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Australian Open Goes Back in Time 0

Posted on January 27, 2017 by Dean Hybl
Much has happened since Rafael Nadal defeated a tearful Roger Federer in the 2009 Australian Open Final.

Much has happened since Rafael Nadal defeated a tearful Roger Federer in the 2009 Australian Open Final.

If you didn’t know better, you might think the Australian Open being shown these days on ESPN was a replay from 2007, not the 2017 version. With Venus and Serena Williams set to meet in the women’s final and  Roger Federer facing Rafael Nadal in the men’s final, the tournament definitely feels like Old-Timers Day.

It is hard to say which performance is the most surprising.

Given her constant physical battle with Sjögrens Syndrome, you can perhaps give the nod for most impressive performance to Venus Williams. Though she did not have to face any of the top women’s players in the draw during her run to the finals, it is still impressive that the 36-year-old Venus is back in a Grand Slam final for the first time since 2009 and the first at a tournament other than Wimbledon since reaching the Australian Open final in 2003.

The only performance so far during the Australian Open that isn’t much of a surprise is that of second seed Serena Williams. Shooting for her 23rd Grand Slam title and seventh Australian Open crown, Serena has again been dominant and will be facing her older sister in a grand slam final for the ninth time.

Serena has claimed six of the previous eight finals matchups, including a three-set victory in the 2003 Australian Open. The last time the two met in a Grand Slam Final was the 2009 Wimbledon final when Serena won in straight sets. Read the rest of this entry →

Triumphs in Tennis: What is Expected in the U.S. Open This Year 0

Posted on August 06, 2015 by Brooke Chaplan
All eyes will be on Serena Williams and her attempt at the grand slam.

All eyes will be on Serena Williams and her attempt at the calendar year grand slam.

One of the great locations to watch Grand Slam tennis is Flushing Meadows, especially when the match is close and the atmosphere becomes electric in a distinctly New York kind of way. The best seat in the house is in the elevated bleachers high above the baseline inside Arthur Ashe Stadium, as you get up-close and personal with some of the best players in the world.

Tennis is a sport with a long season full of ups and downs for players. Studying for an online masters in coaching shows how professional athletes like these must survive the mentally and physically grueling pace of the games. The U.S. Open begins August 31st and is scheduled through September 13th of this year. A lot is expected from the players, and here are a few determined to do well.

Serena Is the Talk of Broadway
One of the themes that has emerged on the WTA Tour this year is that Serena Williams is capable of blasting the competition off the tennis court. Her play has become increasingly aggressive with each passing Grand Slam, and it is pretty clear that a triumphant win at the U.S. Open would be a great achievement for Williams. She has made a career of surpassing expectations and frustrating opponents and is capable of doing it again in Flushing Meadows. The tennis world is longing for this type of a compelling story, and there’s no one more qualified to pull this off than Williams herself.
Read the rest of this entry →

Novak Djokovic Carves His Own Spot in Tennis Lore 0

Posted on July 14, 2015 by Dean Hybl
Novak Djokovic lifted the championship trophy for the third time at the 2015 Wimbledon.

Novak Djokovic lifted the championship trophy for the third time at the 2015 Wimbledon.

With his ninth tennis grand slam championship, Novak Djokovic has now separated himself from some of the greatest tennis players of all-time and seems to be on a path for even greater heights before his journey is complete.

In an era where Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal have clearly distinguished themselves as historic champions, Djokovic has been that irritating pebble in the shoe that has kept both of those stars from achieving even greater success.

His victory over Federer in the Wimbledon final marked the second straight year he has defeated the 17-time grand slam champion in the finals. He also has a 3-4 career record in finals against Nadal.

Clearly the number one player in the world, Djokovic will now set his sights on the U.S. Open, a tournament in which he has reached the finals five times. However, he has not won the title since 2011 and last year failed to reach the finals for the first time since 2009.

Having passed Andre Agassi, Jimmy Connors, Fred Perry and Ivan Lendl, who each won eight grand slam titles during their careers, Djokovic now aims to become just the eighth player in history to reach double digits. He will match Bill Tilden with his next victory and then would aim for Rod Laver and Bjorn Borg, who each won 11 grand slam titles.

