Archive for February, 2009

 

After the Open has Gone…

Wednesday, February 11th, 2009

The Australian Open is always an exhausting start to a year of tennis; coming out of it you get strange withdrawal symptoms and suddenly you feel a little bare. For years I was a fan of tennis who only ever watched the big Open events (being British, Wimbledon was one of the highlights of my entire year), and I used to wonder what on earth the tennis stars did with themselves in between times.

A little older and wiser, I found the very simple and obvious answer: they play tennis. Sure, they give themselves a rest; for most of the players just recovering from the jetlag of being in Australia is cause enough to sit back for a little while. Andy Murray, for example, arrived back in Britain after his stint in Australia with a virus. He trained at half his usual intensity to let his body recover, and went on to sweep aside Ivan Ljubicic in the first round of the ABN AMBRO World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam. Many have injuries to recover from and abused bodies to coax back into good health. There’s also a lot of press to contend with, particularly for the top players. Rafael Nadal seems to have been cropping up in the sports section of every newspaper and television/radio broadcast, so one can only guess how tough his schedule has been. more »

 

Coming Down…

Sunday, February 8th, 2009

There’s always a bit of a come down after an event like the Australian Open – and I’m not just talking about the players here. It can be a draining experience for a tennis fan as well. You go all year watching limited tennis due to timezone differences then all of a sudden…BAM, 4 weeks straight, nothing but tennis 12 hours a day.

There’s bound to be a bit of a come down after that kind of committment. Sort of a smaller version of the come down a sports fan gets after the Olympics. There’s still a small vacuum in my life left as a result of the Sydney Olympics. I’m not sure that I’ll ever recover from that one. Well, not until the Olympics come back to Australia…in forty or fifty years.

So what do you do when you need a bit of a tennis fix – you jump on the internet and do a bit of browsing. And I tell you what, I may have come across the next big thing to rival tennis as the greatest racquet sport on earth. Once they get themselves a pin-up to launch a mass promotion campaign around, world domination will surely follow.

I’m talking about the burgeoning sport of…pickleball. Named after a favourite pet (aren’t all the great ones) this sport is described as a combination of tennis, badminton and table tennis. Can you picture it yet? No, me either. But apparently it’s popularity is growing fast and it will be a feature event of the upcoming San Antonio Senior Games. Well every sport has to start somewhere I suppose.

Stay tuned, it could be coming to an X-games more »

 

Looking Forward

Tuesday, February 3rd, 2009

So the Australian Open has been and gone, but like every other Grand Slam tournament, what we saw will echo throughout the tennis year. There’s plenty of things to take away from the tournament, by players, fans and Grand Slam organisers.

One of my only concerns when looking back over the tournament has been the organisation. The organisation has been a worry to players and audiences alike in two different ways: one is the way in which the tournament itself is placed in the tennis calendar. Before the Grand Slam started, Roger Federer (President of the ATP Player Council) called for the tournament to be pushed back a bit to allow players to play in more exhibition tournaments etc before coming to Australia. Players have to make the tough decision as to how many matches they can play before they come the Australian Open; finding a balance between resting themselves and getting back into the swing of things before the first Grand Slam of the year.

The second issue I believe that the tournament needs to address, is the way in which the matches are spread. There were many occasions in which a player had to battle through a tough match whilst t more »

 

Looking Back

Tuesday, February 3rd, 2009

So the Australian Open has been and gone, but like every other Grand Slam tournament, what we saw will echo throughout the tennis year. There’s plenty of things to take away from the tournament, by players, fans and Grand Slam organisers.

One of my only concerns when looking back over the tournament has been the organisation. The organisation has been a worry to players and audiences alike in two different ways: one is the way in which the tournament itself is placed in the tennis calendar. Before the Grand Slam started, Roger Federer (President of the ATP Player Council) called for the tournament to be pushed back a bit to allow players to play in more exhibition tournaments etc before coming to Australia. Players have to make the tough decision as to how many matches they can play before they come the Australian Open; finding a balance between resting themselves and getting back into the swing of things before the first Grand Slam of the year.

The second issue I believe that the tournament needs to address, is the way in which the matches are spread. There were many occasions in which a player had to battle through a tough match whilst t more »

 

Psychological Scars

Monday, February 2nd, 2009

There are so many interesting things to come out of last nights match that I don’t really know where to start. Rather than talk about the match – there are plenty of plenty of places to read about that – I thought I’d talk a little about the mental aspects, both going in to the match, and as they now stand at the end.

All fortnight the focus had been on Federer’s march to fourteen titles. History beckoned and with Federer having such a knowledge of the history of the game, and where he’d like to be remembered as part of that history, he was placing a huge amount of pressure on himself right from the outset.

Then Nadal went and played that 5 hour, 5 set semi, and wisely used his fatigue to play down his chances in the final. Every interview after that match he talked about how it would be tough for him to come back and perform, but he would go out and give it his best shot.

This had the effect of placing Federer in a position where he has absolutely everything to lose. Everyone agrees Nadal should not be able to beat Federer…he’ll be too exhausted, his legs won’t go the distance. You could see in that opening set how tight Federer was, how cautious his shots. He was scared to lose and was timid, rather than focusing soley on what he had to do to win. He was hoping in this first set to get confirmation that Nadal was going to be a step slower than normal. He wasn’t, and Federer should have known better.

Before Federer knew it he had lost the first set, Nadal’s more »

 
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