to have a sell-out crowd. The stadium has a capacity of 7,000, but the KSLTA doesn't plan to increase the number of seats.
"This is a green belt area (Cubbon Park) and we can't add more seats," said Sunder Raju. The KSLTA secretary, who was initially toying with the idea of getting a few more big names for the tournament, is now convinced that there is no need for that. "Serena, Sania and Alicia Molik are more than enough to provide the star value," said the KSLTA official.
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old Jan 30th, 2007, 05:36 PM
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Re: Bangalore 2007

Yes, Serena, Sania and Alicia are really good for headliners. I'm happy Serena is confirmed and even after winning the Australian Open. Good for you Serena and good for the tournament.


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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old Feb 3rd, 2007, 02:53 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Bangalore 2007

From the Hindustan Times,00070002.htm

I plan on winning more in future: Serena

S Kannan

New Delhi, February 1, 2007

When the organisers of the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour event in Bangalore were trying to get Serena Williams for the event starting on February 12, she was ranked in the nineties.

An against-all-odds victory against Maria Sharapova in the Australian Open final, and the black beauty is once again the hottest property in women’s tennis. In an exclusive interview from her residence in Florida, Serena talks about her comeback, and how she views her visit to India. And she has nice words to say about our own Sania Mirza.

Serena, how would you rate your comeback at the start of this season. Did you enjoy the Australian Open?

Oh!!! Yes, I have really enjoyed the Australian Open and it doesn’t get much better than winning the first Grand Slam of the year, so I’m very excited. I’m glad that I played in the Hobart tournament; it was a good practice tournament before the Australian Open.

Making a comeback after a long layoff is very tough. How would you put it in perspective now that Martina Hingis is also back strongly?

I always knew I could comeback if healthy and fit. Martina has done great, she has also worked hard to get back. Hopefully, we won’t get hurt again, so that we don’t have to make a comeback.

You have achieved near perfection, won all the Grand Slam titles, been No. 1 and were almost unbeatable. How do you see yourself out there in the presence of the new generation?

Well, there are so many young players who have immense talent. I looked up to senior players when I was beginning my career. I hope some from the new generation players look up to me as well.

How would you rate your chances of winning a Grand Slam title again, and which place is it most likely to be?

I would definitely like to win because I have just won one! I am confident I can win any of the three remaining Grand Slams this year and plan on winning more even in future.

Being away from tennis, how did you spend your time, and what went through your mind during the layoff?

I was mostly spending time with my family. I was doing the normal things that people do like hanging out and relaxing. It was great to be with the family. I was also practicing and did my training routines.

In fact, I practiced and trained more than what people think. I basically had a great time. But believe me, I have worked hard too!

You have dabbled with fashion and movies. Which gives you the biggest high?

It’s definitely movies. I’ve really enjoyed movies. I do like the fashion experience as well. The challenge of playing as someone else has always fascinated me. I love working with different kinds of people. I like the challenge and it excites me to take-on those challenges. That’s really exciting.

Modern day women's tennis has a lot of new faces. If you were to pick the best from this generation, who would it be?

There are many young players on the tour today with a lot of potential. It’s always good to see new faces on the tour and play new players, (A smile from the corner of her mouth) Serena and Venus Williams, of course!!!

You have never minced words airing your opinions, be it at post-match conferences or other media interactions. Is women's tennis actually now more popular than men's tennis and should there be same prize money for both?

Men’s and women’s — they both seem to be popular when certain players play. I know some of my matches have had huge ratings but depending on where in the world you are and depends on your popularity there.

The WTA is restructuring the Tour from 2010. How is it going to benefit the players?

It’s definitely interesting. It will benefit the players, no doubt. The chances of getting hurt and stress will be lower. Players will be mentally fit for the games. They won’t get worn down mentally, which is very important to keep their spirits high and it will help them to be more motivated.

How did you decide to come to Bangalore and how important is it in your calendar for 2007?

