Archive for June, 2012


No.1 Ranking Up For Grabs At Wimbledon!

Tuesday, June 19th, 2012

As Wimbledon 2012 approaches I’m sure all tennis fans across the globe are eagerly anticipating another two weeks of enthralling Grand Slam action on the famous grass courts at The Championships in SW19, many of us will also be eager to see whether or not we have a change at the top of the women’s and men’s world rankings at the conclusion of the tournament.

Maria Sharapova reclaimed the world No.1 ranking from Victoria Azarenka after her fine victory at Roland Garros but her new status will be shortlived if Azarenka can claim her second Grand Slam title at the All England Club over the next few weeks, Sharapova made the final last year and will be defending those points whereas Azarenka was a beaten semifinalist losing to eventual champion Petra Kvitova in 2011, if Maria fails to reach the final this year and Vika goes one better and makes her first Wimbledon final then we will see the tall 23 year old Belarusian take back the top spot once again, if both players make the final then they will battle it out for the Championship and the No.1 world ranking.

The men’s side of things is even more interesting as we have the top three players in the world all mathematically capable of being world No.1 at the end of The Championships, Novak Djokovic secured the No.1 ranking when he won the 2011 Wimbledon title last year and he has held the position ever since then, Rafael Nadal was beaten by Djokovic in last years Wimbledon decider but his recent victories on clay against his more »


Is Murray a drama queen?

Friday, June 15th, 2012

During the commentary of Queen’s on BBC the other day, I noticed an interesting discussion about recent comments from the German Tommy Haas about Andy Murray. Now this was the BBC, so of course the general consensus of the experts at the table was that this was cheap trick from Haas and that he should leave Murray alone. The reaction in other circles has, however, been less favorable.

Now I should say before I start this is that I am fully aware I am not Murray’s biggest fan. Therefore, it would seem a little childish for me to write a blog about whether Murray is a drama queen, when I am probably more inclined to come down on the critic’s side. Although it’s true I don’t really like Murray as a player, and I do think he’s a bit of a whiner, I would never want to character assassinate the man or somehow imply he is a cheat or underhand. I’m mean, but I’m not that mean.

So here is what Tommy Haas said in his press conference that turned all eyes on the Scot: ‘It’s difficult when you play against someone on the court like he is not well or injured. I find no-one does this better than Murray. Sometimes he looks like he can barely move, then comes the trainer and he moves like a cat. I believe everyone knows this. People talk about it in the locker room. Maybe he would like to take some pressure off himself. He tells himself, ‘Maybe I have a niggle or a problem, I’m not feeling too well but I’m going to try it anyway.’ But he is such a talented player that he does not need  more »


It never rains..

Tuesday, June 12th, 2012

…but it pours.

That must have been how it felt for the poor organizers at Roland Garros. There they were, lying in an outer suburb of Paris at the beginning of June. Who would have thought rain would be a problem. For some reason when it happens at a tournament like the French Open, it’s not a quaint habit that adds to the whole atmosphere of the tournament, as it is in say Wimbledon. In France, it clogs up the clay, which goes on to ruin the balls, and the fact that it’s a less common occurrence just stumps match referees. To take the players off, or not?

Nadal certainly had a few things to say about the rain as Djokovic picked off no less than 8 games in a row against the King of Clay. For the first time since 1978 the French Open final was delayed by rain, but although it took its sweet time coming Rafa’s victory eventually hovered into view.

In the end, I doubt Rafa minded the rain. After all, his parade came much later, when Djokovic couldn’t pick up the fantastic run of form he was having going into the fourth set. Nadal – now without his sulky pout thanks to more decisive decisions about the rain – came out with the cleaner, more ruthless approach. He picked right up where he left off, whereas Djokovic appeared to need some more time to get back into his groove, rather like at the very beginning of the match back on Sunday.

A bit more rain trickled over Paris, but when it came down to it Rafa’s swing, nerve and dominance on clay saw him through. Not long  more »


Dream team

Saturday, June 9th, 2012

Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal had seemingly very similar route into this year’s French Open finals. I say ‘seemingly’ because the score lines were roughly the same – straight sets victory with comfortable numbers – but the opponents couldn’t be more different. Rafael Nadal’s victory was always predictable against David Ferrer. This is not an insult to the other Spaniard, but an acceptance of the fact that Nadal is just simply brilliant, particularly at Rolland Garros.

Djokovic’s opponent was Roger Federer, a man whose very name has become the stuff of legends. Like a mythic beast of a fairytale he has dominated the Land Of Tennis for so many  years that we as his loyal subjects have got used to him being there. So him being beaten by Novak Djokovic – a constant in the top 5 for a number of years sure but no Federer – was still something of a ‘what if’ or a ‘maybe’.

Turns out, Novak didn’t find it too hard. A debate about what this means for Federer will be relegated to its own post, but for now lets just praise the player that Djokovic has become. No longer the doormat for the top two players in the world, he has surpassed Andy Murray and the others who cling onto Roger and Rafa’s coat tails and reached the world number one spot.

Djokovic’s flexibility, fitness and finesse of shots won the day against Federer in this semi final. These are usually adjectives researched for the Swiss player, but today the Serb won the platitudes. He was everywhere at the base line, a more »


Predictable but impressive

Saturday, June 9th, 2012

This one was pretty easy to guess from the start. Bar an enormous upset, Ferrer was never going to have the ability to beat Rafael Nadal at the French Open. This is Nadal’s home, and he never let up in his barrage to the final. In fact at one point he won five games in a row, saving two break points in the progress.

Ferrer barely had time to get his feet into gear before he was getting blown away. Nadal was chasing his fifth consecutive French Open final. Even more terrifying statistics poured out after the match; he may have beaten Bjorn Borg’s record of French Open finals, but tomorrow he could be the first player to win the French Open title seven times in the Open era.

The most awe-inspiring record of them all is his winning record; out of 52 matches at the French Open, Nadal has only lost one. One. That’s 51 out of 52, in case you couldn’t do the maths. One. And that was to Robin Soderling in 2009, the year when his knees gave out and he was a shadow of his former self.

His knees – and the rest of him – were bionic yesterday in his defeat of his fellow Spaniard. The wind was kicking, and the clay heavy with the falling rain, so everyone’s tactics had changed. Thankfully Nadal is the leopard who can change his spots and he adapted easily to the conditions. Whether Ferrer found it more difficult to adapt we will never know.

The match was marred by a 50 minute delay, with Court Philippe Chatrier shrounded in a messy dark green cover. N more »

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