Oct 15

Who will prevail in Melbourne?

The recent U.S. Open gave us a very odd image – a final that wasn’t contested by Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal or Andy Murray. The final between Marin Cilic (winner) and Kei Nishikori was the first time since the 2008 Australian Open – which, ironically, was won by Djokovic – that there was a guaranteed new Grand Slam winner.

So with that in mind, who is going to win the Australian Open? Will it be a return to dominance for the “Big Four” or has the US Open ushered in a new era of tennis?

Let us start by putting that final part of the question to bed. No way has Cilic’s victory ushered in a new way in tennis. Kudos for him for taking his chance while he had it, but the opportunity likely won’t arise again for some time. Quite frankly, he isn’t good enough. No, it will be back to business as usual for Djokovic, Nadal – if he plays – Federer and Murray at the Australian Open. In fact, the only player that could trouble them is the hugely exciting Australian youngster Nick Kyrgios, but that would take some serious doing.

So it is decided then. One of the “Big Four” will win the Australian Open, but who? We will assess that now.

Novak Djokovic

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Image: Kulitat

The Serbian is quite rightly the favourite with Betfair to win, given he is the world number one ranked tennis player at this point in time. Djokovic has an athletic pedigree that has never been seen in a player before and one that will probably never be seen in a player again. Despite being 6-foot-2 he is as agile as a cat – forcing his body into positions that Olympic level gymnasts would be happy with. In another life he could quite easily have been a dancer, his splits are better than most peoples.

Away from his flexibility, Djokovic is a beast. Here is a player who is content at staying at the baseline and just hitting shot after shot, waiting for the opportune moment to move in. When he does, the point is lost. The 27-year-old is the perfect tennis recipe. He can serve, he can return, he can attack, he can defend and his two-handed backhand is the best of all time.

Questions were once raised about his mentality but he has put all of those to rest after his victory at Wimbledon 2014. After racing into a two-set lead Novak had numerous opportunities to put the match to bed, but Roger Federer would not die. Eventually the Swiss ace managed to level it 2-2 in sets. With the momentum well and truly with Federer, Djokovic found another gear, going on to win the final set 6-4. If there ever was a sign of champion, that’s it.

The hard courts favour Djokovic tremendously. He has the pace to cover every yard of the court, while he loves playing at the Rod Laver Arena, he’s won the Australian Open four times.

When the Australian Open commences, Djokovic is certainly the man to beat.

 

Raphael Nadal

The Spaniard is currently fighting appendicitis, but he will hopefully be able to arrive in Australia in good shape. Nadal is an anomaly. He is a bull on the court, the fact that he is delaying surgery on his appendicitis until after the ATP Finals, in early November, shows just how resilient the Mallorca man is.

1Clay is where Nadal is at his most ruthless, but that’s not to say he cannot play the hard courts. He only has one victory in Melbourne to his name; the main reason for this is that he is either absent due to injury or beginning his comeback from injury. We rarely see a fully fit Nadal in Australia.

If Nadal arrives in Australia fully fit then he is the main threat to stopping Djokovic winning a fifth title.

Image: y.caradec

 

Roger Federer

The year 2014 saw a resurgent Roger Federer. The less said about 2013, the better. Many thought that Federer’s time had come to an end. For the first time in 36 consecutive Grand Slam tournaments Federer had failed to make a quarter-final.

Another legend of the game, Steffan Edberg, came into coach the greatest player of all time in the latter stages of 2013, and what a difference that made. This year has seen Federer return to his impeccable best, albeit minus a Grand Slam.

Although he doesn’t have the legs to cope with the running that hard courts necessitate, Federer is a ring-general. He dictates the play. If he wants you over to the right, you going to be over to the right. What he lacks in pace he makes up for in skill.

He was written off but returned in remarkable fashion. No longer do people look at him as a player on his way out. No, now he is back where he should be: a player to be feared.

As he has proven, you can never say never with Federer. If he makes it to the final then who knows?

1The year 2014 saw a resurgent Roger Federer. The less said about 2013, the better. Many thought that Federer’s time had come to an end. For the first time in 36 consecutive Grand Slam tournaments Federer had failed to make a quarter-final.

