What he said:
“It’s much easier for the wolf that is going uphill and running up the mountain—not easier, but he was hungrier than the wolf standing on the hill.”
Novak Djokovic savoured his 11th major and sixth Australian Open overall with a meaty metaphor.
Comparing himself to a wild canine on top of the mountain, he said that he could not relax as his competitors were wolves too and hungrier.
“You can observe it from different sides, but, I believe that all the guys that are out there fighting each week to get to No. 1 are very hungry to get to No. 1, and I know that. I can’t allow myself to relax and enjoy. Of course I want to enjoy, and I will, but it’s not going to go more than few days. After that I’m already thinking about how can I continue on playing well throughout the rest of the season each tournament.
Kind of a mindset that one needs to have if one wants to stay up there. Because I think you need to work double as hard when you’re up there.
I believe that I can win every match I play (and) I’m playing the tennis of my life in the last 15 months. The results are showing that.
But you can get a very big slap from karma. I don’t want that.”
The Djoker rounded off his reverie by assuring his listeners that he was ravenous to clinch his first French Open.
“Very hungry. But the wolf needs to eat a lot of different meals to get to Paris. Paris is a dessert.”
What he really meant:
“It takes more to stay at the top than to get there.”
What he definitely didn’t:
“What a wolf-pack we male tennis players are. Woo-hoo, Woo-hoo! Ready or not, here we come! Call me Wolverine!”
Are tennis players cheats?
An expose by BuzzFeed and the BBC would have us believe so.
An investigation into a match allegedly tanked by Nikolay Davydenko in 2007 against a lower-ranked Argentine opponent, Martin Vassallo Arguello,
uncovered a series of anomalies in games lost by top-ranked players in both men and women’s tennis.
Eight of the top-50 men’s players at the Australian Open are under the scanner.
In the past, match-fixing was felt to be restricted to the lower echelons of the tennis hierarchy where journeymen lost games in exchange for cash which they could hardly hope to see in their journeymen careers.
But now, the scourge of cheating appears to have spread its tentacles all over the pristine sport.
Novak Djokovic—amongst other players—disclosed that he was approached in 2007 but he refused. Roger Federer and Serena Williams have called for names to be revealed.
The investigating team indicts gambling chains across countries such as Russia and Spain. But they have no real luck pinpointing guilty players as they had neither the authority nor permission to access players’ phone and bank records.
There exists no definitive proof of collusion with punters and guilty players can continue to bluster their way through this crisis.
It is up to the tennis authorities to ensure more transparency in the way the game is played.
Perhaps, it would help if more lower-ranked players were able to earn a living from the game. This view is opposed by Federer again who feels that cheats exist at every level and increasing prize money at lower rungs is not the solution.
Whatever the outcome of these new revelations, it is certain that upsets will be looked upon with suspicion in the future and not simply considered a glorious uncertainty of sport.
It’s a pity, really, because everyone loves an underdog.
Players have been calling for a reduction in the number of tournaments they participate in a season. They claim that the unrelenting touring takes a toll on mind, body and spirit and they are unable to be consistent and motivated enough throughout the arduous season.
The authorities would do well to look into these complaints but the players do themselves no favours by opting to partake of the bounties of exhibition games in their off-season.
Greed certainly greases the wheels, one way or the other.
Eugenie Bouchard is not playing nice anymore.
WTA’s Most Improved Player of 2014 is suing the United States Tennis Association (USTA) and the United States National Tennis Centre (USNTC).
The Canadian beauty slipped and fell in the women’s locker room after a mixed doubles match at the US Open suffering a concussion the ill-effects of which have not worn off a month later.
The accident was caused by a cleaning agent that was left overnight on the floor and meant to be applied when the room is no longer in use.
Bouchard claims that there was no warning sign highlighting the state of the floor.
Bouchard’s lawyer, Benedict Morelli, said:
“If they were going to do that, they should have closed the door and locked it off. And they didn’t do that.”
“We could be talking about millions and millions, we don’t know the extent yet.”
