Tag Archives: Australian Open

Food for Thought 7-10-2012

Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. Andy Murray (pictured above) was brought to tears on Sunday. Just call him the “Heartbreak Kid.”

By Josh Kramer

Since the beginning of time, sports have been filled with loveable losers.  Sports are generally a zero-sum game.  There are winners and losers (occasional ties such as the 2002 All-Star Game ten years ago).  It is a part of life.  On Sunday, watching the tears stream down Andy Murray’s face and the heartbreak of an entire country got me thinking about some of the loveable losers in sports.

No I am not going to talk about the 86-year Curse of the Bambino and the rebels out of Beantown.  Also, don’t hold your breath in regards to Wrigleyville’s finest (the 105-year streak isn’t ending any time soon).  Today, is Andy Murray’s day.  God knows if this guy will ever take home a Grand Slam title.  As I have stated many times before, Andy Murray is quickly becoming the “Greatest Of All Time (GOAT)” to never win a Grand Slam.

Andy Murray has won over 375 professional matches.  He has won 22 tournaments.  Murray has been ranked in the top ten in the world for over five years and spent the majority of that time ranked in the top four.  And he has made four appearances in the finals of a Grand Slam tournament (Australian Open twice, Wimbledon, US Open).  If Murray can somehow get over the hump and avoid Rafael Nadal until the finals at Roland Garros next May, he will complete the career Grand Slam.  The career Grand Slam of finishing second that is.  Not exactly as good as the real thing I guess. 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.

2012 BNP Paribas Open – Indian Wells, California

Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. Our very own Toni Headley is picking the current number one ranked player in the world Victoria Azarenka (pictured above) to stay hot and take home the title at Indian Wells.

By Toni Headley

Toni Headley is a tennis expert who worked at ESPN for 10 years and has been a freelance writer there for the past 2 years.  She also previously worked at CBS Sports and has covered every major tennis tournament in the world multiple times.

Tournament Preview:

As the biggest and brightest stars descend on the picturesque town of Indian Wells, California for the BNP Paribas Open, I am excited to see how newly minted #1 Victoria Azarenka will fare in her first big test since winning her maiden Grand Slam title in Australia.  Also, can Novak Djokovic maintain his dominant form that carried him to his fifth Grand Slam title in Australia and defend his title here in the desert?

Will the weight of being the #1 player in the world finally get to Azarenka? It certainly has not so far. After winning the Australian Open and becoming the #1 ranked player, Azarenka continued her dominance by winning her next tournament in Doha. She is currently riding a 17 match winning streak. Azarenka has had a sizzling start to the year winning three titles which includes her first Grand Slam. Let’s see if Azarenka can win here for the first time, and continue her dominance on the women’s tour. Continue reading

Food for Thought 1-31-2012

Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. Back in July of 2008, Rafael Nadal (pictured above) broke Roger Federer's heart and took over Men's tennis. On Sunday, Nadal's heart was broken by Novak Djokovic.

By Josh Kramer

Though it is extremely difficult for me to do, the main topic today will not pertain to the Super Bowl on Sunday.  Do not worry though.  There will be much more to come regarding the big game soon.  Today, I am going to give center stage back to tennis.

One for the ages

5 hours and 53 minutes of greatness.  I do not think there is a way to adequately explain what the tennis world was able to bear witness to on Sunday.  Every cliché in the book for an “unbelievable” event would be relevant in describing this tennis match that will not be forgotten any time in the near future.  A “once-in-a-lifetime type of match.”  A  “I-can’t’believe-what-I-just-saw type of match.”  Let the superlatives roar.  Because without utilizing a plethora of superlatives, you would be doing an injustice in describing the 2012 Men’s Australian Open final. Continue reading

Weekly Nickel 1-30-2012

Photo courtesy of theoldprincetonlanding.com. All eyes will be focused on Indianapolis this week as America gears up for the biggest sporting event of the year.

By Josh Kramer

Yes, this past weekend, no “real” football games (college or professional) were played for the first time since the beginning of September (and no the Pro Bowl is not a real game).  Tennis jumped to the forefront of the sporting stratosphere and rightfully so.  The Djokovic/Nadal 5 hour and 53 minute thriller was a match for the ages, that anybody who had a chance to bear witness will not soon forget.  In addition, the Men’s Australian Open final made up for a Women’s final that was perhaps the worst Grand Slam final of all time.  Last week was great, but you better believe this week will be pretty amazing in its own right.  Here are the events to keep an eye on. Continue reading

2012 Australian Open Final: Djokovic Outlasts Nadal in 5-Set-Thri​ller

Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. Novak Djokovic (pictured above) remains the unquestioned top player in tennis with his 3rd straight Grand Slam title. This one was perhaps the most thrilling of them all.

By Wesley Kaminsky

5 hours,and 53 minutes. That was the time of the 2012 Australian Open Championship. Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal squared off for the third straight time in a Grand Slam Final, with Djokovic winning all three. This one though, was the best of them all. It took nearly six hours, but Djokovic got past Nadal with a 5-7, 6-4, 6-2, 6-7 (5), 7-5 victory. It was the longest final in the open era and one of the greatest matches in the history of the game. It’s right up there with that epic Federer-Nadal Wimbledon final from 2008.

In this first set, Djokovic came out a little flat, losing it 7-5. It didn’t take long for ‘Nole to get his mojo going though. Continue reading

Throwback Saturday Part II

Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. One year ago to the day, I predicted Kemba Walker (pictured above) would win the Naismith National Player of the Year Award in College Hoops. I was wrong, but Kemba currently is outdoing Jimmer Fredette at the professional ranks.

By Josh Kramer

“To know your future, you must know your past.” Welcome to the second edition of “Throwback Saturday.”  It is always fun to look back and reminisce.  And if you are not a fan of looking back, well, this post is not for you I guess.  So what was happening in the wide world of sports on January 28, 2011?  What was happening on January 28, 2010?  Let’s take a trip back and find out.

Two years ago..

23=Amazing

Here is a little snippet.

Roger Federer last evening clinched a birth in the Australian Open semifinals.  He did not play his best tennis, but woke up when he needed to and took care of the very talented Nikolay Davydenko.  Federer was the only player ranked in the top 4 to take care of business and stay alive.  Djokovic and Nadal both were unsuccessful in their quests to make it to the semis of the first Grand Slam of the year.

But isn’t consistency Roger’s middle name?  The man has made 23 consecutive Grand Slam semifinals!  Now take that in for a minute.  That means that Federer has not been knocked out of a Grand Slam tourney before the semifinals for 6 years.  No wonder he holds the all time record with 15 Grand Slam titles.

So is the number 23 synonymous with greatness?  Arguably the greatest basketball player of all time Michael Jordan sported the number 23.  Arguably, the best basketball player on the planet now sports the number 23, Lebron James (To finish reading the post, click this link). Continue reading