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Roger Federer’s March to the Top Begins at Indian Hills This Week 111

Posted on March 07, 2012 by JA Allen

Roger Federer won his first championship at Indian Wells in 2004.

No doubt the anti-Federer-contingent cannot be happy with the recent results of the tennis star who will not die or fade away—even after turning 30.

Just when they think the Swiss fountain of youth has congealed into lumpy cheese fondue, Federer revives his game and comes back free-flowing as he did during his dominating best.

Such was the case recently in Dubai. The hard, fast courts in the United Arab Emirates desert suited Federer just fine as he rebounded from predicted obscurity to reclaim his fifth title in Dubai 7-5, 6-4—much to the shock and dismay of Andy Murray and the Scot’s camp.

Murray had pulled his own coup d’etat by upsetting the No. 1 seed and reigning world champion Novak Djokovic in the semifinals. Murray, however, was not able to arrest the development of the Federer forehand on the hard courts of Dubai, losing in straight sets in the final.

No other man has won five tennis titles in Dubai. The courts there suit Federer’s game—which may explain why Nadal has been absent from the Dubai desert since 2008.

Once the world No. 2 figured out that he had to ration his playing time, Dubai was sacrificed because the hard courts, especially the faster hard courts, took too much out of Nadal’s vulnerable knees.

Just as well for Federer’s fans. Playing Nadal often becomes a non-productive exercise for the 16-grand slam champion.  Before each major, Federer’s backers sink to their knees praying to play Djokovic or Murray before Nadal. Much of it has to do with the “confidence level” Federer spoke of after his recent victories over top ten opponents.

After winning 33 of his last 35 matches, Federer will enter the contest at Indian Wells with renewed confidence and vigor. Since losing his semifinal battle with Novak Djokovic at the US Open, the world No. 3 has captured titles at the World Tour Finals in London, overcoming Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the final.

Prior to Dubai, Federer claimed the title in Rotterdam over Juan Martin del Potro. Now the Swiss has captured this outdoor title in Dubai defeating world No. 4 Andy Murray.

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Tennis March Madness: The Top 9 Who Won Back-To-Back Titles at Indian Wells & Miami 66

Posted on March 04, 2012 by JA Allen

Roger Federer won the Key Biscayne/Miami title in 2005

March Madness has its own special setting for tennis. Prior to the start of the dusty clay-court season in April, the tour swings through the States landing first in the California desert at a venue called Indian Wells before proceeding to Miami and the Sony Ericsson Open.

Both tournaments field players for a Masters 1000 for the men and a premiere mandatory event for the ladies with 96 participants in the field. Play extends over 10 days, which is unusual for a Masters Series tournament.

The BNP Paribas Open held at Indian Wells will begin March 8, 2012, concluding on March 18.  The Sony Ericsson Open will follow, starting on March 21, 2012, and ending on April 1.

For the men, multiple winners of each tournament remain relatively rare when you consider the number of participants each year.

But the true piece de resistance of the March Madness swing through Indian Wells and Miami is winning both titles, back-to-back in the same year. Surviving to win one of these tournaments is a testament to a player’s endurance, but to win both in the same season is one of the most difficult doubles of the tennis tour.

Only nine players, both men and women, have accomplished this rare feat to date. Only one man and one woman claimed the double more than once—Roger Federer and Steffi Graf.

Indian Wells

Eight men have won Indian Wells more than once.

Boris Becker (1987-1988), Jim Courier (1991, 1993), Michael Chang (1992, 1996-1997), Pete Sampras (1994-1995), Lleyton Hewitt (2002-2003), Roger Federer (2004-2006), Rafael Nadal (2007, 2009) and Novak Djokovic (2008, 2011) all captured the trophy at Indian Wells more than one time.

Only Federer and Chang can claim three titles—so far.

Seven ladies including Martina Navratilova (1990-1991), Mary Jo Fernandez (1993, 1995), Steffi Graf (1994,1996), Lindsay Davenport (1997, 2000), Serena Williams (1999, 2001), Daniela Hantuchova (2002, 2007), and Kim Clijsters (2003, 2005) have won the championship at Indian Wells.

None of the ladies have managed to win the tournament more than twice.

Key Biscayne/Miami

Locale for the Sony Ericsson Open in Miami

Only six men have won the championship in Miami more than once, although Andre Agassi managed six titles during his long, illustrious career.