Another legend of the game, Steffan Edberg, came into coach the greatest player of all time in the latter stages of 2013, and what a difference that made. This year has seen Federer return to his impeccable best, albeit minus a Grand Slam.

Although he doesn’t have the legs to cope with the running that hard courts necessitate, Federer is a ring-general. He dictates the play. If he wants you over to the right, you going to be over to the right. What he lacks in pace he makes up for in skill.

He was written off but returned in remarkable fashion. No longer do people look at him as a player on his way out. No, now he is back where he should be: a player to be feared.

As he has proven, you can never say never with Federer. If he makes it to the final then who knows?

Image: toga

1Andy Murray

The Scot endured a torrid 2014, a stark contrast to his fantastic 2013, which saw him win Wimbledon.  That said, Murray was returning from surgery, so his season has hardly been that much of a failure. He needed game time and that is what he is getting now. When the Australian Open comes around he would have had a year of uninterrupted play, and he should be back at his best.

 

 

 

                                                                                                          Image: Carine06

 

Conclusion

The reason Cilic won the US Open was because of the injuries to Murray and Nadal. Had they both been fully fit neither he, nor Nishikori would have made it to the semi-finals.

As for who is going to win the Australian Open, that should be Djokovic. Nadal often struggles at this tournament and may not be 100 percent. Despite the skill of Federer, Djokovic has the power and the pace to neutralize him. Murray is a similar player to Djokovic and poses the Serbian all types of problems, so if he gets into the ATP Finals and does well then he probably poses the biggest threat to Djokovic. But, in all likeliness, the title is Djokovic’s.

Sep 30

Li Na’s Retirement Will Not Slow Down Growth of Asian Tennis

According to sports analysts, the rapid growth of tennis interest worldwide will not falter because of Li Na’s injury that forced her to retire from the sport.

Li Na is an icon of Asian tennis along with Kei Nishikori from Japan, who had recently won the Japan Open.

On the same day the World Tennis Association (WTA) had acclaimed her as a “friend of the Australian Open,” China had unveiled a new tennis tournament in Zuhai in Southern China.

Li Na said that she is very happy to be named as the friend of the Australian Open. She said that it has always been her favourite tournament because China feels that it is the Grand Slam event closest to them. She said winning in the Australian Open meant sharing her glory with all of China.

The event is known as the WTA Elite Trophy Zhuhai, incorporating both singles and doubles competition. It has a prize money worth $2.15 million dollars and will be the eighteenth Women’s Tennis events scheduled for 2015.

In 2008, the WTA opened its office in Zhuhai, China as Asia slowly developed its interest and industry of tennis.

The former Australian Open Deputy Tournament Director and WTA Current Managing Director of Asia Pacific Peter Johnston will be running the Zhuhai tournament. It is set to be played a week after the BNP Paribas WTA Finals in Singapore.

According to Johnston, the Zhuhai tournament will help the WTA find the rising stars of tennis and will feature the WTA’s best players worldwide.

Source

Aug 11

Venus Beats Little Sister Serena in The Semi Finals of The Rogers Cup

Venus Williams defeats her little sister, World Number 1 Women’s Tennis Serena Williams with a three-set game last Saturday and she will be moving onwards to the Roger’s Cup Finals in Montreal. This is her second time to defeat her sister after winning against her in a 2009 semi-finals in Dubai.

Their meetings in court have become rare since the 2009 Tour Championships.

Serena Williams tweeted about her loss, congratulating her sister and wrote a sentimental line saying “Big sister taught little sister a lesson…”

According to Venus, the level they were playing was very high as she and her sister served well, moved well and it showed competitiveness from both sisters.

Serena had more aces against Venus, but Venus performed very well during the first part of the game until Serena managed to catch up with a 3-3 score.

Serena said that her sister moved very well and her aces were defeated by good serves and returns from her older sister.

Meanwhile, Venus will wait until the winner of  the other semi-final match between Polih Agnieszka Radwanska and Russian Ekaterina Makarova is decided.

