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Posts Tagged ‘Tennis’

This weekend, the Australian Open saw both Serena Williams and Roger Federer make tennis history. Serena beat her sister Venus to win her 23 Major title, meaning she has now won more Majors than any women in the Open era. The following day, Federer beat Rafa Nadal to win his 18th Major title, extending his lead over other men in tennis history. Both finals were like a throw-back to 10 years ago, no one would have imagined finals involving the Williams sisters and Federer and Nadal.

Sublime Serena

Anyone who has read my blogposts on tennis knows that I am a huge fan of Serena. However, I found myself hoping that her sister Venus would win on Saturday, a strange position to find myself. It’s not that I didn’t want Serena to win her 23 Major title, I did ver much. But, I also thought that this could be Venus’ last chance at a Major title, she seems much closer to retiring than her younger sister, partly because she battles with an auto-immune disease.

However, the fairytale of Venus winning was not to be; her younger sister overpowered her in two sets to take a well-deserved title and hence become the winner of an incredible 23 Major titles. This takes her clear of Steffi Graf, and so Serena is now the greatest woman tennis player in the Open era. Only Margaret Court has won more Majors, but she won hers during the time when tennis was not open, so one could argue (as I would), that Court was not playing against all of the best women players, some of whom had turned professional.

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Serena Williams won her 23 Major title, moving one clear of Steffi Graf and becoming the woman who has held most Major titles in the Open era. Only Margaret Court has held more, 24, but she won hers before tennis went open.

One of the many remarkable statistics about Serena is this is the 9th Major she has won since turning 30! This compares to Martina Navratilova, who won 18 Majors in total but only 3 after she turned 30. Serena shows no sign of slowing down, if she looks after her body there is no reason why she cannot carry on for another 2 or 3 years. Already, in my opinion, she has shown herself to be the greatest woman tennis player in history; but she would take great pleasure in not only passing Margaret Court’s 24 Majors, but obliterating it by winning 25 or more.

Federer vs Nadal – déjà vu!

After Serena v Venus on Saturday, on Sunday we had another trip down memory lane; a Federer v Nadal final. If you didn’t know it, you would have thought that you had been transported back to 2007! Both Federer and Nadal came into the Australian Open after very little competitive tennis, both having suffered injury riddled seasons in 2016. For Nadal this is nothing new, sadly his injuries have dogged his career in the last 3 to 4 years. But, for Federer to have an injury lay-off is something completely new to him. Ironically, the knee operation which forced his 6-month break from the tour was not sustained playing tennis, but instead by twisting his knee when he slipped in his bathroom running a bath for his children!

But, it looks like the freshness had done both a favour. With Djokovic going out in the second round,  and Murray in the third, the draw opened up for both men to make it to the final. A Federer v Nadal final is something that I am sure neither thought that they would see again in their careers.

It was a cracker of a match. Federer won the first set, Nadal the second. Federer cruised through the third (6-1), but Nadal came back to win the fourth. He even broke Federer in the first set of the fifth, and it looked like the writing was on the wall for Federer. But, at 3-2 down in the fifth, Federer raised his game, broke back to 3-3 and then won the next 3 games to take the final set 6-3.

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Federer beat Nadal in a thrilling 5-set match to win his 18 Major title. He now stands 4 clear of Nadal, and it is his first Major title since winning Wimbledon in July 2012.

Just like Serena, Federer showed once again why he is, arguably, the greatest tennis player the men’s game has ever seen. That is a highly contentious claim, and I would qualify it by saying that we really can’t compare eras. But, for my money, the only player from any era who could claim to be the greatest ever if it’s not Federer would be Rod Laver. Both Federer and Serena are 35; but contrary to Serena, Federer has only won two Majors since turning 30. I think Federer is closer to the end of his career than Serena, but if he manages his body and tournaments wisely I see no reason why he cannot win Wimbledon for a couple more years, he is still the finest natural grass court player around today.

Well done the oldies!!!

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Scotland’s Andy Murray has won his 2nd Wimbledon title, three years after winning it for the first time. He has now won 3 Major titles, having also won the US Open in 2012. Remarkably, it was his 11th Major final. Murray beat Canadian Milos Raonic, who was playing in his first Major final. 

