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Movers and Shakers: How the French Open Affected the WTA rankings 0

Posted on November 02, 2020 by Lucy Waldon

While there were no surprises in the men’s singles at Roland Garros this year, the women’s game threw up a number of shocks. First, there were the absentees, citing safety concerns amidst the coronavirus pandemic – big name players such as last year’s champion Ash Barty, as well as previous US Open winners Naomi Osaka and Bianca Andreescu.

Then we saw many of the seeded stars exit the tournament in its early stages – Serena Williams was forced to withdraw through injury in round two, while there were shock defeats for Angelique Kerber (round one), Karolína Plíšková (round two), and Simona Halep (round four) to the eventual winner Iga Świątek. In the quarter-finals, there were just three seeds, two qualifiers and three unseeded players, with Świątek coming out on top.

While the women’s game has been unpredictable for some time, with Świątek becoming the ninth woman to win a maiden Grand Slam title in the past 14 major tournaments, the Pole’s name certainly wasn’t on anybody’s lips as a possible contender. Previously placed 54th in the world, she wasn’t considered in the pre-tournament tennis odds from Betfair, but her triumph on clay sees her climb into the top-20 – and a career high position of 17th. In winning her first ever WTA singles title and in a Grand Slam tournament too, it’s not just her ranking, but her profile has risen too.

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The Show Must Go On! Preparing for the 2020 U.S. Open Tennis Championships 0

Posted on August 06, 2020 by Dean Hybl

In a year that has been anything but normal, the USTA is hoping to provide some return to normalcy by hosting the 2020 U.S. Open Tennis Championship on its originally scheduled dates from August 31-September 13 at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows, NY.

Serena Williams is still trying to win her 24th grand slam singles title.

However, while the dates and venue will be familiar, there will be other aspects of the tournament that are quite different.

First, like most other sports that have started to return to the field, the 2020 U.S. Open will be played without fans in the stands.

It has certainly been a bit strange watching basketball and baseball in empty stadiums and there will likely be a similar sensation when watching tennis at the U.S. Open. Even though during matches you often do not see fans during points, the energy that a full stadium crowd provides will be difficult to replicate.

Another group of people who will not be participating in the 2020 U.S. Open are those who are usually positioned directly behind a line to make those split-second calls as to whether a ball is in or out. Instead, the U.S. Open will be the first major tournament to use the Hawk-Eye Live system to make all line calls on 15 of their 17 courts (all but the two stadium courts).

Though there will not be a person on the line or making the calls, you will still hear human voices for the calls as that is part of the system. In addition to reducing the number of people on the courts, it should also speed up play because there will be no challenging available on the courts where the Hawk-Eye Live is making the calls.

What is not clear yet is which star players will actually be participating in the tournament and which will choose to pass. The first list of competitors has been announced, but with the tournament still three weeks away, there could still be fluctuation before the tournament starts. For that reason, figuring out the US Open betting odds could be a bit tricky.

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Intersection of Sports and Public Health Derails the Sports World 1

Posted on March 12, 2020 by Dean Hybl

Less than 24 hours after the World Health Organization declared the spread of the coronavirus to be a pandemic the sports world is coming to a screeching halt as sports leagues and college conferences struggle to deal with this intersection between public health and the sports world.

It started Wednesday afternoon with the NCAA announcing that all of their upcoming championships would be played without fans.

With most of the premier Division I conferences having started their men’s basketball tournaments earlier this week, it didn’t take long until they all announced that they would not admit fans starting on Thursday.

However, after a Wednesday evening address by the President as well as continued uncertainty on how best to address the growing crisis, by soon before game time on Thursday most conferences, including the ACC, Big Ten and SEC had all canceled the remainder of their tournaments. The Big East tipped off their first game on Thursday (Creighton against St. Johns), but the game and tournament were later canceled.

 So, what is typically one of the most exciting weekends for college basketball now looks to be an opportunity to catch up on shows from Netflix or Amazon Prime.

College basketball is not the only major sports group impacted by the growing crisis.

After two members of the Utah Jazz tested positive for the virus the game Wednesday night between the Oklahoma Thunder and Utah Jazz was postponed and the NBA later announced an immediate suspension of their season.

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5 Signs You’re Obsessed with Tennis 2

Posted on January 13, 2020 by Ronald Mccarthy

Ever find yourself hearing people tell you that you take tennis far too seriously? There’s a good chance you’re only being told that because you do take tennis too seriously. Maybe you always think of your doubles partner whenever someone asks you about your partner. Or, when it comes to dressing for a party, you find your closet only full of tennis skirts. Maybe you also have a funny looking tan line that just never seems to go. But that’s okay. Because if you and everyone in your life think you take tennis too seriously, it just means you’re passionate.

Passion is what keeps you motivated. When you have an extreme passion for a sport, it’s highly likely that you will only get better at it. Passion is what keeps you going. It’s what drives you to commit to something – be it a sport, a job or even a relationship. When you have a passion for something, it means you care just enough to keep going and do even better.

Sometimes, though, passion can be conceived as an obsession. That’s okay, too. Because even though the two have different meanings, they essentially suggest the same thing; you care. If you care about a sport that you love, you should feel proud of yourself. It’s not every day that you find someone willing to commit so greatly to something. Most people actually find it hard to stay passionate about their jobs or their hobbies. Which is why being obsessed with tennis is not something you should find shameful. It should be something that makes you proud.

