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Old Sep 10th, 2009, 11:00 AM   #16
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Re: Nina's News, Articles, Interviews.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

An interview with:

Yanina Wickmayer

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. What was the funny story about the T shirt? Sorry, my Flemish isn't all that good.


YANINA WICKMAYER: Well, before my match against Kuznetsova in New Haven I went to see a shop just behind the hotel just to relax a little bit. I saw two T shirts, but they were pretty expensive.
So I said if I win tomorrow, if I beat Kuznetsova, I'm going to get them. I lost 7 6 in the third, so I didn't go get them because I wanted to be honest to myself.
We got into the car, we started driving to New York, and after a couple of miles my dad went to the back and get me my two T shirts. He thought I deserved them, anyway.

Q. With all the coverage Melanie Oudin is getting, you were pretty much under the radar. This has been a surprise Open for you, too. Has it surprised you? Has it helped you that you have been under the radar?


YANINA WICKMAYER: It has surprised me in one way. I have been feeling really well the last few weeks. I've been playing a couple of great matches, and I'm really playing under a lot of confidence.
So coming here I was feeling pretty good, and physically and mentally I was feeling really strong. So the first couple of matches, yeah, of course you're always a little bit surprised of winning great matches in a Grand Slam.
For sure if it's the first great Grand Slam you've played, because before this my best result was second round. So of course when you get to the third, fourth round, you start surprising yourself. But actually, I've been staying pretty calm. I've worked really hard for this.
Yeah, every match I can win, I'm really excited and I'm really happy to be here.

Q. What clicked for you in this tournament that wasn't there earlier in the year?


YANINA WICKMAYER: Well, the last couple of weeks I lost some tight matches to the top players. I lost 6 4 in the third, 7 6 in the third. So it was always like those few key points that I lost.
Yeah, I guess now those key points I just feel more concentrated physically and mentally. I feel stronger on the court. I'm sure that those two points has helped me a lot this few weeks.

Q. Can you talk about coming to the United States and what it's like and how often you're in Belgium?


YANINA WICKMAYER: Well, I only lived here for two and a half years. I was here from about '99 till 2001, and then I went back home. From then on I'm just in Belgium. I've been practicing in Belgium since then.

Q. When you were here you were at Saddlebrook?


YANINA WICKMAYER: Yeah, I was at Saddlebrook, yeah.

Q. What brought you here? What sent you back?


YANINA WICKMAYER: My mom was sick when I was six or seven. She got ill. So she was at home. She was treated at home, so yeah, I was being with her all the time. I lost her in '99, and I just started playing tennis a few weeks or a few months before that just to get my mind off things.
I guess I just decided as a little girl to get away from home and put my memories and thoughts to something else, so we moved to Florida just to, yeah, my dad and me, just to get things off, just to, yeah, focus ourself on other things in life and try to move on.
And, well, after two and a half years we felt a lot better. We were like living our lives and being happy to live, and, yeah, being happy to see the next day arrive.
It's been a really tough time for me, but if I see now it's been one of the best decisions I've ever made, just going there and putting my mind off things.
Well, after two years and a half, I'm still Belgian. I'm still Belgian. I have all my friends and family at home. So, yeah, we just decided then it was time for me to go back home and live my life just the way it has to be.

Q. Did you speak much English when you moved to...


YANINA WICKMAYER: Not a word.

Q. What was that whole experience like?


YANINA WICKMAYER: Well, it started by showing, yeah, the teachers that this was a forehand and this was a backhand, and just like trying to use my hands and trying to hear stuff from other people. Yeah, I just picked it up and tried to learn.

Q. What was it like going to regular class, academics?


YANINA WICKMAYER: Yeah, well, I went to school when I was home, also, so it was yeah, in the beginning it was pretty hard because I didn't understand anything. Yeah, in the beginning I did everything on the computer so I could translate every word. Yeah, and at the end I just tried to learn, tried to speak more, tried to understand stuff.
Yeah, every night I was busy just translating words and just trying to understand. So, yeah, it was tough for me, but it was pretty exciting to learn a new language. It was at that time my second language, so it was really exciting, though.