The World No. 39 has played just one match since retiring midway last week against Andrea Petkovic at the China Open and withdrawing from tournaments in Wuhan, Tokyo and Hong Kong.
Bouchard is seeking actual, compensatory and statutory damages along with punitive damages, and wants a jury trial.
Chris Widmaier, the U.S.T.A.’s managing director of corporate communications, refused to comment saying it was against policy.
The suit states:
“Ms. Bouchard entered the physiotherapy room of the women’s locker room when she was caused to slip and fall by a slippery, foreign and dangerous substance on the floor.
The Defendants caused or created this slippery, foreign and dangerous substance to be on the floor, or knew or should have known that the slippery, foreign and dangerous substance was on the floor.
The Defendants failed to provide Ms. Bouchard with any warnings whatsoever regarding the aforementioned dangerous condition.”
Bouchard was named the world’s most marketable athlete last May by SportsPro, a UK-based magazine.
She was 2013’s WTA Newcomer of the Year.
It was in 2014 that she had her best results making the semi-finals at the Australian and French Opens. She was a finalist at Wimbledon and made the fourth round at the US Open. She attained a career-high ranking of 5.
This year, she suffered a slump in form but was regaining lost ground when she suffered her accident prior to her fourth round match against Roberta Vinci at Flushing Meadows. Vinci went on to make the final losing to compatriot Flavia Pennetta.
Concussions are a rare occurrence in tennis. It is a non-contact sport, after all.
WebMD describes it as “the most common and least serious type of traumatic brain injury. The word comes from the Latin concutere, which means ‘to shake violently.’ It is usually caused by a sudden direct blow or bump to the head.”
“The brain is made of soft tissue. It’s cushioned by spinal fluid and encased in the protective shell of the skull. When you sustain a concussion, the impact can jolt your brain. Sometimes, it literally causes it to move around in your head. Traumatic brain injuries can cause bruising, damage to the blood vessels, and injury to the nerves.
The result? Your brain doesn’t function normally. If you’ve suffered a concussion, vision may be disturbed, you may lose equilibrium, or you may fall unconscious. In short, the brain is confused.”
The website adds:
“Concussions can be tricky to diagnose. Though you may have a visible cut or bruise on your head, you can’t actually see a concussion. Signs may not appear for days or weeks after the injury. Some symptoms last for just seconds; others may linger.”
Writing for Yahoo! Sports, Canada, Stephanie Myles cites the case of Sarah Borwell, a British player who was hit by American Lilia Osterloha’s ball at a WTA doubles tournament in Stanford, Connecticut in July 2010.
“‘Girls aren’t like boys where they go around you. She kind of went at me. I turned, and it hit the back of my skull, bottom left,’ Borwell said in an interview with Eh Game.
She kept playing, felt fine, and they won the match.
‘As soon as the adrenaline wore off I was a mess. I was feeling sick. I was dizzy, and my face swelled up on the lefthand side,’ Borwell said. ‘They monitored me for the evening, kept checking every hour and the next day, I had an MRI in San Francisco and they saw a bruise on my brain.’
Borwell was told she would probably be fine in a week. She went to San Diego for the next tournament but she still felt groggy, and had to stay in a dark room. She then flew to Montreal for the Rogers Cup, where they underwent what she termed some “basic tests” and was told she could go out and play.
She tried to practise. ‘I couldn’t walk straight, get my feet straight or anything,’ Borwell remembered.
A specialist who dealt with hockey players administered the SAC test. Orwell was asked to count backwards, month by month. She got as far as May. She couldn’t balance on one foot with her eyes closed. Her speech was slurred.
Orwell missed the US Open; she returned to action at the Quebec City tournament in mid-September, about six weeks after the original accident. Then she flew to India to compete in the Commonwealth Games, where she began having panic attacks just being around people and talking to them.
By the 2011 Australian Open (where she teamed up with Canadian Marie-Eve Pelletier), more than five months later, Borwell still was having issues, especially with verbal communication.
