From Joker to King

Federer feels right at home here

  • dgec
  • 13 January 2013
  • 09:01

ROGER Federer will launch his bid for a fifth men's crown buoyed by a poll that ranked the Swiss tennis ace the most admired athlete in the country.

For the third year running Federer upstaged our football, cricket and swimming stars in a gemba Asset Study which surveys Australians' attitudes and opinions towards more than 200 local and international sporting stars.

Federer set for start

  • dgec
  • 12 January 2013
  • 11:01

You can forgive the temptation to feel ever so slightly sorry for Roger Federer. The 31-year-old world No.2, for whom Melbourne Park has brought such pleasure over the years, not to mention four replica trophies, is not the man about whom tongues have been wagging since the 2013 tennis season began in earnest.

Federer still keen to keep going

Despite the disappointment of defeat in last weekends ATP World Tour finals Roger Federer remains as committed as ever to tennis and has already set his sights on 2013. The 31-year-old was bidding to make it three finals victories in a row but was eventually beaten 7-6 (8/6) 7-5 to world number one Novak Djokovic in a pulsating final at the 02 Arena in London. It means he had to be satisfied with just a Wimbledon title and an Olympic silver medal in 2012, not a bad year for most peoples standards, though Federer is different to most people. With 17 Grand Slam titles to his name you could forgive the Swiss for looking beyond his playing career, especially given the progress of Andy Murray, who finally broke his Grand Slam hoodoo in last Augusts US Open. But Federer isnt having any of it - if anything the presence of a younger generation is spurring him on. Beyond that calm exterior lies a burning passion to be the best and continue to be the best. Despite his advancing years he continues to get a kick out of the game and while that is happening, he sees no reason to call it a day. When asked what it was that kept him going, he said: I think it's the love for the game, the appreciation I get from the crowds, I guess playing for records from time to time, playing against different types of generations and playing styles. "I think you need inspiration, motivation from different angles to keep you going because it isn't that simple just to wake up every morning and go for another travel around the world, another practice, another fitness workout, another stretch." Dont forget to head over to Betfair for all your tennis Online Betting needs. It also has the latest news, expert opinion and advice, you can access it all by going to: http://betting.betfair.com/tennis/general/
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<div class="item-list"><ul class="meta"><li class="author first">tennisblogger</li> <li class="date">20 November 2012</li> <li class="time last">03:11</li> </ul></div>
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20 November 2012

Federer feels the realism kick in

If Rodger Federer ever had a Grand Slam title served up on a plate it was this season’s US Open. With Rafael Nadal out injured and Federer earning a fourth-round bye, fans at Flushing Meadows, as well as those who logged on to watch live tennis online were expecting the Swiss to canter to his 18th major title at Flushing Meadows. Yet to everyone’s surprise sixth seed Tomas Berdych overcame the world number one 7-6 (7-1) 6-4 3-6 6-3 to book his first Grand Slam semi-final appearance in over two years. The Czech was vast outsider according to the line betting markets but was impervious on court, overpowering Federer in a first-set tiebreak that set the tone for the rest of the match. While Berdych reaches another semi-final, Federer will be left to ponder over how he hasn’t won this tournament. The Swiss looked in fine form heading to America’s hard courts after claiming a seventh Wimbledon title and reaching the Olympic Games singles final this summer. He won his sixth tour title of the season at the Cincinnati Masters a week before New York, crushing main rival Novak Djokovic 6-0 7-6 (9-7). All seemed to be going so well as Federer cantered through the early rounds of the US Open and was gifted a place in the quarter-finals after Mardy Fish pulled out injured. As he watched Djokovic and Andy Murray battle through their fourth-round ties Federer must have felt like king of Arthur Ashe Stadium already. His elimination therefore comes as a great surprise and leaves fans and experts wondering if he has anything left in his engine. The Swiss’ superiority has certainly dropped in recent years and he has won just one Grand Slam in two years – a poor yield for his standards. Maybe we are now seeing the decline of the great man as his age catches up with him and more powerful opponents sense these weaknesses. It is disappointing Federer will not be contesting another US Open final this year but the realism of tennis is starting to kick in.
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<div class="item-list"><ul class="meta"><li class="author first">tennisblogger</li> <li class="date">06 September 2012</li> <li class="time last">02:09</li> </ul></div>
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06 September 2012