Q. Can you talk about the influence of Kim and Justine? Justine, it sounds like, had a similar story to yours in losing her mother at a young age.


YANINA WICKMAYER: Yeah, her story is a bit similar, I think. I don't really have a lot of contact with Justine. She's part of the other side of Belgium. Yeah, I just think she yeah, she has her own way of dealing with things.
I respect her a lot. I appreciate a lot what she has been doing for Belgian tennis. She's a great champion. Maybe she's coming back; maybe not. We'll see.
But yeah, Kim is I have more contact and more personal contact with Kim now than with Justine. I don't know why. I think we're just from the same part of Belgium, and that makes us a little closer, I guess.
Yeah, Justine has dealt with it in a really great way. I think she has given a lot of wins to her mom. I think that's great.
If you can be a big champion and do stuff and really feel well about playing and, yeah, achieving your goals, I think that's great.

Q. When did you meet Kim the first time?


YANINA WICKMAYER: Oh, I can't remember when. My guess on a tennis court somewhere, but I don't remember when.

Q. When you came to the U.S., you came to get away from a situation and to learn how to play tennis...


YANINA WICKMAYER: Yeah.

Q. When did you decide that you wanted to be a professional tennis player?


YANINA WICKMAYER: Um, I think it just came like weeks by weeks and months by months. I just started enjoying it really well, and I really loved the game. I really enjoyed working hard and playing a lot of hours during the day, because at the academy we practiced a lot during the day. We're always busy.
So that was a good thing for me. I could focus on other stuff. I really enjoyed playing. I was playing with other kids, so it made me really enjoy the game. Yeah, I guess during the second and the third year, yeah I started getting better and playing tournaments and competing in the nationals in the U.S., under 14, under 12.
So, yeah, I really enjoyed playing then. When I got back home I went to the federation. That's where I started. That's when I really decided well, not really decided I want to be a professional, because saying that as an 11, 12 year old girl is pretty tough.
But, yeah, I really love playing. Once I was 15, 16, I just told myself I want to give everything I have and give it a shot.

Q. There's an obvious chance that you may meet Kim in the finals. Has that ever crossed your mind?


YANINA WICKMAYER: Well, there are a lot of people that told me. They told me already from the first round that we're on the other side, so I guess it's been an old story already. But, well, let's hope, I guess. Let's all hope we can meet each other in the final.
But let's be honest, we both have a really tough match in front of us. She has Serena in front of her which is going to be a great match, and really excited of seeing that one. I don't know my opponent yet, so as soon as I know my opponent I'm going to try and get everything, yeah, focus and preparing myself for the next round.
Yeah, it's going to be a tough semis, but, yeah, let's hope.

Q. If Melanie Oudin wins tonight, you're going to be facing her with the home crowd backing her 100%. Is that going to be a harder situation for you?


YANINA WICKMAYER: No, not really. For me the important thing is that the people that are behind me, they are sitting in their box and they're behind me. I know that they are supporting me with their hearts and their soul. And those people, as long as they're behind me and supporting me, I'm happy.

Q. How much does what you went through as a young girl with your mother, how much does that help you when you're out on the court and you're having a tough time? You've known the bigger things in life, and you've managed through.


YANINA WICKMAYER: Well, I guess it's just given me a great mentality and a fighting spirit on the court. I'm just someone that never gives up. Even today when I'm almost 5 1 down, I just keep on going and keep hanging there and keep fighting. That's what I try to, yeah, express on the court and try to have next to the court, also.
I know what life is, and maybe I'm older in my head than some people think. Sometimes it's not easy for me, because sometimes I wish I could be a girl from 19 and just enjoy, you know. But I guess that's life. That's the way life goes. Things just happen.
But I found a way to learn with it and to live with it. Every day I'm on the court, I just enjoy every minute and enjoy every moment. Yeah, I guess things just happen in life, but it's not only me. Other people have other things to, yeah, to live with, also.
So, no, actually it has given me a lot. It has taken away a lot from me, but I just found a way to live with it.

Q. Do you remember watching some of these wonderful matches between Kim and Justine? And where were you and what were you thinking?