‘I’ve been hit before and if it hits you on the skull, you’re fine. But right at the base of my skull, it got a bit of the brain,’ she said. ‘When you have balls whizzing at your head … that was kind of the end of my career, to be honest.’
Borwell says it took her about a year to feel 100 per cent again. She continued to play, but she still didn’t feel like herself. ‘My short-term memory’s still not great. I’m finding it a lot more difficult to remember things, and my speech,’ she said.”
Wikipedia details post-concussion syndrome thus:
“In post-concussion syndrome, symptoms do not resolve for weeks, months, or years after a concussion, and may occasionally be permanent. About 10% to 20% of people have post concussion syndrome for more than a month. Symptoms may include headaches, dizziness, fatigue, anxiety, memory and attention problems, sleep problems, and irritability. There is no scientifically established treatment, and rest, a recommended recovery technique, has limited effectiveness. Symptoms usually go away on their own within months.The question of whether the syndrome is due to structural damage or other factors such as psychological ones, or a combination of these, has long been the subject of debate.”
Genie Bouchard has not been loquacious about the nature of her complaint on social media.
These are her latest posts on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram respectively.
The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 lists the duties of an employer as follows:
“SEC. 5. Duties
(1) shall furnish to each of his employees employment and a place of employment which are free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm to his employees;
(2) shall comply with occupational safety and health standards promulgated under this Act.
29 USC 654
While the USTA and the USNTC are certainly not Bouchard’s employers, they are duty-bound to ensure safety of the players on their premises during events they conduct.
We can only hope that Bouchard returns to the court soon putting aside the acrimony and recriminations that will certainly ensue from her legal action. WTA, too, wouldn’t wish to lose another rising star given that recent Grand Slam winners have been in the latter stages of their career opting out soon after realising their Grand Slam dreams. Li Na, Marion Bartoli and now Flavia Pennetta are the most recent additions to that brigade. Kim Clijsters is another.
The WTA tour’s marketability ebbs and flows with its players’ saleability.
One of their contemporary campaigns’ featured the tagline, “Strong is beautiful.”
Strong, in this case, is concussed and very much dizzy.
Does Serena Williams choke?
This must seem like a really stupid question given that Williams has 21 singles Grand Slam titles to her credit. She also has 13 doubles titles with her sister Venus.
Is this the hallmark of a choker?
I repeat the question: Is Serena a choker, that is, does she lose matches she was expected to win relatively easily?
This year’s loss to Roberta Vinci in the US Open semi-final is a case in point.
Serena had come into the year’s final Slam on the back of another Serena Slam.
Maria Sharapova was rendered hors-de-combat before the tournament qualifiers began.
This was her golden opportunity to go down in history as only the third woman in history to record a Calendar Grand Slam.
Alas, it was not to be.
Serena choked or at the very least appeared to.
She was not at her best, seemingly sluggish throughout the match. Her customary speed deserted her. Her Italian opponent was on song, storming back in the final two sets to make her first ever Grand Slam final.
To answer the question again, one has to check Williams’ record in Grand Slam tournaments.
What we need to know are the instances when Serena has lost in Grand Slams when she was doing well and expected to go all the way.
There are always giant-killers, there will always be giant-killers in any sport. That is the beauty and unpredictability of it. An underdog comes in and knocks out a fancied opponent. But it is rare that the unheralded player goes on to overcome every obstacle in his or her path. That kind of consistency is not to be suddenly expected from , say, a rank qualifier or wildcard unless their names are Goran Ivanisevic or Kim Clijsters.
That said, let’s look at Serena’s record in Slams specifically the instances when she lost out after making it past the first 7-8 days of the tournament.
Let’s look at her record when she has lost in quarter-finals, semis and finals after putting in all the hard yards to get that far.
Serena has an awesome record in Grand Slam finals: 21-4. Her record in women’s doubles is even more terrifying to her opponents: 13-0. Her four losses in singles finals have come against three opponents: her sister, Venus (2), Maria Sharapova and Samantha Stosur. Her mixed doubles record is 2-2; this was in the early part of her career before the 2000s.
