Roger Federer

How Roger Federer Differs From Other Age-Defying Elite Athletes

Jeff Bercovici had just undergone emergency surgery when he pondered the question.

At a time when it has never been physically harder to be a professional sportsperson, why is it that many of the best ones are also the oldest?

Bercovici had injured his back after pushing himself too hard when playing soccer “a few times a week” at a local league in Brooklyn.

The likes of Roger Federer – who is 8/11 in the tennis betting to win his ninth Wimbledon title – LeBron James and Tom Brady, meanwhile, have continued to succeed “well past what would’ve been considered the peak age for their sports a generation ago”.

Bercovici, a journalist, realised after doing “a little bit of research” that his personal curiosity could become a professional endeavour, and in 2018 he published his first book, Play On: The New Science of Elite Performance at Any Age.

“It’s a look inside this phenomenon we’re seeing in the world of sports,” he says, “and how sports science is the driver of that phenomenon.”

Bercovici, who spoke to ex-players, coaches and experts in “training, nutrition, psychology, surgery, other therapies, sports tech and genetics”, says the “single most powerful force” in extending athletes’ careers has been the shift to maximising their freshness, rather than fitness.

“The amount of time players devote to different recovery techniques now versus what they did 15 years ago is not even remotely comparable,” he says.

Take LeBron James, who has just enjoyed the finest season of his 15-year NBA career at the age of 33, playing the most minutes of any player in the league.

“After every single game of the NBA Finals, he’d give this press conference and the word that came out of his mouth most was ‘treatment’,” says Bercovici.

“So, he’s talking about a variety of different things, from ice baths and cryotherapy, to cupping, electrical stimulation and laser stimulation.”

While those technologies – which are typically pioneered by the military or private tech companies, but rely on stars such as James to “evangelise” them – do accelerate physical recovery, they also perform another important role.

“Athletes are much smarter now about not over-training, yet they still have this really strong commission bias,” says Bercovici. “They want to do, do, do as much as they can to improve their performance.”

He cites the training regime of an in-his-prime Tiger Woods, which famously included long-distance running, heavy weight sessions, several hours at the driving range and 18 holes of golf every single day.

“Now, everyone knows that’s a really good way to wear down your body,” says Bercovici, “so instead, they lift in the gym for 90 minutes, then they go to the hot tub, the cold tub and all that kind of stuff.

“It’s not necessarily helping them recover faster, but being focused on recovery rather than on doing more training is absolutely extending their careers.”

No career has been extended as beautifully as Roger Federer’s, who recently returned to No. 1 in the men’s world rankings, just weeks before his 37th birthday.

Bercovici believes that, despite being “totally consistent with all trends I tracked throughout this book”, Federer is “probably the most incredible example of longevity and durability in all of sports”.

That’s because his endurance is a consequence of how he plays the game.

“If you were designing a tennis player from scratch, you would create Roger Federer,” says Bercovici.

“If you talk to a kinesiologist, what they will tell you helps explain a large portion of his longevity. He intuitively plays in this style that is both beautiful and conducive to him maintaining an unprecedented level of health. I think he’s the great tennis genius of all time.”

Bercovici recalls a decade-old quote about Federer which describes his footsteps during matches as being “like a ghost”.

“Well before people were talking about how this guy avoids injuries or how amazing his longevity is, he was practising this form of movement that’s so different from everyone else’s and so much more sustainable,” he says.
Bercovici, who is fit again after using some of the methods explored in Play On to rehabilitate his back, learned over the course of writing the book that every enduring athlete has one thing in common: a love of their sport.

“It’s sounds like a cliché,” he says, “but there’s a reason it’s not.

“To be an elite athlete, the first gate to pass through is that you have to be able to take a game and treat it like it’s a job. You have to take all the fun and spontaneity out of it.

“So, if someone has passed through that gate and then 20 years on they still have that sense of fun, that’s really, really, incredibly rare. And that’s what unites these people who are still working incredibly hard approaching 40.”
Jeff’s book, Play On: The New Science of Elite Performance at Any Age, is out now.

The Top Five Men’s Players At 2018 Wimbledon

With the most enthralling sporting event of the year already underway in the United Kingdom, tennis fans from all over the world are tuned in to watch the greatest players of our time fight it out at the biggest stage in the world – Wimbledon.

