Tuesday, 6 December 2011

ATP World Tour Finals

Some pictures from the match between Tipsarevic (who subbed in for Andy Murray) and Berdych, that I saw in London with my friend Emily.  Tipsy was our fave and had a match point, but missed, double faulted, and fell over in the third set tie-break to lose the match :(

In the fan zone players lockers were auctioned off for charity- fed got the most at nearly £20,000, then Nadal at about £17,000, then Djok and Murray.  
The other guys struggled to get £3,000, and most of the winning bids came from Japan weirdly.


A Short History of Tennis at the Olympics- part the second

Right where was I?...
Ah yes...Tennis had returned in 1968 as a demonstration sport, it was then excluded again until 1984 in LA where once again it was only a demonstration sport.  In 1988 in Soeul, it was a medal winning sport again for the first time since 1924.  Brad Gilbert who would later work for the LTA as Andy Murray's coach won bronze in the men's singles, and Steffi Graff who won  all the grand slams in 1988 also won the Olympic gold.  She finished her career having won 22 grand slams.

The tournament was played on clay in 1992 in Barcelona where Steffi Graff was beaten by Jennifer Capriati.  In 1996, Agassi and Davenport both won golds in the singles but Neil Broad and Tim Henman won silver in the men's doubles. This Olympics was in Atlanta and was the first time a single bronze medal was given in all events.  Instead of giving two bronzes to the players who lose the semi-finals they now had to play for it.  The Williams sisters made their first appearance in 2000, in Syndey when they won the Women's doubles, and Venus won the Women's gold medal in the singles.   

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

A Short History of Tennis at the Olympics

There isn't much tennis on atm so I thought I'd take a gander at tennis at the Olympics.  It's been an Olympics sport since the first modern Olympics in Athens,1896 (although for men only of course, a lady might chip a nail or become a lesbian), it was won by a British man, John Pius Boland.  Scant information available, certainly no fancy photos (of the tennis, but here's a nice Greek weightlifter) but since you had to be entirely amateur to compete at the Olympics back then you can almost guarantee he was rather posh. 

Ladies were allowed to compete four years later, in Paris and Charlotte Cooper (three times Wimbledon champ) won the singles and mixed doubles and became the first female Olympic tennis gold medalist.  Incidentally, until 1904 only the winners received medals (silver medals) and diploma, and runners-up a copper medal and diploma.  The International Olympic Committee (IOC) have since retroactively awarded gold, silver, bronze to the 1st, 2nd, 3rd places in the 1896 and 1900 Olympics.
The Men's event featured three former Wimbledon winners in the semi-final, once again I point out there were few people who had the resources to travel and compete without turning professional so it isn't surprising the same names cropped up in finals.  One guy, Lawrence Doherty got to the final when his older brother Regie stepped aside, as they wouldn't play each other in a 'minor tournament'.  Ouch take that Olympics...burn. 

The women were clearly too distracting in their full-length tennis skirt, and they weren't included in the 1904 Olympics, in St Louis.  Shockingly, as there was only one foreign entrant, the host nation won every medal going.  But this was an entirely competitive tournament, as you can see in this picture of the Olympic tug-of-war...

Women were allowed back in 1908, this was in London and the British team were extremely successful; 146 medals, 56 gold, 51 silver, 39 bronze.  Only 22 countries had participants though (the UK competed as the UK and some Irish athletes boycotted the games with some American support), and in some events only British athletes competed.  In the mens 400metres an American athletes was disquliafied and the final was re-run but the two other American athletes refused to run to protest the judges decision.  Meaning British man Wyndham Halswell (posh) won the one man final, and gold medal.  In tennis they played indoors and outdoors, and women competed in the singles but not doubles, there was 50 competitors; 40 men and 10 women from 10 nations which must have been thrilling for all concerned. 

The 1912 Olympics in Stockholm don't seem to be at all interesting.  After that the First World War proved something of an interruption, the 1916 games had been scheduled to be held in Berlin but these were cancelled.  In 1919, the Paris Peace Conference created new states and new sanction on who could compete.  Budapest had been selected to host the games but as the Austro-Hungarian Empire had been a German alley the games were transferred to Antwerp.  Germany, Austria, Turkey, Bulgaria, Hungary were banned from the games, Germany remained banned until 1925 and held a series of Winter games.

