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2 July 2011 - 1:25pm

Tennis

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With Wimbledon drawing to a close today , I figure it's a great time to get a discussion going on Tennis.

On the men's side, with his Wimbledon semifinal win, Novak Djokovic will become the first male player other than Roger Federer or Rafael Nadal to hold the #1 world ranking since February 1, 2004. What an amazing string of domination by the two and what an incredible effort Djokovic has had to put up to end the Federer-Nadal reign!

On the women's side, Maria Sharapova today takes on Petra Kvitova, signalling an amazing comeback for the Russian star and marking the first ever grand slam final's appearance for the young Czech.

It's a little too late to comment on the women's final (it's starting as I'm writing this message), but how do you see the men's final playing out?

Generally, how does everyone see the rest of the men's tennis season? Will the Djoker hold on to #1 for long, or will Nadal or Federer usurp the top spot again? Can Andy Murray break into the ranks of the top three?

As for the women, there has not been any single dominating player or set of players like there has been on the men's side. Who do you think is best in the women's game right now?

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4 July 2011 - 12:32am
#1

That women's final was a bit of a surprise result.

I saw Djokovic play at Wimbledon back in 2006. I had been to the world cup in Germany and went over to London to visit a couple of friends. I can't remember who he was playing but he won, although we left early to go to the pub and watch Germany play Argentina. Back then he was nowhere near as good as he is now.

Federer is beginning the long downward slide. He was untouchable for a few years there but he's starting to lose matches he never would have before. He'll still win tournaments but he will never dominate like he used to. So it looks like its between Nadal and Djokovic in the near future. They are both very good, although I find them to be fairly boring to watch as they love to just pound it from the baseline. Djokovic vs Nadal at the French Open could well be a recipe for the most boring game of tennis ever. I hate the French Open btw, too much long slow baseline rallies on clay - it reminds me of this old ad:

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5 July 2011 - 5:40am
#2

Djokovic almost blew Nadal away the other day which is really saying something because Nadal is a fantastic player.

Predictably, England's great hope Andy Murray was hyped ridiculously by our press here and then bombed out. Its an annual ritual that started with Tim Henman - hype up an also-ran of a player and make everyone miserable when they fail again.

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5 July 2011 - 7:33am
#3

I agree Chelsea, Nadal definitely is a fantastic player! With his win against Roger Federrer in the finals of Roland Garros , Nadal has just fortified his tight grip on the world number 1 tennis player title. I think he really deserves to be the first! BTW he has already collected 10 Roland Garros titles, tying the record of Bjorn Borg, while he is just 25 Wink

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5 July 2011 - 10:15am
#4

That commercial is phenomenally old-school! lol .... to be honest, I miss having a 'firecracker' personality like McEnroe or Agassi amongst the Tennis elite. It just makes things so much more interesting in a way. Don't get me wrong - I love the classiness of Federer, Djokovic, Nadal and Murray, but Tennis just lacks a certain je ne sais quoi when there's no fiery character around.

I'm from Serbia so suffice it to say I'm a bit biased in favor of a certain player (hint: rhymes with Shmokovic), but I think he's rightfully earned the #1 ranking. In 2011, Djokovic is 48-1 and is threatening to have the best season of any male Tennis player ever. That's a testament to both his hot streak and the grip Nadal had on the #1 ranking previously. Think about it: it took a player six+ months and two grand slam titles just to wrestle away the #1 seed.

Here's the kicker though: the Tennis world now moves onto the hard court, Djokovic's best surface. The pundits have him as the early favorite to win the US Open and it's hard to disagree...

Chelsea - what, in your opinion, explains why it's been so long since the UK has produced a Tennis phenom capable of taking Wimbledon?

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6 July 2011 - 1:55am
#5

You're right about the personalities missing from the game BB84. Guys like McEnroe and Conners were complete tools but at least they were good to watch. I blame it all on Mr boring himself Ivan Lendl... how's that for old school? lol

I like watching Federer, he mixes his game up a bit and comes to the net. Its the robots glued to the baseline that I can't stand watching, especially at the French Open.

