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Nadal vs. Djokovic – Arguably The Greatest Rivalry In Tennis History

Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic have, arguably, the greatest rivalry in the history of tennis.

No two men have faced each other more in pro tennis than these two tennis titans.

Their meeting in the final of the 2019 Australian Open was their 53rd career professional match, with Djokovic holding the slight lead 28-25 in the head-to-head. These two legends have played in Grand Slam quarterfinals, semifinals and finals, at ATP Masters 1000 Series events, ATP 500 level events, the Olympics and in Davis Cup. Look at their complete head-to-head analysis, it’s amazing.

In Grand Slam events, the biggest stage in the tennis betting world, Nadal holds the head-to-head edge nine wins against six losses to Djokovic. Nadal won six of these Grand Slam confrontations on the clay at the French Open, although Djokovic did hand Nadal one of his two career Roland Garros losses in the quarterfinals of the event in 2015. Their first career meeting came at the 2006 French Open in the quarterfinals, Nadal winning by a 6-4, 6-4, retire scoreline as Djokovic was forced to quit with a back injury.

On hard courts at Grand Slams, Djokovic’s decisive 6-3, 6-2, 6-3 win in the 2019 Australian Open final gave him a 3-2 head-to-head advantage. Nadal won his two Grand Slam hard court matches with Djokovic at the US Open – in the 2013 final by a 6-2, 3-6, 6-4, 6-1 margin and also in the 2010 final by a 6-4, 5-7, 6-4, 6-2 margin. Djokovic won the 2011 U.S. Open final over Nadal 6-2, 6-4, 6-7(3), 6-4 and also in the epic 2013 Australian Open final by a 5-7, 6-4, 6-2, 6-7(5), 7-5 in what tennis historian and “Greatest Tennis Matches of All Time” book author Steve Flink named the No. 7 match in the history of the sport.

Lleyton Hewitt Wins Invesco Series QQQ Title In Charleston

It’s been two events and two victories for Lleyton Hewitt in his Invesco Series QQQ career. The former world No. 1, Wimbledon and U.S. Open champion and still part-time doubles specialist on the ATP Tour won his second career title on the North American tennis circuit for champion tennis players over the age of 30 Saturday night defeating Andy Roddick 6-2 in the one-set title match to win the Invesco Legends Charleston, played in conjunction with the WTA Tour’s Volvo Car Open.

Hewitt, 38, made his Invesco Series QQQ debut last July in Newport, R.I. on the grass courts at the International Tennis Hall of Fame defeating James Blake in the semifinals and Tommy Haas in the final. Saturday night on clay in Charleston, Hewitt remained undefeated on the Series by dominating with his grinding baseline game that earned him 30 career ATP singles titles.

Hewitt and Roddick played 14 times during their ATP Tour career, each player winning seven matches and Hewitt was able to move ahead in the bragging rights department with his victory in their first Invesco Series meeting. Roddick joked that he was not looking forward to playing Hewitt in the final saying “I know Lleyton plays like 40 weeks a year” and remembering their hard-fought slug-fest matches from their ATP days, including a memorable five-set quarterfinal night match in 2001, won by Hewitt en route to winning his first major title. Hewitt played his last career ATP singles match at the 2016 Australian Open, losing in the second round to David Ferrer. He played nine doubles events in 2018, along with his one Invesco Series appearance, and so far in 2019 he has played four events. While serving as Australia’s Davis Cup captain, he has managed to earn an ATP doubles ranking of No. 228.

Roddick is playing his sixth season on the Invesco Series after retiring from the ATP Tour in 2012 and was seeking his 18th career title on Series and his first since beating James Blake in the title match in Los Angeles in October of 2017. Saturday marked the second straight year that Roddick lost in the Charleston final. In 2018, he was defeated by Tommy Haas 6-1 in the title match.

En route to the final, Hewitt beat 54-year-old Mats Wilander 6-3 while Roddick beat 48-year-old Jim Courier 6-4. Hewitt said he grew up idolizing Wilander, who won his first major title at the French Open at 17 years old in 1982 when Hewitt was one year old. “This was the first time we ever hit balls together so it was a lot of fun,” said Hewitt. Roddick’s win over Courier moved him to a perfect 7-0 against the two-time French and Australian Open champion on the Invesco Series. Quipped Roddick of the win, “I got a little lucky. I’m just not that good anymore.”

The Invesco Series QQQ circuit continues Sunday, May 5 in Maui at the Royal Lahaina Resort at the Hawaii Champions Cup with John McEnroe, Mardy Fish, Tommy Haas and Michael Chang in the field Earlier this season, Tommy Haas kicked off the 2019 Invesco Series QQQ circuit in January by defeating Roddick 7-6 (2) in the title match at the Oracle Champions Cup in Newport Beach, California. James Blake won the second event of the season on Thursday at the Innisbrook Resort in Palm Harbor, Fla., defeating Courier 6-3 in the final. Through three events so far in 2019, there is a four-way tie for the top spot in the year-long Invesco Series QQQ points rankings with Haas, Blake, Hewitt and Roddick all having 400 points.

