John Isner Not Stressed About His Slow Start in 2019

John Isner entered the New York Open tournament earlier this week without a win for the season. That actually isn’t all that bad when you look at the recent history in the sport. As a top-ranked tennis player from the United States, John Isner had an awful start at the beginning of 2018. He only recorded one match win in a singles tournament during the first two and a half months of the year. He only managed 1-6 before making his way to the Miami Open that took place in March.

John Isner’s Career in 2019

Things certainly turned around for Isner at the Miami Open in March 2018. He managed to win the event, the biggest title in his entire tennis career. His performance at the Miami Open propelled him to his best year. He managed to qualify for the ATP World Tour Finals, obtained a career-high ranking of number 8, and finished the year with a world ranking of number 10.

Despite the extremely slow start in 2019, Isner is in a position that he never thought would be possible ten years ago, when he was only a graduate at the University of Georgia. He is very close to 34 years of age, but he says that he has never been healthier. He receives his inspiration from Roger Federer who is currently 37 years old. The stability that is being provided by his new role as father and husband has assisted Isner to overcome the tendency to obsess over unsatisfactory results and to lose focus.

Isner lost during the first round of the New York Open in 2018 to 91st ranked Radu Albot. He will certainly face more pressure this time around but refuses to let it get to him. “Perhaps if I was younger, it would be completely different,” Isner stated. “However, I am well aware that everyone will lose and gain points. There’s a very good chance that I will lose points during the Miami Open unless I somehow win it again. However, everyone’s tennis ranking fluctuates year on year, even for Novak Djokovic who was ranked at number 18 during 2018. This is bound to happen to me too in 2019.”

Tournament Consistency

Isner stated that he is unable to place his finger on why he cannot get off to a more ideal start in the last couple of years. However, he was very philosophical with regards to fluctuations in his tennis rankings. He managed to learn that with his shutdown game and quick-strike, frustration can transform into triumph as fast as his deadly serve. He is essentially a shrewd judge of his own weaknesses and strengths. Isner knows full well that he’ll have more than enough opportunities to improve his overall ranking if he is more consistent from tournament to tournament. He simply needs to shine at Wimbledon and the US Open to succeed.

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The New Davis Cup Format

The drastically restructured Davis Cup tournament was launched a week ago. In most people’s eyes, it had one noticeable flaw: It wasn’t the Davis Cup that we’ve all come to love. That’s not much of a shortcoming when you consider that the competition, which is 118 years old, is finished. Unfortunately, it will never be revived even if Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos take an interest in it. It’s time to move on, even though it’s rather difficult for most who are still clinging on to the memories of past ties.

Davis Cup 2.0

Only hours before the competition started last week, Lleyton Hewitt, who was already in a pre-tie lockdown with the squad from Australia in Bosnia-Herzegovina, started fuming over the changes made to the format of the Davis Cup. He referred to it as “absolutely ridiculous.”

However, there he was, in traditional gold and green Aussie colours preparing his team to join in on making history while the brand-new Davis Cup was preparing to lift off. Fortunately, it was a huge success for Hewitt and his team who led the Australian team into the 18-team World Group who will participate in the final taking place in Madrid in November. Apart from Australia, Italy, Serbia, Germany, and Sweden were also able to qualify. However, Sweden was unable to advance.

Although the traditional teams still regretted the makeover, the ties over the weekend were still competitive and satisfying. In addition, they managed to produce the beloved and familiar Davis Cup atmospherics. Those that manufacture multi-coloured wigs, whistles, and drums don’t need to fear a recession within their industry at all.

The old format of the Davis Cup was loved by all due to the fact that the nationalistic subtext produced a unique way where underdogs could become superhuman features. This includes John Isner who managed to upset Roger Federer on clay more than seven years ago. It’s definitely a story that Isner will continue telling until his last breath. Thankfully, the competition managed to provide a handful of those cherished heroes overnight.

