Murray Wins Record Fifth Title at Queen’s

Congrats to Murray for making a little history of his own today in Queen’s, London by winning a record fifth title there and surpassing some big names in the process. It’s no secret that I’m not the biggest Murray fan but you have to give credit where it’s due.

Murray was down 6-7(5), 0-3 against Raonic before breaking Raonic for the first time in the tournament I think and doing so a total of four times before prevailing 6-7(5), 6-4, 6-3.

Murray’s returning was special and he was being aggressive in which case he becomes a formidable opponent. Raonic has a massive serve but Murray once again proved that having a big serve, no matter how good it is, is not good enough against the best in tennis.

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Murray’s on-court demeanor irritates the hell out of me but today I once again realized how damn talented he is. If his mental fortitude was not such a liability for him he would have won many more slams.

But having Lendl in his corner helps a lot with that I think. It gives him a certain stability and calmness which is so desperately lacking without Lendl. Murray proved to me today that he is a real threat at Wimbledon.

  • Who is Djokovic’s Biggest Challenger/Challengers at Wimbledon?

And since I’m not fanatical about supporting any given player I like that, even though I’m a big Djokovic fan. As a tennis fan, I think it would be boring if Djokovic just gets handed the calendar slam on a silver platter.

You actually want to see him challenged and have some interesting contests along the way. And unlike some tennis fans, I think there have already been some great contests on his way to winning the Djoker slam.

Specifically between him and Federer at Wimbledon and the US Open last year and this year at the Australian Open. But not just between them. There have been several others. Djokovic is not the kind of player who wins slams without dropping sets.

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I think there is an element of boredom to players doing that. I find it quite sad and pathetic how whiny and ungrateful tennis fans can be. They will always find a reason why there is something wrong with the game.

And yet we are in a golden era of tennis and have been since Federer and Nadal started dominating. To get back to Murray, I think he is the only guy who can realistically challenge Djokovic at Wimbledon.

Anderson challenged Djokovic last year but I think Djokovic is a better and more confident player now. I think having finally gotten the French Open monkey off his back and taking an extended break will do him the world of good.

  • Concerning Djokovic’s Motivation at Wimbledon

I have heard some people question how motivated he will be which I find astonishing given how driven Djokovic is and how badly he wants to become the GOAT. He will be extremely motivated to win Wimbledon.

How many opportunities do you get to win five consecutive slams anyway? That’s right, Djokovic will be the first player in the open era to have that opportunity.

Laver did not have the opportunity at the 1970 Australian Open after completing the calendar slam in 1969 because he was banned due to signing to the National Tennis League.

With every match Djokovic wins from here on, he is making history. Why wouldn’t he be anything but motivated to the max?! Djokovic is also going for a third straight Wimbledon title and if he wins it he will be within one slam of the calendar slam.

To suggest he may not be motivated is beyond absurd. And having finally completed the career slam don’t be surprised if he is very relaxed and confident. But of course making history creates its own pressure.

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And the likes of Murray will be looking to take advantage of that pressure. That said, Murray will be facing his own pressure as he is per custom being hyped up as the favorite for Wimbledon by the British.

As a Djokovic fan, it is great to know you can always depend on the Brits to put maximum pressure on Murray to win the title. But having Lendl in his corner will help him to deal with that pressure better.

So I am looking forward to seeing what happens at Wimbledon this year. Raonic will be dangerous too. I see the bookies are even giving him better odds than Federer at Wimbledon which is not all that surprising given Federer’s current form.

He just lost to Zverev in Halle whose brother he defeated 6-0, 6-0 in 2014 in the same event. Before the semis, I thought Federer was showing improvement but I said we should see what happens in the rest of Halle first.

  • Federer and Thiem Lose in Halle Semis

Well, Federer lost 6-7(4), 7-5, 3-6 to Zverev and it is hard to see him being a serious threat at Wimbledon. Sure you can’t count him out but he is more like a dark horse to me now. It is just hard to see him make a run at Wimbledon this year like he did last year.

