Djokovic downs Nadal in 2011 US Open Final!

September 13, 2011 in Sport, Tennis

The current undisputed king of tennis, Novak Djokovic

I want to work on a few other posts I have lined up, but the tennis news just keeps flooding in.

World No. 1 Novak Djokovic, or the Djoker or Nole, or whatever you want to call him, just overcame Rafael Nadal to win the 2011 US Open title, 6-2, 6-4, 6-7, 6-1.  It was a fantastic final with lots of long rallies, running all over the court, and plenty of spectacular shots.  Nadal fought valiantly to bring the third set into a tie-breaker, which he won comfortably, 7-3, but the fourth set was a total annihilation.  This is the Djoker’s first US Open title following two previous finals losses, including last year’s final to Nadal.

The win continues a memorable run for Djokovic, who also captured his second Australian Open and first Wimbledon title and made the French Open semifinals this year.  For the season, he now has 10 titles and a 64-2 record, which gives him a remarkable 0.969 winning percentage, and if he does not lose again this year, will finish with the best single season winning percentage of all time (currently held by John McEnroe, who went 82-3 in 1984 for a 0.965 winning percentage).  Unbelievable.

Some people dislike Novak for his seemingly cocky demeanour, but I like the guy.  I think he brings a bit of spice to the game, which has been dominated for far too long by ‘nice guys’ like Federer and Nadal.  That said, I also like Rafa too, so I wasn’t going for anyone in particular in these finals.

I love how unpredictable tennis has been lately.  I remember when Nadal captured the French, Wimbledon and US Open last year and it appeared he was on the fast track to catching up to a sliding Roger Federer, or at least getting close enough to make the GOAT discussion even more interesting.

Then Djokovic suddenly takes his fitness and mental aspect of his game to a whole new level and becomes an absolutely unstoppable killer on the court.  Djokovic is 6-0 against Nadal this year, all in finals, and probably would have made it 7-0 and a ‘Grand Slam’ if he hadn’t dropped the French Open semi against Federer.  If Djokovic can keep this level of fitness up, there is no reason why he can’t continue this kind of run for at least another year or two and push his Grand Slam total into double figures in a hurry.

With Nadal as Federer’s kryptonite and Djokovic as Nadal’s, we now have a very interesting triangle of power, with Djokovic at the apex.  Now if only Andy Murray can do something — anything — to make it a quadrilateral…

PS: It is clear that Djokovic is also dominating the WAG category in men’s tennis as well.

No Djoke; girlfriend Jelena Ristic at the final

Stosur’s guns overpower imploding Serena for US Open title

September 12, 2011 in Sport, Tennis

Most people, even Australians, gave the inconsistent Samantha Stosur an outside chance at best of defeating the seemingly unstoppable Serena Williams in the 2011 US Open Women’s Final on the 10th anniversary of September 11.

But what they didn’t count on was Sammy’s massive guns to flex at all the right moments, delivering a shockingly easy 6-2, 6-3 victory and spoiling Serena’s latest ‘comeback tour’.

Seriously.  Take a look this woman’s arms.  P90X can’t get these results.  Even Rafa Nadal is jealous.

Are those real?

Unfortunately, the media has tried to overshadow Sammy’s historic win with scandal.  According to reports, Serena Williams had a meltdown against umpire Eva Asderaki, reminiscent of that time in 2009 when she threatened to shove her scrotum down the throat of a lineswoman who called a foot fault against her.

Down a set and facing break point in the first game of the second set, Serena belted a huge forehand and shouted, ‘Come on!’ as Sammy reached for the ball and failed to return it.  However, instead bringing the game back to deuce, Asderaki awarded the point (and hence the game) to Sammy.  The reason?  Asderaki believed Serena’s outburst was intended to hinder Sammy’s ability to complete the point, and had therefore infringed the ‘no hindrance’ rule.

Serena: 'Talk to the hand.'

Then, also according to reports, Serena went on another one of her famous tirades against Asderaki that lasted quite a while.

However, upon closer inspection of the video and transcript, I am certain that a mistake as been made here.  The truth is, Serena Williams was actually talking to herself, and not Asderaki, when she launched those insults.  And everything she said was true.

Don’t believe it?  Let’s take a look at exactly what Serena said.

‘I’m not giving her that game.’ — She was absolutely right.  Serena did not give her that game.  Asderaki did.

‘Aren’t you the one who screwed me over last time here? Do you have it out for me?  That’s totally not cool.’ — Serena could have only been talking to herself here because she was the one that screwed herself over last time, which, we can all agree, was totally not cool.  Besides, the person that called the foot fault on Serena last time was a lineswoman, and the umpire that time wasn’t Asderaki.

‘We’re in America last time I checked.’ — An utterly true fact.  Pure genius.