Serena has appeared in 61 Slams with a winning percentage of 34%.
Steffi Graf has 22 singles titles in 56 appearances including qualifiers with a win percentage of 39%.
Margaret Court who holds the all-time record of 24 titles in 47 appearances with a win percentage of an astonishing 51% i.e. she won more than half of all the Grand Slams she played. Add to that 19 women’s doubles and 21 mixed doubles titles and you will just begin to comprehend her dominance of the game in her era.
Nowadays, Court is more known for her strong views on homosexuality and same-sex marriage in her role as founder-minister of a Pentecostal church called the Victory Life Centre. Court was raised a Roman Catholic but converted to Pentecostalism in the 70s.
Court states that she does not hate the LGBT community and welcomes them to be members of her congregation.
Serena has made the quarter-finals or better 42 times, winning 21 thus equally likely to clinch the title or (somewhat) lose her way.
The table below chronologically lists Serena’s career losses in Grand Slams—quarter-finals and better.
|Tournament||Serena’s Ranking||Stage of Tournament||Opponent||Opponent’s Ranking||Eventual Winner|
|Wimbledon 2000||8||Semis||Venus Williams||5||Venus Williams|
|US Open 2000||5||Quarters||Lindsay Davenport||2||Venus Williams|
|Australian Open 2001||6||Quarters||Martina Hingis||1||Jennifer Capriati|
|French Open 2001||6||Quarters||Martina Hingis||1||Jennifer Capriati|
|Wimbledon 2001||5||Quarters||Jennifer Capriati||4||Venus Williams|
|US Open 2001||7||Final||Venus Williams||4||Venus Williams|
|French Open 2003||1||Semis||Justine Henin||4||Justine Henin|
|French Open 2004:||2||Quarters||Jennifer Capriati||7||Anastasia Myskina|
|Wimbledon 2004||1||Final||Maria Sharapova||13||Maria Sharapova|
|US Open 2004||3||Quarters||Jennifer Capriati||8||Svetlana Kuznetsova|
|French Open 2007||8||Quarters||Justine Henin||1||Justine Henin|
|Wimbledon 2007||7||Quarters||Justine Henin||1||Venus Williams|
|US Open 2007||8||Quarters||Justine Henin||1||Justine Henin|
|Australian Open 2008||7||Quarters||Jelena Jankovic||3||Maria Sharapova|
|Wimbledon 2008||6||Final||Venus Williams||7||Venus Williams|
|French Open 2009||2||Quarters||Svetlana Kuznetsova||7||Svetlana Kuznetsova|
|US Open 2009||2||Semis||Kim Clijsters||19||Kim Clijsters|
|French Open 2010||1||Quarters||Samantha Stosur||7||Francesca Schiavone|
|US Open 2011||28||Final||Samantha Stosur||9||Samantha Stosur|
|Australian Open 2013||3||Quarters||Sloane Stephens||29||Victoria Azarenka|
|US Open 2015||1||Semis||Roberta Vinci||43||Flavia Pennetta|
The statistics in the above table show that Serena has lost to an opponent who was ranked lower than her and not the eventual winner a total of just 5 times.
That’s 5 out of 21. It’s less than a 25% chance that Serena will lose crunch games to players ranked lower than her and not red-hot coming into the tournament and continuing that streak.
The players she lost to? Jennifer Capriati (2), Samantha Stosur, Sloane Stephens and Roberta Vinci.
Despite appearances, Serena is a model of consistency when it comes to performing at Grand Slam tournaments.
Her latest loss notwithstanding, Serena is difficult to get away from when she’s on song and at the top of her game.
Serena is a champion among champions.
Kim Clijsters came into the tournament unseeded on a wild card after coming out of retirement. She went on to win the first Grand Slam of her career. The win lifted her ranking to 19.
Marin Cilic is in the semis of the US Open once more.
