Archive for September, 2011
Wednesday, September 14th, 2011
By Caroline Cameron
Just after Wimbledon, I started a new feature on my blog called, ‘Broken Strings,’ where I shared a collection of funny tennis photos and videos.
There are so many video gems from the U.S. Open that I thought I’d do another ‘Broken Strings’ post. Enjoy.
We all know that Novak Djokovic is the ‘Djoker’ on tour, but lately, he’s been the ATP dancing machine. Maybe dancing is part of his fitness training.
Serena Williams freaked out at the chair umpire in the U.S. Open final after she lost a point because she was called for interference. As you’ll see, Serena isn’t the quietest player on tour.
With two straight days of rain delays, Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray, and Andy Roddick complained about the way the U.S. Open was dealing with the delays. Roddick was upset because players were being brought out onto court before the courts were ready for play.
I’m surprised this doesn’t happen more often…
Unfortunately for Nadal, his leg cramped up during a post match press conference. The awkward part is that for three minutes, Rafa hardly said a thing and neither did anyone in the press conference.
It was only a matter of time before someone made fun of Rafa.
If you have any funny tennis videos or photos, tweet them to me: @Caroline_A_C.
Monday, September 12th, 2011
By Caroline Cameron
Novak Djokovic won his first U.S. Open, 6-2, 6-4, 6-7(3), 6-1 against Rafael Nadal. Seems routine, right? Wrong.
It was a match of breaks. With 40 break point opportunities combined, Djokovic broke Nadal 11 times, while Nadal broke Djokovic six times; very uncharacteristic of any match, let alone a final.
Nadal’s serve has always been his weakness. When he won his first U.S. Open title in 2010, Nadal adjusted the grip on his serve, which he has admitted, helped lead to his success. In the 2011 championship, Nadal’s serve was inconsistent, and the Spaniard only had two aces compared to Djokovic’s seven.
After Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic’s epic semifinal, in which Djokovic fought off two match points to win the match, it was hard to imagine that the final would bring as much excitement. But it did.
Just four years ago, Djokovic’s biggest success was his 2007 Rogers Cup run, where he beat Nadal and Federer on his way to the title. Back then, he was fighting to keep up with the pack.
Now, he’s the pack leader. 2011 has been the year of the Djoker.
64 wins, ten titles, including three Grand Slams, and only two losses. He’s beaten Nadal in all of their six meetings.
Djokovic’s year has been simply incredible, and it’s not over yet.
As Nadal graciously admitted in his post match interview, it will be nearly impossible for anyone to repeat Djokovic’s success this season. Djokovic has been too good. He’s fit, he’s strong, and he’s in his opponents’ heads. He’s unstoppable.
So can Djokovic continue his run into 2012? I’ll just say this: I wouldn’t bet against him.
Sunday, September 11th, 2011
By Caroline Cameron
Samantha Stosur threw her hands up in the air as she basked in the glory of her first Grand Slam singles title.
But the Australian’s stunning victory has been overshadowed by Serena Williams’ second set outburst.
At love all in the second set, with Serena serving at 30-40, she yelled ‘come on’ after hitting what looked like would be a forehand winner. Stosur was unable to return Serena’s hard hitting shot, but chair umpire, Eva Asderaki gave the point to Stosur, arguing that it was interference.
To no one’s surprise, Serena openly criticized Asderaki after the call. This comes just two years after Serena’s infamous U.S. Open outburst after she was called on a foot fault. The call cost Serena the championship.
I can’t help but feel for Asderaki in this situation. According to the rulebook, she made the right call. But Serena was punished for yelling ‘come on’ during a point, yet players like Victoria Azarenka are allowed to loudly grunt every time they hit a shot. Not only that, but Azarenka’s grunts are sometimes louder depending on the shot.
The rules in tennis need to be consistent. Either screaming/grunting should be allowed or it shouldn’t be. Right now, there is too much grey area.
But this is an argument for another day.
The real story here is Stosur’s historic win. A player, whose career almost ended after being diagnosed with Lyme disease in 2007, is now Australia’s first female Grand Slam singles champ in 31 years.
After losing to Serena in the Rogers Cup final just last month, Stosur looked crushed as she watched Serena’s team celebrate with champagne in the centre court tunnel.
This win, more than makes up for it. Stosur won this match. A bad call didn’t lose it for Serena. This is Stosur’s moment.
Saturday, September 10th, 2011
By Caroline Cameron
Two match points lost. Two years in a row.
For Roger Federer, history is repeating itself. But unfortunately for the 16 Grand Slam champ, it’s recent history that’s haunting him.