Santiago Giraldo

Santiago Giraldo is a perfect example. He is the most successful singles player from Columbia, but he hasn’t managed to win anything as of yet. Columbia has been extremely close to qualifying for the World Group a total of 6 times only to stall at the end. However, in this Davis Cup competition, which is the 51st in 2019, the Columbian team managed to claim victory at home while playing against Sweden. Giraldo, who is playing as number 2, managed to win both his singles matches.

On the other hand, Felix Auger-Alainssime from Canada managed to withstand road game pressures as he clinched a vital fifth rubber while playing against Nobert Gombos from Slovakia. Both these victories resonate far more than before as both Canada and Columbia usually made it to the playoffs but could never get past the knockout stages of the World Group first-round. This time around they’ve managed to advance to the finals that will take place in Madrid.

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Can Novak Djokovic Be Considered for the GOAT?

When we look back at the 2019 Australian Open in a couple of years, we will mostly remember that it marked the place and time at which Novak Djokovic managed to rekindle the debate for the greatest player of all time.

Djokovic’s victory against Rafael Nadal in the final on Sunday earned him his 15th Grand Slam title, placing him just two behind Rafael Nadal and ahead of Pete Sampras. He is also only five titles behind Roger Federer who currently boasts with 20 Grand Slam titles.

Novak Djokovic as the GOAT

Considering his excellent health, age, his obsession for clean living and his healthy appetite for domination, it’s quite impossible to escape the fact that he can now be considered for GOAT honours. Djokovic has managed to win three consecutive majors since his resurgence a year ago.

“I am absolutely speechless,” Djokovic stated to the crowd at Melbourne after he defeated Rafael. Fans and pundits, most of whom were expecting a 5 hour plus battle on the blue floor at Rod Laver Arena, couldn’t believe how amazing Djokovic played against Nadal.

Nadal, who essentially didn’t compete for more than five months, only had one caveat to hold onto while giving full credit to Djokovic for playing a phenomenal game: “Facing such a big challenge, I required something else to successfully compete at such an elite level. However, its something that I do not have as of yet.”

It’s a valid point. However, its far more likely that Novak Djokovic, following a mid-career crisis due to an elbow injury and private issues, is playing better than ever. He has managed to recover his game as well as his focus. He is also placing a sizable amount of daylight between him and his rivals due to the fact that his fitness and age are increasingly affecting his games with them.

At 32 years old, Nadal is only a year older than Novak Djokovic which isn’t much, to be honest. However, there’s no denying that Nadal’s career is far more difficult. He has a lot more miles on the clock and his body needs more than just a simple routine check. On the other hand, Federer is in fantastic shape. However, he is already 37 years old.

Djokovic vs Nadal

This victory managed to boost Djokovic’s record against Rafael Nadal to 28-25. This record has some incredible aspects that have to be sobering for each of his rivals. The 28th victory over Nadal is considered the most wins by one pro against another. Djokovic also boasts with a 13-3 record against Nadal on every tennis surface imaginable since Rafael Nadal managed to beat him in the 2013 US Open final.

Djokovic spoke quite highly about Nadal after his win stating, “I’m quite positive that we still have loads of matches to look forward to against each other on various surfaces. I sincerely hope we will as this rivalry has been quite significant for more.”

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Novak Djokovic to Face Rafael Nadal in the Final of the 2019 Australian Open

On Friday, Novak Djokovic continued his quest to claim his seventh crown in the Australian Open after defeating Lucas Pouille to advance to the final where he will face his ultimate rival, Rafael Nadal. The world number 1 provided a flawless display at the Rod Laver Arena who has managed to move into a first decider in Melbourne since 2016.

“It’s without a doubt one of the best matches that I have played on this court,” stated Djokovic, who managed to hit a total of 24 winners and only had five unforced errors. “Everything worked out exactly how I imagined it would prior to the match.

“It’s an upsetting time for Lucas, but thankfully he had a phenomenal tournament, and I sincerely wish him all the best for the remainder of the season,” he added. Novak Djokovic, unfortunately, lost during the fourth round of the tournament in 2018, followed by a poor form and elbow surgery until he managed to win at Wimbledon and turn everything around.