Tennis continues to attract spectators from all corners of the world, who are drawn to the game due to its fast pace, as well as the wide range of betting opportunities it offers. Betting on Wimbledon has become more accessible in recent years through the creation of simplified manuals, such as the Wimbledon betting guide 2018, which breaks down the essentials of betting on the coveted event. To know how to place your bets efficiently, we’ve compiled a list of the top 5 men tennis players with the highest chances of taking the trophy home this year.

Roger Federer
The most decorated player active in the game, Roger Federer is currently ranked No. 2 in the world and has won 8 Wimbledon titles till now. Federer is defending the title this year and if he wins the tournament, he would go on to create a new world record of most number of Wimbledon titles by a player.

Though his loss in the final match of Halle could be concern for some people, truth remains that he has managed to surprise everyone on the grass court. UNIQLO’S New Global Brand Ambassador, Federer supposed to play against players like Lajovic, Anderson and Cilic in the initial rounds and can easily reach the finals to claim the title.

Rafael Nadal
Best known for his performance on clay court in French Opens, Nadal is ranked world No.1. With 17 grand slam titles, he is among the top contenders for the trophy this year. He has previously won the Wimbledon trophy in the year 2008 and 2010. Though his line-up of matches is not easy, considering the tenacious person he is, reaching the finals would not be surprising on the Spaniard’s part.

Novak Djokovic
The Serbian player is currently ranked No.17 in the world. He has about 12 grand slam titles to his name out of which 3 are Wimbledon trophies for the years 2011, 2014, and 2015. Known for covering the entire length and breadth of the court well, it’s been some time that Djokovic has lifted the trophy.

His recent performances have been up to the mark as we saw him in the finals of the Queen’s Club Championship. His matches have been lined up against Brit Edmand, Thiem and Alex Zverev. No doubt he has a tough competition to face, his skills like accurate groundstrokes present him as a promising player.

Marin Cilic
One of the more experienced players, Cilic is a strong contender for the 2018 Wimbledon. After winning the Queen’s Club Championship last month, the player is in his best form for the tournament and is confident than ever. His serving skills have helped him whenever he has found himself in a tough spot. Moreover, with opponents like Dimitrov in the initial rounds, he would have to face Federer which would be a much anticipated match.

Alexander Zverev

At only 21 years of age, Alexander is one of the youngest player in this Wimbledon season. Despite the German has not experienced many grand slams, this season’s trophy could very well be is first grand slam title. He has a strong double handed backhand which would come to his aid.

Alexander, to the surprise of everyone, has previously defeated mighty giants like Djokovic and Roger Federer, which all the more increase his chances of clinching the trophy.

Will It Be The Same Old Story In Wimbledon Men’s Singles In 2018?

Roger Federer or Rafael Nadal have won the last six major championships. Both are the overwhelming Wimbledon betting favorites for the men’s singles title – and who can argue?

No one.

Federer has won eight times at the All England Club and has played in a total of 11 singles finals. Nadal has won Wimbledon twice – most notably his 2008 final 10 years ago against Federer – and has played in five finals. However, he has not advanced past the fourth round at the event since 2011. With razor-thin margins separating the two players, could this lack of reserve confidence be the different between a point or two if these two were to meet in a climatic final and 10-year-anniversary reprise of their epic 2008 Wimbledon final classic? Federer appears to be as fine-tuned as he has ever been on the comfort of the Wimbledon grass. The only difference between this year and others is his new Uniqlo tennis attire.

While Federer and Nadal are the strong favorites to win the title, Brad Gilbert of ESPN said he believes that there are five real contenders. Outside of the maestros from Switzerland and Spain, others are Juan Martin del Potro, John Isner and Novak Djokovic.

Del Potro is the surprise pick to win the tournament from ESPN commentator and former U.S. Davis Cup captain Patrick McEnroe. The Argentine is a former semifinalist at this event in 2013 where he lost a tight five-setter to Djokovic. He also captured Olympic bronze at the All England Club at the 2012 Olympics, extending Federer to a 19-17 third set in a four-hour-26-minute epic semifinal before beating Djokovic for bronze. Perhaps most importantly, del Potro is not intimidated against Nadal or Federer.

Perhaps the only other real contender for the title is hard-serving John Isner. The former Univerity of Georgia standout is into the second week of Wimbledon for the first time in his career and other than Federer, Nadal and Djokovic, is perhaps the most famous Wimbledon player by virtue of his incredulous 11-hour, 70-68 win over Nico Mahut in the 2010 first round.