Andy Murray won his 2nd Wimbledon title yesterday (Sunday10 July)


As anyone who reads my blog will know, I’m a huge Federer fan, so I was disappointed to see him go out in a thrilling 5-set defeat to Raonic in the semi-finals. I’m still hopeful that Federer can win a few more majors before he finally retires, but clearly his chances of doing so are getting slimmer and slimmer. 

Murray is a very popular champion. He is widely respected and admired for his level of commitment and dedication to being one of the world’s best tennis players. Will he be able to start beating Djokovic in future Majors? Only time will tell, but he will give it everything that he’s got. 

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Serena Williams has finally done it, she has equalled Steffi Graf’s record of 22 Major titles. It has taken her longer than most people expected, given that she had 21 after last year’s Wimbledon, but after three successive defeats in the intervening majors (one at the semi-final stage and two in the final), she is now equal to the great Steffi Graf.

Surely she will go on and win more; although she is now 34 she shows little sign of losing her appetite for tennis and for winning. Also, she is yet to win a Grand Slam, and I am under little doubt that she will try in 2017 (and 2018?) to do this, before retiring. Even if she goes on to win 24 or 25 or 26 Major titles, I think she would not feel satisfied of her legacy unless she can also hold all four titles in the same year.


There has been mention of Margaret Court’s haul of 24 Major titles. But, to my mind, this record does not count. Margaret Court did not turn professional until tennis had become ‘open’, and so from 1963 to 1968 she was not competing against some of the best players of her day, who had decided to turn professional. If Graf or Williams had many of the best players removed from the Majors in which they were playing, who knows how many titles they could have won. So yes, technically, Court won 24 Majors, but many of them were hollow ones, as she surely would now admit.

Serena Williams is a truly remarkable athlete. I love her passion, her energy, her commitment and her drive. I really do hope that in 2017 (or 2018) she can get her Grand Slam, which would not only cap a remarkable career, but ensure her at least 26 Major titles and seal her place as the greatest female tennis player in history.

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Yesterday (Saturday 2 July) saw reigning Wimbledon champion Novak Djokovic crash out of Wimbledon in the third round to American Sam Querrey. Not only was Djokovic defending his title,  but he is currently the holder of all four Major titles, a feat not done since Rod Laver in 1969, as I mentioned in this blog here.

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Novak Djokovic suffered a shock defeat in the 3rd round of Wimbledon, brining to a halt his dream of doing the Grand Slam (holding all four Major titles in the same calendar year).

Djokovic’s defeat of course opens up the draw to other contenders. As Djokovic was seeded number 1, and Andy Murray number 2, it will make no difference to Andy Murray unless he reaches the final as they are in opposite parts of the draw. However, it may make a difference to my own favourite, Roger Federer, as he is seeded number 3. Federer would have met Djokovic in the semi-finals if they had both progressed.

I will keep my fingers crossed that this time next week I will be looking forward to a men’s singles final featuring Federer. I so want to see him surpass the record he currently jointly holds with Pete Sampras and win his 8th Wimbledon title. We shall see.

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Yesterday (Sunday 5 June) Novak Djokovic won the French Open and became the first player since Rod Laver in 1969 to hold all four majors at the same time. He also joined a small group of players who have won all four majors, but to hold all four at the same time is much rarer. As anyone who has read my blogposts about tennis knows, I am massive fan of Rod Laver, and I don’t want to take anything away from his remarkable achievement of doing the Grand Slam (winning all four majors in the same calendar year) twice, in 1962 and 1969.

But, for anyone today to win all four majors is far more difficult, and I don’t mean because there are more tennis players competing, although there are. It is because now all four majors are played on different surfaces, which was not the case in Laver’s day. When Laver won his two Grand Slams three of the four majors were on grass. The only one which wasn’t was the French Open. So, if you were an expert grass-court player, as Laver was, it was much easier to win three of the majors than it is today. This only adds to Djokovic’s remarkable achievement of being the first player since Laver to hold all four majors at the same time. Federer has never achieved it, nor Nadal, nor McEnroe, nor Sampras, nor Agassi. None of them.

Novak Djokovic won his first French Open. He now holds all four major titles at the same time, the first player to achieve this since Rod Laver in 1969

Andy Murray won the first set 6-3, but after that Djokovic started to cut the errors out of his game and the next three sets went to Djokovic pretty quickly, 6-1, 6-2 and 6-4. Murray just had no answer for Djokovic once the latter got his game into gear.

