Tennis/Real Tennis

The Nearly Man: Novak Djokovic at the US Open

“I’m going to treat this match as if it’s my last one because it’s arguably the most important of my career. I’ll be giving it all I have possibly got in the tank,” said Novak Djokovic before Sunday’s US Open final. Despite being overshadowed, unusually, by the Women’s Final, the Men’s Final was hugely significant.

Significant, because were he to have won, he would have been the first man since Australian “Rocket” Rod Laver to win the Calendar Slam, all four majors in the same year. “Rocket,” who achieved this in 1969 and is now 83, may live in Australia, but he flew in to New York to witness the occasion. 

 

 

 

 

 

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We Have a New Star — let’s celebrate her properly

Last night, Emma Raducanu won the US Open Women’s singles title. The scoreline was 6-4, 6-3 which looks straightforward enough — except it was anything but.

At 18 years old, Raducanu is the youngest Grand Slam champion since Maria Sharapova in 2004. She is also the only qualifier, male or female, ever to win a Grand Slam.

In the final, she was pitted against another wunderkind, the Canadian Leylah Fernandez, who is just a few months older and has also enthralled the New York crowds over the past fortnight.

 

In the end, Radcucanu was the one who held her nerve, despite overwhelming support for her opponent. That must have been unnerving for a player who until then had been the darling of the mainly New York crowds.

You’d think these two youngsters in their maiden Grand Slam final would be riddled with nerves on this huge occasion. Instead, we had a match of scintillating quality, with long, gruelling rallies – a match of extreme tension and a consistently high level of tennis.

 

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Battle of the Teenagers: the US Open Final

19-year-old Canadian Leylah Fernandez versus the 18-year-old British player Emma Raducanu in the US Open Women’s singles final. To say it’s an unlikely scenario is an understatement. The Men’s final will be contested between Novak Djokovic and Daniil Medvedev, the number one versus the number two seed. Yet in the Women’s we are talking about Fernandez, world number 73 vs Emma Raducanu, the world number 150. It’s almost unimaginable.

Which means, on paper, Fernandez is the favourite. She’s also beaten four high seeds in consecutive matches. But they’ve each been three-set nailbiters and one would think she must be mentally exhausted. Raducanu, despite having had to qualify, hasn’t lost a single set throughout and will surely be the fresher of the two.

As complete underdogs they’ve both traded on the nerves of their far more experienced opponents. The second-seeded Aryna Sabalenka more or less imploded in her final service game with a couple of wild double faults and splayed groundshots, finally handing the semi-final to Fernandez. Against Raducanu in the other semis, Maria Sakkari repeatedly sent forehands sailing over the baseline, her elbow tight with nerves.

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Emma Raducanu Wows America

What on earth is going on with Emma Raducanu at the US Open?

The 18-year-old Brit was a wildcard at Wimbledon, ranked just 343 in the world. She got to the fourth round, where she finally dropped her first set of the tournament, before retiring against Ajla Tomljanovic with what appeared to be a panic attack — hardly surprising after the intense press and public scrutiny. Talk about being thrown in at the deep end.

And now shes doing the same at the US Open in Flushing Meadows — but even better.  She not only got through three rounds of qualifying, but has now reached the semi-finals without dropping a set. This makes her the first female qualifier in American tennis history to get to the last four. In fact, the scores in those sets have mostly been a breeze – 6-1, 6-0, 6-2 — and , like many people, I  ve been confused as to how this has all been happening.

One thing that seems to have helped her is that her opponents appear to have been riddled with nerves against what now seems to be a carefree youngster. She came out onto the main stadium for her match against the home favourite, Shelby Rogers, smiling and waving at the crowd. And then she breezed through in a 6-2, 6-1 whitewash. Rogers had beaten the number one seed, Ashleigh Barty, in the previous round — so this was pretty unexpected. 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

Stuff.co.nz

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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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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Elizabeth Dendy OBE – OBITUARY

 

A Great Figurehead in the Field of Sport for the Disabled

Written for Campden Hill LTC

We are sad to inform you all that Liz Dendy, who was our president from the late 90’s until 2012, died two weeks ago at the age of 90 yrs.