Isner is playing the best tennis of his career this year having won the biggest tournament of his career at the Miami Open in April. Like del Potro, Isner is not intimidated by playing the top players. Many – except Isner and his inner circle – may have forgotten that he nearly beat Federer on the Centre Court grass at the 2012 Olympics before falling 6-4, 7-6(5) in an incredibly close contest that is was much closer than the score indicated, with a missed sitter forehand and a let cord basically being the difference between the two players.’s

Djokovic is the unknown entity of men’s tennis. While he is regarded as one of the all-time greats with 12 major titles – including all four majors including Wimbledon in 2011, 2014 and 2015 – he has not won a major title since the French Open in 2016 and has struggled physically with injuries and mentally with concentration, off-court distractions and motivation. You can’t count him out of the conversation, but one could argue that of all the other contenders for the title, Djokovic may have the least amount of deep hunger for the title. There are glimpses of his past form and fire but it is not consistently there and among punters, will not receive a lot of attention in Wimbledon betting

Roger Federer Is UNIQLO’S New Global Brand Ambassador

UNIQLO, the Japanese global apparel retailer, announced a partnership with Roger Federer, the greatest tennis player of all-time and one of the world’s most influential and universally admired people, as its newest Global Brand Ambassador. The new partnership means that Mr. Federer will represent UNIQLO at all tennis tournaments throughout the year, starting with The Championships, Wimbledon 2018.

Commenting on the announcement, Tadashi Yanai, UNIQLO Founder and Chairman, President & CEO of Fast Retailing, said, “Mr. Federer is one of the greatest champions in history; my respect for him goes beyond sport. Our partnership will be about innovation on and off court. We share a goal of making positive change in the world, and I hope together we can bring the highest quality of life to the greatest number of people. UNIQLO will help Mr. Federer continue taking tennis to new places, while exploring innovations in a number of areas including technology and design with him.”

Mr. Federer said, “I am deeply committed to tennis and to winning championships. But like UNIQLO, I also have great love for life, culture and humanity. We share a strong passion to have a positive impact on the world around us and look forward to combining our creative endeavors.”

UNIQLO enters the partnership inspired by the past accomplishments of Mr. Federer and his previous partners. While respectful of new standards they set together, UNIQLO is not a sports company. UNIQLO describes itself as a life company that creates LifeWear, thoughtful everyday apparel with a practical sense of beauty, and constantly improved through craftsmanship and technology. With today’s announcement, LifeWear has a new champion.

Design
Roger Federer’s game wear for Wimbledon 2018 was designed at the UNIQLO Paris R&D Center, led by Artistic Director Christophe Lemaire. Instead of the classic polo shirt or crewneck style collar, UNIQLO reflected Roger Federer’s preference for a short stand-up collar to emphasize a more sophisticated look both on and off court. The design of the shirt and shorts is accented by a burgundy color line – incorporated at the edge of the sleeves and the front panel of the shirt, and down the sides of the shorts – to highlight the company’s corporate color, especially at the launch of the partnership.

Highly Functional Dry EX Material Trusted by Top Athletes
Jointly developed by UNIQLO and Toray Industries, Dry EX features a special arched structure that dries faster than ordinary dry function material, preventing the steamy and sticky feeling due to perspiration and keeping a comfortable feel during play. The raised structure is well suited to the strenuous movements of tennis. Highly breathable mesh has been used in areas that accumulate sweat, helping to avoid overheating and allowing the athletes to be at their very best during competition.

The UNIQLO Global Brand Ambassador Program
UNIQLO partners with world-leading people to promote its brand and LifeWear globally. Reflecting core UNIQLO values, Global Brand Ambassadors embrace challenge in pursuit of the highest possible achievement. They are universally admired for their integrity and character, and for the optimism, respect and humility they demonstrate to all.

UNIQLO combines the expert professional insight of its Global Brand Ambassadors with its most advanced proprietary technologies, creating apparel that supports human performance at the highest level, while also bringing greater comfort and functionality to the everyday lives of its customers. In addition, UNIQLO works with its brand ambassadors to promote community engagement and development initiatives around the world.

In addition to Roger Federer, the UNIQLO Global Brand Ambassadors today are Kei Nishikori (Tennis), Shingo Kunieda and Gordon Reid MBE (Wheelchair Tennis) and Adam Scott (Golf).