Last year, he won his maiden Slam knocking out Asian hope Kei Nishikori in the process under the watchful eye and tutelage of his countryman Goran Ivanisevic.
Tennis fans all remember Goran not just for his histrionics on court, his big booming serves but also for the fairy-tale ending to his career where he won his first and only Grand Slam at Wimbledon in 2001 after succumbing at his earlier two final appearances at the sport’s Mecca.
Cilic has been plagued with a shoulder injury this season. He missed out on the Australian Open and has had indifferent results—by his newly exalted standards—losing in the fourth round and quarter-finals at the French Open and Wimbledon respectively.
The Croat has flown under the radar at his Grand Slam homecoming in New York.
It’s always difficult returning from an injury.
No one knows that better than Cilic’s coach, Ivanisevic, who was unseeded at his maiden Grand Slam triumph, only playing with the benefit of a wild card.
But it’s Del Potro, another US Open winner, that similarities can be drawn with.
The 2009 US Open champion first suffered a left wrist injury in 2010.
He returned only after a nine-month break.
He was back to his best only in 2012 ending the year ranked No.7. He returned to the top 5 in 2013.
The recurrence of his wrist injury saw him missing out most of the 2014 season.
He returned briefly in 2015 but withdrew from the Australian Open with the injury flaring up again.
He has been operated since and is now rehabilitating.
Can Marin Cilic break the hoodoo?
Since 2003, except for Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer, no US Open champion has returned to claim the title.
The title has not been defended successfully since 2008 when Federer won the last of his US Open titles.
The singletons in the club—in terms of US Open titles in the modern era—include the likes of Arthur Ashe, Stan Smith,Ilie Năstase,Manuel Orantes, Guillermo Vilas,Mats Wilander,Boris Becker,Marat Safin,Lleyton Hewitt, Andy Roddick, Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic.
Cilic takes on a formidable foe in Novak in the semis. It could be either Federer or Wawrinka in the final. Interestingly, all the semi-finalists have at least one Slam to their credit. Wawrinka is the only one without a US Open title.
A trivial bit of trivia about Cilic is that he is yet to clinch an ATP 500 or Masters title.
It’s going to be a slug-fest. Sit back and enjoy the fireworks.
Is Stan Wawrinka on the verge of yet another Grand Slam title?
The Swiss No. 2 just gets luckier and luckier.
This time, it’s Andy Murray, his prospective quarter-final opponent, who lost his legs against a fitter, smoother South African Kevin Anderson.
Wawrinka faces a much easier adversary in him.
Roger Federer is expected to be his antagonist in the semis should he get past the latest version of Richard Gasquet as the 17-time-champion quizzically put it.
This semi-final could be anyone’s. I give the edge to the younger man.
Novak Djokovic takes on on last year’s winner Marin Cilic in the other semi-final.
Should Djokovic win, he should be odds-on favourite to clinch another Grand Slam and repeat the kind of success he had in 2011.
Should Cilic win , Wawrinka would have a much better chance of winning the third Slam of his charmed, revived career.
Can he? Will he? The tennis Gods will let us know—very soon indeed.
Nick Kyrgios is young and stupid.
He’s an ass.
A sorry ass but nevertheless an ass.
A sledge went awry and suddenly the bad boy of Australian tennis is the scourge of the gallant game.
Australian cricketers, perhaps, could teach the young man the intricacies of gamesmanship.
“Nick, don’t indulge in sledging with your front to the camera specifically with your voice audible to the on-court microphone. We could have easily told you that, mate!”
The insult was grave; it also needlessly involved a third party and a fourth, both of whom had very little to do with the battle in the center.
Kyrgios dragged Wawrinka’s current girlfriend Croatian Donna Vekic and Nick’s compatriot and doubles partner Thanasi Kokkinakis into a sordid war of words.
Wawrinka recently separated from his wife and is now dating Vekic.
Vekic is a younger, blonder version of Maria Sharapova or Caroline Wozniacki or both or so the marketing geniuses at the WTA would have us believe.