While Djokovic will focus on growing his grand slam trophy collection at Wimbledon and then next year in Australia, you know that in the back of his mind is the French Open where his surprising loss to Stan Wawrinka kept him from reaching the career grand slam. Read the rest of this entry →

Halfway Through Wimbledon: Predicting the Future 3

Posted on July 03, 2015 by Marius Kiniulis
Defending champion Novak Djokovic is among the favorites to win the 2015 Wimbledon men's title.

Defending champion Novak Djokovic is among the favorites to win the 2015 Wimbledon men’s title.

With Rafa Nadal unexpectedly dropping out of the most prestigious grass tournament of the year and Kei Nishikori leaving the title race due to an injury the tennis fans are wondering: who’s next? We took a shot and tied to predict the way Wimbledon is going to play out.

World’s No 1 Novak Djokovic should feel pretty comfortable with his upcoming bracket – none of his potential opponents, at least until the quarter-final are living up to their expectations. Today he plays the 27th seed Bernard Tomic, who had a pretty bumpy ride to the third round. It took the Aussie five sets to beat the 98th ranked Jan-Lennard Struff in the first round and two tiebreaks against ATP’s 151st Pierre-Hugues Herbert in the second.

Meanwhile Djokovic himself feels really comfortable in the record-breaking Wimbledon heat outplaying both of his previous opponents in three-set matches. In fact, the highway to the semi-final looks pretty clear for the defending champion. Yes, there are eight players in the top half who yet have a set to lose, but of the whole list only Stan Wawrinka seems like a potential threat for Djokovic.

It comes as no surprise that the bookies see the Swiss as Novak’s most likely opponent in the semis. The US Open champ Marin Cilic took a huge blow for his reputation from the World’s No 90 Ricardas Berankis of Lithuania in the second round, while the 7th seeded Milos Raonic has yet to face what seems to be a pretty tough challenge in the third round against Nick Kyrgios. The UK-licensed bookie TonyBet gives Raonic just 1.45 odds at advancing to the next round.

Meanwhile, the bottom half looks a little bit more complicated. The 2013 champion and the local favorite Andy Murray is seen as the main candidate to face Djokovic in the final, however, he still has a long way to go. While his third round opponent Andreas Seppi might not seem as a big threat for the World’s No 3, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga just might be. Read the rest of this entry →

Ranking the Most Successful Male Clay Court Players of the Modern Era 1

Posted on May 17, 2013 by JA Allen

rafafrench2008Heading into the French Open, the second major of the season, most players prepare diligently for their final hurrah on clay. It remains as probably the least understood and least appreciated of the court surfaces players endure each year.

If the truth be told, players who learn to play on clay and who embrace the surface’s forgiving nature generally become better, more successful all-around players than those who learn the game on grass or hard courts.

The typical clay court player excels in patience by learning how to develop points as well as excellent defensive skills.

For a long time it seemed that some players segregated their careers by either avoiding clay altogether or by playing exclusively on the red dirt. But with the start of the Open Era and the necessity to play on multiple surfaces, some players built successful all-court games using clay court expertise as the foundation.

These male players achieved a top ten ATP ranking, a winning percentage in excess of 70 percent on clay throughout their careers—as well as double digit title wins on clay. Most also won at least one French Open, although not all.

Read the rest of this entry →

The Most Dramatic Wimbledon Upsets of the Modern Era 7

Posted on June 30, 2012 by JA Allen

Kukas Rosol upset Rafael Nadal in the 2nd Round of Wimbledon

As a society, we love upsets—when the decided underdog comes up big to knock off the reportedly sure winner. It levels the playing field for that brief moment and we all feel empowered.

So, when Lukas Rosol sent Rafael Nadal home during their second round match at the All-England Club on Thursday, it marked a true upset. One of the most startling exits at Wimbledon in recent years.

As Rosol remarked in his post-match interview, Nadal is only human.

As such, even the great Nadal has some moments when he does not play his best for whatever reason pundits can determine.

For his part, Nadal had not looked comfortable at all during his early round matches at Wimbledon in 2012; but no one suspected that the world No. 2 could be defeated at this point of the Wimbledon fortnight.

As we look back surveying previous Wimbledon tournaments, determining upsets is a matter of degrees. Whenever the unexpected happens, we call that an upset.

We will use that criteria for discussing some of the greatest Wimbledon upsets in the history of the Modern Era in tennis.

The matches discussed here are listed in chronological order.

The debate about which upset is the most shocking will be saved for a later day.

Certainly this upset of Nadal on Centre Court in 2012 ranks right up there as one of the most shocking.

Read the rest of this entry →

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