Pick of Roland Garros first round draw

Pick of Roland Garros first round drawFrom the 128 matches to be played in the first round of the French Open, 2015 in Paris, the following matches will be worth watching These matches will highlight the prowess of upcoming talents like Coric, veterans like Almagro and Querrey, against some other favorites and well-known players like Sock, Dimitrov and Dolgopolov.

1. Dimitrov vs Sock
Clay poses a huge challenge to tall players and players with huge serve. It is difficult to achieve proper grip on the surface which limits the ability to accelerate on the court. So it becomes important to learn to slide and hit the ball on the court. For tall players this is a huge disadvantage. However, in the past couple of months Sock demonstrated his ability to adapt his game to the surface and instead of a direct serve and volley game, he was more patient to play from the baseline, and attack the net only after pushing his opponents on the defensive. This is evident of the huge improvements and the adjustments he has made to his game for the surface.

Dimitrov lacks confidence to play on this surface, but he has an all-round game and is the favorite to win this match. Dimitrov’s fitness also edges the match in his favour. However, Dimitrov finds it very difficult to break players with a big serve which saw him ousted from the French Open in the second round last year. It would be interesting to see how does Dimitrov set up his point against Sock. Does he be patient and play defensive or does he go for the passing shots?

Head to head – Dimitrov beat Sock 2 – 0 in Stockholm Open last year.

2. Almagro vs Dolgopolov
Under normal circumstances Almagro would have been huge favorites to win this match. However, both players have suffered from injuries recently and this has affected their confidence, form and playing style. Both players rely heavily on their serves to control the point and game, but the difference arises in the movements. Almagro’s pace and slide gives him an added advantage over Dolgopolov who likes to run on the court and hit the winners. While Almagro has enough strokes in his style to play the aggressor or the defense as dictated by the circumstances, Dolgopolov does not have the patience to do so. On Clay the ability to be defensive will always be a major factor in winning matches because the rallies last longer. Almagro is my pick for this match.

Almagro leads the overall head to head 3-2 and on Clay it is tied at 1-1. Dolgopolov won their last bout on clay last year.

3. Coric vs Querrey
A veteran meets a future star for the first time. Coric has Nadal in his victims list, and nearly beat Murray towards the end of last season. He loves to defend deep from the baseline which will be an effective strategy against Querrey who has a huge serve in his artilley. On Clay, the service would be slowed but will reach Coric at an awkward height – Coric is short. How Coric adjusts his receiving position to return Querrey’s serve will determine the match result. Ideally, he would love to get farther away from the baseline, but the smaller outer courts will restrict the maximum distance he can go behind.
To add to Coric’s advantage and confidence would be the dismal year Querrey has had so far in 2015. He has lost more matches at this of the year, underperformed on the hard courts, and is struggling to find form. It should be a win for Coric.

This blog was written by Mayank Gupta, founder of www.thefoolsbookie.com – where he uses statistics and his knowledge to calculate the probability for the match winners.

2UNDR Sports UNDERWEAR

2UNDR SPORTS UNDERWEAR FOR GUYS

2UNDR™, the brand new high performance men’s underwear line is set to change the way pro tennis players protect their best assets. Now an official partner of the Global Professional Tennis Coach Association, this unique range offers these respected coaches and their professional players the most advanced techniques and materials to provide the ultimate support and fit, on and off the court.

The innovation of this product range is showcased in the inspired Joey Pouch™, a specialised, soft and comfortable pouch which houses and protects your package from unwanted skin-to-skin contact for reduced chafing and a perfect fit. Featuring premium materials for superior comfort, the Joey Pouch™ holds and uplifts, to naturally enhance your most valuable assets.

There are four distinctive products within the range, designed specifically to suit a variety of activities and an active lifestyle. The Gear Shift and Power Shift collections have been designed with active tennis professionals and enthusiasts firmly in mind, utilising Coldskin™ by Garmatex™ to promote cooling in areas where heat commonly builds during activity. This pioneering thermal-reduction material uses crushed jade minerals which have been woven into the fabric to reduce body temperature by three to six degrees, dissipating excess heat.

Comfort is further enhanced by the 2UNDR No-Drip-Tip™, an additional moisture-layer which wicks away sweat to create a consistently soft, cool and dry environment. The signature 2UNDR Fly is another essential element of the product range, which provides you with an in-your-pants air conditioning system for your unmentionables.2UNDR- Sports Pants for Guys

All products in the range feature materials which work with the body to achieve ultimate comfort, whether you are actively working up a sweat, or simply seeking day-to-day luxury. In addition to Coldskin™, the performance-focused Gear Shift and Power Shift collections offer additional compression and quick-dry properties to keep you working at your peak. The Swing Shift and Day Shift collections are recommended for everyday use and feature luxuriously soft materials, with enhanced breathability and increased softness with every wash. All products resist shrinkage and do not sag, providing your package with the ultimate support, whatever your chosen activity.