Djokovic has now won 12 major titles, and if he carries on like this who would bet against him surpassing Federer’s record of 17 major titles? Also, as the French Open is his second major of 2016, he is on track to do the Grand Slam, winning all four majors in the same calendar year. Again, the last person to do this was Rod Laver, in 1969.

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Yesterday (Saturday 30 January), Serena Williams played in her seventh Australian Open final. She had not only won all six of her previous final appearances, but she had the opportunity to win more Australian Open titles than anyone in history. Having failed to win the US Open last year, and hence just miss out on the Grand Slam, Serena had looked very impressive in her previous rounds. But, she was denied her 22nd Major title (which would have equalled Steffi Graf’s record) by a relatively unknown German by the name of Angelique Kerber.

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Serena Williams failed to win her first Major of 2016 and her 22nd of her career, to equal Steffi Graf’s record

It could not have started worse for Kerber, she lost the first seven points in the opening two games, but quickly turned things around and went on to win the first set 6-4. Serena won the second set 6-3, and in a tight third set it went all the way to a tense tenth game, which Kerber won to win the match and the championship.

With this year being an Olympic year, people were even talking of Serena winning a Grand Slam plus the Olympics, a “super Slam” maybe? But, with the Australian Open now lost, Serena clearly cannot now do that. However, it was nice to see her smiling in defeat. I suspect that the pressure she put on herself last year as the possibility of a Grand Slam progressed has now been replaced with a feeling of “if I stay fit, I will surpass Steffi, so why sweat it?”. Which is my feeling. She looks as fit as ever at 34, and if she does not injure herself there is no reason why she cannot play this year, next year and, who knows, maybe even into 2018. Surely, with 4 Majors every year, it is just a matter of time before she wins her 22nd, 23rd, 24th and…… who knows?

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As anyone who follows my blog postings on tennis knows, I am a huge Federer fan. Yesterday (Friday the 10th), he dispatched Andy Murray with apparent ease to make his way to his tenth Wimbledon final. He has not dropped a set during his passage through the tournament, and has only dropped his service once. Tomorrow he will try to win Wimbledon for the 8th time, and if he succeeds he will make history. The final is a repeat of last year’s final against Djokovic, a final that Federer could have won, and looking back probably feels that he should have won. Federer currently shares the record of the most number of Wimbledon titles with Pete Sampras (see my blog here), with both on 7; but tomorrow he could own this record all to himself. And, he will extend his record of the most Major titles from 17 to 18. If he wins.



As anyone who follows my blogs on tennis knows, I am a huge Federer fan.

Federer looked imperious against Murray, beating him comfortably in three straight sets.



Later today, at 2pm British Summer Time, Serena Williams will also be trying to make some history. If she wins in today’s final she will have won 21 Major titles, and be only one away from equalling Steffi Graf’s record of 22. In addition, she will hold all four Majors at the same time, having won last year’s US Open in September and this year’s Australian and French in January and June respectively. She will also be on course to do the Grand Slam, win all four Majors in the same year, something which has not been done since Steffi Graf did it in 1988, nearly 30 years ago. I would not put it past her, the determination she has shown in this Wimbledon has been a lesson to anyone who wants to see how hard you have to apply yourself to succeed. When she was nearly dead and buried against Heather Watson (see my blog here) she dug deep and found a way to win.

I need to update my July 2013 blog on tennis statistics (Tennis Roll of Honours” see here), as Serena has moved on from the 17 Major titles she had then to 20. Unfortunately Roger’s 17 has not changed, but hopefully by Monday morning they will be on 21 and 18 respectively!

By the way, in this blog I posted a video of the greatest display of tennis I have ever seen, John McEnroe’s demolition of Jimmy Connors in the 1984 Wimbledon final. However, the video no longer works. McEnroe won 6-1, 6-1, 6-2 in the most one-sided thrashing of another high-ranked player that I have ever seen, and some of the tennis McEnroe played on that day surpasses anything I have witnessed, even from Federer. I have found a new link to the video of that match, so if you fancy seeing it you can watch it below. The quality is very poor in places, which is a pity.





So, I’m hoping for a Serena Roger double this weekend! Who are you rooting for?

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