The Reuters global sports blog
One person you will not find moaning about the length of the tennis season is Roger Federer.
While the ATP have trumpeted their decision to reduce the men’s season by two weeks to create a seven-week off-season, the 16-times grand slam champion has shown so far at the ATP World Tour finals that, at 29, he is feeling as fresh as ever.
Straight set victories over David Ferrer, Andy Murray and Robin Soderling put the Swiss into the semi-finals seemingly without breaking sweat and his record since losing in the Wimbledon final has been hugely impressive.
In fact, despite giving the new schedule, that will not take effect until 2012, a general thumbs up, you get the feeling Federer would be happier if it was left alone.
Wimbledon 2010 has been a great Championships, the weather for the two weeks has been absolutely perfect. Sun and more sun, not a drop of rain, the first time since 1995. They should have built that 40 million pound roof sooner! There were a lot of question marks going into this Wimbledon Championships for Andy Murray but fortunately for him he had a dream draw and took advantage in the first week to play himself into form.
For me though, the match of the tournament and the first week was John Isner versus Nicolas Mahut. I asked the BBC to schedule me on a short match so I could watch the all important England vs Slovenia qualifying match for the knockout stage of the Football World Cup. They said “No problem, we’ll put you on the Isner/Mahut match, they only have one set to finish”. So off I went with a rookie tennis commentator by the name off Ronald MacIntosh to finish the match he had started the day before. I joked that the outcome would be 27/25 in the final set to Isner, 8 hours 30 minutes later, over two days; I had been part of tennis history. We broke all records; longest match, longest set, most games ever played, most aces, longest match ever commentated on etc etc. It finished 70/68 in the 5th set for John Isner. This is a record which will never be broken. So much for watching the football, England did go on to win 1-0 though.
Is there a more notorious and oft-bemoaned sporting drought than Britain ’s long – and very far from tantalising – wait for a men’s grand slam tennis champion?
In the week the New Orleans Saints finally threatened to shed their unofficial moniker of The Aints because of their lack of Super Bowl success, Andy Murray is doing his level best to get the biggest monkey in world tennis off his back.
Scotland might be the “Home of Golf” but it seems the talent packed its bags and moved out long ago.
With nary a Scotsman in the 2008 Ryder Cup team and the country’s highest ranked player Martin Laird at 104 in the world something is clearly very wrong with the game back home.
Four-times U.S. Open champion John McEnroe now works as a TV commentator for CBS network and for cable sports giant ESPN at Flushing Meadows, but the opinionated former bad boy of tennis did not hesitate airing his views to Reuters about the dubious scheduling of matches at the Open and other subjects.
McEnroe hit out particularly at the so-called Super Saturday program that calls for the men’s semi-finals and the women’s final, with the men’s championship match to follow on Sunday, providing no day of rest for the guys in between and putting the tournament’s grand finale at the whim of weather.
It has been a tale of two draws at the U.S. Open, with the men’s seeds advancing full steam ahead and the women’s field in disarray.
Eight of the top 16 women’s seeds have been given the boot at Flushing Meadows, while all 16 men have strolled forward — the first time men’s seeds have marched in lock step into the third round of a grand slam.
The final grand slam tournament of the year, which begins on Monday at Flushing Meadows, will welcome the world’s two highest ranked players in intimidating form.