Archives for 2011

Being Bethanie

2011 ATP Review: Andy Murray


Murray has mastered the Masters Series, but not the Slams

Andy Murray is the most over analyzed player in tennis, largely because he has largest national press corp following him week in, and week out. Britain’s No. 1 is a virtual cottage industry, bigger than Tim Henman was, and in some ways, approaching the significance of Wimbledon in that country. Oh sure,

2011 WTA Review: Nos. 6-10


Sam is much more complete player.

Most improved awards usually go to younger players who make substantial rankings breakthroughs, but in 2011, amongst the veterans, No. 6 Samantha Stosur would get my vote. How she managed to go from having her backhand rated as a

2011 ATP Review: Novak


Novak turned the tables on Roger and Rafa.

Novak Djokovic’s January through mid-September run was so impressive that moments after he won his third major of the year by wearing down Rafael Nadal in the US Open final, the accolades began to rain down from every quarter. His 2011 season was called by some the greatest ever. Others opined that his play during the year was superior to anything they had ever seen. Some others said that he has left his most formidable rivals, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer, in the dust.

Sustained flashes of brilliance like Djokovic had have always been noteworthy, but in a sport that increasingly plays victim to hyperbole, numerous overstatements were made before the season had ended. Unfortunately for the great Serbian

WTA 2011 Review: Li Na


The honest Li is an inspiration to billions

Off court, there is little not to like about Li Na: she

Pro tour talk: Federer & Annacone, Nadal, Djokvic & more

ATP 2011 Review: Rafa

Rafa's performance against Del Potro was legendary.

Had No. 2 Rafael Nadal not won his two matches in Davis Cup final and led his nation to its third title in the past four years, then his 2011 season would have been seen as somewhat as a disappointment. The bar for the 10-time Grand Slam champion

Depending on Nalbandian

Ferrer will await Nalbandian if it gets to a 5th rubber.

After a frightful Friday for Argentina when Rafa Nadal crushed Juan Monaco and David Ferrer pulled off perhaps the most significant victory of his career when he stopped Juan Martin Del Potro in a delicious nearly five-hour. five-setter, South America

WTA 2011 Review: Maria

Maria made strides in 2011 but now must take a leap.

Maria Sharapova’s 2011 season can be seen in a variety of ways, one of which is that it was a major stepping stone back toward the top levels of the game; and another that clearly indicated that she has decent sized strides to take before she can consistently challenge the other elite players.

It was major year of transition for Sharapova: not only did she announce in the off season that she had become engaged to basketball player Sasha Vujacic (clearly a huge positive personally because she wanted stability), but at the start of the year she switched coaches from her longtime friend Michael Joyce to Swede Thomas Hogstedt, which for a while did take an emotional toll on her, and perhaps explains her below par performance at the Aussie Open. At first, she looked on confused court but gradually, by the spring, when she better understood how Hogstedt wanted her to attack, she began to look more comfortable.

The major positives that came out of her season started in Miami, where she reached the final; continued through the clay court season when she won her first major title on crushed brick in Rome; went on in Paris where reached the semis of Roland Garros; then continued though Wimbledon ,where she stung one opponent after another and reached the final.

But other than her revival in Miami and a title run in Cincinatti, the rest of the season on hard courts was not up to her pre 2009 standards, given that she is a former Australian Open and US Open titlist. She played arguably the worst match of her Grand Slam career in going down to Andre Petkovic in Australia and was seriously disappointed in the way she performed in the third set of her third round defeat to Flavia Pennetta at the US Open. Her fall was not noteworthy as she badly sprained her ankle in Tokyo and pulled out of the WTA Championships after two matches, and ended the year ranked No. 4.

What Sharapova can also be pleased about is that she scored big wins over Gen Caro members Wozniacki, Azarenka, Radwanska, Cibulkova and Lisicki. She also bested some veteran Russians, but did take tough losses to Pennetta, Petkovic (whom she did beat twice later in the season) Na Li, Serena and yes, for the first time, Sam Stosur.

Her return of second serves is still the game

The Swiss Legend of the Fall

At 30, Federer remains a major contender.

Roger Federer has a trunk full of titles, records and winning streaks, some which have defied logic. But at the 30 years old, his last month of play has to be put right up there with the most eye-popping sequences of his career. On Sunday, Federer became the first player to win the ATP World Tour Finals six times by taking down Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-3, 6-7(6), 6-3, to become the oldest titlist at the year-end championship.

He is already is the tour