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.
Rafael Nadal has just made Grand Slam history by winning his eighth French open title against David Ferrer. It was a disappointing final as Ferrer was completely outclassed (in three sets) by the imperious Nadal. The Spanish number two had little to cheer about amongst the drizzle on Philippe Chatrier. The final result was 6-3 6-2 6-3.
The first set was dominated by errors from both Spaniards, with Ferrer missing his opportunities to hurt the Spaniard. Meanwhile, Nadal’s backhand was troubling him, missing the line on several occasions. However, the twelve-time Grand Slam victor showed off his clay court prowess towards the end and clinched the first set.
The second set followed suit but as Nadal’s mighty forehand began to dominate play, Ferrer just couldn’t match the powerful display of his Spanish compatriot.
After a slight delay in the third set, Ferrer attempted to stage a fightback and looked comfortable at 3-3. Ferrer had the chance to break Nadal and lead the set 4-3 but failed to close the game. Unfortunately for the older Spaniard,this followed the narrative of this final; a final of missed chances.
When tennis pundits look back on this year’s tournament, they will remember the brutal semi-final matchup between Nadal and Novak Djokovic as the defining moment. It was a renewal of what is fast becoming another classic rivalry in men’s tennis. Previously, it had been Roger Federer versus Nadal. Now, the current rivalry between the Serb and Nadal draws the attention of tennis fans from across the world.
See one of the best points in the French Open semi-final below:
It was an another epic encounter between these two giants of the game that will not be forgotten. Djokovic was incredibly close to beating the Spaniard if not for some unlucky breaks throughout the match.
However, the final at Roland Garros will be remembered as securing Nadal’s place in the tennis hall of fame. Tennis fans have seen history made. At 27, and eight Roland Garros titles, the fear for his opponents is that he should have more titles in Paris to come.
It was apt that Usain Bolt was there to meet Nadal in victory. Two sporting legends of today, with pace, power and tenacity in battle. Let’s hope that the Spaniard can recover in time to make a great challenge at Wimbledon in a couple of weeks time.
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 →
There is no doubt that, for many tennis fans, Wimbledon is the most highly anticipated tournament in the tennis calendar. The pristine courts, royal visitors and unconditional support from the masses on Henman Hill make the tournament unmistakable. Amidst the great … Continue reading →
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 →
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 →
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:
After some advice from a colleague in the office, (albeit he told me to place a bet on my predictions, which I’ve yet to do) I have decided to display publicly my thoughts on who will win the remaining Grand Slams of the tennis season. I haven’t chosen a winner for the 2012 Olympics yet, although I think that Del Potro might take it.
So here goes:
Firstly, Nadal will win the French Open. Some might say that naming the ‘King of Clay’ as champion for the seventh time is hardly a remarkable statement. Yet, his loss in this year’s epic Australian Open final to Novak Djokovic was worrying for the Rafa fan club. He was unable to grind down his opponent in his signature style. In fact, the relentless nature of Djokovic’s attack and defence left the Spaniard exhausted. Likelihood rating 9/10
The honour of winning Wimbledon this year will return to the living legend that is Roger Federer. He may not have won a Major title since 2010 but that is testament to the opponents that he has faced. A 16-time Grand Slam winner knows how it is done and with superb victories over Murray and Nadal already this season, another victory at his most succesful tournament will certainly be one of his greatest achievements in the game. Likelihood rating 7/10
The US Open trophy is waiting at Flushing Meadows for a certain Mr Murray. With no pressure from a home crowd this is the year for Murray to win at his self-proclaimed favourite tournament. He has been extremely close for several years, Federer has been the main obstacle, but with Ivan Lendl at his side Murray will be ready. Likelihood rating 6/10
One Major title for each of the Top Four, can it happen?