2UNDR’s anti-chafing properties are boosted by high quality seam construction, with intelligently-designed flatlock stitching to leave a seamless feel and avoid potential rub-zones. The innovative “no roll” waistband is also manufactured using the highest quality yarn, to provide a reinforced band for ultimate flexibility and ease of movement.

GPTCA Vice President, Rainer Schuettler comments, “The GPTCA are thrilled to be working with 2UNDR as this unique brand is growing rapidly among pro athletes all over the world. Our pro tennis coach members consistently endeavour to provide budding and professional level players with kit that is of the highest quality and offers them the chance to focus on improving their technique and advancing in their training, without worrying about under-performing clothing or equipment. 2UNDR is no exception to this, and we look forward to working with the brand going forward to help our coaches and their players maintain their high levels of performance.”

So don’t compromise on comfort, follow in the footsteps of the pro’s and achieve perfection in your pants and on the court with 2UNDR; underwear, just not as you know it.

2UNDR prices range from £22.99 to £26.99, and is available at leading sports retailers and www.2undr.eu 

Roland Garros Preview

Roland Garros Preview

Novak Djokovic
When I look at him play this year, I constantly check my calendar to verify that this is 2015. His Tennis looks similar to his style in 2011 when he gained the top spot after winning 43 matches in succession. He is aggressive, is making everybody – from Federer to Murray – look ordinary. He decimated Nadal in Monte-Carlo masters and looks on course to win his first French Open if he remains fit.
A lot has changed in his demeanor on the court since his marriage. He is looking to finish games quicker, and keep matches short. This is evident by the fact that he lost on 3 service games in Rome enroute the finals. These service games lost resulted in loss of 3 sets – one each to Nishikori, Bellucci, and Almagro. If you only looked at the score you would be awed and appreciative of the opponent, but if you looked at the macthes and have followed his career, you would say – ‘Hmmm, Thats typical Djokovic.’
Although he will be the favorite to win the French Open, he will be concerned about his losses to Nadal here in the past. Last year even when Nadal was not the favourite, and Djokovic was ahead in the finals, he went on to lose the French Open. Then there is the little issue in the semi-finals of 2013 where he was in complete control of the match, but he went on to touch the net and lose a winning point in the third set. There was a complete momentum swing and we had Nadal in the finals. We expect these top players to not wilt under pressure, but they do.
Rafael Nadal
By his standards he has had a very poor year. It all started with the loss to Berdych in the Australian Open. His first loss to the man in 9 years, and he was also served a bagel. They were the warning signs for the year ahead. A loss to Fognini on clay further dampened his mojo, and in Miami he humbly confessed about his confidence issues, and ever since the media. The media would not leave him alone anymore, and he has struggled since.
On his favorite clay in Madrid, even the crowd could not back him to win against Murray in the final. And in Rome, Wawrinka blew him apart after saving 4 set points in the first set. There was a similar pattern to the second set in both the matches – Nadal fought really hard in the first set, and after losing the first set he started with an even poorer start in the second set. Giving away an early break was never going to help him. However, he will still go in as the second favorite (if not the favorite) to win the French Open, according to the all time great Roger Federer. And Roger knows why he made that statement.
It has to do with the match timings and clay type in Roland Garros. The overhead sun in the afternoon makes the clay drier, and gives Nadal more time to control his forehands with the amount of topspin he wants on them. Both his losses to Murray and Wawrinka were in the night and at an altitude where the balls fly faster. Besides, he missed the baseline by similar distances – half a foot – in both the matches. This French Open will be his toughest – both mentally and physically.
If he is not in the draw of Djokovic, he will definitely meet him in the finals.
Andy Murray
The Brit won his first ATP clay title in Munich and followed it with an emphatic victory over Nadal in Madrid final. His movements on the surface have increased and he is more willing to play from inside the baseline or its vicinity rather than sit back and defend. However, when he has played Djokovic he has looked out of ideas to counter the all-round game that Djokovic possesses.
Murray never lacked athleticism and speed, but with the new confidence to step into the baseline and hit those forehand winners. He is consistently making the points shorter to preserve his fitness. This will add to his advantage in Paris where the clay courts ask for hard fought and long grueling points.
Mauresmo’s addition to his coaching staff has provided a new dimension to his game – the attacking dimension with those flat outright forehand winners. Just like his coach he is beginning to hit the winners more often. Has Mauresmo worked on his forehand to generate the topspin even better? The clay surfaces in Roland Garros will let us know.

