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Friday, July 1, 2011

Rafael Nadal

Rafael "Rafa" Nadal Parera,  born 3 June 1986 is a Spanish professional tennis player currently ranked No. 1 by the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP). He is widely regarded as one of the greatest players of all time; his success on clay has earned him the nickname "The King of Clay", and has prompted many experts to regard him as the greatest clay court player of all time.
Nadal has won ten Grand Slam singles titles, including 6 French Open titles, the 2008 Olympic gold medal in singles, a record 19 ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournaments, and also was part of the Spain Davis Cup team that won the finals in 2004, 2008 and 2009. He completed the career Grand Slam by winning the 2010 US Open, being the seventh player in history, and the youngest of four in the open era, to achieve it. He is the second of two male players to complete the Career Golden Slam (winner of the four grand slams and the Olympic Gold medal) after Andre Agassi.
Nadal had a 32-match winning streak in 2008, starting at the 2008 Masters Series Hamburg to the 2008 Western & Southern Financial Group Masters and Women's Open, which included titles at Hamburg, the French Open (where he did not drop a set), Queen's Club, his first ever title at Wimbledon, and the Rogers Cup. In 2011, by winning the Monte Carlo Masters, he became the only player to have won seven editions of a tournament in a row at the ATP level. Nadal was ranked world No. 2, behind Roger Federer, for a record 160 consecutive weeks before earning the top spot, which he held from 18 August 2008 to 5 July 2009. He regained the world No.1 ranking on 7 June 2010, after winning his fifth French Open title.

Early life
Rafael Nadal was born in Manacor, Majorca, Spain to Sebastián Nadal, a businessman managing his own restaurant, Sa Punta; a glass and window glass company, Vidres Mallorca; and owns an insurance company as well. His mother is Ana María Parera, a housewife. He has a younger sister named María Isabel. His uncle, Miguel Ángel Nadal, is a retired professional footballer, who played for RCD Mallorca, FC Barcelona, and the Spanish national team. Nadal supports football clubs Real Madrid and RCD Mallorca. Recognizing that Nadal had a natural talent for tennis, another uncle, Toni Nadal, a former professional tennis player, introduced him to tennis when he was three years old.
At age eight, Nadal won an under-12 regional tennis championship at a time when he was also a promising football player. This made Toni Nadal intensify training, and at that time he encouraged Nadal to play left-handed for a natural advantage on the tennis court, as he noticed Nadal played forehand shots with two hands. When Nadal was 12, he won the Spanish and European tennis titles in his age group and was playing tennis and football all the time. Nadal's father made him choose between football and tennis so that his school work would not deteriorate entirely. Nadal said: "I chose tennis. Football had to stop straight away.
When he was 14, the Spanish tennis federation requested that he leave Majorca and move to Barcelona to continue his tennis training. Nadal's family turned down this request, partly because they feared it would hurt his education, but also because Toni said that "I don't want to believe that you have to go to America, or other places to be a good athlete. You can do it from your home. The decision to stay home meant that Nadal received less financial support from the federation; instead, Nadal's father covered the costs. In May 2001, he defeated former Grand Slam champion Pat Cash in a clay-court exhibition match.
At 15, he turned pro. Nadal participated in two events on the ITF junior circuit. In 2002, at the age of 16, Nadal reached the semifinals of the Boy's Singles tournament at Wimbledon, in his first ITF junior event.
By the age of 17, he beat Roger Federer the first time they played and became the youngest man to reach the third round at Wimbledon since Boris Becker. At 18, he helped pace Spain over the US in the junior Davis Cup in his second, and final, appearance on the ITF junior circuit. At 19, Nadal won the French Open the first time he played it, a feat not accomplished in Paris for more than 20 years. He eventually won it the first four times he played at Roland Garros. In 2003, he had won the ATP Newcomer of the Year Award. Early in his career, Nadal picked up the trademark habit of biting the trophies he won.