Roddick Hints at Wimbledon Swansong

Andy Roddick has admitted that his appearance at this year's Wimbledon could be his last at the All England Club. The American has odds of up to 100/1 in the tennis betting, for the win at SW19. The former world number one has struggled with a succession of injury problems recently, and is very aware that he is no longer able to compete against the worlds leading players. The 29-year-old American, who reached the Wimbledon final three times, and claimed his only Grand Slam title by winning the 2003 US Open, is starting to think his tennis career could be drawing to a close. He has slipped to 27th in the world rankings, and he was particularly disappointed to lose in the first round of the recent French Open to Nicolas Mahut. Roddick admitted: "I'm just trying to play in the moment, but do I think this could be my last Wimbledon? Possibly - but that's so much of an unknown. "Of the guys I started with, it's only Roger (Federer) left now. We were in the top 10 for so long, and everyone else's body has been banged up. I can't do what Rafa (Nadal) does with his racket, I can't do what Roger does with his racket. Roddick reached the final at SW19 in 2004, 2005, and 2009 - on each occasion being beaten by Roger Federer. The closest he came to winning the tournament was three years ago, when the Swiss star won a superb fifth set 16-14. Roddick was also beaten by Federer in the 2006 US Open final, while his sole Grand Slam success came at Flushing Meadows, nine years ago, when he beat Juan Carlos Ferrero in straight sets. Visit the Betfair Wimbledon website for more information on the contest, as well as the best betting odds for Andy Roddick, Andy Murray, and Serena Williams, among others.
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<div class="item-list"><ul class="meta"><li class="author first">tennisblogger</li> <li class="date">14 June 2012</li> <li class="time last">09:06</li> </ul></div>
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14 June 2012

2012 preview

As the tennis circus approaches the first Grand Slam of the year in Melbourne, we are all looking forward to a super season, possibly the most entertaining and exciting one in a long time.        The reason for this is simple. After the incredible total dominance of Roger Federer and his rivalry with Rafa Nadal that followed during the next few years, Novak Djokovic surprised the whole tennis world by winning almost everything during 2011.   In fact, his performance was so incredible and near perfect, that it now makes a very open season possible in 2012, all because of the special characteristics of the ATP ranking system. Djokovic has now so many points to defend from last year, that he simply has to repeat that feat once more to retain the nr. 1. ranking position.   His two main rivals, Federer and Nadal, both extremely competitive champions with their pride significantly bruised by Nole's unexpected rise to the top, certainly don't want this to happen all over again. We can be sure that they will do everything in their power to reinstate the order in the tennis Galaxy.   So what are the chances for the different possible scenarios?   I believe Novak Djokovic has a very demanding year ahead of him. The expectation from the fans, media and himself is now huge, and anything less than last year's magic performace will be regarded as that of an over-the-peak player on his way down.   There is a still a chance, though that he finds the same winning formula as he did last year and continues to steamroll his rivals. He certainly has the ability and the mentality to do so.     Patrick Muratoglou says on eurosport.com that the upcoming season will be crucial for Rafa Nadal. I couldn't agree more. Considering his hugely demanding physical playing style, this might be the last opportunity for him to get the necessary number of Grand Slams under his belt if he wants to be compared with Federer as the greatest of all time.   To do so, he simply has to turn the negative trend against Djokovic that has shackled him on several occasions in 2011. Self-belief is everything to the Spaniard and without it, his whole game falls apart. I believe he can turn the tide, but it won't be easy. The first part of the year will be crucial - if he can beat Nole in a few big matches, everything can change very quickly.   Roger Federer is the man who at the age of 30 and with all records behind him has nothing left to prove to anyone, which makes his task maybe the most pleasant one among the top three.   Yet I think that a champion of his calibre is extremely hungry for more. He simply refuses to accept that someone else is occupying the top ranking(s) above him. Also, he has huge motivation to win a few more Slams in order to extend his record tally of 16, and to take the single gold medal at the Olympics in Wimbledon.                At the end of 2011, he sent a warning to his opponents by winning 3 tournaments in a row, including the World Tour Finals. If he can keep the same positive momentum, there is a fair chance for him to get one or two Grand Slam wins and possibly even regain the Nr. 1 ranking spot.   The main threats from outside the top trio should come from Andy Murray, Jo-Wilfired Tsonga and Juan Martin del Potro. I also have a feeling that this might be the break-through year of young Milos Raonic who just won the Chennai tournament with a huge game.   But as usual, one should be careful with betting against the top three. Most likely, they will once again share all four Grand Slams among themselves. The motivation is huge for all three of them for different reasons, and they are all in good form, which makes it very hard for anyone to predict the final outcome of the season.   The least surprising scenario would be if the level of Djokovic drops just a fraction, while Fed and Rafa manage to raise theirs, thereby creating a highly dramatic and incredibly exciting season with different Grand Slam winners and a huge battle for the Nr.1 ranking.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  
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<div class="item-list"><ul class="meta"><li class="author first">muller.balazs</li> <li class="date">09 January 2012</li> <li class="time last">10:01</li> </ul></div>
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09 January 2012

