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10 February 2013

Blog: Sick Bartoli boosts team from sidelines


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Marion Bartoli (FRA) supports from the bench

By Stuart Fraser in Limoges

It was not quite the comeback to the French Fed Cup team fold that Marion Bartoli would have hoped for.

After an absence of more than eight years from the competition due to a dispute with the French Tennis Federation over the involvement of her father and coach Walter, the tie against Germany in Limoges was set to see the return of the world No. 10 – but a heavy bout of the flu put paid to that.

“There is not much I can do about it,” Bartoli said. “I got the flu at the beginning of the week and it got pretty bad with the fever. I spent three days in my bed so it was really impossible for me to be on the court.”

To Bartoli’s credit, despite not feeling 100 per cent when the tie got underway on Saturday, she still managed to join her teammates at the Palais des Sports Beaublanc to show her support and got a tad emotional when the French national anthem was played.

“I really wanted to be there to support them and I had some goosebumps for La Marseillaise,” Bartoli said. “It was one of those kind of moments you don’t expect to be so emotional but it really came out. It was a sweet moment.”

Despite not being involved on the court this weekend, Bartoli still provided the French media with one of the big stories of the weekend when she announced during a press conference that she will no longer travel on tour with her father.

After the defeat to Germany this weekend, Bartoli’s next chance to make her long-awaited return for France will be in April’s World Group II play-offs. “I hope I will have many more Fed Cup ties to play,” she said. “Next time I will be on the court.”

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Moscow’s deep freeze thawed by tennis

By Richard van Poorvliet in Moscow

The weather in Moscow can be quite unpredictable. Ok, it is always going to be cold in winter, but over the last few days the temperature has been hovering around freezing point, which makes a welcome change from a month ago, when Moscovites were trying to find every piece of clothing available with the temperature dropping to around minus 20 C.

Although the ‘thaw’ has its undoubted benefits, such as not feeling you are freezing to death while waiting for a bus, it can also make life particularly taxing for residents of the Russian capital. The city has resembled an ice rink over the last week at getting from A to B has become quite a challenge. It is not uncommon to see someone slipping over on the icy pavements, something I know about only too well.

However, the treacherous conditions haven’t stopped the fans from descending on the Olympisky complex to cheer on their team. In fact, this vast arena, which was built to host the 1980 Olympic Games is seeing some of the best crowds in years for either a Davis or Fed Cup by BNP Paribas tie.

The Russian Tennis Federation has offered a number of discounted tickets for the tie, with admission charges being as low as two and a half euros. The policy has certainly worked with a noticeably high number of children being amongst the thousands attending the matches. And the fans have not been disappointed as they’ve been thoroughly entertained in what proved to be an engaging contest.

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Pretty in pink

By Daniella Matar in Rimini

Rimini may be enjoying the tennis at the moment, but the people that travel with the two Fed Cup teams will probably be ruing the timing of the tie between Italy and the USA in the seaside city.

Rimini in Winter is fun. Rimini in Summer is the place to be. Summer is when young people from across Italy - and indeed Europe - flock to Rimini to relax on its beaches and party the nights away.

The city might now have gone a bit more downmarket than its heyday approximately half a century ago, but Rimini is still known as the party place in the summer. So much so that it is the centre of a three-day festival to herald the arrival of the season.

This July will see the seventh year of the now annual 'La Notte Rosa' festival - Italy's answer to the Rio Carnival or Mardi Gras..but a little bit pinker.

La Notte Rosa literally translates as The Pink Night, and pink is what the city turns as its inhabitants and million visitors go all out. Not only does everyone wear pink clothes, along with wigs, feather boas and other accessories all in that colour, but the trees, fountains, gardens, buildings and streets bear that stamp too as well as various pets.

It's three days full of colourful scenes, concerts, fireworks and above all fun. It has exploded since its initial conception in 2006 as a reward to Italy's football 'widows' after the national team beat France to win the World Cup in 2006.

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Healthy living

By Sandra Harwitt

If one requires confirmation that Alicante is a great seaside locale in the Costa Blanca region of Spain than knowing that the World Health Organization has named the Costa Blanca as one of the healthiest climates in the world should help. The warm weather, clean air, and low rainfall per year makes it an ideal spot for those who suffer from arthritis and asthma.

When it comes to food the Costa Blanca is known for it’s rice in the tune of 115,000 tons of the grain. And it comes in handy for many well-known Spanish dishes like paella and arroz negro.

Of course, a popular drink in that area of Spain - also popular in Valencia, might not be all that healthy considering sugar is a key ingredient. Horchata de Chifa is a drink made of tigernuts, water and sugar and served in many cafes as well as produced in cartons for the supermarket. It’s a popular replacement for milk with the lactose intolerant, so that must make it healthy.

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