The remaining 2019 Invesco Series QQQ schedule is as follows:

Maui, HI – May 5 (Royal Lahaina Resort): John McEnroe, Mardy Fish, Tommy Haas, Michael Chang

Newport, RI – July 21 (International Tennis Hall of Fame): Todd Martin, Yevgeny Kafelnikov, Jim Courier, Mats Wilander

Boston, MA – September 7 (Venue and Players TBA)

Toronto, ON – September 26 (Mattamy Athletic Centre): Players TBA

Orlando, FL – Date and Venue TBA: Players TBA

Los Angeles, CA – Date and Venue TBA: Players TBA

Austin, TX – November 15: Venue and Players TBA

In 2018, Blake won his first Invesco Series QQQ year-long points championship by winning titles in Winston-Salem, New Haven and Houston, while also finishing as runner-up in Los Angeles and Orlando.

In 2017, the year-long points championship was decided in the final match of the season when Andy Roddick defeated James Blake in the Los Angeles final at the Sherwood Country Club. Roddick, the 2003 U.S. Open champion and world No. 1, won four Invesco Series QQQ titles in all in 2017, winning in Birmingham, Ala., Chicago, Lincoln, Neb., and Los Angeles. Blake, the former world No. 4 and former U.S. Davis Cup star, won series titles in Charleston, S.C., Winston-Salem, N.C. and in Lynchburg, Va.

In 2016, Mark Philippoussis won the Series points title with 1600 points and tournament titles in Memphis, Tulsa, Newport, Winston-Salem and New Haven. Roddick finished in second place, also earning 1600 points but losing the head-to-head tiebreaker with Philippoussis 5-2, while winning titles in Charleston, St. Louis, Los Angeles and Orlando. Blake finished in third place with 1100 points and tournament titles in Chicago, Portland and Brooklyn.

In 2015, Roddick won the Series points title in his second year of competing on the series with 1,600 points. Roddick won a record eight events Los Angeles, Lincoln, Chicago, Austin, Little Rock, Dallas, Richmond and Minneapolis. Blake finished second in the points rankings with 1,200 points, winning events in Boston and Cincinnati. Philippoussis finished in third with 1,100 points, winning titles in Salt Lake City and Vancouver. The year before in 2014, McEnroe won the points title for the first time in the nine-year history of Invesco Series QQQ tennis by winning events in Kansas City, Indianapolis, Nashville and Charlotte.

ABOUT INSIDEOUT SPORTS + ENTERTAINMENT
InsideOut Sports + Entertainment is a Los Angeles based producer of proprietary events and promotions founded in 2004 by former world No. 1 and Hall of Fame tennis player Jim Courier and former SFX and Clear Channel executive Jon Venison. In 2005, InsideOut launched its signature property, the Champions Series, a collection of tournaments featuring the greatest names in tennis over the age of 30. In addition, InsideOut produces many other successful events including “Legendary Night” exhibitions, The World Series of Beach Volleyball and numerous corporate outings. Since inception, InsideOut Sports + Entertainment has raised over $5 million for charity. In 2014, InsideOut Sports + Entertainment merged with Horizon Media, the largest privately held media services agency in the world. For more information, please log on to www.InsideOutSE.com or InvescoSeries.com or follow on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

ABOUT HORIZON MEDIA
Horizon Media, Inc. is the largest and fastest growing privately held media services agency in the world. The company was founded in 1989, is headquartered in New York and has offices in Los Angeles, San Diego, and Chicago. Horizon Media was chosen as 2011 Independent Media Agency of the Year by Mediapost, 2010 U.S. Media Agency of the Year by Adweek, Brandweek, and Mediaweek as well as by Ad Age and as one of the world’s ten most innovative marketing and advertising companies by Fast Company in 2011. In 2012, Bill Koenigsberg, President, CEO and Founder, was honored by Advertising Age as Industry Executive of the Year. Most recently, in 2014, Bill Koenigsberg was named 4As Chair of the Board and is the first person from a media agency to hold this prestigious position in the 100 year history of the 4As, the marketing industry’s leading trade association. The company’s mission is “To create the most meaningful brand connections within the lives of people everywhere.” By delivering on this mission through a holistic approach to brand marketing, Horizon Media has become one of the largest and fastest-growing media agencies in the industry, with estimated billings of over $5.3 billion and over 1,200 employees. The company is also a founding member of Columbus Media International, a multi-national partnership of independent media agencies. For more information, pleasevisithorizonmedia.com.

ABOUT INVESCO
Invesco Ltd. is an independent investment management firm dedicated to delivering an investment experience that helps people get more out of life. NYSE: IVZ; Invesco.com, Invesco Distributors, Inc. is the US distributor for Invesco Ltd. and is a wholly owned, indirect subsidiary of Invesco Ltd.”

Fresh Off Running The Miami Open, James Blake Wins Invesco Series QQQ Title In Palm Harbor, Florida

Just four days after presiding over the final day of the Miami Open tennis championships as the event’s tournament director, James Blake quickly made the transition from tennis administrator to tennis player.

Blake defeated Jim Courier 6-3 in the one-set final Thursday to win the ADT Champions Classic at the Innisbrook Resort, the second of ten events on the 2019 Invesco Series QQQ tennis circuit. The win was the 14th career title for Blake on the Invesco Series, the North American tennis circuit for champion tennis players over the age of 30. Blake joined the circuit in 2014, just five months after retiring from the ATP Tour at the 2013 U.S. Open.

