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Old 07-04-2006, 06:20 AM   #61
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Match Reports
Bjorkman Ousts Doubles Partner

Monday, 3 July, 2006

You would think Jonas Bjorkman and Max Miryni see enough of each other on the doubles circuit. The current French Open champions, who are seeded two in this year’s Championships, have been partners since 2005.

On Court 18, however, the men faced each other on the opposite side of the net for their fourth round singles contest and it was the Swede who emerged triumphant with a 6-3, 7-6 (8-6), 4-6, 2-6, 6-3 score.

It was perhaps a predictable win. Over the years the men have met ten times with Bjorkman winning nine of those contests. And while the Swede enjoyed a comfortable straight sets third round victory over Daniele Bracciali, 28-year-old Mirnyi endured an exhausting five-setter against number eight seed James Blake.

Psychologically, the only thing the Belarusian – known as ‘The Beast’ – could count in his favour was the knowledge that his 34-year-old opponent is the oldest man left in the singles draw.

But Bjorkman showed no obvious sign of wilting, despite the soaring temperatures. He picked off the first set in 29 minutes and the second in just over an hour, thanks to beautiful passing shots that made his 6ft 5ins opponent look slow around the court.

In the third, however, it was Miryni who began to threaten. He upped his approaches to the net and read Bjorkman’s drives more accurately to secure an early break and eventually take the set 6-4.

Things then went from bad to worse for the Swede who was broken in the opening game of the fourth. As Miryni grew in confidence, errors began creeping into the Bjorkman game. He began serving double-faults, missing ground strokes and, within 33 minutes, Miryni had taken the fourth on an ace.

But it was all change in the fifth. The Belarusian appeared to choke on his first service game dumping volley after volley into the net to hand the Swede three break points, which he promptly claimed on the first with a winner down the line. Bjorkman, who is a three-times Wimbledon doubles champion, then broke Miryni again and served out the match with an ace to earn his place in the quarter-finals for the second time in his career.

After the match he said the secret of being in the quarters at 34-years-old was to have no expectations. "I think you have to drop the expectations a little bit...Going into Wimbledon I didn't have any expectations. So I think I've been putting less pressure on myself and trying to enjoy the moment of being here because obviously I know well my age...I don't have too many more Wimbledons and that's why I need to be even more in a situation that I'm going to have to enjoy it."

Written by Helen Gilbert

http://www.wimbledon.org/en_GB/news/...938673625.html
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Old 07-05-2006, 07:06 AM   #62
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For a man who hardly has a moment to call his own, Jonas Bjorkman looks pretty pleased with himself.



And with good reason, as the 34-year-old Swede prepares for an unlikely appearance in the quarter-finals of Wimbledon on Wednesday.

It should be made clear that refers to the quarter-finals of the singles, as Bjorkman is still going strong in the men's and mixed doubles.

So when BBC Sport catches up with him, Bjorkman looks understandably rushed but can hardly wipe the smile from his face.

"It's been long days," he said, "but at the same time this is what everybody is looking for - you want to win and you've got to enjoy the moment.

"There are no priorities, I just try to win every match.

"If I was to make the semi-finals in singles then I'd have to think a little bit about what to do with the mixed, because the weather might not be good.

"I'll just have to see what happens and how the body is holding up, that's the main thing. So far it's been feeling really great."

Bjorkman will take on Radek Stepanek on Wednesday with a place in the semi-finals at stake, and no-one is more shocked than the Swede.

"I am surprised," he admitted. "I haven't played that well this year, got off to a horrendous start.

"I've been playing well in practice but playing poorly in matches and just losing confidence.

"I didn't have any expectations coming into Wimbledon, I just wanted to enjoy it.

"I don't know if I have another Wimbledon in me, or two Wimbledons, or if this is going to be the last one."

Bjorkman is ranked fourth in the world in doubles and has won the Wimbledon title three times, but his singles ranking has slipped to 59.

"It's tough when your ranking's dropping and you have to play qualification at my age," he said.

"The mental approach of being in the top and then being out of it is tough, but the doubles is going great so we'll see how long it lasts."

His success in this year's singles could give hope to Tim Henman, three years his junior and a man Bjorkman has sympathy with.

"I think Tim has improved his baseline game phenomenally," he said.

"But you get surprised when you see a British guy who has the potential of winning a Grand Slam and they make the courts slower, which is worse for him.

"I would do anything I could to get my man to win it and would ask him 'how quick do you want it?'"

And with a 3-0 career record against Stepanek, the chance to take on Roger Federer in a Wimbledon semi-final is close enough to make this veteran look like a kid at Christmas.

"At my age I'm not going to have too many more opportunities," he said. "Hopefully my experience is something I can take advantage of.

"But the name 'Federer' hasn't entered my head yet."

Whatever you say, Jonas.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/tennis/5148106.stm
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Old 07-05-2006, 07:23 AM   #63
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Ahh good, I'm glad you posted this one
Lovely article from Jonas (well, really the guy who interviewed him I suppose!). I'm glad he said 'or two wimbledons left in me' Still holding out that he'll do a Cyril Suk... then again, I wonder if Cyril has kids
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Old 07-05-2006, 09:25 AM   #64
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from JBs homepage
Quote:
2006-07-04
QF in Wimbledon


After beating Max Mirnyi 6-3, 7-6(6), 4-6, 2-6, 6-3 on Monday, I am through to the quarter finals in Wimbledon. I started out good against Max, but all in all I didn´t´play my best tennis, had problems with my serve. But form, a great self confidence, and determination on the decisive points won the match for me. I will now face Radek Stepanek in the quarter final. I have a 3-0 record against him, but he will be a very difficult opponent here and now. But as I have said before: I am really enjoying my situation right now, and it would be fantastic to reach even further than my quarter final against Roddick in Wimbledon three years ago. Let´s just hope that I get enough time to recover after a tough schedule with matches in three disciplines, and after the five set match against Max.
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Old 07-06-2006, 05:27 AM   #65
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J. Bjorkman Interview - Day 9
Wednesday, 5 July, 2006

Q. Is it possible for you to describe what you're feeling in other than the usual cliches, 'I feel great'?

JONAS BJORKMAN: Could I say it in Swedish (smiling)? It would be easier. No, it's hard to describe. It was very emotional because obviously I didn't think this was gonna happen at this stage of my career right now. You know, just so excited after I won the point, the matchpoint, and then everything was just coming to you, you know. I realized what I've achieved something that I never thought I would do again. So it's just the best possible feeling I can have inside me, you know. It's just the greatest moment for me.

