Third time lucky for Anderson?

Kevin Anderson earned himself a legion of new fans after winning the hearts and minds of the tennis world during Wimbledon. It was Anderson’s semi-final showdown with John Isner that caught the world’s attention as the two giants slugged it out for over six and a half hours, which made it the longest Grand Slam semifinal of all time.

In the end, Anderson would prevail in this marathon encounter but it was his performance to the media directly afterwards that earned him the most respect from onlookers. The exhausted South African refused to celebrate and rather decided to sympathise with Isner after a duel where Anderson said, “At the end, you feel like this is a draw.”

It was a classy interview that Anderson gave and was a great advert for sportsmanship in tennis. Sadly, for the humble and hardworking South African, it wasn’t to be in the final as Novak Djokovic beat him in straight sets to claim his fourth Wimbledon title. Losing to the Serb would be his second Grand Slam final defeat in a year after going down to Rafael Nadal at the US Open final in 2017.

Even though Anderson didn’t win a maiden Wimbledon title, he still made history by being the first South African to appear in a Wimbledon final in 97 years. There are undoubtedly many positives to take away with one more Grand Slam to play this year. 

With the 2018 US Open only a month away, Anderson will be hoping that it’s third time lucky and that he is finally able to get his hands on a Grand Slam trophy. The disintegration of the Big Four is helping Anderson secure more of a foothold at the top of the men’s game. But, at 32, you do feel the South African will have to strike whilst the iron is hot or else look back on what could have been, as time waits for no man. 

Despite all of Anderson’s heroics over the last year, he is 33/1 to triumph at the US Open, which illustrates what an uphill battle he has on his hands. Djokovic is the favourite to win at Flushing Meadows, which is quite remarkable given he wasn’t sure whether he would play at Wimbledon after a quarterfinal defeat at Roland Garros in early June. It’s been an up-and-down few months for the Serb. But, in the blink of an eye, he now looks the most dangerous out of what is left of the Big Four. 

More so than ever it looks like a winner could come out of the chasing pack and that means it won’t just be Anderson who’s eyeing up the US Open as a chance to win a rare Grand Slam. Nadal and Federer will obviously be as big a threat as always, but their powers are waning with a younger crop of players smelling blood and ready to run them ragged.

Out of the last four US Opens, two have been won by players outside of the Big Four so history indicates that the face of the championship is beginning to change. Cilic and Wawrinka were the players to break the mould as, before 2014, nine of the 10 US Opens had been shared amongst Roger Federer, Nadal, Djokovic and Andy Murray. Now is the time for any player heading towards the end of their career to pounce and win their first Grand Slam.

Jennifer Carson is a recent sports journalism graduate and an avid follower of squash, tennis and lacrosse. She has previously written for publications including the Mansfield and Ashfield Chad and the Derby Telegraph.

Zverev’s Amazing Year Continues in Montreal

Source: Coupe Rogers presented by Banque Nationale via Facebook.

Alexander Zverev has stormed up to a career-high No. 6 ranking after defeating Roger Federer in the final of the Rogers Cup in Montreal. Federer was struggling with fitness, but this takes nothing away from a dominating 6-3 6-4 victory by the young German who had saved match point in the second round against Richard Gasquet. This mental fortitude highlights the credentials of a player who has long been tipped to win a Grand Slam.

This trajectory seemed predestined for Zverev as soon as he emerged on the ATP World Tour, heralded as a future Slam champion in a short space of time. Zverev has continued along this trajectory without any major hiccups to change the popular opinion formulated when he burst onto the scene. In fact, the fitness troubles of the sport’s top players could accelerate Zverev’s journey to a Grand Slam title.

Zverev’s meteoric rise is reflected in the tennis betting at bet365, where the young German can be found at odds of +1200 to claim the US Open in September. This places him as fourth favourite in the current standings, and that situation may well change over the next couple of weeks. Andy Murray’s fitness is currently unproven, while the degree of Federer’s physical discomfort in Montreal is yet to be established. That would leave Rafael Nadal as favourite, and the Spaniard is never the same proposition on hard courts as he is on the clay. 

Federer’s defeat to Zverev was only his third loss of the year. Source: Coupe Rogers presentee par Banque Nationale via Facebook.

With expectation comes pressure, and perhaps the biggest question mark hanging over Zverev’s potential is that he is yet to prove himself in the high-pressure situation of a Grand Slam. There were high hopes of the German at Roland Garros, given his propensity to handle all surfaces with aplomb, but he fell to the sporadically dangerous Fernando Verdasco in the first round. Zverev fared better at Wimbledon, delivering his strongest Slam performance in a round-of-sixteen defeat to Milos Raonic.

Zverev should probably have prevailed in that match but was defeated over five sets. If Zverev can deliver his peak level across a best-of-five match, then there is little to suggest that he is not on the pathway to Slam success. Previous US Open winner Marin Cilic will be dangerous at the US Open if fully fit, but otherwise, the tournament promises to be extremely open.

The young German is undeniably the form player and therefore has to be considered a worthy contender. A look at the six ATP Masters 1000 tournaments so far in this calendar year substantiates that claim. Federer triumphed in Indian Wells and Miami before Nadal excelled on the clay of Monte Carlo and Madrid. The clay tournament in Rome was won by Zverev, a stunning victory that has now been joined by the aforementioned glory at the Rogers Cup in Montreal. 

That victory in Rome came after Zverev defeated Novak Djokovic in the final in straight sets, and Zverev doled out the same treatment to Federer. Some talented players lack the armoury to take down the best and therefore lurk in the lower position of the top ten for much of their career. Zverev has all the weapons to take down the best, and the US Open may be coming at the perfect time for a player in terrific form. 

