The Beginning of the End for Venus?

At 37 years old, seven-time Grand Slam champion Venus Williams is pushing herself to unprecedented physical limits. For a regular person, you would think that it is time to throw in the towel by now.  This year alone, she has made it to the finals of two Grand Slams (Australian Open and Wimbledon) and to the semifinals of the U.S. Open. It was announced this week that she has qualified for the WTA Finals in Singapore on October 22-29.   Despite having a good season by the average player’s standards, Venus has championship pedigree and is not satisfied with anything less than winning. However, with the rising talent in the WTA and the impending return of her sister Serena, Venus has missed her window of opportunity to win another Grand Slam.

We witnessed the beginning of the end for Venus at her 2017 U.S. Open semifinals match against Sloane Stephens.  That match should have given Venus the wake up call she needed to realize that it’s time for her to give it up. But instead, Venus is still trying her hardest to get back to the top. It’s clear that Venus is trying to make a come back with the work that she has put in this year alone. Even so, she only made her way to #5 in the WTA ranking, as 23-year old Garbiñe Muguruza makes it to #1.

Venus will be making her first WTA Finals since 2009. The fact that it has taken her over a decade to come back should say a lot and prove even more that her time has passed. It’s time to give it up and pass the torch to the next generation! At this point, will she every make it to the top? Only time will tell.

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Tennis Style Guide: A Look into Sloane Stephens’ Championship Attire

Do you want to play like a Grand Slam champion?
First you need to look the part!

The right apparel will help you to play like a champion. Making sure you have the right attire isn’t easy. When shopping for tops, you want to make sure you get something secure — this goes for men and women. As for the bottoms we suggest wearing loose-fitting shorts or skirts over compression shorts. Whatever you decide to wear, just make sure that you are styled up and ready to play like a champion.

Here is a closer look at the newest U.S. Open champion Sloane Stephens’ outfit from this year’s tournament in Flushing Meadows:

Top: Under Armour Carol Tank 
Bottom: Under Armour Women’s Fall 2-in-1 Short
Racket: Head Graphene XT Radical MP

 

2017 U.S. Open Recap

Over the past two weeks, the best tennis players in the world descended upon Flushing Meadows for the biggest tournament of the year.  Although the event was missing some notable figures, (Serena Williams, Novak Djokovic, Stan Wawrinka, Victoria Azarenka, among others) the tournament did not disappoint and allowed for some of the future stars of the sport to make a name for themselves.

The Women’s Draw

This year’s US Open saw a living legend claim yet another Grand Slam, and a rising star fresh from injury burst back onto the scene to claim her first major title.  With the absence of tournament mainstay and six-time champion Serena Williams, the women’s field was wide open.  The most anticipated player in the tournament was Maria Sharapova, who entered the tournament as a wild card after coming off a 15-month suspension for using a banned substance.  Spectators that came out to the first night at Arthur Ashe were treated to an epic match where Sharapova triumphed over #2 seed Simona Halep.  Sharapova was one of the main draws of the tournament until she was finally eliminated in the Round of 16 by Anastasjia Sevastova. sharapova us open

The storyline that would evenutally overshadow Sharapova’s return was the all-American women’s semifinals, a feat that had not been done at the U.S. Open since 1981.  The semifinalists included the veteran Venus Williams, making her 20th appearance in the U.S. Open, along with young up-and-comers Coco Vandeweghe, Madison Keys, and the eventual champion, Sloane Stephens.

In Saturday’s final, 24-year old Sloane Stephens defeated her good friend Madison Keys in straight sets to claim her first Grand Slam title. Throughout the tournament, it was well-documented that Stephens had previously suffered a foot injury that had sidelined her for 11 months prior to this year’s Wimbledon.  Before the U.S. Open, Stephens was ranked #957 in the world and after her victory will be #17, an unprecedented jump in rankings. She is the lowest seeded woman to win the U.S. Open in the Open Era, and only the second unseeded woman to win the tournament. sloane holds trophy

The Men’s Draw

Prior to the U.S. Open, the tennis world was hoping to finally get to see a clash of titans between World #1 Rafael Nadal and #2 Roger Federer.  If everything played out correctly, the two would meet in the semifinals for the first time ever at the U.S. Open.  Federer struggled noticeably through the first few rounds of the tournament, having to endure multiple five-set matches to get to the quarterfinals.  His inconsistent play eventually got the best of him as he was defeated in four sets by crowd favorite Juan Martin del Potro, who had previously come back from a two-set deficit to upset Dominic Thiem in the previous round.  roger federer racquet