Read more about Roger Federer in the book “The Days of Roger Federer” by Randy Walker here https://www.amazon.com/dp/1937559378/ref=cm_sw_r_tw_dp_U_x_IbKoBb75RHFM0 via @amazon

With Roger Federer Out Of The Miami Open, Who Is The Favorite?

After world No. 1 Roger Federer’ stunning opening round loss by the hands of No. 175-ranked Thanasi Kokkinakis Australia, the men’s draw at the Miami Open is a virtual toss-up.

With Federer’s loss, it will mark the first time since 2010 and only the second time in 15 years that no member of the “Big 4” in tennis (Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray) will win Indian Wells or Miami. With all the usual stars on the sidelines after losses (Federer, Djokovic) and injuries (Nadal, Murray and Stan Wawrinka), many new contenders will now look at the draw and feel more confident that they can snag one of the biggest titles in the tennis circuit.

Juan Martin del Potro is seen as the favorite now to win the title, despite being the No. 5 seed and with two players seeded higher than him still in the draw – No. 2 seed Marin Cilic and No. 4 seed Alexander Zverev. Del Potro and Cilic are the only two players in the field left who have won major titles, del Potro beating Federer in the final of the 2009 U.S. Open and Cilic also winning in New York in 2014. The Argentine always plays his most inspired tennis when in the presence of his vocal and enthusiastic Argentine fan base and there is not a lack of them in Miami. He will feel as though he is playing for his country in these friendly environs and it will help lift his game, just as it did for him at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janiero, Brazil, where he had an incredible run to the final and in winning the Davis Cup for Argentina later that year. To boot, del Potro is on a high after winning two big titles in the last few weeks, the 500-level ATP event in Acapulco, Mexico and his first Masters Series title in Indian Wells, California, where he defeated Federer in a thrilling final.

The only thing that could trip up del Potro would be mental or physical fatigue from playing so many matches in such a short period of time.

Cilic is in del Potro’s half and will also challenge for the title. Cilic still has a hot hand from reaching two of the last three major finals at Wimbledon and the Australian Open. Grigor Dimitrov, the No. 3 seed, was also in this half of the draw but lost to Jeremy Chardy of France. Dimitrov won his first Masters Series event in Cincinnati also on hard courts last August. He also won the year-end ATP World Tour Finals last November for the biggest win of his career, but has struggled since then.

In Federer’s vacated top half of the draw, the favorite to go through is probably Alexander Zverev, the No. 4 seed, who has already won two titles on the “Masters Series” level on the ATP Tour (just below the Grand Slams) last year in Rome (defeating Novak Djokovic in the final) and in Montreal (defeating Roger Federer in the final.

However, any number of contenders could also break through. Kevin Anderson, the No. 6 seed, is full of confidence after his run to the US Open final last September and could once again rise to seek more glory.

Tennis observers should keep a close eye on Denis Shapovalov and his Miami Open betting odds. The 18-year-old Canadian left-hander has jumped into the top 50 in the ATP rankings with his explosive game. If he is able to put together all of his amazing shot-making during a stretch of matches, he can beat anybody in the world and grab a title at any level.

Indian Wells Odds And Outrights

The BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells is approaching the final rounds and finding value in the remaining matches and outrights is the name of the game for bettors.

On the men’s side, Roger Federer’s dream draw at Indian Wells continues: his path to the final involves a group of players he is 27-1 against. The only opponent on his side of the draw to ever record a win against him is Jeremy Chardy, his round of 16 opponent, who beat him on clay in 2014. Not surprisingly, Federer is a heavy favorite to win the tournament outright, currently listed at about 8/13, which reflects his dominant play in 2018 and the leisure walk of a draw he’s faced with. If you are thinking about a Federer wager, I would recommend visiting this top-list of offshore sportsbooks to find the best price, as the odds given previously are just the average.

In the final, itself, he’ll meet one of a group of players he is 10-50 against, and of those, his most likely opponent is Juan Martin Del Potro. Del Potro is a legitimate threat to Federer. He has beaten him three times in hardcourt finals and has a winning record in those circumstances. Federer would likely be the favorite still, as he’s unbeaten in 2018 and the best player of all time, but Del Potro won’t be a longshot by any means.

