Archive for the ‘roger federer’ Category

sunday survey: roger’s run done?

September 11, 2011

The final question? Yes, we’ve all been wondering this for almost three years now. Since Roger Federer lost in the Australian Open final to Rafael Nadal in 2009 and broke down in tears on the podium, there has been talk that the so-called GOAT was past him prime. And then came having kids. And turning 30. Queue the weekly retirement questions.

But  after yesterday’s meltdown — yes, it was a match that was Federer’s to win — the question can really be popped: Will Roger Federer ever win another major? Federer added to two abysmal and ultimately un-Federer-like stats yesterday with his loss to Djoko: he lost his second match ever when leading two sets to love (had done so for the first time ever at Wimbledon earlier this summer against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga), moving his record to 189-2 in his career and for the second straight year squandered match points in an Open semifinal. Your votes below.

(AP photo)

fashion focus: nike gives roger one sleek and one casual look

September 8, 2011

With Roger Federer these days, Nike has kept frivolous design to a minimum: gone are the flashy, gimmicky clothing; the blazers, the big bags, the warm-up dress pants — and the minimalist remains are enough to please the eye but not overpower it. Nike’s kept with this new aesthetic in Roger’s kits for the 2011 U.S. Open.

The casual day outfit has a bright red v-neck (with grey detail) while his night attire has a darker grey polo with red lines trimming the collar and appearing as a racing stripe down the back. Of course, there are the same construction elements that we’ve come to see in most of Roger’s shirts — no-sew application, laser-cut button holes, bonded plackets.

Icing on the cake: While all-dark outfits are nothing new, the prevalence of neon at this year’s event endeared us to the third seed’s stealthy ensemble. This outfit reflects Roger’s current state: toned down, flying under the radar, but still elegant where it counts. And with the youthful bursts of white emanating from his socks and shoes, we see a glimpse of Fed in the tail end of his career — letting loose just a little.

Brackets: Fed’s currently playing his quarterfinal against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. The winner will play Djokovic, who won his QF match after Janko Tipsarevic retired with a hamstring injury while trailing in the fourth set. (Draw: Men’s Singles)

More: Plenty of detail shots of his day/night looks and his Lunar Vapor 8 Tour shoes — all after the cut…

the next tennis event at msg is set for 3/5/12

September 7, 2011

Mark your calendars: The next BNP Paribas Showdown, the annual tennis event at New York’s Madison Square Garden, will feature two best-of-three exhibition matches for its fifth iteration: up first will be three-time major winner Maria Sharapova against World No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki; the men’s match will be an exo between Roger Federer and Andy Roddick. This will be the first time that Maria and Roddick are playing in the Garden.

This event also celebrates “Tennis Night in America” (can they play this on the jumbotron, please?), a nationwide campaign to raise awareness for the sport in the U.S.

Info: Tickets start at $50 and go on sale Monday, October 3 via Ticketmaster. Sign up for pre-sale alerts at tennisshowdown.com.

oh, mirka!

September 6, 2011

(photo by Getty Images)

trophy watch: another rf tee from nike

September 6, 2011

Check out this Roger Federer tee being sold by Nike at their on-site U.S. Open booth. It wasn’t included in the preview they released, so I’m glad we ran across it!

Pop quiz: The images show Roger’s medal from the Olympics (albeit in doubles) along with 14 of his majors. He has 16 Slams in total; which ones did they leave out?

In a rush: Fed took care of things quickly against Juan Monaco in the fourth round of this year’s men’s singles event; between the late start (that Wozniacki/Kuznetsova took forever) and the threat of a rain delay, he wanted to finish ASAP. Roger only dropped three games against the Argentine and has booked a quarterfinal appointment with Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, the man who beat him in the final 8 of this year’s Wimbledon. (Draw: Men’s Singles)

(screengrab via ESPN)

roger on the nike tennis website

September 3, 2011

(screengrab via nike.com)

bracketology: the men of flushing (and how they’ll fare)

August 27, 2011

By Christopher Phillips


Cool and calm: Novak is the US Open’s top seed for the first time ever. (Getty Images photo)

More: See Christopher’s breakdown of the women’s side of things here.

Djokovic — Winner | Shoulder injury aside, you’d be hard pressed to not pick Novak. He opens with a qualifier then would play either Pere Riba or Carlos Berlocq, two dirtballers, in the 2nd round. His first challenge could be in the third round against Nikolay Davydenko. 13th seed Richard Gasquet, 22nd seed Alexandr Dolgopolov, Sergiy Stakhovsky, Kei Nishikori, Ivo Karlovic, and Fernando Gonzalez could all be waiting Novak in the 4th round.

Rafael Nadal –- Semifinals | Nadal’s road is quite a bit trickier than that of Djokovic. He opens against Andrey Golubev. The Kazakh is currently ranked no. 97, but the ATP’s Most Improved Player of the year for 2010 was as high as no. 33 in October of last year. Nadal should get through that match without too much difficulty, but could face former Top 5 players David Nalbandian or Ivan Ljubicic in the 3rd Round, then two-time Open Semifinalist Mikhail Youzhny or 17th seed Jurgen Melzer in the 4th round.

Roger Federer –- Semifinals | Federer opens against Santiago Giraldo, who hasn’t played a match on hard courts since Miami, and then could play the Brazilian lefty Thomaz Bellucci, who just missed being seeded, in the second round. Ryan Harrison or 27th seed Marin Cilic should lie head in the 3rd Round with 23rd seed Radek Stepanek, 15th seed Viktor Troicki or Philipp Kohlschreiber potentially waiting in the 4th round.

