Category Archives: Tennis

Roger Federer outlasts rivals with 2020 Olympics a possible farewell

THE SWISS says after winning the Australian Open that he plans to stay on the Tour as long as his wife is happy.

Roger Federer outlasts rivals with 2020 Olympics a possible farewell.
Roger Federer kisses the Australia Open trophy the day after his victory over Marin Cilic. Photo: Saeed Khan/AFP/Getty Images

An intriguing scenario is unfolding in the wake of Roger Federer’s sixth Australian Open triumph in which the ageless Swiss arrives at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics to join his long-time rivals, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray, in a grand farewell to their illustrious careers.

It is not inconceivable the 36-year-old champion, rejuvenated yet again in the twilight of his career by winning his 20th major in a dramatic five-setter against Marin Cilic on Sunday, will continue playing as long as his body can take it – and while his wife, Mirka, is prepared to travel the world with him and their four children.

The one prize that eludes him is an Olympic singles gold medal – and that might be incentive enough for him to qualify for Tokyo by returning to playing Davis Cup for his country – although he is in no shape to join his compatriots in Kazakhstan this weekend.

Meanwhile, 31-year-old Nadal, who is getting over the knee injury that forced his fifth-set retirement in the quarter-finals against Cilic, and the 30-year-olds, Djokovic and Murray, are struggling to get their careers back on track. None is playing Davis Cup this week; but all of them want to go to the Olympics.

Djokovic and Murray each took six months off after going out on day nine of Wimbledon last year and both have found long-term injuries stubbornly resistant to all expensive and high-grade rehab. Djokovic is considering surgery on his chronically painful serving elbow, while Murray, who scrapped plans for an Australian comeback at the last minute, is recovering from hip surgery that will keep him off the Tour until just before Wimbledon.

Throw in Stan Wawrinka, who was coming back from knee surgery but found the rising (and controversial) American Tennys Sandgren too strong for him in round two, and the old order looks very much in a state of meltdown.

Murray, who defended his 2012 Olympic gold medal in Rio, has said in the past he could envisage playing on until he was 32 or 33; Djokovic, who was born within a week of the Scot but has twice fallen short in the Olympics, recently revealed he could compete until he was 40 – although that looks fanciful.

As it stands, Federer is outlasting all of them. And, while their future is not guaranteed in such a physical sport, their will is so strong they will be inspired by the deeds of the others to play for as long as they can.

During a post-final photoshoot in Melbourne on Monday, Federer betrayed the draining effect the three-hour final had on him. “I’m just tired,” he said. “I had a few hours’ sleep. Still a bit confused it’s all over and that I was able to do it.”

But his enthusiasm is undimmed. In the immediate afterglow of his edgy victory, Federer left open the prospect of an extended finish to his playing days with the sort of guarded response that hints at a career in politics when he eventually does retire from the sport he has graced with skill and class for nearly two decades.

Asked how long he could resist the challenges of the contenders stretching their young limbs with increasing impatience as the Big Four linger near the exit door, Federer said: “Honestly, I don’t know. I have no idea. I’ve won three slams now in 12 months. I can’t believe it myself. I’ve just got to keep a good schedule, stay hungry, then maybe good things can happen. Then I don’t think age is an issue, per se. It’s just a number.

“But I need to be very careful in my planning, decide beforehand what are my goals, what are my priorities. I think that’s what’s going to dictate how successful I will be. Exciting times ahead.”

Federer says “not playing every tournament possible” has added years to his career. “I enjoy practice, don’t mind the travel. I have a great team around me. They make it possible. At the end, it’s seeing that my parents are incredibly proud and happy that I’m still doing it. They enjoy coming to tournaments. That makes me happy and play better.”

However, key to his decision will be Mirka, who was there again courtside to see him threaten an embarrassingly quick demolition of Cilic then swoop and dip alarmingly and finish with ruthless urgency to win 6-2, 6-7 (5), 6-3, 3-6, 6-1, under the roof on the Rod Laver Arena.

As he said later: “My wife makes it all possible. Without her support, I wouldn’t have been playing tennis for many years. We had a very open conversation, if she was happy to do this or not, years ago. I’m happy that she’s super supportive, and she’s willing to take on a massive workload with the kiddies.

“Same for me, because I wouldn’t want to be away from my kids for more than two weeks. This life wouldn’t work if she said no. Many puzzles need to fit together for me to be able to sit here.” And there are a few puzzles left to solve.


