Left field

The Reuters global sports blog

Is women’s tennis better for being ‘cattier’?

“Clearly women’s tennis is better than men’s tennis. It’s way cattier, so it’s way more exciting to watch.”

Before the anti-sexism police start to wave their batons in my direction, I would like to clarify that these are not my words but those of 10-times grand slam champion Serena Williams, who lost in the Roland Garros quarter-finals on Wednesday.

And Ms Williams should know.

Last week the American was involved in a catfight with Spain’s Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez and accused the Spaniard of being a “cheat” for accepting a disputed point during their French Open third round contest.

That was only the latest episode in her rather drama-filled life on tour.

In 2003, a sobbing Williams accused Justine Henin of “lying and fabricating” following a controversial semi-final defeat at Roland Garros. Henin denied the allegations.

French Open exit a missed opportunity for Murray

The French Open quarter-finals were as good as it got for Briton Andy Murray as the number three seed was ousted by Chilean Fernando Gonzalez 6-3 3-6 6-0 6-4.

While an improvement on last year’s third round Roland Garros exit will be encouraging for the 22-year-old, who has previously struggled on clay, Murray will view a final four absent of top seed Rafael Nadal as a missed opportunity for his first grand slam title.

Nadal’s defeat presents perfect opportunity for Federer


nadalfansIt wasn’t supposed to be a question of ‘if’ but rather how convincingly Rafael Nadal would clinch his record fifth successive French Open title.

But the baseline behemoth, for so long indestructible at Roland Garros, turned out to be mere flesh and blood, mere forehands and backhands as his unbeaten record at the capital of claycourt tennis came to an inglorious end.

Sharapova shows she is more than a pretty face

I have never been a big fan of Maria Sharapova’s tennis. I prefer fellow Russian Dinara Safina, who I like to nickname ‘Marata’ (her brother being Marat Safin).

Many men will prefer Sharapova for reasons other than tennis but Safina can be more enjoyable to watch on court, especially when it’s clay.

Nadal loses at French Open, Ancelotti leaves AC Milan

It has been quite a day in the world of sport, especially for tired sports journalists.

Rafael Nadal lost to Robin Soderling in the fourth round at the French Open. Yes you read that right. The four-time champion’s 31-match winning streak at Roland Garros is over.

Time to silence the grunters?


larcherdebritoServe-GRUNT-forehand return-MOAN-groundstroke-YELP-backhand-SQUEAL-volley-SCREAM-drop shot … 0-15.

Sitting on centre court at the French Open this week, I realised I was listening to tennis rather than watching it.

Dokic is not done yet


dokicIf anyone deserves to make a successful comeback to top flight tennis it is Jelena Dokic.

When most players want a second bite of the cherry, it is because they enjoyed their careers so much the first time round and realised how much they missed it when they began to pursue other interests. If in doubt ask Martina Navratilova, (a blink and you’ll miss it singles return in 2004), Martina Hingis or even Kim Clijsters (who has had enough of changing nappies, perhaps).

Murray may never find magic French formula … but so what?


murrayDefine the perfect claycourt tennis player.

How about: The patient counter puncher who’s happy to trade blows from the baseline until his opponent makes an error then pounces with an angled drive or pinpoint passing shot.

But hang on a sec … Couldn’t that describe Andy Murray’s game? The player whose passive style has brought so much success on hardcourts and yet the same man who looks about as at home on a clay court as I do on the Cresta Run?

Murray handed awkward French Open draw

French Open third seed Andy Murray has been given a really tough first round opponent in Argentina’s Juan Ignacio Chela.

Just a couple of years ago Chela would have been the favourite to win on Roland Garros’s clay.

Can anyone crack Rafael Nadal on clay?


After only eight days into the 57-date European claycourt season, it seems as if only one name will be engraved on the French Open trophy this year.

Just as Robert Langdon dashed around the streets of Paris trying to solve the Da Vinci Code, the likes of Roger Federer and company have become obsessed with finding a way to crack Rafael Nadal at Roland Garros.