Category Archives: Tennis

US Open Preview 2012

Photo courtesy of halestormsports.com. Roger Federer (pictured left) and Serena Williams (picutred right) came out victorious at Wimbledon back in July. Expect the same result in New York.

By Josh Kramer

Starting on Monday, all eyes in the tennis world will be focused on the Big Apple for two whole weeks.  The year’s final Grand Slam is just around the corner, and as is typically the case, there are plenty of questions to be answered in Flushing.

-Will Andy Murray finally capture the elusive first Grand Slam?

-How will New York respond to a Nadal-less field?

-Will Roger Federer leave with #18?

-Will Kim Clijsters’ farewell party be one to remember?

-Does Venus have a Jimmy Connors 1991-esque run in her?

-Will Serena leave with #15? Continue reading

Venus The Star

Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. Venus Williams (pictured above) put on a show today at the Western and Southern Open defeating defending US Open champion Samantha Stosur.

By Josh Kramer

Last year at this time, Venus Williams was struggling to cope with a viral autoimmune disease called Sjogren’s syndrome.  She was unable to participate in either of the two major tour stops in Toronto or Cincinnati, and forced to pull out in the second round of the US Open.  Most fully expected the tennis career of Venus Williams to be about over.  A year later Venus is still dealing with Sjogren’s, but she also continues to provide inspiration for those suffering from illness (especially Sjogren’s) all over the globe.  Today, for at least one day, the Venus Williams we once knew was back.  The Grandstand at the lovely Lindner Tennis Center in Mason (Cincinnati), OH was given a show that made things seem like it was the year 2001 again. Continue reading

History in the making

Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. Roger Federer (pictured above) handled world number one Novak Djokovic on Friday. Will he make history on Sunday against Andy Murray?

By Josh Kramer

On Sunday, history will be made at the All England Club.  Either Roger Federer will capture a record-tying 7th Wimbledon title, or Andy Murray will become the first native of Great Britain to take home the prestigious Wimbledon crown since Fred Perry did in 1936.  By stepping on the court, Murray is already the first native of the host country to play in the final since Bunny Austin back in 1938.  Lastly, if Federer wins, he will not only add a record 17th Grand Slam title to his portfolio, he will also make the leap to number one in the world and tie Pete Sampras’ record of 286 weeks as the top ranked player on the globe.

Talk about a historically significant match at the most tradition-filled tournament of them all.

Andy Murray has an entire country depending on him to end a 76 year drought.  Roger Federer is nearly 31-years-old and likely will not have another opportunity to win a Slam like this ever again.  The pressure is mounting.  Who will crumble under the bright lights of Centre Court at the All England Club? Continue reading

The Switch

Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. Serena Williams (pictured above) put on a vintage performance yesterday in dismantling Petra Kvitova.

By Josh Kramer

Yesterday, tennis fans across the globe felt like it was 2002 again.  At least for a couple of hours.  It was a vintage Serena Williams performance on Centre Court as she dismantled the defending Wimbledon champ, Petra Kvitova in straight sets.  I know that a few days ago, I mentioned a “major changing of the guard” in regards to the tennis world we once knew.  I still fully believe that the times are changing.  But yesterday demonstrated to me something I have known all along but never pieced together.

No athlete in our generation has the ability to flip on the “Switch” the way that Serena Williams can.  It is truly a fascinating phenomenon.  She also has the ability to turn off the “Switch” at any time as well unfortunately. Continue reading

A major changing of the guard

Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. Serena Williams (pictured above) was pushed to the brink of elimination by Jie Zheng earlier today.

By Josh Kramer

First there was Venus in Round 1.  Then Rafa in Round 2.  Nearly Federer in Round 3.  And then Serena was pushed to the brink of elimination in Round 3 as well.  What is going to happen in Round 4?  These four players are all former number ones that have a combined 47 Grand Slam titles (including 17 singles championships at Wimbledon) between them and unparalleled popularity.  In a span of a mere 24 hours during Week 1, three of them almost bit the dust, while one (Venus) had already crumbled a few days earlier.