 

Hilarious WTA Emoji Challenge

wta emoji challengeHilarious WTA Emoji Challenge
Check out this hilarious WTA Emoji Challenge featuring Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova, Ana Ivanovic, Simona Halep Caroline Wozniacki and more. The girls are challenged to copy their favourite emojis with hilarious results.
The girls took some time out from their busy schedules as they prepared for Roland Garros 2015 to film this video for the WTA!

Tennis the Supreme Sport

No matter the era, tennis remains as thrilling and dazzling as ever

If you’re at least in your late-twenties and you’re a long time tennis follower you might be feeling just a touch nostalgic of the old days and you might even be getting a bit blasé at times about the whole experience of watching tennis these days.

tennis the supreme sportThe same old baseline rallies point after point and usually the same up and coming hard-hitting young players trying to finish off the point with the serve or following it up with a big forehand. We get to see quite a lot of them nowadays, as if the entire new generation has been mass-produced from the same clay, has been subjected to the same training regime and has been instilled with the same values and styles of play.

Surely then, something must be wrong with the whole thing, right? Some might offer legitimate arguments to consolidate that position and they would be fully entitled to do so, but to this writer’s mind, this somewhat general feeling of nostalgia is fully understandable and perhaps even recommendable.

Who would not wish to wallow for a while in the balmy, enchanted pool of tennis remembrance? Take for instance, the elatedness of watching Nadal play the game. Who amongst us does not remember him skidding vigorously and jubilantly on clay or on hard courts and making our hearts beat faster and faster with every impossible ball that he recovered? Who amongst us does not recall all those enticing and foreseeable moments when the whole world stopped for a few seconds simply to let you admire him hitting an unreturnable forehand or making the most unbelievable passing shot you had ever seen. Many of us will forever gladly suffer the remembrance of such gratifying memories. (So as not to be misunderstood, I do not wish to imply in any way that Nadal’s time has passed, but hope that he returns to such form as soon as possible)

If that physically tearing game is not exactly to your liking, why not go back a few more years and engage in flashbacks of watching Sampras take on the tennis world. Sublimely combining his massive serve and braw volleys (part of a heritage that was still quite well rooted in his time) with precise, lightning fast returns and adding to the mix not only defensive, but also splendid counter-attacking skills from the baseline, Sampras became the most beloved tennis player of his generation. That was how he so overbearingly dominated the game for a number of years, reaching the then landmark of fourteen Grand Slam titles, milestone that has been exceeded so far only by Federer, who in many ways was, in the early 2000s, his successor.

untitledSpeaking of Federer it would be impossible to overlook the countless moments of brilliance and elegant destruction of his opponents that have forever changed the game of tennis. Still to this day he is fighting the good fight, changing and mixing up his game, finding new and somewhat unexpected paths to success and lately taking us back to twenty, thirty years ago and reviving the old serve and volley game (in his own, unmatchable way) in order to give his rivals something different to deal with. He is without doubt the player that has revolutionized tennis most, raising the bar higher than ever before and best of all he is still out there making it all happen and continuing to bless us with his genius and inestimable tennis worth.

Though only three of the people’s favourites have been mentioned above, it is quite plain to see that the list is almost never-ending, that being, of course, one the reasons for pointing out just a small number of the all-time tennis greats.

The secondary cause of having such a short and unfair number of tennis legends mentioned has to do with the fact that when ensnared by this bitter-sweet trap of romanticized recollection of the good ol’ days (as it’s often the case with human being who bear love and that have a natural inclination for being nostalgic about the past), we sometimes  end up having an unappreciative view of the often, just as glorious, present.

Djokovic career slam

Nowadays, Djokovic is the name on everyone’s lips and rightfully so. He is not only the player who, by profiting from his rivalries with Federer and Nadal, has managed to reach and exceed his full potential beyond all expectations, but he is also the prototype for the player of the future. There are others, such as Berdych, Wawrinka, Ferrer perhaps and especially Murray, who have benefited from having Federer and Nadal as their contemporaries, but unlike Djokovic, all the grueling battles they had to face against the greats have left them rather drained and manacled somewhere in the shadow, their own luster eclipsed by the brilliance of Federer, Nadal and Djokovic. It is in such conditions that one’s character is truly tested and Djokovic’s resilience, versatility and fighting spirit have thrust him to the top, whereas others still linger in the penumbra.

In the last couple of years Federer has been trying to revive the serve and volley game and by adding it to his already tremendous tennis arsenal, he has managed to get back to his winning ways, even when having to face Djokovic. Though Roger may beat Novak in the final of a fairly important 500 event, as it has happened a couple of times in the last year , when Djokovic is truly focused and gunning for an important title he always finds a way to turn things around in his favour. This leaves you with the feeling that even tough Roger is still a threat for Novak and he may beat him every now and again, in the long run, Djokovic will be the one to come out on top.

