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Roger Federer Looks For More Grand Slam Glory 2

Posted on April 29, 2011 by Pete South

Over the last year the road has gotten a little tougher for former number one Roger Federer.

The question on many people’s lips this summer will be whether Roger Federer can get himself back amongst the Grand Slams, and add to his 16 titles so far. The Swiss Maestro hasn’t won a major tournament since the Australian Open at the beginning of last year, failing to reach a single final since that victory in Melbourne.

During his spell out of the spotlight, Federer has only been able to sit back and watch as Rafael Nadal has dominated the Grand Slams, with Novak Djokovic’s impeccable form making it hard to see how Federer will be able to break back into the top-two. While it is near impossible to see Federer stopping Nadal notching up his sixth French Open title next month, the Swiss star will once again fancy his chances of doing something at Wimbledon and lifting his seventh title, although the Wimbledon betting 2011 suggests he faces a tough challenge.

For Federer now though, he needs to start believing he can still mix it with the best and get back amongst the trophies, despite a poor run in the Grand Slams for the majority of last year and the beginning of this season. Thomas Berdych sprung a surprise at the quarter-final stage at Wimbledon last year to put Federer out and the former world number one will be looking to repay his loyal fans that turn up at the All England Club in such numbers each year.

A decent month on the clay-courts will give Federer that spark of confidence that he needs to get back onto winning form. Another disappointing year and Federer would face a mammoth task to get back amongst the younger top players.

Classic Match: Pete Sampras vs. Boris Becker 1996 ATP Championships 5

Posted on November 17, 2010 by JA Allen

Pete Sampras Vs. Boris Becker in 1996 ATP finals.

In 1990 the ATP World Tour Championships moved from Madison Square Garden in New York City to Germany, home of native tennis phenoms Boris Becker and Steffi Graf.

New York City was vacated, bowing to the wishes of the German tennis hierarchy to move the year-end tournament to Frankfurt––offering more convenience to Europeans on tour. Madison Square Garden had served as home of the “Masters Grand Prix,” as it was then known, from 1977 through 1989.

After six years, the tournament moved from Frankfort to Hanover where it was played on carpet.  Pete Sampras entered the 1996 year-end finals as the top seed while the German Boris Becker was seeded No. 6.

No one suspected the level of drama that would unfold in the final match for the championship. The German contingent, of course, hoped that Becker would do well and make the ATP final so the stands would be packed.

So far in 1996, Sampras had lost once in nine finals, ironically to Becker in Stuttgart one month prior to this tournament. Also  of note––during the year Sampras had captured one major––the 1996 U.S. Open.

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Roger Federer Is No ‘Casey At the Bat’ 7

Posted on November 12, 2010 by JA Allen

Somewhere men are laughing, and somewhere children shout; but there is no joy in Mudville – mighty Casey has struck out.

At the start of the $5 million Breeder’s Cup Classic held at Churchill Downs on November 6, the track announcer kept repeating “And Zenyatta is dead last,” as the race continued.

It was her 20th and supposedly last career race for the finish line.  The big girl had made her reputation running over the competition including all the boys for the past four years.

In fact, she had never lost a race.  Now as the oldest in the field at age six, Zenyatta had one more hurdle––in order to allow her to go out as perhaps the greatest racehorse in the history of the sport.

Traditionally Zenyatta came out the gates slow and sat at the back of the pack until the final curve toward home. That’s when she turned on the afterburners launching her signature heart-stopping finish.

Zenyatta continuously left the competition panting and spent, wondering how this racing marvel had come so far so fast, beating them to the finish line.

During this race on November 6th, the track announcer at last began to report Zenyatta was moving forward, zigzagging in and out, squeezing her way past most of the pack.

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Will Roger Federer Become the Greatest Champion of the World Tour Finals? 1

Posted on November 03, 2010 by JA Allen

Since 2009, the WTF has been held in London.

It is a given in any sport that happens to light your fire––at the end of the season, fans need to crown a winner––the ultimate champion whose accomplishments set him, her or them above all the rest.

For men’s tennis, this event rolls around shortly in November.

The World Tour Finals, paradoxically referred to as the WTF––the latest moniker for the year-end tournament for men’s professional tennis––will be held in London for the second year. It is an unfortunate acronym, although purportedly unintentional.

Since 1970 men’s professional tennis has tinkered with the year-end tournament, finally settling on its current format in 1999 when the ATP and ITF decided not to compete with each other. At long last the guys at the top realized that competition between the governing bodies in tennis was counter-productive.

Now if they could do something equally as innovative for the Davis Cup, the tennis world could breathe a collective sigh of relief! The Davis Cup should be a premiere event instead of a lingering afterthought as it is now.

The Masters year-end tournament, first played in 1970, features the top eight players on the men’s tour selected based on accumulated calendar year ATP ranking points.

The top eight men draw to create two teams with members of each four-man team competing with each other in three round-robin matches. From each group, the two players with the best results move onto the semifinals where the top-ranked player from each group plays the second-ranked player from the other group.

The final is contested by the winners of the semifinal contests.  The winner of that match is accorded 1500 ranking points as well as the honor and prestige of winning in a field of the best eight players in the world. Ironically, last year’s champion, Nikolay Davydenko will not make the field in 2010.  It is tough out there when you get injured.

So in the 40 years the championships have been held, who are the greatest champions of the event? We will count them down here.

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American Men Tennis Players Continue To Lag Behind World’s Best 5

Posted on October 03, 2010 by Rob York

Despite a disappointing 2010 season, Andy Roddick is still the top American on the men's tennis tour.

Andy Roddick’s quarterfinal appearance in the Australian Open will not be remembered as one of the finest moments in his career. He has, after all, won the US Open, on three occasions been a Wimbledon finalist, and has twice been one round further at the AO.

It was a noteworthy event for another reason: It was as far as any American advanced in any of the four majors of 2010. Sam Querrey reached the fourth round of both Wimbledon and the US Open, but got no further. John Isner won the longest match in the history of the sport at Wimbledon, but had nothing left for the next round.

It’s a far, far cry from 1995, when four Americans reached the AO semis, none of those four participated in the first round of Davis Cup and the US side went in as the heavy favorites anyway.

What happened to US tennis? Here are a few factors:

The rest of the world caught up: Globalization affects a lot more than who makes our toys, and this is evident when looking at the ATP Tour’s top 5.

Spain has a proud tennis history, but Rafael Nadal has already won more Grand Slams than any other two Spanish players – men or women – put together. Swiss Roger Federer and Serb Novak Djokovic, among their many other accomplishments, are the first men from their countries to win Slams. Read the rest of this entry →

What The Toronto Masters Means For … 0

Posted on August 18, 2010 by Rob York

Andy Murray finally got his first tournament victory of the season.

Andy Murray: Can you believe Canada is Murray’s first tournament win this year? Oh, wait, you probably can, since the Scot hasn’t really been dominating the conversation since his run to the Australian Open final. That doesn’t mean, though, that he hasn’t been listening to it.

In response to charges that the Scot was too passive or just didn’t have the weaponry, he stepped up his aggression levels considerably, complementing his natural affinity for counterpunching in dismissing David Nalbandian and Rafael Nadal. Then, in the final, he brushed aside any doubts about his competitive instincts, saving a break point in the final game with some Becker-esque clutch serving.

This can’t be the end, though; Murray must assume that Federer and Nadal (and maybe someone else) will improve between now and the latter round of the US Open. I won’t make a pick for the Open until after the Cincinnati Masters, but if Murray continues at this level, his chances are good. Read the rest of this entry →

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