Mens Year in Review

Coming off a season in which Rafael Nadal won three of the four Grand Slams the Spaniard had every hope of adding to his nine career victories in the most prestigious events yet with the value of hindsight it was surprising that Nadal picked up even the French Open with a four-set victory over Roger Federer. Who would have though that in the tennis betting offers at the beginning of the season? That it was to be Novak Djokovic’s year became apparent at the Australian Open to start the season. The Serb cruised through the opening rounds dropping only a single set to Ivan Dodig. Federer by contrast struggled early, a five-set thriller against Gilles Simon in the second round showing an early sign of vulnerability. As top seed Nadal faltered in the quarter-finals to David Ferrer, the way looked certain for Andy Murray to finally fulfill his promise and take the next step up to Grand Slam winner. Instead it was Djokovic who became the new star sweeping both Federer and Murray to pick up his second Australian title. His victory in Australia propelled Djokovic on a 43 match winning streak of superb live tennis, 41 in the calendar year, until the semi-finals of the French Open when Federer took the match in four hard fought sets. In the interim Djokovic had picked up championships in Dubai, Indian Wells, Key Biscayne, Belgrade, Madrid and Rome. Nadal would prevail in the final over Federer to pick up his 10th Grand Slam title of his career. A couple of weeks later at Wimbledon Djokovic entered as the favorite despite Nadal being the top seed and defending champion. Federer would fall by the wayside in the quarter-finals losing in an entertaining five-setter to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga before the Frenchman ran into the 24-year old Serb in the semi-finals. Djokovic secured the World No. 1 ranking beating Nadal to win his first Wimbledon championship. Now top seeded ahead of Nadal, Federer and Murray, Djokovic cruised into the semi-finals of the US Open losing only a single set to Janko Tipsarevic in the quarter-finals. An epic five-setter with Federer in the semi-finals saw Djokovic rally from two sets down to set up his second straight victory over Nadal in a Grand Slam final.
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<div class="item-list"><ul class="meta"><li class="author first">tennisblogger</li> <li class="date">30 November 2011</li> <li class="time last">05:11</li> </ul></div>
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30 November 2011

Leading Players Earmark ATP Finals As A Must Win Tournament

The ATP World Tour Finals takes place between 20-27 November at London’s O2 Arena. It will be played out between the top eight players in the world, although the final three places are still to be decided as there are a couple of tournaments still to be played around the world that will have an effect on the final outcome. Those players already qualified are:     Novak Djokovic - Serbia Rafael Nadal - Spain Andy Murray - GB Roger Federer - Switzerland David Ferrer - Spain Those likely to qualify are... Tomas Berdych – Czech Republic Mardy Fish - USA Jo Wilfried-Tsonga – France    The Barclays sponsored tournament is regarded by the some of the players at least, as one worthy of "Grand Slam" status, however, that will never be granted but nonetheless, it is a huge tournament that each and every player would dearly love to win.   Unlike the straight knockout of style of other tournaments, the World Finals splits the eight players into two groups of four players, where each player in each group will play the other three on a round robin basis, with the top two in the group going forward into the semi finals. The tournament then follows the usual path, with the two winning semi finalists meeting in the final. The winner of the tournament will receive 1500 ranking points. He tournament has evolved considerably over its 41 year history, with several differing formats and venues being used. In fact up until 2007 each match was played over five sets, however, that has now changed and all matches played are now over the best of three sets.   Defending champion is Roger Federer who won the tournament for the fifth time last year when he defeated Rafael Nadal in a three set final. In winning Federer equalled the record held by Pete Sampras and Ivan Lendl. The only other past winner who will be playing this year is the new world number one, Novak Djokovic, who won in 2008, when the tournament was held in Shanghai and was known as the Tennis Masters Cup and is favourite in this year's ATP Finals odds.   Other great names of the past to have won the tournament, include, Bjorn Borg, Jimmy Connors, John McEnroe, Boris Becker and Andre Agassi. Ivan Lendl in fact holds the record for the most appearances in the final on nine which he achieved consecutively between 1980-88.   Running simultaneously with the Singles tournament, will be the ATP World Doubles Finals, which will feature the top eight teams in the world this year and follow the same format as the singles event. In years gone by the ‘Doubles’ tournament was normally held a week or so after the singles, but for Box Office reasons, the organisers now prefer to run the two tournaments together.
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<div class="item-list"><ul class="meta"><li class="author first">tennisfanuk</li> <li class="date">31 October 2011</li> <li class="time last">12:10</li> </ul></div>
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31 October 2011