Q. 1997 when you reached the semis, very possibly could have made the final that year, did you think, I'm going to be in the semis at least once?

JONAS BJORKMAN: Well, obviously, I was hoping. I was hoping to stay up in the top and be consistent. I had a great '97, was very consistent. Unfortunately, I learned from doing a few mistakes. '98 I think I didn't take enough time off. I rushed over to Australia, and then once I got to Key Biscayne I was burned out. So if I would have had an opportunity to do it again, I would have have done it different, and then maybe that would have helped at least to stay up there a little bit longer than I did. But that's history. And, you know, if I can tell some Juniors from Sweden coming up who's very talented, maybe I can help them out in not doing the same mistakes.

Q. What is the secret, though, to your eternal youth (laughter)?

JONAS BJORKMAN: I wish I could know. Just a lot of Advil. I'm not really sure, but I guess having Todd Woodbridge around me makes it good, you know. He won nine times before here and semis, so I don't know. He maybe have have something magic around him that makes it possible. But you could ask me two weeks ago and I would have been happy just to come through the first round. Now I'm sitting here, going to play semis. It's just almost like a big shock. I been just trying to enjoy every single moment out there because I know I'm not having too many Wimbledon left in me. I just trying to do the best out of it and have a lot of fun out there.

Q. You've had quite a tough time with injuries. Had you thought about what your career had for you after tennis in terms of stopping playing?

JONAS BJORKMAN: It's been a roller coaster the last two years because, obviously, I'm always trying to I would like to play singles and doubles. But then singles been dropping a little bit, so after six months last year I felt maybe that was gonna be the last year of singles. Then came through, played a lot of quallies in U.S. and played a lot of matches. All of a sudden I went out and won Ho Chi Minh in Vietnam, got my ranking back, obviously a lot more positive feedbacks and energy again. Hopefully, I can have another good year. A lot of disappointment because I haven't played that good this year. I started to feel that maybe I have to be realizing that I can't keep going for too long, but hopefully I can at least stay around with doubles. And here I am now. So obviously everything is changing because my ranking is going to go up again.

Q. How do you look at the next few days? I mean, obviously, you have the doubles. You're 34 and stuff.

JONAS BJORKMAN: It's a nice age. Tell you that (smiling).

Q. I remember it well. Are you concerned?

JONAS BJORKMAN: Obviously, it's gonna be tough. But what can I say? It's a dream come true to have opportunity to play Wimbledon semifinal against the best player in the world right now probably gonna be the best player ever. He's a good friend of mine. I practiced with him in Key Biscayne. Peter Lundgren came maybe when he was 16, 17, I practiced with him. Semi tanked on the practice. Thought, Jesus, what kid is this? Not really ready. I thought he would take the opportunity to practice with me and enjoy it. Then one year later, you see this unbelievably talented guy, mature guy, I think. He's just the perfect No. 1 we can have I think both on the court and off the court. I'm just gonna enjoy that moment and try to do my best in doubles tomorrow, enjoy this evening, and see what happens on Thursday.

Q. If Max came to you and said, Maybe you want to think about we shouldn't play this and everything, what would you say to him? I suspect you wouldn't go to him.

JONAS BJORKMAN: We have to see. I wouldn't I think we'd just go out and try to do the best out of it now and see what happens, do as good as we can tomorrow.

Q. What was your lowest point during those tough times?

JONAS BJORKMAN: Well, I dropped my ranking to 126, something, last year, which was the first time I was out of the top hundred for I think over 10 years. Obviously, it was a time that I had to start thinking about what I was gonna do with my singles, so if I should just keep going with doubles. But then I played nonstop six months and I managed to win a lot of matches. Came through the qualification, which was an unusual situation for me because I haven't played quallies in so many years. But I think it's got me a lot of strength, a lot of confidence. That's why I managed to play some really good tennis towards the end of last year. So, I mean, it has been tough, but in the end I been very fortunate through my career because I have never had any serious injuries. So if you look at other players, I been very fortune. I wouldn't put my tough times in the same situations like my friend Thomas Johansson who had knee surgery, serious knee surgery. This year he was ready to get into the top 10. He had an eye surgery. Compared to him, my thing has been very small.

Q. Two part question, if I could. You're one of the few players to both see Pete Sampras and Federer up close. If the two were playing on a slow hard court, how do you think a match like that would come out?

JONAS BJORKMAN: Some great tennis. Just unfortunate we couldn't see that more often. I think we had a couple matches they played each other. But, you know, would be just superb tennis to watch the two greatest players. You couldn't ask for something better.

Q. If I could follow up, you're I think the only one to play with the two best doubles players, Woodbridge, too. But one of the few to play with the two best doubles players of all time, Todd and Johnny Mac. You had to pick one, up in Heaven's gate and St. Pete says, Who's the best, who would you say?

