Tag Archives: Toni Headley

King of Clay

Photo courtesy of nikeblog.com. Rafael Nadal (pictured above) continues to show why he is the “King of Clay.”

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.

Rafael Nadal has begun the clay court season in spectacular fashion by winning his first two tournaments without dropping a set.  First he defended his Monte Carlo title at the Monte Carlo Rolex Masters – 1000, where he won his 8th consecutive title, his first title since winning the French Open last year.  He is 44-1 in Monte Carlo with his only loss coming during his debut in 2003 in the round of 16.  Not only did he defend his title in Monte Carlo, but he was finally able to best his arch-rival Novak Djokovic, whom he had lost to in seven finals dating back to last year.  Nadal is the only player to win at least 1 ATP Masters – 1000 title for eight consecutive years.  In doing so he won is 20th Masters – 1000 trophy, which broke a tie with Roger Federer.

At his home club, the “Real Club Tenis Barcelona,” Nadal won his 7th consecutive title and his 35th straight match on the 10th anniversary of his professional debut. This makes Nadal the only player in the open era to have won two tournaments seven times (Monte Carlo & Barcelona).  He is 35-1 in Barcelona with his only loss coming in his debut in 2003 in the 2nd round.  He defeated fellow Spaniard David Ferrer for the 4th time in the championship match (2008, 2009, 2011, & 2012); he did not defend his title in 2010.  Nadal has now won 77 straight matches on clay in the month of April to go along with his 15 titles. This is how you earn the title “King of Clay”. Continue reading

2012 Sony Ericsson Open – Miami, FL

Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. Our tennis expert Toni Headley expects Rafael Nadal (pictured above) to flex his muscles in Miami as he takes home the Sony Ericsson Open title.

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:

From the California desert to the beaches of Miami, tennis continues to dominate North America for two more weeks. As the players try to deal with the Indian Wells – Miami double, which is one of the toughest stretches in the tennis season, I am reminded how hard it is to win both. Victoria Azarenka, a two-time champion and the current champion is trying to do just that. She won her first title in 2009 when she defeated Serena Williams. After a dominating win at Indian Wells, Azarenka is the favorite to win here in Miami. She is perfect on the year at 23-0 and has won four titles.  She has become the convincing number one player on the women’s tour.

Roger Federer has won two titles in Miami, defeating Rafael Nadal in 2005 and Ivan Ljubicic in 2006. Federer is the definite favorite to win here after his red-hot start to the year.  He is currently on a 16-match win streak, winning three titles in Rotterdam, Doha, and last week in Indian Wells.  This was his 19th Master Series 1000 title tying Rafael Nadal for the most all time. Since a semifinals lost to Novak Djokovic at the US Open last year, Federer has won 39 of his past 41 matches. Could Roger Federer become the number one ranked player again this year? If he can continue his hot play at the Grand Slam, he very well could. Continue reading

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

Tennis Night in America – BNP Paribas Showdown

Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. Maria Sharapova (pictured above) will be one of the stars taking center court at Madison Square Garden this evening.

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.

As a precursor to the start of the BNP Paribas Open tennis tournament from Indian Wells California, tennis fans will be treated to some exhibition tennis from the world’s most famous arena Madison Square Garden or “The Garden,” as it is sometimes called. Billed as “Tennis Night in America,” fans will get to see the likes of four former number one players, Maria Sharapova, Caroline Wozniacki, Roger Federer, and Andy Roddick.

Both matches will feature a best of three format. First up will be Maria Sharapova vs. Caroline Wozniacki, which begins at 7pm on ESPN3.com.  This will be followed by Roger Federer vs. Andy Roddick at 11:30pm on ESPN. Continue reading

Marion Bartoli – An Opportunity Missed

Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. Wouldn't it be a shame if current world #7 Marion Bartoli (pictured above) had to miss the 2012 Olympic Games due to her ongoing conflict with the French Tennis Federation?

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.

Marion Bartoli will most likely miss the 2012 Olympics due to her ongoing feud with the French Tennis Federation. The current tussle stems from Miss Bartoli’s refusal to be coached by the Federation coaches and insistance that her father coaches her during Fed Cup and Olympic competitions. Miss Bartoli was hoping for an exemption from the ITF, but it seems unlikely that she will receive one. Miss Bartoli’s unwillingness to work with the federation and participate in Fed Cup competition throughout the year has deemed her ineligible to compete in the upcoming Olympics. While I am all for a player’s individual rights to choose her coaches, trainers and hitting partners, I will have to disagree with Miss Bartoli in this instance. Continue reading