Following a year dominated by injury problems and an emotional campaign at Wimbledon, Serena Williams has gained entry to the US Open and begins her preparations right away. The younger Williams sister has hardly played in the last 12 months due to various injuries, but she has activated an injury-protected ranking so that she can take part in the action at Flushing Meadows next month. This gives Serena the chance to prove her critics wrong. She has been written off by some sports betting pundits who believe she cannot recover her best form. Certainly not in time for the US Open this year.However, she is bound to be in a better state of mind than she was for Wimbledon and her sheer determination makes her a contender. Even after a horrific year without any tennis, she showed signs of her dominance at SW19 and it was perhaps her fragile emotional state that meant progressing to the latter stages would have been too much too soon. Things are different at the US Open though. She is playing the Rogers Cup in the build-up and has had more time to get over her injury problems. Speaking about her preparations, she said: “It was really awful to miss the Open last year. My goal is to make sure I'm really fit. It's the longest I've ever taken off from tennis, so it's a challenge. I have nothing to lose. I think that's when people are the most dangerous". Serena is right when she indicates that the pressure is off. So many times before she would have gone into the US Open as one of the favourites. Not this time. She is not expected to challenge and this gives her a freedom to play her own game. Basically, you should write Serena Williams off at her peril. There is no way she takes playing tennis for granted and every tournament she competes in is obtaining 100% of her focus. Even after injury problems, a fit, focused and determined Serena Williams should be a recipe for success and the top players in the world would like to avoid her in the early rounds at the US Open, with good reason. The US Open takes place from August 29 to September 11 in New York.
Written by Thomas Rooney for Tattered Tourniquet.
Friday, 22 July 2011
Wednesday, 6 July 2011
After the full-on celebration in Serbia once their hero Novak Djokovic landed there after his Wimbledon win, it looks like we can expect more to come. Nole is to take part in the Davis Cup on Sunday, representing Serbia. With his amazing form, his country can only anticipate a win. After that, it seems like Nole will have an off-season until he takes part in the Rogers Cup on the 8th August. We hope Nole comes back fighting for the cup in Toronto to dethrone Andy Murray, who won in the final last year 7-5 7-5.
Sunday, 3 July 2011
The way Nole clutches the trophy like it's his first born only tells us about 10% of how happy he must be feeling. Since 2002, it's only been the hailed greats of tennis (Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal) who have won Wimbledon. Nine years later, we have a new champion. Novak Djokovic defeated defending champion Rafa in four sets- 6-4 6-1 1-6 6-3- and played a terrific, aggressive game that brought Rafa down. Rafa was graceful in losing.Nole said: "I can't find words to describe the feeling that I have right now. I managed to achieve a lifetime goal and I managed to make my dream come true, all in three days' time. It's just an incredible feeling that I'm never going to forget. This is the best day of my tennis career"."Any athlete in the world dreams of being No. 1 of the world. So finally when you really do it and when you know that you're the best, it's just an amazing achievement. This success kind of makes you rewind [to] the old days. [It] makes you come back to your childhood and remember what you've been through to get to this stage".On Roger and Rafa winning Wimbledon for so long, he said: "They have been the two most dominant players in the world the last five years... They have won most of the majors we are playing. So sometimes it did feel a little bit frustrating when you kind of get to the latter stages of a Grand Slam. They always come up with their best tennis when it matters the most"."But it's a process of learning, a process of developing and improving as a tennis player, as a person, and just finding the way to mentally overcome those pressures and expectations and issues that you have. I always believed that I had [the] quality to beat those two guys. I always believed I had [the] quality to win majors"."After the Davis Cup win [in December versus France] I was full of life, full of energy, eager to come back to the tennis court, eager to play some more, win some other tournaments. In a sentence, I lost my fear. I believed in my abilities more than ever. Australia was one of the best tournaments I played in my life"."Obviously [today], it was the best tennis match on grass courts that I've played ever," said Djokovic. "It came [at] the right moment. I think most of the tennis players rate this Grand Slam as the most important tournament in our sport"."This is what I'm born for. I want to win more Grand Slams. I will definitely not stop here". The crowd were definitely on Rafa's side throughout the match and were ecstatic when Rafa won one set to breadstick Nole 1-6.
Friday, 1 July 2011
Anyone who followed the first semi final match of Wimbledon today will tell you just what a thriller it was. Novak Djokovic defeated Tsonga, 7-6 6-2 6-7 6-3, and although the score make it seem that Novak had a fairly easy time, the Frenchman made sure that was not the case. Novak played poorly at the start of the first set, allowing Tsonga to take an early break. It was not until he managed to find his feet in the first set that he made a comeback and took the set to tiebreak, before finally winning the said set. The second set was easy for Nole. The third seemed so too initially, before Tsonga broke back to serve and came all guns blazing in the tiebreak. In the tiebreak, Tsonga faced set point a few times and Nole faced match point, keeping the audience 'buzzing' (according to the commentators). There were quite a few heart-stopping shots during the match. During one, Tsonga fell over, followed by Nole, and Tsonga fell again after composure to allow Nole to get the point. During another rally, they both fell and landed on the floor front first (shown below).Upon winning, Nole was naturally overwhelmed, having almost lost the first set and losing the third, and also because he's never reached a Wimbledon final before. He said, after the match: "It feels amazing. When I finished the match I didn't know how to show my emotions. I was really happy. This is one of those moments where you can't describe it with the words. You remember all your career, all your childhood, everything you worked for, that comes true now. It's definitely one of the most important achievements and days in my life, in my career. We are all dedicated to this sport [one] hundred per cent. When you know you're going to be the best in the world and you're reaching the finals of your favorite tournament, it's something special". We're glad Nole is through to final, especially when he is to face newly-deemed rival Rafael Nadal. After defeating Tsonga today, Nole is guaranteed to be the new world number 1 come Monday, but until that update, Rafa will want to be showing Nole who's been no1 for so long.