YANINA WICKMAYER: I guess the last ones I all watched, because I was playing myself. Well, they had some amazing matches. Yeah, I guess Justine, yeah, won on clay most of the time. Justine beat her here in the US Open Series.
So, yeah, they're just two great champions. Even Justine won more Grand Slams, I think they're both just great. Kim is an unbelievable person. Next to the court, I think Justine has a great mentality off the court to help people. She's doing a lot of charity stuff. They're just two gait people.
Actually, it's not sad, but, yeah, they were there at the same time. They always played each other, and one had to win; one had to lose. So I guess maybe that time is coming back. Who knows?

Q. Who would you rather play in the semifinal? Who would you like to play?


YANINA WICKMAYER: I really it doesn't matter. I've never played one of them, so it's going to be the first time playing them if it's Caroline or Melanie.
Either way, I'm just going to have to go out there and play my game again, so let's just wait for today what happens.

Q. How would you characterize Wozniacki as a player?


YANINA WICKMAYER: I don't know. I've not really watched her play a lot, so I'm going to watch a little bit on TV today. But like I said before, every match I play, I just go on the court and play my own game.
Sometimes I'll adjust a little bit during my match, but not really a lot. I just go out there, have fun, and do everything I can.

Q. What is it that's worked so well for you during this tournament?


YANINA WICKMAYER: I think I've worked so hard the last few years getting my physical and my mentally in a good level. I think it's just all coming together this week. The last weeks I felt like it was going to come. I was really feeling well on the court. Everything was putting was getting together.
So physically I've been feeling really strong this week, and mentally I've been always trying to stay calm and stay aggressive at the same time. So I think that's one of the keys for me.

Q. Have you changed your practice or your...


YANINA WICKMAYER: No, not at all. I've always been someone that worked really hard, and I just think the work I've been into this the last few years is just paying off.

Q. When you came to the U.S., was there something about your dad sold his business or something?


YANINA WICKMAYER: Well, not only his business. He just gave up his whole life for me. Yeah, he just was a normal guy in Belgium. He had friends, he had family, he had cars, he had our house.
He just gave everything up for me. He just left. He listened to a girl that was nine years old and left his life, left his dreams. So I guess I'm always going to respect him for that. I think he's listening today, so he's just a great guy.
I think that the place I am right now, the semis I'm going to play tomorrow or the day after, the moments I live every day, it wouldn't be if he wasn't there. So he's the only person that has always stood next to me. He's always been there for me, even in the bad and the good moments. He's always respected me and always tried to do the best he can.
So, yeah, I have no words for what he done. I think there is no way of thanking him in any way for what he did, but I hope with my semis here this week I can show him that I really thank him for everything he's done.
Yeah, it's been great spending my whole life with him.

Q. Is he here in New York?


YANINA WICKMAYER: Yeah, he's right there. (laughter.) He told me it's the first time he comes to a press conference. He just wanted to see how everything works.

(Amazing interview. You can find it or any other on www.usopen.org, btw)
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Old Sep 10th, 2009, 11:10 AM   #17
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Re: Nina's News, Articles, Interviews.

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Old Sep 10th, 2009, 04:29 PM   #18
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Re: Nina's News, Articles, Interviews.

Wickmayer powers past Bondarenko and into semifinals

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

An all-Belgian final at the US Open is still possible.

Yanina Wickmayer, who never advanced past the second round of a major before the tournament began, joined Kim Clijsters in the semifinals after blasting past Kateryna Bondarenko 7-5, 6-4 on a blustery Arthur Ashe Stadium.

"Let's hope we can meet each other in the final," Wickmayer said.

Just imagine the depth in Belgian tennis if Justine Henin follows Clijsters and comes out of retirement.

Wickmayer stuck to her game Monday, playing aggressive off both wings, and overcame a wobble in the second set. Thirty-one winners, double Bondarenko's tally, flew off her racket. The 19-year-old faces either 17-year-old U.S. upstart Melanie Oudin or fellow 19-year-old Caroline Wozniacki, a Dane, in the last four.

"I've worked really hard for this," said Wickmayer, who trained in Florida after her mom died of cancer. "I've been staying pretty calm. Every match I can win. I'm really excited."