Blake, 39, is coming off his second year as the tournament director for the Miami Open, one of the biggest events in tennis played for the first time this year in Hard Rock Stadium. After presiding over the men’s final trophy ceremony featuring the champion Roger Federer and the runner-up John Isner, Blake traveled 300 miles north to the Innisbrook Resort just north of Tampa to resume another of this professions as a competitor on the Invesco Series. The former world No. 4 and member of the 2007 winning U.S. Davis Cup team is coming off his most successful season of champions tennis having won the year-long points championship last season, capturing titles in Winston-Salem, New Haven and Houston, while also finishing as the runner-up in Los Angeles and Orlando.

Courier, 48, was playing in his first Invesco Series event of 2019, his 14th career season on the champions tennis tour he co-founded in 2005. The former two-time French and Australian Open champion was playing just 50 miles from his childhood home of Dade City, Florida and on the 20th anniversary of perhaps his most famous Davis Cup match victory, defeating Greg Rusedski 8-6 in the fifth set to clinch the U.S. 3-2 win over Great Britain in Birmingham, England in the final year of his Hall of Fame career.

En route to the final at Innisbrook, Blake defeated his good friend and U.S. Davis Cup captain Mardy Fish 6-3 while Courier defeated 60-year-old John McEnroe 7-6 (4).

The Invesco Series QQQ circuit continues Saturday in Charleston, S.C. at the Volvo Car Open with Courier, Andy Roddick, Lleyton Hewitt and Mats Wilander in the field. Tommy Haas kicked off the 2019 Invesco Series QQQ circuit in January by defeating Roddick 7-6 (2) in the title match at the Oracle Champions Cup in Newport Beach, California.

The remaining 2019 Invesco Series QQQ schedule is as follows:

Charleston, SC –April 6 (Volvo Car Open): Andy Roddick, Lleyton Hewitt, Jim Courier, Mats Wilander

Maui, HI – May 5 (Royal Lahaina Resort): John McEnroe, Mardy Fish, Tommy Haas, Michael Chang

Newport, RI – July 21 (International Tennis Hall of Fame): Todd Martin, Yevgeny Kafelnikov, Jim Courier, Mats Wilander

Boston, MA – September 7 (Venue and Players TBA)

Toronto, ON – September 26 (Mattamy Athletic Centre): Players TBA

Orlando, FL – Date and Venue TBA: Players TBA

Los Angeles, CA – Date and Venue TBA: Players TBA

Austin, TX – November 15: Venue and Players TBA

In 2018, Blake won his first Invesco Series QQQ year-long points championship by winning titles in Winston-Salem, New Haven and Houston, while also finishing as runner-up in Los Angeles and Orlando.

In 2017, the year-long points championship was decided in the final match of the season when Andy Roddick defeated James Blake in the Los Angeles final at the Sherwood Country Club. Roddick, the 2003 U.S. Open champion and world No. 1, won four Invesco Series QQQ titles in all in 2017, winning in Birmingham, Ala., Chicago, Lincoln, Neb., and Los Angeles. Blake, the former world No. 4 and former U.S. Davis Cup star, won series titles in Charleston, S.C., Winston-Salem, N.C. and in Lynchburg, Va.

In 2016, Mark Philippoussis won the Series points title with 1600 points and tournament titles in Memphis, Tulsa, Newport, Winston-Salem and New Haven. Roddick finished in second place, also earning 1600 points but losing the head-to-head tiebreaker with Philippoussis 5-2, while winning titles in Charleston, St. Louis, Los Angeles and Orlando. Blake finished in third place with 1100 points and tournament titles in Chicago, Portland and Brooklyn.

In 2015, Roddick won the Series points title in his second year of competing on the series with 1,600 points. Roddick won a record eight events Los Angeles, Lincoln, Chicago, Austin, Little Rock, Dallas, Richmond and Minneapolis. Blake finished second in the points rankings with 1,200 points, winning events in Boston and Cincinnati. Philippoussis finished in third with 1,100 points, winning titles in Salt Lake City and Vancouver. The year before in 2014, McEnroe won the points title for the first time in the nine-year history of Invesco Series QQQ tennis by winning events in Kansas City, Indianapolis, Nashville and Charlotte.

ABOUT INSIDEOUT SPORTS + ENTERTAINMENT
InsideOut Sports + Entertainment is a Los Angeles based producer of proprietary events and promotions founded in 2004 by former world No. 1 and Hall of Fame tennis player Jim Courier and former SFX and Clear Channel executive Jon Venison. In 2005, InsideOut launched its signature property, the Champions Series, a collection of tournaments featuring the greatest names in tennis over the age of 30. In addition, InsideOut produces many other successful events including “Legendary Night” exhibitions, The World Series of Beach Volleyball and numerous corporate outings. Since inception, InsideOut Sports + Entertainment has raised over $5 million for charity. In 2014, InsideOut Sports + Entertainment merged with Horizon Media, the largest privately held media services agency in the world. For more information, please log on to www.InsideOutSE.com or InvescoSeries.com or follow on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

ABOUT HORIZON MEDIA
Horizon Media, Inc. is the largest and fastest growing privately held media services agency in the world. The company was founded in 1989, is headquartered in New York and has offices in Los Angeles, San Diego, and Chicago. Horizon Media was chosen as 2011 Independent Media Agency of the Year by Mediapost, 2010 U.S. Media Agency of the Year by Adweek, Brandweek, and Mediaweek as well as by Ad Age and as one of the world’s ten most innovative marketing and advertising companies by Fast Company in 2011. In 2012, Bill Koenigsberg, President, CEO and Founder, was honored by Advertising Age as Industry Executive of the Year. Most recently, in 2014, Bill Koenigsberg was named 4As Chair of the Board and is the first person from a media agency to hold this prestigious position in the 100 year history of the 4As, the marketing industry’s leading trade association. The company’s mission is “To create the most meaningful brand connections within the lives of people everywhere.” By delivering on this mission through a holistic approach to brand marketing, Horizon Media has become one of the largest and fastest-growing media agencies in the industry, with estimated billings of over $5.3 billion and over 1,200 employees. The company is also a founding member of Columbus Media International, a multi-national partnership of independent media agencies. For more information, pleasevisithorizonmedia.com.