 

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The US Open Tennis Debacle Waiting to Unfold

Stuff.co.nz

The world of professional tennis is in chaos right now.

The US Open grand slam, held over two weeks, is due to start on August 31. It’s going to be a very strange affair. No player entourages, definitely no ballboys handling players’ towels and, most significantly, no spectators. Read More

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

Aussie Open 2020

by Katrina Allen

This article first appeared in Languedoc Living

There was some debate as to whether the tournament would actually take place this year. The air was thick with smog from the bushfires during the qualifying, causing problems with breathing and one player even withdrawing part way though her match.

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Claire Fahey the Women’s Real Tennis World Champion – a profile

 

Have you never heard of Claire Fahey? Well, that’s probably because she’s at the top of the somewhat obscure game of Real Tennis, the predecessor of the sport that we see today at Wimbledon.

Real Tennis was invented in around the 12th century by French monks and the rules are fiendishly complicated.

The balls are hand-made and heavy, rather like a cricket ball but covered in felt. The rackets are not entirely symmetrical and are made of wood. Graphite is banned since the game would simply be too dangerous with those heavy balls.

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US Open Tennis

 

Rafael Nadal celebrates his fourth US Open victory. (Source: Twitter/@AustralianOpen)

By Katrina Allen

This article appears on LanguedocLiving.com

It was an exciting Slam this year with a lot of close matches, in particular in the women’s event.

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The Trans Debate in Women’s Tennis

  This article appears in Stuff.co.nz

Tennis ‘badly needs consistent policies for trans players’ in top pro events

WTA Legend Ambassador Martina Navratilova says she just wants fairness in the transgender sports issue.
CLIVE BRUNSKILL/GETTY IMAGES
WTA Legend Ambassador Martina Navratilova says she just wants fairness in the transgender sports issue.

OPINION: Earlier this year, Martina Navratilova, a much-lauded lesbian role model, caused a media storm with her remarks on transgender athletes, saying: “It’s insane and it’s cheating.”

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Equal Prize Money Question in Tennis

This Article appears in Stuff.co.nz

Women’s tennis would benefit from five-set thrillers

When it comes to the slams, the women haven't even been offered the opportunity to play best-of-five. Simona Halep holds the trophy after being too good for Serena Williams in the Wimbledon women's final.
BEN CURTIS/AP
When it comes to the slams, the women haven’t even been offered the opportunity to play best-of-five. Simona Halep holds the trophy after being too good for Serena Williams in the Wimbledon women’s final.

OPINION: At this year’s Wimbledon, the women’s final between Simona Halep and Serena Williams lasted under one hour, ending in a 6-2 6-2 whitewash.

The men’s final between Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer lasted just under five hours in a five set thriller.

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Wimbledon Qualifying

Wimbledon Qualifying

Fever Tree Champinships, Queens 2019

Federer and Murray Win Wimbledon Warm-Up Titles

 

Roland Garros 2019

LanguedocLiving. com

 

It was a reasonably good French Open this year, and although there were some great matches, I wouldn’t call it a hugely memorable one.

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Endless suffering of Andy Murray.

This was published in Stuff.co.nz

Endless suffering of Andy Murray raises questions around player welfare

 

OPINION: Exactly one year ago former world No 1 Andy Murray pulled out of Aussie Open citing a hip injury.

Shortly after, he made a major decision – to have surgery on that hip.

He seemed very positive after the operation, fairly certain that he would make a full recovery and get back to business.

Andy Murray clutches his hip at Queen's in 2018, it has hampered him ever since and hastened his retirement.
KATRINA ALLEN
Andy Murray clutches his hip at Queen’s in 2018, it has hampered him ever since and hastened his retirement.

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