Rafael Nadal in 2011
Nadal started 2011 by participating in the Mubadala World Tennis Championship in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. He defeated Tomáš Berdych 6–4, 6–4 to reach his third final in the exhibition tournament. In the final, he won over his main rival Roger Federer 7–6, 7–6.
At his first tour event of the year in an Australian Open warm-up tournament, the Qatar ExxonMobil Open ATP 250 event in Doha, Qatar, Nadal barely struggled past his first three opponents, Karol Beck 6–3, 6–0, Lukáš Lacko 7–6, 0–6, 6–3, and Ernests Gulbis 7–6, 6–3 citing fever as the primary reason for his poor performance. He fell in straight sets to a resurgent Nikolay Davydenko in the semifinals, 6–3, 6–2. He and countryman López won the doubles title by defeating the Italian duo Daniele Bracciali and Andreas Seppi 6–3, 7–6.
In the first round of the Australian Open, Nadal defeated Marcos Daniel of Brazil 6–0, 5–0 ret. In the second round, he beat upcoming qualifier Ryan Sweeting of the United States 6–2, 6–1, 6–1. In the third round, he was tested by emerging player Bernard Tomic of Australia, who previously ousted Nadal's countryman Feliciano López, but Nadal was victorious with a score of 6–2, 7–5, 6–3. He went on to defeat Marin Čilić of Croatia 6–2, 6–4, 6–3 in the fourth round. He suffered an apparent hamstring injury against fellow Spaniard David Ferrer early in the pair's quarterfinal match and ultimately lost in straight sets 4–6, 2–6, 3–6, thus ending his effort to win four major tournaments in a row.
On 7 February 2011, in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, Nadal won the Laureus World Sportsman of the Year for the first time, ahead of footballer Lionel Messi, Sebastian Vettel, Spain's Andres Iniesta, Lakers star Kobe Bryant and Filipino boxer Manny Pacquiao.
In March, Nadal helped Spain defeat Belgium in a 2011 Davis Cup World Group first-round tie on hard indoor in Spiroudome, Charleroi, Belgium. Nadal defeated Ruben Bemelmans 6–2, 6–4, 6–2. After Spain's victory in three matches, Nadal played a second unnecessary match against Olivier Rochus and won 6–4, 6–2.
At the 2011 BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, Nadal defeated upcoming qualifier Rik de Voest of South Africa 6–0, 6–2 in the first match. In the Third round, he beat upcoming qualifier Ryan Sweeting of the United States 6–3, 6–1. He then defeated upcoming Indian qualifier Somdev Devvarman 7–5, 6–4 in the Fourth round. In the quarterfinals Nadal had a hard time against Croatian Ivo Karlovic but won 5–7, 6–1, 7–6, and in the semi-finals he met Argentine player Juan Martin del Potro, back from a long injury. The last three confrontations between the players was in favor of Del Potro, and despite some difficulties Nadal won 6–4, 6–4. He reached his third final at Indian Wells, and in the final lost against Novak Djokovic. The Serbian player won 6–4, 3–6, 2–6. The next day Nadal and Djokovic played a friendly match in Bogota, Colombia which Nadal won.
Nadal started the 2011 Sony Ericsson Open win over Japanese player Kei Nishikori 6–4, 6–4, then met his compatriot Feliciano Lopez in the third round, whom he defeated 6–3, 6–3, and in the fourth round defeated Alexandr Dolgopolov of Ukraine 6–1, 6–2. In the quarterfinals Nadal had the first real test of the tournament where he met the world No. 7 seed Tomas Berdych. After a good first set, Nadal's level of play fell significantly due to an injured right shoulder, and he lost the second set. He eventually triumphed 6–2, 3–6, 6–3. in the semi-finals Nadal met main rival Roger Federer, their first meeting in a semi-final since the 2007 Masters Cup. Nadal was swiftly victorious at 6–3, 6–2; this match was one of the fastest matches played on hard courts. For the second time in two weeks, Nadal faced Novak Djokovic in the final. As in the Indian Wells tournament, Nadal won the first set, and Djokovic the second. The third set ended in a tiebreak with Djokovic winning the match 4–6, 6–3, 7–6. This is the first time Nadal reached the finals of Indian Wells and Miami in the same year.
Nadal began his clay-court season in style, winning the 2011 Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters with the loss of just one set. Nadal defeated Jarkko Nieminen 6–2, 6–2, Richard Gasquet 6–2, 6–4, Ivan Ljubicic 6–1, 6–3 and Andy Murray 6–4, 2–6, 6–1 in the semi-final to reach his seventh consecutive final in Monte Carlo. In the final, Nadal avenged his defeat by David Ferrer in the quarter-finals of the 2011 Australian Open and won the match 6–4, 7–5. He is the first man to have won the same tournament seven times in a row at the ATP level in the open era. Nadal chalked up his 37th straight win at the clay-court event, where he has not lost since the 2003 Monte Carlo Masters. It was his 44th career title and 19th at a Masters event. Nadal lost his three previous finals, twice to world No. 2 Novak Djokovic and once to No. 3 Roger Federer. It was his first title since winning the Japan Open. Guillermo Coria was the last player to beat Nadal at Monte Carlo, in the third round in 2003. Nadal missed the 2004 tournament because of an injury. Nadal shares third place with Björn Borg and Manuel Orantes in the list of players with the most titles on clay.
Just a week later won his sixth Barcelona Open crown, winning the 2011 Barcelona Open Banco Sabadell in straight sets. He won the final over Ferrer again (3rd Barcelona final and 5th clay court final), 6–2, 6–4. In doing so Nadal became the first man in the open era to have won two specific tournaments at least six times each. Nadal is now the leader in terms of matches won this year, with 29. He did not gain any points for this victory, however, as only four ATP 500 tournaments can be counted towards a players ranking at one time, but they will go into effect 08.08.2011 when the result of the 2010 Legg Mason Tennis Classic ATP 500 tournament of Washington expires.
At the Madrid in May, he defeated Marcos Baghdatis, had a walkover against Juan Martin del Potro, and defeated Michaël Llodra and Roger Federer, before losing the final to Novak Djokovic, 7–5, 6–4. Nadal lost in straight sets to Novak Djokovic in the Rome Masters final, 6–4, 6–4. This marked the first time that Nadal has lost twice on clay, to the same player, in a single season. However, Nadal retained his number one ranking during the clay court season and won his sixth French Open title by defeating Roger Federer 7–5, 7–6, 5–7, 6–1.

Playing style
Nadal generally plays an aggressive, behind-the-baseline game founded on heavy topspin groundstrokes, consistency, speedy footwork and tenacious court coverage thus making him an aggressive counterpuncher. As one of the most intense players in men's tennis he is known for his athleticism and speed around the court. Nadal is an excellent defender who hits well on the run, constructing winning plays from seemingly defensive positions. He also plays very fine dropshots, which work especially well because his heavy topspin often forces opponents to the back of the court. Nadal is primarily a baseliner, although he has been noted by several commentators (including John McEnroe) as an excellent volleyer, which has contributed to his reaching four Wimbledon finals on grass, winning two of them, and has been observed approaching the net more often since 2009.
In recent years, Nadal employs a full western grip forehand, often with a "lasso-whip" follow through, where his left arm hits through the ball and finishes above his left shoulder – as opposed to a more traditional finish across the body or around his opposite shoulder. Nadal's forehand groundstroke form allows him to hit shots with heavy topspin – more so than many of his contemporaries. San Francisco tennis researcher John Yandell used a high-speed video camera and special software to count the average number of revolutions of a tennis ball hit full force by Nadal. "The first guys we did were Sampras and Agassi. They were hitting forehands that in general were spinning about 1,800 to 1,900 revolutions per minute. Federer is hitting with an amazing amount of spin, too, right? 2,700 revolutions per minute. Well, we measured one forehand Nadal hit at 4,900. His average was 3,200." While Nadal's shots tend to land short of the baseline, the characteristically high bounces his forehands achieve tend to mitigate the advantage an opponent would normally gain from capitalizing on a short ball. Although his forehand is based on heavy topspin, he can hit the ball deep and flat with a more orthodox follow through for clean winners.