Andy Murray –- Finals | This summer’s Cincinnati champion comes into New York in fine form. He’ll open against Somdev Devvarman in round one. Big-serving Robin Haase could challenge Murray in the second round and 25th seed Feliciano Lopez in the 3rd round could pose problems for Murray, but his solid return game should counter any danger there. | TSF Vault: Murray

David Ferrer — Quarterfinals | Ferrer reached the semis in New York back in 2007 and lost a thrilling fifth-set tiebreak to countryman Fernando Verdasco here last year in the 4th round. He also tasted a Major semifinal earlier this year in Australia. The only thing that brings about concern about Ferrer living up to his seeding is his lack of hard court match play this summer: an injury sat him out for every event save Cincy. To his credit, however, he beat Roddick and Fish in Davis Cup in early July — two giant wins on American fast courst. His biggest challenge to the quarterfinals will be 10th seed Nicolas Almagro or 21st seed (how strange is that number?!) Andy Roddick.

Robin Soderling –- Second Round | The Swede hasn’t played a hard court match since early losses to Juan Martin del Potro and Kohlschreiber in Miami and Indian Wells, respectively, but follows Djokovic with the second-most hard court championships this year (three). Soderling’s lack of play this summer could send him out early to rising American veteran Alex Bogomolov Jr.. Bogomolov beat Soderling 2 and 2 in Indianapolis in 2004, so there’s no reason to think he can’t do it again.

Gael Monfils –- Quarterfinals | Of the top eight, Monfils has the toughest draw into the quarterfinals. He’ll open against potential future star and current heartbreaker Grigor Dimitrov, before possibly meeting former USO finalist Juan Carlos Ferrero in the 2nd round. 31st seed Marcel Granollers, Albert Montanes or Xavier Malisse could wait in the 3rd round before a potential match-up with 9th seed Tomas Berdych — who’s never made it past the 4th round here — or Montreal semifinalist 20th Janko Tipsarevic in the 4th round.

Not filleted: Fish is riding a strong summer coming into the USO. (Getty)

Mardy Fish –- Round of 16 | Opening against German Tobias Kamke, Fish should have pretty smooth sailing to the 4th round where he’s likely to meet Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. Tsonga could come through in that match-up, but potential matches against big servers Thiemo De Bakker in the second round and Kevin Anderson or 29th seed Michael Llodra in the third round could give Fish the extra batting practice he needs to beat the Frenchman. | TSF Vault: Fish

Dark Horses | Potential winners? Probably not. But these boys could pull a few upsets and find themselves in week two at Flushing.

11th seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga | Tsonga’s play has been one of the most exciting to watch this year. Assuming he’s regrouped and healed since his retirement against Novak in the Montreal semifinals, he’d meet slumping 19th Fernando Verdasco in the third round followed by “your country’s eyes are on you for a change” 8th seed Fish in the R16. Should Tsonga make it through both of those, he’ll face 3rd Federer for the 5th time this year and will be going into that match with some serious momentum beating the Swiss in their last two meetings.

16th seed Mikhail Youzhny | Youzhny has twice been a semifinalist in New York before: last year and in 2006. Despite a relatively easy loss to Nadal here last year, he did get the better of the Spaniard in 2006. He’s set to meet Nadal in the 4th round this year and — given the Spaniard’s unimpressive summer — it’s highly possible that Youzhny could find himself in the semifinals for a third time in six years.

18th seed Juan Martin del Potro | Well… in as much as a former champion can be considered a “dark horse.” JMdP has underperformed this summer, with second round losses to Federer and Cilic in Cincinnati and Montreal, respectively. Perhaps he’s just saving himself for the big show? The Argentine’s first challenge would be against 12th seed Gilles Simon in the 3rd round (Simon has never been past the round of 32). A potential 4th rounder versus 28th seed and Winston-Salem champ John Isner or Soderling would come next.

20th seed Janko Tipsarevic | The Serb loves the big stages and they don’t get bigger than Arthur Ashe Stadium. Janko opens against a qualifier and would face 9th seed Berdych in the 3rd round. Tomas’ track record in New York isn’t very good, so Janko could see himself in the 4th round against Monfils. And depending on the Frenchman’s form that day, perhaps even into the QFs to take on countryman Djokovic.

TSF Vault: US Open | Bracketology

First-Round Matches to Watch:

Youzhny vs. Ernests Gulbis | The Latvian was at his career peak at no. 21 in the world earlier this year, but has done little this summer since upsetting del Potro and Fish on his way to the Los Angeles title. He got the better of Youzhny at the Masters tournaments in Paris and Madrid last year.

23rd seed Radek Stepanek vs. Kohlschreiber | The dancing Czech dropped out of the top 70 earlier this year, but his title in Washington bodes well for him. The German has seen better days — but he’s always capable of an upset.

Harri situation? Ryan’s always an eye-brow raiser. (TSF)

Cilic vs. Harrison | Can the young (hot) American continue his hot summer?

Isner vs. Marcos Baghdatis | Just about anytime the Cypriot is on court, it’s going to be a fun match.

32nd seed Ivan Dodig vs. Davydenko | The Russian and former world no. 3 missed being seeded by a few spots, but twice a semifinalist here, he knows how to get it done.

Fernando Gonzalez vs. Ivo Karlovic | It’s great to see the Chilean back in action. Combined ages? 63.

