Net Gains: Put your shirt on Chelsea fan to knock GB out of Davis Cup
Sunday 27 June 2010
A Wimbledon-loving Chelsea supporter is hoping to send Britain into Davis Cup oblivion. In the absence of Andy Murray, Turkey's Marsel Ilhan, the world No 118, will be the highest-ranked singles player in next month's relegation play-off against Britain at Eastbourne, which will decide who will drop down next year to the lowest division alongside the likes of Andorra and Moldova. The bad news for Britain is that Ilhan, who had never played on a grass court until two years ago, has made big strides on the surface. After first-round losses in Wimbledon qualifying in 2008 and 2009, the 23-year-old from Istanbul opened his 2010 grass-court season by reaching the quarter-finals of the Challenger tournament in Nottingham, went on to win three matches in Wimbledon qualifying and last week became the first Turkish man ever to win a match in the main draw, beating Brazil's Marcos Daniel 6-7 4-6 6-2 6-3 6-1. He eventually lost to Victor Hanescu. "We have no grass courts in Turkey, but I enjoy playing on grass now," Ilhan said. "It suits my game, especially my serve and groundstrokes. I also like to volley." As for the Davis Cup, Ilhan said his team had nothing to lose: "It would be a huge thing for us to win in Britain." Having stayed in Chelsea for the last three years during Wimbledon, Ilhan has become a Stamford Bridge fan. "I've bought a Chelsea shirt, like I did last year," he said. "I like the colour." What number? "It's a No 10 shirt. I just like the number. I've got my own name on the back."
Huber's a head case
Liezel Huber, one of the game's leading doubles players, is persuading her fellow professionals to have their hair cut. Huber is supporting "Locks for Love", a non-profit organisation that makes wigs and hairpieces for underprivileged children who have medical conditions that involve hair loss. On average it takes the hair from six people to make one wig. The world No 3 had her own locks shorn yesterday and has already persuaded 14 others to join her, including Melanie Oudin, Marion Bartoli and Dominika Cibulkova.
Federer's advice for Fabio
Roger Federer has some advice for England's footballers. "The better the opponent is, the better you play yourself," the Wimbledon champion said when asked if he had any tips for Fabio Capello's men in the run-up to today's match against Germany. "Against weaker players or weaker teams you tend to have options. You tend to pick the wrong ones. Against the better players, you only have one option and then you play better. I think that's what's going to happen with the England-Germany match as well."
Amélie Mauresmo may have retired last year but is still in top physical condition. The 2006 Wimbledon champion, who has been working with Michaël Llodra's coaching team, has taken to the roads. "I run a lot," she said. "I'm preparing to run in this year's New York Marathon. I've never run a marathon before. My target time? I want to do 3 hours 45. Under four hours would satisfy me. I just want to prove that I can do it. I've never even run a half-marathon before."
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