Public image
Nadal has appeared in advertising campaigns for Kia Motors as a global ambassador for the company. In May 2008, Kia released a claymation viral ad featuring Nadal in a tennis match with an alien. Nadal also has an endorsement agreement with Universal DVDs.
Nike serves as Nadal's clothing and shoe sponsor. Nadal's signature on-court attire entailed a variety of sleeveless shirts paired with 3/4 length capri pants. For the 2009 season, Nadal adopted more-traditional on-court apparel. Nike encouraged Nadal to update his look in order to reflect his new status as the sport's top player at that time and associate Nadal with a style that, while less distinctive than his "pirate" look, would be more widely emulated by consumers. At warmup tournaments in Abu Dhabi and Doha, Nadal played matches in a polo shirt specifically designed for him by Nike, paired with shorts cut above the knee. Nadal's new, more conventional style carried over to the 2009 Australian Open, where he was outfitted with Nike's Bold Crew Men's Tee and Nadal Long Check Shorts. Nadal wears Nike's Air CourtBallistec 2.3 tennis shoes, bearing various customizations throughout the season, including his nickname "Rafa" on the right shoe and a stylized bull logo on the left.
Becomes the face of Lanvin's L’Homme Sport cologne, launched April 2009.
Nadal uses an AeroPro Drive racquet with a 4 1/4-inch L2 grip. As of the 2010 season, Nadal's racquets are painted to resemble the new Babolat AeroPro Drive with Cortex GT racquet in order to market a current model which Babolat sells. Nadal uses no replacement grip, and instead wraps two overgrips around the handle. He used Duralast 15L strings until the 2010 season, when he switched to Babolat's new, black-colored, RPM Blast string. Nadal's rackets are always strung at 55 lb (25 kg), regardless of which surface or conditions he is playing on.
As of January 2010, Rafa is the international ambassador for Quely, a company from his native Majorca that manufactures biscuits, bakery and chocolate coated products; he has consumed their products ever since he was a young child.
In 2010, luxury watchmaker Richard Mille announced that he had developed an ultra-light wristwatch in collaboration with Nadal called the Richard Mille RM027 Tourbillon watch. The watch is made of titanium and lithium and is valued at US$525,000; Nadal was involved in the design and testing of the watch on the tennis court. During the 2010 French Open, Men's Fitness reported that Nadal wore the Richard Mille watch on the court as part of a sponsorship deal with the Swiss watchmaker.

Personal life
Nadal owns an Aston Martin DBS. Nadal lived with his parents and younger sister Maria Isabel, at an age when many tennis stars have long moved out, in a five-story apartment building in their hometown of Manacor, Mallorca. In June 2009, Spanish newspaper La Vanguardia and then The New York Times reported that Nadal's parents, Ana Maria and Sebastian, had separated. This news came after weeks of heated speculation in Internet posts and message boards over Nadal's personal issues as the cause of his setback. Nadal has revealed himself to be Agnostic.

The Rafa Nadal Foundation
The creation of the organization took place in November 2007 and its official presentation was in February 2008 at the Manacor Tennis Club in Mallorca, Spain. The foundation will focus on social work and development aid particularly on childhood and youth. On deciding why to start a foundation, "This can be the beginning of my future, when I retire and have more time, I am doing very well and I owe society,  A month-and-a-half ago I was in Chennai, in India. The truth is we live great here....I can contribute something with my image..." Nadal was inspired by the Red Cross benefit match against malaria with Real Madrid goalkeeper Iker Casillas, recalling, "We raised an amount of money that we would never have imagined. I have to thank Iker, my project partner, who went all out for it, That is why the time has come to set up my own foundation and determine the destination of the money." Ana Maria Parera, Rafa's mom, will chair the organization and father Sebastian will be vice-chairman. Coach and uncle Toni Nadal and his agent, former tennis player Carlos Costa, are also involved. Roger Federer has been giving Rafa advice on getting involved in philanthropy. Despite the fact that poverty in India struck him particularly hard, Nadal wants to start by helping "people close by, in the Balearic Islands, in Spain, and then, if possible, abroad.
On 16 October 2010, Rafa traveled to India for the first time to assist in the transformation of one of the poorest and most needy areas of India, Andhra Pradesh. He has an academy in the south of the country, in the state of Andhra Pradesh. His foundation has also worked in the Anantapur Educational Center project, in collaboration with the Vicente Ferrer Foundation.
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Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic, Новак Ђоковић, Novak Đoković, born 22 May 1987 is a Serbian professional tennis player who will be ranked No. 1 by the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) on 4 July 2011. He has won two Grand Slam singles titles, the 2008 and 2011 Australian Open championships, becoming the first player representing Serbia to win a Grand Slam singles title and the youngest player in the open era to have reached the semi-finals of all four Grand Slam events, separately and consecutively.
He is also one of only four players (David Nalbandian, Andy Murray, and Rafael Nadal being the other 3) to beat Roger Federer 3 times in one calendar year. He is also one of four players (Nalbandian, Murray and Nikolay Davydenko being the other 3) to beat Federer and Nadal in the same tournament twice, accomplishing that feat when he won the 2011 Indian Wells Masters 1000 event. He is also the youngest player in the Open Era to defeat the top three players in succession and he achieved this when he defeated world number 3 Andy Roddick, world number 2 Nadal, and World number 1 Federer in the 2007 Rogers Cup. He is one of only two players to have defeated Federer at the semifinal stage or later on more than one occasion in Grand Slam tournaments, and also at consecutive tournaments (the other being Nadal).
Djokovic was the runner-up at the 2007 and 2010 US Open tournaments (to Federer and Nadal, respectively), and a bronze medalist representing Serbia at the 2008 Olympic Games. In addition, Djokovic won the Tennis Masters Cup in 2008 and has won nine Masters Series tournaments. In 2010, he led Serbia to win the Davis Cup. Djokovic finished the ATP Tour as World No. 3 for four consecutive years between 2007 and 2010.
From the 2010 Davis Cup finals to the 2011 French Open, Djokovic had a 43-match win streak, third only to Guillermo Vilas (46 matches in 1977) and Ivan Lendl (44 matches in 1981/1982). This includes titles at the Australian Open, Dubai, Indian Wells Masters, Miami Masters, Serbia Open, Madrid Masters, and the Rome Masters. He won 41 straight matches from the start of 2011 until the French Open semi-finals (where he was beaten by Roger Federer),[4] second only to John McEnroe's record (he started 42–0 in 1984[5]).
Djokovic's emergence as a serious challenger to both Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal has led to the coining of a new sporting term: the trivalry. He is also considered the best male tennis player to come out of Serbia and the former Yugoslavia. Djokovic is also a double winner of the award The Best Sportperson of Serbia and award for The Best Sportsman by Olympic Committee of Serbia. He has been awarded with the Order of St. Sava, the highest decoration of the Serbian Orthodox Church. He is a great fan of Serbian football club Crvena Zvezda (Red Star) and Italian Serie A champions A.C. Milan.