On the other hand, Nadal held up his end of the deal by cruising through his half of the draw, never having to face any opponents in the top-20 world ranking.  Nadal displayed amazing power with the forehand throughout the tournament, and eventually claimed his third U.S. Open title and 16th major championship by defeating veteran Kevin Anderson in straight sets.  nadal wins us open

Doubles

In one of the best feel-good stories of the event, Tennis Hall of Famer Martina Hingis went on to win both the ladies doubles’ championship and mixed doubles championship. Hingis is making a great case to be one of the best doubles players of all time, with 13 ladies’ doubles titles, and 7 mixed doubles titles.  She is also the 17th woman in history to have completed a career slam in doubles.

Look Ahead to Next Year

This year brought in a major milestone with the 20th anniversary of Arthur Ashe stadium, the biggest tennis stadium in the world.  However, next year’s celebration should be even bigger as we look forward to the 50th anniversary of the U.S. Open, and the opening of the much-anticipated Louis Armstrong Stadium.  louis armstrong stadium

Wimbledon Recap 7/11/17

Roger Federer cruised into the third round of Wimbledon with a win in straight sets over Dusan Lajovic. The Swiss won 7-6, 6-3, 6-2 on Centre Court on Thursday evening.

Earlier, former world no.1 Novak Djokovic continued his superb form with a 6-2, 6-2, 6-1 win over Adam Pavlasek.

There was no joy for the Brit Kyle Edmund who was knocked out in straight sets by Frenchman Gael Monfils.

Novak Djokovic belatedly advanced to the 2017 Wimbledon quarterfinals on Tuesday after a 6- 2, 7-6 (5), 6-4 win over Adrian Mannarino. This win allowed the Serb to clinch a spot in the final eight after their fourth-round duel was postponed. Djokovic and Mannarino were scheduled to face off on Monday evening, but the match was pushed back after Gilles Muller required close to five hours to pull off a memorable upset of tournament front-runner Rafael Nadal.

Garbine Muguruza def. Angelique Kerber 4-6, 6-4, 6-4

Key stat: Muguruza made 38 more unforced errors (50-12) than Kerber, yet both women won the same number of points (101) in the match. How? Muguruza hit 55 winners to Kerber’s 27.

Key moment: By breaking Kerber in the final game and ultimately winning the match, Muguruza ended a streak — she had lost all four previous matches at Wimbledon in which she had lost the opening set.

Venus Williams def. Ana Konjuh 6-3, 6-2

Key stat: Williams dominated with a strong and accurate service game. She converted 86% of her first serves in this match and struck seven aces. Again and again, she drew free points either with outright winners on serve, or by forcing easy mistakes from her opponent. That kind of ball striking appeared to add confidence to her entire game.

Key moment: This match was relatively even until early in the second set, when Konjuh’s wheels came off. Just when the 19-year old Croatian needed to up her game, she began losing the range with her powerful groundstrokes. She missed long, in the net, and wide. When Konjuh didn’t lose easy points with unforced errors, Williams was hitting winners or drawing unreturnable balls with her own strong ground strokes. Konjuh went down 5-1 in a flash, and the uphill climb was simply impossible to overcome.

The Biggest Upset So Far Key stat:

Key stat: This match lasted for four hours, 48 minutes of high-drama tennis and was the longest match of the tournament. Nadal also cracked a career-high 23 aces, but it wasn’t enough. The 34-year old Muller finally won on his fifth match point. Key moment: There were so many key moments, but in the end Nadal would lose the final game after back-to-back forehand errors. It was the deepest five-set match of Nadal’s career, but in the end, he will have to wait until the U.S. Open to try to win multiple majors this season.

Quarterfinals Preview

Heading into the quarter finals, the final 8 have showed that they’re all ready to battle for the title. Andy Murray, 2-time Wimbledon champion, faces the 24th seed American Sam Querrey. Gilles Muller faces off against Mario Cilic after defeating Nadal in a gruesome 4-hour, 48-minute battle. Milos Raonic faces the top contender for the title, Roger Federer and last but not least Tomas Berdych will try to fend off former world no. 1 Novak Djokovic.

