I’m sorry it had taken me this long to start writing this! It has already been 2 weeks since I got back and I had just been procrastinating. >< It’s really difficult to write since a lot had happened in the 11 days we spent in Valencia and I’m fairly certain I had forgotten a lot of the details. Ah well, my reports have always been rather crappy anyway. (Maybe someone here will remember the ones I wrote from 2004/5 which were super fangirl-y to put it lightly!!!)
Maybe it’ll be easier if I start by writing about the tournament itself. 🙂 I have never been to Valencia (or Spain, or Europe) before so I can only compare it with other tournaments in Australia/New Zealand. Since it’s an ATP tournament (by that I mean – mens only) it’s fairly small which is good for fans (or just people like me) who really don’t like walking around too much. 😛 There is one main court (L’Àgora) and Pista 1 – which (I heard) was temporarily constructed just for the tournament. The Agora is a part of the City of Arts and Sciences – one of Valencia’s main tourist attractions and if anyone had seen the pictures, it’s worth visiting whether you are a tennis fan or not. 😉
Most of the matches are played in the Agora, and outside there’s a “Fun Park” where various sponsors have stands to promote their products. There’re also bars which I think sold snacks – for anything substantial the nearby Museu de les Ciències Príncipe Felipe (let’s call it the Science Museum) has a restaurant and cafe. Interestingly, they also made room for three practice courts inside the Science Museum, and the rooftop area was where the photoshoots / press stuff were held.
I don’t know if they do this every year… but in the Corporate / VIP area they had some of JC’s trophies on display, including his World Number 1, Roland Garros and Davis Cup trophies. I took two photos of the 2001 Dubai one because…hrm, it says doubles??? LOL.
I promise the next post will actually include JCF!!!
I actually don’t have a lot to write about London – which is why I’m posting this first! On November 9, the ATP held a special ceremony for JCF in recognition for his achievements. 🙂 The ceremony was held after the Djokovic / Berdych match at the O2 Arena during the ATP World Tour Finals.
The ceremony wasn’t really ‘publicised’ beforehand, most people in the stadium didn’t know this was happening until they announced it after the match! It was short and sweet – they played a short video with messages from Roger Federer, Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic (the same videos they played at the Valencia ceremony) – even with the Spanish subtitles LOL. There was a short interview with JCF and a lot of photo taking… afterwards JCF pretty much hopped on the next flight back to Spain!
I guess we were really lucky this time since we had planned to stop in London on the way home. We didn’t expect to see him again after Valencia so this was a real bonus. 🙂
*Leave a comment AND credit this site if you wish to post the photos anywhere else. 🙂
Here’s the video from the ceremony – sorry my hands were shaking so much!!! I was so tired that day. ><
If you’re here, you might have heard that JCF has announced his retirement from tennis – his last tournament will be at Valencia.
By some weird twist of fate – I had actually decided to go to Valencia this year… (I think there will be some gross sobbing from me, after all, I’ve watched him since 2001 and this website has been ‘online’ since 2002) How time flies.
THIS IS JUST AN IDEA FLOATING IN MY HEAD AT THE MOMENT – but is anyone interested in a “Messages to JC” type project? As the fans’ gift to him…for one last time? Let me know in the comments!
This Spanish big event clearly sets the beginning of great deals on clay. Yet, we won’t deny Nadal’s withdrawal makes JC’s chance of victory highly rising.
But this would be too easy to explain this favorable position as a mere question of opportunity. When you look back to Juan beginning of season’s, there’s well enough datas to catch the character: 2 victories and a final on the South American, plus, who will objet Ferrero was the most serious opponent Nadal had to face (especially for a courageous and quite unlucky 1st set from JC …) Besides, at the age of 30, it is clear JC’s now playing more relaxed than he used to over the past years.
His game evolved consequently, maybe less incisive than what he showed when he was world number one, but he managed to renew his game and sight of it, instead of falling to pieces to a chaotique retirment, as some players did. Juan is back. Being back after years of meanders and doubts can’t build a Nadal or a Federer. But in my opinion, a Verdasco or a Ferrer has less chance to be a good lieutenant than Juan is. His experience, his rythm is necessary to Spanish tennis and to tennis overall.
The press noticed it, and the echo of his possible victory is widely conveyed (For instance, Have a look to this Article from tennistalks.com)
As is first match again Russian Stakhovsky hasn’t started yet (should play around 5pm GMT), JC had the good surprise to be awarded a prize, rewarding his good beginning of season, labelling him the “Player 10”, as Juan managed to reach his current 16th rank (I think he yet even reached the 15th or 14th… any precise clue ?) You can see the whole article in the news, from the Official site of the tournament
That is why I solemnly put a coin on a JC victory or this Barcelona event ! What about you all ? See you for a debriefing after the match !
Y VAMOS JUAN CARLOS !!