‘You’re out of control, you’re out of control.  You’re not only out of control, you’re a hater, and you’re just unattractive inside. Who would do such a thing? — Pretty much self explanatory.  Besides, who else would know what Serena looks like inside apart from herself (and her physician)?

Go Stosur!  Time to jump on the bandwagon.

Del Potro downs Federer in US Open Final!

September 15, 2009 in Tennis

Del Potro wins the 2009 US Open!

Del Potro wins the 2009 US Open!

In one of the more exciting US Open Finals in recent memory, 20-year-old Juan Martin Del Potro dethroned 5-time defending champion Roger Federer- in 5 sets, 3-6, 7-6 (5), 4-6, 7-6 (4), 6-2. The win marked Del Potro’s first ever Grand Slam title, and denied Federer his 6th consecutive US Open title, his 41st consecutive win at the US Open, and his 16th career Grand Slam title.

Personally, I think few people expected Del Potro to win.  Federer had never lost to anyone other than Nadal (disposed of by Del Potro in the semis) in a Grand Slam final and had never lost to Del Potro in 6 previous matches.  However, the agile 6-6 giant was able to keep his composure despite being down 1 set to love and 2 sets to 1, and rallied down the stretch for a memorable victory.  The win is certainly great for tennis and marks the official arrival of Del Potro into tennis superstardom.  He definitely has the size, talent and potential to be a multiple GS winner, so let’s hope the young Argentine can keep his head on straight and excite us for many more years to come.

Wrapping up a fantastic year in tennis

What a weird, fantastic and memorable year this has been in tennis!  It started off with Nadal capturing the Australian Open in January over Federer, with the latter reduced to a sobbing wreck at the presentation ceremony.  Most believed at the time that it signalled the end of Federer’s dominance of men’s tennis and some suggested that he’d never win another Grand Slam.

Then what do you know, Nadal gets bounced in the French Open unexpectedly by Robin Soderling, and Federer delivers in the final to win his first ever French Open, adding the last trophy missing in his cabinet and tying Pete Sampras’s record of 14 Grand Slams.

Next, Nadal shockingly pulls out of Wimbledon due to injury, and Federer battles a rejuvenated Andy Roddick in another epic 5-set Wimbledon Final.  Federer wins his record-breaking 15th career Grand Slam, and ends up in a position no one thought he would be in after the Australian Open.  Guys like Djokovic and Murray keep hanging around but they never seem to have it when it comes to the Grand Slams.

And finally now, Del Potro spoils the end of what would have a fairy-tale year for Federer by coming from behind to snatch the US Open from his grasp!  Who could have imagined all this drama at the start of the season?

ATP World Tennis

The end-of-year event is now called Barclays ATP World Tour Finals

So now men’s tennis heads into a period of uncertainty.  Will Roger finally start to lose his edge in Grand Slams?  Will Nadal ever be the same again after his injury woes?  Can Djokovic be a serious Grand Slam threat again or just consistently good?  Will Roddick ever recapture his Wimbledon final form and win his second Grand Slam?  Is Del Potro for real or a one-slam wonder?  Can the young guns like Soderling, Tsonga, Simon and Monfils break through and win a major?  And will Andy Murray ever win anything?

Bring on the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals (the heck?) and 2010!

Serena Williams tirade loses match, raises questions over balls

September 14, 2009 in Tennis

The guy in the stand can't believe what Serena just said to the lineswoman (who had no idea what she said)

The guy in the stand can't believe what Serena just said to the lineswoman (who obviously had no idea what she said)

Defending champion Serena Williams blew her load on a lineswoman in her semi-final against (eventual winner) Kim Clijsters at the 2009 US Open yesterday, costing her the match on match point.  Williams was called for a foot fault on a second serve when down 15-30 and 6-5 in the second set, causing her to go into a profanity-laced tirade at the lineswoman, eventually leading to a point-penalty that turned out to be the final point of the match.

However, apart from bowing out of the tournament in disgrace and being fined the maximum cash penalty, Serena’s outburst has raised some further, long-debated questions.  In a month when South African champion sprinter Caster Semenya was revealed to be a hermaphrodite and in the age of Lady Gaga, Serena was overhead telling the lineswoman that she would “take my f—ing balls and shove them down your  f—-ing throat.”  A slip of the tongue, perhaps?

Since the outburst, internet forums have been rife with speculation.  Initially, viewers thought Serena was referring to the tennis ball in her hand, though a slow motion replay using Hawk-Eye indicated that Serena was indeed pointing to her crotch area.  Skeptics have been quick to state that Serena prefaced that line with “[i]f I could”, meaning that she couldn’t.  On the other hand, bystanders swear that the reason why Serena was visibly upset was because she could not physically carry out the threat.

Nevertheless, there are now calls for stricter testing to be done on all female athletes (in particular the better or buffed ones)  in order to ensure a more level playing field.

[PS: For those who are still as lost as the lineswoman in the photo above, this is my first attempt at satire]