Left field

The Reuters global sports blog

Can Murray end Britain’s 74-year wait?

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TENNIS-OPEN/Is there a more notorious and oft-bemoaned sporting drought than Britain ’s long – and very far from tantalising – wait for a men’s grand slam tennis champion?

In the week the New Orleans Saints finally threatened to shed their unofficial moniker of The Aints because of their lack of Super Bowl success, Andy Murray is doing his level best to get the biggest monkey in world tennis off his back.

Not since 1936 and Fred Perry’s final major win at the US Open has a British man hoisted one of the sport’s four fabled prizes, but Scotsman Murray looks set to change all that.

It’s not just the fact Murray hasn’t lost a set so far in the championship, it’s the manner of his progress — the brutal groundstrokes, the calculated geometry of his angles from both wings, and an almost freakish ability to keep on running until all hope of winning the point is lost.

Five defining moments from a decade of sport

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As the decade draws to a close, we pick five sporting moments which have defined the last 10 years.

1. Cathy Freeman lit the Olympic flame at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, a Games set in a country which embraces the outdoor life and punches well above its weight in most sports.

Has Nadal’s career already peaked?

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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.

Agassi’s confessions could have knock-on effect for Serena

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agassiAndre 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.

Sportswrap: redemption special

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Click on the video above for our latest look at the week’s sporting highlights, including an interview with Andre Agassi (in full Edith Piaf mode), the thoughts of Michael Phelps on his trial by textile and the almighty scrap for the last nine World Cup places.

As always, Sportswrap is presented by Owen Wyatt, written by Kevin Fylan and produced from our Canary Wharf HQ.

Think Clijsters is world’s most famous Belgian? Not so fast…

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tintinI was very disappointed to log on to FamousBelgians.net this morning and see nary a mention of Kim Clijsters. How much more famous can a Belgian get?

According to the interweb’s leading authority on all things Flanders and Walloon, the world’s most famous Belgian is, currently, Eddy Merckx, who last raced professionally about 20 years ago.

Serena outburst: was there any excuse?

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TENNIS-OPEN/OK, don’t shoot me down for saying this, but can anyone see Saturday’s double-fault storm at the US Open from Serena Williams’s point of view?

With a place in the U.S. Open final at stake — and with many believing the winner of the Williams-Kim Clijsters showdown would go on to win the title — how frustrating is it to get foot-faulted on a second serve at 4-6 5-6 15-30 down?

Hit with Maria? A perk of the job for China’s leaders

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Maria Sharapova of Russia speaks at news conference in Beijing.

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.

Clijsters reminds us what we’ve been missing

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TENNIS-OPEN/

Venus Williams must wish Kim Clijsters had stayed retired and enjoyed a relaxing life as a millionaire mum.

The Belgian returned to grand slam action for the first time in 31 months and has left each and every one of her opponents at the U.S. Open embarrassed.

Expect Federer v Murray to decide US Open again

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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

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