Left field

The Reuters global sports blog

Nadal loses battle of wounded knee

TENNIS/

Rafael Nadal will not be able to defend his Wimbledon title after losing his battle to recover from a knee injury.

“Unfortunately this year I won’t be able to play at Wimbledon,” he told a news conference.

The Spaniard, who has been struggling with tendinitis in his knees since being knocked out of the French Open last month, tested his fitness in two exhibition matches this week.

After losing both matches he decided not to defend his Wimbledon title, just three days before the start of the major.

Cold, damp and on the losing side: A British sporting summer

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If you were being uncharitable you’d call it a typical scene from a British summer: a few hundred hardy fans braving the cold, the damp and the threat of travel chaos to stay on long after the TV cameras had packed up and watch Andy Murray partner Lleyton Hewitt in a meaningless doubles match at Queen’s.

“Come on Andy!” “Come on Muzzah!” they shouted from deep within their coats and under their blankets but the chants seemed more to encourage themselves on another gloomy evening than for the British number one.

Is Federer now the G.O.A.T?

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We’ve heard what some of the great and good of tennis have said about Roger Federer’s achievements but can we now rank him as the best player ever to have picked up a racket? Here, Ossian Shine considers the arguments, while in the post below Miles Evans urges a spot of caution.

At first it looked as though the world’s tennis pundits were bickering about whether or not Roger Federer was a herbivorous bovid.

Let’s not be so quick to crown Roger the Greatest

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federerlaverAny debate about the greatest player of all time in a given event is naturally laden with ‘what ifs’.

Roger Federer’s tearful victory in the French Open final on Sunday prompted an undignified queue of pundits and former players to conclude that the elegant Swiss was undoubtedly the best tennis had ever seen. But what if…

Do fewer tantrums = more titles?

safinaTemper tantrums are more or less a thing of the past for Dinara Safina, who said on Tuesday that her rise to the world number one spot had been helped by her efforts to stop her angry mid-match outbursts.

Ditching most of the rages — which culminated at last year’s Roland Garros with some unsuspecting flowers near the court being decapitated — seems to have worked for the Russian as she stayed on track for a maiden grand slam title by reaching the French Open semis (although she did break one racket along the way).

Nadal’s defeat presents perfect opportunity for Federer

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nadalfansIt wasn’t supposed to be a question of ‘if’ but rather how convincingly Rafael Nadal would clinch his record fifth successive French Open title.

But the baseline behemoth, for so long indestructible at Roland Garros, turned out to be mere flesh and blood, mere forehands and backhands as his unbeaten record at the capital of claycourt tennis came to an inglorious end.

Time to silence the grunters?

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larcherdebritoServe-GRUNT-forehand return-MOAN-groundstroke-YELP-backhand-SQUEAL-volley-SCREAM-drop shot … 0-15.

Sitting on centre court at the French Open this week, I realised I was listening to tennis rather than watching it.

Dokic is not done yet

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dokicIf anyone deserves to make a successful comeback to top flight tennis it is Jelena Dokic.

When most players want a second bite of the cherry, it is because they enjoyed their careers so much the first time round and realised how much they missed it when they began to pursue other interests. If in doubt ask Martina Navratilova, (a blink and you’ll miss it singles return in 2004), Martina Hingis or even Kim Clijsters (who has had enough of changing nappies, perhaps).

Murray may never find magic French formula … but so what?

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murrayDefine the perfect claycourt tennis player.

How about: The patient counter puncher who’s happy to trade blows from the baseline until his opponent makes an error then pounces with an angled drive or pinpoint passing shot.

But hang on a sec … Couldn’t that describe Andy Murray’s game? The player whose passive style has brought so much success on hardcourts and yet the same man who looks about as at home on a clay court as I do on the Cresta Run?

Wimbledon roof is great, but pity those left out in the cold…

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As Wimbledon closed its new retractable roof over Centre Court for the first time in a drizzly southwest London on Sunday, the gap between the haves and have-nots grew wider.

Spectators and organisers hailed the new innovation, which will ensure Centre Court ticket holders will never again go away without seeing a match, but the rest of the soggy Wimbledon grounds provided a stark reminder of what it will be like for the majority of players and fans who walk through the All England Club gates next month.

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