If you think you show signs of being obsessed with tennis, keep reading. This article is going to cover five major signs that you might be obsessed with tennis.

5 Signs You’re Obsessed with Tennis:

Sign Number 1: You love the smell of new tennis balls. While this might seem like regular behaviour for, let’s say, dogs – it’s considered a little stranger when an adult is addicted to the smell of new tennis balls. Tennis players have a very common trait – their love of the smell of new tennis balls. They can’t get enough of it! A tennis player will have purchased and played with hundreds of balls in their career, but despite that, they still aren’t sick of the new tennis ball smell. There’s nothing quite like getting in a whiff of that new ball smell when you get a new pack, is there? It may be a guilty pleasure, but don’t worry – all tennis players can relate.

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U.S. Open: A Look at the Men’s Favorites 0

Posted on June 26, 2019 by Claire Philbin

Wimbledon may well be in its primary stages and understandably, all participants’ attentions will be firmly set on the All England Club but the fourth and final major of the year will be next on the agenda. The US Open is set for its 139th edition in August, as Flushing Meadows gets set to host the prestigious event whereby the world’s best players will all compete for a place in US Open folklore.

The favorites for the men’s singles title contain some familiar names as well as a few surprise picks, but their Wimbledon performances will hold plenty of bearing on how their odds shape up nearer the time. Ahead of the start of the tournament on 26th August, we’ll take a closer look at the favorites.

Novak Djokovic 6/4

It’s no surprise to see Novak Djokovic sit top in the US Open men’s winner odds, as the hard-hitting Serbian embarks on his fourth win at Flushing Meadows. Djokovic is the current champion and will be the main man to beat once more. If Djokovic is at his best, it’ll take a monumental effort to stop him.

Rafael Nadal 9/2

The undisputed “King of Clay” will also be looking for his fourth US Open crown, and Rafael Nadal’s price of 9/2 suggests he’ll be there or thereabouts again. Still fresh from his 12th French Open success, Nadal will need to avoid any potential banana skins in the earlier rounds and if he does get to the latter stages, he’ll be very hard to beat.

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Serena Williams is Right – Carlos Ramos Is a Thief 0

Posted on September 08, 2018 by Dean Hybl

Tennis Thief Carlos Ramos.

Tennis Thief Carlos Ramos.

Sports officials have been doing their collective best to ruin sports, ensure they are part of the show and occasionally thrust themselves into the outcome of a contest for years, but tennis umpire Carlos Ramos has now taken that self-indulgence to an unprecedented level by stealing the opportunity for a competitor to fairly compete for a title at the 2018 U.S. Open Women’s Final.

Naomi Osaka played a great match to win the women’s tennis U.S. Open, but there is no doubt that Carlos Ramos stole the chance for Serena Williams to win her 24th Grand Slam by deciding he was bigger than the players or the match.

Early in the second set he gave a penalty to the coach of Serena Williams, Patrick Mouratoglou, for what he called coaching during the match. While Mouratoglou admitted after the match that he was coaching, he also said that he and every coach does some type of coaching during every match. That was acknowledged by Chrissie Evert during her commentary.

Williams, however, insisted that she was not cheating and Mouratoglou said after the match that he was pretty sure that Serena didn’t see him.

Later in the set, after having finally broken Osaka and then being broken back twice, Williams broke her racket in frustration.

Because of the previous violation, Serena received a second conduct warning, which resulted in the loss of a point in a game that Osaka won by love.

At the next break, Serena was still frustrated and multiple times asked the umpire to apologize to her for what she considered calling her a cheater. As he kept refusing to acknowledge any culpability, Serena said that he stole a point from her and then called the official a thief, which seems to be pretty accurate. Just to be clear, she did not cuss at him or use any abusive words.

Showing that he was determined to make this match about him, Ramos called a third conduct penalty on Serena, which he knew when he was doing it would result in a game penalty and basically end the chance for Serena to win the match because it took away a chance for Williams to break Osaka and brought her within one game of losing the match.

As an experienced official with previous grand slam experience both on the men’s and women’s side, Ramos should have known that this was the time for him to show restraint and understand that athletes in those situations are playing with great emotion and adrenaline and if they are not using abusive language should receive restraint from someone in his position. Evert and the other ESPN commentators after the match suggested that Ramos should have spoken with Williams and told her she needed to stop what he considered to be an aggressive tone or he would give her a misconduct penalty. Read the rest of this entry →

  • Vintage Athlete of the Month

    • Stan Jones – Weight Training Trailblazer
      October 11, 2020 | 1:48 pm
      Stan Jones

      The Sports Then and Now Athlete of the Month was one of the great linemen of his era and is considered a trailblazer for using weight training and conditioning to develop his skills.

      After a standout career at the University of Maryland, Stan Jones spent nine seasons as an offensive lineman for the Chicago Bears, making seven Pro Bowl appearances and earning first team All-Pro three times.

      In 1962, assistant coach George Allen suggested Jones move to defense to help solidify that unit for the Bears. He played both ways in 1962 and then in 1963 moved permanently to the defense.

      Read more »

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