JONAS BJORKMAN: It's always tough to put anyone better. I think if you look at their records, obviously Todd got all the records to be the best one. You know, I had the greatest opportunity, I had just a magnificent time to play with John in San Jose. Unfortunately, I wasn't around his time to see how good he was at his peak. But obviously I could see a lot of his quality tennis that he still showed in San Jose. Two great friends on mine. I wouldn't like to put anyone ahead of the other two, you know. They might be upset to me now. So I put them equal.

Q. How do you hold yourself after winning today? What would you do if you beat Roger on Friday?

JONAS BJORKMAN: (Smiling) No, but it was more this is the type of matches I think any tennis player wants to be around, you know. It's just the greatest atmosphere out there. You been out there for a long, long time. You had the opportunity to win. Once you win, I just felt I want to hug everyone, you know, let's celebrate. You know, be staying out there for another 45 minutes if I could to just enjoy that moment of seeing all the people standing up, you know. That's something I think everyone wants to achieve and be part of, the whole atmosphere. That's why I wanted to show everyone that I really appreciated all the support through the match and give them a hug from the court.

Q. Todd on board, obviously it took a while to convince him to come and coach you. Why was it so important for you to work with Todd?

JONAS BJORKMAN: Well, I was lucky in a way because Todd was doing the coaching for Thomas in Australia for four weeks, then Todd was gonna do Thomas, he did Thomas here for the four weeks. I just felt at the time that I know my game very well, but sometimes it's good to have someone who tell you the small details, what you have to change. I asked Thomas, you know, if it would be okay if I can join in. He will be the priority and then, you know, when Todd has a chance, he can help me out a little bit. So for me, I just felt he has such a strength in his through his career, how good he was tactically. He knows my game very well, so technically he knows me inside out. So I think that was good for me. We could we had a bad loss in Queen's, but then we could work on a few things. I think that's been improving my game. And obviously all my victories, the wins I had in Nottingham, definitely helped my confidence. At the time, I had some good feedback from him.

Q. The only Slam you missed was the 2003 Australian Open because Max was close to being born.

JONAS BJORKMAN: Yeah.

Q. Was he actually born right during the tournament or was it later? Could you have been at the tournament and kept that streak alive?

JONAS BJORKMAN: He was supposed to come out the 31st of December, but then he wanted to stay in there a little bit longer. So maybe I would have had a chance to go, but then he came out on the 15th. So I think it was right in the first week of Australia. So there was a great opportunity to be back home and see the biggest thing happening in my life.

Q. Tendency to kind of rush people to retirement, people here are saying that Tim is coming up to 32 and it's about time he called it a day. Here you are at 34 in the semifinals. What would you say to those who want to push people out of the game probably before their time has really come?

JONAS BJORKMAN: I think we have to look at how the situation when you came up. Like Bjorn Borg was 14 and I think he made his debut in Davis Cup and was out he finished at 26. But he played 12 years. For me, it took a lot longer time to develop. I was never a good junior. I think Tim was never that good as well. I think we had quite similar junior times. I started to play good at 22. So if you look now, I've done same time of Bjorn Borg, but it's just the difference of how good you were as a young kid, and then that's why I think Tim has a lot left in his career. He just had a very tough draw this one. I think everyone could have seen him being in my situation if he would have had a better opportunity in the draw. So he's playing some good tennis, and I think he should he should always enjoy it. I think when it's time, then you know it. I don't think we should push too many to quit.
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Old 07-06-2006, 07:41 AM   #66
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Bjorkman Through to Federer Semi

Bjorkman Attacks
©ProSport / T. Hindley

Wednesday, 5 July, 2006

Doubles specialist Jonas Bjorkman came through a tense match with Czech number 14 seed Radek Stepanek to reach the semi-finals of the men's singles and set up a Friday fixture with Roger Federer.

After a see-saw match, which featured three tie-breaks, the 34-year-old Swede celebrated his marathon 7-6(3),4-6,6-7(5),7-6(7),6-4 victory by skipping around the court and showing his appreciation for the crowd's support by 'hugging' them.

The oldest man in the last eight - and the second oldest to be competing at this year’s Championships - couldn’t quite believe that, as the unseeded underdog, he had survived to take on Roger Federer in the semi-finals. Of the four quarter-finals, the Stepanek v Bjorkman confrontation lacked the star appeal offered by the other three, but after just over four hours of play, the packed auditorium rose to acknowledge a hard-fought contest.

The fluctuating match saw Bjorkman in control early on, saving two break points in the opening game only to then have his momentum broken by a rain delay after just 11 minutes of play. Serving at 40-0 with a break when light drizzle arrived, they returned 90 minutes later for Bjorkman to finally secure a 3-0 lead.

Stepanek gained a foothold in the first set by holding serve and started to assert his own brand of attacking play. That bore fruit in the ninth game when he saved a set point and, by continuing to harass with his net play, levelled the match on his third break point as Bjorkman’s more cautious play produced a netted backhand.

Two games later, with the Czech now in full flow, the rains returned to enforce another suspension to play, a timely diversion for Bjorkman who was failing to find the lines with any consistency. Again, on resumption following a 56 minute stint in the dressing room, the set went into a tie-break where a refreshed Bjorkman regained some of his early form to take the set.

The loss of the first set acted as a spur and, with Bjorkman’s serve having lost its sting, Stepanek moved ahead 3-1 thanks to a double fault on his second break point. Now it was the 27-year-old Czech's turn to show his style, a backhand volley at full stretch with his back to the net eliciting a round of applause from the spectators.

He maintained the advantage but, much like his opponent in the first set, lost his way when attempting to serve out, a well executed lob cross court into the deuce corner bringing Bjorkman back level on serve. However, it was shortlived for he immediately conceded his own serve.

The two exchanged breaks in the third but inevitably, with Stepanek looking the more comfortable, another tie-break was required to separate them, and this time it ended in favour of Stepanek. But he squandered the chance of sealing the match in the fourth, delivering three double faults in his attempt to serve out, his 11th bringing Bjorkman back into contention.

