04-07-2008, 06:35 PM
Last dance, Andy
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: New York New Englander
Re: Fabrice News and Articles
I saw that one. "The Harry Potter of men's tennis", love it!
Here's one from the Sun-Sentinel re: Miami match.
Santoro looks ageless in loss to Blake
By Kevin Clark
March 31, 2008
KEY BISCAYNE - Every pro at the Sony Ericsson should have been at center court Sunday, taking notes and marveling at the man they call The Magician.
Fabrice Santoro was showing them how to still be competitive at age 35. Santoro took James Blake to the limit, ultimately losing 6-3, 6-7, 6-4, but put on a magic act with the racket that put a scare into Blake, the second-highest-ranked American man. His drop shots and clever volleys clashed with Blake's power game, providing a rare highlight for men's singles on the day.
"It's very unconventional. There's nobody out there to really prepare you to play Fabrice," Blake said. "I'm sure he doesn't need the money anymore, it's about how much he loves the game. It's fun to see, not fun to play against."
Overshadowed by the women's star power Sunday, the limited men's singles slate had to feature something to get noticed, and Santoro and Blake were it.
On paper, it's unlikely the French veteran should even have sniffed a third set against Blake. When asked about Blake, Santoro said frankly: "I know he's a better player than me."
When asked about the players who give him the most trouble, he joked that "the list is too long." After the match, when Blake was discussing preparing for the Olympics and Grand Slams, Santoro said his only goal for the year is to stay healthy. Yet there he was, a few breaks away from beating No. 9 in the world at age 35 (only Jonas Bjorkman is older among tour regulars), with his tennis smarts leading the way.
"Myself and him have some pretty good battles. Obviously our styles are pretty contrasting," Blake said. "I'm trying to attack him with my forehand. He's trying to get a few more backhands and put me on the defensive, it's a lot of fun."
The battle between the two may never be more interesting than it was Sunday. Blake would smash his famous forehand, only to see an unlikely two-handed return by Santoro. Santoro would release an ingenious drop shot and Blake would smash a powerful winner shots later. Santoro returned one shot between his legs, only to see the ball fall out by just inches.
But in the end, the magician's act could only last so long. Blake managed to fight off Santoro's finesse game, breaking his serve on a potentially set-tying game. That ended the tournament for Santoro, who said he was exhausted throughout the match.
"It was the hottest day in Florida in seven days," Santoro said. "And when it is warm, it's good to be younger."
And some photos. Seeing him with the ice pack never gets old.
"What kind of shape am I in now? Well round is a shape." said Roddick with a laugh. "I had a very detailed retirement plan, and I feel like I've met every aspect of it: a lot of golf, a lot of carbs, a lot of fried food, and some booze, occasionally — I've been completely committed ... The results have shown."
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