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Sep 11, 2014

Is the Big 4's dominance in ATP finally over?


After nearly one decade of Grand Slam finals involving long time nemeses Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal or Novak Djokovic, Croatian Marin Cilic's victory over Kei Nishikori at the US Open finally gave new hope to the other tennis players that they do not have to wait for too long to be succeed.

Believe it or not, the discussion in the next major tournament, would be on whether someone else besides the Big 4 will win the championship. Whatever happened in the past two weeks could determine the future of the Australian Open and the subsequent majors in 2015. However, to check the current tennis market, you may go to William Hill online betting.

Since the 2005 French Open, all 38 consecutive Grand Slam finals have been dominated by at least one of Federer, Nadal or Djokovic. There were four exceptions in nearly 10 years with Juan Martin del Potro's victory over Federer at the US Open in 2009, Murray's wins against Djokovic at the US Open in 2012 and Wimbledon last year, and Stanislas Wawrinka's defeat of Nadal at the Australian Open early this January.

''That they are great champions, and it's going to take so much to break them and to break (into) the finals of a Grand Slam or to be able to win it,'' Marin Cilic the newly crowned US Open champion told the journalists between TV appearances in Manhattan.

''Last several years, it almost felt like you have to play incredible tennis in order to achieve that,'' Cilic said.

''And I would say I was also a little bit lucky here. There was no Rafa. And I had a good draw. I didn't play Novak or Andy or those guys,'' he added.

The Croatian's unbelievable win in New York included a straight-set domination of Federer in the semifinals, raising questions yet again about whether, at 33, the 17-time major champion will ever add to his trophies again.

Nadal missed the opportunity to defend his title due to his right wrist injury, while Djokovic was humbled by Kei Nishikori who emerged as a finalist but eventually lost his bid to become the first Asian to win a Grand Slam title. Meanwhile, Murray who is one of the 'Big 4' is not quite up to the standards he was setting before a back surgery a year ago.

Perhaps Wawrinka's triumph in Melbourne has given hope to some including Cilic that things were going to be different from then on. Just look at the results of the Grand Slam semifinal debuts by Ernests Gulbis at the French Open in June, and by Grigor Dimitrov and Milos Raonic at Wimbledon the following month.

''They are coming. They are there. This is good for tennis,'' said Cilic's coach, 2001 Wimbledon champion Goran Ivanisevic.

''This is a new, fresh breath of air for tennis, and tennis needed this.''

However Cilic remained humble and not ready to write off the 'Big 4' yet. He shouldn't be.

''I mean, the guys are going to still be there,'' Cilic said looking ahead to next season.

It's just going to get more exciting from here. The upcoming Asian swing and indoor hardcourt season will give us a better clue on what will happen next year.


Aug 17, 2014

Tennis stars take the plunge with #IceBucketChallenge

The #IceBucketChallenge has soaked the US and across the world in the past weeks raising awareness of ALS (Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), a neurodegenerative disorder commonly known as the Lou Gehrig's disease.

Celebrities videoed themselves emptying buckets full of icy water and challenged three other people to do the same stunt. As a result, the campaign has gone viral.


In the tennis scene, Andy Murray was first nominated by Jesse Levine in July to take up the challenge. Later, the former Wimbledon champion named his coach Amelie Mauresmo for the challenge.


Murray has also challenged Justin Gimelstob earlier this week live on air after his second round match in Cincinnati.


“Obviously we witnessed someone going through this right in front of our eyes with Brad Drewett, and it was tough to watch,” said Murray.

“It’s a horrible disease. I wasn’t aware of it personally before the situation with Brad, but now there’s been a few cases of it in tennis the past few years. It’s great to raise awareness for it and hopefully we can raise a lot of money to try and help find a cure.”

ATP Executive Chairman and President Brad Drewett passed away last year after a short battle with the disease, which has no cure.


Laura Robson also did the #IceBucketChallenge recently and has nominated Caroline Wozniacki. The latter performed the stunt in Cincinnati few days ago and has put forward the challenge to Serena Williams and John Isner.

With the US Open coming up, we hope to see more big names taking up the challenge to raise more awareness of the disease. However, our priority is still back on the game - who will win the year-end Grand Slam championships. If you're betting for the game, check out the SportsBettingInfo.com site for betting on tennis which also feature other sports like the NFL, NHL, etc.

(Via ATP World Tour Website, Kpopstarz)

Jul 22, 2014

So when’s Dimitrov’s first Grand Slam win coming?


We’ve become used to the so-called big four dominating men’s tennis for quit some time now. But this is about to change. It will change not least because Roger Federer is getting on a little; 32 is quite an age for a male tennis star in the absolute upper echelons of the game these days.

Roger demonstrated that he still has it at Wimbledon when forcing Novak Djokovic to an incredible five sets. But at 32, his days are numbered, unfortunately. Meanwhile, Andy Murray and the second most successful player of all time, Rafa Nadal have both had more than their fair share o injury problems.

All in all, then, it seems more than likely that the big four will be no more pretty soon – and that other players will break into the absolute top flight. We saw Stan Wawrinka winning the Aussie Open in January – but it seems unlikely that this is the player who will really make the breakthroughs. Wawrinka is now 29 himself and hadn’t made a Grand Slam final before Melbourne this year and, whilst he’s been an amazing player at the top of the game for seven or eight years now, it’s hard to see him suddenly becoming a lot better.

The player most pundits are looking to after his excellent Wimbledon showing is, of course, Bulgaria’s best ever player Grigor Dimitrov. He hit a career high ATP ranking after this year’s Wimbledon at world number nine, and at just 23 years of age can surely improve a whole lot more yet.