“It was impossible to imagine that I would be where I am today 12 months ago,” stated Djokovic. However, as I stated before, I will continue to have loads of self-belief which I think is something that manages to always prevail.”

The Australian Open Final

Novak Djokovic will now need to face Rafael Nadal in the Australian Open final. The two world-renowned tennis players have met a total of 53 times on court and eight times during a Grand Slam final. In 2012, they delivered the longest final in the history of Grand Slams when it comes to time played at the Australian Open. Novak Djokovic managed to edge a thrilling battle during the fifth set after playing for 5 hours and 53 minutes.

During Djokovic’s 34th semi-final in the Grand Slam, he took a mere 83 minutes to defeat Lucas Pouille who made his debut at the Australian Open this year. Pouille is also Djokovic’s regular practice partner.

The 14-time title winner of the Grand Slam was quite fresh after winning the quarter-final this year as his opponent, Kei Nishikori, was forced to quit after only playing 51 minutes. During the semi-final against Pouille, Djokovic managed to dish out an awful 6-0 bagel during the first set which only took 21 minutes. Pouille managed to hold his first ever service game during the second set which was met with a massive ovation from fans at centre court. However, Djokovic was a picture of precision on both return and serve and didn’t allow Pouille to make a comeback at all.

Djokovic vs. Nadal

Rafael Nadal currently holds an incredible 3-4 loss-win record against Novak Djokovic in the finals of the Grand Slam which includes all three meetings since their marathon at Melbourne Park seven years ago. Both tennis players will be chasing a milestone on Sunday too.

If Nadal wins, he will be the first player to win all Grand Slam titles twice, while a win for Djokovic will provide his 7th title which places him above Emerson and Federer.

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Serena’s Dominance at the Australian Open

Serena Williams has only spent an hour and 59 minutes on center court during the Australian Open’s first two rounds. During the first round against Tatjana Maria, she spent a total of 49 minutes on center court, and during the second round against Eugenie Bouchard, she spent a total of 70 minutes on center court. The seven-time Australian Open champion has only faced three break points and has yet to drop a set, winning 81% of her first serves.

While Simona Halep, the current world number 1, is spending her news conferences after the match discussing how difficult it is to recover from two hour long matches, Williams is spending very little time discussing tennis at all which is primarily due to the fact that she hasn’t played a lot of tennis in this tournament, to begin with.

Serena Williams at the Australian Open

Williams commented that during the day, she has chosen to reply to emails in relation to her next collection adding, “I was playing a match this evening which meant I wouldn’t spend a lot of time with my daughter as I won’t be able to see her this evening,” Williams stated, following her second match victory. During the news conference, Williams also stated on the type of boss she is, including involved, hands-on, and opinionated but very open to suggestions. She truly believes that she can do it all and believes motherhood has managed to teach her how to delegate.

When reporters asked her about her next opponent, Williams simply replied stating: “This is a job for Patrick to inform me all about her. I will take my next opponent very seriously as she is here to win. It’s the only reason she got this far in the tournament.”

Yastremska was the highest seed that Williams had to face in the Australian Open so far, and the fact that she is speeding through her matches is far less headline worthy. Instead, she is giving the media what they want, a tennis player that is here to win. However, watching her dominancy during the second round over a player that most believed would be able to beat Williams was a reminder of something completely different: how remarkable Williams has been over her two decade reign, even against others that are as brilliant as Eugenie Bouchard.

Eugenie Bouchard

Five years ago, Eugenie Bouchard was considered the best in tennis. During her 2014 season, Bouchard made the semifinal in both the French Open and Australian Open as well as the Wimbledon final. She managed to land sponsorship deals and magazine covers and was regarded as the next big superstar in tennis. However, due to struggling from injuries, as well as a lack of motivation, she hasn’t been able to see a semi-final in the Slam since. However, she’s not alone either.

The list of next-big-things, former number 1’s, and Grand Slam champions have all been forgotten while Williams continues to dominate the sport.

