The World Cup of tennis

I’ve just returned to an icy London after a wonderful five-day trip to Malaga, where the weather was in the mid-20s and locals were swimming in the sea. The Christmas lights were turned on one evening, cheered by hundreds, most of whom were sporting t-shirts. This really is a great place to catch some winter sunshine. And it’s such a vibrant city with so much to do and so many bars and cafes. While Londoners huddled in the cold, malagueños basked in the outdoor cafes. Read More

No-one for tennis? Mental health, injuries and the Aussie Open

The 2023 Australian Open, due to start in Melbourne on 17 January, has already suffered a number of casualties. Who knows how many more are to come?

The 19-year-old number one ranked player, Carlos Alcaraz, has withdrawn, citing a hamstring injury. Former finalist, Simone Halep, has also pulled out. The leading home player, Nick Krygios, is not certain to play, after withdrawing from the United Cup and the Adelaide International with a knee injury.

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Nadal, the King of Clay, Does it Again

Rafael Nadal triumphed for the 14th time at the French Open tennis Grand Slam in Paris on Sunday. That is impressive enough — but the fact that he did it on virtually one foot is positively absurd. Read More

Boom Boom and Bust. The Rise and Fall of Boris Becker.

The tennis legend, Boris Becker, has landed himself a 36 month jail sentence after a highly-publicised bankruptcy trial. His has been a spectacular rise and fall.

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“That” Weibo Post in case you missed it.

Trans athletes at the Olympics: what are the rules and do they work?


Laurel Hubbard, the New Zealand weightlifter (pictured above), has been picked as the first ever transgender athlete to compete at an Olympics. It has been seen as a highly controversial decision. Hubbard is due to compete in the +87kg women’s weightlifting event next week in Tokyo. If she wins gold, there will no doubt be further outcry and claims from some cis-women weightlifters to the tune of:  She is stealing our medals. 

The trans debate in sport is regarded as relatively recent and yet, back   in 1977,  a player called René e Richards appeared on the pro tennis scene. A spectator thought she recognised that swinging leftie serve coming off the powerful 6  2” frame and Renée was outed in the press. For she had actually been born Richard Raskin.  Raskin had transitioned from male to female and was now playing on the women  s tour.

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Novak Djokovic’s call for more money is right one if it goes to lower-ranked players


Novak Djokovic believes players don’t get a big enough cut of the revenue from grand slam tournaments.

OPINION: So, Novak Djokovic called a meeting of players to discuss, well we’re not really sure what exactly … there have been rumours of boycotts, breakaway unions and demands for more prize money. Read More

Is this the last of Roger Federer?

July 2021

So, Wimbledon 2021 bids farewell to Roger Federer. It was a sad spectacle, really: spraying ground shots, missing easy volleys, being constantly passed and completely outclassed by the Polish player, Hubert Hurkacz, a 6’5” powerhouse whose game belies his gentle and shy nature.

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Naomi Osaka: The shy and sensitive sacrificial lamb


OPINION: Imagine the scenario. Your name is Naomi Osaka, you’re a teenager, playing a Grand Slam final against Serena Williams, the home player, a legend and firm crowd favourite.

You win the drama-filled match and, as you hold the trophy, some twenty thousand fans are booing you. You pull your visor down over your face to hide your tears and try to

block out the deafening jeers. And then you have to make a winner’s speech in front of this hostile crowd.



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A Lockdown Anniversary – Reaction.life

Katrina Allen   March 23, 2021

Today marks the one year anniversary of the first lockdown. It’s been a year of extraordinary, life-changing events, and one in which many people have only been able to survive by either embarking on entirely new careers or by going remote.

Ghislaine Hubbard resigned from her job – running the witness service at the Old Bailey – just before lockdown and, having once trained as a graphologist, turned to running online interactive sessions. She now works fewer hours and earns more than before lockdown. But she is well aware that she needs to look to the future and work out how to market herself in real life once restrictions are lifted. “It’s going to be the next big challenge.”

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US Open 2020


Finally, a Grand Slam event, the first since lockdown, albeit without spectators.

But no Nadal, who was preparing for the French Open on his beloved clay.

And no Federer, who was taking time out to have knee surgery.

So that just left Djokovic out of the top three, and who could beat him, since he hadn’t lost a match this year? Read More

Working in Samos

The Times

When Katrina Allen left her comfortable London home to volunteer as a translator in Greece, she had no idea how life-changing it would be.

It’s on my sixth night on the Greek island of Samos that things really become tense. I’m at my apartment when the phone beeps: “Get down to the medical centre. There’s a massive fire in the camp.” It turns out that it’s the result of a fight breaking out between Syrians and Afghans over somebody jumping the food queue. Gas canisters are now exploding like bombs, echoing around the hillside. Hundreds are trying to flee the refugee camp, including terrified families with small kids, only to be tear-gassed by the police attempting to contain everyone. Later I’m told that a girl went into labour — thankfully, they managed to get her to hospital. Read More

Sorry seems to be the hardest word for Novak Djokovic

This article was published in Stuff.co.nz

With Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer choosing not to play, Novak Djokovic decided to travel to New York for the US Open. Here was his golden opportunity to win another Slam and get closer to Federer’s record of 20.

He hadn’t lost a match this year. How could he not win this tournament?





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Crying Wolf

Hunched over, barely visible in the dark room, standard lamp flickering in the opposite corner. She was wearing that saggy old stained dress which she virtually lived in.

‘I’m dying, I’m dying’ she declared breathily, eyes theatrically wide in what I assumed to be feigned terror. It was comical.

’What’s wrong with you?’ I asked flatly. We’d been there so often.

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A Wimbledon Lament

By Katrina Allen

Languedoc Living

So, Wimbledon tennis this year has been cancelled, for the first time since WW2. The decision came late, leaving us all on tenterhooks, but really it was inevitable. Read More

The State of Play



By Katrina Allen

On Wednesday, the French Tennis Federation announced that the French Open was to be moved to September, one week after the US Open. The tournament was due to be held from 18th May.

The Federation made a unilateral decision on this. No discussion with players or any other tennis sports bodies who were, understandably, aggrieved. Read More

Australian Open, 2019. Languedoc Living.

The Australian Open, 2019

by Katrina Allen 

Andy Murray at Queen’s Club



The big news of the fortnight was Andy Murray tearfully announcing his retirement. Exactly one year ago, he had surgery on his hip and never really recovered. He came back at Queen’s last June but was clearly not in great shape, pulling out of Wimbledon a couple of weeks later and hadn’t won any major tournaments since.

He lost in a tight five-setter against Bautista-Agut and didn’t appear to be hampered but who knows how he felt the next day. He’s hoping to make his farewell at Wimbledon but isn’t sure if he’ll be able to play without too much pain in the months prior. So this may have been his finale . Read More

Andy Murray’s Last Tournament? Aussie Open 2019

Reader’s Comment…

Nice to get this from a reader:
Hi, I really enjoy reading Languedoc Living every day.   I especially appreciate Katrina Allen’s updates on the major tennis tournaments and I totally endorse her article about Serena’s behaviour in the US Open’s Ladies Final.
 I would like to point out that Serena screams racism;  doesn’t screaming abuse at a Portuguese umpire constitute racism?  I would have thought so.

The US Open Tennis 2018 – highlights


This article appeared in Languedocliving.com

The US Open was filled with controversy this year, making the whole thing rather interesting for reasons other than just the tennis.

For British viewers, the tournament was being aired, for the first time, on Amazon Prime. The whole user experience was dreadful. At one point Amazon was so overwhelmed with complaints that the system crashed and reviews were suspended. Read More