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At around 8 o’ clock irish time, when tennis fans over Ireland were settling down to watch the much anticipated match with Limerick man Conor Niland taking on a true beast of the game and current world number one, Novak Djokovic,  our hopes were that Niland would at least win three games. (We are an optimistic bunch).  How and ever, from the outset it was clear that the man from Serbia meant business.  Djokovic, was attacking well but with controlled aggression. Niland looked weak and slightly sickly,  so when the shocking and disappointing news that he was suffering from food poisoning was discovered (through the medium of Twitter), our hopes of any sort of resistance from the Limerick man crumbled like a digestive biscuit.

And our predictions were right.  After six games which were, frankly, quite sad to watch, Djokovic strolled to the chair upon winning the first set. When Niland called for the trainer, our hopes were even more dashed. We really pitied Niland. What was meant to be a great day for Irish tennis instead turned into a nightmare. Niland’s game improved slightly in the second set but still we saw nothing of the blistering cross court forehands and lightning footwork we had seen in the qualifying rounds of  the US Open, and indeed Wimbledon also. And as Djokovic hit a particularly cruel dropshot which the lethargic Niland could not reach,  the rebellious Irishman within me longed to hurl a potato at Djokovic’s forehead.  When Niland won his first game by holding his serve, there were cheers from the crowd,  waiting for the the Irishman to get back on his feet.  It was not to be, however, and trailing 5-1 down in the second set, Conor Niland retired.

And so Djokovic sweeps to victory.  We may feel sorry for Niland, but there was no denying the class of his opponent. In a match that lasted 43 minutes, Djokovic played like the champion he is. With carefully controlled play, Djokovic cleverly wore down Niland, goading him to make mistakes.  Djokovic’s shoulder injury scare – which has stemmed from the Cincinatti masters last week – seemed not to trouble the Serb in the slightest. He was cool, clinical and those 14 winners were quite impressive too!

It was a depressing day for Irish tennis, but at the moment, all sights are set on Djokovic and how he fares in his next match. If he improves on this performance in his next outing,  he stands a phemonenally good chance of lifting that coveted trophy in two weeks time.



Work that backhand Conor, You go girl!

I confess when I heard that Conor Niland had qualified for the Wimbledon main draw earlier this year, my first emotion was, frankly, surprise, rather than utmost confidence in Nilands’ tennis skills.  Nevertheless,  I watched his first round match against a young French player,  Adrian Mannarino.  It was a tense encounter without a doubt.  Niland was playing some of his best tennis of his career so far,  He was hitting every ball at such a rip-roaring pace and with unerring accuracy, the fact Niland had never made it to the main draw of a Grand Slam seemed completely implausible. It was when Niland was serving at 4-2 up in the 5th set that had a burglar entered my house and made away with all my worldly possessions, I would scarcely have noticed,  so happily was I enveloped in “Niland Mania”.

Unfortunately it was not to be. Nilands unhappy tendency to sometimes lose his focus during the big points let him down. Mannarino won in 5 sets.  After sulking for a while,  (I take losses like this in my stride) I was fully able to appreciate the enormity of what Niland had achieved.  Nilands’ breakthrough to join the elite club of the main draw in a grand Slam was both admirable and impressive.  Let us not,  at this point, my friends,  get so carried away in the Niland train that we go beyond the station of sense and instead end up at the stop of  “Lower irrational street”.  Louk Sorensen played a central part in raising the profile of Irish tennis, by reaching the 2nd round of the Australian Open earlier this January.


You just keep doin' yo' thang Louk!

So when the U.S. Open qualifiers rolled around, imagine our shock and delight  when, not one, but two Irish tennis players, Conor Niland and Louk Sorenson,  fought their way to the main draw of the event at Flushing Meadows.  Irish tennis fans celebrated up and down the country.  The feeling of euphoria and excitement of what was to come was similar to that of the tension felt before the annual “running of the bulls” festival in Pamplona. Though, hopefully with less injuries.

The tennis drawers are no softies, however, and both Niland and Sorenson received very difficult opponents. Niland to play world number 1 and the seemingly invincible Novak Djokovic. Sorenson was drawn against tricky Swede Robin Soderling, who is mainly remembered for the epic match in which he toppled Rafa at the French Open. Both of the Irish lads have proved they are not to be meddled with however, and perhaps they will make this years’ U.S. Open one to remember.

Purely for the reason that I am so bored that I am at my wit’s end AND that due to the lucky fact I don’t live in outer Mongolia and therefore Google Images is readily available, I have selected the most amusing pictures of tennis players.

It’s at this point that you begin to say   ‘ But my friend, there is nothing amusing about tennis.  It is a fine game’.  And while the latter part may be true, to the first, I say, ‘O contraire’.  We all love our tennis players and the endless hours of entertainment they give us,  but when those feisty fellas are playing in the heat of the moment, their facial expressions are comedy gold. I have selected the best and after chortling to myself for a few minutes, put them up on ”this here noble blog”.

