Left field

The Reuters global sports blog

Clay King Nadal back with a bang


TENNIS-MEN/MASTERSClay King Rafael Nadal is back. And if his knees hold up it’ll take a miracle to stop him winning a fifth French Open title in Paris starting next month.

The Spanish world number three was on breathtaking form at the Monte Carlo Masters, dropping just 14 games in his five matches, and became the only player in the Open era to win a tournament for six straight years.

His 6-0 6-1 demolition of compatriot, Davis Cup team mate and friend Fernando Verdasco ended an 11-month, injury-plagued title drought and the Mallorcan collapsed to the floor at the end of the match before breaking down in tears.

“For me (today) is very emotional,” said the 23-year-old, who equaled Roger Federer’s 16 Masters trophies and conceded the fewest games of his career en route to a title.

Can Federer complete a calendar slam?



Received wisdom heading into the Australian Open was that the combined effects of fatherhood and a record-breaking number of grand slams would reduce Roger Federer’s hunger for success to the point where mere mortals on the tour need fear him no longer.

Instead, the message remains: Beware of the GOAT.

The possibility no one seems to have considered is that the Wimbledon title that saw him overtake Pete Sampras as the most successful player in grand slams, coupled with the certain knowledge he now possesses that there are far more important things in life than tennis, might take every ounce of pressure off his shoulders and make him a more formidable opponent still.

Federer beats Murray in Australian Open final — how it happened


Roger Federer’s stunning victory over Andy Murray … as it happened.

Has Nadal’s career already peaked?


TENNIS-MEN/FINALSRafael Nadal has electrified men’s tennis since bursting on to the scene in 2005 but there are worrying signs that the Spaniard’s career may already have peaked.

With six grand slam titles to his name already Nadal has already staked his claim as one of the greats of the game but the aura he used to bring to the court has vanished.

U.S. Open shocker as Del Potro beats Federer to win title


Juan Martin del Potro of Argentina celebrates defeating Roger Federer of Switzerland in the men's final at the U.S. Open tennis championship in New York

Argentine Juan Martin del Potro has beaten Roger Federer to win in the U.S. Open and end the Swiss master’s five-year domination of the title.

Does this mark the arrival of an exciting new 20-year-old talent or is it merely another reminder that Federer is no longer the force he once was? Or should we just enjoy another superb men’s grand slam final?

A tale of two draws at Flushing Meadows


roddickIt 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.

Expect Federer v Murray to decide US Open again


federermurrayThe 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.

Two Masters tournaments, the level below a grand slam, have been played this month with Murray triumphing in Montreal and Federer in Cincinnati

Federer is still the daddy


federer2All eyes will be on new dad Roger Federer at the U.S. Open next week to see if he really can combine nappy changing duties with a successful run to another grand slam title.

The five-times Flushing Meadows champion, whose wife Mirka gave birth to twins Charlene Riva and Myla Rose last month, will be aiming to become the first parent to win a tennis major since 2003.

Is it fair to compare greats from different sports?


I just came across an interesting blog on the bleacher report comparing the greatness of Roger Federer and Tiger Woods.

Here in Italy, the Gazzetta dello Sport newspaper has been running a series called “Impossible duels” where the likes of Michael Phelps and Usain Bolt have gone up against each other in a bizarre statistical battle.