ABOUT INVESCO
Invesco Ltd. is an independent investment management firm dedicated to delivering an investment experience that helps people get more out of life. NYSE: IVZ; Invesco.com, Invesco Distributors, Inc. is the US distributor for Invesco Ltd. and is a wholly owned, indirect subsidiary of Invesco Ltd.”

New Chapter Press Releases Another Tennis Book: “Cattle To Courts: A History of Tennis In Texas”

New Chapter Press announced the release of the book “Cattle to Courts: A History of Tennis In Texas” written by Ken McAllister, long-time Executive Director of the USTA Texas Section.

In this comprehensive volume, anecdotes and personal observations explore how Texas became a leader of America’s “Tennis Boom” through national and international events. In addition to showing how Texas communities and statewide tennis organizations contributed to the sport’s growth, the book highlights the stories of American tennis’ most special characters and personalities. The extremely well versed McAllister shares unique insights from his 50 years in the tennis industry.

“Cattle to Courts” is available for sale and download wherever books are sold, including here on Amazon.com: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1937559904/ref=cm_sw_r_tw_dp_U_x_.4wBCbSQH2Q96

Cliff Richey of San Angelo, Texas, the former U.S. Davis Cup star and winner of the first-ever professional Grand Prix points title in 1970, wrote the Foreword to the book. “There is the saying that “Everything is Bigger in Texas!” This is and always has been the case with tennis,” wrote Richey. “Ken is the perfect guy to write a book about the history of tennis in Texas. He has held many leadership positions that have influenced our state’s success in our great game, most notably as the long-time Executive Director of the USTA Texas Section.”

Said famed ESPN television commentator and member of the International Tennis Hall of Fame Cliff Drysdale, “Cattle to Courts is enjoyable trip down memory lane and a nice historical reference on tennis in Texas. Ken endured exhaustive research for this special project, which, no doubt for him was a labor of love.”

Said Houston, Texas native, Olympic gold medalist and former Wimbledon finalist Zina Garrison, “I love the fact that even though Cattle To Courts covers Texas Tennis History, it is not text book reading… It reads like a novel. Ken has produced a must-read for tennis fans.”

Said Michael Hall with Texas Monthly magazine, “”Nobody knows Texas tennis like Ken McAllister, who for six decades has played, coached, and watched the sport all over the state. Cattle to Courts is full of anecdotes, history, and great details from the only guy to both call a foot-fault on Bobby Riggs and beat Warren Beatty.”

McAllister served the tennis industry for more than 50 years, most notably as the Executive Director of the USTA Texas Section for 24 years, more than doubling tennis membership and staff during his tenure. He started his long association with tennis in 1967 when he became an officer for the Texas Tennis Coaches Association and its President from 1971-74. He also served as Director of Tennis at Walden on Lake Conroe, Lakeside Country Club in Houston, and Lakeway World of Tennis in Austin. He also is a long-time member and contributor to the USPTA, serving as a Texas division president from 1977-79. He has been inducted into the Texas Tennis Coaches Hall of Fame (2000), Snyder High School Athletic Hall of Fame (2010), Southwestern University Athletic Hall of Fame (2013), and the Texas Tennis Hall of Fame (2012).

Founded in 1987, New Chapter Press (www.NewChapterMedia.com) is also the publisher of “The Greatest Tennis Matches of All-Time” by Steve Flink, “The Education of a Tennis Player” by Rod Laver with Bud Collins, “The Secrets of Spanish Tennis” by Chris Lewit, “The Bud Collins History of Tennis” by Bud Collins, “The Wimbledon Final That Never Was” by Sidney Wood, “Titanic: The Tennis Story” by Lindsay Gibbs, “Macci Magic: Extracting Greatness From Yourself And Others” by Rick Macci with Jim Martz, “Andy Murray, Wimbledon Champion: The Full Extraordinary Story” by Mark Hodgkinson, “Sport of a Lifetime: Enduring Personal Stories From Tennis” by Judy Aydelott, “Trojan Tennis: A History of the Storied Men’s Tennis Program at the University of Southern California” by S. Mark Young, “Absolute Tennis: The Best And Next Way To Play The Game” by Marty Smith, “How To Permanently Erase Negative Self Talk So You Can Be Extraordinary” by Emily Filloramo, “Acing Depression: A Tennis Champion’s Toughest Match” by Cliff Richey and Hilaire Richey Kallendorf, “Your Playbook For Beating Depression: Essential Strategies For Managing and Living with Depression” by Cliff Richey and Mary Garrison, “Roger Federer: Quest for Perfection” by Rene Stauffer, “The Days of Roger Federer” by Randy Walker, “Jan Kodes: A Journey To Glory From Behind The Iron Curtain” by Jan Kodes with Peter Kolar, “Tennis Made Easy” by Kelly Gunterman, “On This Day In Tennis History” by Randy Walker, “A Player’s Guide To USTA League Tennis” by Tony Serksnis, “Court Confidential: Inside The World Of Tennis” by Neil Harman, “A Backhanded Gift” by Marshall Jon Fisher, “Boycott: Stolen Dreams of the 1980 Moscow Olympic Games” by Tom Caraccioli and Jerry Caraccioli (www.Boycott1980.com), “Internet Dating 101: It’s Complicated, But It Doesn’t Have To Be” by Laura Schreffler, “How To Sell Your Screenplay” by Carl Sautter, “Bone Appetit: Gourmet Cooking For Your Dog” by Suzan Anson, “The Rules of Neighborhood Poker According to Hoyle” by Stewart Wolpin among others.

