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The Reuters global sports blog

Rusedski makes his US Open picks

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David Nalbandian of Argentina celebrates his win against Robin Soderling of Sweden during their match at the Rogers Cup tennis tournament in Toronto August 12, 2010.    REUTERS/Mike Cassese

The Toronto Masters Series has been very interesting this year for so many reasons. David Nalbandian will be a dark horse for the US open and none of the top men will want to play him. Andy Murray looked impressive all week serving well and taking the ball early using the width on the court and hitting his forehand well. He looks in the form that took him to the Australian Open final at the beginning of the year. Murray was sensational in the quarter-final against Nalbandian and even better against Rafael Nadal in the semis.

Roger Federer, on the other hand, was building up his form nicely this week. His first big match was against Tomas Berdych in the quarters, it was a rematch of the Wimbledon quarter-final. Federer won, 7-6 in the third. This is a very important time for Federer, he needs to get back to his winning ways and this surface probably is best as the court gives him a little extra zip, because of the heat and the speed of the ball. He is also making a fashion statement this week, wearing pink and so is Nadal. Not sure on the pink?!

Roger Federer of Switzerland hits a return to Andy Murray of Britain during their final match at the Rogers Cup tennis tournament in Toronto August 15 , 2010 REUTERS/Mike Cassese

Federer earned back his world no. 2 ranking after his win against Novak Djokovic so we ended up with the same final that we had at the Australian Open. Federer was jaded after back-to-back three set matches going into the final. Murray won against Federer in the final to defend his title but did not play as well as he did in the last two matches. He started well but he had periods where he was too passive. He got the job done and won his first title of the year which will give him lots of confidence. He is the first man since Andre Agassi in 1995 to win back-to-back Canadian Open titles. If he is going to win the US Open he needs to continue to play like he did against Nadal and Nalbandian this week. He cannot afford to have passive periods like he did in the Toronto final against Federer.

Andy Murray of Britain holds the winners trophy after beating Roger Federer of Switzerland during their final match at the Rogers Cup tennis tournament in Toronto August 15, 2010. REUTERS/Mike Cassese

Federer is my slight favorite for the US Open and he will only get better each week before the US Open starts. By working with Paul Annacone we can see improvements in his game. Federer is becoming more aggressive in coming forward which is a positive sign. Nadal will also get better on the hard court each week and will peak perfectly before the US Open. Murray is back in the mix again to win a slam, the confidence is back and his tennis is returning to where it should be. What a great week of tennis!

Where have all the American champions disappeared to?

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When Jim Courier, Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi were engaged in a constant merry-go-round for the world number one spot throughout the 1990s, little did they know that a decade later American tennis players would have been left feeling dizzy with disbelief after they were completely wiped out from the Top 10.

Andy Roddick woke up on Monday to discover he had slid down two spots to number 11 and his little stumble meant that for the first time since the inception of rankings in 1973, the Stars and Stripes will not feature in the ATP’s top 10.

Holding court with Greg Rusedski

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Wimbledon 2010 has been a great Championships, the weather for the two weeks has been absolutely perfect. Sun and more sun, not a drop of rain, the first time since 1995. They should have built that 40 million pound roof sooner! There were a lot of question marks going into this Wimbledon Championships for Andy Murray but fortunately for him he had a dream draw and took advantage in the first week to play himself into form.

For me though, the match of the tournament and the first week was John Isner versus Nicolas Mahut. I asked the BBC to schedule me on a short match so I could watch the all important England vs Slovenia qualifying match for the knockout stage of the Football World Cup. They said “No problem, we’ll put you on the Isner/Mahut match, they only have one set to finish”. So off I went with a rookie tennis commentator by the name off Ronald MacIntosh to finish the match he had started the day before. I joked that the outcome would be 27/25 in the final set to Isner, 8 hours 30 minutes later, over two days; I had been part of tennis history. We broke all records; longest match, longest set, most games ever played, most aces, longest match ever commentated on etc etc. It finished 70/68 in the 5th set for John Isner. This is a record which will never be broken. So much for watching the football, England did go on to win 1-0 though.

from Photographers' Blog:

Center Court – A 30 year wait

Gary Hershorn poses on center court at Wimbledon June 30, 2010.

Wednesday finally saw the culmination of a 30 year dream of mine to shoot a match on the famed center court at Wimbledon. After 30 years of being a photographer, 25 of those spent with Reuters covering every conceivable sports championship around the world, there were still two things I always wanted to photograph, but for one reason or another never had the opportunity to do so. One was shooting a match on center court and the other, covering a British Open golf championship at St. Andrews.

This year is not my first at Wimbledon, I have been here a number of times editing the great pictures our photographers take during the fortnight of tennis. There is no tennis tournament that produces the beautiful images that Wimbledon does. From the simple white clothes that the competitors must wear, to the light that seems to illuminate the court in a magical way, to the darkish backgrounds of spectators the perfect distance away from the player and to the history that has played out on the grass year after year, one can only describe the chance to be here as special.

Greg Rusedski on Wimbledon

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Following is a question and answer session with former British tennis ace Greg Rusedski.

1. How have you come to be involved with Thomson Reuters?

I joined up with Thomson Reuters just before the AEGON Championships; they’re involved due to their partnership with the LTA. I really enjoyed meeting the various Thomson Reuters guests at the tournament, many of them were obviously huge tennis fans as they were grilling me about my predictions for the week! Thomson Reuters is the Official Statistics and Information Partner to the LTA and we’re really hoping that their technology might be able to help the other coaches and I down at the National Tennis Centre.

Waiting on royalty at the court of King Rafa

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TENNIS-OPEN/The sun is beating down, the Rue d’Auteuil is abuzz with vocal ticket touts, children clutch their over-sized tennis balls hoping a tennis player – any tennis player or even anyone who looks like a tennis player– will grant them a precious autograph.

The French Open is officially underway at Roland Garros but for now the leafy suburb near the Bois de Boulogne has the feel of a royal gala awaiting the arrival of a monarch. This tournament doesn’t really start until Rafa Nadal returns to the courts he once made his own.

Shall I compare thee to a topspin lob?

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SPORT-DECADE/TENNISSport has been known to reduce grown men to tears but inspire them to poetry…?

The All England Club seem to think it can and in collaboration with The Poetry Trust have appointed an official poet for Wimbledon for the first time.

As Championships Poet 2010, Matt Harvey will serve up a poem a day on all things Wimbledon.

What’s happened to Roger Federer?

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A great moment for Latvian sport but Roger Federer’s limp exit at the hands of Ernests Gulbis at the Rome Masters was one of his worst defeats in recent memory.

It was drizzly but otherwise Federer had no excuses. He just did not look interested half of the time and even after nervous Gulbis wasted six match points, Federer could not fight back.

Justine Time, Henin makes one of the great grand slam returns

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TENNIS-OPEN/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.

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