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Andy Murray Is Set To Retire in 2019

Andy Murray struggled, but eventually suffered an unexpected first-round exit on what might be his final appearance at the world-renowned Australian Open after his defeat at the hands of Roberto Bautista Agut on Monday in Melbourne.


Andy Murray, the three-time Grand Slam winner, who recently announced his plans to retire from tennis this season due to an 18-month battle with his hip, was struggling during his match against Bautista Agut but managed to rally and save the match by claiming tiebreaks in both the third and fourth sets.


When the match approached the 4-hour mark, Bautista Agut managed to secure consecutive breaks in the decider to claim a dominant 5-1 lead. Andy Murray enjoyed a standing ovation when he came out to serve which was possibly the last time in his career. He then managed to save a match point before holding an ace. However, there was no way back for the three-time Grand Slam winner this time, as Agut claimed the next 4 points to enjoy a phenomenal victory.


Chatting after the match on court, Murray didn’t state that he would be retiring which indicated that he might have another hip surgery to further prolong his tennis career.


“I’ve certainly loved playing in the Australian Open over the years,” Murray stated. “If this is indeed my last match, it’s an incredible way to end. I gave it my all but unfortunately, it wasn’t good enough this evening, so congratulations to Bautista Agut.


“Perhaps I’ll see him again. I’ll definitely do everything I can to try. If I want to continue playing, I will need to have a huge operation which doesn’t offer any guarantees that will allow me to come back. However, I’ll do my best.”


Andy Murray’s Final Match


Andy Murray, a finalist in the Australian Open for a total of five times, came under pressure during the fifth game. However, it took Bautista Agut nine games during the first set to finally break him. Murray couldn’t convert 2 breakpoint possibilities during the second set and looked like he was struggling. Even though he maintained competitiveness, Murray started hobbling between points as Agut managed to break again during the fifth game.


Murray managed to continue serving well, finishing the game with a total of 19 aces. However, he suffered even more pressure at 4-4 during the third. During the fourth set, Murray had to fight hard to hold his position, producing his best gameplay of the match. However, during the fifth set, you could see it was Murray’s final stand while the crowd stood up to honour his effort as he said goodbye to the world of tennis at the Australian Open.


Even though this is the first exit from Murray during the first round of a tennis major since the Australian Open in 2008, it was the very first time he managed to play for more than 4 hours since the French Open semi-finals in 2017.

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As 2019 Begins, Wawrinka, Murray, and Nadal Struggle To Make Progress


Stan Wawrinka, Andy Murray, and Rafael Nadal are preparing to challenge Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic in 2019. However, even through their ambitions aren’t being compromised, there bodies definitely are.

All three tennis stars dealt with major injuries that reduced their effectiveness and playing time in 2018. Rafael Nadal, who was ranked number 1 for most of 2018, managed to hit phenomenal high notes. However, his year was severely compromised when he retired in both the US Open and the Australian Open.

The return of a replenished Wawrinka and half the Big Four should be a cause for celebration. However, so far, tennis enthusiasts have had to settle for cautiously articulated hopes and sober injury updates.

Rafael Nadal in 2019

“I started again 2 weeks ago and will be taking small steps in 2019.” Nadal informed reporters at the World Tennis Championship in Mubadala, a prestigious exhibition situated in Abu Dhabi, a couple of days ago. “I’m ensuring that I move forward as oppose to taking a few steps back this year. I am well aware that I have enough time to be on 100% in Melbourne.”

Nadal was defeated by Kevin Anderson during his debut in Abu Dhabi and then retired from the third-place match.

“I wish to do everything step by step,” Nadal stated. “I managed to spend more time on the court that I realized.”

The defeat means very little on the surface. However, the match lasted less than two hours which is nothing compared to the battle he will face in Melbourne. Rafael Nadal is a prudent man, but might be stumbling on the side of caution. On the other hand, his punishing style and age (32) as a pro for the last decade is finally catching up.

