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from India Insight:

Tendulkar exits, Anand slips during emotional 2013

Sachin Tendulkar bid a teary-eyed farewell to cricket while contemporary Viswanathan Anand lost his world chess crown in an emotional year for Indians in sports.

Forty-year-old Tendulkar, statistically the greatest batsman ever, walked into the sunset in November after his 200th test at his home Wankhede Stadium brought the cricket-crazy nation to a standstill.

"My life's been 22 yards for 24 years. It's hard to believe that wonderful journey is coming to an end," an emotional Tendulkar said during a moving farewell speech as most Indians on and off the ground battled to hold back tears.

His phenomenal success on the cricket field and impeccable lifestyle off it made him a perfect role model for India's burgeoning youth population.

from Photographers' Blog:

50,000 images, 250 matches, 2 weeks, 1 champion

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Melbourne, Australia

By Rob Dawson

Yummy, Fried Egg and Scrambled Eggs

Now that your appetites are whet I am going to disappoint you. This isn't a blog about food.

Growing up in Melbourne you might think tennis was a big part of my life, with the first slam of the year being held every year in the city, but I don’t come from that Melbourne. I grew up in a small market town in Derbyshire in Britain. My experience of tennis growing up involved playing on this court and ones similar. Luckily the poorly maintained surface and nets did not quell my enthusiasm for the sport. I would often rush home from school so I could watch Wimbledon on the television while eating home picked strawberries and cream.

from Photographers' Blog:

18 hour days at the Olympics

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By Dominic Ebenbichler

The alarm clock was set for 7.15am. After a short breakfast with my colleague Damir Sagolj I took the bus to Wimbledon, a journey of about 1.5 hours.

After arriving I met with our tennis specialist Stefan Wermuth who is covering the whole tennis tournament during the London Olympics. He showed me the venue and we figured out who was going to be covering which matches. I got to shoot Andy Murray, which also included capturing some pictures of Prince William and his wife Catherine, who were cheering for Murray throughout the game.

from Photographers' Blog:

Roger and out: Wimbledon 2012

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By Toby Melville

After two weeks of rainy, cold and windy tennis, somehow kept on schedule courtesy of early starts, late finishes and a much used Centre Court roof, the traditional tournament highlight of the Men’s Singles Final took place on Sunday.

For the first time in 75 years a Briton would contest the match. The only obstacle in Scot Andy Murray’s path to glory was the huge boulder in the shape of sixteen grand slam winner and six time Wimbledon victor, Switzerland’s Roger Federer.

from Left field:

Miami courts too slow – Rusedski

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By Greg Rusedski

All the talk at the Miami Masters Series was again about the top four and if Roger Federer would be able to continue his amazing run. Miami is a tough event to win immediately after Indian Wells due to its slower conditions, heavy humidity and at times; strong winds.

Federer was trying to win Indian Wells and Miami back-to-back for the third time in his career. Federer has been on an amazing run since losing in the semi-finals of the US Open. He has won 6 of his last 8 events and has amassed the most points of any player since mid-September of last year. Unfortunately for Roger, he lost to Andy Roddick in the third round when he ran out of gas with Roddick playing well. This will hurt Roger because he owns Roddick and had beaten him in 24 out of 26 matches up until this match.

from Photographers' Blog:

Tennis, with strings attached

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By Kevin Lamarque

The average weekend tennis hacker might never have their racquet restrung. A serious player might have their racquets strung every month, but for most players, once a year suffices. A top professional tennis player strings up to 6-racquets before EVERY match.

As a keen club player who strings his own racquets, I’ve always been intrigued by the elite teams of stringing professionals who work the major professional tournaments.

from Left field:

Federer makes it 19

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By Greg Rusedski

The Indian Wells masters series is always a difficult event for the players. They have to get used to playing in the desert air as the ball travels a little quicker and further than you expect. Thus they have to move quicker, tighten their racquet strings, or put more top spin on the ball to bring it into court. That is why the top players like to arrive as early as possible.

Roger Federer came into the event in great form having won Rotterdam and Dubai. Rafael Nadal on the other hand hadn't played a match in 40 days and it would be interesting to see if he was rusty. Novak Djokovic had been playing well all year, even though he lost in the semi-finals in Dubai to Andy Murray. Djokovic looks very confident, he is not as concerned about winning every event as he was last year. He is comfortable being world number 1 and looks more focused on winning majors. This year expect him to balance out his schedule more and play a little less tennis.

from Left field:

Best Australian Open semis and final – Rusedski

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By Greg Rusedski

Again, in the men's draw it turned out to be all about the top four in the world. In the semi-finals it was Roger Federer versus Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic versus Andy Murray. Could Federer finally beat Nadal in a major again? The last time he beat Nadal at a major was 2007 in the Wimbledon final. Nadal leads Federer in their Grand Slam matches 7 wins to 2 losses.

Federer started like a house on fire to win the first set, but Nadal wasn't worried. He knew he could not lose to Federer in a major because he knew that physically he would wear him down. When that happens Federer loses his concentration ever so fractionally and that is when Rafa pounces and turns the match in his favor. The strategy against Federer is simple for Nadal. Nadal’s left handed high heavy topspin forehand moves Federer all over the court and breaks down Federer’s backhand side. Physically, Federer cannot keep up with Nadal in a three out of five set match anymore. Federer has to beat Nadal in three sets, which is nearly impossible. Also on his serve Rafa can start the point on his terms because Federer cannot really attack his serve with the one-handed backhand.

from Left field:

Technology, Lendl and expectations at the Australian Open

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By Greg Rusedski

The big Australian hope for the woman's title Sam Stosur, the U.S. Open champion, went out in the first round which wasn't a huge surprise. She said in all her press conferences before the event about how she wasn't dealing with the pressure and home expectations. In my experience, even if a player is feeling that way they shouldn’t bring it up at a press conference as it could potentially give the opponent an extra belief. Sam will learn from this and hopefully get stronger for it.

On the men's side, Australia's big hope Bernard Tomic played well and is the real deal. He loves playing with the Australian pressure and expectation. Unfortunately for Tomic in the fourth round he came up against the great Roger Federer. It was another entertaining match from Tomic but Federer was just too good. Tomic is an exciting player to watch because of the variety in his game. He can hit any shot and mixes the pace of the ball all the time. He is a great thinker on the court and is a natural born winner. At only 19 years of age he should be in the top 10 very soon if he keeps working.

from Left field:

Roddick leads movement for ATP change

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By Martyn Herman 

Andy Roddick on Friday insisted that tennis players must adopt "one voice" to push through changes to the ATP Tour but that may not be as easy as it seems despite the general feeling of solidarity.

Pity Brad Drewett, the new chief executive of the men’s Tour, who has the job of trying to keep everyone happy, grand slam champions, journeymen, tournament organisers, sponsors and TV.

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