See the full men’s draw here | Qualies

Predictions | 4th round:
Djokovic d Gasquet
Monfils d Tipsarevic
Federer d Stepanek
Tsonga d Fish
Del Potro d Isner
Murray d Wawrinka
Ferrer d Almagro
Nadal d Youzhny

QFs:
Djokovic d Monfils
Federer d Tsonga
Murray d Del Potro
Nadal d Ferrer

SFs:
Djokovic d Federer
Murray d Nadal

Finals:
Djokovic d Murray – 4 sets

short balls: rog’s b-day, serena’s love life, worst fashion and more

August 13, 2011

Oh, Canada! It’s been a wacky and weird week in Canada — both at the women’s event in Toronto and for the men in Montreal. Andy Murray, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal all saw early exits, as did top women Kim Clijsters and Caroline Wozniacki. Are we in for such a tumultuous two weeks at Flushing Meadows, too?! Hopefully the top tier will have their games a little more finely tuned for the USO. Oh right, and did we mention the power outages? Yes, there were several. Draws: Men | Women

Better with age: Federer wasn’t the only one celebrating a birthday this last week. The Swiss Mister turned the big 3-0 in Canada and while there have been plenty of questions surrounding the aging of the GOAT, the Tour took a few days to celebrate the former world no. 1’s turning of age. While Federer is under increased pressure as he grows older, 90-year-old Donald Van Blake doesn’t have such weight on his shoulders. The teaching pro who helped motivate a generation of tennis players was celebrated this last week in Central Jersey, over 100 people attending the festivities at a local tennis complex.

The Serena Times: While it’s great to have Serena Williams back on the court for tennis’ sake, the first female of the sport never disappoints headline-wise off the court, either. This week, there was plenty of ink action for SW: a pilot for a reality TV show that centers around a nail salon that Serena has supposedly been rejected (reported by New York Daily News) by Lifetime (and OWN). But Serena got to do Oprah‘s toes, so that’s enough, right?! Additionally, Serena was spotted hanging and hitting a few balls with rapper Drake at a South Florida resort recently. Dating?! Is Common officially outta the picture? | TSF Vault: Serena

Fashion, now: The crew at TennisNow.com has put together a slideshow of the worst tennis fashion of all time, but with a little twist. It’s their “non-Williams” edition, meaning both Venus and Serena didn’t get considered for wacky outfits for the summer. Cue the Bethanie Mattek-Sands shots!

short(er) balls: Before she bowed out from play in Canada, Clijsters had a great Q&A with SI’s Jon Wertheim. One take away: girl’s got no time for Snooki. | Eating curry can help cure tennis elbow? One study says so. | Just over a week away, New Haven makes final preparations and checks in with two-time defending champion Wozniacki. Plus, the tourney has offered a wildcard to Venus Williams, who pulled out of Cincy. | A tennis dad beats up a player in the stands — for cheering against his daughter. Take that, Jim Pierce! The beaten player, Elise Tamaele, is listed on the WTA site. | Crowds in DC for the Legg Mason Classic were down this year, from 75,039 last year to 67,161 this year. | Martha’s Vineyard tennis fashion? WASPs have never been so WASP-y. | Elena Dementieva — and that Yonex dress — play in an exhibition in Russia.

trophy watch: london hardware

July 5, 2011

Different paths, same result: The lead-ups to their respective Wimbledon titles could not have been more different, but it was Petra Kvitova and Novak Djokovic who were at the Champions’ Ball on Sunday night, each posing with their respective, hard-earned trophies. Kvitova’s 6-4 6-3 victory over Maria Sharapova shocked us a bit — at least in the ease that she saw it through — and the way she took it all in stride (no on-court breakdown, P?!) after winning. For Djokovic, his 6-4 6-1 1-6 6-3 win over Rafael Nadal was the Spaniard’s first loss to someone other than Roger Federer in a Grand Slam final. Below, a look at all the Wimbledon champs from the Bryan brothers’ historic doubles victory to the winning juniors. Above: We are digging Kvitova’s toned-down side bun and simple, but gorgeous manicure. A classy champ!

Forbes blog: Djoko’s season a flash in the pan? | Full Wimbledon gallery

Us, too! It was a monstrous week for Bob and Mike Bryan, who won their third round match 16-14 in the fifth set and semifinal match 9-7 in the fifth set before comfortably rolling in the final, 6-3 6-4 7-6 (2) over Robert Lindstedt of Sweden and Horia Tecau of Romania. Their win in London was their 11th Major title, which ties them with Aussie duo Mark Woodforde and Todd Woodbridge for most Grand Slams by a doubles pairing.

Not just you, Novak: Djokovic became the world’s no. 1 player in yesterday’s rankings with his win at the All England Club, but so, too, did Kveta Peschke and Katarina Srebotnik, who took the ladies’ doubles crown. Peschke and Srebotnik subdued Sam Stosur and Sabine Lisicki 6-3 6-1 for the title.

Smile, Jurgen: Our life wouldn’t be complete if we couldn’t include mixed doubles cutie Jurgen Melzer in this week’s Trophy Watch. The Austrian paired up with Czech Iveta Benesova to take the mixed crown over Elena Vesnina and Mahesh Bhupathi, 6-3 6-2. | TSF Vault: Jurgen Melzer

After the cut: Australia wins a double in singles with boys’ and girls’ winners while Novak gets a champion’s welcome home in Belgrade. (more…)

for traveling pros, a tale of two approaches

June 19, 2011

By Jonathan Scott

Is that a sweater vest? Meet Roger Federer, amnesiac. (Getty)

Tennis is a tricky bitch. In no other sport does nostalgia ring so supreme as the calendar moves about — both in mind and spirit but in sport, too. And by sport we mean rankings. A great Wimbledon one year means everyone will be watching you the next. As Billie Jean King said: “Pressure is privilege.” But for some touring pros, pressure is just that — pressure. So as the raindrops (and strawberries and cream) start to fall across the pond, we look at two very different approaches to that pressure: those who seem to enjoy it and others who would rather the past was dumped just like a carton of sour, meant-for-strawberries cream.

The difference between an Amnesiac (the ones who’d like to forget Wimbledon 2010, and perhaps the 12 months since) and an Android (those who will be looking to methodically defend and go just as far again, if not a step further) will indubitably be a matter of psychological and physical fortitude. But, let’s be real, mostly mental. A lot of mental.

