The Reuters global sports blog
On Dec. 5, 2010, it transformed Serbian player Novak Djokovic’s career. Djokovic guided his team to the historic title victory against France on home turf in Belgrade. And from there began the fourth-longest winning streak in the Open Era. Djokovic went on to win 43 matches on the trot, going back to the Davis Cup final.
What changed in Novak Djokovic? “The Davis Cup victory helped Novak throw out all the dirty tennis aspects from his game,” said Bogdan Obradovic, who was the non-playing captain of the Davis Cup-winning Serbian team in 2010. “All the doubts and negativity were washed away from his mind. The victory triggered that confidence in him where he started believing he can be the champion player he always wanted to be.”
The Serbian team began playing in the Davis Cup under the name of Serbia only in June 2006. To inspire his team, representing a tiny nation of 7 million people, to win the most coveted team event in tennis was monumental. The immensity of the achievement can be measured from the fact that Roger Federer, perhaps the finest tennis player of all times, is yet to do it for his country, Switzerland.
By Mike Theiler
I’m a baseball nut. I live and breathe baseball. I dislike football. I dislike basketball. I dislike soccer. A real baseball fan only loves baseball in my opinion.
I believe baseball is a metaphor for life.
It is life and death. It is also re-birth with spring training. It is marriage and divorce as players are joined together and then are either traded, discarded or fail.
from Jack Shafer:
At the rate I'm going, the number of people I follow on Twitter will have dropped from 640 to zero on July 13, after the last World Cup match concludes.
I've never been sentimental about Twitter, randomly unfollowing gassy and predictable feeds when flooded by their abundant and stupefying tweets, or pruning my list to make room for new voices. I can only assume that other Twitter devotees similarly budget their accounts, otherwise how could one keep up with the traffic?
First Jacques Kallis retired. Then Graeme Smith called it quits. In between, South Africa lost a test series against Australia, their first at home since the 2008-09 season.
What stares the Proteas in the face now, however, is a far bigger challenge than just replacing two great cricketers.
Cricket boards can ruin careers and no example demonstrates it better than the England and Wales Cricket Board’s treatment of their star batsman Kevin Pietersen.
The decision to retire is always best left to the player unless he carries on without form and fitness, and Pietersen, England’s highest run-getter across all formats, should have been allowed to make that call.
Time has come for the world of test cricket to move on without its biggest conqueror – Jacques Kallis. He is arguably the greatest cricketer to have played the game and his retirement ends a career that has been both revered and envied.
The 38-year-old has set a benchmark for excellence in cricket. His test record boasts of 13,289 runs from 166 matches at 55.37, which includes 45 hundreds, to go along with 292 wickets and 200 catches. Any test cricketer would easily settle for any one of the above statistical landmarks in their entire career, let alone all of them together.
It’s not only the on-field performances that let England down in the Ashes. The selectors too got it wrong starting from the initial announcement of the squad to the playing XI that was chosen for the third Test. The team management must also share the blame for going 3-0 down and losing the urn.
They made their first mistake in denying paceman Graham Onions a place in the touring party, a move that then came under harsh criticism in the English media. He has long been considered the second best swing bowler in England after James Anderson and his omission especially after a good season with Durham was baffling if not downright foolish. Instead, Onions is now in South Africa, playing for the Dolphins.
from India Insight:
A draw in the crucial 10th game after 65 moves of play gave the young Norwegian an unassailable lead in the 12-match contest and put an end to Anand's hopes of retaining the FIDE title he’s held since 2007.
While Sachin Tendulkar’s retirement may have been looked upon as the saddest chapter in Indian cricket, the fact remains that his exit can only work to the benefit of MS Dhoni’s emerging Test side.
There is no doubt about Tendulkar’s contribution to Indian cricket but as statistics show his impact was on the decline, more so in the last two years.
For 24 years Sachin had been India’s happiness index.
If a common man, while wading through the struggles of his daily life, smiled, it was mostly when Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar took guard for India. All that has come to an end with his retirement.
India may never find another sporting icon who singularly succeeded in making the nation forget its faults – a unifying factor of rare stature. No player, in contemporary cricket, has evoked spells of pure joy with his craft and conduct for so long – 24 years. Life, for the nation of a billion people, will go on but never be the same again.