I think tennis needs a bit of a tweak to keep it interesting and more unpredictable. I like the 1 serve per point idea to reduce the reliance on massive power serves (or even a limit of 2 second serves per service game which could lead to some strategy about when to go for the big ones). There is nothing more boring than watching a match where every game goes with service with players barely able to return each other's serves. And also no "let" and serve again when the serve touches the net and still lands in the court. Just play on like when it happens during a point. All it does is prolong the game needlessly.

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12 July 2011 - 9:53am
#6

Hmmm - I never thought about trying to improve the pace and flow of the game of Tennis. Perhaps that's because I was a bit of a fairweather fan up until Djokovic and the other Serbs came along and made it more interesting. Now every big match is interesting to me, regardless of what it might look like for any neutral fans watching the game.

Guess it's hard for me to be objective on this one because of my obvious bias Wink

Is there, or has there ever been, serious consideration for the rule changes you're proposing? Were the rules on service games and lets different before?

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13 July 2011 - 4:43am
#7

The single serve idea has been floated around for a long time now. I'm not sure it will ever change though. On the one hand it would probably reduce the power of the serve as a weapon and make it easier for players to break serve. On the other hand there might be a lot of short points where the serve is missed. And it would make things much harder for casual players who struggle to hit a first serve in anyway. Thats why I like my very own idea of having 2 second serves per game up your sleeve.

The "no let" thing is a no-brainer for me. This is complete speculation on my part but the "let" rule looks like something they came up with in 1890 when tennis was played by rich and lazy people on manicured green lawns in England to make it fair and gentlemanly. These days who cares, if the ball lands in, play on and get on with the game! I looked it up on wikipedia and apparently in NCAA American college tennis circuit, they play on and do not call lets.

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15 July 2011 - 3:46pm
#8

The let thing makes perfect sense because Tennis rules allow it during the normal course of the game but not on serves, which in a way does not make sense. If it's allowed after the serve then it should be allowed on serve. In a way it's kind of like a reward for a perfect service, and a very risky one when you consider that a ball hit even a millimeter lower probably does not make it over the net.

Your other suggestion is more radical in my opinion. It would definitely change the character of the game in favor of good returners and, although it might make it the game less serve-oriented, it might actually lead to longer match times because of more longer rallies. If nothing else, matches with big servers tend to progress faster....

CL-Ed - what say you about one Bernard Tomic? A lot of people talked about him during Wimbledon when he made the quarters and then lost to Djokovic. Some are saying he's the next big thing...what's the word on him from down under?

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17 July 2011 - 10:32am
#9

Good point about the rallies. It could make them longer as the serve would likely be more returnable (is that a word?).

Tomic its hard to say. He's undoubtedly a very good player with a lots of potential. But he also comes across as your typical modern day young manufactured sports star who has had parents pushing them to do nothing else all their life (his dad in particular). He's done some bad stuff, walking off and quitting in the middle of a match he was losing once, refusing to warm up with Lleyton Hewitt one time and then having a slanging match with him in the press. He seems arrogant and appears to have a high opinion of himself and is surrounded by people who love to tell him how good he is. And we've seen so many young players like that self destruct when a few things don't go their way. He could turn out to be a top player though, he looks to have the talent.

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17 July 2011 - 11:21am
#10

Good local insight, CL-Ed. It should be exciting then to see how he pans out. Perhaps he might grow into one of those talented players who also sport a fiery attitude, the kind that some of us on this thread apparently yearn for lol

On the other hand, I would not discount the possibility that he matures with time. That's what happened with Djokovic - he also had his PR mishaps a few years back (remember his outburst after his match against Roddick a few years back at the US open?), but is now as upstanding as they come.

It sounds like another typical Tennis story. The sport is rife with examples of overbearing parents looking to make a buck and doing what seems like trying their very hardest to destroy their child's personality.