The women’s draw is a little more even. Venus Williams eliminated her sister, Serena, but is still a longshot to win the tournament at around 9/1. World #1 Simona Halep is unsurprisingly the betting favorite (at roughly 5/2). She made it through a nightmarish draw at the 2018 Australian Open, before falling in three sets to Caroline Wozniacki in the final. Halep’s draw from the quarterfinals is mostly favorable, likely facing Karolina Pliskova in the semis, against whom Halep is on a three-win streak and hasn’t lost since 2016. Pliskova’s opponent in the quarterfinals, Naomi Osaka, is something of a hot bet right now, with bettors seeing value in the 16/11 underdog.

As far as finding value in outright bets, it’s hard to go against Roger Federer, even as an odds-on favorite. If you’re feeling flighty, Del Potro at 4/1 is a reasonable option, considering both his decent record against Federer and his play in 2018. On the women’s side, Venus is worth a look at her longshot odds, as beating Serena is very promising and, as Halep herself has conceded, Serena probably should have been the 1-seed in the draw. Angelique Kerber at 11/4 doesn’t make a lot of sense given her record against Halep, and Pliskova has the toughest path the final.

Roger Federer Claims 20th Major Title At The Australian Open

Roger Federer became the first male tennis player to win 20 major titles with a thrilling, topsy-turvy 6-2, 6-7 (5), 6-3, 3-6, 6-1 win over Marin Cilic at the Australian Open.

Federer joins Margaret Court (24), Serena Williams (23) and Steffi Graf (22) as the only player to win 20 or more major singles titles.

Federer moves again farther away from his major rival Nadal, who won his 16th major singles title at the U.S. Open last September, in the men’s major haul.

It also marked his sixth Australian Open, tying him with Novak Djokovic and Roy Emerson for the most ever among men.

“He continues to exhaust superlatives,” said Chris Fowler on ESPN of Federer and his greatness.

Federer arrived in Melbourne at the start of 2017 after an extended injury layoff and on a Grand Slam title drought that dated back to 2012 at Wimbledon. Having successfully defended his Australian title, Federer has now won three of the past five majors in a stunning career resurgence.

“I’m so happy. It’s unbelievable,” Federer said in the trophy presentation. “Of course, winning is an absolute dream come true — the fairytale continues for us, for me, after the great year I had last year, it’s incredible.”

At the age of 36 years, 173 days, Federer became the second-oldest man to win a Grand Slam title in the Open era after Ken Rosewall, who won the 1972 Australian Open at 37.

Federer is the only men’s player to win three different major titles at least five times (Wimbledon, Australian, U.S. Open) and two different major titles at least six times (Wimbledon, Australian Open). His win concluded a successful defense of the dramatic Australian Open final he won last year as a perceived washed-up No. 17-seed recovering from a knee injury who was down 1-3 in the fifth set against chief rival Rafael Nadal. It marked the first time he successfully defended a major title since the 2008 U.S. Open – a decade ago!

As documented in the “Days of Roger Federer” book by Randy Walker, the final against Cilic came exactly 11 years to the day when Federer broke into the double-digits in his Grand Slam tournament title haul with his 10th major title with a straight-set win over Fernando Gonzalez in Melbourne. It took Federer three-and-a-half years to win his first 10 majors and 11 years to win his second 10 majors.

Surprises, Comebacks Highlight Start of Australian Open

The first Grand Slam is already underway in the beautiful city of Melbourne, Australia. Since the 10th of January with the start of qualifying, we have seen great action and endurance from some of the emerging talents in the world of tennis as they battle Down Under.

This is not just a great time for the players themselves but for fantasy players as well as they try to win big in the first Grand Slam of the year and lay down the marker for future success. If you want to become a tennis fantasy player, you need to keep in mind that it’s less than football fantasy betting and more of the lottery. At the start of the year, you need to bank on chance that your fantasy players will play to their potential rather than base your choices on player’s current form. Even if it’s more of a game of chance, you still possess the ability to win just like when you play the Powerball lottery online.

Below is a recap of some the early highlights so so far at the Australian Open.