Tennis disappeared from the games after 1924 and didn't return until 1968 for unknown and entirely suspicious reasons I believe.  On return, in Mexico, it was only a demonstration exhibition.  The games were really known for the massacre that killed 44 people ten days before the start of the games, or the black power salute of two black American sprinters (Tommie Smith and John Carlos) on the medal podium.  They were suspended from the US team and banned from the Olympic village.  And Czechoslovakian gymnast Vera Caslavska turned and walked away from the podium as the Soviet anthem played in a protest against the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia- she was subsequently forbidden to travel and compete at sporting events.

To Be Continued...

Monday, 12 September 2011

Well two days of rain,  player complaints, and water seeping into a broken court has resulted in a Monday finish for the US Open so we've just had the men and women's semi-finals.  Predictably on the men's side it was the top 4 players to get to the last four spots, Djokovic took on Federer after another rain delay in the first semi.  I only heard the match on the radio- really wish I could have seen it because it sounded like a cracker.  Djokovic started off slowly, while Federer was on top form and Fed took the first two sets 7-6 6-4.  But suddenly Djokovic was on fire and Federer was in a slump and Djok took the next two sets 6-3, 6-2.  And then it was all to play for in the fifth set with Federer having the advantage serving first.  And at 4-3 Federer broke to love, and served to 40-15 with two match points on his serve.  Dkokovic threw his cap into the crowd, perhaps believing he had lost the match, but managed to break back.  Then won the next 4 games winning the fifth set 7-5 and match.  Djok into the final and Federer without a GS title for the first time since 2002.

In the second semi- Nadal took on Murray, whilst I was tucked up in bed.  But no surprises when I woke up Nadal had beaten Murray in four sets.  This is the third time this year Nadal has beaten Murray in a Grand Slam Semi. So the men's final will be played tonight (9pm UK time) between Nadal and Djokovic for the second year in a row. 

In the women's game Serena Williams, who I don't like for the record and who lost in the Semis in 2009 after being docked a point for racquet abuse and then foot faulted to give the match to Clijsters and then was fine £53,000 and put on probation for subsequently verbally assaulting the line judge, beat World Number One Caroline Wozniaki.  Wozniaki may be irk some people for being a world number one without winning a grand slam, and be rather bland, but has never threatened to kill anyone on court, as far as I know.  And Australian Sam Stosur beat German Angelique Kerber, unseeded surprise semi-finalist, to get to her second grand slam final.  Stosur was beat by Schiavone in the 2010 French Open Final and struggled to find form after that. 

Stosur and Williams battled it out last night, with Stosur outplaying Williams and winning 6-2 6-3, a shock win as most people will have assumed that Serena would over power anyone she came up against this week.  Serena showed her aggression and intimidating nature in the controversial element of the match that had not much to do with actual playing- during one point Williams hit an unreturnable forehand winner and screammed 'Come On!' in that way Americans do before the point was over.  The Umpire ruled this an intentional verbal hiderance.  In all fairness the point should probably just have been replayed, instead Stosur won the point and game.   It did not end there, however, as Williams continued to rant at the umpire through the change of ends:

"If you ever see me walking down the hall look the other way. You're out of control, you're a hater and you're unattractive inside."
"Who would do such a thing? And I never complain. Wow. What a loser."
"You get a code violation because I express my end, we're in America the last time I checked."
"Can I have a water? Or am I going to get violated for drinking a water? Really don't even look at me."

Really clever barbs 'Im sure you'll agree.  She is still on probation for the 2009 incident, and today officials will decide whether she'll be fined again.  So I am rather happy for Stosur, although it's a shame for her that the main story (ok the tiny section of one page that a women's grand slam final gets, about a third of what Andy Murray Sneezes gets) is Serena Williams Tantrums rather that her victory. 

Wednesday, 31 August 2011

US Open

Well it's all kicking off, or hitting off more accurately but that sounds rather violent, and we're through day two of the US Open.  Good news/ad news from a British perspective Laura Robson (opponent Morita retired injured) and Elena Baltacha (Opponent Hampton retired injured- what's going on?) are through to the next round, Anne Keothothong and Heather Watson are out (Heather won the first set against Maria Sharapova before losing in three sets).  Andy Murray plays someone unrememberable today.   And an Irish guy got food poisoning.

All the big names are through apart from Wimbledon champ Kvitova who lost in the first match.  But Fed, Djok, Nadal, Wozniaki, Zvonerava, Williams(es) et al are all through to the second round.  And Hurrican Irene hasn't affected play one bit. 