Shapovalov-Federer Miami Open Match Was One Of Most Anticipated Matches So Far This Year

by Bob Stockton

The men’s semifinal at the Miami Open featured one of the most anticipated matches of the Miami Open. Sports betting sites saw a high betting rate considering how competitive this match was. This is the match between Canadian teen, Denis Shapovalov and 37 year-old Roger Federer. Shapovalov who was looking forward to competing against Federer giving the three-time champion an upper hand when he, Shapovalov appeared nervous at the start of the match.

This gave Federer a good start leaving Shapovalov struggling at the first set. That did not last long as the Canadian player picked up quickly but Federer beat him to a 6-2 , 6-4 score. The Canadian teen was not entirely at a disadvantage throughout the game. He put up an impressive performance towards the end of the second but it was too late to dislodge his idol.

Before the match, Shapovalov was enthusiastic about playing with his idol for the first time. He described it as a dream come true but that easily turned a sour experience after he was unable to secure a win.

He revealed after the match that it was unbelievable that his competitor was the man he had admired all his life. However, he tried not to focus on the fact that the other person on the other side was Federer. He also commended Federer for putting up a good performance. Shapovalov also admitted that Federer was a little above his level. He concluded by saying that he will learn for the experience.

Shapovalov recorded twenty unforced errors while Federer recorded only four by the end of the game. It was evident that Federer’s experience helped him a lot in the game. He used varied shotmaking to forge ahead in the first two breaks.

Federer went on to win the title against defending champion John Isner, marketing his 101st career singles title. Isner reached the final after he beat Felix Auger-Aliassime, Shapovalov’s friend in straight sets.

Federer’s win against Denis Shapovalov makes put him into his 50th career ATP Masters 1000 final. The win also put him ahead of Rafael Nadal who has been to the Masters Final 49 times.

In Federer’s post-match interview, he revealed that Shapovalov was a great contender. He, Federer needed to put in more effort because Shapovalov has serious rhythm and power. His words revealed that he did have an easy match as many of audience assumed.

This match saw a wide age gap between the players. In fact, throughout Federer’s career, Shapovalov is the youngest he had to contend with.

Now that all is set for the finals between Federer and Isner, you may want to make a bet. You can claim a free bet from online bookmakers and see how it goes.

The Nick Kyrgios-Popularized Underhand Serve Is Trail Blazing

by Rajagopalan Rohinee

It is said that rules are meant to be broken. In sports, however, there are a few rules that can seem like they have been broken, especially when followed to a T. Like employing an underarm serve and receiving flak for it even though it is permissible under the sport’s regulations.

Nick Kyrgios’ irreverent usage of the underarm serve in his matches – against Rafael Nadal at the Mexican Open in Acapulco, and against Dusan Lajovic at the Miami Open – raised a furore even to the extent of fingers being pointed at him for not respecting his opponent. This, despite Nadal pointedly clarifying that he was not referring to Kyrgios hitting an underarm serve against him.

Borrowing from an oft-used cricketing adage, Kyrgios’ actions, then, seem to be contravening the so-called ‘spirit of the game.’

To elaborate, in the cricketing parlance, nothing brings out the utilisation of this term more than the action of ‘Mankading.’ The term refers to a method of run-out by the bowler of the batter at the non-striker’s end while the batter is positioned out of the crease at the time of the ball being bowled. Former Indian allrounder Vinoo Mankad, who was the first to employ this tactic in a Test series against Australia back in 1947, went on to give it its name which has since come to be used in a denigrating manner in contemporary times.

Like the underarm serve, Mankading, too, is permissible within cricket’s laws and bye-laws except for provisions underlining its prescribed usage. But invariably, like in tennis, in the heat of the moment, using it as a means to score an advantage for the bowling team is construed as an attempt to subvert the ethics of sportsmanship or the aforementioned ‘spirit of the game’, creating an ironic redundancy.

Addressing the subject by dwelling on it, instead of casting it aside, is necessary to curb this existence of irony, especially in tennis.

While in cricket, the code of the sport being a ‘gentleman’s game’ curbs the need to use Mankading time and again, in matches, tennis for its own reasons, too, does not see much of its players take the underarm-serve route (at least in the highest rungs of the professional Tour). Excluding Kyrgios’ ingenuity in his timing of using an underarm serve, it has been seen as a ‘Hail Mary’ with its immediate purpose to help the server recover lost ground – mentally just as much as physically – in a match. Case in point: Michael Chang’s now-famous win over Ivan Lendl in the 1989 French Open final.

That the game is struck on whether the methodology should be applied after nearly three decades of it being the pivot in an all-important match, then, lays emphasis about the sport’s evolution. That regardless of the possibility of an underarm serve coming into play mid-match, it continues to be relegated to mental outposts when it comes to determining tactical unique selling propositions (USPs) merits introspection from the game’s stakeholders. Rather than it being an aspersion on a player choosing to exercise it as a viable option.

