The Reuters global sports blog
The first week of the US Open is always interesting. It’s easy to get a sense of what is going to happen, who is playing well and who is struggling. The weather conditions have been warm but not as humid and hot as last year, no major issues for the players – with the exception of Rafael Nadal and his cramps post match during his press conference.
On the men’s side Novak Djokovic has been sensational and has appeared to have had no issues with his shoulder that was worrying him in Cincinnati. Djokovic still looks like the favorite and is hitting the ball better than anyone in the tournament. Roger Federer has looked good as well, but had his first test against Mario Cilic. The big question mark around Federer is how will he play the big points if he plays Djokovic in the semi-finals but before getting there he has a tough section.
Rafael Nadal has been struggling a bit but he is still winning even though he’s not playing his best tennis. He will have to lift his game if he is to defend his title because at the moment he is not playing well enough to win. Andy Murray was hitting the ball well in his first match, but he got nervous in his second match but came through in five sets.
Winning against Robin Haase might be a blessing in disguise because he might relax more into the next round. In a grand slam you normally have to win at least one match not playing your best to win a major. Week Two will be a lot tougher so let’s see if the likes of Mardy Fish, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, John Isner or Juan Martin Del Potro can cause a major upset.
According to International Cricket Council statistician David Kendix’s calculations, three England sides before Andrew Strauss’s present team would have topped the test world rankings too if the current format had existed.
In reverse chronological order, they are Mike Brearley’s side of 1979-80, Ray Illingworth’s 1970-3 team and the 1955-9 squad led first by Len Hutton then Peter May.
The men’s side of this year’s US Open is going to be very interesting.
Will Novak Djokovic’s shoulder hold up and can he win his third major of the year? Will Roger Federer win another major with one of the toughest sections of the draw? Can Rafael Nadal get his form back to defend the title? Will Andy Murray win his first major? And finally, who are the dark horses?
Djokovic’s first two rounds look comfortable, then his route gets interesting with a possible match up against Nikolay Davydenko in the third, Richard Gasquet in the fourth and Tomas Berdych in the quarters before he most likely meets Federer in the semi-finals, if Federer gets there! Berdych could be the danger man in the section if his shoulder recovers from Cincinnati.
from Business Traveller:
By Phil Vickery
Vickery visited New Zealand for the first time as an actual tourist in June. Poised to return as part of the ITV commentary team, he reflects here on his summer trip when he took a helicopter tour over Auckland, got up close to wildlife on the Otago Peninsula and soaked up the sights, sounds and great coffee of the world’s coolest little capital – Wellington.
I love New Zealand but never really got chance to enjoy it as a tourist when I toured there with England. I was always there to do a job and it was non-stop training.
from Reuters Soccer Blog:
Jose Mourinho was given a rapturous reception by the Real Madrid faithful when his side entertained Galatasaray in a friendly on Wednesday.
It was a show of unity likely to leave club president Florentino Perez in no doubt that whatever reservations he might have over his stubbornly controversial coach the majority of Madrid supporters love him.
The Cincinnati Masters became a very important event before the US Open because a lot of the big names lost early in Montreal and needed to get match play before the Open started.
How would Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, and Andy Murray perform? Could Novak Djokovic continue his amazing run of only one match lost all season, having just won Montreal a week earlier?
from Reuters Soccer Blog:
With Cesc Fabregas gone and Samir Nasri possibly on the move too, there is a lot of gloom around Arsenal at the moment and Saturday's 2-0 home defeat by Liverpool did nothing to help the mood.
Arsenal fans are for the first time questioning the stewardship of Arsene Wenger and have demanded some top signings to prevent yet another trophyless season.
England have destroyed India to go 3-0 up in their test series and officially become the world’s best test nation having also humbled Australia Down Under just a few months ago.
It’s a new position for England to find themselves in after batting collapse after batting collapse undermined their sides in the 1980/90s and sporadically in recent years.
from Reuters Soccer Blog:
“You can’t win anything with kids,” said former Liverpool defender Alan Hansen of Manchester United’s young team in 1995. Alex Ferguson’s troops went on to win the Premier League that season in 1996.
Are we about to see a similar outcome in the 2011/12 season after Ferguson hauled off the experienced trio of Rio Ferdinand, Nemanja Vidic and Michael Carrick with United 2-0 down to rivals Manchester City before they staged a second-half comeback to win the Community Shield 3-2 on Sunday?
from Photographers' Blog:
Several weeks back I was told I would be having a serious case of the blues for a fortnight - processing pictures of the swimmers, divers and water polo players competing in the FINA World Championships in Shanghai. Pictures from the event would be edited by China chief photographer Petar Kujundzic and sent to me and my colleagues Karishma Singh and Allison Ching in Singapore to process and transmit to clients.
For two weeks, I would be looking at a sea of images where the main color was blue. So it made me nervous whenever I saw my least favorite color - green - appear on skin tones. It took constant communication with the on-site photographers and editor as well as the Picture Desk team here in Singapore, not to mention close scrutiny of the histogram in Photoshop, to ensure the athletes didn't look jaundiced or ill. In fact, correcting the color on pictures taken in the swimming pool in Shanghai was as challenging as it was in Beijing three years ago when I processed aquatics images at the Olympics.