She’s currently ranked 127th in the world.
Stan, the Man, was quick to respond to the hothead’s slurs taking to Twitter calling for swift action from the ATP.
The Swiss star revealed that he later confronted the Aussie in the locker room.
“He tried to avoid me, but I confronted him. I just hope that the ATP will take big measures against him because he’s young maybe, but there’s no excuse. Every match he has problems. Every match he behaves very badly. On top of that the problem is that he doesn’t just behave badly towards himself he behaves very badly towards the people around: the other players, the ball kids, the umpires. I really hope the ATP will take major action against him this time.”
Kokkinakkis was linked to Vekic in 2013 but has laughed off any such rumours of them being a pair except on court.
Thanasi Kokkinakis (@TKokkinakis) April 28, 2013
Kyrgios was fined $10,000 for his remark by the ATP.
This is the highest fine allowed for an offense for bad behaviour while playing.
Novak Djokovic reacted:
“I think it is very important to keep the fairness in the sport. There is no excuse for what he has said.”
Kyrgios posted an apology on Facebook for his fans:
Members of the Kyrgios family have not made it easy for their starling.
Nill Kyrgios, Nick’s mother, speaking to Fairfax Media, said:
“It’s not a nice thing to say, it’s not, but you can’t always cop it on the chin from other people without retaliating. If you give people lip then you’ve got to receive some back. You know that Stan did say that Nick was faking an injury last time they played and Nick was actually very sick (with asthma). So there was no love lost there to start with. We let it go, we didn’t comment on Stan’s comment. That’s still in Nick’s head, so the minute that Stan starts giving Nick cheek, what do you think will happen? He’ll say whatever comes to his mind that will upset the guy.”
The Greek-Australian’s elder brother Christos was dumped from an interview with Sydney radio station Triple M.
Christos continued to make derogatory remarks about Wawrinka’s love interest Vekic.
The sibling appears to have said that Vekic “loved the ‘kokk’”.
Christos then went onto Facebook to update his online pals.
The Sydney Morning Herald reports:
“‘So just did a media interview for nick. Said Donna obviously loved the ‘kokk’ they cut my interview and said its the worst thing they have ever heard on air. Ah cheers.”
Friends posted messages laughing at his comment, before Christos responded:
‘Hahahah f**k me who cares if the women likes a root – good on her, jump on the Kokk then on the stanimal IDC!! All I know it Nicholas Hilmy Kyrgios the king fried his ass.’”
In other reports, it is discovered that Kygrios delivered another barb at Wawrinka during the Rogers Cup match that he won.
He added another innuendo saying:
“He’s banging a nineteen-year-old.”
Much as we would all like to believe that these Kyrgios reprehensible actions are aberrations and there will be no such repetition of such obnoxious behaviour or attitude on-court or off, it is hard to believe that the young Australian can be reined in without an older, calming influence on him.
It is also clear that such a service can hardly be expected from his emotional family members who clamber on the train wreck that is Nick Kyrgios at full throttle.
It’s true that family is expected to stand together. But there has to be a line drawn at atrocious behaviour. While the Kygrios contingent is right to point out the history behind the provocation, Nick had no right to embroil Vekic or Thanasi in the drama. His mother and brother may be emotionally and financially invested in Nick’s success or failure in the sport but that does not allow them to dictate terms to the ATP or tennis fans.
Kyrgios was right to issue an apology and pay his fine. No further defense or excuses are needed. Social media fury is short-lived. The Australian has a glittering future awaiting him if he grabs his chances.
Lleyton Hewitt is believed to be mentoring the excitable talent. But is he the best person for the job? Hewitt himself was and is an atypical Aussie believed to be too intense and too much of a scrapper on court.
The question then is:
Who’ll bell the cat?
Every time he makes a Grand Slam final nowadays, his fans go wild with delirium believing that an 18th Grand Slam is inevitable. Yet, the man comes up short. In 2014, it was Djokovic in five sets at Wimbledon.
