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Posts Tagged ‘Tennis

Novak Djokovic and the best men’s tennis seasons of all time

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Novak Đoković at 2007 US Open

Image via Wikipedia

Wow. Okay, now that Novak Djokovic has defeated Rafael Nadal for the Wimbledon title it’s no hyperbole to say that a shockwave has torn through the men’s tennis landscape this season and we need to take some time to reflect.

The fact that the stranglehold that Nadal and Roger Federer have had on the game for past 7 years is big news in and of itself. We truly are blessed with a golden generation of talent in men’s tennis. Utterly stunning that someone as good as Andy Murray may never end up winning a major.

And yet, the bigger story here is not that Djokovic has emerged as the best player in the game, but how historic his season has been. Djokovic is now 48-1 for the year. I don’t think it’s possible to overstate how impressive this is. Below is a table of the best seasons in men’s tennis by match record going back to 1973:

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Written by Matt Johnson

July 4, 2011 at 5:23 pm

7 Thoughts from the Australian Open

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1. Rafael Nadal‘s injury was a shame. You hate to see a guy going for an amazing accomplishment like the Grand Slam stopped by injury. On the other hand, no asterisks should be placed on the tournament on the idea that Nadal wins if not for the injury. The truth of the matter is that Nadal has never reached a point where he has impressive odds of winning a particular hard court tournament.

2. It was great to see Djokovic step up. He looks like he’s finally ready to take that next jump, which I was beginning to think he didn’t have in him. It’s going to be interesting, presuming he keeps this up, to see him square off over the next year against Nadal. I don’t expect that anything but injury will keep Nadal from repeating as Player of the Year, but I also think the Djoker has a very good chance at keeping Rafa from ending the year on another 3 Slam streak.

3. Andy Murray‘s destruction in the finals at the racket of Djokovic is definitely discouraging for the guy. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Matt Johnson

February 3, 2011 at 11:52 am

Clijsters the Hustler

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Kim Clijsters is your 2011 Australian Open champion, and she won the final over Li Na in a manner that epitomizes her career. For me it brings to mind an exchange from the 1961 classic, The Hustler:

Bert Gordon: I don’t think there’s a pool player alive shoots better pool than I saw you shoot the other night at Ames. You got talent.
Fast Eddie: So I got talent. So what beat me?
Bert Gordon: Character.

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Written by Matt Johnson

January 29, 2011 at 12:45 pm

2010 Women’s Tennis Wrap Up: State of the Game; Player of the Year

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State of the Game

With Kim Clijsters victory at the WTA Championships in Qatar, the WTA season is basically over, and it’s a good time to reflect on the state of the women’s game.
To put it bluntly, and to speak the obvious, it’s not doing that well. Despite a recent change in scheduling to reduce the load on the athletes, injuries are rampant. Maybe more disturbing is that there is a perception, that whatever old champ is healthy at a given moment (Serena, Venus, Clijsters, Henin) will win any tournament that matters.Caroline Wozniacki is the latest young player to come out and race to the #1 ranking by playing a ton of matches without winning a Grand Slam tournament. Even more frustrating, she’s got the most media-friendly looks since Anna Kournikova, and a megawatt personality to match – but because of her lack of power game it seems unlikely she’ll ever become a dominant champion.
A complete explanation for what’s going on seems impossible. If you’re a super-talented female athlete who could thrive in any sport, you’ll pick tennis in most places throughout the world. This is a big advantage that men’s tennis simply doesn’t have, so all things being equal, we should expect to see more impressive stuff on the women’s side beyond just beauty that put the men’s game to shame. And we have in previous generations – look at the power couple of Andre Agassi and Steffi Graf, it’s pretty clear that Graf has the superior brain for competing as an athlete. That the current women’s game falls so short is stunning, and mysterious, but we can speak to a few of issues going on.

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