The Reuters global sports blog
This year’s French Open was all about making history and breaking records. Roger Federer broke Jimmy Connors’ previous record of most Grand Slam match wins, which was 233 wins. Federer broke Connors’ record when he won his 2nd round match and will continue to extend this record.
Novak Djokovic was trying to be the first man in The Open era to hold all four majors at the same time and win his first French Open title; the last man to do this was the great Rod Laver in 1969.
Rafael Nadal was trying to break the record he holds with Bjorn Borg of most French Open titles won, which is held at 6. Was number 7 on the cards?
On the Ladies side, Maria Sharapova was trying to become the 10th woman in tennis history to win all 4 majors. Maria was bitterly disappointed last year when she lost in the semi-finals to Li Na after being the favourite to win the event.
The season-ending WTA championships had many story lines. Could Maria Sharapova recover from her ankle injury to threaten at the year-end championships and become world number one again? Would one of the new major winners lift the trophy? Could Caroline Wozniacki continue her reign as world number one for a second straight year and win the end of season championships for the first time?
This is the first time the end of season championships have been held in Istanbul, Turkey. The crowds have been packed all week so it was an excellent choice of city. The stadium looked great and so did the green tennis court with the purple outer court. The tennis throughout was brilliant.
The Williams sisters found the going tough and their so far impressive comebacks hit the buffers, while women’s number one Caroline Wozniacki’s route to a first grand slam title also came unstuck, but in the men’s draw there were no real dramas as the top four all hit their straps and made the quarters.
As mayor of Beijing for most of the period running up to the 2008 Olympics and now Vice Premier of China with responsibility for financial and economic affairs, Wang Qishan has been a very busy man over the last few years.
He has, however, made time to indulge his passion for tennis and been highly influential in the growth of the China Open tournament, now one of the top events in women’s tennis with ambitions of becoming an Asian major.
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.
It’s beyond me how anyone can deride women’s tennis as being dull. The relentless changing of the guard at the top of the world rankings and the general air of a free-for-all that the grand slams are cited as weak points in the game, when the sheer unpredictability of women’s tennis (compared to the men’s game) is precisely the reason it should be celebrated.
What many of the critics are really bemoaning, I suspect, is that Maria Sharapova didn’t go on to become the women’s Roger Federer. And while you couldn’t help be enthralled by her Wimbledon match against Gisela Dulko of Argentina on Wednesday, the Russian’s nailbiting defeat beneath the sunshine on centre-court is only going to bring more tut-tuts about the state of the game.
Fashion models, with varying degrees of taste, have been strutting their stuff at Wimbledon this week — oh, and they play a spot of tennis too.
The courts seem to have become catwalks — Maria Sharapova was showing off a military-style jacket and Serena Williams wore a new mac (an odd choice since it was dry and even if it rained, Centre Court now has a roof).
Leading up to this year’s Wimbledon all the talk has been about the new roof on Centre Court and the blessed reality that rain-filled days would no longer scupper everyone’s plans to watch some tennis.
Yet no one bargained for ice.
Just ask Novak Djokovic and Julien Benneteau, who provided the Centre Court crowd with thrills aplenty as both suffered some horrific looking falls on the increasingly slidey surface.