Melbourne has never been a pleasure for Nadal which is a pattern that began long before Roger Federer defeated him in the final at the beginning of 2017. The least productive major for Nadal is undoubtably the Australian Open even though he managed to play some of the best matches there.

Andy Murray in 2019

Murray might have more to be concerned about in 2019 due to the nature of his injury. Any hopes that the tennis star had for a quick and full recovery after undergoing a hip surgery was quickly lost last summer and he hasn’t made a lot of progress since either.

“There’s still loads of pain in my hip. However, I need to play a few matches to see how it feels. Once I can play around 5 matches in a row, we will see what the future holds,” Murray told several reporters as he started preparing for his debit in 2019 at Brisbane. “I merely want to get through my tournaments and compete without being restricted by my hip.”

Murray started his comeback in mid-2018 but ended his run in September where he finished 7-5 for the year. He is currently ranked 256 in the world.

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Why Final-Set Tiebreakers in Tennis Are a Problem and a Solution


The decision from Tennis Australia to go with a tie-breaker of 10 points at the start of the Australian Open in 2019 is very innovative. However, it impairs an already amazing lack of consistency among the tournaments in the Grand Slam. It also makes the scoring system more confusing to tennis fans that don’t watch on a constant basis.

The 10-point system, also referred to as the ‘Super-Tiebreaker’, is nearly identical to the 7-point system which is currently used to determine a set when matches reach 6-all. It’s also used during a third-set in doubles when it comes to matches in the ATP World Tour. The only difference is that the overall winner is required to reach 10 points as opposed to 7 points by a margin of 2.

Tennis Australia’s Decision

Tennis Australia, in a statement, splendidly declared that their decision was made following one of the most extensive consultations in the history of the tournament with officials, analysts, agents, and players. Is the confusion created behind this decision worth the difference it will have on the court or are the Aussies simply trying to reclaim the high ground they so cherish?

In the statement, Craig Tiley, the tournament director of the Australian Open, stated: “We decided on the 10-point tiebreak system at 6 games all during the final set, ensuring fans will still be able to get a phenomenal finale to these frequent epic events, with the longer tiebreaker still providing that one final change or twist of momentum at the end of the tournament. The extended tiebreaker will also assist in lessening the serving dominance that prevails during the shorter tiebreak.”

Well, if the target is to provide a final twist in the tournament, why not increase it to a 12 or 14-point tiebreaker? There’s actually no end to this. The tiebreaker itself is the last twist to end the match. However, the larger problem is there is no consistency when you look at the Grand Slams.

The French Open and US Open

The only major where the final set is still played until one player wins by 2 games is the French Open. The US Open has managed to use the 7-point tiebreaker for decades when the final set produces 6-all. In October earlier this year, Wimbledon stated that they will start using the 7-point tiebreaker during the final sets in 2019. However, this will only occur when the score manages to reach 12-all in matches.

Although the French Open clay courts are conducive to long matches and rallies, the soft surface doesn’t punish a player’s joints when compared to the hard courts and it also doesn’t need as much bending and lunging as grass. Paris weather is also quite cool which is another plus. There hasn’t been any outcry in Paris for a longer final-set tiebreaker either. The players seem quite content with the US Open tiebreaker but that’s only because they had time to get used to it over the years.

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The Best Male Tennis Players for 2018


The 2018 season of tennis concluded a couple of days ago when Novak Djokovic was defeated by Alexander Zverev in London to claim a win at the ATP World Tour Finals. The 2018 season had everything, with loads of entertaining matches. The Big 3 managed to assert their dominance during the Grand Slams, a couple of unexpected tennis players climbed the ranks, and a couple of big players managed to fall further than we expected.

While the Australian Open was won by Roger Federer at the start of 2018, the French Open was won by Rafael Nadal, at the US Open and Wimbledon titles was claimed by Novak Djokovic. This allowed Djokovic to finish in the number 1 position for 2018 even though he was ranked as 22nd overall in June. Let’s take a look at the best tennis players for 2018.