Clijsters, Wickmayer’s idol and doubles partner in Cincinnati, booked her place in the semifinals Tuesday and has a tasty encounter with defending champion Serena Williams next. Those two are downright old compared to the youth in the top half.

Bondarenko, the first Ukrainian Grand Slam women’s quarterfinalist, struggled to cope with Wickmayer’s power and blew a 4-1 lead in the second set. She must have liked her chances beforehand, holding a 2-1 lead in their head-to-heads, including a victory in Toronto a few weeks ago. That match was a little lower profile – in the first round.

"I cannot really (say) that I was playing bad," Bondarenko said. "She was playing good."

Wickmayer, ranked 50th, continually pestered Bondarenko, No. 52, on serve. Going up 30-0 in the opening game was a sign of things to come.

She failed to break, and missed another chance in the third game, erring on an easy forehand volley at 30-all. Bondarenko held for 2-1.

Wickmayer coasted on her own serve. The lone point she dropped through two service games came courtesy of a double fault. A deft Wickmayer drop shot, followed by a missed forehand, allowed the teen to finally break for 3-2.

By this time the pattern of play had been established. Wickmayer hit through her shots, including a few swinging volleys, while Bondarenko, competing with strapping on one leg, counter punched.

Bondarenko thwarted more danger on serve to get to 4-5. If it were a boxing bout, they’d have stopped it on points.

But Wickmayer didn’t deliver the knockout blow and paid the price. Saving two break points with a big serve, a backhand wide on a third chance leveled matters at 5-5.

The last thing Bondarenko wanted to do was get broken.

It happened, and at love.

Wickmayer’s nerves again surfaced. Up 40-15, Bondarenko won the next two points. Wickmayer needed a fifth set point overall to clinch the first.

She broke to start the second, and fans probably thought the right-hander would then coast. A brief change of momentum occurred at 40-30 in the next game, though.

Wickmayer, confronted with a short ball, pushed an angled backhand straight to Bondarenko. Out of position on court, Wickmayer saw a backhand down the line whiz past her. A break followed and Wickmayer smacked a ball in frustration.

Bondarenko won the next three games, and Wickmayer’s errors were sometimes applauded by Bondarenko’s support team – which visibly irked her opponent.

Wickmayer saved a break point at 1-4, the turning point of the set. A pivotal double fault by Bondarenko at 30-15 in the ensuing game helped Wickmayer get back on serve, and another break got her ahead.

Wickmayer fell behind 15-30 trying to close things out, although she won the next three points.

One more victory and Wickmayer’s unlikely fortnight continues.


Match Facts
- Prior to the US Open, Wickmayer had never advanced past the second round of a major.
- Wickmayer hit 31 winners and 35 unforced errors.
- Bondarenko hit 15 winners and 31 unforced errors.
- Bondarenko only won 34 percent of points behind her first serve.
- Wickmayer broke five times and Bondarenko three, both from nine attempts.
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Old Sep 10th, 2009, 04:38 PM   #19
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Re: Nina's News, Articles, Interviews.

http://www.wave3.com/global/story.asp?s=11103366

Her father closed his pool construction company in Belgium, and relatives supported the pair financially while they lived in Florida for 2½ years.

"He just gave everything up for me," Yanina said. "He just left. He listened to a girl that was 9 years old and left his life, left his dreams. I'm always going to respect him for that."

Marc Wickmayer was in the Arthur Ashe Stadium stands Wednesday, watching his daughter play the biggest match of her career - and win it.

"I have no words for what he's done," Yanina said. "There is no way of thanking him in any way for what he did, but I hope with my semis here this week, I can show him that I really thank him for everything."
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Old Sep 10th, 2009, 04:38 PM   #20
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so cute
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Old Sep 10th, 2009, 05:19 PM   #21
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Thanks
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Wickmayer. Venus. Ivanovic. Cirstea. Halep.
Azarenka. Krajicek. Flipkens. Pironkova. Begu.
Lisicki. Paszek. Vesnina. Pavlyuchenkova. Cornet.
Stephens. Oudin. King. Vandeweghe. McHale.
Grammatikopoulou ~ Papamichail ~ Sakkari
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Old Sep 10th, 2009, 09:54 PM   #22
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Re: Nina's News, Articles, Interviews.