He had another chance in the ensuing tie-break but lost it with a weak backhand, Bjorkman eventually capturing it 9-7 to take the match into a decider. The same pattern continued but now Bjorkman was playing with more control and once he had carved out two match points with a flashing backhand pass, he struck a serve which was returned weakly into the net.

Disappointment for Stepanek and his girlfriend Martina Hingis sitting in the players’ box, but the marathon man from the Czech Republic, who had been on court for eleven hours and 57 minutes prior to this contest, will have to be satisfied with having achieved his best run in a Grand Slam. As regards the victor, the prospect of a Grand Slam semi-final - on his own rather than the countless he has had with a partner beside him - will no doubt be uppermost in his mind.

Written by Henry Wancke

http://www.wimbledon.org/en_GB/news/...100796062.html
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Old 07-06-2006, 07:43 AM   #67
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Bjorkman Ready For Federer Challenge

Wednesday, 5 July, 2006

Jonas Bjorkman says he intends to savour every moment of a match he really didn't expect to be playing this Friday - the men's singles semi-final against Wimbledon champion Roger Federer.

Of course, virtually every fan, pundit and fellow player sees Federer as just about unbeatable right here, right now, but Bjorkman can at least harbour hopes that their clash brings back memories of a much earlier meeting.

In his press conference after his quarter-final victory against Radek Stapanek, Bjorkman said: "It's a dream come true to have the opportunity to play the Wimbledon semi-final against the best player in the world right now, a player who's probably going to be the best ever."

But as Bjorkman recalled, that's not an opinion he has always held. "I practised with him when he was 16 or 17. He semi-tanked on the practice. I thought 'Jesus what kid is this? He's not really ready'.

"I thought he would take the opportunity to practise with me and enjoy it. Then one year later you see this unbelievably talented, mature guy. He's just the perfect number one we can have, both on and off the court."

Bjorkman talked about the emotion of the finish against Stepanek: "It was very emotional because obviously I didn't think this was going to happen at this stage of my career right now.

"I was just so excited after I won the match point. I realised that I have achieved something that I never thought I would do again. So it's just the best possible feeling I have inside me. It's just the greatest moment for me."

Asked why he is suddenly making such an impact in a Grand Slam singles at the age of 34, he said: "I wish I could know. I'm not really sure but I guess having [coach and former doubles partner] Todd Woodbridge around me makes it good. He won nine times here in the doubles and made semis in the singles. He maybe has something magic around him that makes it possible.

"But if you asked me two weeks ago, I would have been happy just to come through the first round. Now I am sitting here going to play semis.

"I have just been trying to enjoy every single moment out there because I know I am not having too many Wimbledons left in me. I am just trying to do my best and have a lot of fun out there."

Written by Barry Newcombe

http://www.wimbledon.org/en_GB/news/...015884046.html
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Old 07-06-2006, 08:02 AM   #68
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Hugs All Round for Jonas

Wednesday, 5 July, 2006

When three-times Wimbledon doubles champion Jonas Bjorkman wins a big match he usually celebrates by throwing his arms around his partner. But on No.1 Court today the Swede had no-one to hug but himself. The 34-year-old was elated following his five set win over No. 14 seed Radek Stepanek in the men’s singles and could not hide his happiness.

He hugged himself at least three times and, as he was leaving the court, he performed a jig of joy before making his leave. Almost as delighted in the stands was his coach and former doubles partner Todd Woodbridge, who two years ago played with the Swede in this same stadium and shared a similar dance to celebrate victory in the men’s doubles.

On that day it was the record-breaking Woodbridge who was centre stage but today Bjorkman did not have to share the limelight with anyone else. This was his moment and he paused to enjoy it as long as he could. And it is not surprising. Jonas Bjorkman entered the tournament without any expectations. It is a philosophy Bjorkman has employed throughout the Championships and look where he is now – the semi-final of Wimbledon for the first time in his career.

His attitude has much to do with his age. The easy-going Swede knows time is not on his side and a few months ago vowed to enjoy every match that passed his way regardless of the result. His optimistic outlook was fuelled after a poor start to the year which prompted Bjorkman to sit back, take stock and change tactics.

Rather than worry about winning every match, he decided to simply savour the moment of playing the singles tour while he still could. It was a good game plan and one which has clearly served to take the pressure off. Two weeks ago he was competing in the final of Nottingham; today Bjorkman booked his place in the Wimbledon semi-finals, despite being a match point down against Radek Stepanek.

It is only the second time he has reached the last four of a Grand Slam singles event. The last time he achieved that feat was nearly nine years ago at the 1997 US Open, when he beat another Czech, Petr Korda and is, perhaps, yet another reminder of his age. In fact, Bjorkman’s victory makes him the oldest man to reach the semi-finals on the lawns of SW19 since Jimmy Connors in 1987.

The Swede may well be in his mid-thirties but if he is hoping to catch up on rest before his encounter with Roger Federer on Friday, he will have his work cut out. He still has the quarter-finals of the men’s doubles and the third round of the mixed doubles to play. But whatever happens you can bet he will enjoy it.

Written by Helen Gilbert

http://www.wimbledon.org/en_GB/news/...015969171.html
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Old 07-07-2006, 06:16 AM   #69
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Bjorkman and Mirnyi Tripped Up In Quarterfinals at Wimbledon


© Getty Image

Fabrice Santoro and Nenad Zimonjic denied Jonas Bjorkman a trip to both the singles and doubles semifinals by defeating Bjorkman and partner Max Mirnyi in straight sets 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 to claim a spot in the Wimbledon semifinals Thursday afternoon. The pair will play Martin Damm and Leander Paes for a berth in the final.

