Photos: Maria Sharapova celebrates her 27th birthday in Germany

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Maria Sharapova poses with her team in Stuttgart, Germany.

Maria Sharapova poses with her team in Stuttgart, Germany. (Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images)

Maria Sharapova celebrated her 27th birthday the way most 27-year-olds do: by wearing traditional a German dress while sitting on a Porsche with a costumed team of men in lederhosen. Celebrities, they’re just like us!

Has it really been 10 years since Sharapova won Wimbledon as a 17-year-old? She celebrated her big day in Stuttgart, Germany, where she is the two-time defending champion at the Porsche Grand Prix, which begins on Monday. Joined by her team, Sharapova decided to dress up in a traditional German dirndl for the kind of photo adventure you can only find in Germany, one that involves luxury cars, merry-go-rounds and enormous teddy bear mascots.

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  • Published On Apr 19, 2014
  • Roger Federer knocks out defending champ Novak Djokovic in Monte Carlo

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    Roger Federer improved to 18-16 against Novak Djokovic. (Julian Finney/Getty Images)

    No. 4 Roger Federer ousted defending champion Novak Djokovic 7-5, 6-2 on Saturday to advance to his first final at the Monte Carlo Masters since 2008.

    Federer, who accepted a last-minute wild card into the first clay-court ATP Masters 1000 tournament of the season, took control after saving two set points at 4-5 in the first set. He broke in the next game before serving out the set. Backed by a solid serve and sustained aggression, he ran away with the second set, ultimately needing just 74 minutes to reach his fourth final of the season and improve to 2-1 against the second-ranked Djokovic this year.

    “I’m very happy with the way I played,” Federer said. “I tried to stay aggressive, like I have all week.”

    Federer will play his Davis Cup teammate and world No. 3 Stanislas Wawrinka, who defeated David Ferrer 6-1, 7-6 (3), in Sunday’s final. It’s the first all-Swiss ATP final since 2000, when Marc Rosset beat Federer in Marseille. If Federer wins, he would move up to No. 3 in Monday’s rankings and replace Wawrinka as the No. 1 Swiss.

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  • Published On Apr 19, 2014
  • Roundtable Part II: Analyzing ATP and WTA storylines from the season so far

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    (Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

    Serena Williams won her seventh title at the Sony Open in Miami this year. (Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

    With the first three-plus months of the 2014 tennis season behind us, Ricky Dimon of The GrandstandLindsay Gibbs of The ChangeoverErik Gudris of Tennis Now and Ben Rothenberg of The New York Times joined Courtney Nguyen for a roundtable to reflect on what’s happened so far, and look ahead to what’s to come. The roundtable took place on Wednesday, April 16 before Rafael Nadal’s loss to David Ferrer in the Monte Carlo quarterfinals, but edits have been made where necessary.

    Click here to read part one of the roundtable, and be sure to check out our winners and losers of the season so far for the ATP and the WTA.

    WTA: What to make of it?

    Nguyen: Am I wrong, or is the first part of the WTA season much more difficult to explain than the ATP’s?

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  • Published On Apr 18, 2014
  • Daily Bagel: Roger Federer caught off guard by his missed backhand

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    The Daily Bagel is your dose of the interesting reporting, writing and quipping from around the Internet.

    • Video: Roger Federer is just as shocked at his backhand shanks as we are.

    • Here’s how Steve Tignor saw David Ferrer’s upset of Rafael Nadal at the Monte Carlo Masters on Friday.

    Rafa was uncharacteristically subdued throughout, and he saved his worst, least confident tennis for the most crucial 10 minutes of the match, the first-set tiebreaker. Hanging his head and playing tentatively, he virtually conceded the breaker after falling behind early. At 1-4, Nadal had a chance to take a rip at his favorite shot, an inside-out forehand, from on top of the baseline. Instead, he tried to thread a risky drop shot; too risky, it turned out, as the ball caught the tape and fell back. The shot selection, the execution, the demeanor: None of it was what we’ve come to expect from Rafa at these stages.

    What we usually expect from a match between these two is an elemental battle of wills. Ferrer grinds, until you think no one could possibly have the mental endurance to stay with him—nobody except Nadal, that is. Rafa’s superior shotmaking always gives him the last word. Today, though, Nadal didn’t have those shots; he finished with 24 winners and 44 unforced errors, his backhand was short and often shanked, and at the moment in the first set when he appeared ready to come up with something special, he came up with something pedestrian instead.

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  • Published On Apr 18, 2014
  • David Ferrer upsets Rafael Nadal in quarterfinals of Monte Carlo Masters

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    David Ferrer

    David Ferrer improved to 2-17 on clay against Rafael Nadal. (Julian Finney/Getty Images)

    David Ferrer stunned eight-time champion Rafael Nadal 7-6 (1), 6-4 in the quarterfinals of the Monte Carlo Masters on Friday, his first victory over his Spanish countryman on clay in 10 years.

    Ferrer entered having lost 17 consecutive matches on clay against Nadal. In fact, Ferrer’s only victory on the surface came in their first career meeting, in Stuttgart, Germany, in 2004.