A Greek article:
http://tennisnews.gr/index.php?optio...ams&Itemid=155
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Azarenka. Krajicek. Flipkens. Pironkova. Begu.
Lisicki. Paszek. Vesnina. Pavlyuchenkova. Cornet.
Stephens. Oudin. King. Vandeweghe. McHale.
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Old Sep 11th, 2009, 06:23 PM   #23
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Re: Nina's News, Articles, Interviews.

US Open 2009: Yanina Wickmayer joins Kim Clijsters in last four


Yanina Wickmayer made it a Belgian double in the US Open women's semi-finals as the teenager joined Kim Clijsters in the last four at Flushing Meadows.
World No 50 Wickmayer defeated Kateryna Bondarenko, ranked two places below her, 7-5, 6-4 after coming from 4-1 down in the second set to win her first grand slam quarter-final.

Wildcard Clijsters will next play defending champion and second seed Serena Williams - the only player from the top eight left in the women's draw - while Wickmayer awaits the winner of Wednesday night's quarter-final between 17-year-old Melanie Oudin of the United States and ninth seed Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark.

Kim Clijsters reaches semi-finals "Playing semis in a grand slam is great, amazing," said Wickmayer. "Before this my best was second round, so it's so exciting, it's all been amazing."
It was also 23-year-old Bondarenko's first appearance in the last eight of a major but Wickmayer adjusted more quickly, breaking the deadlock in a tight first set to go 4-2 up on the way to a one-set lead.

The second set was more of a see-saw affair as the women traded breaks of serve at the start and Bondarenko then broke as Wickmayer sent a drop shot from the baseline into the net, taking a 3-1 lead.

The Belgian seemed to be letting the tension get the better of her, at one point smashing her racquet to the floor and later firing a ball down to the other end of the court in frustration.

Her mood will have darkened even further when Bondarenko saved a break point in the next game and then held serve as a Wickmayer backhand found the net.

Bondarenko, watched in the stands by sister Alona Bondarenko, the ousted No 30 seed, continued to dominate the second set as she earned a break point of her own in the fifth.

Wickmayer saved it but still screamed at herself as she went on to hold serve and the tide began to turn in her favour.

The 19 year-old broke back and at 4-3 down Wickmayer was back on serve and she saved more break points before levelling.

It got even better for her as she broke Bondarenko again to serve for the match.

Wickmayer had had trouble closing out the first set but wasted little time securing her semi-final spot.

"I missed a few opportunities so I was pretty mad at myself," Wickmayer said of her problems early in the second set. "But I kept on fighting, kept on hanging in there and I just came back."
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Old Sep 12th, 2009, 11:25 AM   #24
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http://www.usopen.org/en_US/news/pre...?promo=leftnav
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Old Sep 12th, 2009, 07:00 PM   #25
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Re: Nina's News, Articles, Interviews.

Thanks
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Eleni Daniilidou 2014

Wickmayer. Venus. Ivanovic. Cirstea. Halep.
Azarenka. Krajicek. Flipkens. Pironkova. Begu.
Lisicki. Paszek. Vesnina. Pavlyuchenkova. Cornet.
Stephens. Oudin. King. Vandeweghe. McHale.
Grammatikopoulou ~ Papamichail ~ Sakkari
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Old Oct 3rd, 2009, 04:50 PM   #26
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Re: Nina's News, Articles, Interviews.

Interview:

http://v.youku.com/v_show/id_XMTIyNzc1NjY4.html
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Eleni Daniilidou 2014

Wickmayer. Venus. Ivanovic. Cirstea. Halep.
Azarenka. Krajicek. Flipkens. Pironkova. Begu.
Lisicki. Paszek. Vesnina. Pavlyuchenkova. Cornet.
Stephens. Oudin. King. Vandeweghe. McHale.
Grammatikopoulou ~ Papamichail ~ Sakkari
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Old Oct 5th, 2009, 05:39 PM   #27
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Re: Nina's News, Articles, Interviews.

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Old Oct 13th, 2009, 07:12 PM   #28
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Re: Nina's News, Articles, Interviews.