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His blog post from 14th April!
I want to thank you all for all your comments on the blog. It was a very tough week for me. I finally felt physically very strong and I thought that the work that I have been doing for the last months has finally paid off. I also want to thank all my team for their work and effort with me. However, we still have a long way to go. Regards for all you. Vamoooooos!!Mbr.< J.C
Quiero mandar un mensaje de agradecimiento por todos vuestros comentarios en el blog. Ha sido una semana muy buena para mi y que por fín me he encontrado al 100% fisicamente. El trabajo de estos ultimos meses ha tenido su fruto y que me da un “plus” de confianza para el resto del año. Quiero agradecer a mi equipo por la gran labor y esfuerzo que están haciendo cada dia. Ahora toca seguir porque todavia no hemos acabado!! Un abrazo para todos. Vamoooos!!
CONGRATULATIONS TO JCF FOR HIS WIN AT CASABLANCA!!!!
Can you believe it? He had not lost a set all week to take this title, the moment we’ve all been waiting for a LONG TIME. 🙂
Rd 1: d. Christophe Rochus 6-2 6-3
Rd 2: d. Potito Starace 6-4 7-6(1)
QF: d. Victor Hanescu 6-3 7-5
SF: d. Igor Andreev 7-6(9) 6-3
Final: d. Florent Serra 6-4 7-5
Ferrero Breaks Title Drought with Casablanca Crown
Former ATP World Tour No. 1 Juan Carlos Ferrero snapped a title drought dating back to October 2003 by defeating fifth-seeded Frenchman Florent Serra 6-4, 7-5 on Sunday in the final of the Grand Prix Hassan II in Casablanca to win the ATP World Tour 250 tennis tournament.
Victory for Ferrero earns him 250 South African Airways 2009 ATP Ranking points and €71,700 in prize money. The Spaniard reached the top spot in the South African Airways ATP Rankings on 8 September 2003, after reaching his third Grand Slam final at the US Open (l. to Roddick).
Ferrero was returning to Casablanca for the first time since making his ATP World Tour debut there as a 19 year old, when he reached the semi-finals (l. to A. Martin).
“This is a special tournament for me,” said Ferrero. “Ten years ago I played my first ATP World Tour tournament here and now I’m back winning the title. I’m very happy, it was a great week for me.”
The 29-year-old Ferrero’s last title came at ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Madrid (d. Massu) in October 2003. Since then, he had contested 110 tournaments without lifting the champion’s trophy. During that span he finished runner-up at six ATP World Tour tennis tournaments at 2004 Rotterdam, 2005 Barcelona and Vienna, 2006 ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Cincinnati, 2007 Costa do Sauipe and 2008 Auckland.
Two breaks were exchanged early in the first set before Ferrero earned a decisive third break to close out a one-set lead 6-4. The players swapped two more breaks of serve in the second set before Ferrero once again made a key breakthrough in the 11th game to lead 6-5. The Villena resident then served out his first victory in three meetings with Serra after one hour and 36 minutes.
“It wasn’t easy because Florent was playing very aggressively and I felt a lot of pressure,” said Ferrero. “I wanted to take my chances and finally I could win which makes me very happy.”
“It is very important for my confidence that I won this tournament. This helps a lot coming back from an injury.”
Ferrero is closing on his 400th tour-level match win. Victory in Casablanca took the Spaniard to a 396-210 record. His match record in 2009 stands at 10-5, highlighted up till now by quarter-final showings at Costa do Sauipe (l. to Bellucci) and Buenos Aires (l. to Nalbandian).
The title was Ferrero’s first on clay since he captured his lone Grand Slam championship at Roland Garros (d. Verkerk) in June 2003. He improved to a 9-7 mark in clay-court finals, and to 12-16 on all surfaces. The right-hander has reached at least one ATP World Tour final in 11 consecutive seasons (since 1999).
At No. 115 in the South African Airways 2009 ATP Rankings, Ferrero is the lowest-ranked winner on the ATP World Tour this year. The only other player ranked outside the Top 100 to reach a final was Somdev Devvarman in Chennai (l. to Cilic).
The 47th-ranked Serra – one of nine Frenchmen in the Top 50 of the South African Airways 2009 ATP Rankings – was contesting his third ATP World Tour final and drops to a 2-1 lifetime. His two titles came at 2005 Bucharest (d. Andreev) and 2006 Adelaide (d. Hrbaty).
“It was a great week for me but I’m a bit disappointed today,” said Serra. “I was nervous at the beginning and Juan Carlos was playing really well. This city is special for me since my father was born here and I dedicate this final to him.”
The 28-year-old Bordeaux native, who has an 11-10 match record on the season, was looking to become the third successive Frenchman to lift the trophy in Casablanca after Paul-Henri Mathieu triumphed in 2007 and Gilles Simon prevailed in 2008.
Another article from the week inside….