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Novak Djokovic is Back! 0

Posted on July 15, 2018 by Dean Hybl
It was a long road back for Novak Djokovic to claim the 2018 Wimbledon title.

It was a long road back for Novak Djokovic to claim the 2018 Wimbledon title.

In the sports world it is interesting how two years can feel like a lifetime. It was only two years ago that Novak Djokovic had entered Wimbledon as the first men’s player in nearly 50 years to hold all four tennis major titles at the same, yet, much has transpired in the tennis world from that moment until Djokovic finally hoisted another major trophy with a three set win over Kevin Anderson at the 2018 Wimbledon.

Initially, the stunning third round loss by Djokovic to Sam Querry at the 2016 Wimbledon looked like just a blimp on the radar. Djokovic solidified his place as the number one player in the world by reaching the finals at the U.S. Open, though he lost in four sets to Stan Wawrinka.

What no one could have predicted at the time was that not only would Djokovic not win another major for nearly two years, but after making the finals in 19 of the previous 25 majors would not get past the quarterfinals in six straight majors and would fall out of the top 20 in the world rankings.

After losing in the second round of the 2017 Australian Open and quarterfinals of both the French Open and Wimbledon, Djokovic missed the 2017 U.S. Open due to an elbow injury. He reached the fourth round of the 2018 Australian Open, but after the tournament underwent elbow surgery.

It was a good sign that he was able to return for the 2018 French Open, but a four set loss to unranked Marco Cecchinato gave new question as to whether Djokovic would ever return to his previous form.

When Djokovic held all four major titles entering the 2016 Wimbledon not only had he done something previously done only by Rod Laver in the open era, but he was beginning to make a case for himself as the greatest player of his era, perhaps even ahead of Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer.

However, over the past two years not only did Djokovic struggle, but Nadal and Federer both had a resurgence.

After combining for only one major title between 2014 and 2016 (Nadal winning 2014 French Open), Nadal and Federer split the four majors in 2017 (Federer won Australian and Wimbledon and Nadal claimed French and U.S. Open). They then began 2018 with Federer repeating at the Australian Open for his 20th Grand Slam and Nadal winning the French Open for his 17th.

Though Djokovic’s win at the 2018 Wimbledon breaks that streak and gives him 13 major titles, the 31-year-old now has much more work to do if he hopes to significantly narrow the gap between his titles and those of his two rivals. 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 →

Maureen Connolly: Little Mo 7

Posted on July 03, 2015 by Dean Hybl
Maureen Connolly

Maureen Connolly

The Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month was the most dominating women’s tennis player of her career before a tragic accident ended her career while she was still a teenager.

Maureen “Little Mo” Connelly won the final nine majors in which she competed, which is quite impressive given how challenging Serena Williams is currently finding it to win four straight majors for the second time in her career. 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 →

Roger Federer: Will it be Another Fruitful Autumn? 4

Posted on October 01, 2012 by Marianne Bevis

At 30, Roger is still at the top of the tennis world.

Autumn: The season of warm sunshine and cool evenings, of golden mornings and burnished afternoons, of dewy lawns and slanting shadows.

It’s a season of transition and reflection, of rest before making ready for the year’s push towards its wintery climax.

September sees some sports kick their way into a fresh season and others bat they way towards a conclusion. But for tennis, this is merely the lull after months of globe-scattered tournaments, after countless cities and adjustments from clay to grass to the hot and hard blue of the last Grand Slam of the year. New York feels like a climax, but then feels like an anti-climax, a thrilling conclusion on tennis’s biggest stage that is not a conclusion—just a temporary reprieve.

This autumn dip finds expression in the players themselves. They talk of tiredness and the need for rest, and this year more than most, the schedule has taken a heavy toll. Read the rest of this entry →

Novak Djokovic Stakes His Claim to Number One 6

Posted on July 03, 2011 by Dean Hybl

Novak Djokovic defeated Rafael Nadal in four sets to win his first Wimbledon title.

Thanks to the crazy system used to determine tennis rankings, Novak Djokovic was assured of becoming the number one player in the world regardless of the result of the men’s final between Djokovic and current number one Rafael Nadal. But Djokovic eliminated any doubt about his worthiness with an impressive four set victory over Nadal.

In claiming his first Wimbledon title, Djokovic now seems to have replaced Roger Federer as Nadal’s primary rival for tennis supremacy. His 6-4, 6-1, 1-6, 6-3 victory may not have been in the classic style of previous battles between those two tennis icons, but Djokovic has illustrated that at age 24 he is reaching his tennis prime.

With his sweep through Wimbledon, Djokovic now holds two of the four grand slam titles and has lost only one match in 2011 (in the French Open semifinals to Federer).

Though he still is capable of competing at a high level, the days of Federer dominating men’s tennis are clearly over. He will turn 30 next month and hasn’t won a grand slam since the 2010 Australian Open.

Rafael Nadal is only a year older than Djokovic, but has significantly more wear on his body than his new rival, but also more overall success with 10 grand slam titles. Read the rest of this entry →

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    • Bill Freehan: Michigan Man
      May 12, 2018 | 6:21 pm

      The Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month was an 11-time American League All-Star at one of the most demanding positions in baseball, yet outside of Detroit his exploits have been largely forgotten.

      For more than a decade, Bill Freehan was the rock behind home plate for the Detroit Tigers. In addition to earning All-Star honors 10 straight years and 11 times overall, Freehan was a five-time Gold Glove winner and in 1968 finished second in the American League in the MVP voting.

      A true “Michigan Man”, Freehan played his entire sports career representing teams from Michigan.

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