Santoro and Zimonjic, who are appearing at the All-England Club for the first time together, are looking for their first Grand Slam title as a team. Zimonjic was a Wimbledon finalist in 2004 (w/Knowle) while Santoro’s best finish was an appearance in the semifinals in 1999 (w/Delaitre).

Santoro and Zimonjic are currently No. 5 in the Stanford ATP Doubles Race with 342 points and have claimed two titles in 2006, including a grass title at Halle. They are riding an eight-match winning streak. The pair also reached the Monte Carlo final and semifinals in Dubai and Hamburg.

Bjorkman, who is still alive in singles, came from behind in his singles quarterfinal match against Radek Stepanek to advance to the semifinals against Roger Federer. The week before Wimbledon, Bjorkman was a finalist at Nottingham (l. Gasquet) but prior to that had only won two singles matches in 2006.

Bjorkman and Mirnyi’s loss means that Bob and Mike Bryan will reclaim the top spot in the Stanford ATP Doubles Race. The Bryans are currently ahead of Bjorkman and Mirnyi by 40 points after advancing to the Wimbledon semifinal. Bjorkman and Mirnyi overtook the American twins when they advanced to the doubles final at Queen’s. The Bryans are looking for their seventh consecutive Grand Slam final appearance and fourth career Slam title. If the Bryans should hoist the Wimbledon crown they will complete a career Grand Slam.

http://www.atptennis.com/en/doubles/news/
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Old 07-07-2006, 07:48 PM   #70
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Jonas Knows He Lost to the Best

Bjorkman Congratulates Federer
©IPS / I. Kington

Friday, 7 July, 2006

The round of applause that greeted Jonas Bjorkman when he held serve in the third set, and the rueful smile he threw in the direction of the players’ box as he walked back to the chair, said it all. The Swede had just stopped one of the best players in the world from inflicting a completely embarrassing drubbing on him. “It was tough,” he said after his 6-2, 6-0, 6-2 loss. “What can you say after that?”

Plenty, it turns out, for Bjorkman still relished his semi-final outing. “I felt pretty good, very relaxed. I was out to enjoy it and I did, in a way. It was nice to be around and see how someone can play the nearest to perfection you can play in tennis. He just made it look so easy.”

Talking to Federer after the match, Bjorkman said he had told him he was seeing the ball as if it were a bowling or a basketball ball. “He also said he felt good,” the 34 year-old added, and then with a wry smile, continued: “I just wanted to check he hadn’t had a bad day because that would have scared me a little bit!”
Having been on the wrong side of one of the quickest semi-finals in Wimbledon history, Bjorkman went on to outline what it felt like to be on the same court with a man clearly destined for greatness.

“It’s hard to describe and I had the best seat in the house. He doesn’t get enough credit for his serve – everyone talks about everything else that he’s got, but his serve is very effective. He has the same toss on every serve, more or less, which is why it is so hard to read. And he hits his spots really well with good spin, and mixes it up plenty.”

Comparing the Swiss champion with Pete Sampras, Bjorkman continued: “Pete had that pure power, hitting it perfect into the corners. But Roger mixes it up with the same toss which makes it so hard, especially on grass as he hits his spots so well which makes it much harder to return.”

As a player, Federer has everything, Bjorkman said. “I always felt Stefan Edberg was one of the greatest movers out there – he looked like a cat, just so smooth. But Roger is almost above that. He never looks as if he’s moving at all but he’s always there with a lot of time to hit the ball. And with his strong wrists on both his forehand and backhand, he can create so much power. That’s probably what amazed me most, the power he can generate.

“Roger didn’t give me any freebies – I didn’t have a couple of shots where I felt he was being lazy or a little flat. He was always looking to win every point which is what makes him so much harder to play than against Pete.”
Bjorkman struggled to offer advice to Federer’s prospective challenger in Sunday’s final. “The only player who has any idea is probably Nadal. He has managed to get into Roger’s head a little with his head-to-head record.

That is going to help him in the final. And with a leftie spin he can work him out of position a little bit more often than other guys can. And he can also generate a lot of power with his forehand.”

If there is a glimmer of hope for Federer’s opponents, it is that the defending champion can make the odd error at the net, Bjorkman said. “Technically he is good all round, though he can miss the odd volley and that could be construed as a weakness.”

Not today though.

Written by Henry Wancke
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Old 07-07-2006, 07:52 PM   #71
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J. Bjorkman Interview - Day 11
Friday, 7 July, 2006

Q. Roger described his performance as flawless. What was it like playing against someone like that?

JONAS BJORKMAN: Tough. What can you say, you know. I felt actually pretty good today. I was very relaxed. You know, felt I will enjoy it. I still did, in a way, because I just felt it was in a way nice to be around and see how someone can play the nearest to perfection you can play tennis, I think. He just made it look so easy.

Q. Can he make it look that easy in the final, do you think?

JONAS BJORKMAN: Well, if he can do that most of the games, why shouldn't he be able to do that in the final?

Q. What did you say to him afterwards? You're friends, aren't you?

JONAS BJORKMAN: Yeah, I just asked him, you know, how he felt, if he saw the ball like a bowling ‑ what do you call it ‑ like a bowling...

Q. Bowling ball.

JONAS BJORKMAN: Thank you. Like a bowling ball or a basketball ball. He said, yes, it was almost like that.

I couldn't more than just ask a little bit how he felt. He obviously said he felt good. I just wanted to check so he didn't have a bad day, because that would have scared me a little bit (smiling).

Q. You've been around so long. If you were asked, Hey, describe briefly the genius of Roger Federer as a tennis player, how would you frame your answer?

JONAS BJORKMAN: I mean, it's hard to describe. I think today it was just I felt like I played a guy who was as near as perfection you can play the game. I had the best seat in the house, in a way. He just makes it look very simple, obviously.