Source

Jul 08

Novak Djokovic Says Thank You To Federer for Letting Him Win Wimbledon

In an astounding 6-7 (7-9), 6-4, 7-6 (7-4), 5-7, 6-4 match, Novak Djokovic takes the number one spot from Rafael Nadal after winning his most recent Grand Slam title in Wimbledon against Roger Federer.  A great recovery following his three major final mishaps this year, he said that “I needed this win a lot.”

During his speech at the awarding ceremony in Britain, he thanked Roger Federer for letting him win as he acknowledged the fact that the entire match was tight and difficult. Nerves were rattling and the first one to give up between them was to lose the match.

Djokovic had world number four Roger Federer into very long rallies, having Federer peak on his stamina, but Federer took advantage of his weakness in net approaches. Djokovic’s specialty is defensive tennis. Federer said “I think Novak tried as much as he could to play offensive as well.”

Federer had more winning shots and aces than Djokovic in the entire game. However, his stamina was his weakness.

Djokovic had shed tears following his recent Grand Slam win. He dedicated his win to his family, his training team and his future wife Jelena Ristic, who is with child. He also dedicated it to his early childhood tennis coach Jelena Gencic, who had passed away last year.

Source

Jun 09

Rafael Nadal Takes 9th Win in French Open

Tennis World Number One Rafael Nadal wins his 9th French Open after winning his match against World Number Two Novak Djokovic. The Serbian fought against the master of clay courts in a match that looked to Nadal at 3-6, 7-5, 6-2,6-4. The match lasted for 3 hours and 31 minutes, making it one of the most commendable matches of the season.

According to Rafael Nadal, playing against World Number two is always a great game. It challenges him because every score and point is very difficult. Nadal wore down Djokovic, who was ostensibly tired after his difficulty to balance himself and his deep breaths.

At the age of 28, Rafael Nadal now owns 14 Grand Slam titles. He is now on par with Pete Sampras, who was only second place to Roger Federer, who has 17 Grand Slam Titles.

Nadal said to the World Number Two that he will win in the French Open in the future and he does not doubt Djokovic’s capabilities to win and play. Djokovic in turn congratulated Nadal for his victory, and that he will be coming back to the French Open to make another run for his title.

Nadal said that his victory in the French Open is his comeback from failing to win in the Australian Open after his back injury gave him so much pain during his crucial match.

Source

May 08

Nadal Reaches New Milestone After Latest Win In Open

Rafael Nadal’s first win in the Mutua Madrid Open had him reach a new milestone with a 6-1, 6-0 score against Juan Monaco from Argentina. The Spaniard had converted six of 10 break points, which had him finish the match in 69 minutes, with a match service of 79% of the time.

Now, Nadal’s Win/Loss record is at 684-134, which surpasses Arthurs Ashe’s 683-225 Mark, achieving him a milestone. He is now set to surpass Boris Becker and his 713 wins to be part of Tennis’ All-Time Players List.

Nadal said that he was very happy to be compared to Arthur Ashe as being on the same level with a tennis legend is a great satisfaction for him.

Stanislas Wawrinka, who had also won the Madrid Trophy in 2005 and 2010, had great difficulty getting back up the Madrid Open after being defeated in Monte Carlo and Barcelona.

Nadal must now face off with Finnish Jarkko Niemenen, who had won against Igor Sijsling with a 6-3, 62 set. Niemenen said that it was the biggest challenge for him to face off against the Tennis World Number 1 and he is looking forward to their match.

Source

Apr 08

Davis Cup Sees Federer Land Semi Finals Position in Years

Roger Federer gives Switzerland its 3-2 win against Kazakhstan in the Davis Cup as he lands a spot in the semi-finals for the country in 11 years. Federer won against 64th Seed Andrey Golubev, giving him a chance at a first Davis Cup Title.  The set of 7-6 (0), 6-2,6-3 ensured Switzerland’s spot in the semi-finals.

Meanwhile, Australian Open Champion Stanislas Wawrinka further improves Switzerland’s standing in the cup as he defeated Mikhail Kukushkin by 6-7 (4), 6-4, 6-4, 6-4.