This year, it was the Serbian again in four sets.
The Swiss last won a Grand Slam in 2012, beating Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray in succession to clinch the title. It was also the year he was last ranked No. 1.
It is this ability to clinch Slams that has eroded over the years. The 17-time-champion no longer can produce the tennis required to beat the rest of the Big Four when it matters, where it matters, in successive best-of-five encounters.
This is unlikely to change as age catches up with one the modern greats of the game.
That is the bad news.
The good news is that he is not the only one suffering a loss in invincibility.
Nadal ceded his domination over the French Open this year losing to Djokovic who in turn surrendered his chance at a Career Slam by losing to Fedex’s fellow countryman Stanislas Wawrinka in the final.
That is the other piece of good news. Novak, if Roger can’t beat you, Wawrinka surely must.
Murray is not quite among the invincibles. Yet, he is a potent force on the comeback trail.
For Roger to win another Slam, the draw must be favorable enough to have him encounter just one of the above three at any stage in the tournament and preferably not the Djoker.
This is the blueprint for (immediately) imminent Grand Slam success for the Original Man.
I thought I was going to be writing an article on whether Career Grand Slams have become de rigueur in the current age of tennis or we are blessed to have three to four outstanding players converge on the sport in the same era.
It was not to be.
Stanislas Wawrinka (va-vreeng-kah) had other thoughts.
The Swiss No. 2 (he’ll probably be No. 1 this week) defeated the World No. 1 Novak Djokovic in four sets on a Sunday afternoon in Paris.
He is no longer a one-Slam wonder.
Aficionados might have cribbed that his first Slam, the Australian Open in 2014, was handed him on a platter. A favourable draw and an injured Nadal were the variables that worked to his advantage.
But very few can begrudge him his second Slam. Djokovic may not have had enough time to recover from a grueling semi-final. But the Swiss had to fight hard to get to the finals, ousting his idol Federer on the way.
Wawrinka recently ended his marriage to Swiss TV presenter Ilham Vuilloud.
“We have enjoyed ten fulfilling years, with all the ups and downs that every couple experiences, but sometimes life is more challenging than one would hope.
Ilham and I were both blessed to create a family when our wonderful daughter Alexia was born in 2010. We have always tried to live our lives as a team and as a family, despite the challenges we have faced due to the demands of my career. To my great regret this isn’t possible anymore.
Ilham will always be the mother of my daughter and a person that I have a lot of love and respect for. We will always remain as a family. Now my priority is to do everything to protect Alexia during these challenging times.
I hope that the fans and the media will understand that I’ve always been very protective of my private life and wish to continue to do so not giving any further information about the situation.”
Nice guys do not have to always finish last.
IPL 2015 is finished, over, done with. The champions have been crowned. The champions are Mumbai Indians.
Three teams have now won the IPL twice. Chennai Superkings (of course), Kolkata Knightriders and Mumbai Indians. The other winners are Rajasthan Royals and Deccan Chargers (now defunct).
Is Rohit Sharma, on the basis of IPL results, a better skipper than Virat Kohli? Has captaincy led to a new-found maturity in the cavalier—yet immensely talented—Mumbai batter? Is Sharma a better candidate to lead the Indian Test side?
Recall that Saurav Ganguly was appointed skipper only after Sachin Tendulkar refused the crown of thorns for the second (and final) time. The rest, as they say, is history.
Meanwhile, the French Open beckons with a tantalising glimpse of possibly history in the making.
Can Novak Djokovic become only the fourth man in the Open era to claim a career Grand Slam?
For once, Nadal does not ride into Paris as the overwhelming favourite on his favoured surface—clay.
The Mallorcan has feet of (well, you said it, not me) clay.
In the women’s draw, the top two contenders are Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova. Both have claimed career Grand Slams and Sharapova—interestingly—has two French Open titles; it is her least liked surface.
(My cable operator is not televising the French Open; it is not among the default options offered. So I guess I’ll be following it mainly via the net or the print media.)