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Australian Open: Kyle Edmund says the run has ‘given him the bug for more’

 British No 2 eyeing more success after exit in semi-finals
 ‘This type of tournament just gives you the bug to want more’

Australian Open: Kyle Edmund says the run has ‘given him the bug for more’
Kyle Edmund played down the significance of his injury and outlined his Davis Cup ambitions. Photo: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Kyle Edmund flew to Melbourne economy and goes home upgraded in every way. But there will be no extravagant buying sprees for the boy from Beverley (who has earned enough for a second home in the Bahamas) after reaching the first, and surely not last, grand slam semi-final of his career.

Of his A$880,000 (£497,000) prize money, the biggest purse of his career, he said: “It’s not like I’m going to go and spend. You continue doing what you’re doing, like invest in your career and stuff. It’s obviously a nice chunk of money, but there’s nothing I need. I have stuff in place, so I’m very happy with what I have around me.”

His coach, Fredrik Rosengren, said he doubted Edmund would be rushing out to buy a Ferrari – to which the player replied, drily: “I have a Jaguar deal, so I can’t …”

As for the Davis Cup tie against Spain in Marbella next weekend, he said: “I’ll do everything I can to play, because I want to play. I want to be there with the team. But there is no point going on court if I’m not ready, because you hinder the team; you basically give up a rubber if you’re not ready. I don’t know percentage-wise what the chances are, but if I’m not ready I’ll ask to give the opportunity to other players that are there to play.”

Looking back on the best fortnight of his career, he said: “I’m very happy with the way I’ve gone about things: played a lot of tough matches, won some tough matches, beat good players. This type of tournament just gives you the bug to want more.”

And despite the obvious discomfort of playing through a groin strain in the latter stages, Edmund remains resolutely up for that aspect of his sport.

“It’s unfortunate. It happens. It’s irrelevant,” he said. “Tennis players are always dealing with stuff. That’s just the nature of the sport, any sport.”

Cilic described it as a match of “slightly different intensity” to his drawn-out win against Rafael Nadal in the quarter-finals – “not as many rallies and not as much rhythm”.


SOURCE: The Guardian

ATP World Tour Finals: Djokovic beats Thiem 6-7 (10-12) 6-0 6-2

Summary

 Djokovic beats Thiem 6-7 (10-12) 6-0 6-2


Venue: O2 Arena, London | Date: 13-20 November

Milos Raonic and Gael Monfis play in this group at 20:00

 Novak Djokovic

20:17:Milos Raonic takes on Gael Monfils in tonight’s evening match with live commentary Right here on Bloomgist Live Page

Tomorrow, attention switches to the John McEnroe Group with Stan Wawrinka playing Kei Nishiori in the afternoon session and Andy Murray headlining with a clash with Marin Cilic in the evening.

Plenty to look forward to, but that is all from this page today.

Bye for now.


20:16: Inexperience costs Thiem

The first set was really good quality tennis from Thiem but he lost that intensity in the second set and he will be disappointed. There was a little bit of inexperience of playing at this level.

20:15:Serbia’s Novak Djokovic: “Dominic started very well and we played on a very high level from the first point. He had a very high serve percentage and was the tougher player in the key moments of the tie-break. I definitely did not want to let him get off to a good start in the second set.

The players feel like rock stars at the O2. Thank you for everyone for being here in such large numbers from the very first match.”


20:14:Austria’s Dominic Thiem: “It was a good match with a great first set. I lost a little bit of energy which is what you need to play against Novak but it was an unbelievable;e experience to play on this great stage in front of this great crowd. 

“I think the court is playing quite fast compared to the rest of the year.

“This is one of the best events in men’s tennis and I will play at least three matches. I am a little tired and empty but can’t wait to play in the next match.”


20:13: Djokovic was comfortable in the end and there were lots of signs that he’s playing good tennis. His movement was good.


20:09: Game, set and match

Djokovic 6-7 (10-12) 6-0 6-2 Thiem

Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic uppercuts the air in delight as he clinches victory. He turned Dominic Thiem into a punchbag for those final two sets.

Gael Monfils and Milos Raonic are the other two players in these two’s group. Djokovic has never been beaten by either.


20:08: Bloomgist Apologizes for our lost of connection with was due to system failure


15:51:Thiem backhand point

The money shot is the slo-mo replay at the end of this clip. 

The flowing one-handed backhand – the sexiest shot in sport?