I think his serve ‑ he doesn't get enough credit for his serve, I think. Everyone talks about him with everything else he got, but his serve is very effectful (sic). He has the same toss in every serve more or less. That's why it's so hard to read. He hits his spots really well with good spin, with a mixup.

You know, like Pete, he had that pure power with hitting it perfect in the corners. But Roger can mix it up, but with the same toss. I think that's what makes it so hard, especially on grass against him, because he hits his spots very well. Just so much harder to return his serve on grass, I think, than another surface.

Q. Can you say what his greatest asset is? Is it legs, his hands, his mind?

JONAS BJORKMAN: Well, I think he just got everything, most of it. I always felt Stefan Edberg was one of the greatest movers out there, you know. He looked like he was a cat, just so smooth.

I think Roger is almost above that, you know. He also in a position that he always looks like he doesn't look that he's moving a lot, but he's always there. It looks like he has a lot of time to hit his ball all the time.

But obviously his wrist in both forehand and backhand, he can create so much power with it. That's probably what amazed me most, how he can generate so much power.

Q. In your era, obviously Pete was sort of the gold standard. How do you compare him to Pete? The debate is basically starting now, especially if he wins here.

JONAS BJORKMAN: Yeah, I felt Pete, like we all think and believe, that he is the greatest because all the records of Slams and everything, but it always felt that you can find a way to get some games here and there against Pete. And against Roger today, I felt I had to do whatever I can. He didn't give me any freebies. Didn't have couple of shots here that it looks like he was a little flat or lazy. He was looking like he wanted to win every point. That makes it so much harder to play Roger than maybe against Pete. That would be the difference, I think.

Q. How many times today did you say with a shot, I've got him with that, he's not gonna come back with that one, and he did?

JONAS BJORKMAN: A lot of times. I mean, if I compare, it's just the difference, obviously, because I played all the other guys I played. I actually felt good. You always have that little tension, but I think you need that when you go into a big match. But I felt very relaxed and good out there. I didn't feel that I was hitting the ball that bad.

But, you know, obviously the ball came back much more often than it has done in all my other matches here in Wimbledon.

Q. In your mind or in theories, what do you think how somebody has to play to beat Roger Federer here in Wimbledon?

JONAS BJORKMAN: I'm not sure. I think the only one who has an idea is probably Nadal at the moment, and even though it's gonna be a different matchup, because I'm not sure if they have played on grass before. He still managed to get into the head of Roger a little bit with his head‑to‑head record, obviously. That's going to help him going into a final.

But maybe with a lefty spin, he can also get Roger out of position a little bit more often than other guys can. And he also have this that he can generate a lot of power as well, with his forehand, so.

Q. It's been a while since I first saw you play, in a satellite in Portugal in '91. Can you pinpoint a time in your career that you think jump‑started your career since you became No. 4 in the world? Can you pinpoint one moment in your career that made you jump to the top, looking back?

JONAS BJORKMAN: Well, my breakthrough was probably US Open '94 when I beat Edberg second round. I just the year before, I started to do really well in satellites and challengers. But, obviously, that was the big moment for me to beat my idol that I been practice with a lot and learned a lot from, both on and off the court.

So reaching the quarters there was probably the step forward to something good for me, and I learned a lot from that experience.

Q. If Stefan was your idol, why didn't you do just like him, drop the second hand of the two‑handed backhand?

JONAS BJORKMAN: Well, he became my idol a little bit later so I already had that two‑handed backhand and I couldn't do the switch like he did. I still hit a few one‑handers during my matches here and there. I have to say, I managed to hit a few good winners once in a while.

But I think my two‑handed backhand was a good choice, because that's been my best shot for a while.

Q. Looking for weaknesses in Federer is like looking for flaws in Mother Teresa. You said "near perfection." Is there anything he doesn't do, is there anything you could point to that the guy could possibly upgrade?

JONAS BJORKMAN: Well, I didn't feel that today, obviously. No, it's probably his mental approach going into matches. I don't know, but maybe sometimes he can feel a little off. I think that's probably what guys would hope for, to feel that he's not really there hundred percent. But most of the time he is there hundred percent, which is very impressive to be that sharp every single match when you keep winning like he does. You would normally see some matches that these big players are a little off and then will lift themself up when they need it but still not play that perfect match all the time.

But he does play really, really solid. I mean, if you look at this tournament, he hasn't looked like he had any times during matches where he's been off.

Q. So stroke‑wise?

JONAS BJORKMAN: I think stroke‑wise, you know, his forehand is obviously great. You know, he got the backhand. His slice, he got massive spin on his slice, which no one else has. So I'm not really sure if he has a weakness.

Sometimes maybe he can miss a few volleys at the net, and technically it looks good, but I don't know if he still can miss a few there. That would probably be the only weakness that he comes up sometimes with a couple errors there.

Q. What was the strangest thought you had going on in your mind at some point during the match or something that surprised you that you were thinking just about the whole situation?

JONAS BJORKMAN: I didn't have any weird things going on. You know, I was just trying to hang in there and, you know, hoping for a momentum that he will switch off a little bit and drop his level and try to get back in the match. I was just hoping, you know, to have that opportunity to get back into it. Didn't really have anything weird, you know. Just had to enjoy the moment of being out there still.

Q. About the rise and fall of serve‑and‑volley tennis, what is it? Is it the equipment, including the strings? The courts?

JONAS BJORKMAN: That makes it harder to play serve and volley?

Q. Yeah, the balls, the mindset? Is it more difficult for your confidence if you lose a point at the net or lose a point at the back courts?

JONAS BJORKMAN: No, no, but it's impossible to play serve and volley all the time these days because the balls is much heavier. You can see them, they almost ‑‑ they way bigger than 10 years back. It just makes it so much harder because the ball doesn't skid away, it just sits up. And with that, everyone returns better, everyone is physically stronger, so if you don't hit your volley perfect, then you gonna get passed.