Three of the four women’s semifinalists from the previous Grand Slam, the US Open, lost in the first round! Sloane Stephens, the 2017 US Open, was defeated in the opening round to China’s Zhang Shuai 2-6, 7-6 (2), 6-2. She is now 0-8 in matches since her US Open triumph last September. Coco Vandeweghe, an Australian and U.S. Open semifinalist last year, couldn’t fight through her flu and lost in the first round to Timea Babos 7-6, 6-2. Venus Williams, last year’s finalist at the Australian Open, Wimbledon and a semifinalist at the U.S. Open lost 6-3, 7-5 to Belinda Bencic, who is still on an inspiring high after pairing with Roger Federer to win the Hopman Cup for Switzerland.

Six-time Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic played his first tournament match since Wimbledon, with a new service motion, a sleeve on his right arm to protect his injured elbow, and new coach Radek Stepanek in the coaching box alongside Andre Agassi. He had little trouble in the first round with American Donald Young, who played helped Djokovic into the second round with poor play in a 6-1, 6-2, 6-4 decision.

Stan Wawrinka, the 2014 Australian Open champion, also played his first tournament match since Wimbledon and sported a nasty looking scar on his right knee from his summer surgery. The Swiss man only dropped a set in his first round win over Ricardas Berankis. Wawrinka’s fellow Swiss Roger Federer, the defending champion and No. 2 seed, had little trouble with Slovenia’s Aljaz Bedene winning in three sets.

 

 

Expect The Unexpected At The 2018 Australian Open

The Australian Open has a history of producing unpredictable results with healthy helping of long-shot champions, finalists and semifinalists. A primary reason for this is because the event is played in the third week of the tennis season and a players off-season training – or lack thereof – showcases itself.

Injuries and comebacks are the major theme heading into the 2018 Australian Open. On the men’s side, five-time finalist Andy Murray is out of the event after undergoing hip surgery. Former top 10 star Kei Nishikori of Japan is also not competing due to injury. Novak Djokovic and Stan Wawrinka are expected to post in their returns to tournament tennis. Djokovic has not played since last summer with a right elbow injury. Wawrinka has also not played since the summer after undergoing  knee surgery.

World No. 1 Rafael Nadal had a much shorter injury layoff, not playing an official tournament since having to withdraw from the ATP World Tour Finals at the end of the 2017 season with a hampered knee.

The Australian Open has a long history of long-shots advancing deep into the tournament and also claiming the men’s and women’s singles titles. On the men’s side,  some most recent surprise performances have been champions Petr Korda (1999), Thomas Johannsson (2002) and also Marcos Baghdatis, Fernando Gonzalez and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who made their only major singles final appearances in 2006, 2007 and 2008 respectively. Since then, winners and runners-up have been among the elite of the elite – Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray – with the lone exception being Stan Wawrinka, who was ranked No. 9 when he won his first major title in Melbourne in 2014.

In 2017, Grigor Dimitrov had another breakthrough major tournament by reaching the semifinals, where he lost in an epic five-set thriller to Nadal. After his victory at the year-end ATP World Tour Finals in London to end 2017, Dimitrov is the top choice to win the title in Melbourne this year other than No. 1 Nadal and No. 2 seed and defending champion Roger Federer. Austria’s Dominic Thiem, ranked No. 5, and Germany’s Alexander Zverev, ranked No. 4, are also poised for greatness and could begin this next generation of champions with an Australian Open win. Australia’s immensely talented Nick Kyrgios, ranked No. 17, could put his temperament aside and rise the tide of local support to fulfill his massive potential. His title in Brisbane leading into the event have buoyed his tennis betting odds.

On the women’s side, the Australian Open has also crowned unheralded champions such as Kerry Reid in 1977, Chris O’Neil in 1978 and Barbara Jordan in 1979. Angelique Kerber was the Australian Open surprise in 2016, winning her first major title with a final-round upset of world No. 1 Serena Williams.  Kerber and 2008 champion Maria Sharapova are the only two former Australian Open winners in the 2018 women’s singles field. Defending champion Serena Williams has pulled out of the event, not feeling her post-pregnancy comeback has progressed fast enough for her liking. Vika Azarenka, the 2012 and 2013 Australian Open champion, also pulled out of the event since she is not able to travel overseas in a custody battle of her son.

The top two women’s seeds, Simona Halep and Caroline Wozniacki respectively, have never won a major singles title, which may place No. 3 seed Garbine Muguruza, the 2016 French Open and 2017 Wimbledon champion, as the favorite. Elina Svitolina, the No. 4 seed, has also never won a major singles title but appears as though she is a future candidate for that role and Australia would be an appropriate stage for this kind of breakthrough.

