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from Left field:

‘Real deal’ Kvitova has talent to dominate

The season-ending WTA championships had many story lines. Could Maria Sharapova recover from her ankle injury to threaten at the year-end championships and become world number one again? Would one of the new major winners lift the trophy? Could Caroline Wozniacki continue her reign as world number one for a second straight year and win the end of season championships for the first time?

This is the first time the end of season championships have been held in Istanbul, Turkey. The crowds have been packed all week so it was an excellent choice of city. The stadium looked great and so did the green tennis court with the purple outer court. The tennis throughout was brilliant.

Unfortunately for Sharapova she had to pull out after her second round robin match against Li Na, thus ending her challenge of becoming world number one. This meant Wozniacki ended up finishing as world number one for the second year running without winning a major and having only won one match at the season-ending championships.

The good news for the event was the brilliant play of the major winners in these championships. Petra Kvitova, Li and Samantha Stosur all played well.

from Left field:

Murray makes good on rankings goal with Asian hat-trick

The end of season for the top players can be a tough time because of fatigue; all their work is based around peaking for the slams. With Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer both out of action (neither have played since the last Davis cup tie) the top two seeds were Rafa Nadal and Andy Murray for the Shanghai Masters Series.

Murray has been playing really well having won in Thailand and Tokyo leading into the Shanghai event. Murray has made a concerted effort to play more aggressively, also the courts are faster and so it actually forces him to play more aggressively which is a good thing.

from Left field:

“What a Wimbledon” – Rusedski

This year’s Wimbledon Championships had a lot of interesting stories. On the men's side it was all about the top 4 players in the world. On the ladies it was about Sharapova, the Williams sisters, and whether or not any of the young pretenders could win the Championships.

All of the top 4 cruised into the men’s quarter-finals. Only Rafael Nadal was a bit of a worry hurting his foot against Juan Del Potro in the first set. After the match he said he would have to take painkillers for the rest of the tournament and possibly miss the next 6 weeks after Wimbledon finished. This brought hope that possibly Andy Murray could beat Nadal if they both reached the semi-finals which they both did easily. Expectations were reaching fever pitch now with a real belief Murray could make the finals.

from Left field:

“Bring on Wimbledon!” – Rusedski

The grass court season is finally underway. I love this time of year. We finally get to see some attacking tennis, but still not as much as during my era because the courts and balls are a lot slower.

The Queen's Club Championships started with one of its best fields in the tournaments history with 15 of the top 20 in the world entered. The only big withdrawal was that of Novak Djokovic, sighting a knee problem, but I am sure he will be fine for Wimbledon. Nadal, the six time French open champion, arrived Monday evening after all his sponsor commitments at Disneyland Paris. He is such a professional; he had a 1 hour 45min intense practice session and entered the doubles event as well to get match practice before his first round match in singles on Wednesday.

from Left field:

Tales from tennis’ fifth major

Greg Rusedski writes exclusively for Reuters thanks to Thomson Reuters’ sponsorship of the Lawn Tennis Association.

The Sony Ericsson Open tournament is considered the fifth major by most of the tennis fraternity. It became a week with many story lines:

from Left field:

Getting the job done at the Davis Cup

There were no real surprises in the Davis Cup result this weekend. It was all about getting the job done and winning and that's what the boys did. Captain Leon Smith knew before the match that he would definitely win the 2 matches against the Tunisian number 2 and the doubles as well, which would give Team Great Britain the 3 rubbers for victory.

Tunisia got off to a perfect start with the Tunisian number 1, Malek Jaziri beating the British number 2 Jamie Baker in 4 sets. Both men were nervous as you would expect in an opening rubber. Both men also struggled with cramp which is unusual for an indoor match. Cramping can happen from being dehydrated, lack of fitness or nerves. I believe it had to be the latter. Then British number 1, James Ward demolished the Tunisian number 2 in 3 easy sets to level the tie at 1 rubber a piece.

from Left field:

Holding court with Greg Rusedski

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.

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