Yanina, Anabel Off To Bali

ST. PETERSBURG, FL, USA - Yanina Wickmayer and Anabel Medina Garrigues are the first two players to qualify for the inaugural Commonwealth Bank Tournament of Champions, a season-ending Championships for the Tour's top International tournament winners. Set to make its debut in Bali, Indonesia from November 4 to 8, the event will feature top Tour players and next generation champions competing in an innovative 12-woman round robin singles format (four groups of three players), and offer both $600,000 in prize money and an opportunity to earn a $1 million bonus.

Wickmayer has had a breakthrough season on the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour, highlighted by winning her first Tour title at the Estoril Open (her International title) and by far her best Grand Slam performance to date, reaching the semifinals of the US Open. She reached a career-high of No.22 on the September 14 rankings; currently No.24, she is the second youngest player inside the Top 30 (after Caroline Wozniacki).

"I'm thrilled about having an opportunity to go to Bali for the Commonwealth Bank Tournament of Champions," Wickmayer said. "I've had a really good year, winning my first Tour tournament and having a dream run at the US Open. Going to Bali is a perfect ending to my season."

Medina Garrigues has had one of the best seasons of her 13-year career, including winning her ninth Tour title at Fès (her International title). She reached a career-high of No.16 after winning the Moroccan tournament. The Spaniard also won her second Grand Slam title, defending her doubles title at Roland Garros with Virginia Ruano Pascual.

"I'm really excited about qualifying for the tournament in Bali because I had a very good season and I am glad that all the hard work is paying off," Medina Garrigues said.

"The Commonwealth Bank Tournament of Champions promises to be a fantastic year-end finale for the winners of the Tour's International events," said Stacey Allaster, Chairman & CEO of the Tour. "Bali is a fantastic location and is a favorite of the players and the fans. I congratulate Yanina and Anabel on being the first players to qualify for the event and wish them luck in what will be a terrific finale to their 2009 season."

"We are very excited to welcome players to beautiful Bali for the Commonwealth Bank Tournament of Champions, which promises to be a great event for numerous established stars of the Tour, as well as the next generation of players," said Kevin Livesey, Tournament Director, Commonwealth Bank Tournament of Champions. "We would like to congratulate Yanina and Anabel on qualifying for the Championships and look forward to them challenging the rest of this season's International events winners for the coveted title."

"We at Commonwealth Bank are very happy to support women's tennis as the main sponsor of this tournament," said Mr. Nursing, President Director, Commonwealth Bank of Indonesia. "This year, as the tournament gained its stature and has become a major Championships, we have also upgraded our commitment to support it. We hope that the Commonwealth Bank Tournament of Champions will serve as the inspiration to young people in Indonesia and Asia to pick up a racquet and get involved in the sport of tennis."

The 10 highest-ranked players who have won at least one International tournament during the year and who are not participating in singles at the year-end Sony Ericsson Championships - Doha 2009 will qualify for the event, along with two wildcards. A player who wins three International tournaments and the season-ending Commonwealth Bank Tournament of Champions will take home the additional $1 million bonus on top of her prize money.

The Commonwealth Bank Tournament of Champions will represent the championships for the International tournaments, bringing a season-long link and race tying together the International events. All players who qualify by ranking will be required to play the Commonwealth Bank Tournament of Champions. Players who have qualified for the year-end Sony Ericsson Championships singles event will not be eligible to play in Bali.

This year, 24 different players have captured an International singles title. There are three remaining International events left on the 2009 calendar - Generali Ladies Linz, HP Open and BGL Luxembourg Open... the competition field is wide open.
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Old Oct 13th, 2009, 07:13 PM   #29
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Re: Nina's News, Articles, Interviews.

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Old Oct 14th, 2009, 01:28 AM   #30
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Re: Nina's News, Articles, Interviews.

__________________
Eleni Daniilidou 2014

Wickmayer. Venus. Ivanovic. Cirstea. Halep.
Azarenka. Krajicek. Flipkens. Pironkova. Begu.
Lisicki. Paszek. Vesnina. Pavlyuchenkova. Cornet.
Stephens. Oudin. King. Vandeweghe. McHale.
Grammatikopoulou ~ Papamichail ~ Sakkari
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