Q. The role of the strings?

JONAS BJORKMAN: The strings have helped, as well, for guys to play ‑‑ to be even stronger and hit better shots.
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Old 07-13-2006, 06:21 AM   #72
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http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au...6-2722,00.html

Quote:
Woody looks to coaching at home
Chip Le Grand - July 08, 2006
COACHING is a fickle business in any professional sport.
In the AFL, those not sacked are said to be waiting for the day. In the FIFA World Cup, managers have resigned before the sweat has dried on their players. In tennis, some players change coaches more often than their bed sheets. Stay with a player longer than a year and you will probably get written into the will.

When The Weekend Australian caught up with Todd Woodbridge on Thursday, he was a super coach. In the space of four weeks, he had transformed Jonas Bjorkman from ageing tour struggler to Wimbledon semi-finalist. As far as the Swede is concerned, Woodbridge is Guus Hiddink and Neil Craig rolled into one. And Woodbridge only took him on as an afterthought.

By the time you are reading this, Woodbridge might be out of a job. Bjorkman was scheduled to play Roger Federer overnight (AEST).

But Australian tennis owes a debt of gratitude to Bjorkman and Thomas Johansson, the other Swede Woodbridge hoped to guide deep into this tournament.

Woodbridge had never fancied himself as a coach. Since he stopped playing he has spent more time in television and radio studios than booking practice sessions. But after his role in Bjorkman's wonderful Wimbledon, Woodbridge has got the bug.

"It wasn't a line of work I thought I would be going into," Woodbridge said. "I prefer to be doing media and TV and commentary work where I can try to get people at home to understand the game a bit better. So it is a bit of a surprise.

"I have always enjoyed the technical aspects and the tactical aspects. What I didn't realise is that I am also able to communicate that and get the message across.

"It gives me the option. Really, in the last 12 months my goal has been to give myself as many options as possible and see which ones I like and which ones I am better at. This one is proving to be a good one."

The benefit for Australian tennis is that Woodbridge has a young family and is unlikely to be tempted by the prospect of rejoining the tour as a full-time coach. A better fit would be a coaching role at home, perhaps in junior development.

"I am not jumping to anything at home yet, but I have always said since I stopped playing that I plan to give back," he said. "If the right offer came through you would have to contemplate it and think hard about it. If it was the right person and the right move and the right situation for me, you would think about it."

The first man in the queue for Woodbridge's services will be Bjorkman.

With the ranking points he gets from this tournament, Bjorkman will gain automatic entry to main draws throughout the US hardcourt season. Having made his only other Grand Slam semi-final at the US Open, he will also fancy his chances at Flushing Meadows.

Woodbridge is uncertain whether the relationship with Bjorkman and Johansson will continue but he has enjoyed working with his old doubles partner and watching his progress at Wimbledon.

"I know his game inside out because I played with him for four years and I knew what he wasn't doing that he does well," he said.

"It was just a matter of trying to get him in a position where he could give his best shot to win a couple of matches."
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Old 07-13-2006, 07:06 AM   #73
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Bjorkman blown away but keeps his dignity
Doubles specialist Swede lost in record time but still left the court a happy man, writes Richard Jago

Saturday July 8, 2006- The Guardian


If Jonas Bjorkman does now quit singles, as he is considering, yesterday will have been an extraordinary sweet-and-sour finish, in which the most emotional win of his career was followed one of his most embarrassing defeats.

Most people will understand his being able to prise only four games from a brilliant Roger Federer, especially as a tired Bjorkman has been trying to pursue the old-fashioned dream of success here in three events. But there were some distinctly unsympathetic vibes towards the 34-year-old after Wednesday's extraordinary five-set victory over Radek Stepanek, which made him the oldest semi-finalist since Jimmy Connors in 1987.

"Is it possible to describe what you are feeling other than the usual clichés like 'I feel great'?" he was rather insultingly asked. Bjorkman made his point obliquely, replying: "Could I say it in Swedish?"
Bjorkman is low-profile partly because his best successes are in other areas - he has eight career grand slam doubles titles - but also because of the emotionless stereotype often attached to the Swedish. In fact he is talkative, outgoing, sociable, popular with his colleagues and a good mimic, as well as a consistently good singles player.

And those who saw Wednesday's win will have an idea of what he is. Bjorkman welled up with tears and performed extravagant gestures to all sides, inventing a new way of celebrating in the process, the self-hug. "I was just enjoying that moment so much, seeing everyone standing up . . . that's why I wanted to show everyone I appreciated all the support and give them a hug from the court."

For months he has been considering quitting singles, because having been in the top four he plunged to 126, and although he recovered to regain a regular ATP Tour place, he won only two matches out of 11 this year until the grass season began. Of his Wimbledon run he said: "I would have bet anything it wouldn't happen."

How could it have, at his age? "I'm not sure - with a lot of Advil," he joked, referring to the pain-killers he claims his body increasingly needs. "And having Todd Woodbridge [three-time fellow Wimbledon doubles champion] around me makes it good. He maybe has something magic around him that makes it possible."

Bjorkman might also have mentioned his capacity for discipline which may be connected to his father being a tennis coach but which is related to his difficult beginnings. He was nothing special as a junior. He did not have great support from the Swedish federation and was obliged to go his own way.

Eventually that helped. He knows how to fight when it's not easy. It has brought amusingly pedantic side-effects. There are locker-room jokes about Bjorkman laying clothes out - clean things here, and dirty things there, everything pernickety and professional.

His game, too, is well planned. There is a meticulous preparation for his serve, ground strokes which run on rails, volleys punched and not swung too much, tactical caution mixed with technical variety, and no encouraging the opposition with displays of frustration. Bjorkman is also one of the best ever at returning serve.