Monday, 22 August 2011

Well Djokovic lost his second match of the year when he pulled out half way through the Cincinnatti final against Murray (and Murray won his second title of the year).  Djokovic had a sore shoulder after a long year, so questions have been raised whether he will be fit enough for the upcoming US Open. 

And Maria Sharapova came from a set down to beat Jelena Jankovic in the women's final.  Jelena had come from 1-4 down in the first set to win it, and looked good at the beginning of the second but Sharapova came back and won the second on a tie-break.  Then I went to sleep because my eyes were all sleepy.  But Sharapova won the third 6-3.  

Friday, 19 August 2011


After losing in the first round last week, Andy Murray has done better in his current tournament beating Giles Simon today to reach the semi-finals in the Cincinnati Masters, the tournament preceding the US Open.  The British women; Heather Watson, Elena Baltacha, Anne Keothothong all lost their matches, but have places in the main draw of the US Open. 

Serena Williams won a tournament last week but pulled out of Cincinnati with an injury.  And Kim Clijsters has pulled out of the US Open with an injury.  Andy Roddick lost his first match, and was somewhat perturbed by the point penalty he received after two angry outbursts on set point in the second set.  You know I'm trying to like Andy Roddick cos he should have won a Wimbledon and that mean Federer keeps stopping him but dash it he does make it hard.

US Open soon ducks!!!

Thursday, 11 August 2011

Road to the US Open

I'm sorry, it's been ages- but I've lacked a TV or reliable internet access, and anyway the top players take a month off after Wimbledon and the BBC tennis news has been largely revolving around Elena Baltacha losing or Andy Murray sneezing. 

But now there is some more interesting activity afoot as Andy Murray played Kevin Anderson (tall South African) in the second round of the Montreal Masters (Murray had a bye through the first round, and is the defending champion).  Murray moved slowly and was comprehensively beaten by Anderson.  And the US Open is only two weeks away...
That's not all, Nadal is also out beaten by Ivan Dodig, at least he lasted three sets Andy.  But Djokovic and Federer have won their matches. 

In Toronto number one Wozniaki also lost her second round match, but Wimbledon winner Kvitova, and French Open champ Li got through matches.  Clijsters pulled out with a stomach injury.  And poor Dinara Safina will miss the rest of the year with her back injury, again.

In other British news Elena Baltacha, Anne Keothothong, and Heather Watson (jeeps what happened to Laura Robson eh?) all have places at the US Open in a few weeks.  And James Ward who reached the Queens Club semis this year has reached a new highest ranking, into the top 150 for the first time, at 144.  But he'll still have to qualify to play at the US Open. 

Tuesday, 5 July 2011


Unless you've been hiding in a cave waiting for my blog you'll know who won Wimbledon- Petra Kvitova beat Maria Sharapova in the women's and Novak Djokovic beat Rafael Nadal in the men's.

Apologies for not blogging until now but I didn't see any of the semi-finals or finals and have been having major internet issues recently- grrr.

Time will tell if Kvitova is able to win more majors or even maintain a position in the top ten- this year's French Open champ Li Na went out in the second round (to semi-finalist Lisicki), and the French Open finalist and last year's winner went out in the third.  As did World Number three Vera Zvonarava.  World Number One last until the fourth round, which is when Venus and Serena went out too.  Serena has dropped to 175 in the rankings after failing to defend her points form last years Wimbledon.  Me thinks she will get a few wildcards though... Anyway, I'd say it was a poor Wimbledon for the favourites but a good two weeks for the interesting players just below them- Kvitova, Lisicki, Azarenka, and obviously Sharapova who made the final finally back to her best after a long time recovering from injury.

And Djokovic has proved he can maintain the form- he has only lost one match this year, to Federer in the French Open Semis, and became the new number one before the final.  Winning the title was a nice way to consolidate his new ranking position, but everyone new he was the best player this year.  Just think back to 2008 when Nadal was winning everything (including the Olympics) and no one had a clue how to beat him, and now Djokovic has beaten him 5 times this year, all of those matches in finals...Although he still has a way to go to win the career head-to-head, Nadal's title haul, and prize money...

Thursday, 30 June 2011


Gah, had severe internet problems...

Anyway we're at Semi-Final stage, ladies today and it's former champ Maria Sharapova against wildcard Sabille Lisicki, and Petra Kvitova against Victoria Azarenka.  I kinda hope for a Azarenka v Lisicki final, but former tennis champ turned lady pundit thinks it'll be Shara against Kvitova if she plays well, or Azarenka. 