Most of the world doesn't know this, but Djokovic's father is also quite the character. Like a lot of classless Serbians with some money, his father is involved in all kinds of questionable ventures with corrupt politicians and enjoys acting above the law whenever he feels like it. He once broke into a TV studio while it was in the middle of broadcasting his son's match and to complain that the Serbian commentator was not complementing his son enough. His family owns everything from restaurants to tennis centers to money exchange offices, and much of this was acquired and is run in a shady way. It's a minor miracle that Djokovic is as sane as he is given his nutty family.

The other reason I asked about Tomic is to try and get a sense of who the 'up and comers' in the sport are. I'm curious as to who is going to challenge the status quo and when. Tomic seems like a viable candidate to do so in a few years' time, if not sooner.

So, who does anyone on this thread think will break up what seems like a new era that will be dominated by Djokovic and Nadal? And when might this happen? Does Murray maybe have what it takes to be that guy, or is he doomed to eternally hold the world's #3 and #4 seed without ever breaking higher?

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17 July 2011 - 12:11pm
#11

Hahah I love that story about Djokovic's father. There are so many of those "tennis dads" these days sadly.

Another one in Australia with a borderline insane dad (and Serbian too!) was Jelena Dokic. Her dad was a complete nutter and pretty much ruined her career. He ended up going to jail after trying to attack an Australian ambassador in Serbia with a hand grenade! Check out his wikipedia page ... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Damir_Dokić

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21 July 2011 - 12:46pm
#12

I recommend others check out Mr. Dokic's wikipedia page also. It's chock full of gems.

Otherwise it seems we are in the middle of a slower period in the tennis world. Just counting down the days til the harcourt season and then the US Open.

The Davis and Fed cups are in play. These get some attention here in Serbia because our men's team won it last year, but I believe it's not as widely followed elsewhere in the world.

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25 July 2011 - 11:24am
#13

I actually enjoy Davis Cup. It adds a bit of teamwork to an otherwise solitary sport. Australia are rubbish these days without a recognised top 10 player, we might not even have a top 50 one now.

Here is some more classic Damir Dokic:
http://www.smh.com.au/news/tennis/damir-issues-kidnap-and-kill-threats/2...
http://www.smh.com.au/news/tennis/damirs-blasts-from-the-past/2006/01/19...

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27 July 2011 - 2:59pm
#14

You're right about the Davis Cup. Plus, it's also really fun to go because one is usually treated to more than one match.

I was not aware of the extent of Mr. Dokic's madness. One of the reasons I love the internet is because one can google 'crazy tennis parents' and get great articles like this one from Slate: http://www.slate.com/id/2219229/.

Looks like DD was the best of the best! lol

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25 August 2011 - 8:43pm
#15

The U.S open gets underway on Monday. Actually, qualifying has been going on for the past three days. You can check out the tournament schedule here: http://www.usopen.org/en_US/scores/schedule/eventschedule.html

And for sportsbetting purposes, here's what the folks at Ladbrokes* see the odds for the men - http://sports.ladbrokes.com/en-gb/Tennis/US-OpenTennis/US-Open-t110000357 - and women - http://sports.ladbrokes.com/en-gb/Tennis/US-Open/Women%27s-singlesTennis....

Who is the favorite on the men's side? Is it Djokovic, Nadal, Federer or someone else? I'm going to say Nadal as I think Djokovic's injury slows him down. Plus I don't like that he's drawn to get Federer in the semis. As a Djokovic fan, I'm also trying the reverse jinx Smile

To me, the women's side is actually a bit more interesting because it's more open. There's no dominant player or even an elite echelon like there is on the men's side, which makes it much more conducive to surprises and unexpected hot streaks and upsets. Many are saying Serena is the favorite here, but I'm going to go with Azarenka, the #4 seed, here.

Who is everyone else out there rooting for and who do you all think will take it on the women's and men's sides?

*-Note: I'm not endorsing Ladbrokes over any other sportsbetting site. I'm actually not a sports gambler myself. This was only the first reputable sportsbetting site that popped into my head Wink

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26 August 2011 - 7:46am
#16

Oh man I just read that Slate article you linked to about the crazy tennis parents. Thats was a really good read. Its so sad but so true that psycho parents produce the best tennis players. Same thing with Tiger Woods.

