Google Down the Line!: 2011-11-20

Saturday, November 26, 2011

PHOTO OP: Nadal's got serious game

Looks like the Davis Cup final is off to a very promising start...

So I know male athletes generally slap each other on the ass to say, "Good job!" or "Nice effort!" But what exactly does this greeting mean? We could all come up with ideas, but I'd like to think Rafael Nadal just wanted to grab it ("it" being Juan Monaco's firm Argentinean half moon)...HARD (see facial expression). And that this happens, like, lots. While in towels. Or out. And leaves an ass bruise. Like a hickey. But without the sucking. Or maybe...

You can thank reader DDM for tipping me off. You're welcome.

[Photo(s) credit: @olerafa]

Monday, November 21, 2011

Can Djokovic become one of the best ever?

By Mark Hodgson

The ATP tennis season comes to an end in London this week at the ATP World Tour Finals and it got me thinking about the season just gone. There is only one name that springs to mind - Novak Djokovic. The world number one has had an exceptional season, winning three of the four majors, winning a record-breaking five ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournaments and earning an unprecedented amount of prize money. But one question still remains: Can Novak Djokovic become of the best players ever?

This is not to say that he hasn’t already achieved great things in the game of tennis. This year he became only the sixth male tennis player to win three slams in one season. And just by becoming world number one he has played himself into tennis history. But ultimately, players will be judged on how many majors they win in their careers and Djokovic has some way to go to be up there with the best.

The Serbian has won four slams to date, and would have to win four more to move into the top ten, alongside players such as Andre Agassi and Jimmy Connors. To move into the top five he would have to win seven more titles, taking him level with Bjorn Borg and Rod Laver. So the real question is how many more grand slams can he win? And I think the answer is quite a lot if he can keep showing the sort of form he has shown this season. After all, he has only lost one grand slam match all season. And he has showed if he gets ahead in a match he usually wins, only losing once after taking the first set.

And there is a lot going for Djokovic which suggests he could win many more major titles. He is only 24. This is younger than both Nadal and Federer, so he has a good five or six years ahead of him, meaning there’s plenty of time to win tournaments. Equally, so far he has managed to keep himself relatively fit during his career. This will surely give him an advantage over his rivals. Nadal has had trouble with his knees during his career and this has impacted on his game. It has been affecting him since 2007 and forced him to miss Wimbledon in 2009. Similarly, Roger Federer isn’t getting any younger and he surely won’t be able to carry on playing at the top level for many more years. He seems to have already slipped behind the top three slightly. His recent Swiss Indoors title was the first tournament he has won in 10 months. Although, in the few games Djokovic has lost this season, injury has been a factor in most. This could be due to playing so many games, a knock from winning so many matches.

Physically, Djokovic has the attributes to be one of the best players ever and to win many more majors. The only obstacles are mental. He admitted himself that the reason for his improvement is him being more aggressive and taking a different approach to finals and semi-finals. This change has worked amazingly for Djokovic. If he can continue to maintain his current mind set, I think, he is destined to be one of the best ever.

Mark Hodgson is a Sports Journalism student at the University of Sunderland and reads news on Spark fm. He's a big Middlesbrough FC fan and enjoys writing, especially about sport. You can follow him on Twitter @mrmarkhodgson.


Sunday, November 20, 2011

VANtage Point: Seriously, WTF?

Hey out there in DtL land! It’s Van, with the final VP of the year: I couldn’t let the ATP World Tour Finals go on without saying something about it. The field here could actually be more level than it has been in recent seasons, making for a potentially more exciting tournament. Anyway, if you don’t mind, I’m going to get right into things, first with…
A Look Back: This is usually where I reflect back upon the last tournament I previewed. Since that was the U.S. Open of 1884, it seems, why not do something a little more recent, like last year’s WTF? Roger Federer ran roughshod over the field then, only losing one set on the way to his fifth career year-end championship. Three of his victims were the players ranked above him: Andy Murray, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal. It’s funny to think what a difference a year makes! But enough of the past, let’s get more into …
This Week’s Spotlight: The ATP World Tour Finals brings together the crème de la crème of men’s pro tennis, all together under one roof—specifically that of the O2 Arena in London. The players are divided into groups to go at it round-robin style. Group A includes Djokovic, Murray, David Ferrer and Tomas Berdych. Group B is made up of Nadal, Federer, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Mardy Fish. Speaking of the players, though, here’s…
The Players to Watch: This is a very intriguing tournament, especially considering where the players are at this point in the year. Djokovic’s season has been unreal, but he has really struggled with injury lately. Can he find the form he’s had all year? Nadal has been out for a few weeks, but is he rested enough? Federer’s coming in to the event on a 12-match winning streak, but has he faced the best of the best? I’d say really keep an eye on those guys, plus two who I think are the most dangerous out there: Berdych and Tsonga, who’ve both been on a tear. They should have a good shot at …
The Final Four: Murray over Nadal and Federer over Berdych. Then it’s time for the main event …
And the Winner Is…: Murray over Federer, giving the Scotsman the biggest title of his career.
So long for 2011: Catch you more next season!
Van Sias writes the blog Tennis Talk, Anyone? Follow him on Twitter @ttanyone and Facebook here.

[Photo(s) credit: ATP]

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