On the mens side there was a shock when King Roger was knocked out by Jo Wilfred Tsonga (who reached the Australian Open final several years ago) in the Quarters, Rog was two sets to love up at the time and hadn't lost from that point before.  But still you have to ask how much of a shock is it to beat Federer these days?  Even Roger seemed to have accepted his fate in the fifth set, and didn't really look like he was trying that hard.  

Anyway Tsonga will take on Djokovic, and Murray will play Nadal.  Can't see past a Djok vNadal final really, and it would be interesting to see who won it.  Novak is only 65 ranking points behind Nadal...

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Showered but not stirred...

Rain has interrupted and stopped play the past few days, but the roof on centre court has allowed a few matches to continue. 

Mixed fortunes for the British players- all the men went out in the first round apart from Andy Murray, Elena Baltacha, Anne Kepthothong, and Laura Robson all won their first round matches though.   Unfortunately for Heather Watson she hurt her elbow in the middle of her first round match, a real shame since she had been winning comfortably, but lost rather uncomfortably 6-2 4-6 4-6.  And Anne Keothothong has lost her second round against Kvitova, but Murray of course is through to the third round.  Laura Robson's match against Maria Sharapova was postponed due to rain until tomorrow when Baltacha will also play against Shuai Peng.  Jamie Murray also won her first round match in the men's doubles (which was reduced to best of three sets to get this damn grand slam back on schedule).

In other news there was a mega match between Lleyton Hewitt against Soderling, with Soderling winning 6-7, 3-6, 7-5, 6-4, 6-4., followed by a cracker between this years French Open champ Li Na and German star Lisicki.  The young German got the quarter finals in 2009 but didn't play last and had dropped out of the top 200 with a bad ankle injury.  She's now up to number 62 and rising as she knocked out Li Na in a nail biter 3-6, 6-4, 8-6.  This was followed by a short regulation win for Federer against French Mannarino in straight sets. 

And a round up of other results:
John Isner (who beat Mahut in three sets this time around) lost to Almagro in the second round, Ivanovic won her match easily, as did Djokovic, and Nadal, Serena on the other hand needed another three sets to get through her match against Simona Halep, Schiavone won in two though, and Azarenka won 6-0, 6-3, Juan Martin Del Potro continued his come back with a four sets win over Olivier Rochus although the match was held over from last night and after Rochus had won the first set- Del Pot responded by taking off his shoes and throwing them into the crowd, which was odd, Fish, Gasquet, Roddick, and Berdych all won in three, but Stanislav Wawrinka isn't having a great grass season as he lost to Bolelli 6-7, 3-6, 6-7, big shock when Jelena Jankovic lost her first round match, and Zvonareva beat her doubles partner Vesnina in straight sets. 

Tuesday, 21 June 2011


Sorry chaps, I missed out Queens Club (Murray beat Tsonga in the final), Birmingham (Lisicki beat Hantuchova) and Eastbourne (Bartoli beat Kvitova) but I was working and missed most of the tennis.  Anyway, it's wimbledon now so wouldn't you rather hear about day one than tell me off for forgetting to blog?  I thought so...

Well much of the tennis was called off due to rain but the roof came into play and protected centre court (albeit with a 40min delay as they sorted out the atmosphere- as I understand it they maintain a certain temperature to stop the grass going gross under the roof.  That's a paraphrase of Sue Barker.  Anyway, Francesca Schiavone was playing Jelena Dokic- Schiavone who got to the French Open final two weeks ago, after winning the tournament last year. 
Dokic who plays for Australia and who has a turbulent personal life with an abusive father and depression, she stopped playing tennis for several years but is now back and back in the top 50 (highest ranking of 4 back in the early 00's).  She's not had a great year but played really well at times against Schivone in a highly competitive match, before losing 6-4 1-6 6-3.

After that match Andy Murray went up against Spaniard Gimeno-Traver (ranked 56 and the 11th highest Spaniard), Murray sat back and allowed Gimeno-Traver to overcome his nerves, and start to play really well and take the first set 6-4.  But Gim couldn't maintain this form and Andy got his act together to win it in four sets- 6-3 6-0 6-0.  So the papers are full of King Andy, but really will he beat Nadal playing like that- erm no.