I’ve always been very fascinated with India. I’ve heard so much about Bangalore. It’s going to be a good tournament after the Australian Open. I’m sure this will be an important tournament in 2007. I want to take it step by step. I have Bangalore as an important destination for my comeback.

Winning a Grand Slam title again or becoming No.1 again, what is your goal now and the future?

Both are equally important for me. I’ve accomplished one goal for 2007 – winning the Australian Open. I’ve set my eyes on the No.1 slot. But in order to reach there I probably need to win another Grand Slam or two.

When people from the West come to India, they have weird notions of the country. Your take?

Actually, I really don’t know what to expect. That itself excites me. I’m keen on this visit and the expectations have really excited me. I have certainly heard great things about India. I’m looking forward to the visit.

Where do you Sania Mirza progressing as a professional, since you have seen her in 2005 on court as well?

Sania is a great player. And somehow she seems to play her best against me. She’s a brave player and is a fighter. She doesn’t give up very easily and Sania continues to hit well and is in good form now.

Is Asia gaining in prominence in tennis, especially the women's events?

Without doubt Asia is gaining prominence. Earlier, they had a lot of players in the top 300, then it came down to top 200 and now Asian players are in the top 100. I’m sure that soon they will have more in the top 25.
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old Feb 4th, 2007, 03:34 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Bangalore 2007

Serena anxious about Sania challenge

Press Trust Of India

Posted Saturday , February 03, 2007 at 18:58
Updated Saturday , February 03, 2007 at 19:00

IN SANIA'S HOME: Serena says Indian tennis seems to be all about Sania Mirza.

New Delhi: Serena Williams says Sania Mirza is a much improved player now than she was two years ago, and the prospects of taking on the young rival on her home turf is a good enough reason for her to visit India.

"I saw Sania at the Australian Open and she played even better than when she played me in 2005. She is certainly a good player, a strong and solid player," the eight-time Grand Slam winner said in Florida.

The former world number one, who made a robust return from a lengthy injury lay-off by winning the Australian Open last month, will be the main attraction at the $175,000 Sony Ericsson International women's event in Bangalore starting February 12.

Serena said Sania, the first Indian woman to win a singles title, need not be apprehensive about being in the same half of the draw as her.

"She is a strong player and it will be interesting to play her on her turf," she said.

"Indian tennis seems to be all about Sania and I want to see all that. I am really excited about coming to India."

The Australian Open was her first Grand Slam win in two years and it saw the American jump from 85 to 14 in world rankings.

Serena used the break to dabble in acting and fashion designing.

She said Sania must also learn to strike a balance between tennis and other pursuits in life. "She should try not to be distracted but also be happy as well. She must do what she wants in life," Serena said.

The 25-year-old denied there was any lack of motivation to play a lower level tournament after winning a Grand Slam. "The schedule was fixed before I won," she said.

Serena said it was satisfying to beat world number one Maria Sharapova in the final but believed there won't be any advantage from the major win to carry forward in to the Bangalore event.

"It feels good but it was last month. This is going to be a new week, new game. She (Sharapova) too must have gone home now, probably she was furious she lost to me."

Serena was confident that her sister Venus too would make a strong comeback to the game. "Definitely she is capable of it. If anybody can do it, certainly she can."
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old Feb 4th, 2007, 09:59 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Bangalore 2007

Serena sees Sania as main threat in Bangalore New Delhi, Feb 04: Australian Open champion Serena Williams believes that Indian tennis sensation Sania Mirza has the potential to rise higher in the women's circuit and should remain focused irrespective of distractions that came her way.

Sania's attire and attitude has often been subjects of controversy even as she received adulation from thousands of crazy fans all over the country, but the eight-time grand slam winner American gave a word of advice that the Indian star should take all these in her stride and not get bogged down.

''She (Sania) is a great player and has the ability to rise up to the top. She should concentrate on what she is doing and focused on things tennis,'' Serena said during a conference call interaction with the media at the DLTA Complex here on Friday night.

Serena will lead a pack of players mostly from the lower half of the top 100 in WTA rankings in the Sony Ericsson International -- rechristened for one-year-old Bangalore Open -- tournament at KSLTA grounds in Bangalore from February 12-18.

