Wawrinka marks the return of the one-handed backhand

Watching Stanislas Wawrinka’s stunning performance at this year’s Australian Open has been one of the highlights of 2014 so far. If his victory in the final was arguably spoilt by the injury of Rafael Nadal, nobody could deny his brilliant win against four-time victor Novak Djokovic.

He has been a player in great form. Having seen Wawrinka play Nadal at the O2 finals in London at the end of last season, it was clear that he was a player brimming with self confidence. Nadal managed to beat him 7-6 7-6 on the day, but the Swiss clearly had the shots to really trouble the world number one. Just a couple of months on and Wawrinka has turned those missed chances into defining moments.

Continue reading

The Master of Monaco

This afternoon, tennis fans at the Monte Carlo Masters will be thrilled to see eight-time champion Rafa Nadal go for a ninth title at his stomping ground. He looks set to rule in Monaco again. Of course, it is only the world number one Novak Djokovic who stands in his way.

The scene in Monaco is set. The heavenly backdrop of the Mediterranean sea is apt as the two tennis idols get ready to show their divine powers on the tennis court.  Continue reading

Wimbledon 2012: update

For those who read my latest post and then followed the first day of action at Wimbledon, you will have noticed that two of the names mentioned previously are already out of the competition.

In my defence, it’s quite a surprise that both Tomas Berdych and John Isner have been beaten by their first round opponents!

So, I’m going to suggest two more potential threats to the top four’s chances and keep my fingers crossed that day two will not upset any more of the Play with Flair predictions. Continue reading

Wimbledon 2012: Who can stop the top four?

The start of men’s draw at Wimbledon 2012 has been met with great anticipation. The developing rivalry between Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal has dominated discussion as well as the inevitable debate about Roger Federer’s chance of winning 7 titles at SW19. On top of this, Wimbledon will provide the British press with the chance to scrutinise every aspect of Andy Murray’s game before asking if it is finally his time to win.

So, the men in the top four are grabbing all of the headlines and will continue to do so, but who else can stand in their way? Continue reading

French Open reaches fever pitch

Since my last post, the French Open 2012 has already provided us with unbelievable matches and plenty of splendid displays from the tennis elite.

In the women’s draw, the biggest shock was the exit of Serena Williams in the first round. Since entering her first Grand Slam event in 1998, she had never lost at this stage in a major tournament. Virginie Razzano, the French number four, completed this astonishing victory after eight match points in an incredible 25-minute final game.

After my comments on Monday, saying that Maria Sharapova’s biggest obstacle in winning the career slam is Serena Williams; it should follow that Sharapova is now the outright favourite. If her first round demolition of Alexandra Cadantu, which ended in a 6-0 6-0 scoreline, is replicated on Friday then this must be the case.

Virginie Razzano knocks Serena Williams out in the first round at the French Open.
Source: dailytelegraph.au

Continue reading

Can Maria Sharapova win at Roland Garros?

Maria Sharapova winning Wimbledon in 2004 
Source:tennisgranstand.com

 As one of the favourites to win the French Open title this year, Maria Sharapova has seriously put herself in contention to win the only Grand Slam that has eluded her. After a gutsy victory in Rome, against the reigning French Open champion Li Na, Sharapova yet again … Continue reading

Monaco

In April and May, Monaco will host two of my favourite events in the sporting calendar. The Monte-Carlo Masters begins this weekend and next month the Monaco Grand Prix will take place there.

It may just be my personal opinion but I think that Monaco is such a great sporting location. This is not just because of the luxurious nature of the place. Both of these events have been staged here for many years and so there is an illustrious sporting history attached with Monaco. Continue reading

Another final between Murray and Djokovic: The rivalry continues…

Tennis fans should prepare for something special tomorrow when Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic meet in Miami for the Sony Ericsson Open Final. Why? Because I think that so far this is the tennis rivalry of 2012. Djokovic and Murray have already played one of the best matches of the tennis season in their epic semi final encounter at the Australian Open. This was not a unique occasion, their rivalry has been developing for several years. In fact, their match last year in the clay tournament at Rome was arguably the best match of 2011.

You may disagree, and say that the competition between Nadal and Djokovic has been the best so far, purely because of their gruelling tie at the Australian Open Final this year. At the moment though, I think that the competition between Murray and Djokovic is more finely balanced because they have both beaten each other this year. Nadal has failed to beat Djokovic since the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in 2010.

Whatever your view, the final in Miami is another chance to put our opinions to the test. For now, here’s just one point to savour from their Australian Open meeting this year:

Click here to see my prediction for the 2012 tennis season.