Top 5 Moments In Men’s Wimbledon History

5.  Goran Ivanisevic: From Wild-Card to Win

In 2001, Goran Ivanisevic became the first player to win a Grand Slam having entered the tournament as a wild card and to date, he is the only male entrant to have won a Grand Slam singles title as a wildcard. He defeated former and future World #1 players Carlos Moyá, Andy Roddick, and Marat Safin as well as Fredrik Jonsson and Greg Rusedski to reach the semifinal. He also beat home favorite Tim Henman in a rainy, five-set semifinal, setting up a match with the previous year’s runner-up and former U.S. Open champion Patrick Rafter. It was Ivanišević’s first singles final since 1998. In a match lasting just over three hours, Ivanišević defeated Rafter 6–3, 3–6, 6–3, 2–6, 9–7. Two months shy of his 30th birthday, Ivanišević became the lowest-ranked player win Wimbledon.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7-12nmtlhn4

4.  Andy Murray Wins for Britain After a 77-year Drought

After seven decades without a men’s champion, the Scot had the nation in tears of joy when he took the title in 2013. For 77 years, they only had Fred Perry as a winner and the search for his successor was a conversation starter in the early summer days at the All England Club. Finally, after a flurry of booming serves and full-stretch forehand winners, Andy Murray brought the crown back to Britain. Murray, a 26-year-old Scotsman with a rolling gait and a deep competitive streak, put a convincing end to the long drought in singles for the British men at the tournament. He managed it by defeating Novak Djokovic, the No. 1 seed, 6-4, 7-5, 6-4.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2PYyEDl1bJk

3.  Sampras’ Unceremonious Exit

Pete Sampras was the No. 6 seed and expected to easily beat No. 145 George Bastl as they walked onto Court No. 2, a cramped stadium known as the “Graveyard of Champions.” Alas, Sampras lost, 6-3, 6-2, 4-6, 3-6, 6-4.

He stayed seated while Bastl celebrated, then shuffled off with his head down. He insisted he would return, but never played singles at Wimbledon again.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zZzfJYV9C0o

2.  John McEnroe Gives the Most Famous On-court Quote of All Time

“You can’t be serious, man. YOU CANNOT BE SERIOUS. That ball was on the line. Chalk flew up. It was clearly in. How can you possibly call that out? He’s walking over. Everybody knows it’s in in the whole stadium. And you call it out? (Pause) You guys are the absolute pits of the world, you know that?”

Boom! Penalty point from the elderly chair umpire. Emotions at Wimbledon run high, one of the many reasons we love it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ekQ_Ja02gTY

1. The Heart-Stopping Nadal-Federer Final

Commentator Tim Henman described the match as “undoubtedly the greatest match he had ever seen,” and that doesn’t even do it justice. It had appeared at one stage as if Nadal was going to win the final in straight sets, but then Federer came back into it, and the Spaniard had to gather himself in the decider. In the fourth-set tie-break, Nadal had held two championship points, but Federer saved them both, on the second hitting a backhand pass down the line to deny Nadal. Many players would have turned in on themselves after such a disappointment, but Nadal steadied his nerve for a 6-4, 6-4, 6-7, 6-7, 9-7 victory that was twice interrupted by rain. Nadal became the first man since Bjorn Borg in 1980, to win the French Open and Wimbledon in the same summer, as well as the first Spaniard to win at the All England Club since Manuel Santana in 1966.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eC3kHR2SgV4

 

2017 French Open Championship Weekend Recap

This past weekend was quite a memorable one for tennis fans around the world. The French Open ended in epic fashion with Rafael Nadal setting a new record by achieving “La Decima” this Sunday in Paris. The Spaniard became the first player in the Open Era to win the same Grand Slam title 10 times in his career.  Nadal showed no mercy when facing Stan Wawrinka, the 2015 French Open champion, beating him 6-2, 6-3, 6-1. This is the third time Nadal has won the French Open without dropping a set, a feat which he achieved back in 2008 and 2010. raf nadal wins french open

“The feeling that I have here is impossible to describe, impossible to compare to other places,” Nadal said on court after the victory, brushing away tears. “The adrenaline and nerves I feel on this court I can’t describe. This is the most important event in my career, without a doubt.”

As for the women’s tournament, unseeded Jelena Ostapenko won her first major championship, beating No. 3-seeded Simona Halep 4-6, 6-4, 6-3. Celebrating her 20th birthday over the weekend, Ostapenko is the youngest player to win the French Open since 1997 and the youngest to win a Grand Slam title since 2006.  jelena ostapenko wins french open