In this context, the potentiality of a player serving underarm closely resembles the SABR – the much-lauded and the equally-disparaged Sneak Attack By Roger – pioneered by Roger Federer back in 2015. The Swiss’ manoeuvre of coming to the net even as his opponent was preparing to serve with the ball toss meant that he put the other player on the backfoot even before the ball had been directed from his racquet. Federer’s inventiveness fell in line with the game’s rules but ruffled many feathers, including that of Boris Becker who was then coaching Novak Djokovic.
In these following years, Federer has made use of the strategy frugally partly thanks to his rivals have also become conscious that it could be greeting them in a literal, sneaky manner. This has also led to a lessening of the frenzy surrounding the shot such as it was back when it first came to be a part of tennis’ lexicon. In other words, people got used to it.

So, if tennis’ widespread audiences could adapt to seeing a style of play that was admittedly trail-blazing, rightfully the underarm serve by virtue of being around longer should have seen a similar flexibility. Perhaps, the only way to get it done now is by making it more common, more visible thereby normalising a facet that ought to have always been thus deemed.

David Ferrer’s Incredible Career Mostly Went Under The Radar

by Rajagopalan Rohinee

In 2016, when I had gone to cover the Davis Cup World Group Play-off between India and Spain in the Indian capital New Delhi, I got a chance to briefly speak one-on-one with David Ferrer. It was quite a fortuitous occurrence if I could say so, brought about by virtue of him leaving the press room all alone after a joint press conference addressed by the Spanish team. For me, it was a tick against a long-compiled bucket list of players with whom I wanted to professionally interact.

And while I cannot recollect the questions – though the article is still archived – which were largely dated, the memory of mustering the courage to walk up to Ferrer and ask him if he would talk to me still lingers on. As does the fact that barring true-blue followers of the game who had come to attend the matches, not many knew about Ferrer, or were keen to more about the player.

From the global standpoint, one could never be so crass as to attribute the same lack of knowledge about the Spaniard. However, in a way, those three days in India – despite him winning both his singles rubbers to help Spain claim a 5-0 whitewash over the hosts – encapsulated the minutiae of how a swathe of Ferrer’s career went under the radar. As they emphasised the constant underestimation of his on-court capabilities. This underestimation, then, still holds true. Even as lately as his match against Alexander Zverev in his last hard-court tournament, at the 2019 Miami Open.

The win over Alexander Zverev in Miami, ending the German’s run of four successive wins against him, too, summarised the other side of the coin that has been the 36-year-old’s career. Of thriving when least expected, and putting on avowing performance such that not only his game would speak for him but the focus would also remain centred on it.

This dichotomy, then, defines Ferrer’s near-20-year-old career. To be a player who is grounded in his strengths as though raising self-awareness about his susceptibilities and yet someone who never stopped striving to get better. Like reaching his first Major final after having played 42 Majors without making it to the second Sunday.

Many would rue that this opportunity came in a little too late as it has often been said about him missing out on a lot because of the competitiveness of the era of which he was a part. Such introspection would be doing the man a disservice in solely using numbers and statistics as a convenient measure of accomplishment.

It rarely happens in sports that less comes to denote more. But this is quite true if one were to describe Ferrer’s career. It may not have the prescribed standards of title hauls but it was no less enriching and satisfying the way it has been, arching into a peak of its own making, mindless and unheeding of the doubts and scepticisms, especially those that came about camouflaged as plaudits.

Beyond this, on a personal note, being inspired by Ferrer and his career is also the completion of an unlikely circle. One that began after a misunderstanding involving his name and that of Federer’s, back when I had just started following the game over a decade ago.

Who Will Win Wimbledon 2019?

The Grand Slam tournaments are always eagerly anticipated by tennis fans and there is none quite like Wimbledon. It is considered by many to be the most prestigious of the Grand Slams and is the only one left played on grass. People always speculate as to who will win each of the tournaments and the eyes of the world will no doubt turn once more to London in June to see who can take home the Wimbledon Cup.

Who to Pick?
If you are thinking of getting involved with a little sports betting then you will need to know a little more about each of the players. Let’s take a look at some of the names swirling around in the mix so you have a clearer idea about who will come out on top in the Men’s Final at Wimbledon in 2019.

Andy Murray
The Scot has done well at Wimbledon over the years, having won the cup twice, but he has been plagued with injuries recently. He announced that he would soon be retiring after the Australian Open. It is thought that one last tournament at Wimbledon is likely to be his final game and the British public will be very mournful to see it come to pass.

Novak Djokovic
The current reigning champ of Wimbledon and the winner of the Australian Open for 2019, it seems likely that we will at least see him in the final. However, Djokovic has a tendency to become slightly complacent when he is on a winning streak as he currently is. If he is to take home his fifth Wimbledon win, he will need to make sure he concentrates.

Rafael Nadal
Nadal plays much better on clay than he does on grass which is why he has won distinctly more French Open titles than others. Though he has won at Wimbledon before, this was last in 2010. We can expect him to do exceptionally well at Wimbledon but it is doubtful that he will manage to secure a win.

