The Reuters global sports blog
This year’s Olympic tennis was, in my opinion, the most prestigious in history due to the fact that it was being held at the home of tennis, Wimbledon.
Roger Federer had made it his goal to try to win Olympic gold in singles for the first time, one of the very few things he hasn’t achieved in his career.
Andy Murray on the other hand, was trying to win gold on home soil after a painful loss to Federer in the Wimbledon finals.
The world number 1 Novak Djokovic was also desperate for gold. The only disappointment on the men’s side was the withdrawal of Rafael Nadal, who did not play due to injury and then subsequently also missed the rest of the season.
Week two of the U.S. Open had many stories. Would the weather destroy the momentum of the event? How would the courts hold up? Will the U.S. Open finally make plans to build a roof? Who would be the men’s and woman’s U.S. Open champions?
On the woman’s side Serena Williams made the finals easily and was the big favorite to win the title against Sam Stosur. Stosur had the longest match in US Open history and played the longest tie breaker in U.S. open history as well, to make the finals. Nobody except Sam Stosur thought she would win. If she won, she would become the first Australian woman to win a major since 1980. She played the match of her life and won 6-2 6-3.
The men’s side of this year’s US Open is going to be very interesting.
Will Novak Djokovic’s shoulder hold up and can he win his third major of the year? Will Roger Federer win another major with one of the toughest sections of the draw? Can Rafael Nadal get his form back to defend the title? Will Andy Murray win his first major? And finally, who are the dark horses?
Djokovic’s first two rounds look comfortable, then his route gets interesting with a possible match up against Nikolay Davydenko in the third, Richard Gasquet in the fourth and Tomas Berdych in the quarters before he most likely meets Federer in the semi-finals, if Federer gets there! Berdych could be the danger man in the section if his shoulder recovers from Cincinnati.
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.
For most players the idea of returning from a year out with injury and illness a week before Wimbledon and then defending your title would be impossible.
But, then again, Serena Williams in not any old player.
The 29-year-old American, the dominant force in women’s tennis for a decade, has taken a wildcard for next week’s Eastbourne grasscourt tournament and then will head to the All England Club, not just for appearances, but to win a fifth title there and draw level with older sister Venus who is also returning from a six-month lay-off.
Justine Henin’s storming run to the final of the Australian Open illustrates exactly what women’s tennis has been missing in her absence.
The Belgian played just one tournament in the run-up to the Melbourne grand slam following an 18-month “retirement” but it looks as though she has never been away.
New Zealand All Blacks coach Graham Henry played the part of the befuddled old fogey bemused by modern life and confused by new technology with a certain wry amusement towards the end of his team’s European tour late last year.
Neemia Tialata and Cory Janes revealed on Twitter they had been left out of the team to play England 24 hours before Henry formally announced the side.
Andre Agassi’s decision to open his soul and tell the world he took drugs and then hoodwinked his governing body, the ATP, into believing his failed drugs test in 1997 was a mere mistake could not have come at a worse time for Australian and Wimbledon champion Serena Williams.
While Agassi has been condemned by players and pundits alike for tainting the image of his sport, tennis authorities have come under fire for not investigating the matter thoroughly and believing Agassi’s lies.