But who knows. We will see how it goes in the first few rounds. As for Thiem, he didn’t make the final in Halle either because he lost 6-3, 6-4 to Florian Mayer, who also won the title over Zverev today, 6-2, 5-7, 6-3.

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Zverev saved two match points at *4-5 and 15-40 in the second set but, in the end, the wily veteran Mayer prevailed with his unique style. That doesn’t bode well for Federer because Mayer isn’t even fit and looked exhausted in the third set.

Federer desperately lacks match practice and even though he had more time to prepare on grass than the others the grass court season is not long enough for him to play himself into form. But like I said you can’t write him off.

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Federer and Thiem Still On Course for Halle Final Meeting

Greetings. The final that I hoped for in Halle is still a possibility after Federer defeated Goffin 6-1, 7-6(10) and Thiem received a walkover over his final opponent from Stuttgart Kohlschreiber today.

That final that rained out was played on Monday and Thiem won it 6-7(2), 6-4, 6-4 to win his first grass court title, fourth title this year, and seventh title overall. The kid sure is making good progress.

This week he is in the semis of another grass court event where he will play Mayer while Federer will play another youngster Zverev in the top half. Berdych lost in the first round which helped Federer but Zverev can’t be underestimated.

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Nice to see this man back on the grass!

Federer himself was still struggling this week due to lack of match practice but it looks like his level improved against Goffin. That’s the kind of win he needed to help him get back into form. But to be a serious threat at Wimbledon again he probably needs to win the title in Halle.

He hasn’t played much tennis at all this year which doesn’t leave him with room for error. And then there is still the injury concern. I don’t know if he will be much of a factor at Wimbledon this year but he is always a danger on grass.

Let’s see what happens in Halle first. It is nice to see him find some form anyway because if he is on form, that will just make Wimbledon more interesting.

  • Lendl Hooks Up With Murray Again While Mcenroe Joins Raonic Team

Talking of Wimbledon, Murray and Lendl are back together and apparently want to ruin Djokovic’s plans.

That already adds to the plot for Wimbledon. And it made me wonder again why Murray and Lendl broke up to begin with. I read Lendl had some health problems so maybe it was that. You wonder what they could have achieved if they stayed together.

Now that Federer and Edberg failed to put a dent in the Djokovic/Becker team it will be interesting to find out if the Murray/Lendl team can do so. Lendl helped Murray to break his grand slam curse by winning the US Open and Wimbledon.

Murray lost in four grand slam finals before he broke through at the US Open in 2012 and then after he won Wimbledon in 2013 him and Lendl parted ways and Murray has since lost in three more slam finals.

Now the big question is whether Lendl can help him break his slam drought again. One thing I do know is that Murray won’t play against the US Open 2012 and Wimbledon 2013 versions of Djokovic again.

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Can Lendl help Murray to break through again?

Those were poor versions of Djokovic compared to the player he is now. And a lot of that has to do with his coach Becker. I don’t know if Murray and Lendl can stop the Djokovic/Becker juggernaut but it definitely adds excitement to the situation.

At least for the tennis fans who are bored of Djokovic’s domination it does. But for me as a fan of Djokovic, it does too. That’s why I also hope Federer continues to improve. Sure I enjoy seeing Djokovic win everything but it is also interesting to see him challenged.

Becker has already tweeted that he is excited to have his old rival Lendl back in the locker rooms. Having these legends back as coaches definitely makes tennis more interesting in my view.

I see Mcenroe is coaching Raonic now as well who defeated Kyrgios in his first match in Queen’s this week and will now face Tomic in the semis. Raonic is another dangerous grass courter and the fact that Mcenroe joined his team makes the grass court season even more interesting.

In the top half of Queen’s Murray will play against Cilic. A Murray vs Raonic final there would be interesting if only for the reason that their coaches used to be big rivals as well.