AMNESIACS

Tsvetana Pironkova: How to explain the free-fall? This quick-striking Piron-ha 2010 made the Wimby semis before evaporating. She gave Serena a fair fight in round one at Eastbourne this month, but the gal who vanquished Venus last year has all but vanished since, nearly as much as the House of Williams itself. A likely and foreboding second-rounder against Vania King or Petra Martic looms. Danger, dear Piron-ha!

Caroline Wozniacki: No way around it, the future no. 1 had her Stella McCartney-branded clock cleaned by Petra Kvitova at this time last year, submitting 2-and-0 to the Czech’s lashing strokes. A hard-court tuneup at home in Copenhagen – dubbed the Wozniacki Open by, well, everyone – wasn’t the best prep, but Caro simply has to forget last year’s lawn debacle if she’s going to vie for that virgin Slam. A potential second-round fracas against Sania Mirza lurks; lest we forget, Mirza took Justine Henin to three sets in Melbourne six months ago.

Full TSF Wimbledon coverage: Men’s preview | Women’s | Your winners?

Mirjana Lucic: The doe-eyed teen once tapped by Steffi Graf as an heir apparent in women’s tennis would probably rather forget the past decade more than just the last year. Lucic competed gamely against Jelena Jankovic at the 2010 U.S. Open but, no thanks to her father, her career and her life have been a piping hot mess since her dreamy ascension to the 1999 Wimbledon semis. First up for the comeback girl: Dominika Cibulkova, the no. 24 seed. Expect a shootout.

Nicholas Mahut: Think the lawn gods are at all kind? Rethink that right quick. Mahut drew John “Tall Tree” Isner in the first round AGAIN. If there’s any justice in the world, Mahut may even notch a W at the Big W this time out, provided that he serves well (you’d think 103 aces last year would have done the trick) and has, you know, developed his return and groundstroke game.

Roger Federer: Fed claimed his back ailed him in going down to Tomas Berdych last year, a gripe that Big Berd received sorely. If his French Open form holds, Roger, who may as well refer to Centre Court as his “backyard,” is a threat to seize his 17th Slam here and now. It may be his best chance for the rest of his career, and subtly so. A possible third-round bout with David Nalbandian intrigues.

Novak Djokovic: The Djoker has done anything but laugh at the All England Club in his young career to date. In short, when this fortnight has come around, his ass is grass. A semifinal appearance in 2010 had him waving his Wimbledon whites to Berdych’s missiles. This year’s streaking artist has much to prove on the surface, and no doubt he feels that heat. To make the semis again would honestly be to break even. Robin Soderling, Phillip Petzschner, Xavier Malisse, Jurgen Melzer, Victor Troicki, Michael Llodra, James Blake, Florian Mayer, fresh-faced Brit James Ward, and even Alejandro Falla (who nearly pulled the early rug out from under Fed last year) are all in his section. In a word, wow. He’d have better luck to play them all at once…

ANDROIDS

Ever the android, Kvitova levitates at the 2010 Championships. (Getty)

Vera Zvonareva: Life itself is like Ms. Zvonareva: You never know what you’re gonna get. Last week’s Eastbourne triumph over Serena (7-5 in the 3rd!) had to help, but VZ has scads and oodles of points to defend here or her ranking may dive. Elena Vesnina, her doubles partner in a run to the final last year, awaits in round two, but Vera should and will be wise to not look past Alison Riske first. The American girl has a grass-tastic forehand and likes the turf.

Serena Williams: Nary a new word can be crafted as far as what Serena’s presence does for the media and entertainment prospects at these Championships. The defending champ rained down a record 89 aces in taking the title in 2010 without losing a set – and then POOF! we didn’t see her again until this present time. Her makeshift match play at Eastbourne belies the fact that, when all’s on the line, you doubt a Williams and you likely get burned. A funked-up Aravane Rezai is her first foe, and it’s hard to see anyone in her quadrant giving Serena an alley fight until Marion Bartoli or Na Li in the later rounds.

Petra Kvitova: Mmm, too Kvit to quit – Petra means “rock” in Greek, but this Czech sensation can be a bit malleable in high-risk situations. Sure, she blasted Wozniacki en route to a combative 2010 semi against Serena, but she’s not dazzled when it mattered most in Slams since then. A Paris victory indoors over Kim Clijsters is her best showing in the past year. She needs a defining statement at this Slam to regain her form and inflict terror in opponents about her ground game, if not her endearing pterodactyl-esque squawk after lasering winners. Hard-serving Canuck Rebecca Marino may give her game like whoa in round three.

Tomas Berdych: Forget the fact that T-Berd fell in the French’s first round 9-7 in the fifth, less surrendering his 2010 semifinal points there. He has finalist credentials in London, and simply must go about his work robotically and avoid considering that his last year has been a wipeout. He didn’t handle the new media attention well in the wake of his surprise showing last year, but the sole seeming trouble he may have in his eighth of the draw arrives in the person of Philipp Kohlschreiber, a grass-court maven and heartbreaker who often plays the top guns tight. After that? Nadal. Then again, this is Berdych, and he might as well make his own life harder with Julien Benneteau early.

Rafael Nadal: The changing conditions of the court and heavier balls at Wimbledon have benefitted Rafa to no end. If the grass was as it was in the 1980s and ‘90s, he’d have no chance and Federer would be approaching 20 Slams now. Even so, the reigning champ (who should be sporting an “I’m still no. 1, no?” tee these days) has done everything right to capitalize on his strengths and impose his will here. A third-round boxing match with Milos Raonic and/or a fourth-round duel against Juan Martin del Potro both entice.

