Archive for May, 2011


Round One

Wednesday, May 25th, 2011

Now that the first round has been tied up, we can start to enjoy the excitement that the second round on a glorious day four at Roland Garros  brings. The first round was not, as usual, without its upsets. But my heart broke for my fantasy team when I saw that Thomas Berdych, who has reached the semi finals in this tournament before, fell to the French qualified Stephane Robert in five sets.

Winning 3-6 3-6 6-2 6-2 9-7, Robert whipped the French crowd into a frenzy as he won his first ever match in his home country’s greatest tournament. He is ranked 140th in the world and got a raucous round of applause for his victory over the Czech who currently stands at number eight.

Apart from the Berdych upset, there were few losses for the big names at Roland Garros . Gael Monfis beat Phau of Germany, and Mikail Youzhny of Russia and Viktor Troicki of Serbia made their mark on their tournament in straight set wins over their first round opponents.

The big American John Isner, who will always be remembered for taking part in the longest running match in tennis history at Wimbledon last year, pushed his opponent to the limit in his first round. Was his opponent a gutsy no-namer who eventually battled past the huge American forehand and got through to the second round in an epic upset? No, his opponent was one Rafael Nadal. You may have heard of him. The fact that Rafa could drop a point on clay is still something of a shock. Television viewers with high sensitivity o more »


Pre-first day build up

Saturday, May 21st, 2011

So what can we expect for the first day of the French Open? Not an awful lot, it seems. The start is relatively low key, with the highest seed playing on the first day being David Ferrer at number seven. There is some excitement though, particularly for the French crowds with Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Mathilde Johansson both stepping up for the first round. But it is only until day two that we still start the really exciting matches warming up.

In a bizarre turn of events, more attention is being paid to Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal than it is Roger Federer at this year’s French Open. In fact if he goes out early (‘early’ for Federer usually being quarters or semis) he could be almost forgotten until the next grand slam. It’s the competition between Djokovic and Nadal that has become the ‘new’ rivalry, until someone pulls their socks up and beats Djokovic off his wild run. And of course if no-one does, then Roger Federer will be the third person in the top-3 party, much like Djokovic had been until the beginning of this year.

I have always joked the various tennis shocks we see throughout the seasons are signs of the apocalypse, but seeing as we are apparently in for the Day of Rapture today there could be some truth in it. Maybe the fact that Roger Federer is playing third fiddle in the rivalry of a new era could be the last sign before the righteous go to heaven. That said it is past six o’clock in my own time zone and I have located all of the true believers I know o more »


The French Open excitement is well under way

Friday, May 13th, 2011

As I brace myself to write my first blog since the end of the Australian Open, I can feel that familiar wash of nostalgia and enjoyment come over me. Things have changed, quite hugely, since the end of the Australian Open, but coming back to the sport after such a long time is like putting on your comfiest pyjamas, pair of slippers, and favourite television show. It just feels right.

Like I said, things have changed since the last Grand Slam, particularly in the men’s side of the game. Where did this fantastic form of Djokovic come from? 36 straight wins? I wonder what sort of pep-talk this man had with himself on New Year’s Eve. We were all pleasantly surprised by his win at the Australian Open; Djokovic has always hovered around the top end of the rankings, but he has only had one title to his name and after a while people started to wonder how long it will be before he started to drop like a stone. And then he nabbed the Australian Open title seemingly from the blue.

A few months down the line, and he has yet to come down from his superb high. We’ve had another sign of the Apocalypse as well: Novak Djokovic even managed to beat Rafael Nadal on clay in Madrid last week. My face still hurts from the slack-jaw that news gave me. Nadal had been on a two year-winning streak when it came to clay. For all intents and purposes the man’s official name was Rafael Nadal King of Clay. And then Djokovic, who had always been much better on the hard courts and was rarely ‘the one t more »