Johanna Konta of Britain, born in Australia and ranked No. 9, may be a surprise pick to win the title. She was a surprise semifinalist Down Under in 2016 and also at Wimbledon in 2017 so she could make a move to a later round.

“The Greatest Tennis Matches of All Time” Makes For Great Holiday Gift

Having trouble thinking of the proper holiday gift for the tennis player in your life? Consider the book “The Greatest Tennis Matches of All Time” by 2017 International Tennis Hall of Fame inductee Steve Flink

“The Greatest Tennis Matches of All Time” features profiles and rankings of the greatest matches of all time dating from the1920s featuring Bill Tilden and Suzanne Lenglen up through the modern era of tennis featuring contemporary stars Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova. Flink breaks down, analyzes and puts into historical context the sport’s most memorable matches, providing readers with a courtside seat at these most celebrated and significant duels. Flink also includes a fascinating “greatest strokes of all-time” section where he ranks and describes the players who best executed all the important shots in the game through the years. Other champions featured in the book include Don Budge, Maureen Connolly, Rod Laver, Margaret Court, Billie Jean King, John McEnroe, Bjorn Borg, Jimmy Connors, Chris Evert, Martina Navratilova, Pete Sampras, Andre Agassi and Steffi Graf among many others.

The book is published by New Chapter Press, the premier global publisher of tennis books.

The hard-cover book, that makes for a centerpiece of a coffee table or at your local tennis club, retails for $28.95, and can be purchased here on Amazon.com https://www.amazon.com/dp/0942257936/ref=cm_sw_r_tw_dp_x_Qj-rybVBRK7ZW or at www.NewChapterMedia.com and where ever books are sold.

Flink, one of the most respected writers and observers in the game, is currently a columnist for TennisChannel.com. A resident of Katonah, N.Y., he is the former editor of World Tennis magazine and a former senior columnist at Tennis Week.

The book has received high praise from some of the most respected names in the sport, including Chris Evert, a winner of 18 major singles titles in her career, who wrote the foreword to the book.

Said seven-time Wimbledon champion Pete Sampras, “Steve Flink was there reporting on almost every big match I played in my career. He has seen all of the great players for the last 45 years. I encourage you to read this book because Steve is one of the most insightful writers on the game that I have known and he really knows his tennis.”

Said former U.S. Davis Cup captain and player Patrick McEnroe, “As a writer and a fan, Steve Flink’s knowledge of tennis history and his love of the sport are second to none, which is why you should read his book.”

Said ESPN’s Cliff Drysdale, “To see tennis through the eyes of Steve Flink is to wander through a wonderland. These are not fantasies because Steve captures the essence of tennis matches in graphic detail. There is no one more passionate or caring about his subject. In this absorbing book, I can relive matches that I have called on television.”

Founded in 1987, New Chapter Press (www.NewChapterMedia.com) is also the publisher of “The Greatest Jewish Tennis Players of All Time” by Sandra Harwitt, “The Secrets of Spanish Tennis” by Chris Lewit, “Sport of a Lifetime” by Judy Aydelott, “Absolute Tennis: The Best and Next Way To Play The Game” by Marty Smith, “Roger Federer: Quest for Perfection” by Rene Stauffer, “The Bud Collins History of Tennis” by Bud Collins (a new third edition published in late 2016), “The Education of a Tennis Player” by Rod Laver with Bud Collins, “The Wimbledon Final That Never Was” by Sidney Wood, “Acing Depression: A Tennis Champion’s Toughest Match” by Cliff Richey and Hilaire Richey Kallendorf, “Your Playbook for Beating Depression” by Cliff Richey and Mary Garrison, “Titanic: The Tennis Story” by Lindsay Gibbs, “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, “Boycott: Stolen Dreams of the 1980 Moscow Olympic Games” by Tom Caraccioli and Jerry Caraccioli (www.Boycott1980.com), “The Lennon Prophecy” by Joe Niezgoda (www.TheLennonProphecy.com), “Bone Appetit, Gourmet Cooking For Your Dog” by Susan Anson, “How To Sell Your Screenplay” by Carl Sautter, “The Rules of Neighborhood Poker According To Hoyle” by Stewart Wolpin, “People’s Choice Guide Cancun” by Eric Rabinowitz, “Lessons from the Wild” by Shayamal Vallabhjee among others.