Court Report: Errani realises the error of her ways in using Armstrong's dodgy doctor

 

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The Independent Online

Sara Errani, who has soared up the world rankings this year, says she will stop working with Luis Garcia del Moral, one of the doctors at the centre of the Lance Armstrong doping scandal.

Del Moral, who is based in Valencia, has worked with a number of tennis players, including Errani, who was world No 45 at the start of the year but is now No 10 after winning four singles titles in 2012 (not to mention seven doubles titles). The International Tennis Federation announced recently that they "recognise and respect" the lifetime ban imposed on Del Moral, who was a doctor on Armstrong's US Postal team.

When asked last week if she had consulted Del Moral this year, Errani said it had been "strange" to hear that "he was involved in these things". She added: "I spoke with the ITF and they didn't tell me that I cannot go any more to him. They told me that I can go if I want, but of course I'm not interested in keeping working with a person that is involved in these things. Of course maybe I will not work any more with him."

Lendl's one of the bad boys

Players in Arthur Ashe Stadium, the main show court here, are allowed a choice of three songs to be played during the changeovers. Roger Federer has sometimes requested David Guetta's 'Titanium', Serena Williams often asks for Green Day, while Laura Robson admitted she could not stop herself joining in with a Taylor Swift song. Andy Murray did not make any requests.

"It's actually better if they're playing songs you don't like because then you don't focus on it that much," Murray said. "I listen to music normally before I go on the court anyway and that's the stuff that gets you pumped up."

According to Newsday, however, a request was made on Murray's behalf by Ivan Lendl, the Scot's coach, who thought it would be a laugh to ask for a bit of Wham! and Culture Club on his man's behalf. Lendl's brand of humour is not appreciated by everyone.

John McEnroe said recently he had been shown an article which reported that Murray's coach had brought a sense of fun to the Scot's camp. "I'm like: 'My God, man! What has Andy been doing?'" McEnroe said. "That I really found humorous."

Makarova makes it over

Russia's Ekaterina Makarova and Brazil's Bruno Soares, the new US Open mixed doubles champions, will remain eternally thankful for Daniel Melo's speed of foot. Soares had been planning to play with Australia's Jarmila Gajdosova but discovered just before the sign-in deadline that their combined ranking was not high enough to gain entry.

Melo, Soares' coach, ran over to the practice courts to find Makarova and ask if she would play. "He talked to her and called me with 30 seconds to go," Soares said. "He said: 'You can sign.' So at the very last minute, at 11.59, I signed us in. I guess it worked out."

Ending tension over the net

Complaints about differing net cord tensions may be resolved thanks to an invention by David Knox, an amateur player and engineer from Tennessee. The tension has a big effect on the trajectory of the ball if it strikes the top of the net: if loose, the net will absorb the speed of the ball, which can drop tamely on to the other side of the court; if tight, the ball can fly high into the air or out of the court.

Knox says Wimbledon is "notorious" for loose nets while those at the US Open are traditionally very tight.

Knox's "TNT Gauge" – a device placed on the net post – measures the tension. It was used on outside courts at last year's US Open and has been used on all courts this year.

p.newman@independent.co.uk

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