Playing style, equipment and diet
Djokovic is an all-court player with emphasis on aggressive baseline play. His groundstrokes from both wings are consistent, deep, and penetrating. His backhand is widely regarded as one of the best in today's game. His best weapon is his backhand hit down the line, with great pace and precision. He is also known as one of the greatest movers on the court with superior agility, court coverage and defensive ability. After great technical difficulties during the 2009 season, his serve is one of his major weapons again, winning him many free points; his first serve is typically hit flat, while he prefers to slice and kick his second serves wide. Darren Cahill has stated that Djokovic, along with David Ferrer, is the best returner of serve in the men's game. Occasionally, Djokovic employs excessive ball-bouncing before serves – much to the chagrin of some of his opponents – as well as a well-disguised backhand underspin drop shot and sliced backhand. While his ball-bouncing habit has vastly decreased over the last year, his drop shots still tend to be a drawback when hit under pressure and without proper preparation.
Djokovic used Head rackets, utilizing a custom paint job of the Head YouTek Speed Pro racquet, after using Wilson until the end of 2008. In the 2011 Australian Open, he began using a custom PJ of the Head YouTek IG Speed MP 18/20 with Innegra™ fibre technology. Djokovic strings in a custom hybrid consisting of Head Natural Gut in the mains, and Luxilon Big Banger Alu Power Rough in the crosses.At the end of 2009, Djokovic signed a 10-year deal with the Italian clothing company Sergio Tacchini after Adidas refused to extend his clothing contract (choosing instead to sign Andy Murray). Djokovic has recently begun to wear custom Red and Blue Adidas Barricade 6.0's shoes, referring to the colours of the Serbian national flag.
Since 2006 Djokovic has been coached by Slovakian former professional tennis player Marian Vajda. On occasion Djokovic employed additional coaches on part-time basis: in 2007, during the spring hardcourt season, he worked with Australian doubles ace Mark Woodforde with specific emphasis on volleys and net play while from August 2009 until April 2010 American Todd Martin joined the coaching team, a period marked by his ill-fated attempt to change Djokovic's serve motion.
In 2010, Djokovic's nutritionist discovered the tennis player has an allergy to gluten and Djokovic purged it from his diet. He started the 2011 season strong, with the dietary change being given credit amongst observers.

Novak Djokovic was born May 22, 1987, in Belgrade, Yugoslavia, to father Srđan and mother, Dijana. His two younger brothers, Marko and Djordje, are also tennis players with professional aspirations.Since the end of 2005 Novak has been dating Jelena Ristić.
He started playing tennis at the age of four, and was spotted by Yugoslav tennis legend Jelena Genčić at the age of eight, who stated: "This is the greatest talent I have seen since Monica Seles. At 12 years old, he spent three months at Nikola Pilić's tennis academy in Munich, Germany, and at age 14, his international career began, winning European championships in singles, doubles, and team competition. He currently resides in Monte Carlo, Monaco and has been coached by a former Slovak tennis player, Marián Vajda; in August 2009 he also began working with former US top-five player Todd Martin.
Djokovic is also known for his often humorous off-court impersonations of his fellow players, many of whom are his friends. This became evident to the tennis world after his 2007 US Open quarterfinal win over Carlos Moyà, where he entertained the audience with impersonations of Rafael Nadal and Maria Sharapova. He also did an impression of American tennis great John McEnroe after his final preliminary game at the 2009 US Open, before playing a brief game with McEnroe, much to the delight of the audience. It is because of this jovial personality that he earned the nickname "Djoker", a portmanteau of his surname and the word joker.
Novak Djokovic is a member of the "Champions for Peace" club, a group of famous elite athletes committed to serving peace in the world through sport, created by Peace and Sport, a Monaco-based international organization.
Similar to fellow pro Roger Federer, Djokovic is a self described fan of languages, speaking 4 himself: his native Serbian, English, German, and Italian.

Order of St. Sava
On 28 April 2011 in Belgrade, Patriarch Irinej of Serbia awarded Djokovic the Order of St. Sava I class, the highest decoration of the Serbian Orthodox Church. The order was given to him because he demonstrated love for the church, and because he provided assistance to the Serbian people, churches and monasteries of the Serbian Orthodox Church of Kosovo and Metohija.

