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Roger Federer’s Return to Clay After 3 Years

When Roger Federer makes his way onto the court on Tuesday evening in Madrid, it will be the first time in three years he steps onto the clay. Restricted by injury to only five clay matches during 2016 and avoiding the clay surface entirely in 2018 and 2017 to primarily focus on Wimbledon, the tennis star, as well as his friends and family, is very excited.

Madrid Open

Madrid has welcomed the 20-time Grand Slam winner by rolling out the red carpet in the last couple of days. In a country that has primarily enjoyed the success of Rafael Nadal over the last decade, it’s the face of Federer that has been promoted across posters in the capital of Spain. When it was announced that the Miami Open would feature Roger Federer, ticket sales increased significantly.

Federer stated on Sunday that he is pleased to finally return to clay after avoiding the surface for most of the last three years. He was indecisive about his return to the clay court but is happy to make his return to the Madrid Open this time around. Federer doesn’t have any high expectations walking into the tournament, but he thinks that anything is possible. Madrid is known for its high altitude, and Federer is interested to see how far he will get in the prestigious tennis tournament.

Roger Federer only started practising on clay last month. The last time he played a match on clay was during the 2016 Italian Open where he lost against Dominic Thiem due to lingering injuries in the third round.

Roger Federer’s Return to Clay

Considering he claimed victory at Wimbledon in 2017, after he decided to skip the clay circuit while he reaped the benefit of resting while others tackled the dirt, Federer’s return is quite surprising. Taking a break from clay for three years certainly increases the risk of an injury, not to mention that the movement also takes some getting used to. However, even though Wimbledon is his number 1 goal, he has been planning his return to the clay circuit for quite some time.

Federer stated that he needs to be ready for long matches and long rallies which means he needs to work on his endurance more than anything else. He already started with endurance training back in December as he already knew that he would be playing on clay during 2019. He also stated that he put loads of hours in on clay before the Madrid Open as he needed to get used to sliding all over the place as that is something that is key to winning matches when it comes to the clay courts.

With absolutely no points to defend this time around, there’s no real pressure in Madrid for Roger Federer. That’s beside the pressure he places on himself, of course. Roger Federer is going to play against Richard Gasquet in his first match along with a quarterfinal match against Thiem.

Juan Martin del Porto Is Making Another Return

Juan Martin del Potro is going to be among us again very soon, bringing back those monstrous serves and forehands. This is unless something goes wrong before he returns, and in Del Porto’s case, the worst-case scenario is always a possibility.

The tennis star from Argentina is entering the Madrid Masters tournament that will take place between 5 May and 12 May 2019. Apart from the aborted comeback, he attempted to make in February; this will be considered the first tournament for the 6-foot master since October of 2018 where he fractured his knee.

Del Porto’s Injuries

In September of 2018, del Porto celebrated his 30th birthday. He has managed to outgrow most aspects of his early years when it comes to tennis, from his introvert fear when speaking to the public to his sleeveless shirts. However, del Porto still hadn’t gotten over his physical weaknesses that had constantly interrupted his career since that surprising evening that occurred in 2009 when he managed to overpower Roger Federer during the final of the US Open.

The victory against Roger Federer remains his one and only Grand Slam title. He could have claimed a handful of additional titles since, but his intimacy with rehab and surgery during his long career started just four months after his remarkable breakthrough.

Del Porto’s Tennis Career

When del Porto is fit and healthy, he is considered one of the most disruptive forces when it comes to tennis. He is regarded as someone that is more feared than fearful, and this is true to even the most elite players in the game. An ATP specialist has recently informed reporters that del Porto has the unique power to take the game into his own hands due to the immense power he has with his services along with his forehand, as well as his potent backhand when he needs it. He never beats himself and has every single weapon needed to defeat anyone on the court, regardless if its day or night.

Even the Big Four can confirm this report. Del Porto boasted with a two-set lead over Rafael Nadal during the US Open semi-finals in September before Nadal decided to retire from a knee problem. During the Olympics in 2012, del Porto lost a match to Federer during the semi-finals. However, he managed to defeat Djokovic to claim the bronze medal.

In recent years, del Porto managed to stop Federer in a 3-set thriller during the Indian Wells final in 2018. Although he is trailing Federer 18-7 in a series, he does have a 4-2 edge over the Swiss when it comes to finals.

Due to several injuries, del Porto hasn’t had the opportunity to impress everyone with his spectacular skills and abilities consistently. The tennis star is currently ranked in 9th position. However, if he makes a return and plays the way he ought to, he will quickly climb the ranks as one of the best players in the world, especially to challenge the big four.