And some other results- Venus Williams back from a long injury time out creamed Amanmuradova 6-3 6-1 wearing a loose white romper with open back, and gold-ish shorts underneath.  Always a trend setter eh V?
Defending champ Rafeal Nadal was down a break initially to American Russell before winning 6-4 6-2 6-2, wearing regular clothes as I understand.  Milos Raonic, a young Canadian who whizzed up the rankings last year when he won a couple of tournaments back to back, and is defo one to watch for the future won his first round against Gicquel in straight sets to get a third round meet up with Nadal (if Raonic beats Muller and Nadal beats Sweeting in the second round). 

Young American Christina Mchale took out number 28 seed Makarova 8-6 in the third, while Britain's Katie O'Brien was the first Brit to lose when she was beaten by the oldest competitor Kimiko Date-Krum (40 years old if you wondered).  There were wins for Fish, Gasquet, and Berdych, and tough wins for Zvonerava and Kuznetsova. 

Today Federer, Djokovic, S Williams, and Wozniaki may be playing but all eyes will be on court three when Nicolas Mahut plays John Isner, again!

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

So, I've had some reformatting to do of my laptop, but while I was away Li Na won the French Open on Saturday making her the first Chinese woman to do so.  Li Na was this year's Aussie Open finalist and subsequently struggled to win any of her matches.  She beat last year's surprise winner Francesca Schiavone in straight sets and said it was 'dream come true' and has now risen to number four in the rankings.

And on Sunday, following the expected loss of Andy Murray to Rafa Nadal in the semi-final, and the surprising loss of Novak Djokovic (who injured his knee) to Roger Federer, Nadal and Federer fought for the men's title.  Although Fed took a set he's still no match for Nadal on clay.  Nadal won in four sets, and has now won 6 French Opens (10 Grand Slams in total) and is the second youngest man to do so (after Borg).  Nadal will now keep his number one ranking, although Novak is hot on his heels, until Wimbledon at least as Djokovic has pulled out of Queens Club.

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Semi Final Line Up

I made my own illustrated draw sheet to show the singles Semis:

Took me way too long to do this...and you can't even read the names properly, sigh...

Monday, 30 May 2011

Into Week Two

Well the women's side of the draw seems to be falling apart with the top three seeds all out before the quarter finals, Wozniaki beaten by Hantuchova, Clijsters by Rus, and Zvonerava by Pavluchenkova.  Wozniaki, as always made the mistake of playing too much by playing a tournament in Belgium the week before the French Open started.  Although she could push through any physical tiredness, the mental fatigue seemed clear, to me at least, as she never looked convincing or determined at Roland Garros.  It's great she wants to play but doing anything week in week out would make you jaded, if she wants to jeopardise her chances of winning a grand slam by playing too many other tournies that's one thing, but she seems to be jeopardising her love for the game she has another ten years to play (all going well). 

Clijsters, similarly, never looked convincing here (although I did leave the house thinking she was going to trounce Rus of France only for her to come back and win it in three sets when I was at work (crafty French).  She hurt her ankle at a wedding and has been out of game for a few months but it was her casual attitude to the matches she played- an attitude I've noticed and despised since her return from retirement.  Since she already had a career, then retired, the wins she has now are fun, a bonus, and a bit of a game, with none of the determination and focus a pro athlete ought to have. 

I feel bad for Zvonerava- she had a big year last year getting to two grand slam finals and is struggling this year to have the same impact.  Pavluchenkova on the other hand is the up-and-comer of the women's game.  Sam stosur, last year's runner up, who was playing well, has also gone out.    But Sharapova, Schiavone, Azarenka, Li Na, Pavluchenkova, Kuznetzova, Bartoli are through to the quarter finals, with Kirilenko and Petkovic fighting it out for the last quarter final spot. 

In the mens game nothing that interesting has happened really- Soderling will play Nadal in the quarters (the only man to have beaten Rafa here), Monfils plays Federer, and Djokovic is already through to the semis after Fognini pulled out of their quarter final match.  And Chela awaits either Troiki or Murray who are playing currently- with Murray down 2-1 sets, and down 2 rackets after throwing a couple of tantrums.   Alas Jamie Murray and partner Chric Guccione lost in their second round match against top pair Bob and Mike Bryan, but is in the quarters of the mixed with Nadia Patrova (mixed only has 5 rounds).  Unfortunately I don't think mixed doubles counts towards ranking points.

And how was your week?