Down Under Diary, Day 10
by James Buddell|
ATPWorldTour.com takes a look at the news and talking points at the Australian Open on Wednesday.
Cilic's Parents Praying In Medugorje
Marin Cilic's parents, Koviljka and Zdenko, have woken up in Medugorje, in western Bosnia and Herzegovina, to watch all of their son's matches and locals have flocked to the family home. They have even visited Medugorje's Apparition Hill to pray to the Virgin Mary for Cilic's success to continue.
''We are mostly happy that Marin is injury free and he is healthy,'' Koviljka Cilic told The Age newspaper. ''We had been planning a big party but my mum is quite ill so that has overshadowed everything a bit.
''We were celebrating after the quarter-final [win over Andy Roddick], but not as much as usual because of mum's illness. But there will be time. We like to celebrate the best when we are all together and when Marin and his older brother Vinko, who is on tour with him, are here as well.
''If he's well rested, I think he'll have a strong win against [Andy] Murray."
Murray, Cilic Ready For SF Encounter
Andy Murray takes a 17-2 lifetime record against opponents 6'6" plus into his semi-final against No. 14 seed Cilic on Thursday night. Murray could rise two places to No. 2 in the South African Airways 2010 ATP Rankings, should he capture his first Grand Slam title and end Great Britain’s 74-year wait for a major titlist.
"Obviously I feel fresh. I don't know how he feels," Murray said. "From my side, I feel good physically. That's not going to be an issue for me in the match.
Cilic, who beat Murray in September 2009 at the US Open, has spent more than 18 hours on court – eight hours more than the third-seeded Scot – en route to the last four. The Croatian practised in secret on Wednesday.
"Everyone talks about revenge and stuff but I just go out there and every day's a different day in tennis," Cilic said. "I think that I can win the match. Regardless of what happened at the US Open, if I play well, focus hard and concentrate, then there's no reason why I can't beat him again."
In The Spotlight
Murray, Britain's first semi-finalist since John Lloyd in 1977, was pictured on the front pages of The Times and The Daily Telegraph newspapers on Wednesday, following his win over second seed and defending champion Rafael Nadal.
Brett Becomes Focus Of Attention
Cilic's Australian coach Bob Brett, who steered Boris Becker, Goran Ivanisevic, Andrei Medvedev, Nicolas Kiefer and Mario Ancic during different stages of their careers, became the focus for attention at Melbourne Park.
Brett, who has coached Cilic since the age of 15, points the credit elsewhere. ''All I've done is work with a great talent,'' he said. ''I just work with someone and point them in the direction. At the end of the day when it's 30-40, they've got to put it over the net. I've been lucky to have had good players, people who have drive.''
Hatton: Murray 'Plays Tennis Like A Boxer'
Boxing champion Ricky Hatton, who sat in Murray's box during his win over Nadal, says the Scot "plays tennis like a boxer, he flexes his muscles. And that is what British fans will love, his passion for it. I am just really proud of him.
"Boxers and tennis players are the fittest sports people. Boxing is the hardest game in the world and I know tennis players have a bit longer on the stool but if you are out there for four or five hours, you have got to be fit. It is one-on-one competition. You can’t bring a sub on."
Federer Extends Record Run of Slam SFs
Roger Federer kept alive his remarkable record of reaching Grand Slam semi-finals, dating back to Roland Garros in June 2004. Federer moved into the last four at a major for the 23rd consecutive time after beating Nikolay Davydenko.
Afterwards, the Swiss remarked how proud he is of the achievement, but said he was scared it would not happen. "It's incredible looking back on how many years that is now I'm able to deliver at grand slam play, especially this year," he commented.
"So for some reason I was just a bit worried I was not going to make it this time in the semis. You always believe the streak is going to be broken. Now, obviously, it's safe again and I've been able to add one. It's amazing."
Dent Tweets Son's Birth
American Taylor Dent, who made a second round exit, used his Twitter page to announce the news of the birth of his son Declan James Phillip Dent, weighing in at 8lbs, 12 oz, late Tuesday.
When his wife, former tennis pro Jenny Hopkins, was in labour, Dent wrote it was "by far the most nervous I have ever been." After the birth of his son, he tweeted, "What an ordeal!! Wow! 99 percent pure agony and then pure elation in the end. Go Jenny!!"
Today, Dent wrote, "We are all in better spirits. Well that was until Declan got poked with some needles. It is amazing how much it hurts me when he cries."
Uncle Nadal Optimistic
Toni Nadal is confident his nephew's knee injury is not serious, despite sending him for medical scans in Melbourne. "There is something going on in there [the knee], something that wasn't there before," he revealed to Spanish media, before commenting that the preliminary ultrasound had showed it "wasn't a serious problem."
Match Of The Day
On Margaret Court Arena, second seeds Daniel Nestor and Nenad Zimonjic narrowly avoided a quarter-final exit as they came back to defeat the new tandem of Arnaud Clement and Jonathan Erlich 6-4, 1-6, 7-6(6). Clement and Erlich had a chance to serve out the match at 5-4 in the third set before the Canadian-Serbian duo hit back to keep their title hopes alive at the year’s first major.
Hit For Haiti Online Auction
If you would like a chance to win signed player memorabilia in aid of Haitian earthquake victims, log on and bid here. A signed Roger Federer racquet is currently being auctioned at over US$12,000. All proceeds of the auction will go to aid organisation, Partners in Health.