At a time not so long ago, guys like Sampras and Agassi dominated Men’s tennis, while Graf and Seles were doing similar things in Women’s tennis.  Then following short-lived reigns of a few others in between, Federer took over Men’s tennis, while the Williams sisters took over Women’s tennis.  Since, Nadal and Djokovic have had their turns on Federer’s throne, while the injury-prone Williams’ sisters have shared the wealth in recent memory as well.  Now these four superstars and former number ones are a mean age of 29.5 (30 is considered dinosaur age in tennis).

Despite the ripe age, I never thought I would see the day where all four superstars were nearly eliminated during Week 1 of a major.  Luckily, Federer once again demonstrated that he may be old, but he isn’t dead yet, in coming back from two sets down against Benneteau.  He still has the heart of a champion.  Serena also demonstrated outstanding mental fortitude in serving her way past Zheng.

So two of this fantastic four are still left standing as we head towards the Round of 16.  But how much longer are they really going to last (both here and in general)?  Venus has not won a major in over four years since handling business at the All England Club in 2008.  Serena has gone winless in the major tourneys since nabbing the title at Wimbledon in 2010.  Plus, Serena exited in the first-round of a Grand Slam for the first time in her illustrious career at Roland Garros a few weeks ago.  After winning at least one Grand Slam for eight consecutive years, Federer went Slam-less in 2011 and has not come out victorious at a major since the 2010 Australian Open.  Lastly, Nadal had participated in the finals of five consecutive Grand Slams before having his dreams of a third Wimbledon Championship dashed by little-known Lukas Rosol.

Though none of these four superstars have hinted much at retirement yet (especially not Nadal), times are changing.  Outside of Rafa at Roland Garros, none of these players are a sure bet to take home any of the major championships these days.  We have been blind to it, but this week has highlighted for us all that there is a major changing of the guard occurring right before our eyes in the tennis world.

Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.

Wimbledon 2012 Preview

Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. Novak Djokovic (left) and Maria Sharapova (right) are the favorites to take home the third Grand Slam of the year.

By Josh Kramer

We are less than a day away from the best tournament in all of tennis.  London is the place to be in sports these days.  First there is Wimbledon.  Then there is the Olympics.  Out of the four major tennis tournaments, Wimbledon holds the most historical significance and is widelyy considered the most prestigious tournament of them all.

Men:

The last nine Grand Slams have been won by one of two men.  They also happen to be the current number one and number two ranked players in the world.  Ironically, the last player not named Nadal or Djokovic to take home a Grand Slam championship has won at the All England Club on six different occasions (Federer).  Lastly, 28 of the last 29 Grand Slam titles have been captured by Djokovic, Nadal, or Federer.

Champion:  Novak Djokovic Continue reading

A final for the ages?

Photo courtesy of tennistournaments4u.com. Above was the site following the Australian Open finals in January. Expect the roles to be reversed on Sunday.

By Josh Kramer

Two weeks ago, the French Open could not have wished for a better final matchup than the one that is set to transpire on Sunday.  Not only are the two best players in the world participating, but they are both playing for history.  Novak Djokovic is going for the “Djoker Slam,” otherwise known has four consecutive Grand Slam championships.  This outrageous feat has not occurred since Rod Laver accomplished the unthinkable feat 43 years ago.  On the other hand, Rafael Nadal is looking to lay his claim to clay-court immortality (if he hasn’t already) in capturing a record 7th French Open title.  Also, Sunday will mark the fourth consecutive Grand Slam featuring the world’s number one and number two ranked players.

Oddly enough, the number one ranked Djokovic is a heavy underdog in my humble opinion.  Despite taking down Roger Federer in straight sets yesterday, the Serbian star is not even playing on the same stratosphere as the pride and joy of Majorca (Nadal).  Not only has Nadal failed to drop a set during the course of his first six matches in Paris, he has won an astonishing 71 of 72 service games.  In addition, he has dropped a stunningly low total of 35 games.  For my mathematicians and statisticians out there, that is a whopping 5.833 games per match or 1.944 games per set.  Djokovic on the other hand has won in straight sets just three times thus far.  He also has been pushed to five sets twice, and saved an unthinkable four match points against French favorite Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.

Novak Djokovic may be the number one ranked player in the world, but on clay-courts, Rafael Nadal is without question the king. Continue reading