Roger Federer
The last member of the Big Four is feeling confident after his 100th overall win and Wimbledon might be the place for him to secure it. Grass is one of Federer’s best terrains, having netted him an incredible 8 wins at Wimbledon before. Federer and Djokovic have met previously 47 times with 15 of those matches being at Grand Slams. While Djokovic is tipped to win, it cannot be denied that Federer is the better player on grass, meaning that a final with these two powerhouses is likely to be a very interesting match indeed.

Alexander Zverev
If anyone is likely to beat Federer or Djokovic to a place in the final, it is likely to be Zverev. The German player is already tipped to be a future World No.1 and he is eager for his first Grand Slam win. While he is yet to take a title on grass, he has got the drive to succeed and this season will certainly show that.

Kevin Anderson
One half of the historic 2018 Men’s semi-final match that lasted an astonishing 6 hours and 36 minutes (the second-longest men’s singles match ever played at Wimbledon), Anderson has proved himself to be a strong player. The South African has seen several Gran Slam tournaments over the years and, while we do not expect him to reach the finals again, we can certainly see him performing well once more.

John Isner
The other player in the 2018 Men’s semi-final and also one half of the longest professional tennis match in history, clocking in at 11 hours and 5 minutes of play over three days, has been consistently favourable in his past years in tournaments. He has managed to win against some of the top players before. Like Anderson, it is unlikely that we will see him win big at Wimbledon but we can expect him to have a great performance once again.

Kyle Edmund
The current British No.1 has been growing in strength over the past few years and it is likely that we are soon going to see him succeed at a high Grand Slam level. Despite a somewhat poor appearance at the Australian Open in 2019, we can expect him to improve as the season continues. It has been noted on multiple occasions that Edmund’s forehand is one of the best in play today. If he can work on other areas of his play then he is likely to be a force to be reckoned with in the future.

Dominic Thiem
Having appeared in the French Open Final and US Open quarterfinal, we can expect some great things from this Austrian player and current world No. 4. On clay, he has already proven himself to be a formidable opponent; including Nadal and Federer. He is likely to dominate in the Clay Opens in the future but we can expect him to deliver a solid performance at Wimbledon this year.

Borna Ćorić
The Croatian player managed to reach World No.2 in November 2018 but is currently residing at No.13. Nevertheless, he has a consistently positive performance. The fact that he has already reached the heights of No.2 without a Grand Slam win to his name shows his capabilities as a player. He has never broken out of the rounds at Wimbledon thus far, but 2019 will be a good year to watch his career go from strength to strength.

Who Will Win?

It is fair to say that we will see the Wimbledon Cup lifted by either Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer or Alexander Zverev. These three players are definitely the ones to watch as we move towards Wimbledon. The last time someone other than the Big Four won Wimbledon was in 2002. In the sixteen tournaments since then, these top tennis players have passed the cup back and forth between them. Despite it being more likely that Djokovic or Federer will win, it will be extremely interesting whether or not Zverev will be the one to finally break this epic winning streak.

Schedule Announced For Davis Cup Finals In Madrid

The ITF and Kosmos Tennis have today announced the schedule for the Davis Cup Finals, taking place in Madrid from 18 to 24 November.

The group stage ties will take place Monday to Thursday. One quarter-final will be played on Thursday evening while the other three will be played on Friday, followed by the semi-finals on Saturday and the final on Sunday 24 November. All matches are best of three sets, with two singles and doubles match.

The Group B match between Croatia and Russia will begin proceedings on Centre Court, and will be followed closely by the Spanish fans, with Spain also in Group B.

Spain will first play on the afternoon of Tuesday 19 on Centre Court against Russia, following an exciting meeting between Argentina and Chile.

Number 1 seeds France will also play on Tuesday, in the morning session against Japan. This second day of competition will also see Canada take on USA.

A total of 18 teams are competing in six groups in the group stage. The six group winners plus the two best second placed teams, based on percentage of sets won, will progress to the quarter-finals.

The two lowest placed teams after the group stage will play in the Zone Group competition the following year. The 12 teams that finish in 5th to 16th position will compete in the Davis Cup Qualifiers in 2020. All four semi-finalists will automatically qualify for the 2020 Davis Cup Madrid Finals.

Davis Cup Madrid Finals Schedule:

Monday 18 November
Evening session:
Centre Court – Croatia v Russia
Stadium 2 – Canada v Italy
Stadium 3 – Belgium v Colombia

Tuesday 19 November
Morning session:
Centre Court – Argentina v Chile
Stadium 2 – France v Japan
Stadium 3 – Kazakhstan v Netherlands

Evening session:
Centre Court – Spain v Russia
Stadium 2 – USA v Canada
Stadium 3 – Australia v Colombia

Wednesday 20 November
Morning session:
Centre Court – Argentina v Germany
Stadium 2 – Serbia v Japan
Stadium 3 – Great Britain v Netherlands

Evening session:
Centre Court – Croatia v Spain
Stadium 2 – USA v Italy
Stadium 3 – Belgium v Australia

Thursday 21 November
Morning session:
Centre Court – France v Serbia
Stadium 2 – Germany v Chile
Stadium 3 – Great Britain v Kazakhstan

Evening session:
Centre Court – Quarter-final: Winner Group D v Winner Group F

Friday 22 November
Morning session:
Centre Court – Quarter-final: Winner Group A v Runner Up (*)

Evening session:
Centre Court – Quarter-final: Winner Group B v Runner Up (*)
Stadium 2 – Quarter-final: Winner Group E v Winner Group C

Saturday 23 November
Morning session:
Centre Court – Semi-final (top half)