In Federer’s 2010 U.S. Open semi final against Novak Djokovic, the Serb saved two match points and went on to win the match. On Saturday, lucky tennis fans watched the same story unfold during what was perhaps, the best match of the year.
Federer used to be 178-0 at a Slam when he won the first two sets. But now, for the second time in his career, and the second time this year, Federer has been up two sets to love, only to go on and lose the match: Saturday against Djokovic and in the Wimbledon quarters against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.
So will people continue to suggest that Federer’s career is over? That the man we once knew as the Federer Express is too old, and too warn out to win?
Yes, they will. But he isn’t.
No, he isn’t the dominant player he once was, and it’s disappointing. But we were spoiled.
And on Saturday, Federer didn’t lose the fifth. Djokovic won it.
Down double match point in the fifth, Djokovic hit a forehand, cross-court, return winner that fell just inside the service line. No one can beat that. Djokovic is too good. He’s been the best all year.
Remember, Federer is the only player to truly beat Djokovic this year, which he did in the French Open semis. Djokovic retired against Andy Murray in the Cincinnati final. Djokovic is 62-2 this season.
For Djokovic fans, his comeback solidified what we’ve seen all year: Djokovic is the best tennis player in the world, and his mental game is unparalleled.
For Federer fans, Saturday was a disappointment. Federer played some of his best tennis of the year, but as we’ve recently seen, he couldn’t close it out.
For tennis fans, the match was worthy of a final as both players left it all on the court.
Few matches leave you speechless in the end, but this match did just that.
Wednesday, September 7th, 2011
By Caroline Cameron
Rain delays are no fun; they’re long, they’re boring, and they’re wet.
Tuesday was rained out at the U.S. Open, and on Wednesday, two men’s quarterfinals were cancelled while four men’s round-of-16 matches were delayed until (hopefully) Thursday. On the women’s side, all four quarterfinal matches were scheduled for Wednesday night but were cancelled due to rain.
But these scheduling changes didn’t go as smoothly as it may sound.
Rafael Nadal, Andy Roddick, and Andy Murray all complained to the U.S. Open Tournament Referee and Director after being sent on court only to find that the courts were still wet and it was lightly raining.
Nadal told ESPN that players “don’t feel protected” by the tournament, and suggested that the U.S. Open is focused more on making money rather than on keeping the players happy and safe.
As Murray, Roddick, and Nadal explained to ESPN, players don’t want to be dragged out onto court to play for only five minutes. If they go out on court, they want the court to be dry, and the weather to hold. When Murray went out for his match, he explained that the back section of the court was still wet. That should never happen. When a player arrives on court, the court should be ready for play.
Furthermore, Murray, Roddick, and Nadal haven’t completed their round-of-sixteen matches while Roger Federer, and Novak Djokovic are already through to the quarters. The men’s final is still scheduled for Sunday, and if it stays that way, it’s possible that Murray, Roddick, or Nadal could play four matches in four days. In a Grand Slam, this is unheard of, and the quality of tennis will decline. This also gives Federer and Djokovic an unfair advantage, as they will be well rested.
It’s supposed to rain on Thursday, and if there are any more delays, the men’s final should be moved to Monday, if not Tuesday. Let’s just hope that the communication between the officials and players improves.
Sunday, September 4th, 2011
By Caroline Cameron
John Isner has made it clear that he is tired of talking about his 2010 Wimbledon win against Nicolas Mahut; the longest match of all time.
His infamous match lasted 11 hours and 5 minutes over the course of three days, but that was over a year ago. Time to move on.
And move on he has. Isner is on an 8 match winning streak after his title win at Winston-Salem and his tennis is looking better than ever.
Isner has always been known for his serve, but this summer, his forehand has been much more consistent and he has played with newfound confidence.
Since July, Isner has been 20-4, and he’s now through to the 4th round of the U.S. Open for the second time in his career.
In his post match interview after his win at the Winston-Salem Open, Isner insisted, “I feel like I can do some damage [in New York]. I’ll be taking a five-match win streak into the tournament. Confidence is something that’s very hard to come by and I have it right now.”
Isner is ranked 22nd in the world, and by no means is he a favourite to win the last Major of the year. But after impressive wins against Marcos Baghdatis, Robby Ginepri and now Alex Bogomolov Jr., I could see Isner playing deep into the second week.
He’ll face world no. 12 Gilles Simon next, and could then face world no. 4, Andy Murray. With the way Isner is playing, there’s a good chance he could upset Murray. Don’t count this big man out.