Net Gains: Baltacha is boxing clever to pack a punch on court
Sunday 24 January 2010
Elena Baltacha enjoyed the best win of her career last week, but the British No 1 wants to put on her boxing gloves and give her coach a pummelling. Nino Severino made his name working with kick-boxers and karate fighters and Baltacha believes some ring sessions could improve her fitness. "We did a bit of boxing a while ago and I'd like to do it again," Baltacha said. "It does work you hard. Physically it's very tough, but it's also good for your movement. The discipline you need in the ring is also useful in tennis. In a sport like boxing if you lose focus for one second it can be all over. We've looked into a lot of areas on the mental side and that has really helped my tennis." Was she worried that either of them would get hurt? "Nino is actually a bit scary," Baltacha said. "We sparred, though obviously he would never hit me hard. It was all very well controlled."
Lights go out on Tomic
Bernard Tomic is one of the game's great emerging talents but the 17-year-old Australian still has much to learn about diplomacy. Tomic's controversial father, John, has had fall-outs with all and sundry and Bernard showed he is a chip off the old block with his post-match comments after losing in five sets to Marin Cilic after 2am on the main showcourt.
"I requested to play during the day and it didn't happen," Tomic junior said. "It's ridiculous." The authorities were not impressed. "If there isn't a change in his behaviour, it will become extremely hard for him to excel at the top echelons of the sport,"
Craig Tiley, the tournament director, said. "At some point – and I've said this to Bernard – he needs to be responsible for who he has around him and the decisions he makes and what he says." Past and present players had limited sympathy for Tomic. "When you go in and talk to the media after a match you've got to think things through," John Newcombe said. Lleyton Hewitt, who played in a match here two years ago that finished at 4.34am, said: "If you get scheduled at night, that's what's going to happen. You've got to be prepared for that."
Fleming's no-wrist policy
Flinging your wristbands and towels into the crowd has become de rigueur for many players at the end of matches, but one fan went too far during Colin Fleming's first-round doubles alongside his fellow Briton, Ken Skupski. "This kid kept shouting at me and asking me to throw him my wristband – in the middle of the match," Fleming said. "I told him no."
Henin in sparkling form
Justine Henin was not giving much away when asked about the sparkling ring she has been wearing on her wedding-ring finger. "It's not coming from a lover, if that's the question," she laughed. "It's a gift from a friend – but nothing else."
Clijsters polishes her act
A Polish journalist told Kim Clijsters that he cried when she gave her prizemoney from the recent Brisbane International to a local children's hospital. Quick as a flash, Clijsters asked the lachrymose hack: "Did you want me to give it to you?"
Keothavong No 2
Anne Keothavong, until recently Britain's No 1, is injured, but brother James, an umpire, has been flying the family flag here. He was in the chair when Prince William watched Roger Federer beat Victor Hanescu and also took on the ultimate umpiring challenge when Caroline Wozniacki beat Aleksandra Wozniak.
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