Evening sessions:
Centre Court – Semi-final (bottom half)

Sunday 24 November
Time TBC
Centre Court – Final

(*) to be determined by draw

David Cup Finals Groups:
Group A: France (1), Serbia, Japan
Group B: Croatia (2), Spain, Russia
Group C: Argentina (3), Germany, Chile
Group D: Belgium (4), Australia, Colombia
Group E: Great Britain (5), Kazakhstan, Netherlands
Group F: USA (6), Italy, Canada

Sponsorships, Tickets, Tournament Kickoff Party Opportunities For Sale For Mardy Fish Tennis

Sponsorships, advance tournament tickets, and “Tournament Kickoff Party” opportunities for the 2019 Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation Tennis Championships are available and selling fast as the annual USTA Pro Circuit event approaches April 29-May 5 at The Boulevard Tennis Club in Vero Beach, Florida.

All opportunities are available for sale at www.MardyFishChildrensFoundation.org Proceeds for the event benefit the Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation, the non-profit tennis foundation benefiting children, named for Vero Beach native son Mardy Fish, a former top 10 tennis star, silver medalist at the 2004 Olympic Games and the newly named U.S. Davis Cup captain.

The popular Vero Beach band “Riptide” will perform for patrons at the official Tournament Kickoff Party Sunday, April 28 from 5:30 pm to 8:30 pm. A special “shoot-out” mini tennis event, featuring world-ranked tournament players, also will highlight the party. Tickets, which includes two cocktails and food, are available for $60.

Sponsorships are available for as low as $250 and include signage and reserved seating, depending on the level of sponsorship. All sponsorship level details are available at www.MardyFishChildrensFoundation.org or by emailing co-tournament directors Tom Fish at [email protected] or Randy Walker at [email protected] Sponsorships that include on-court signage are due by April 8.

Tournament tickets for all sessions of the event are on sale for $100 with daily tickets costing $20 and tickets purchased after 5 pm on Monday, April 29 through Saturday, May 4 for sale for $10. Admission for children 18 and under is free. Matches will start each day at Noon, except for the singles final at 1 pm on Sunday, May 5. The full tournament schedule is found below.

Wednesday April 24 – Saturday, April 27
Pre-Qualifying singles event
Main draw doubles “wild card” event
Times TBD, (Free to public)

Monday, April 29
Qualifying singles
Noon start with at least one match starting at 5 pm and one at 6:45 pm

Tuesday, April 30
Qualifying singles finals
Main draw doubles
Main draw singles
Noon start at least one match starting at 5 pm and one at 6:45 pm

Wednesday, May 1
Main draw singles
Main draw doubles
Noon start at least one match starting at 5 pm and one at 6:45 pm

Thursday, May 2
Main draw singles
Main draw doubles
Noon start at least one match starting at 5 pm and one at 6:45 pm

Friday, May 3
Main draw singles – quarterfinals
Main draw doubles
Noon start at least one match starting at 5 pm and one at 6:45 pm

Saturday, May 4
Main draw singles – semifinals
Main draw doubles – final
Noon start with first singles semifinal followed by second singles semifinal, followed by the doubles final

Sunday, May 5
Main draw singles – final
1 pm start

The Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation Tennis Championships is the USTA’s $25,000 ITF World Tennis Tour tournament played in Vero Beach since 1995 and is regarded as one of the best entry-level professional tennis tournaments in the world. Fans can follow news and developments on the tournament on Facebook and on Twitter at @VeroFutures. Approximately 3,000 fans annually attend the event, which is seen as one of the best-attended entry-level professional events in the world.

Some of the past competitors at the USTA Vero Beach Futures have gone on to succeed at the highest levels of professional tennis, winning major singles and doubles titles, Olympic medals and Davis Cup championships and earning No. 1 world rankings. Andy Roddick, the 2003 U.S. Open champion who attained the world No. 1 ranking and helped the United States win the Davis Cup in 2007, competed in Vero Beach in 1999. Thomas Johansson of Sweden, who reached the second round of the Vero Beach Futures in 1995, won the Australian Open seven years later in 2002. Nicolas Massu, the 1998 singles runner-up in Vero Beach, won the singles and doubles gold medals at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece, beating Fish in the gold medal singles match. Kyle Edmund, the 2013 champion in Vero Beach, helped Great Britain to the Davis Cup title in 2015. Other notable former competitors in Vero Beach include former world No. 2 Magnus Norman, former world No. 4 Tim Henman, 2016 Wimbledon finalist Milos Raonic and most recently world No. 50 player and teen sensation Denis Shapovalov, who played in Vero Beach in 2016. Former Vero Beach competitors have combined to win 19 titles in singles, doubles and mixed doubles at Grand Slam tournaments. Seven former Vero Beach players have gone on to play Davis Cup for the United States – Roddick, Fish, Taylor Dent, Jared Palmer, Donald Young, Ryan Harrison and Frances Tiafoe.

Founded in 2007, the Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation (www.MardyFishFoundation.com and @MardyFishFound on Twitter) currently supports over 2,200 children in 15 elementary schools, six middle schools and two after school centers in Indian River County, Florida by funding after-school exercise, nutritional and enrichment programs in a safe environment to prepare them for healthy, productive and successful lives. The Foundation introduced the “Six Healthy Habits” in 2012 which are Get Sleep; Drink Water; Exercise Daily, Eat Healthy; Brush and Floss; Make Friends.