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Udayan Nag
Tuesday , February 28, 2012

Federer's 'loss of confidence' statement rather uncharacteristic


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Over the years, Roger Federer has not exactly shied away from indulging in an audacious remark or two, be it an insight into his own game, or having a dig at one of his opponents for that matter. But the maestro admitting to the fact that some tough losses over the past couple of years have come as a result of a loss of confidence is undoubtedly a first, and very much a bolt from the blue. The Swiss ace has always held fort his self-belief even during some of the most heart-breaking defeats, and any questions regarding the mental side of his game has never been expressed or even hinted. So, to come up with a revelation such as this says a lot about Fedex, and his current frame of mind which has brought the sixteen-time grand slam winner to get his inner most thoughts off his chest. Federer's....


Saturday , February 04, 2012

Nadal's Djokovic jinx taking the men's game forward


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As painful as it might be for 10-time grand slam winner, Rafael Nadal who lost his seventh successive final to Novak Djokovic in the Australian Open title clash, the result in many ways keeps the monotony factor in check, thereby doing a world of good in maintaining the interest level of the sport. In fact, Nadal's fate against Djokovic, mirrors the hold that the 25-year old Spaniard has had over the legendary Roger Federer over the years. Rafa arrived on the stage at a time when there was no stopping Federer, and though things started with him denying Fedex success at Roland Garros, it has gone on to set a definitive pattern with the Swiss coming up short against his younger rival on other surfaces as well, more often than not in grand slams. After Nadal completed his career slam by winning the 2010 US Open, the general....


Monday , January 16, 2012

Celebrating 25 years at Melbourne Park


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The 1988 Australian Open marked a historic occasion in the tournament's history probably more so by the change in surface rather than the shift of venue, as the action moved on from the grass courts of Kooyong to the rebound ace at Flinders Park later renamed, Melbourne Park. However, there was no change in fortunes for local favourite and 1987 Wimbledon champion Pat Cash who ended up losing an epic five-setter for the second year running. Having been vanquished by Sweden's Stefan Edberg the previous year 6-3, 6-4, 3-6, 5-7, 6-3, Cash was pipped by Edberg's countryman Mats Wilander 6-3, 6-7, 3-6, 6-1, 8-6 who went on to lift his third Australian Open crown. In the women's section, the young and upcoming Steffi Graf of Germany, aged 18 won the title for the first time in her career by defeating Chris Evert of the United States 6-1, 7-6. Over....


Tuesday , January 03, 2012

Current Oz lineup a likeable lot


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For long the Aussies have been the ones whom everyone loved to hate; apart from their winning ways post the 1999 World Cup, the fact that their game-plans often included gamesmanship and rattling of the opposition with constant needling and a war of words, went some way in defining their very existence on the field. However, they have not always been the best of sports when the favour has been returned, as was epitomised during the infamous Glenn McGrath-Ramnaresh Sarwan spat, even though it would be universally agreed that the former fast bowler's wife Jane who was battling cancer and later passed away as a result of it, should have been left out of the ugly exchange. It has long been felt that the Aussies stop at nothing when it comes to getting the results to go their way. The members of the squad, the ex-cricketers, the press, all have....


Tuesday , November 29, 2011

What more could Federer have asked for?


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Three successive titles at the end of the season, rivals falling by the wayside and a record sixth ATP Finals crown. After not having won a single major in the year for the first time since 2002, and having dropped outside the top three on the ATP rankings, Roger Federer performed the ultimate redemption act by topping Jo-Wilfried Tsonga for the third time in three Sundays, having already beaten the Frenchman in the Paris Masters and the group stage of the World Tour Finals in London. Apart from getting back to winning ways, and following up on his triumphs at Basel and Paris, the 16-time grand slam winner will be well served by the fact that the top three in the world who were seeded above him, in the year-end event, did not even make it to the last-four stage. While a groin injury put an end to Andy Murray's....


Tuesday , November 08, 2011

Dazzling Ivanovic back to winning ways


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The smiles are back! By successfully defending her Tournament of Champions title at Bali, Ana Ivanovic may just have rediscovered the winning habit, one which took her to the pinnacle of women's tennis; the number one ranking and the French Open crown in 2008. Incidentally, since winning in Bali twelve months ago, Ivanovic was going through a lean patch and had not managed a tournament win on the WTA tour. Having ended the title drought, the Serb, who celebrated her 24th birthday with a clinical performance against Anabel Medina Garrigues on Sunday, will be hoping that her latest success spirals her climb back to the top of the ladder. Considering that the top spot on the women's tour has become a musical chairs affair over the years, Ivanovic could well be entertaining thoughts of getting back to her scintillating best, and rolling back the glory years. It's also worth reflecting....


Friday , October 21, 2011

Tommy Haas: still going strong at ripe old age of 33


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Requiring a wild card to enter the Stockholm Open with a world ranking of 290, German tennis veteran Tommy Haas was probably not expected to be a show stopper for the tournament; after getting the better of Somdev Devvarman in the opening round, his campaign came to an end against South Africa's Kevin Anderson who beat him in three sets. Currently on his 15th year on the tour after turning professional in 1996, there is no doubting the fact that Haas is in the twilight of his career, however it was just a couple of years ago that he made it to his fourth grand slam semi-finals at Wimbledon where he went down to eventual winner Roger Federer. The German had also come mighty close to upstaging Federer at the French Open a fortnight prior to that, where he held a two sets to love advantage, but could not quite....


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Scheduling controversy, injuries dominate tennis headlines


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Being a point away from getting knocked out of the US Open did not prevent the effervescent Novak Djokovic from indulging in a wry grin in his semi-final clash against Roger Federer, and as things turned out, it was it was the Serb who had the last laugh when he toppled Rafael Nadal a couple of days later to lift the trophy. Unfortunately for Djokovic there was no repetition of the fairytale in Serbia's Davis Cup tie against Argentina as the world's number one player came crashing down literally in his match against 2009 US Open champion Juan Martin Del Potro; a back injury had cost him and his team a place in the final. Elsewhere Britain's Andy Murray has been up in arms on behalf of the players over the crammed scheduling and did not rule out the possibility of a strike if the matter was....


Monday , August 29, 2011

US Open 2011: Watch out for the dark horses Mr Murray


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With all the talk about Andy Murray having the opportunity of a lifetime in the upcoming United States Open which commences on Monday, one could so easily undermine the impact that the lesser names have had in denying the man from Dunblane, Scotland his maiden grand slam title. Novak Djokovic's shoulder injury and the recent slump in form of Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer who have a total of 26 majors between them have led to pundits tipping the world number four to go all the way at Flushing Meadows this time around. He is British! Former England player Tim Henman once quipped on television when comparisons were being drawn between him and Murray. One would not exactly associate the stiff upper lip with the Scotsman whose passion and intensity is very much on view every time he steps onto the court. With three final and a handful of last....


Friday , May 06, 2011

Unfinished business for comeback man Del Potro


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From sublime to the ridiculous! A tongue n cheek comment about former Russian tennis star Marat Safin which probably summed up his entire legacy from start to finish. A player who because of his physique and towering presence represented the future of the men's circuit according to former Indian legend Vijay Amritraj. Safin is long gone, a career which will go down in history books as 'what might have been'. At 6'6" (198 cm), Juan Martin Del Potro from Tandil, Argentina could perhaps pass off as an exaggerated version of the Russian. The man who at the top of his game could get the job done with ruthless efficiency without feeling the need to break racquets like Safin. The Argentine seems to be close to rediscovering the kind of form which took him to US Open glory in 2009 but was out in the cold....


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