Jennifer Carson is a recent sports journalism graduate and an avid follower of squash, tennis and lacrosse. She has previously written for publications including the Mansfield and Ashfield Chad and the Derby Telegraph.

Grand Slam season culminates in US Open

After another spectacular Wimbledon tournament moves into the history books, we can’t help but start to get excited about the US Open just around the corner. The incredible Rodger Federer won his record-extending 19th major Open title after overcoming Marin Cilic in straight sets on Center Court. It was another phenomenal accomplishment for the 35-year old, as he finished the tournament without dropping a single set, becoming only the second player to do so in the Open era.

However, we now look forward to the last of the four major events that comprise the Grand Slam, the highly anticipated US Open. It’s always a terrific competition and the last chance in the calendar year for tennis lovers to get their fix and see the best of the best in action. The magnificent spectacle takes place in New York and will kick off on Aug. 28 and come to a close on Sept. 10, ending another thrilling Grand Slam season.

With Federer winning Wimbledon he will undoubtedly be heading into the tournament as one of the favorites and the latest tennis odds price him up at +150 to win his sixth US Open. The last time Rodger won the event was back in 2008 after defeating Great Britain’s Andy Murray in straight sets.

His form recently suggests that Federer has no intention of slowing down as he gets older, and some could even argue that he’s playing some of the best tennis of his career. His display at Wimbledon was nothing short of remarkable and he played with a hunger that has been lacking in recent times.

The 2016 champion Stanislas Wawrinka, or Stan as he’s more commonly known, defeated Novak Djokovic in four sets that year after coming back from one set down to deny the Serbian consecutive US Open crowns. But, injuries have plagues the Swiss and he has dropped out of the US Open, along with Montreal and Cincinnait.

The major omission from the list of competitors this year is, of course, the hugely successful Novak Djokovic. He has recently announced that he will not be playing any competitive tennis for the rest of 2017, after an elbow injury forced him to retire from his quarterfinal matchup with Tomas Berdych. He has met with several specialists and it appears that he has sustained a “bruised bone due to excessive playing.” His physicians have recommended that he rest for a period of at least 12 weeks, which means his run of 51 consecutive Grand Slam appearances will unfortunately come to an end.

Two-time US Open winner Rafael Nadal will also be plying his trade at the championship. He is definitely a player to watch and always plays with that gritty determination that has made him such a consistent performer over the years.

Andy Murray will hopefully be there, too, but the Brit is racing against the clock to be fit after receiving a troublesome hip injury. His doctors are confident that it won’t be a problem, though, and Murray will be ready to play before the tournament begins.

Jennifer Carson is a recent sports journalism graduate and an avid follower of squash, tennis and lacrosse. She has previously written for publications including the Mansfield and Ashfield Chad and the Derby Telegraph.

Cilic to bounce back from Wimbledon tears

Photos source: Marin Cilic via Facebook.

As Marin Cilic tried, but failed, to hold back the tears on court during the Wimbledon final, most of the viewers sympathised with his plight. The meeting with Roger Federer marked one of the biggest moments of the Croat’s career, and his inability to deliver his best game because of injury was devastating on both a personal and sporting level. Yet the drama of the tears should not divert attention from what was a terrific tournament for Cilic.

Cilic was at the top of his game for most of the tournament, carrying on the form that took him to the final at Queen’s a couple of weeks previously. He battled past Rafael Nadal’s conqueror Gilles Muller, and powered past Andy Murray’s tormentor Sam Querrey. In the final, conditions conspired against Cilic and he was unable to add a Wimbledon trophy to his US Open title from 2014. However, he will be emboldened by the knowledge that his top level is as good as anyone else’s on tour currently.

Cilic is available at odds of around 15/1 across bookmakers, marked as the leader of the pack behind the big five players. That five could become four with Novak Djokovic sparking rumours of missing the US Open due to injury, but nevertheless, the prices available suggest that a likely winner will come from the usual suspects of Murray, Nadal, Stan Wawrinka and Federer. Therefore bettors could be advised to treat the longer shot of Cilic as a risk-free punt by utilising the free bet no deposit offers detailed by Oddschecker. Yet it looks the stranglehold of the fantastic five on the sport is loosening its grip.

Whilst Federer has had an unprecedented resurgence to the peak of his game, his fitness will inevitably catch up with him soon. Nadal is a different proposition on clay courts compared to other surfaces, such as the hard courts of the US Open. Djokovic has his aforementioned physical worries, and Murray appears to be suffering from similar fatigue. As for Wawrinka, on his day he is unbeatable but his days are few and far between. Therefore the stage is set for an outsider such as Cilic to surge to glory.

Cilic has the benefit of being a Grand Slam winner already, an honour only shared by Juan Martin Del Potro outside of the game’s elite. Del Potro is a magnificent player but his fitness is always a concern. Meanwhile, the younger prospects like Dominic Thiem, Alexander Zverev and Lucas Pouille seem to be slightly short of the mental fortitude required to triumph at a slam. Their time may well come, but for now it looks like there is an opportunity for Cilic to add to his Grand Slam collection. If he were to meet Federer in the final at the US Open, then Cilic will not be intimidated. Federer at Wimbledon is almost legendary, but Cilic will back himself to take down any opposition at the US Open if he can turn up in top form.

Jennifer Carson is a recent sports journalism graduate and an avid follower of squash, tennis and lacrosse. She has previously written for publications including the Mansfield and Ashfield Chad and the Derby Telegraph.