Have Balls Will Travel ……………… Anyone For Tennis ?
Well the first tennis Grand Slam event of the year has already got the ball rolling on both the Men’s and Women’s Tour . The ATP covers the men’s where the dominant factors are Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer the world number’s one and two in the ATP rankings . The Australian Open as always is the first of the four Grand Slam majors that encapsulates the French Open , Wimbledon and the US Open .
Slide show gallery for your perusal .
On the women’s side on the WTA Tour the new number one ranked player is Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark albeit that in many eyes a grand slam tournament without Serena Williams is very much like having a four course meal without one of the main hors-d’ouever starters. But with the younger of two Williams’ sisters not a participant it will be left to Venus Williams to carry the familial torch.
Now while the eyes of the tennis world be upon the top two men in the game I’m of the belief that unless both walk into a trap then these finals will be about two pre-eminent players of their generation and perhaps the best two players in the game over the last two decades. Their joint resumes alone is most certainly a testament to that, with each having won a career Grand Slam having won each of the four majors . Nadal will now have the privilege of trying to emulate what only Rod Laver has been able to achieve twice over the course of his esteemed career and that’s to try and win the Grand Slam as it’s designated to be and that’s to win all four majors in a calendar year . There’s the idiocy being paraded out there by observers that Federer’s game is on the decline but like any other player on the circuit players will have ebbs and flows over the course of their careers never mind that they’ll also become susceptible to injuries and that’s something that hasn’t been mentioned in any of the blogs I’ve read concerning the player.
But take this as a fact Federer and Nadal have been participants in 23 of the last 25 tennis Grand Slam Finals either facing each other or another top 10 player at the time . Those being Juan Martin Del Potro and Novak Djokovic who’ve won the two Slam Finals where the names of Federer or Nadal weren’t etched on the trophy. And that’s meant to be a decline in Federer’s career as a singles player ? Less we forget also that the former Swiss number one has made it to 23 straight Grand Slam tennis semi-finals ? Am I missing something here and where what the hell have these individuals been watching and what is that they base their actual thought process on if not the facts that are in front of them ?
The earlier rounds so far for both the men’s and women’s singles competition hasn’t brought about any great surprises as of yet but you can be sure as the second week approaches at the Rod Laver Center in Melbourne , Australia we will be in for a plethora of surprises . The one thing that I feel is abundantly clear is that on the men’s side of the game the once dominant US no longer has a male player of any real note that can challenge for any of major slams on the circuit. Andy Roddick is no longer a real presence on the ATP Tour and simply going through the motions and I can only surmise that marriage and the domesticity it brings with being married to SI model Brooklyn Decker has softened the player somewhat !
If there are to be any challenges offered to the duo of Federer and Nadal then it could very well come from Novak Djokovic , Andy Murray , Fernando Verdasco , Gael Monfils to name but a few . But as I alluded to earlier that would be predicated upon either Federer or Nadal seemingly losing interest and falling into the trap of perhapos of misjudging an opponent. The reality here is given both players’ slam experiences it’s very hard to envisage that happening. Between them they have won a combined 23 Grand Slam Finals and have appeared in 27 altogether. Do you get the feeling that the two know what they’re doing when they’re on the grandest of stages in the men’s game ?
Although the top ranked Caroline Wozniacki has yet to win Grand Slam major her career has been marked with very good tournament wins and 2010 she showed a great deal of consistency and there’s justification as to why she’s ranked number on the WTA Tour. Granted the absence of Serena Williams waters down the competitiveness of the event in the women’s singles but nonetheless it now becomes something of a wide open event where you can pick a winner from amongst the remainder of the top ten in the rankings and feel there’s a cause to be made for each . Certainly Kim Clijsters , Venus Williams , Samantha Stosur and Maria Sharapova can be looked upon as a threat in the competition and perhaps deny Wozniacki the chance to win her first Grand Slam singles title. Sharapova to my mind having been injured hasn’t really played herself into match fit competition but given her experience she could derail the ambitions of others given the right set of circumstances and even with her being outside the top ten she’s still good enough to beat any of the top ranked players on her day. Caroline Wozniacki needs a Grand Slam major win to justify that top ranking on the WTA Tour as it adds legitimacy to her career also. As to whether or not she can achieve that in this tournament remains to be seen but here’s the clear chance for her to justify that to the public and for tennis fans around the globe.
Tennis if anything has its place in the pantheon of sports on the world stage and without the tete-a-tete and rivalry brought about by the likes of Federer and Nadal we’d be left with a cumulative void. There’s nothing coming along from within the US men’s game to suggest that they can regain dominance in the men’s game. And apart from the tradition of the Davis Cup a team even where there too they’ve fallen on hard times _____________ there’s not much else for them and the fans to really look forward and that’s in spite of the changes now being made at the ground level and up within the USTA to seek a change in fortunes and the nurturing of young talent at every level within the game on the domestic front.
Picture gallery for your perusal.
What thoughts if any do you have on Australian Open and how do you see things panning out in the men’s and women’s singles competition ? And as as such do believe that the US men’s tennis can once again become a dominant force on the world stage with the players that it currently has within the ATP Tour rankings ? Simply chime in with your comments .
NB Picture and slide show gallery details .
(1) Gael Monfils of France plays a stroke during his third round men’s singles match against Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland on the fifth day of the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne on January 21, 2011. Warwinka leads by two sets to nil as play continues. AFP Photo/William West _______ Photo credit should read William West/AFP/Getty Images ….. copyrighted material …… @ all rights reserved
(2) Kei Nishikori of Japan serves against Fernando Verdasco of Spain during their round three men’s singles match on the fifth day of the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne on January 21, 2011. Verdasco won 6-2, 6-4, 6-3 . Getty Images /Nikolas Ashfouri ………..
(3) Melbourne , Australia ,. Rafael Nadal of Spain serves in his second round match against Ryan Sweeting of the United States of America during day four of the 2011 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 20, 2011 in Melbourne, Australia. Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images …….
<p (4) Roger Federer of Switzerland serves in his third round match against Xavier Malisse of Belgium during day five of the 2011 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 21, 2011 in Melbourne, Australia. Federer would go on to defeat Malisse in straight sets . Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images ………
(5) Andy Roddick of the United States of America shakes hands after his third round match against Robin Haase of the Netherlands during day five of the 2011 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 21, 2011 in Melbourne, Australia. Photo by Lucas Dawson/Getty Images ……….
(6) Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark plays a forehand in her third round match against Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia during day five of the 2011 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 21, 2011 in Melbourne, Australia. Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images ……..
The Australian Open Schedule & Results ——
……………………………. WTA Women’s Rankings ……
Alan aka tophatal …………………………………..
Eye candy …………… Courtney Black and pictorial montage to follow.
Courtney parades her wares courtesy of King Magazine .
Balls are meant to be played with and Courtney most definitely knows how to do that !
U2 ………………. “One”