Andy Murray: Besides James Ward, who just alighted upon the grass courts and the front pages in the UK with recent success, there’s a strapping lad by the name of Andy Murray who, like Federer, is poised in a prime spot to turn the tables on Nadal and Djokovic, the two who have garnered all the 2011 press to date. Mr. Fuzzy Muzz should shed his thin skin (in addition to his overgrown Chia head and whiskers) and put his (tennis) balls to the (purple and green) wall. He may get Ivan Ljubicic, Stanislas Wawrinka, and Andy Roddick in succession, but Raggedy Andy proved himself on clay this spring and now could catalyze a tennis revolution in Great Britain by channeling all his nervous energy into a real run to the final. No time like now for the cunning no. 4 star.

Jonathan Scott is the keeper of the Daily Spin column at TENNIS.com and a freelance music scribe when he’s not caught up by tennis, which is hardly ever. Follow him on Twitter: @jonscott9

sunday survey: andy’s slam?

June 19, 2011

Question this: We figure that with the ladies trying to get their druthers about them, we’ll wait until next Sunday to let you weigh in on who’s going to run home with the title. But for the fellas, let’s check out who the TSF nation thinks is going to hoist high the Wimbledon trophy come July 3. Is it finally Andy Murray’s year?

TSF on Wimbledon: Men’s preview | Women’s preview

(adidas Murray image via Tennis Buzz/Flickr)

bracketology: chris breaks down sw19 (men)

June 19, 2011

By Christopher Phililps

For Wimbledon, our resident bracketologist, Chris Phillips, takes a look at both the men’s and women’s draws and breaks down who he thinks are going to be the winners — and losers — in the London this year. -NM

Rafael Nadal, above, practicing yesterday at Wimbledon: Ripped and ready. (Getty Images)
Prediction: Winner

Last year’s champion had a surprising QF loss to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga two weeks ago, but I think after a long clay court season and successful French Open, the extra days off will have served him better than the match play — even on grass. | More: The men’s draw

Novak Djokovic
Predition: SF

Nole is on his first losing streak of the year — one match. A two-time semifinalist here, including last year, his form this year should carry him through any problems he may have had in the past adjusting to the lawn. But a title? Not yet in London for Novak.

Roger Federer
Prediction: Finalist

Roger’s six titles here speak for themselves.  Even though he lost at Roland Garros to Nadal in the final, his quality of play there should keep him playing to the best of his ability. And everyone knows: Wimbledon is Roger’s favorite tournament of the year. | TSF Vault: Roger at Wimbledon

Andy Murray
Prediction: SF

This year’s AEGON champion made quick work of the field in London with wins over Tsonga, Andy Roddick, Marin Cilic and Janko Tipsarevic. I’m sure the British press doesn’t know how much extra weight they can put on their own man again.  The quieter they keep, the better the Brit will do. But are we kidding ourselves? Andy-mania has already hit the entire country! Here’s to two weeks of painful and pressure-building headlines in the morning papers. All the same, Murray will do what he usually does in London — make it to the semifinals.

Robin Soderling
Prediction: QF

Soderling’s best result here was the QFs last year.  You’d think the big man would do better on the lawns with that serve of his.  By skipping all the warmup tournaments, his first couple matches could be difficult. The Sod has Halle finalist Philipp Petzschner in the first round, then either Kei Neishikori (Eastbourne semifinalist) or Lleyton Hewitt (2002 Wimby champion) in the second.

Tomas Berdych
Prediction: R16

Last year’s surprise finalist has a relatively easy draw until he runs into unseeded German and this year’s Halle champion Philipp Kohlschreiber or no. 10 seed Mardy Fish in the fourth round. Has anyone else suffered more of a muted last 12 months than Berdych? His first-round loss at the French only punctuated what has been a disappointing spell for the Czech.

David Ferrer
Prediction: R16

The seventh-seeded Spaniard has never had his best results on the grass, only reaching the fourth here twice (including last year).  He’ll most likely run into this year’s AEGON finalist Tsonga in that same stage this year.

Andy Roddick
Prediction: QF

The American’s best days are behind him and Murray’s rather swift dismantling of Roddick in the AEGON QFs still has to be hurting. Having skipped most of the clay court season, I think Roddick would’ve been better off to get some extra match play and confidence-building wins in this past week rather than take more time off.

Gael Monfils
Prediction: R16

The Frenchman has underperformed here in the past, only going as far as the third round in four appearances. Monfils’ first formidable opponent would be no. 23 seed Janko Tipsarevic, with the winner most likely facing Roddick in the fourth round. Tipsarevic is questionable after an injury over the weekend in Eastbourne, and if Monfils can get through his first few rounds unscathed, the athletic speedster could pick up steam and surprise a few in the second week.

Mardy Fish
Prediction: R2

Of the leading Americans, Fish has the toughest draw. He could face Kohlschreiber in second round, then Fernando Verdasco, Radek Stepanek or Robin Haase in the third round, the furthest he’s previously gone at Wimbledon. The streaky German will get the best of the American, we think, in the round of 64.

Read Chris’ “Best of the Rest” as well as the most anticipated first-round match-ups after the cut. (more…)

trophy watch: and the na’s have it

June 6, 2011


The King and Queen of Clay: Between Rafael Nadal and Li Na, the Na’s had it over the weekend in Paris. It was a tremendous finish to a grand clay-court major, Na coming out on top of what some called a depleted field but one that saw four semifinalist who could have all easily claimed their last two matches in straight sets and everyone would have said, Yeah, we guess that makes sense. It did make sense for Na, who fought off a poor-serving Maria Sharapova in the semifinals and then just barely rose above the defending champ, Francesca Schiavone, to win in China’s first singles Major.

As for Rafa, he fought off all the usuals: Andy Murray and Roger Federer at the end. He also fought off a testy first week, a doubting press (and a doubting self) and the streak of Novak Djokovic (thanks to Rog). Nadal now has ten Slams to his name, creeping into the double digits along with Federer. Whichever the two of them end up with more is yet to be seen (for years), but Nadal equaled Bjorn Borg‘s record of six Roland Garros trophies. Kudos, kid.


