Tag Archives: Western & Southern Financial Group Masters

Food for Thought 8-16-2011

Photo courtesy of netsolhost.com. Mardy Fish (pictured above) is the top American these days as the ATP stops in Cincinnati and then heads to Flushing.

By Josh Kramer

The past few days have been bonkers in the wide world of sports as usual.  NFL Football returned in the form of Preseason games.  America finally ended their drought at golf majors.  In addition, the American public got to witness one of the biggest choke jobs of all time in the tournament.  Plus we are now in the thick of the best few weeks of tennis that we have in the states.

Here are the items that have my attention.

A&M gets denied Continue reading

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“The Roddick of Old”

Many had hoped to see a Roddick vs Federal Finals matchup in Cincinnati today. Instead, fans got a Mardy Fish vs Roger Federer 3 set battle.

Yesterday, at the Cincinnati ATP Tennis Master Series event, fans were thrilled to see an All American Semifinals matchup between childhood buddies Andy Roddick and Mardy Fish.  This was a big time match that featured three sets of solid tennis, high tension and emotions, and two rain delays.  The man who sports the last name of “Fish” swam his way into a finals date with Roger Federer that occurred earlier this afternoon.  Federer came out victorious in an exciting three set rumble, but Mardy had a great tournament and looks very solid heading into the US Open.

Yesterday’s match was quite disappointing on many fronts though for not only Andy Roddick, but for American tennis in general.  Sure many were shocked to see the struggling American men’s game put two players into the Semifinals.  But the “it” guy in American men’s tennis for the past 8 years has been none other than Andy Roddick.  Roddick fell out of the top ten a couple of weeks ago and could have really used a finals appearance or possibly even a title in Cincinnati heading into the final Grand Slam of the year.

Roddick, as I have said many times before, has thoroughly impressed me for years now.  He has truly worked his tail off to develop a backhand and a more patient game.  He used to just blast big first serves and rely on his very strong forehand.  For years now, he has demonstrated an all around game.  And though he hit number 1 in the summer of 2003, his game was not nearly at the level in which it is at now.  Many of you are probably asking how that could be possible.  I mean he was ranked number 1 then and is not even in the top 10 now.  Well it comes from watching the guy play.

ARod still demonstrates a very strong forehand and first serve.  But he has really cut down on his unforced errors and now has a somewhat effective backhand.  Plus he has developed a reliable net game and his fitness level is light-years better than it ever was.  Lastly, he typically has demonstrates a cool, workmanlike demeanor on the court.  Andy’s amazing work ethic shows in his abilities to play all around tennis these days.

All of this went out the door though against his good buddy Mardy Fish. The match was all knotted up late in the first before a rain delay.  Roddick took advantage of the delay though and immediately closed out the first set in the first game following the delay.  Then in the 2nd, he seemed to be cruising until a second rain delay hit.  This time, Fish took advantage coming back from a 5 to 2 deficit, and captured the 2nd set in a tiebreaker.  Fish cruised to finishing things off in the 3rd.

The  end of the 2nd and the entire 3rd set reminded me of the “old” Roddick days.  Andy appeared out of shape and looked to close out points as quickly as possible.  His patience went out the window and it showed with the amount of unnecessary unforced errors he committed.  Plus his backhand was lapsing.  Lastly, his temper came out.  Roddick has generally been good at keeping his emotions in check for years now.  Yesterday was a major exception though.

In the end, the Roddick of “old” came out and cost him a finals showdown with his old rival Roger Federer.  Roger captured a much-needed title today though and looks very sharp heading into the US Open.

Roddick still had a great week and knocked off 2 top five players in Djokovic and Soderling.  But his recent bout with mononucleosis seemed to hurt his stamina yesterday.  Lets hope that this does not hurt him in Flushing as he is probably the only American hope to bring home the title.

Which Roddick will show up in Flushing Meadows? The new and improved Andy, or the “old” Andy?

Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.

-TheSportsKraze

“I Will See You In Cincinnati”

Andy Murray is coming off his first title of the season in Toronto and looks to continue his hard court dominance in Cincinnati.

 Every summer, come August, tennis mania hits Cincinnati.  It is the time where both the ATP and WTA make pit stops in Mason and visit their old friend “Cincinnati.”  This is one of the final tune-ups on the road to Flushing Meadows.  And this is always a tournament that really excites the city and players alike.  There is one major difference this year from past years.  Cincinnati is in the midst of both Red’s and Bengal’s fever.  The Red’s are atop the NL Central and the Bengals are a favorite in the AFC North.  Either way though, Mason is still the happening spot to be over this 2 week period.  It is the “It” thing to do in Cincinnati. 

The women’s tournament did lose much of its typical luster due to the lack of “Williams” in the main draw.  Both Serena and Venus pulled out due to “injury.”  So instead fans got a memorable final that seemed to be a flashback to 5 years ago, as two former number 1s, Kim Clijsters and Maria Sharapova dueled it out on Center Court.  This was a very high quality final and Clijsters grinded it out like the days of old.  Starting today though, the real deal begins as the main draw for the men’s draw gets under way.  And in this draw, all the big dogs are here.  There are no “injuries.” 

Nadal, Djokovic, Murray, Federer, Roddick, etc are ready to roll.  Fans will be getting their money’s worth this week.  The big story is the sudden emergence of Andy Murray as possibly the best hard court player in the world.  Murray beat both Nadal and Federer in Toronto. He also took down Nadal on the hard courts at the Australian Open in January. Murray looks poised to possibly bring home the first Grand Slam of his career in Flushing Meadows.  This guy has an outstanding all around game and really could bring home the US Open.  Federer has thrived on Grass (other than this year) and Nadal on the Clay.  Maybe the hard court will become Murray’s domain? 

People do not realize, but we are very fortunate in Cincinnati.  The main tour these days is referred to as the ATP Master Series.  This consists of the 4 Grand Slams and 9 other major tournaments.  Well Cincinnati is one of these 9 major pitstops.  Why Cincinnati?  Well the event began in Cincinnati in 1899.  And is the oldest tournament in the United States played in its original city.  I bet you were not aware of that.  Many do not realize, this summer tennis swoon is more than just a happening of the moment.  It is a very historic tradition for this city and something that does not seem to be going anywhere anytime soon.  People really need to continue to grasp the significance of this major event for Cincinnati and embrace it. 

This week, look for some big time tennis.  Expect to see Murray, Nadal, Federer, and Djokovic roll deep into this tourney, as I do not believe any of them are playing in New Haven next week.  This is their final tune-up for the year’s final major.  You better believe that they want to show their readiness for Flushing Meadows.  Also expect Roddick to play deep into the draw.  An American typically surprises fans here every year and really excites the crowd with a deep run.  Well I am expecting that American to be Mr. Andy Roddick. 

I got Nadal taking care of Murray this week in the Finals and bringing home his 1st title in Cincinnati.  The extra couple of days of rest from the semifinal exit in Toronto will help Rafa this week in Cincy.  Also realize that no player has won the Canadian tournament (Toronto and Montreal rotate hosting each year) and then Cincinnati in consecutive weeks since Roddick accomplished this feat while hitting number 1, in the summer of 2003.  Speaking of Andy Roddick, do not be surprised if he is still hanging around come the semifinals. 

As the commercials on the tube say.  All of the best men’s tennis players, “Will be seeing you in Cincinnati.”  

Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze. 

-TheSportsKraze