  • Can Djokovic Actually Win Five Consecutive Slams?

Finally, I get to Djokovic who is as per custom not playing any competitive events before Wimbledon. He is just playing that Boodles event to get some practice matches under his belt before Wimbledon.

Even with the longer grass court season I think that is a great call. He can really do with the rest and start Wimbledon fresher than the rest of the field. Not that he needs any advantages given how far ahead of the field he already is.

But winning five consecutive slams has never been done in the open era so he will once again have to make history if he is to do that. You figure he can’t just keep on winning and that eventually he must lose a match in a slam.

But then you ask yourself who is going to beat him and it is difficult to find an answer. I happen to think winning the French is a big burden off his shoulders which may make him play even better if that is even possible.

I think he will show up at Wimbledon rested and confident ready to make history again. He really loves playing on grass now and it is his best surface after Plexicushion. It suits his game very well and he’s got the movement and everything under control now.

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Yes, he really did win it!

Last year after scraping past Anderson in the fourth round it was just a devastating display from him from there on. The final against Federer was played at an unbelievable level and the scary thing is there was still room for improvement.

I’m very much looking forward to Wimbledon this year. There are many good grass court players to make things competitive and if Djokovic wins a fourth Wimbledon title he will be within range of the calendar slam which will be very exciting as well.

Wimbledon is still the pinnacle of our sport and it is always a special time of the year for tennis fans. This year will be no exception. But let’s see what happens in Halle and Queen’s first.

It would be crazy if Thiem wins another grass court title!

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Nadal Wins Barcelona: Is He Back?

Hi, folks. I hope you are all doing very well. Nadal won his 9th Barcelona title last week and in doing so equaled Vilas for the most clay court titles at 49. This after he won Monte Carlo last week.

Of course, his fans will claim that is another sign that he is back. But what does that even mean? That Nadal is going to start winning slams again? When is he back? When he wins the French Open?

He did that nine previous times as well. I don’t even think if he wins the French Open that it necessarily means he is back. One more French Open was always a possibility. For me, he would be back if he can win a slam off of clay.

I watched some of Nadal’s matches against Fognini and Nishikori. And yes he played well. I couldn’t see much difference between his current self and his old self. But for me, the real test was always going to be when Djokovic is back.

Nadal was pretty much expected to win Barcelona. Will it help his confidence? Of course, it will! But we will see what happens when he faces Djokovic again. That is the true test. Djokovic won both their meetings on clay last year, including the straight-set beatdowns in Monte Carlo and the French Open.

He has also won their last 6 meetings without dropping a set and 10 of their last 11 meetings. And the straight-set beatdown at the French Open last year was a big psychological victory for Djokovic.

So we will see how it goes the next time they meet. And that could well be in Madrid. The crowd will favor Nadal there but I don’t think it bothers Djokovic much and the higher altitude would favor him.

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In the end, I think Nadal was always going to make some kind of comeback at some point. I thought it started during the indoor season last year but then he lost the plot again for a while. Now we are back at the clay court season and this was always going to be the most likely time that he was going to shine again.

He has won the first two events of the clay court season like he did in his prime years but never had to face Djokovic at Monte Carlo who was burned out. The clay court season for me really starts in Madrid.

From there on it gets very interesting with Djokovic back. If Djokovic wins Madrid he is the firm favorite again to win the French Open. The current situation is in a way good for Djokovic. Being the top dog all the way through until the French creates its own pressure.

Kind of like last year before the US Open where Federer looked like the top dog but when it mattered Djokovic came through. I think this bit of down time for Djokovic is actually ideal. But I do think he also needs to make some statements now.

The French Open is obviously the big one for him. Last year it was the US Open under extremely trying conditions and he passed the test with flying colors. That was good preparation for what now lies ahead.

The stakes are now even higher if that is even possible and that victory will have given him a lot of confidence that he is ready for what now lies ahead.

Can’t wait for Madrid to get under way!

Is Nadal back?

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