Serena, Federer, and Nadal Questions That Will Assist in Shaping the Clay Season

The season of clay-courts will begin next week and will pick up steam as it travels across Europe in the upcoming weeks, concluding in the French Open towards the end of May, promising to be both unpredictable and intriguing.

This is due to the fact that the landscape in both the WTA and the ATP has changed considerably. For instance, who would have thought that neither Rafael Nadal, Naomi Osaka, Novak Djokovic, or Serena Williams wouldn’t be in the final for both the Miami Open or the Indian Wells in March?

Can Rafael Nadal Still Dominate This Year?

The answer to the question is a definite yes. He is considered the defending champion at the moment and has won the grandest clay event a total of 11 times at the French Open. He also owns the record for the most victories at the Masters 1000 tournaments, with a total of 33, due to the fact that the King of Clay has played consistently at the Master’s events each and every time. If Nadal is able to stay healthy, he will undoubtedly add to his title record, making it an even dozen victories at Roland Garros.

Will a Healthy Serena Williams Contend?

Serena Williams, who is currently 37 years old and still attempting to get traction after she returned from giving birth to her child, has faced illness and injury in all tournaments she participated in. She managed to roll her ankle while playing against Karolina Pliskova in the quarterfinal at the Australian Open which opened the door for a remarkable comeback victory over her rival. At the Indian Wells, she decided to retire during the second match and withdrew at the Miami Open after playing once. However, she’s back to full health at the moment, giving her the perfect opportunity to make a comeback at the French Open.

Will Roger Federer Return To Clay?

In late September, Roger Federer informed reporters that his primary motivation after he skipped the clay circuit in both 2018 and 2017 was his simplistic love of the sport. However, in March, the tennis superstar also informed reporters that skipping clay will not be beneficial over the long-term as he initially expected. He feels that a few baseline battles and hard training on clay might give him greater stead over the long term, that’s if he stays in good health.

Who boasts with the inside edge when it comes to the WTA?

The last week of play in WTA, that took place in North America, this week came equipped with 4 finalists, including Garbine Muguruza vs Victoria Azarenka and Caroline Wozniacki vs Madison Keys. Everyone except for Keys has been number 1 and claimed Grand Slam title victories. However, none of them has won a tournament as of yet in 2019. Muguruza and Keys eventually cracked the code. However, you can expect much of the same in the months yet to come.

Bianca Andreescu Wins Indian Wells Women’s Title

If Dominic Thiem required a clear reminder that anything is possible before his incredible three-set upset against Roger Federer at the BNP Paribas Open in the men’s final. Bianca Andreescu certainly provided that pep talk. She is only 18 years of age.

Bianca Andreescu vs Angelique Kerber

With her remarkable 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 victory over Angelique Kerber, a three-time Grand Slam champion. Bianca Andreescu managed to become the first wild card to claim the Indian Wells women’s title. She is now regarded as the youngest tournament winner since Serena Williams back in 1999. Bianca is considered the fourth unseeded tennis player to raise the prestigious trophy, joining Naomi Osaka, Kim Clijsters, and Serena Williams.

Towards the end of the third set, Bianca Andreescu was visibly exhausted, played injured, and had cramps in her legs against one of the toughest, fittest women in the world of tennis. However, for one day, the 18 years old Canadian managed to outsmart one of the greatest fighters in the sport.

“This is undoubtedly one of the most difficult matches I’ve played in my career,” Andreescu stated after the match. “I realised how much determination I have, and regardless of the score, anyone can come back. I certainly believe that I proved that anything is possible today.”

From Sunday’s first ball, Andreescu didn’t show any signs of the nerves that usually accompany players during their first WTA final. Mainly when she played against a tennis pro. Who was there to contest for her 29th final and was ranked number 8 in the world. On the other hand, Andreescu already managed to take down 5 Top 20 players in 2019, three in this tennis tournament alone, and accumulated more match wins than any other female tennis player.

Dominic Thiem vs Roger Federer

Even though he dropped the first set against Federer, who seemed every bit the champion. Thiem managed to rally to take the second set and during the 11th game of the last set. This prevented Federer from scoring on a back-to-back drop shot attempts before breaking him with a brilliant crosscourt forehand.

The 25-year-old from Austria then managed to close the match on his serve. This allowed him to claim his first Masters 1000 title along with the most significant tournament of his career with an astonishing 3-6, 6-3, 7-5 win. Thiem was instantly grabbed in the head, he dropped to the ground, and his legs/arms were splayed out. This was similar to how Andreescu did when she won the most significant single title on the history of Canadian tennis.

“It’s quite unreal what occurred in 10 days throughout the tournament,” Thiem stated after his victory. “I had terrible form in most categories, and I’m not the Indian Wells champion. It feels truly unreal. It’s remarkable that I managed to get here, my first massive title.”