(Nadal image from Getty; Na from PacificCoastNews.com)

sunday survey: week one’s 1-2 punch

May 29, 2011

Fabulous Franny: There’s been no stopping the Italian at this year’s French — so far. (Getty)

Era’s first. For the first time in the Open era the women’s no. 1 and no. 2 seeds are out of the tournament before the second week has even begun. For Kim Clijsters it was a dismal performance against unheralded Dutchwoman Arantxa Rus (who was promptly dispatched in the next round by Maria Kirilenko 1 and 1, thank you very much), in which she blew second-set match points. And for top seed Caroline Wozniacki it was an almost-as-bad showing against the always-lurking Daniela Hantuchova, bowing out 1-6 3-6.

But what was the biggest story line of the first week of the year’s second Slam? Novak Djokovic continued his impenetrable run through the men of the tour — a run not even 2009 US Open champ Juan Martin del Potro could stop. Roger and Rafa looked to be in all-right form thus far, though last year’s semifinalist Tomas Berdych continued his downward slide in a first-round loss to a French qualifier. And what about Francesca Schiavone? The defending champ that no one gave a chance was work-lady-like in her week one at Roland Garros, finding a spot in the QFs with a convincing 6-4-in-the-third win over Jelena Jankovic. And has everyone already forgotten about Sam Stosur??

What was the biggest story of week one? Your pick, below.

 

practice makes perfect: roger federer

May 27, 2011

Roger Federer has reached the fourth round of the 2011 French Open after brushing aside Janko Tipsarevic 6-1, 6-4, 6-3. Even from a different perspective — i.e., the buzz words these days are “Nadal” and “Nole” — it’s safe to say that this man can still play some good, clean ball: so far this week, he’s used his efficient serve to rack up only two break points after three rounds of play.

Nike Air Max Redux Men’s T-Shirt, $20, nike.com.

(photo by AP Photo/Christophe Ena)

roland garros bracketology: the fellas

May 19, 2011

By Christopher Phillips

[Ed note: Chris Phillips, part of TSF West, files his thoughts on who's hot, who's not and who might just make a run at this year's Roland Garros. -NEM]

With the men’s and women’s most significant clay court tournaments just completed and a handful of players getting their last bit of match time in this week, let’s take a look at some of the contenders for the 2011 French Open.  I’ve listed my top 10 favorites below in my own rank order as well as some other players to watch who’ve had notable achievements this year or in the past.

Rafael Nadal | While the tennis talk of the town has definitely been focused on Djokovic the past five months, I still believe this title is Nadal’s to lose. Djokovic has beaten Nadal four times this year with his last two on clay, but beating Rafa three out of five sets is much tougher of a challenge than beating him two out of three.  If anyone can do it though, Nole’s your man. Result: Champ (d. Djokovic in five-set final)

Novak Djokovic | I think at some point “streak pressure” has got to get to him.  Once people start asking how long can you keep it going is usually about when it stops, especially when it becomes the only question (in 20 different forms) in the media room. I detected a bit of panic on his face when he was two points away from losing to Andy Murray in the Rome SFs.  If you’re looking for more reasons he won’t beat Rafa, Nole lost to Jurgen Melzer last year in the QFs after holding a two-set lead.  Additionally — and one of the reasons why I think Murray was as successful against Novak as he was in Rome — is that nobody on the tour expects to beat this guy right now, giving them an increased ability to feel like they can swing away at their shots.  That being said, anything less than a trip to the final for Djoko would have to qualify as the biggest upset (for whoever snacks on him) of the year so far. Result: Runner-up

Roger Federer | As the oldest of the top three, the great one is past his prime … but this doesn’t mean another major (or two or three) are beyond him. But I just don’t see it happening here, nor do I see him as the victim of an upset.  He’s played eight tournaments this year winning one (Doha) and losing five to either Nadal or Djokovic.  What should be most troubling for Roger however is his straight-set loss to Melzer in the Monte Carlo QFs and losing two tiebreaks to Richard “Baby Federer” Gasquet in the third round at Rome. Result: Quarterfinals

Andy Murray | Murray’s year has been up and down, but the most encouraging thing for him going into the next two weeks should be the fact — not that he’s 13-7 on the year — but that he’s 7-3 on clay with two of those three-set losses to Nadal and Djokovic, respectively.  Hopefully these semifinal runs in Monte Carlo and Rome will give him the encouragement he needs to turn his game around for the year. More: Will Andy be OK despite his ‘injury?’ Result: Semifinals

David Ferrer | Ferrer is 15-3 (Update: DF upset by Alexandr Dolgopolov in Nice) on clay this year with his losses coming solely to … Nadal and Djokovic.  He’s had wins on the dirt over Melzer (twice), Nicolas Almagro (twice), Serb Victor Troicki, Jaun Monaco and Feliciano Lopez.  It’s going to take one of the big four to take him down. Result: Semifinals

Robin Soderling | Soderling’s made the past two finals at Roland Garros, but given his play this year, it’s difficult to see him going for a three-peat. He’s won three hard court titles (Brisbane, Rotterdam and Marseille) but has gone 5-4 on clay with his deepest run to quarterfinals in Rome, Madrid and Estoril.  Three of those losses were to Djokovic (losing most recently 3 & 0), Federer and Del Potro … but the other was to Ivan Dodig.  He also struggled against Almagro, Fernando Verdasco and Jeremy Chardy.  If any of the top eight are ripe for an early upset, it’s the Swede. Result: Quarterfinals

Scalp man: Soderling has had big wins the last two years. Don’t expect him to make it three in a row.