Novak Djokovic

After an awful first half of the 2018 season, no one anticipated that Djokovic would be able to qualify for the World Tour Finals. He lost against Chung in the fourth round of the Australian Open and during the quarters by Cechinato in the French Open along with many other shocks by lower ranked players. However, he managed to turn things around during the second half of the year, claiming his third Wimbledon title and the Cincinnati Open. He also won the Shanghai Masters and the Paris Masters.

Rafael Nadal

Even though he missed all the tournaments following the US Open, Nadal is still ranked the second best player in the world. This is due to winning his eleventh French Open, the Barcelona title, and two Masters titles in Rome and Monte-Carlo. He managed to hold onto the number one title for most of the year until Djokovic defeated him during the Wimbledon Championships.

Roger Federer

Although he hasn’t been on top form for most of the year, Federer still managed to claim 4 titles which included one Grand Slam. He started the year by claiming the Australian Open and winning at Rotterdam, providing the number 1 spot once again. However, he soon lost this title during the Indian Wells as well as Miami. He was also shocked during the Wimbledon quarters and again in the US Open fourth round against John Millman.

Juan Martin del Potro

It’s quite unfortunate that del Porto had to sit out during the World Tour Finals as he recovered from an injury. We believe the tournament would have been quite different if he participated. He still had a phenomenal year as he reached the French Open semi-finals and the Wimbledon quarterfinals. He also managed to reach the final during the US Open only to be defeated by Djokovic.

Alexander Zverev

This exceptional German managed to continue his incredible run from 2017. However, he wanted to perform much better during the Grand Slams in 2018. His best result was during the French Open when he reached the quarterfinals. He also performed quite well during the 500s and Masters.

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Simona Halep Becomes Major Champion During French Open


Some tennis champions are transformed by pressure. They see, move, and think differently. One tennis player that reacts in this way is Sloane Stephens. When she entered the French Open, she had a record of 6-0 in her final matches. During September of last year, she managed to win the U.S Open. There’s no denying that pressure lights her up. The bigger the stadium, the quicker she is on her feet and the brighter her smile becomes.

Simona Halep as a Tennis Player

Things are quite different when you look at Simona Halep. Before the French Open this year, Halep was leading the final of major tournaments a total of three times and managed to lose each of them. When she accepted the trophy at Roland Garros as the runner-up a year ago, she didn’t attempt to hide her devastation. Halep stated that she was sick to her stomach due to emotion and perhaps wasn’t ready to claim it just yet. Only a handful of players have managed to speak so honestly and openly about the struggle with self-doubt.

Despite her losses, she went up against Stephens in the final of the French Open on Saturday and was the clear favorite as she was ranked number 1 in the world. During the semi-finals, she managed to defeat Garbine Muguruza, the former Wimbledon and French Open champion, controlling points from the start of the game thanks to her deceptive power and superior movement. However, when she faced Stephens, she was skittish in the beginning. She was unable to get the ball past Stephens as her fluid footwork managed to carry her to each and every ball. The first set was taken by Stephens, and continued on a break to begin the second. However, Halep soon adjusted, smashing moon balls to disconnect Stephen’s rhythm and pacing forward during short shots. In fact, Halep managed to win 8 of 10 points while she was at the net. She also starting to realize that she could survive the extremely long shots.

Halep’s Endurance to Win the Major

Stephens is one of a handful of players can that rival the athleticism of Halep. However, she was unable to match the stamina of Halep. The forehand speed of Stephens started dropping, and the effectiveness in her serve was lost. Even her footwork started slowing down. On the other hand, Halep was starting to extend points that sometimes came with unworldly retrievals. An unbelievable 55 points in the game managed to last for 9 shots or more. Although the 1-6 score line may have looked one sided, it was certainly very competitive throughout.

Halep had quality in her movement as well as something in the way she managed to lift her feet off the ground during her finals match against Stephens. Once the match ended, several chants came from the crowd, cheering “Simona”. Her dream finally came true and she was absolutely thrilled with her first ever Major at the French Open.

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