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Nick Kyrgios’ Impressive Win Against Rafael Nadal

Nick Kyrgios only played his 6th match in 2019 before he faced Rafael Nadal in the Acapulco ATP 500 on Wednesday evening. Kyrgios certainly made up for lost time when he upset the top seed of the tournament in an electrifying 3-hour match in glorious fashion.

The curious factor about the match is that the action most witnessed as unsporting or inflammatory weren’t the kind of defenceless transgressions that have earned Nick Kyrgios notoriety.

The Controversial Bits of the Match

The controversial bits that occurred during the match on Wednesday evening were an injury timeout during the second and first sets. The underarm serves Kyrgios attempted, and a complaint regarding the amount of time Rafael Nadal took between points which occurred during the third set.

Nadal fumed after the game, stating to reports: Nick is someone that has enormous talent on the court. He can easily win several Grand Slams and battle it out for the top position. However, there’s a good reason why he is still ranked at number 72 in the world. He merely lacks respect for his rivals, for the public, and more importantly, towards himself.”

Rafael Nadal, who never actually criticises other players in public, was merely giving voice to the opinions shared by other tennis players and fans. Kyrgios is a careless, aggressive player who usually lacks a filter. Nick has treated highly regarded players with insolence and failed horribly to provide his best effort. He has also been known to make disparaging remarks regarding his profession — this all taking place while still reaping the rewards when it comes to his lavish lifestyle.

The Match Between Nadal and Kyrgios

Kyrgios managed to suck up all the oxygen from the match, and there’s no doubt that it irritated Nadal from start to finish. Nadal managed to win the first set before taking a timeout for injury. This is quite a common feature in tennis these days. Nick informed the trainer that he had lower back pain and was feeling sick. A microphone managed to catch him stating that if he decided to quit the media would blow it out of proportion.

Kyrgios managed to fight back during the match after the first set. During the third set, he attempted an underarm serve to take full advantage of the return position of Nadal deep in his court. The gamble provided a double fault along with a contentious debate over Twitter. Most regard the underarm serve as being unsporting. However, it does not violate the rules of the game in any way. Several players have attempted it before Kyrgios as well.

The final aspect of the match was the third-set complaint by Kyrgios regarding Nadal’s slow speed of play. Nadal enjoys using the full 25 seconds. However, Kyrgios possesses a fast pace when he serves. The rule of tennis state that plays must proceed at the speed of the server. So, although Kyrgios won the match, it’s the last thing fans thought about after the game.

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Andy Murray Could Play Again

Andy Murray is currently recuperating from his recent hip surgery, while his mother believes he still has a good chance of making a return to tennis. Murray, the two-time Wimbledon champion, announced at the Australian Open last month that he would participate in the first major tournament for the season but might never be able to enjoy the game again. He was defeated during the first round before he had hip resurfacing surgery approximately two weeks ago.

Judy Murray

Judy Murray, the former coach and mother to Andy Murray, informed reporters that she doesn’t believe her son is done with tennis just yet.

“I don’t believe we know anything for sure. I doubt anyone does,” Judy stated at the Rio Open, considered the biggest tennis competitions in South America. “However, I know for a fact that he would do anything he can to have another shot at playing again.

“I believe he had the same hip surgery as Bob Bryan following the US Open, and he was able to play doubles again during the Australian Open. Although doubles is a very different game when compared to singles. All we can do now is wait and see.”

When Andy Murray made his unexpected announcement before the Australian Open. He stated that he would love to keep playing tennis until Wimbledon. A competition that he has managed to win in 2013 to make him the first British champ at the All England Club in over 70 years.

Murray also managed to win at Wimbledon in 2016 as well as two Olympic gold medals and one US Open title. Andy Murray was ranked number 1 for a total of 41 weeks.

Judy Murray, who was speaking at the Jockey Club after receiving an invite to the ATP tournament, stated that she believes her son is still fighting with the idea that he will never play again. If he sees an opportunity, he will definitely take it, she stated.

“I believe he will. However, I think he is well aware that it could not be possible,” she stated. “He’s an intelligent guy and has loads of interests in various things, giving him loads of other options in life apart from tennis. However, the most important thing is that he is completely pain free after dealing with it for more than 20 months. Andy Murray also has a young family and he needs to think of his life quality as well.”

Andy Murray

Andy Murray stated that overtraining when he was younger might have caused the recent operation, including the removal of a damaged bone as well as cartilage from his right hip socket which was replaced with a metal shell. His mother managed to coach both her sons in their earlier years. However, she doesn’t agree with Andy that too much practice was the main cause for his surgery. She did a fantastic job with her boys as both managed to excel in tennis. Let’s hope this is not the end for Andy Murray.

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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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