In popular culture
In 2009 and 2010 Djokovic won Oscar Of Popularity for the most popular male athlete in Serbia.
He was a special guest in the first semi-final of Eurovision Song Contest 2008 in Belgrade. He threw a big tennis ball into the crowd, announcing the start of voting. Together with presenter of the show Željko Joksimović, Djokovic sang a song about Belgrade.
Djokovic is also featured in the music video for the song "Hello" by Martin Solveig and Dragonette. The video, filmed at Stade Roland Garros, shows Solveig facing off against Bob Sinclar, another DJ, in a tennis match. When the referee calls a crucial ball "Out", Djokovic enters the arena and convinces the referee otherwise.
In 2010, Serbian blues-rock band Zona B recorded the song "The Joker", dedicating it to Djokovic.
On 25 June 2011 its seventieth Congress in Chicago, all the members unanimously awarded Djokovic the Order of Serbian National Defense in America I class, the highest decoration of the SND. The order was given to him because of his merits in the international sport scene and his contribution to the reputation of the Serbs and the Serbian country in the World.

Djokovic, Nadal to meet in final

WIMBLEDON, England — There is no end in sight to Britain's wait at Wimbledon, not with Rafael Nadal of Spain smothering Andy Murray on his home turf once more.

But Novak Djokovic's wait to get to No. 1 in the world is certain to end when next week's computer rankings are released.

Djokovic's deeply convincing, deeply entertaining victory over Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in Friday's first semifinal means that for the first time in more than seven years, someone other than Nadal or Roger Federer of Switzerland will hold the top spot.

"They don't give you a lot of chances to become number one," said Djokovic, a 24-year-old from Serbia who is 47-1 this season. "So I guess you need to lose only one match in seven months to get there. If you can do that, then well done."

Well done then to Djokovic for absorbing all of Tsonga's power, showmanship and momentum on Centre Court and answering with plenty of his own to win 7-6 (7-4), 6-2, 6-7 (9-11), 6-3.

"I can beat everybody today, but not Djokovic," No. 12 seed Tsonga said. "He was everywhere."

Djokovic and Nadal will meet in Sunday's final.

Djokovic has defeated Nadal four straight times, but top-ranked Nadal has won 20 consecutive matches at Wimbledon.

Though they have not met each other on grass since 2008, Djokovic is 0-2 on the surface against Nadal, who has won two Wimbledon titles.

Both of them are incredibly consistent with their success and so dominant the last couple years. They don`t give you a lot of chances to become No. 1," said the 24-year-old Djokovic, beaten in last year`s U.S. Open final by Nadal. "So I guess you need to lose only one match in seven months to get there. If you can do that, then well done."

Yes, Djokovic deserves to hear a "Well done!" or two for his surge, which he says stems in part from the confidence and pride he gained while leading Serbia to its first Davis Cup title in December. His two wins against France during the final series at Belgrade started a 43-match streak that ended with a semifinal loss to Federer at the French Open a month ago.

Otherwise, Djokovic has been perfect. He won the first seven tournaments he entered this year -- including the Australian Open in January -- and beat Nadal in four finals.

"His total game is really complete," said Nadal, who is 16-11 against Djokovic, including 5-0 at Grand Slam tournaments. "Good serve, very good movements. ... His eyes are very fast, and he can go inside the court very easy playing very difficult shots.

Maria Shriver files for divorce

Former California first lady Maria Shriver, citing "irreconcilable differences," filed for divorce Friday from former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. The Kennedy family heir and former television journalist is asking for joint custody of their minor children.

The divorce filing in Los Angeles County Superior Court came six weeks after revelations of Schwarzenegger's affair with the family's longtime housekeeper, Mildred "Patty" Baena, in which he fathered a son. The boy and his mother live in Bakersfield.

Shriver and Schwarzenegger separated this year after Shriver learned of the affair.

In the divorce petition, Shriver's attorney, Laura Wasser, asked that she and Schwarzenegger share joint physical and legal custody of their two minor sons, Patrick, 17, and Christopher, 13. The couple have been married for 25 years.

The petition states that "property accumulated during the marriage will be divided at a later date," the website TMZ reported.

Schwarzenegger has built a multimillion-dollar fortune from the "Terminator" movie franchise and owns Oak Productions of Santa Monica.

Along with a request for joint custody of their sons, Shriver's filing stipulated that some property would be considered separate, including miscellaneous jewelry and earnings made after the pair separated.

After questions from The Times, Schwarzenegger acknowledged his out-of-wedlock child, releasing a statement that said he told Shriver about the child after leaving office.

The two had had previous challenges in their marriage. During Schwarzenegger's run for governor in 2003, more than a dozen women accused him of sexual misconduct, including allegations of groping, which he initially denied. When he later apologized and conceded that "where there's smoke, there's fire," Shriver remained by his side.

After winning his initial campaign, Schwarzenegger had to spend much of each week in Sacramento. After his reelection, he began regularly flying home to Brentwood in the evenings to be with Shriver and their children.

When the two announced their separation in May, they acknowledged they were living apart "while we work on the future of our relationship." But in recent weeks, their marriage and Schwarzenegger's out-of-wedlock child have become fodder for tabloids and traditional news outlets alike.

Each public appearance and statement has been parsed. Even their son Patrick's Twitter feed drew headlines when he updated his followers about his parents' separation: "Appreciate all your messages. Small speed bump I'n life, luckily we own hummers, we will cruise right over it. All will be okay.

Maria Shriver

Maria Owings Shriver, born November 6, 1955 is an American journalist and author of six best-selling books. She has received a Peabody Award, and was co-anchor for NBC's Emmy-winning coverage of the 1988 Summer Olympics. As executive producer of The Alzheimer's Project, Shriver earned two Emmy Awards and an Academy of Television Arts & Sciences award for developing a "television show with a conscience. She was formerly First Lady of California as the wife of former actor and then-California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, and is a member of the Kennedy family.