Therefore, after considering all this, Novak truly seems to be the quintessential player of the modern age and if he manages to stay consistent and injury free for at least four more years he can also became the greatest of all time.

Indeed, it may be hard to believe that there will be many others able to match him in skill and professionalism, yet backed up by his results and the consistency of his game he is the one whose style most youngsters will probably be looking to replicate. Perhaps the most frightening thought here is in reference to the future of tennis. Would it be possible to see more Djokovic like players in the days to come?413307_654x440

We can only hope so considering how complete such players must be. Novak has a very efficient serve, a great forehand that can find both sharp angles and great length, a smashing backhand, crosscourt or down the line, exceptional agility and defensive skills. Moreover, he is probably the greatest returner of all time and top it all off, mentally he is definitely the strongest player out there these days. Considering all this, one would have to be a fool not to wish to have more such players in the future. Additionally, taking into account how hard players have to work to get him into trouble and how consistent one has to be to actually defeat him, we would more than likely have all the ingredients for spectacular and breathtaking tennis matches, filled with drama and wondrous shot making.

Lastly, I would also point out the fact that, same as Federer is doing at the moment, many tennis players will be trying to add more and more perspectives to their game. Therefore, instead of being stuck with flatter matches made up of big serves, hard forehands and at times never-ending baseline rallies, the old (serve and volley) and the new will somehow be combined into an all-around game that will have to be even more complete than that of Djokovic.

Whether all this will happen or not is difficult to say with certainty and though some might say that this article deals in speculation concerning the future, one thing is quite certain: one needn’t be nostalgic about the old days, nor need be preoccupied with the future of the game, as it’s probably going to offer more than any of us would ever expect.

When watching the game, just kick back, enjoy and remember – no matter the era, tennis has always been more thrilling and dazzling than expected and that is probably not going to change any time soon.

Federer Djokovic on French Open 2015

French Open 2015 is only around the corner and we spoke to Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic only the top two ranked players in the world about the second grand slam of the year.

Federer talks about hopes for big event.

Having made his fourth final at the famous and historic Foro Italico, Federer is back on track for a deep run to the second week in Paris.

French Open 2015 Favourites?

Federer explains that in his mind Rafael Nadal is still favourite for the French Open. Perhaps some mind games going on here but despite all of the Spaniards troubles this season Federer still selects his old buddy Rafa as the favourite to win the event. I suppose who could argue with a 9 time winner right???

Djokovic talks about Rafael Nadal’s prospects at the French Open.

Djokovic also being polite and perhaps using mind games suggests that Nadal will be there or there abouts come the end of the tournament in June. What did you think he was gonna say? He was favourite?

French Open 2015

 

Can Murray conquer clay?

Murray conquer clay With a few days to go before the start of the second grand slam of the year The French Open I have begun to look at the potential winners for the tournament. In previous years names liks Ferrer, Nadal Djokovic and Federer would certainly have been on the tip of my tongue. But Andy Murray is not someone who has traditionally been associated with success on the dirt.

Despite this Andy Murray has been to the semi finals of Roland Garros  and but for the current crop of talented players he may have even lifted the title before now. Murray version 2015, is an altogether different beast. We have seen the good the bad and the ugly from Murray this year but on clay there has been somewhat of a transformation. Murray won his first clay court title either this month at the BMW Open in Munich in beating Philip Kohlschreiber in a rain affected match in three sets. Murray then followed it up with a hugely impressive run to the final of the Madrid Masters as he beat the undisputed King of Clay Rafael Nadal in two straight sets.

Unbeaten on clay in 11 matches, the best streak of the Scot’s career on the surface, fit and very much in form can we start to think of Murray as a genuine title contender? Thebiggame.co.uk has some interesting thoughts on this. I personally cannot see why we cannot consider Murray as one of the title favourites. He is at home on the dirt and has the fitness and speed to grind with the best of the dirtballers.

Much will depend on the draw which will take place on Friday in Paris. Murrays biggest threat for the title could be Novak Djokovic who has been in imperious form this year winning 5 titles on two different surfaces. Murray could face the Serb in the semi finals. Anyone else in the draw Murray will fancy his chances even against guys like Federer, Nishikori and Ferrer. Murray seems to be at the head of the chasing pack.. 9 time champion Nadal is likely to be seeded no higher than seventh which could cause chaos early on in the tournament.

Click on our site from Sunday onwards to hear the latest news from the second grand slam of the tennis year.

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