Tomas Berdych | Berdych made it to the SFs here last year, but hasn’t won a title in over two years. His record on the dirt this year is 5-3 with his most significant wins over Monaco (twice), falling at or before the QFs in all three events. His record going into Roland Garros last year wasn’t entirely dissimilar, but it’s hard to see him reaching the SFs again. Result: Quarterfinals

Nicolas Almagro | Many have considered Almagro to be the Spanish clay court successor to Nadal, but he’s yet to live up to any of that hype.  He’s 20-4 on clay this year with two South American titles (Buenos Aires and Costa Do Sauipe) with wins over Sam Querrey, Juan-Ignacio Chela (twice), Tommy Robredo, Nikolay Davydenko, Ferrero and Jose Acasuso. His clay success has helped him crack the top ten for the first time in his career. In seven trips to Paris, he’s lost to top 10 players on five of those occasions and twice been a quarterfinalist. The real question seems to be: Can Almagro finally break through to his predicted potential? Result: Quarterfinals

Richard Gasquet | While he’s 4-7 lifetime at Roland Garros (yep! You read that right.), four of those losses have been to top ten players (Murray last year after leading two-sets-to-none, Nadal and David Nalbandian (twice) and a fifth to eventual champ Albert Costa in 2002 (Right, we forgot about Albie, too).  So far this year on the dirt, Richard is 8-4 with three losses to top 10 players (Nadal twice and countryman Gael Monfils).  His play in Rome (with victories over Federer and Berdych) was inspiring and should serve him well in Paris. But will the home crowd be too much once again? Result: Third round

Stanislas Wawrinka | He’s 10-6 at Roland Garros, but — similar to Gasquet — three of those losses were to top ten players (Federer, Ivan Ljubicic and Nalbandian) and the other three losses were to future top ten players (Davydenko and Fernando Gonzalez) and eventual 2002 finalist (the now-forgotten Mariano Puerta).  Even though his 7-5 clay court record this year leaves plenty to be desired, needless to say it takes a considerable player to take out the second-highest Swiss player in Paris. Result: Third round

For a list of other players to watch, click to keep reading. (more…)

no djoke: novak goes shirtless in vogue

May 19, 2011


Consider it the ultimate tennis bitch slap. Sure, Novak Djokovic is by far the hottest thing on the tennis circuit right now, but for Anna Wintour to go as far and shoot the world no. 2 for a spread on the mag’s website and a bikini shot worth two (three if you want to study hard) glances, is so … un-Federer.

Is Mirka seething? Well, we can’t quite know. But Djoko looks fantastic in the black swim trunks, seen above on the entrance of Vogue.com today and below in the image, which was taken by Norman Jean Roy. Roy has plenty of high-quality fashion accolades to his name, including Vanity Fair and Details alongside Vogue, of course. He took this well-known image of Lindsay Lohan for the cover of Vanity Fair.

So is Anna over Rog? Naw. We doubt it. But would he ever pose in a tiny black swimsuit like that? We sort of doubt. Below, another look at the bikini and after the cut, Djoko wears … clothes. The shoot took place in Miami during the Sony Ericsson Open.

(more…)

short balls: the sunday pull-out edition

April 24, 2011

Third is charming, at least for Rog: While he may be the world’s no. 3 tennis player now, Roger Federer is still living the high life. Credit Suisse, one of his sponsors, has a whole page dedicated to the Rog. A Mario Testino photo shoot? Doesn’t mind if he does. But more importantly: is that David Ferrer holding the reflector? Geez, Rog really does live it good.

Oh, how the weekend gets away from us: We certainly wish that we could spend our time wasting away in a coffee shop all weekend, but that never actually seems to be the case. A lovely lament from a real-life barista on Thought Catalog on why hipster barista give you an eye roll when you chirp out your order.

Simon, singing: If you are still in love with the trashy brilliance that is Bravo‘s “Real Housewife” series, then you’re probably soaking up the first few glorious (hideous?!) episodes of the New York installment over the last few weeks. But here’s something for everyone … er, NO ONE. Simon, hubby to one Alex McCord, has a single. Yep, it’s called “I Am Real” and as far as we can tell, none of it is real. Or really him. Or really good, whatsoever.

Click the image below to listen. More: Tennis-inspired music on TSF

Donald’s middle finger gets tweet-happy: Good Friday has never been better for Donald Young. The American journeyman, once a hot commodity for the “future of American tennis” has always had a rocky relationship with the USTA because of reportedly over-zealous parents and a poor work ethic. Now we’re guessing his aforementioned relationship is plainly non-existant after this tweet on Friday, which was followed by an apology and then — deletion of his account. “Fuck USTA!! Their full of shit! They have screwed me for the last time! #enoughsaid” – Donald Young at 5:01:14 pm ET Apr 22nd

Patrick McEnroe‘s supposed response? Not. Happy.

Tina Fey? Is, well, brilliant.

Draw(n) conclusions: A few musings from the draw of the USTA Pro Circuit event in Dothan, Alabama. (1) Stephanie Foretz Gacon, once ranked as high as no. 63 in the world (now no. 145) reaches the final. (2) Michelle Larcher de Brito, once of grunting infamy, wins five games in a first-round loss. She’s still Portugal’s no. 1 gal at no. 174. No reports on how loud she is now that she’s outta the top 100. (3) Alexandra Stevenson, 12 years after her run to the Wimby SFs, wins two matches before bowing out in straights to eventual winner, Melinda Czink. Stevenson is now ranked no. 250 and has won one WTA-sanctioned match this year (compared to zero last year). (4) Americans were 8-9 overall, mostly thanks to Stevenson and a run to the semis by Allison Riske.

Big props for DFW: The Infinite Jest author David Foster Wallace, who committed suicide in 2008, is getting rave reviews for his piece of work released posthumously, an unfinished manuscript called The Pale King.