First Lady of California
After Governor Schwarzenegger took office, Shriver took on several key initiatives as first lady, which include raising awareness of the contributions of women to the state, working on practical solutions to end cycles of poverty, and encouraging all Californians to engage in acts of service to their communities. Once Schwarzenegger was elected, Shriver had to cut back on her news reporting in order to avoid conflicts of interest.
Shriver has been leading the California Governor & First Lady's Conference on Women since Governor Schwarzenegger took office in 2003. Under her leadership, The Women's Conference event has grown into the nation's premier forum for women and in 2010 attracted more than 30,000 attendees and 150 world opinion leaders over three full days. Each year, the event has been held at the Long Beach Convention Center in October. The event aims to inspire, empower and educate women to be Architects of Change. Hundreds of luminaries have spoken at the conference including Oprah Winfrey, Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, Secretaries of State Condoleezza Rice and Madeleine Albright, Barbara Walters, Warren Buffett, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, former Prime Minister Tony Blair, Richard Branson, Bono, Billie Jean King, Gloria Steinem, and His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

Personal life
In 1977, Tom Brokaw introduced Maria to Austrian bodybuilder and actor Arnold Schwarzenegger at a charity tennis tournament being held at her mother's home. She married Schwarzenegger on April 26, 1986, in Hyannis, Massachusetts, at St. Francis Xavier Roman Catholic Church They have four children including author Katherine Schwarzenegger.
The Saint John's Health Center has a nursery named after Shriver.

A type of rose was named after Shriver in October 2004. The Maria Shriver rose contains starchy-white blooms and a powerful citrus fragrance.
As executive producer of The Alzheimer's Project, Shriver earned two Emmy Awards and an Academy of Television Arts & Sciences award for developing a "television show with a conscience.
In 2009, Shriver was honored with the Shinnyo-en Foundation’s 2009 Pathfinders to Peace Award, which is bestowed annually to a person who exemplifies the ideals of compassion, harmony and peace. At the presentation ceremony honoring Shriver, the foundation’s chief executive said, “Maria Shriver sees the best in other people – their innate goodness – and inspires them to become their own 'Architects of Change'. In a world that glorifies ambition at any cost, Maria instead teaches character. She is a woman of quiet strength who role-models kindness and charity, and has used her celebrity to help create peace in the world.
She has won Peabody and Emmy awards for her television journalism.

New York City Criminal Court

New York City Criminal Court is the general term describing the entry-level court for criminal cases in the five boroughs of New York City.
The Criminal Court hears misdemeanors, and some traffic infractions. Criminal Court also arraigns persons accused of felonies. Felony charges are ultimately heard in New York State Supreme Court.
Most people who are arrested and prosecuted in New York City will appear before a Criminal Court judge for arraignment. They may share a holding cell behind the courtroom. In New York City, the time from arrest to arraignment in Criminal Court is about 24 hours.
Given the volume of arrests in New York City, Criminal Court arraignments are held day and night, seven days a week, 365 days a year, from 9:00 AM to 1:00 AM.
At the arraignment, the primary issue is whether or not the Court will decide that bail is required. If the Court does not set bail, the accused is released on his own recognizance. If the judge decides that the accused cannot be trusted to return to court without some encouragement, the judge may set bail.
The decisions to set bail and the amount of bail to set are discretionary, and depend on three factors: 1) prior criminal history, 2) the seriousness of the felony, and 3) community ties of the accused.
Every person who is arrested is entitled to be read the accusations against him or her formally. However, this is a rare event - tradition in New York City is that a copy of the charges be provided at arraignment to the defense lawyer, who is expected to waive the formal public reading. Generally, the defense enters a plea of not guilty.
Next, the prosecutor provides defense counsel with certain "notices" that are required by law. Although these notices vary depending on the type of case and actual facts presented, they generally relate to notifying the defense about certain types of evidence in the Government's possession. For example, one type of notice frequently presented at arraignment notifies the defense that the Government has a statement from the defendant. At the arraignment, the notices are rattled off in quick succession and identified by Criminal Procedure Law references. Once all the notices are handed to the defense, the judge usually asks to hear the Government's position on bail. Usually, the prosecutor will request bail and briefly outline the basis for the request. The defense lawyer is then afforded an opportunity to speak, and will usually seek the defendant's release from custody. Finally, after hearing from both sides, the judge decides on bail.
After arraignment, the misdemeanors, violations and other various low-level infractions are tracked to "All Purpose Parts", or courtrooms where the cases will be negotiated, resolved, or readied for trial. Once certain procedural requirements are met, the defense will frequently request the opportunity to file pretrial motions, through which they will request certain pretrial hearings, if required. Typically, there are three classic types of pretrial hearings, all of which relate to testing the admissibility of different kinds of evidence which the Government intends to use at trial. Specifically, the three classic pretrial hearings challenge the admissibility of: 1) identification evidence (like a lineup); 2) confessions; and 3) physical evidence, obtained either from the accused, or from a place where the accused has an expectation of privacy. Once pretrial hearings are completed, the case is considered ready for trial and will usually be transferred to a courtroom that specializes in handling trials.
New York City Criminal Court is also responsible for handling felony accusations beyond the arraignment. In New York, the Government is required to seek and obtain an indictment in order to prosecute a felony case to its conclusion at a trial. Issued by a Grand Jury, an indictment is permission for the Government to prosecute an individual for a felony (or sometimes a misdemeanor).
While the burden on the Government required to obtain the Grand Jury indictment is extremely low, the Grand Jury process is time-consuming. It has fallen to New York City Criminal Court, then, to be responsible for unindicted felony cases. Such cases are adjourned from arraignments to various Criminal Court courtrooms to monitor their progress toward indictment.
Once an indictment is issued, the case is transferred to New York State Supreme Court, where it will be tried.
Judges of the Criminal Court are appointed by the Mayor of New York to a 10-year term. Several Criminal Court Judges are designated as Acting Justices of the New York State Supreme Court. In addition, Judges of the New York City Civil Court are designated to sit in the Criminal Court.
Traffic violations in New York City are handled in the Traffic Violations Bureau, which operates under the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles. The Bureau is an administrative law agency and not an Article III-type court.