Federer last reached the semi-finals of the Davis Cup in 2003, but the Swiss team lost to Australia under the leadership of Lleyton Hewitt. He won his first match point against Golubev with a good serve that aced through. He won against Kukushkin in the opening singles with straight sets.

Federer said “we’re very relieved and very happy. It was a long weekend with a lot of tennis.” In a court-side interview, Federer said that he was very happy that Stanislas Wawrinka gave him a chance to play again and have a shot at the Davis Cup title.

Source

Mar 27

Djokovic Wins Sony Open Quarter Final against Andy Murray

Sony Open announced Djokovic’s win against Andy Murray after Murray lost a dispute about an erroneous call from Djokovic. The World Number 2 won 7-5, 6-3, in the quarterfinals of the Sony Open.

Djokovoic’s charged forward and short ball helped him win a 5-6 set. However, Andy Murray and TV replays argued that he should have won the point because Djokovic’s racket hit the tennis net when he struck the short ball. Chair umpire Damian Steiner did not change his call.

Murray discussed the matter with Djokovic, who said that his racket was over the net. However, Djokovic said that he crossed the net with the racket but he did not touch the net. Steiner had ruled that crossing over the net is a valid move, which had Murray frustrated and distracted and had cost him the game.

He said that he would have conceded the point if the rules indeed said crossing over the net was illegal.

Djokovic is set to play on Friday against Roger Federer and Kei Nishikori

In other games, Dominika Cibulkova won against Agnieszka Radwanska in three sets despite having lost three match points having overturned Chair umpire calls.  She will be playing against Li Na or Carloine Wozniacki after the match of the two players Wednesday night.

 Source

Mar 04

World Tennis Day Has Former and Current Tennis Greats

In celebration of the Second World Tennis Day, former and current tennis superstars participate in exhibition games that aim to promote tennis to the world and expand the number of participants in the world today. According to the International Tennis Federation, 60 nations are taking part in the celebration of this day.

StarGames had organized three events for the World Tennis Day. In the Hong Kong Velodrome, the BNP Paribas Showdown will highlight Lleyton Hewitt, Li Na, Tomas Berdych and Samantha Stosur. In the World Tennis Day Showdown at London’s Earl Court, Andre Agassi, Pete Sampras, Pat Cash and Ivan Lendl will face off against each other. Novak Djokovic, Bob Bryan, Mike Bryan and Andy Murray will be taking part at New York’s Madison Square Garden.

The 60 nations taking part in the celebration of the sports day will promote the 2007-born Tennis Play and Stay campaign, which promotes tennis as an easy, fun and healthy sport. The nations will provide beginner courses for those wanting to try and play tennis by using non-professional equipment, such as slower and less-bouncing balls, shorter and lighter rackets, and smaller courts.

According to the ITF, the World Tennis Day had always been a successful initiative in using such events to bring the world’s attention to the developments of the sport in different parts of the world from 2007. March 3rd will always be an important day for Tennis.

Source

Jan 23

World Tennis Top Halves Not Present in Australian Open Finals

The Australian Open 2014 continues to be an exciting match for tennis fans as the biggest upsets in contemporary tennis history had recently happened. Women’s Tennis two-time champion Victoria Azarenka falls to her knees against Agnieszka Radwanska following a gruelling match set in Australia’s Rod Laver Court scoring 1-6 7-5 0-6. She will then play in the final four for the quarter finals.

World Number one for Women’s Tennis Serena Williams had also lost to Ana Ivanovic after she served Williams with consistent point-for-point returns. However, Ivanovic had lost to Canadian Eugenie Bouchard, who is now the first Canadian tennis player to reach the semifinals of the Australian Open.

Another recent upset was Novak Djokovic losing to five sets against Stanislas Wawrinka with 6-2 4-6 2-6 6-3 7-9, ending the former’s Australian Open winning streak in a precision-laden match that a minor error can cost one the entire game. The entire set had gone on for four hours.

Remaining on top of his game, World Number 6 Roger Federer comes from the ashes of his inconsistent performance in 2013 to win against Andy Murray with 6-3 6-4 6-7(6) 6-3. Murray blames his lack of time spent doing match practice because of his back surgery recovery.

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