He won his first ATP singles title last October in Stockholm and had previously enjoyed an immensely successful junior career – winning the Boys' Singles event at both Wimbledon and the US Open back in 2008.

So it’s surely just a matter of time before the Bulgarian youngster wins his first tennis major title. As things stand, he’s sixth in the tennis betting market for this year’s US Open at Flushing Meadows in August-September behind the traditional big four, with Stanislas Wawrinka fifth favourite.

This year’s US Open may still be a little too early yet, but his odds of 16-1 with Bet365 and other bookmakers looks highly tempting as it’s surely just a matter of time?

Dimitrov comfortably saw off the then reigning champion Andy Murray at Wimbledon before finding Novak Djokovic too strong in the semis in a match he lost 6-4, 3-6, 7-6, 7-6. But this was a tremendously tight affair and it would be very easy to see Dimitrov going one better next time.

What’s more - off-court, the young Bulgarian is reportedly stepping out in style with current world number six, Maria Sharapova. This will surely do his career no harm whatsoever and may help spur him on to greater things.

So we’re very probably already looking at a big five in men’s tennis – and five years from now, Grigor Dimitrov will still be at is peak whilst the other big four sadly won’t. So how many Grand Slam events will he have in his locker by then?

(Image via Grigor Dimitrov's Facebook page)

Jun 3, 2014

Andy Murray Passes a Tough Test


Reigning Wimbledon champion Andy Murray came through an epic match with Germany’s Philipp Kohlschreiber on Sunday to make it through to the fourth round of the 2014 French Open. The two players began their match the previous day but play was suspended at 7-7 in the fifth and final set due to bad light. Murray had to save a break point at a crucial stage before coming through 3-6 6-3 6-3 4-6 12-10. The Scot had been suffering with a leg injury during the first session of play and Kohlschreiber was able to take the first set with relative ease before Murray came fighting back, taking the next two sets by the same scoreline of 6-3. Having led by a break in both the fourth and fifth set, this should really have been a straightforward victory for the former world number two but Philipp Kohlschreiber dug in and although he was ultimately defeated, he should take a lot of confidence from this impressive performance.

This epic battle is almost as huge as football teams fighting to be the leading world cup bet. Just like an epic match between two dominant teams in the World Cup, the match between Phillip Kohlschreiber and Andy Murray is by far the most exciting game in the 2014 French Open.

While Andy Murray is currently not working with a coach, the rumour mill has been in overdrive throughout this tournament with speculation rife regarding who will take up the position following the departure of Ivan Lendl. When questioned on the matter, Murray would not dismiss the option of a female coach, with former Wimbledon and Australian Open champion Amelie Mauresmo being strongly linked with the vacant position. Andy Murray has already achieved a huge amount of success with two Grand Slam tournaments to his credit already, but he has the potential to be challenging Nadal and Djokovic for the number one spot and a new coach might give him that extra edge required. Having been coached by his mother Judy for the early part of his career, Murray should have no problems working with a female coach such as Mauresmo.

Following his third round victory, Betfair have cut the Scot to odds of 14/1 to win his first clay court Grand Slam by capturing the French Open title. He is now the joint third favourite alongside Spaniard David Ferrer. Betfair are struggling to split the front two in the market, with Novak Djokovic just edging things slightly at Even money, while Rafael Nadal can be backed at 5/4. I’d fully expect these two to flip flop in the market over the coming days and they look likely to meet in Sunday’s final. Nadal has an incredible record where the French Open is concerned and is the only male player to win a single Grand Slam tournament on eight separate occasions. Nadal’s only defeat at Roland Garros came in 2009 when he was beaten in the fourth round by Sweden’s Robin Soderling. I’m slightly surprised that Betfair make Djokovic favourite to take the 2014 French Open on that basis but the Serb has showed incredible form since losing to Andy Murray at Wimbledon last year. It will be extremely interesting to see if Andy Murray can make it to the semi final stage an upset either of the aforementioned tennis gods on this surface.

In the latest development, Andy Murray defeated Fernando Verdasco to move into the last eight at the French Open.

Image by Dominique Faget/AFP/Getty Images

May 27, 2014

Rafael Nadal Gets Secondary Treatment On Court Suzanne Lenglen Court


There wasn't any shocking moment in the first round of the French Open when it opened on Sunday, except for one: world number one and reigning champion Rafael Nadal has to kick off his campaign in the secondary Suzanne Lenglen court instead of the Philippe Chatrier court. Nobody saw that coming. To put it simply, it is easier to predict the favoured Wimbledon 2014 odds than the French Open organiser's snub.

The organisers decision to host Novak Djokovic versus Joao Sousa and Stanislas Wawrinka versus Guillermo Garcia-Lopez instead of the eight time champion versus Robby Ginepri, has prompted a furious reaction from fans on social media and amongst tennis players.

"That's really bizarre," American John Isner, ATP world ranking number 11 told AFP.

"I mean, how many times does the guy have to win the tournament to be able to have his first match on Chatrier?"

“It doesn’t go week by week. I don’t know who’s talking all the time, but Rafa is the favourite, and then Novak, and then the rest, you know. It’s very clear,” Roger Federer insisted.

Personally, the organiser made a huge mistake by making such a move. Not that it's disrespectful to Nadal but also to the fans who have bought tickets to watch him play on Philippe Chatrier. But I'm quite sure that if Frenchman Paul-Henri Mathieu made it to the second round to play against Nadal, they will definitely get to play on that main court.

(Image via FFT)

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