Ex-IMF Chief Freed Without Bail

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, whose indictment on sexual-assault charges reshaped French politics and touched off a global scramble to replace him as head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), was released from house arrest Friday after prosecutors acknowledged serious problems in their case.

In a hearing, New York Assistant District Attorney Joan Illuzzi-Orbon said her office no longer trusted the testimony of Strauss-Kahn's accuser, a housekeeper at the Sofitel New York hotel who said Strauss-Kahn violently attacked her May 14.

As the investigation proceeded in recent weeks, Illuzzi-Orbon said, there had been "salient, confirmed impeachment" of the woman's story, from a concocted tale of political repression and gang rape in Guinea that was used to gain political asylum in the United States in 2004 to her shifting account of what happened May 14 in the $3,000-a-night suite.

Prosecutors said they still believe a "sexual encounter" occurred between the two, something "corroborated by forensic evidence" collected after Strauss-Kahn, 62, was arrested, Illuzzi-Orbon said in remarks submitted to the court.

District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. portrayed the turnabout as a case of prosecutors doing the right thing.

"Our commitment to the truth and the facts will govern how we proceed" in the Strauss-Kahn case, he told reporters.

Neither he nor Strauss-Kahn's lawyers took questions.

Authorities have not said specifically what they now think of the truthfulness of the woman's allegations against Strauss-Kahn. Investigators found traces of his semen on her uniform, and that is powerful evidence there was a sexual encounter of some kind, though the defense has said anything that happened was not forced.

Prosecutors at the time wanted him kept him in jail, arguing that because of the seriousness of the charges, he might flee the country. In releasing Strauss-Kahn on Friday, State Supreme Court Justice Michael Obus said: "In light of recent developments, the risk that you would not be here appears to have receded quite a bit."

If the case collapses, it could once again shake up the race for the French presidency. Before the scandal, Strauss-Kahn, a prominent Socialist, had been seen as a leading potential challenger to conservative President Nicolas Sarkozy. French politician Michele Sabban said the Socialists should suspend the presidential primary calendar because of the new developments.

The new doubts about Strauss-Kahn's accuser could also feed suspicions in France that he was the victim of a politically motivated setup.

Indeed, Maxime Laumailler, an economics student from Rennes, France, who was standing outside the New York courthouse, called the case "a plot" against Strauss-Kahn.

"We are so surprised that the Americans are pre-judging him like this," said Laumailler's girlfriend, Charlotte LeBihan.

After Friday's hearing, Strauss-Kahn returned to the brick townhouse. A deliveryman arrived a few hours later with an arrangement of red, white and blue balloons, along with one shaped like the Statue of Liberty.

The card read, "Enjoy your freedom on Independence Day," said deliveryman Sean Hershkowitz. He said he didn't know who sent the greeting.

Deficit battle shaping up as GOP victory

President Obama made the case Wednesday for moving swiftly to approve a deficit-reduction deal that includes tax increases, lawmakers in both parties plotted strategies that could make it difficult to find common ground.

Senate Republicans began a push to amend the Constitution to require a balanced budget, insisting that the government cannot get out from under crushing debt without one.

In a series of speeches on the Senate floor and a morning news conference, Republicans injected the demand into talks with the White House.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) characterized the amendment as a “good first step” toward achieving long-term budget stability. “We think it’s pretty clear, regardless of what we’re able to negotiate here in the short term, that we should put the federal government in this kind of fiscal straightjacket so that we do not get in this position again,” he said.

Polls show that a balanced-budget amendment is broadly popular. It is also an article of faith for much of the conservative base, and the Republicans’ emphasis on its passage may be designed to show activists that they take the issue seriously.

White House is seeking about $300 billion in new revenue over the decade, less than half the amount it sought when Obama first outlined his goals last spring, based on the proposals in negotiations.

Obama once targeted the wealthiest Americans, the top 2% who earn beyond $200,000 a year, proposing to cap their income tax deductions.

But weeks of closed-door talks have diminished that goal. Now, even a deduction cap on those Americans earning beyond $500,000 a year — just 1.3 million Americans, fewer than 1% of all taxpayers — has been dashed. The latest offer on the table would be a more limited cap, to generate an additional $130 billion.

With just a few weeks remaining to reach an agreement, Democrats now are fighting mainly for the most populist tax reforms: ending tax subsidies for oil and gas companies, eliminating a tax break for hedge fund managers, closing an ethanol loophole and changing the way businesses write off inventory, according to those familiar with the talks.

In an appeal to the sensibilities of ordinary Americans, Democrats have gone after notable tax loopholes: tax breaks for owners of corporate jets or thoroughbred race horses. Such reforms produce only modest revenue — $3 billion in the case of corporate jets — but Democrats believe they carry political value.

House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) is aware that he will probably need Democratic votes to pass a deal, much as he did earlier this year to avert a government shutdown. That would require adding sweeteners.

The White House view is that all sides have a lot at stake over the next few days. Polls show that slightly more Americans would be inclined to blame Republicans than Democrats for the impasse. But many would blame both sides.

"At this point, you shouldn't even call it a debt ceiling debate," said Stan Collender, an author and expert on the federal budget who now blogs about the topic. "It's an impasse. And if it stays that way, it hurts everybody to some degree."
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Romney’s campaign raises up to $20m

Wall Street Journal reports Romney has raised between 15 and 20 million dollars for his campaign and an additional 10 to 15 million dollars in his so-called super-pac, a political action committee that doesn't face the same restrictions on corporate or union contributions.

"Romney will absolutely be the top fundraiser for the Republicans," said Romney campaign supporter Kirk Jowers. "You will continue to see donors flood to the frontrunner and as long as Mitt has that status he'll be in good shape."

Former Utah governor Jon Huntsman seems to have a good head of steam. Though his campaign is not required to report numbers in the second quarter of 2011 because they announced ten days ago, they are indicating they've raised about four million dollars in that time.

