Archive for February, 2009


Djokovic The Last Man Standing

Saturday, February 28th, 2009

Novak Dkokovic has landed his first tournament win of the season with a straight sets vistory over Spaniard David Ferrer in Dubai. And while a win is a win, the lack of top five ranked opposition leaves some doubt as to whether or not Djokovic is back to his best yet after his controversial decision to switch racquet manufacturers just weeks before the Australian Open earlier this year.

Before the tournament began Federer and Nadal had both been ruled out through injuries, which many thought would leave Murray and Djokovic to fight it out for the title. In another twist to the tale, Andy Murray was forced to withdraw from the tournament before his quarter final, to head home and have tests done on a mystery virus that has been hampering his performances all year.

“I got it the first time in Australia,” Murray said of the illness. “I woke up in the middle of the night sweating. I got antibiotics from the doctor yesterday evening after the match and they obviously didn’t help that much.

“I got up, had some breakfast and then slept again for three hours and then the guys woke me up and I wasn’t feeling good.”

Which left only Djokovic of the Big 4, and while victory was his he had to work hard in his semi-final to come from a set down against fast improving Frenchman Gilles Simon. I’m sure he’s is happy to claim the title but he is probably at the stage where he’d like to know exactly where his game is right now in comaprison to the players who have shown strong form more »


The Davis Cup

Wednesday, February 25th, 2009

The Davis Cup has an illustrious history in the tennis world; the first match was played in 1900 after some careful planning by a man called (and no surprises here): Davis. Dwight F. Davis. An appropriate name for  a young Harvard man interested in beating the British at their own game. Davis’ initial team did just that, and it’s been a bit of a precedent for the tournament as a whole. Up until the 1970s it had only ever been won by the USA, France, Britain or Australasia/Australia. Now, it is a much more diverse tournament, making it bigger and better each year from its first birthday 108 years ago.

There’s excitement brewing already. Who and who will not play in the David Cup is a year-round topic. How and who a country picks to represent itself is tantamount to what the tournament will be like any given year. 2008 was a victory for the Spanish, who won even without the one player many would expect to be the greatest help: Rafael Nadal. So which hand-picked team will make the title theirs this time?

Well, for starters, there’s the Spanish team. With Rafael Nadal so far uninjured and r more »


More Troubles In Dubai

Sunday, February 22nd, 2009

It hasn’t been a great week for tennis in Dubai. It all started with their controversial decision not to grant a visa to Israeli tennis player Shahar Peer. In an immediate response to this The Tennis Channel refused to televise the event to it’s U.S audience and the event lost one of its major sponsors, The Wall Street Journal Europe, with another sponsor Barclays Bank in serious considerations over its involvement going forward.

These demonstrations of protest obviously had the desired effect on authorities in the UAE who have granted a visa to male Israeli tennis player Andy Ram for this weeks event. So everything looked like it was getting back on track.

That was until five men ranked in the world’s top ten pulled out of the event. Four of these – Federer, Nadal, Davydenko and Verdasco cited injuries as their reason. The fifth player to pull out was Andy Roddick, who stated he was doing so in protest over the Shahar Peer incident. Spokespeople, obviously in blatant damage control mode, were quick to point out that with Roddick making the final of the tour event currently being held in Memphis, he was not going to be able to get to Dubai in time for his opening match anyway.

And the suggestion is they couldn’t have altered the scedule to accomodate this – which is most definitely not the case.

To cover the players lost, wild cards have been granted to Marat Safin, and Nicholas Kiefer. The top two seeds for the tournament will be Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray more »


Can Federer really keep going?

Wednesday, February 18th, 2009

Roger Federer fans will howl a great big ‘yes’ to this question. I find myself having to agree, whatever might be said in the press. But there are certainly two sides to the argument and it’s important to look at them both before either a) writing Federer off or b) putting money on him winning a number of Grand Slams in the future.


The case for Federer not being able to continue lies mostly within his age. Players like Federer and Rafael Nadal run themselves into the ground for their sport; although the Spaniard’s style of play makes him all the more susceptible to injury, Federer is still a highly talented athlete. At the top of the game, he is required to take part in a high volume of tournaments. He may only be 27, but it’s obvious the physical stress has had an effect. A few years ago, Federer was nearly unstoppable. His record has begun to slip this past year, and already this season he has been blighted with a back injury left over from the year before. He announced yesterday that he was pulling out of the Dubai tournament and the Davis Cup, to let his back rest after an injury from last year has more »


Politics & Injuries

Tuesday, February 17th, 2009

Two very different stories have dominated the tennis headlines this week, with politics and injuries being their main focus.

Israeli Player Discriminated Against

The biggest story of the week was the decision made by the government of the United Arab Emirates to deny a visa to Israeli tennis player Shahar Peer, preventing her from playing in the WTA event in Dubai.

Initially this decision was met was disgust from all quarters – players, foregn officials and tennis fans, with the general consensus being that sport should be separated from politics. The Tennis Channel has gone so far as to make a decision not to air the event in supprt of the Israeli player.

But there are always two sides to every story, and the initial outrage masked the fact that the government in question had not fully explained their decision. They did so in the last few hours, and their statement potentially makes you reconsider their motives for taking such a stance.

It is their contention that a number of factors were considered including fears of public dissent, and a concern for the well-being of the player in question. This then changes the focus of the matter from one of politics and sport, to a more safety based dilemma.

If this is the case (i.e if the statement is true, and not just media spin), perhaps some consultation with the Israeli player, and the WTA should have occurred. The men’s event is being held next week and there is an Israeli player again seeking more »

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