    Ferrer’s blunt assessment before the match was that in order to win he needed to play his best and benefit from an off day from Nadal, who had won 30 clay matches in a row. That’s precisely what happened. Both men struck 24 winners, but Nadal hit 44 unforced errors compared to Ferrer’s 28 and played some of his worst tennis at the most inopportune times, such as in the tiebreaker that capped an 85-minute first set. Ferrer broke twice in the second set for a 5-2 lead and held on after Nadal got one break back and reached 30-30 when Ferrer served for the match at 5-4.

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  • Published On Apr 18, 2014
  • Watch: Andy Roddick drills forehands at his Fox Sports Live co-hosts

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    Need a pick-me-up to get you through your Friday? Just watch this video of Andy Roddick firing forehands at his co-hosts on Fox Sports Live. Mercifully, Jay Onrait and Dan O’Toole were wearing some protective gear, but clearly not enough. Roddick holds nothing back, repeatedly firing away from point-blank range and silently watching his poor victims writhe in absolute pain. If you thought Roddick’s forehand may have gotten rusty in his retirement, then think again. Some of those shots are going to leave a mark.

    Done watching? Then get on with your workday knowing that no matter what happens, you will not have to take a Roddick forehand to your sensitive areas as your friends stand idly by and enjoy the show. Your day will not reach that level of bad.

    Update: As expected, it left a mark:


  • Published On Apr 18, 2014
  • Tweets of the Week: Boris Becker offers some free coaching

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    Boris Becker gives Patrick Mouratoglou some Twitter feedback, the ATP pros take a shot at Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova and everyone is left scratching their heads after the dramatic quarterfinals at the Monte Carlo Masters. Here are the best tweets of the week.

    Boris Becker wasn’t exactly buying Patrick Mouratoglou’s analysis during Roger Federer’s quarterfinal match against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and it didn’t take long for Mouratoglou to offer up something better for his liking:

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  • Published On Apr 18, 2014
  • Roundtable Part I: Analyzing ATP and WTA storylines from the season so far

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    Stanislas Wawrinka surprised everyone by beating Rafael Nadal in the final of the 2014 Australian Open. (David Callow/SI)

    Stanislas Wawrinka surprised everyone by beating Rafael Nadal in the final of the 2014 Australian Open. (David Callow/SI)

    With the first three-plus months of the 2014 tennis season behind us, I’ve asked Ricky Dimon of The Grandstand, Lindsay Gibbs of The Changeover, Erik Gudris of Tennis Now and Ben Rothenberg of The New York Times to reflect on what’s happened so far, and look ahead to what’s to come. 

    This roundtable has two parts — click here to read the second part. Be sure to check out our winners and losers of the season so far for the ATP and the WTA.

    What has been the most significant development, result or storyline so far?

    Erik Gudris: It’s been a busy first quarter that gave us Stanislas Wawrinka’s first ever major title, Novak Djokovic bouncing back to win the Indian Wells/Miami double, Serena Williams winning Miami though giving us a few unexpected losses and the recent surge of some young WTA players all with bright prospects moving ahead.

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  • Published On Apr 17, 2014
  • Daily Bagel: Rafael Nadal wins his 300th match on clay

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    The Daily Bagel is your dose of the interesting reporting, writing and quipping from around the Internet.

    • Video: In honor of Rafael Nadal’s 300th clay win, here is a song dedicated to him called “Vamos Rafa.”

    • Behind the numbers: Rafael Nadal got his 300th win on clay today.

    • Nick Bollitieri tells The Telegraph that winning Wimbledon with Andre Agassi was his greatest tennis memory.

    “He called me about four days before the tournament and said: ‘Let’s go to Boca Raton to practise’. He had a girlfriend there, Wendi. We played golf, hit with [Robert] Seguso for 30 minutes.

    “Then we got to England and he gave a clinic. They said ‘Andre, where you been?’ He said ‘I been practising for two weeks.’ We hadn’t hit one ball on grass, but he went on to win the title.

    “He had the ladies from England trying to buy those short shorts for Chrissakes. He turned the crowd on, he really did. He had a way, man. He had ‘em jumping, man. When he retired at the US Open, the concession stands stopped to hear his speech. Everybody stopped. Not many people can do that.”

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  • Published On Apr 17, 2014
  • Laura Robson will miss French Open and Wimbledon due to wrist surgery

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    Laura Robson reached the fourth round of Wimbledon in 2013. (Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

    Laura Robson reached the fourth round of Wimbledon in 2013. (Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

    Laura Robson will have surgery on her left wrist and miss the French Open and Wimbledon.

    The 20-year-old Brit re-injured her wrist during practice in the offseason and played just two matches this season, which resulted in a retirement at the Hobart International and a first-round exit at the Australian Open. Robson will be treated by Dr. Richard Berger, who has handled Juan Martin del Potro’s wrist injuries.

    “I wanted to inform my lovely supporters that I have decided to have minor wrist surgery at the Mayo Clinic with one of the best wrist doctors in the world, Dr. Richard Berger,” Robson wrote on her Facebook page. “Dr. Berger is very confident that I will be able to return to the tennis court pain free before you even have time to miss me. Although sadly, I will have to miss the French Open and Wimbledon.”

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  • Published On Apr 17, 2014


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