World number 48 Sania, who lost to eventual winner Serena in the Australian Open third round in 2005 in their last meeting, will play in both singles and doubles.

Serena said modern players ''will have to remain happy'' with all the criticisms and intense media scrutiny.

The 25-year-old Serena, who made a remarkable comeback to win her third Australian Open title last month after spending most of last year in the sidelines due to injury, is excited to tour India for the first time.

’'I am just excited to tour India. I had not been in India earlier. I heard India is real cool. Bangalore is nice and warm ... It looks like we'll have lots of fun and am looking forward to play in the tournament,'' says Serena, who finished at 89 last year but rose to 14 after winning the season-beginning grand slam in Melbourne.

Among the 24-names confirmed participation in the main draw, Sania is the third highest-ranked player after Serena and Italian Mara Santangelo (41) and Serena had the 20-year-old Hyderabadi in her mind when asked who could be her strongest opponent in the 175,000 dollar tier iii tournament.

''I don't know, anybody can win (the tournament). Sania is a good player and would be tough to beat,'' she said.

When asked her sister Venus could make a comeback after long injury lay-off just as she did, Serena said her elder sister could achieve anything and she would surely come back, adding that it would be ''awesome'' to partner Venus in doubles.

Meanwhile, Fed Cupper Sikha Uberoi has been handed a wild card and tournament director Sunder Raju said the organisers would see that deserving Indians are given wild cards without sacrificing the profile of the tournament.

The organisers will grant two more wild cards and four slots will be filled by the qualifiers while two players will be given entry from feed ups.

The qualifiers will start from February 10 and the main draw will be announced on February 11, Raju said.

The other players for the main draw include Russian Vasilisa Bardina (world no. 55), Italian Romina Oprandi (57), Croatian Jelena Tosic Kostanic (60), Sania's one-time doubles partner Australian Alicia Molik (99).
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old Feb 9th, 2007, 07:18 PM
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Re: Bangalore 2007

In Garden City, Serena will be state guest


Eight-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams will be a state guest during her visit to the Garden City to play in the Sony Ericsson International women's tennis tournament starting Monday.

"Serena will be a state guest as per the government order," Tournament Director Sunder Raju said at a press conference here today.

Serena will be playing her first tournament following her eighth Grand Slam victory in the recent Australian Open which catapulted her in the WTA rankings.

The third wild card of the USD 175,000 WTA Tour hard court event has been given to Australian Sophie Ferguson.

US-based Indian player Shikha Uberoi and upcoming Tara Iyer have received the earlier two wild cards.

The qualifying draw announced here today has as many as 11 Indian players in the 30-field draw.

They will be playing for the four places into the main draw which already has 28 players.

The four qualifying wild cards have been given to Aarthie Venkatraman, Archana Venkatraman, Poojashree Venkatesh and Asha Nandakumar.

The draw will be made at the famous Vidhana Soudha on Saturday in the presence of Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy.

The start of the main draw matches on February 12 has been pushed behind to 6.30 pm due to 'Karnataka Bandh' in protest against Cauvery issue on that day.
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old Feb 10th, 2007, 08:57 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Bangalore 2007

Tennis official: Serena Williams pulls out of Bangalore Open due to illness

The Associated Press
Saturday, February 10, 2007
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Eight-time Grand Slam winner Serena Williams pulled out of the Bangalore Open tennis tournament Saturday because she was suffering from the flu, the top tournament official said.
"I'm very disappointed to have to withdraw from the tournament, which I was really looking forward to participating in. I've caught a bad flu and am too sick to compete," she said, according to a statement issued by Sunder Raju, the director of the US$175,000 (€145,833) tournament.
It would have been Serena Williams' first visit to India.
"Naturally, we are disappointed that Serena will not be coming to Bangalore. Unfortunately, illness and injury is a fact of life in professional sports. We wish her a speedy recovery," Raju said in the statement.
Williams' place in the main draw was awarded Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia who was entered in the qualifiers that began Saturday.
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