I think one thing is sure - one of Federer, Djokovic or Nadal will win it. I can't believe Murray is rated more likely than Federer, although thats what you get when you check an English bookmaker I guess! Djokovic is the one with the form at the moment.

I agree the women's is far more unpredictable. Wozniacki is the weird one - she's world #1 without ever winning a major and she's seeded #1 but she's only 5th or 6th favourite in the betting. You can get 18/1 on her at Betfair at the moment. Surely thats worth a shot. And Li Na, the French Open winner is at 20/1.

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30 August 2011 - 11:37am
#17

I think that with such an open field that Li Na at 20/1 is an excellent bet. The pundits across the board (like literally without exception) seems to be Serena Williams will take it on the women's side. I'm not so sure that she's such an overwhelming favorite, though...

With the US Open in play, ESPN's page 2 put up a fun article about fist pumps of all things: http://espn.go.com/espn/page2/story/_/id/6906654/an-illustrated-history-...

I enjoy McEnroe and the modern variations of Nadal and Sharapova!

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31 August 2011 - 1:19pm
#18

Li Na lost in the first round. Lucky I didn't bet on her hehehe lol
But now I wish I had bet on Wozniacki. She has won one match and her odds have slashed from 18/1 to 12/1. Could have made a tidy profit on that.

Nice find, that reminds me of the Vicht which Niclas Kroon and Mats Wilander used to do.

Would you believe Lleyton Hewitt trademarked it after Kroon let it lapse? Hewitt is lame in so many ways...
http://www.couriermail.com.au/sport/lleyton-stole-my-salute/story-e6frep...

Kroon-vicht.jpg

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1 September 2011 - 11:39am
#19

Like I always say, those folks at the sports bookies always know more about these things than I do. Looks like they had every reason to make her such a long shot, even if she has won a major this year. All signs point to lots of surprises and upsets on the women's side, which is great for entertainment value!

Speaking of the US Open and betting, there is this little news story: http://www.casinolistings.com/news/2011/08/u-s-open-tennis-championship-...

Just read that article about Hewitt. I think lame is the exact word to describe what he did there...

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2 September 2011 - 4:09am
#20

Yes good thing I didn't put a tenner on Li Na like I was going to! I ended up betting a little on Wozniacki at 12/1. She just won her 2nd round match and it looks like she has an easy (in theory) run through to the semi finals where she should meet Serena Williams. If she goes that far I'll probably bet against her on Betfair and take the profit.

That betting ban is almost pointless. Its only going to affect anyone using the tournament's network. All you would have to do is use an iPhone or something that is connected to the cellular network or another wifi and you could bet all you wanted to.

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4 September 2011 - 1:50pm
#21

Ed - perhaps I have a bit of a hard time following how you would make money on Wozniacki making the quarters and then betting on her to lose. How would that work exactly? Perhaps I'm just a bit green when it comes to sportsbetting, but maybe it would be helpful to explain to all of those who are curious (myself included of course!).

Otherwise, the matches at the US Open have been very entertaining indeed! None of the favorites has been eliminated, but the quality of play has been outstanding. I only catch some of the matches (lousy time zone difference), but I saw all of Heather Watson v Maria Sharapova, where the former was fairly close to pulling off the upset.

Rooting for Ana Ivanovic vs. Serena Williams. She'll need a bit of luck in that one!

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4 September 2011 - 11:32pm
#22

I use a betting exchange (Betfair). It allows you to Back (bet for) or Lay (bet against) a player or team. For example:

  • If I backed Wozniacki at 18/1 with $10. I stand to win $180 ($170 net) if she wins the tournament.
  • Later on her odds have dropped to 12/1.
  • I could "lay" against her at 12/1, lets say for $12. In that case I gain $12 immediately, but would have to pay out $144 if she won the tournament (-$132 net).
  • If she wins the tournament I win $170 but also lose $132 on the lay bet. Net profit of $38.
  • If she doesn't win then I lost my original bet of $10, but gained $12 on the lay bet. Net profit $2.