Discipline requires release, though, and his greatest has travelled with him - his wife Petra and their son Max. But there have been times when the three-year-old has said he does not want his dad to play any more. That may be a reason why, despite this, he stops soon.

"If you had asked me two weeks ago I would have been happy just to come through the first round," Bjorkman admits. "Playing the semis is like a big shock. I have been trying to enjoy every moment because even if I still play doubles I won't have too many Wimbledons left."
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Old 07-28-2006, 07:50 AM   #74
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from his Hompage:
Quote:
2006-07-25
To be continued


It´s not only me that is 30 something i Monaco - it´s the the weather too. I have been hanging out and relaxing at the beach with my family the last few days, just kicking back since Swedish Open in Båstad. I will not unpack my training gear until Wednesday, Thursday when my trainer Daniel Hedin comes over to Monaco and starts to kick my but, until I leave for Toronto next week.
My increasing success this year - with six doubles titles, a final in Nottingham, semi final in Wimbledon, ranked as 29 and the best Swedish player in the world: all in all my best year since 1998 - has raised questions about wether this is a perfect time to end my carreer, or if this inspires me to go on further. Well, I have answered questions about if it´s time to quit for the last eight years or so! And I have said that I will continue for 2-3 years. But those years have come and gone several times, and my carreer has carried on in a fantastic way, so my answer now is that I take one year at the time and listens to my body before I decide. I still love the sport and the atmosphere that surrounds it intensively, and I feel strong. If I wouldn´t win another match this year, I would still end up around 60-70 in the rankings. So, it just feels that things are going a little bit to good to not continue at least one more year...!

2006-07-25
5 reasons for 34


People have asked me lately how it is possible for me, at 34, to still reach success at the highest level. What is the "big secret"? Well, as I see it, these are the five keys:

1. Fitness. At the ages 18-25, I trained extremely hard and created a solid foundation that I still gain from. I won three five set matches in this years Wimbledon for instance. I don´t train as hard anymore, but I train smarter. I know my body very well, and my priority lies on quality instead of quantity. My trainer Daniel Hedin has been, and still is, of great importance here.

2. No injuries. I have managed to stay free from serious injuries.

3. Experience. I never get surprised or stressed over circumstances I can´t control, such as a row of rain delays in Wimbledon. I can change my game according to different circumstances and opposition. I have a good balance between expectations and results.

4. Passion. As I have said: I love playing tennis as much as ever before, and I truly love to get the possibility to go out in front of a enthusiastic crowd and give all that I have. I am at a position in my carreer where I can relax, play without pressure, just enjoy the situation. Especially when I manage to turn everything around after a down period, such as in Nottingham this year.

5. Surprise! I don´t have the capacity to play at my top level day in and day out, but when I am hot, I am sizzzzzling! And that is a source of inspiration in itself: to upset the odds, deliver the unexpected, and show anyone who doubts what I really still can achieve. Anything is possible, you just need to have the right mindset and attitude. 34 is not an age - it´s a combination of figures.

2006-07-17
Prestigious loss


Everything looked so good. I had a superior lead halfway into the match. Then I lost focus in some strange way, and ended, very painfully, as second in the most prestigious tournament of the year. Off course I am talking about Björkman Open, our families golf tournament that ended our time in Båstad for the seventh time this year. After a few misses on 10-13th holes, the victory went to my father in law Petter. In some strange way...

2006-07-17
Some statistics


I won the doubles title in Båstad together with Thomas Johansson this weekend. Extra special that it was together with Thomas. This was my 6th title in Båstad, more than anyone else. The 3rd title in a row in Båstad. I now have 48 ATP titles, and 6 this year. If I win two more I have a personal record of 8 titles in one year. I am aiming for that.

2006-07-17
Ice cream and potato chips


I am not training at all this week, just relaxing in the splendid sun, eating ice cream and potato chips and being lazy in general... On Thursday I will go back to Monaco, stay there for 12 days before the hardcourt season starts in Toronto.

2006-07-10
At home in Båstad

I am back in Båstad. Feels just great to be back home again, very satisfying, and to bring the latest couple of results with me. I´ve had a great welcoming here, and I feel stronger both mentally and physically than in recent years, so hopefully I can do a few good matches, despite the clay.

2006-07-10
Ranking climber


Thanks to my performances in recent weeks, I have climbed to spot 29 in the rankings, squeezed in between Guillermo Coria and Sebastien Grosjean. Whith that, I am Sweden´s highest ranked player.
Maybe it´s true what they say - not too bad for a 34 year old...

2006-07-10
Magic weeks


What a fantastic few weeks I´ve had. In the final in Nottingham. Semi final in Wimbledon. A great interest and reception from all kinds of media and legendary players like Stan Smith, John McEnroe, Henri Leconte, Michael Stich, Gene Mayer. Have been called Iron Man, among other things. I guess they just want to enroll me for that veteran´s tour that I am qualified for next year... but they have to wait, I haven´t won Wimbledon yet...!
Everybody wants to know how it is possible to reach the semi final in Wimbledon, further than ever before, at 34.
Loving the game is a good start. For me, it feels like it´s still growing. I don´t know if I have ever enjoyed playing tennis as much as I do right now. I really like challenging that number, 34. What can I still achieve? What can I still improve? For how long can I stay competitive? How can I use all my experience the best way possible?
My experience is another answer to the 34 question. If I just manage to bring the right amount of self confidence with me, of the kind I gained in Nottingham, I know myself and the circumstances around the game so well that I can use them in a smart way. I know how much I need to practise and play to be on top, I can handle all match situations without getting stressed, I can adapt my game suit the circumstances as good as possible and my opponents as bad as possible. And then the old man need some luck too!
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Old 07-28-2006, 09:20 PM   #75
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Thanks! So many interesting articles about Jonas
I hope he'll rejoin again soon with Max to play doubles
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