The money shot is the slo-mo replay at the end of this clip. 

The flowing one-handed backhand – the sexiest shot in sport?


15:47: Djokovic 4-3 Thiem*

Novak Djokovic peels the cellophane off a new bat. He has had the chances to put himself a break clear in this set. Maybe this next game is the one.

Dominic Thiem’s fearless groundstrokes and big serving would make him a tough gunslinger to tackle in a tie-break shoot-out.


15:43: Djokovic 3-3 Thiem

Novak Djokovic has a look at 0-30 on the Dominic Thiem serve. And he will have a second serve to aim at as well. 

There have not been many of those from Thiem either.

But Djokovic duffs his return horribly long. That is the sort of chance that the Djokovic of nine months ago would snap up. The current version though is glitchy, like a one-star app.


15:38: Djokovic 3-2 Thiem*

Novak Djokovic towels down after holding to keep ahead in the opener.


15:34: Thiem taken to deuce, holds

*Djokovic 2-2 Thiem

Dominic Thiem comes under the microscope as Novak Djokovic takes him down to deuce-town once again, but the Austrian – via a helpful net cord – keeps the opener on serve.


15:28: Djokovic 2-1 Thiem*

Jose Mourinho loves London

Jose Mourinho loves London you see.

Here is the Manchester United manager – freed from him his five-star cage by the Irwell – soaking up the O2 atmosphere.

He is getting his freebie’s worth. It is a tight competitive match with Thiem going toe to toe with Djokovic and taking the Serb to 30 on his serve.

Djokovic is getting his thumb taped up at the changeover, after suffering a cut.

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15:24: Thiem has got a violent game but he has never won a set against Djokovic. In fact, the closest he has come is losing a set 6-4.


15: 21: Thiem taken to deuce

Djokovic 1-0 Thiem*

Dominic Thiem wellying away at Novak Djokovic like Sonny Liston on the heavy bag, but the Serb’s returning smarts keep him in the rallies and he forces a mistake to take the game to deuce.

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15:20: I think the court is playing a little quicker than in previous years. It certainly feels a bit warmer in here today than I remember.


14:08: As a four-time champion at the O2 Arena, and a six-time champion in Australia, the next two big tournaments will give us a real idea of whether Novak Djokovic’s loss of form is a blip, or evidence of a more permanent decline.

He’s certainly been in relaxed mood for the last few days, telling anyone who asks that his troubles are behind him, and coaches Boris Becker and Marian Vajda are back on the team.

However, Dominic Thiem is capable or producing the kind of flashing winners that have brought Stan Wawrinka so much success against Djokovic in recent years, so it will be interesting to see how the champion copes if the Austrian makes a fast start.

 

ATP World Tour Finals: Novak Djokovic will return to form – Andy Murray

ATP World Tour Finals
Venue: O2 Arena, London | Date: 13-20 November
Coverage: Live coverage on Bloomgist Live Page and Bloomgist Twitter and Facebook Live Feeds

Andy Murray expects Novak Djokovic to “start playing his best tennis again” soon as they prepare to compete for the world number one spot.

Andy Murray received his world number one trophy on Thursday
Andy Murray received his world number one trophy on Thursday

Britain’s Murray overtook Djokovic in the rankings on Monday and needs to match his results at next week’s ATP World Tour Finals to end 2016 on top.

However, the Serb has won the past four titles at London’s O2 Arena.

“There’s no reason to think he won’t have a really good tournament,” said 29-year-old Murray.

Djokovic’s form has been the subject of much debate in recent months, with just one tournament win since June and early exits at Wimbledon and the Olympics.

But Murray said: “Before then he’d been playing great, so for him not play his best tennis for a couple of months, I’m sure it’s not too much to worry about.

“I’d imagine shortly he’ll be back to playing his best tennis.”



Andy Murray received his world number one trophy on Thursday

Djokovic, 29, will open against Austria’s Dominic Thiem on Sunday, before Murray plays Croatia’s Marin Cilic in his first group match on Monday.

The Scot has lost just three matches since he last played Djokovic in June, when the Serb completed the career Grand Slam by winning the French Open.

ATP world tour finals on The Bloomgist

Murray’s spectacular run of form culminated in a first Paris Masters win on Sunday and the number one ranking for the first time on Monday.

“It feels good, obviously, but I don’t feel any different this week than I did the week before,” he said.

“Maybe when you step on the court you have a little bit more confidence and feel a little bit better about yourself when you’re hitting balls. But I didn’t feel much different when I woke up on Monday morning. I felt just the same.”