I have in fact put a bet on Wozniacki at 12/1. I am with you on Ivanovic because I am supporting anyone against Serena Williams because if she loses, Wozniacki's odds will drop very quickly!

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6 September 2011 - 7:14am
#23

So I went out today feeling bummed because Wozniacki had lost the first set and was down 4-1 in the second against Svetlana Kuznetsova. There goes my bet.

But when I get home I saw that she came back and won! Nice... my bet lives to fight another day.

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6 September 2011 - 2:45pm
#24

A-ha. I had never actually heard of such a ploy but it makes a lot of sense if you can bet on someone up front, have them go a long a way, and then bet against them. Question is, though: will you actually go ahead and lay against Wozniacki? I mean she's already made it this far...

I have to make the obligatory Serbia plug: First ever all-Serbian quarterfinals match at a grand slam with Tipsarevic and Djokovic slated for tomorrow Smile Cool achievement, but kind of crappy draw because this way I'm certain to only have one player to root for in the semis and beyond!

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6 September 2011 - 11:36pm
#25

Yes its a bit like trading I guess.

I will most probably bet against her if she wins her next match and meets Williams in the semi finals (again hoping that Williams loses in the quarters though!). It depends on how much her odds drop. They are still pretty high at 10 or 11 at the moment. The temptation to let it ride will be high. If she beat Williams she would be the heavy favourite to win the tournament...

The one I am regretting is Stosur. The first time I checked on Li Na and Wozniacki, Stosur was around 50 or 60 to 1. I was going to put a little bet on but thought no I can't do it just because she's an Aussie. But now she is still in the tournament and has come way down to under 15.

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7 September 2011 - 12:58am
#26

I think Serena will easily rape all others. Thats an amazing performace on hardcourt. Mens tennis is a bit more difficult. Nadal seems not to be so good in form. Djokovic is as good as the last months. But Federer has also convinced vs Monaco. I ve bet on betfair some outright winners on Williams, Sharapova, NaLi and Stosur. Mens tennis I ve bet on Federer, Djokovic, DelPotro and Gasquet... Hmmm, still chances to win... gogogo Smile

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7 September 2011 - 7:38am
#27

LOL "gogo" in georgian mins a girl, and suddenly I thought n0sferatu was concerning to Serena like: "go girl win" lol

Anyway, I have no hint who's gonna be a winner.... I know Djokovic is a shining star and so is Serena too... I suppose I'm gonna wait and see...

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8 September 2011 - 8:02pm
#28

I wish someone would explain the laws of why certain networks decide to broadcast certain matches and not others! Instead of watching Djokovic-Tipsarevic, Eurosport 1 and Eurosport 2 are broadcasting Wozniacki-Petkovic and Kerber-Pennetta, respectively. I understand Wozniacki-Petkovic but who are Kerber and Pennetta?I don't know

Argh! Angry

Reminds of trying to watch Champions League football in the United States. If ESPN opts to not show some low-tier college football game instead of CL, they'll go ahead and broadcast a boring game involving a British team instead of the best matchup of the day. Those outside the US do not know frustrating it is to try and watch a game like Bayern Munich - Real Madrid only to get Western Ohio vs. Northern Michigan football or a matchup like Arsenal vs. no-name team from some backwater everyone has beaten by at least three goals...

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9 September 2011 - 1:25am
#29

I hear you. Although these days if you have pay tv here they often broadcast matches simultaneously and you can choose which one you want to watch. I'll tell you what I hate the most though - watching any champions league match on ESPN with Tommy Smyth (widda Y!!) commentating. The man is obnoxious, unbearable, and dare I say it, stupid!

In tennis news... it is going to be Wozniacki vs Williams in the semi finals. And I am regretting even more not betting on Stosur when she was 50/1. Grrrrr...

The money question is do I let my Wozniacki bet ride?

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10 September 2011 - 3:26am
#30

the best sport is tennis for me .. I really enjoy looking it. and I think nowardays players are great... for example djokovic federer nadal marri. I am watching this sport for 8 years... I loved agassi . he was great player ...

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