From Joker to King

After winning his first US Open title and third Grand Slam of the year, Novak Djokovic is now undisputedly the best player on tour who deservedly holds the nr. 1 ranking as well.   The fact that he held off the pressure and managed to win at Flushing Meadows was not such a big surprise, considering the stellar season he has had so far. But in doing so, for the first time, he managed to beat both Federer and Nadal in the same Grand Slam tournament.   What strikes me most is the incredible self-belief and determination he has developed, which leads him to victory regardless of the circumstances. It simply doesn't seem to matter what his opponents are throwing at him, he still finds a way to come out on top.   There are still some issues about his behaviour on court - he still has a long way to go if he wants to win the hearts of many neutral spectators and become a true tennis ambassador. For this, he needs to mature a bit more and most likely give up some of the antics and show elements that have made him the "Djoker".   But otherwise, he is in a perfect position. His game couldn't be much better, his condition is excellent and his confidence level sky-high. He will probably finish the 2011 season in the same manner, with one or two more losses at most.   The only question now is how he will manage to repeat this performance next year, with tons of points to defend. I think that at the moment, this is one of the few hopes that his main rivals will cling on to, going into 2012. Because at some point, there will be a moment when this miraculous streak stops, and it could easily turn into downhill after that.   So let's take a look at the chances of the other three players in the "Big Four" and what they should do to challenge Novak's supremacy.   Rafael Nadal has maybe the toughest of tasks of them all.  He has now lost six straight finals to Nole, leaving him bruised, bewildered and clueless about how to beat him. It was clear that he couldn't have given more than what he did in the US Open final - his performance would have been more than enough against anybody else on the tour. But the Serb "owns him" now mentally, making it extremely difficult for him to come back in the near future.   Rafa should now reconsider his options. He is still playing at an extremely high level, which will probably win him one or two more French Opens. But in general, he needs to improve on his serve and become more aggressive. He is now constantly on the back foot against the Serb, using defensive shots that don't bother Nole at all.   The big question for his part is the current mental struggle he is battling. He is a warrior, but with every loss, he loses more and more confidence. He needs to come back with a vengeance attitude if he wants to have any chance to beat Novak.   At the age of 30, Roger Federer may have not won any Grand Slams this year and he may have not been able to maintain his superior level of the past. But a remarkable level of motivation keeps the greatest player of all time going on, still enthralling the crowds with his stunningly beautiful attacking game.   As for his chances next season - Roger can prepare himself with confidence. He is still playing a very high level of tennis and is the only player at the moment who can seriously trouble Djokovic. He proved this both at the French Open, beating the Serb in the semifinal, and in New York, losing after having two much-debated match points. I think most of us still cannot believe that he didn't win that match.   Naturally, this was a bitter loss for Fed, similarly to last year, but I'm sure he is far from done. In his own words, he will come to the 2012 season with extreme hunger for at least one more Grand Slam, which - considering Nadal's bruised confidence and his very good chances against Djokovic -  doesn't seem impossible. I think that he only has a microscopic chance to get back to the nr. 1 spot, but one more Slam looks definitely in his reach.   Andy Murray is the final member of the "Big Four", but he needs to change something quickly if he wants to lift a Major trophy during the rest of his career.   Game-wise, everything is there, solid groundstrokes, nice attacking shots and a good serve. It's still his attitude that keeps him down against the top players above him. He simply needs to study all three of them and learn how they can come back from defeat, how they prevail even under extreme pressure, how they fight until the very end.   This is not something that he can learn from a coach, it has to come from within. I'm not sure whether he actually realises how much damage his sometimes unexplainably negative attitude on court is doing to his results.   He is a brilliant player who needs to calm down and become a positive-minded, ferocious fighter. If this doesn't happen, I simply don't see him winning any Slams during 2012.
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<div class="item-list"><ul class="meta"><li class="author first">muller.balazs</li> <li class="date">14 September 2011</li> <li class="time last">11:09</li> </ul></div>
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