On his indifferent form, Djokovic said: “The high standard of results and success that I’ve had the last couple of years probably has taken its toll.

“I didn’t get to recover as fast after the French Open to be ready to compete on the highest level after that.

“All in all it was a very good year that I’m proud of. I’m here in London to try to crown this year with the best possible result.”


SOURCE: The Bloomgist/BBC/Barclays ATP

Rafael Nadal and Mo Farah named in latest Fancy Bears leak

  • Details of four-time Olympic champion’s two TUEs published online
  •  Justin Rose, Callum Skinner and Nadal among others named
Mo Farah
Mo Farah. Photo: City A.M

The four-times Olympic champion Mo Farah is among the latest British athletes to be targeted by the Fancy Bears hacking group, with details of the 33-year-old’s confidential medical data published online on Monday.

The leak details two instances when Farah was granted a therapeutic use exemption – for the corticosteroid triamcinolone in October 2008 and in July 2014 when he was placed on a morphine drip after collapsing following a training run. Farah said in 2015, during the uproar surrounding his coach, Alberto Salazar, in the wake of allegations in a BBC Panorama documentary over his methods, that he had only ever had one TUE, although he later admitted to a second in an interview with Sky Sports News.

Rafael Nadal
Rafael Nadal during a practice session. Photo: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

The Fancy Bears hacking group had already released details of nine of the 366 British athletes who competed at Rio 2016, including the Tour de France winnersChris Froome and Bradley Wiggins. But the cyber-espionage group published details of a further eight British athletes, including the cyclist Callum Skinner, who won the silver medal in the individual sprint at the Rio Olympics, the hockey players Alexandra Danson, Sam Quek and Crista Cullen, two-time Olympic champion rower Helen Glover and the golfer Justin Rose, who won the gold medal in Rio. Rose had authorisation for daily dosages of the anti-inflammatory drug prednisolone between May this year and 20 June.



The 14-time grand slam singles champion Rafael Nadal, French fencer Gauthier Grumier and Burundian athlete Francine Niyonsaba are among the other high-profile names to be listed on the Fancy Bears’ website. Nadal won Olympic men’s doubles gold with Marc López. He also won the men’s singles title at the 2008 Beijing Games but missed London 2012 due to a knee injury. The documents relating to Nadal, who was out for more than two months with a wrist injury that forced him to miss the French Open and Wimbledon before the Olympics, showed exemptions in 2009 and 2012.

The world anti-doping agency (Wada) has said it believes the hackers gained access to its anti-doping administration and management system (ADAMS) via an IOC-created account for the Rio Games.


SOURCE: The Bloomgist/Guardian UK

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Novak Djokovic eases to Miami Open win over Kei Nishikori

NOVAK DJOKOVIC defeated Kei Nishikori in straight sets to win his sixth Miami Open title on Sunday.

The Serb secured a 6-3 6-3 victory in under 90 minutes to lift the trophy for the third year in a row.


READ MORE: Judy Murray quits British Fed Cup captaincy


Djokovic’s latest triumph saw him overtake Rafa Nadal on the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 board with 28 tournament wins while also equalling Andre Agassi’s six Miami titles.

Djokovic

The 28-year-old told Sky Sports: “I think Kei started really well and I knew he would come out with a great intensity and try to take the short balls and be aggressive, but I managed to answer right back.

“The first set was a battle, but by the second I had already started feeling more comfortable in my service games, putting a lot of pressure on his.

“Overall, it was a very solid performance and I can’t ask for a better start to the season so far.”


READ ALSO: Nadal denies using banned substance to speed up recovery


The next major up on the calendar is the French Open, which Djokovic is yet to win.

But the Australian Open champ is relaxed over his chances at Roland Garros, adding: “I just want to focus on the next event (the Monte Carlo Masters).

“I know everybody keeps talking about Roland Garros and what my chances there are, but it is a long clay-court season as well, so I need to build, take care of my body and have the right, positive frame of mind, not letting anything slip, and then I’m sure I’ll give myself a fair chance.”

Breaking: Judy Murray quits British Fed Cup captaincy

Judy Murray has given up her role as captain of Continue reading Breaking: Judy Murray quits British Fed Cup captaincy

Nadal denies using banned substance to speed up recovery

Rafael Nadal has denied he has ever used a Continue reading Nadal denies using banned substance to speed up recovery