The Reuters global sports blog
The Monte Carlo Master Series is a good indicator for who is in good clay court form early during the run up to the French Open. Rafael Nadal has won this event the last 7 years in a row, which has never happened before on the ATP Tour.
This year it looked like his streak could come to an end because World Number 1 Novak Djokovic, who missed last year’s event, was in the draw. The only player missing in the top 4 was Roger Federer who needed a little break this week.
Novak Djokovic received some very sad news when he heard his grandfather passed away on Wednesday. While Novak’s grandfather was a big influence in his life, he decided to continue to play in the event, but was visibly upset throughout his matches and still found a way to get to the finals.
Nadal has been in great form all week even though he had talked about not being as strong as he liked in his legs going into the event. Nadal has lost his last 7 matches to Novak Djokovic; could he finally beat him?
By Martyn Herman
Andy Roddick on Friday insisted that tennis players must adopt “one voice” to push through changes to the ATP Tour but that may not be as easy as it seems despite the general feeling of solidarity.
Pity Brad Drewett, the new chief executive of the men’s Tour, who has the job of trying to keep everyone happy, grand slam champions, journeymen, tournament organisers, sponsors and TV.
Djokovic even took a shining to the hallowed Wimbledon turf, describing his post-win snack as “well kept”, but in all seriousness the Serb is winning fans left right and centre and on Monday will be confirmed as world number one for the first time.
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.
My first visit to the French Open has so far been an eye-opener and not just because of Rafa Nadal’s first round struggles.
I’ve been to Wimbledon and all I remember is vast queues and too many people in a small area. I expected Roland Garros to be similar given it is the smallest grand slam venue but so far there have been no problems in that regard.
Roger Federer lost 6-4 6-4 to Juergen Melzer in the Monte Carlo Masters quarter-finals on Friday prompting renewed speculation the Swiss master is well past his best. He is down to world number three now having won only one tournament so far this year.
But hang on a minute, this is the probable GOAT we are talking about, you don’t ignore 16 grand slam titles so easily. Here are 10 reasons why Federer might still be able to bounce back from his shaky form.
Novak Djokovic’s 26-match hot streak dating back to the end of last year when he helped Serbia win the Davis Cup shows no sign of cooling and even Europe’s slow red dirt will hold no fears for the 23-year-old Serb this year.
Djokovic is certainly no rookie on clay, as his 2008 Rome title underlined, but whereas Rafael Nadal usually chomps his way past rival after rival, Djokovic finds the surface takes a little of the sting out of his game.
Fourteen days, seven matches, 21 winning sets and at least 126 winning games – that is all that is separating Rafael Nadal from pulling off the “Rafa Slam”.
It all looks simple enough in numbers but reality is that, and as many calculator-bashing accountants will acknowledge, it takes a lot of work to make sure all the numbers add up correctly.
Rafael Nadal ticked off another box when he joined an exclusive group of men to win a career grand slam and in doing so re-ignited the debate about whether he or Roger Federer is the better player.
It also strengthens Nadal’s case in the ongoing discussion around the GOAT, or Greatest Of All Time.
Trick shots are nothing new for five-time U.S. Open champ Roger Federer.
With five former champs seeing action on day one, it was a spectacular between the legs shot during the second set of his victory over Argentine baseliner Brian Dabul that will dominate talk around the water cooler this morning.
“I’ve only hit a few in my life and two on center court in night session play here in New York,” Federer told his audience. “It’s amazing to share this moment with you guys. Thanks for the ovation and I love it.”