During the last campaign, Romney started raising money in January 2007 and he took in $20.8 million from contributors and loaned himself $2.3 million in the first three months. By July 2007, he had raised $35 million and loaned himself $8.8 million.

Romney is not planning to inject any of his own money into the campaign at this stage, according to communications director Gail Gitcho.

Romney has been coy about whether he would tap his personal wealth during the campaign.

“That’s counsel I’m going to keep with Ann and myself, and that’s all,’’ he told reporters in May, referring to his wife. “So I can’t give you any more update than that.’’

The decision could be significant. During the 2008 presidential campaign, he used at least $42 million of his own funds.

A separate group - formed by Romney supporters but prohibited from coordinating with the campaign - is planning to report at least $10 million during this quarter, according to the Journal.

Romney campaign officials in recent days had declined requests from the Globe to detail his fund-raising figures, but released the range on-the-record to the Journal.


Minnesota, is a U.S. state located in the Midwestern United States. The twelfth largest state of the U.S., it is the twenty-first most populous, with 5.3 million residents. Minnesota was carved out of the eastern half of the Minnesota Territory and admitted to the Union as the thirty-second state on May 11, 1858. Known as the Land of 10,000 Lakes, the state's name comes from a Dakota word for "sky-tinted water". Those waters, together with forests, parks, and wilderness areas, offer residents and tourists a variety of outdoor recreational opportunities.
Nearly 60% of Minnesota's residents live in the Minneapolis-Saint Paul metropolitan area known as the "Twin Cities", the center of transportation, business, industry and education, and home to an internationally known arts community. The remainder of the state consists of western prairies now given over to intensive agriculture; deciduous forests in the southeast, now cleared, farmed and settled; and the less populated North Woods, used for mining, forestry, and recreation.
Minnesota is known for its relatively liberal social and political orientation, and has a high rate of civic participation and voter turnout. Minnesota ranks among the healthiest states, and has a highly literate population. The large majority of residents are of Scandinavian and German descent. The state is known as a center of Scandinavian American culture. Ethnic diversity has increased in recent decades. Substantial influxes of African, Asian, and Latin American immigrants have joined the descendants of European immigrants and the original Native American inhabitants.

Once primarily a producer of raw materials, Minnesota's economy has transformed in the last 200 years to emphasize finished products and services. Perhaps the most significant characteristic of the economy is its diversity; the relative outputs of its business sectors closely match the United States as a whole. The economy of Minnesota had a gross domestic product of $262 billion in 2008. Thirty-three of the United States' top 1,000 publicly traded companies (by revenue in 2008) are headquartered in Minnesota,including Target, UnitedHealth Group, 3M, Medtronic, General Mills, U.S. Bancorp, Ameriprise, Hormel, Land O' Lakes, SuperValu, Best Buy and Valspar. Private companies based in Minnesota include Cargill, the largest privately owned company in the United States, and Carlson Companies, the parent company of Radisson Hotels.
The per capita personal income in 2008 was $42,772, the tenth-highest in the nation. The three-year median household income from 2002 to 2004 was $55,914, ranking fifth in the U.S. and first among the 36 states not on the Atlantic coast. White families earned more income than the national average but among the population under age 18, more than 20% of Asians and Hispanics, more than 40% of African Americans and more than 40% of Native American females in Minnesota lived in poverty.
As of January 2010, the state's unemployment rate is 7.3%.

Industry and commerce
The IDS Tower, designed by Philip Johnson is the state's tallest building, reflecting César Pelli's Art Deco-style Wells Fargo Center
Minnesota's earliest industries were fur trading and agriculture; the city of Minneapolis grew around the flour mills powered by St. Anthony Falls. Although less than 1% of the population is employed in the agricultural sector, it remains a major part of the state's economy, ranking 6th in the nation in the value of products sold. The state is the U.S.'s largest producer of sugar beets, sweet corn, and green peas for processing, and farm-raised turkeys. Forestry remains strong, including logging, pulpwood processing and paper production, and forest products manufacturing. Minnesota was famous for its soft-ore mines, which produced a significant portion of the world's iron ore for over a century. Although the high-grade ore is now depleted, taconite mining continues, using processes developed locally to save the industry. In 2004, the state produced 75% of the country's usable iron ore. The mining boom created the port of Duluth which continues to be important for shipping ore, coal, and agricultural products. The manufacturing sector now includes technology and biomedical firms in addition to the older food processors and heavy industry. The nation's first indoor shopping mall was Edina's Southdale Center and its largest is Bloomington's Mall of America.
Minnesota is one of 42 U.S. states with its own lottery; its games include Powerball, Hot Lotto (both multi-state), and Gopher 5.

Energy use and production
The state produces ethanol fuel and is the first to mandate its use, a 10% mix (E10), and a 20% mix (E20) in 2013. There are more than 310 service stations supplying E85 fuel. A 2% biodiesel blend has been required in diesel fuel since 2005. As of December 2006 the state was the country's fourth-largest producer of wind power, with 895 megawatts installed and another 200 megawatts planned, much of it on the windy Buffalo Ridge in the southwest part of the state.

State taxes
Minnesota has a slightly progressive income tax structure; the three brackets of state income tax rates are 5.35%, 7.05% and 7.85%. As of 2008, Minnesota was ranked as 12th in the nation for per capita total state and local taxes. In 2008, Minnesotans paid 10.2% of their income in state and local taxes, compared to the US average of 9.7% of income. This ranks Minnesota 12th among the states for total state and local tax burden. The state sales tax in Minnesota is 6.875%, but there is no sales tax on clothing, prescription drug medications, some services, or food items for home consumption. The state legislature may allow municipalities to institute local sales taxes and special local taxes, such as the 0.5% supplemental sales tax in Minneapolis. Excise taxes are levied on alcohol, tobacco, and motor fuel. The state imposes a use tax on items purchased elsewhere but used within Minnesota. Owners of real property in Minnesota pay property tax to their county, municipality, school district, and special taxing districts.