Ivan Lendl (1986, 1989), Andre Agassi (1990, 1995-1996, 2001-2003), Sampras (1993-1994, 2000), Federer (2005-2006), Andy Roddick (2004, 2010), and Djokovic (2007, 2011) have all brought home multiple titles.

By the same token, eight women have won the championship in Miami more than once with  Graf and Serena Williams bringing home the most titles with five each.

Graf (1987-1988, 1994-1996), Monica Seles (1990-1991), Arantxa Sanchez (1992-1993), Martina Hingis (1997, 2000), Venus Williams (1998-1999, 2001), Serena Williams (2002-2004, 2007-2008), Clijsters (2005, 2010) and Victoria Azarenka (2009, 2011) represent the some of the best of the best in the women’s game.

But only nine players in the history of these tournaments have won both respective championships in the same year.  They follow.

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Surprises Litter A Week Of Great Tennis At Indian Wells 2

Posted on March 20, 2010 by Marianne Bevis
BNP Paribas Open

Thrills and spills, big wins and surprise losses, seeds falling and new faces shining. Indian Wells has lived up to its billing as one of the biggest and best tennis events in the tennis calendar.

The venue is stunning, the crowds are huge, and the tournament began with a near-full complement of players—give or take the Williams sisters’ usual boycott and Juan Martin Del Potro’s injury.

It even attracted the very best of both current and past players in the tastiest exhibition night in living memory. As if Andre Agassi and Rafael Nadal facing Pete Sampras and Roger Federer wasn’t enough, the Hit for Haiti scheduled Steffi Graf and Lindsay Davenport against Martina Navratilova and Justine Henin. Tennis courts don’t come more laden with star quality.

Even the Indian Wells draw looked set to deliver up everyone’s favorite matches during the last few days.

There was the tantalising prospect of Nikolay Davydenko outhitting Nadal for the fourth consecutive time in as many months.

There was a chance that Andy Murray could seek revenge over Federer for his Australian Open defeat.

Best of all, there was the prospect—should the cards fall right—of two mouth-watering finals: Nadal against Federer and Kim Clijsters again Henin.

However, while some of the anticipated fireworks turned into damp squibs, there were also bangers and sparklers aplenty to keep everyone on the edges of their seats.
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Indian Wells’ Garden of Delights: Rivalries, Comebacks, and Roger and Rafa 1

Posted on March 12, 2010 by Marianne Bevis
BNP Paribas Tennis in Indian Wells

Not one, but two Masters tournaments, the firsts of the year.

The only ATP events of the month, both centered in the sunshine of the United States.

These are the last hard courts before spring ushers in the clay. No more of the artificial, punishing surfaces until the tour heads back to North America in late July. Many, indeed, will postpone their transfer from the all-too-brief grass season until August.

So it is little wonder that Indian Wells and its Miami sister two weeks later draw the big names, the big crowds, the big coverage.

Indian Wells, in particular, is set like a sapphire in the Californian desert, a jewel in the tennis crown. More people soak up the tennis at this tournament than anywhere outside the Grand Slams.

It’s a place drenched in blue, wholly in tune with its watery origins. This most favored stop on the tennis tour, attracting the very best from both the ATP and WTA tours, offers a serene mountainous backdrop, cloudless skies, dry heat, clear air. It’s as close to paradise as wealth can bring to the desert.

More than 300,000 flock to the Indian Wells Tennis Garden. It overflows with tropical flowers, trees, and fountains, and the courts themselves sit like miniature Aegean Seas within their grass-green surroundings.

The pale violet and blue peaks of the distant Santa Rosa range provide a glorious setting as this oasis bursts into flower with a bouquet of wonderful prospects. Read the rest of this entry →

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      March 10, 2018 | 11:05 am
      Mike Gminski

      Mike Gminski

      The Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month was a star big man who achieved great success at Camden Indoor Stadium in the era before Coach K and the One-and-Done big men became the norm at Duke University.

      Much like recent Duke big men Marvin Bagley III, Jayson Tatum and Jahlil Okafor, Mike Gminski made an immediate impact for the Blue Devils. However, because he played 40 years earlier at a time when few players left college early, Gminski spent four years racking up stats and success in Durham.

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