Read: DFW’s NYT piece on Federer — a ‘religious experience’

Melzer’s tour BBF? That’d be Philly Petzscher: Following his jaw-dropping win over Roger Federer in Monte Carlo, the ATP had Jurgen Melzer take FB Qs from fans. Our fave exchange is here: Question: Since you stopped wearing your White Adidas hat, you’ve gone on some great runs. Any coincidence? -Nick Leone, United States Melzer: Well… maybe! I thought I was practising really well without the hat so I was a little superstitious in Monte-Carlo, so I stopped wearing it and it went well. Until I start to have a losing streak, I will take the hat away.

The many freaked-out faces of Klaus Goerges: We’re loving this video that Stephanie Myles of the Montreal Gazette put together of Julia Goerges father, using screen grabs from the TennisTV.com livestream. Click Klaus’ frowning face below to watch the whole hilarious thing.

Swinging out: On OutSports.com Cyd Ziegler writes about Bowdoin College’s openly gay tennis coach Colin Joyner and his push for the acceptance of LGBTQ athletes at the collegiate level. Prompting this was the story of openly gay Bowdoin lacrosse player Ben Chadwick. A tough tale: “When Joyner heard about Chadwick, he harkened back to his time as the only openly gay male athlete on campus. It was a lonely time for Joyner in many respects, and he didn’t want Chadwick to be the only one anymore.” Therefore, Joyner started Anything But Straight in Athletics (ABSA) “to help closeted athletes come out by dismantling homophobia in Bowdoin athletics.”

Contributing from Benjamin Snyder

(Federer screengrab via Credit Suisse website; Simon screengrab via NYMag.com; Goerges screengrab via the Open Court blog on MontrealGazette.com)

jurgen melzer upsets roger federer in the monte carlo quarters

April 15, 2011

Not a fluke: Roger‘s likely as tired as we are to see this spun as Fed’s downward spiral. How about applauding Austrian Jurgen Melzer — a defending Roland Garros semifinalist — for the 6-4, 6-4 upset in the first major clay event of the year? (Flashback: This isn’t the first time Melzer’s served up a doozy.)

Draw: The other men through to the semis: Nadal (d. Ljubicic) faces Murray (d. Gil) and Melzer takes on Ferrer (who took out Troicki). More: Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters website.

Buy: Nike Men’s Roger Federer Trophy Tennis Top, in Concord (blue) or Tech Grey, $70.

short balls: is that a jimmy in your phone or are you just… ?

April 14, 2011

By Benjamin Snyder

Basically Jimmy: Prepare for Jimmy 2.0, or rather “Jimmy Connors 109,” as the retired tennis champ’s newly released app is called, reports Tennis.com. USA Today initially broke the story, writing, “Part tutorial and part anecdotes, the video app showcases Connors to a whole new generation, while at the same time appealing to fans who watched him become one of the best and most popular players in the 1970s and ’80s.” In Connors’ own words, “I go back to basics, which is how I learned to play. I really believe simpler is better, and as I’m describing a shot or a grip, I’m showing you exactly how I did it.”

Roger Federer 007: Need a paparazzi decoy? Don’t ask Mirka, that just means she’ll wear sweat pants to dinner. Instead, Fed is your man, as he was the other night when out with BFF (Best Fashion Friend) Anna Wintour (oh yeah, and Mirka came too, yaaaaawn). According to the New York Post article, Federer helped Wintour escape from the paparazzi after the meal concluded. The article cites a spy (Mirka?!): “He and the group exited the side door carrying presents. The photographers ran to the side, but the queen of Vogue was nowhere to be found. One yelled, ‘Where’s Anna?’ Federer took his time loading the car, smiled and went on his way. Anna walked out the front door unnoticed.” As the article states, “chivalry still rules for Federer,” and it seems to be nowhere near dead. At the same time, how did Mirka feel about Federer’s kind acts for Wintour on her b-day? Can’t wait for that story line to develop!

Lisa’s lines: The wheels are turning for Lisa Raymond‘s WTA blog, “Lisa’s Spin.” In a recent post, the dubs specialist talks about country music (!??!???!), cupcakes, her doubles “break-up” and more. Let us repeat again: she talks about her doubles drama. Read it. Plus, what is a day without some life coaching from one, LaRa? Raymond says, “And like any relationship, the forming of a doubles partnership is a bit like dating – you seem interested in someone, you confirm they are single and/or on the market, ask them out, and hope you live happily ever after or something like that! ;-)” Did she really just ;-)??? We can’t with the emoticons.

Loud-mouth Johnny: As loud as John McEnroe is on court, he’s able to spit out the decibels in public places, too. Apparently, he’s just as “obnoxious” off the court, a blurb in the New York Post recounted. It says he “annoyed fellow diners at Recipe, on the Upper West Side recently by loudly recounting tales of his tennis glory days. The court legend entertained his wife and two friends with stories of “beating Bjorn Borg and other victories.”

Chris Chase of Yahoo! Sports is having none of it: “It’d be bigger news if McEnroe went to a restaurant and didn’t talk loudly about Bjorn Borg. What’s most surprising is that the old tennis champ wasn’t boasting about that time he partied with The Rolling Stones.”

The next loud-mouth superstar? Speaking (yelling?) of Johnny Mac, his protege, Ingrid Neel continues to make waves in the tennis world — the boys’ tennis world. The 12-year-old from Minnesota is playing tennis with the boys — and only the boys. Her hometown coach Mike Cartwright to the Minnesota Star Tribune has this to say about the pint-sized puncher playing with the fellas: “It will be interesting. It’s going to be hard for some guys, wondering how the heck they are losing to a seventh-grade girl. But she’s just really talented.”

Time to go? David Ferrer‘s recent ad campaign for Bovet watches in Spanish Revolution magazine. He’s rocking the sepia tones and the specs. Looking good (???), David! And… sort of like an Avatar.

(Connors image by ICN via USA Today; Ferrer image via Spanish Revolution)


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