Archive for May, 2010

 

A densely packed few days

Monday, May 31st, 2010

When you see a man like Andy Murray dressed in a big black wig performing Michael Jackson’s ‘I Want You Back’ (a convincing and skilful performance with real guts and heart, I may add), you can’t help but respect him more as an individual. See, the guy can have a laugh, he can have a bit of fun and doesn’t mind embarrassing himself, good on him.

Unfortunately Berdych wasn’t going to be played as easily as the karaoke machine in the French Open karaoke booth. Andy Murray crashed out of the men’s game against an on-form and confident Tomas Berdych, beaten 6-4 7-5 6-3. The Scot was outplayed both mentally and physically from the first game, and despite some flashes of his usual self he seemed completely out of rhythm. Berdych dominated the game whether he was serving or returning; and his serve played havoc with Murray’s control on the points. Murray is widely believed to be the greatest returner currently in the game, but he struggled to get Berdych’s fast, heavy serves back and therefore crumbled from the first moment, giving him very few chances to break Berdych’s serve. Despite some complaints about the conditions (light, clay and wind), Murray had to admit that he was simply outplayed by Berdych, who after all was playing in the same – admittedly tough – conditions. His former coach Petchey claims that Murray will still be a strong contender for Wimbledon despite his rather poor run since coming runner-up at the Australian Open. If he pulls off a run like he did at Melbo more »

 

After the rain…

Friday, May 28th, 2010

So, the rain has complicated things rather at Roland Garros. Thankfully, many matches made it to court today and things seem to be largely back on track. Andy Murray managed to avoid the rain in this round, unlike in his previous match against Chela, and beat Baghdatis relatively convincingly in two hours 33 minutes. I say ‘relatively’ convincingly because there was an awful third set that I imagine Murray will want to scrub from his memory, when he succumbed to Marcus Baghdatis 0-6. But with that behind him, he went on to win 6-2 6-3 0-6 6-2, so not a bad pick-up from quite a horrendous blip.

Novak Djokovic had a relatively easy day, beating Kei Nishikori 6-1 6-4 6-4 in a comfortable match. He plays Victor Hanescu next. Roger Federer is preparing for round 4 with a definitely Federer-esque win against German Julian Reister 6-4 6-0 6-4. It was all business as usual apart from a rather unFederer-esque double fault on match point. I think that may be one of the signs of the apocalypse…

Federer Gonzalez and Gael Monfils were the biggest casualties of recent play. Gonzalez (seeded 12th) was sent packing by Oleskandr Dolgopolov Jr, beaten 6-3 6-4 6-3. Well at least the tournament will be more of a challenge to commentators having to get used to saying the name ‘Dolgopolov’ at high speed. Gael Monfils, always a home favourite in Paris,  was beaten by Fabio Fognini is a tense and dramatic match yesterday. The match was stopped short on Wednesday evening due to poor light, a  more »

 

To move or not to move?

Friday, May 28th, 2010

With the rain blighting play at Rolland Garros yesterday and poor light causing some drama for the Monfils/Fogini game, the questions will only be increasing over when and how the French Grand Slam organises are going to deal with the possibility of a new site. With Wimbledon’s new roof fitted and functional, and providing rain-cover and manually-controlled air to the players on Centre court, the French Open is under pressure to follow in its footsteps.

“Sacrilege!” the French, and many of the tournament’s international friends, may cry.  Public and environmentalist outcries have led to even the idea of its move being stalled and stalled. The players themselves are reluctant to see the historical site move, with Roger Federer, Justine and Henin and France’s Jo-Wilfried Tsonga among some of the names coming out in support of developing the tournament experience where it is.

But as the developers point out, there is just more space outside of the city limits. The Roland Garros stadium has sat on its current site in Paris for 85 years, and so the time for change they argue definitely on its way. With a hectare size less than half of Wimbledon’s 18.5 hectares, it is definitely the smallest of the two European Grand Slams.

Does size matter though? Some, including the heads of French tennis, argue ‘yes’. Wimbledon has space to add a roof, a museum, more and more attractions and facilities for players and spectators alike. In its current site and size, the only way to achie more »

 

First round results

Tuesday, May 25th, 2010

The beginning of Grand Slams tell you a lot. For one, it tells you that anything can happen to any player of any stature. Secondly, those who you thought may be ‘in with an inside chance’, often end up at the wayside. Third, the first round begins to shape everyone’s ideas as to who are the possible quarter-finalists, semi-finalists and finalists.

Nothing was different in the first round of the French Open this year. Although the future of the site of the French Open is under question, this year Rolland Garros was glorious under the baking French sun as it started on Sunday and continued with round one on Monday.

Most of the big names in the men’s draw have gone through: Roger Federer gave a neat and tidy display against Aussie Luczak; it may be a first round performance but the crowd still gets the flashes of Federer magic that will start to become more and more in use in later rounds. Rafael Nadal had little problem sweeping aside a brave Mina. Dressed, rather confusingly, in the yellow colours usually donned by his fellow Frenchman Gael Monfils, Mina only managed at 6-2 6-2 6-2 dent in Nadal’s thumping onwards to the second round. However, it was gusty play from a teenager playing only his second match at ATP Player. Naturally he was the home favourite, but Nadal won through with superior strength and intelligence, and it was a comforting sight to see him back in his swing at Rolland Garros.

It’s these two competitors whose performance dominates the game. Will it  more »

 

The Night Before the Day Before

Friday, May 21st, 2010

Tomorrow, my university exams begin. Tomorrow, the players will be waking up with a sensation in the pit of their stomach that tells them that a Grand Slam is starting soon. Of course I would rather be in a position to play some fabulous tennis under the hot French sun instead of sitting an exam, but we all have our lot in life. And over the next two weeks whilst I will be slogging through timed essays, the top tennis players in the world will be taking part in second Grand Slam of the year at Rolland Garros.

The draw came out today, and so now the players know their fate as to how the tournament may play out for them. Two casualties have already altered everyone’s view of what the final may be; Juan Martin del Potro will be out for what looks like all of the Grand Slams this year, with his wrist still recovering from surgery. And the Henin/Clijsters final we have all been waiting will have to be postponed, with Kim Clijsters out with an injury sustained in the Davis Cup.

So what should be affecting your favourites for this year’s French Open?

Some are questioning Roger Federer’s ability to take his next in a long string of Grand Slam titles with other strong players nipping at his heels, and a difficult half of the draw. After all, Rafael Nadal is back on blistering form, having taken a host of titles after his 11 month dry spell. With Nadal’s  more »

 
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