Andy Roddick
                        Oh A-Rod…

Taylor Dent serves and scares simultaneously


Keeping an eye on the ball


His Cypriot fans don't love him for nothing


This dude is not even a tennis player and I don't even know his name but i just love this!








After more giggling, I think the winner is A-Rod, or maybe Baghdatis, or the table tennis chap… Oh it’s useless they’re all too damn funny!

Until next time bloggos…..peace out!

Fed and Rafa

Roger and Rafa

By Sylvia Power.

Is the unique rivalry between Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal about to spiral into a steady decline? I explore the fascinating history between the two players and predict that the men’s game is set to undergo a momentous change.

Frequently called “The greatest tennis rivalry of all time”, this description is by no means an overstatement. When the two men first met in March 2004 in the third round of the Miami Masters, tennis fans around the globe had no inkling that this was the start of arguably the most enthralling rivalry in tennis history. Over the next six years, Federer and Nadal were to face each other twenty-four more times, Nineteen of their matches being in tournament finals and an incredible eight of which were in Grand Slam finals. Federer and Nadal were to have a tight hold over every prestigious tournament, indeed, it was either Federer or Nadal that won every Grand Slam from 2005 to 2010 with the except of the Australian Open in 2008 and U.S. open in that same year.

But what made this rivalry so captivating that it attracted global media attention before every Federer-Nadal match-up? Some viewers would state that it was the high-quality tennis that would surely be delivered by both men. Some people are of the opinion that Federer and Nadal are the greatest tennis players in history, this is made all the more exciting by the fact that they both happen to be playing competitive tennis at the same time.

Witnessing two outstanding champions playing within the same time frame is every tennis lovers dream, it takes us back to those glory days of John McEnroe and Jimmy Connors, or Boris Becker and Stefan Edberg.

Others relish the vast contrast between the two men’s different styles of playing. Rafael Nadal is the very essence of the word “athlete”. His strong, aggressive groundstrokes make it extremely difficult for his opponent to gain a foothold in the rally. Nadal also employs the tactic of returning every single ball, until the opposition withers. Nadal plays the game in a very physically demanding way, using brute force to destroy his opponents.
Labelled “King Roger” by adoring fans, Roger Federer couldn’t make playing tennis look any easier. At nearly thirty years old, the Swiss is still one of the fastest players on tour. He glides around the court, his footwork balletic. Federer prefers to play with precision over power, using his natural talent at the net to breeze past his opponents.

So how could the reign of these two majestic men be crumbling before our very eyes? Over the last decade, men’s tennis has witnessed a revolution in the way the game is played. Gone are the days of seventy mile-an-hour first serves and careers lasting well over a decade. It’s now believed that men will be at the tail end of their career from ages twenty-eight to thirty-one. The reason for this change is the increased focus on athleticism in tennis. Men in their late twenties are not as physically fit as younger players in their early twenties, just like Roger Federer losing to younger rival Jo-Wilfred Tonga in the quarter finals of Wimbledon 2011. This revolution has escaped those men who are known as “late bloomers”. These men take longer to develop their tennis skills than others. However, while this may sound negative, it guarantees that those men can continue to play long after younger men have burned themselves out.  One victim of this plight is Rafael Nadal. Renowned for his gruelling on-court play, Raga has been troubled with tendonitis in both knees. Suffering from tendonitis at only twenty-five is an ominous signal for Nadal’s future.

Men’s tennis is heading for another massive change. If Roger Federer cannot match the physical fitness of the younger players and if Rafael Nadal’s knees begin to trouble him more, as they surely will if the Spaniard continues to play gruelling and physically exhausting tennis, perhaps the golden door to Grand Slam glory will be blown wide open? The last two years have revealed that there are more than a few young, up-and-coming, talented tennis players who wish to take over the Federer-Nadal throne. New world number one Novak Djokovic and Scot Andy Murray have been knocking at the door of Federer and Nadal in nearly all the Grand Slams since 2007 and the former has recently won his third major title by winning at Wimbledon, effectively knocking down the stone wall between himself and further Grand Slam glory. Young Australian Bernard Tomic exceeded all expectation by reaching the quarter finals at Wimbledon and proved he is one to be wary of in the future. Juan Martin Del Potro has found a resurgence of form following an injury and is certain to prove dangerous during the hard-court season. Many others, including Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Tomas Berdych, Gael Monfils and Feliciano Lopez are waiting in the wings for their chance at victory. Indeed, the change that will take place will be that the men’s game will become very similar to the women’s game. The situation in women’s tournaments now is that virtually anyone can capture the title, whether the victor is thirty year old outsider Francesca Schiavone or long-shot Petra Kvitova. Without the domination of Federer, many young players should now have the self belief  needed to guide them to Grand Slam glory. And while Nadal is supposedly at the peak of his career, he may notice the increasing number of confident youngsters and even “late bloomers” ready to step up and challenge him.

This is my first blog post so I am going to tell you what I will be blogging about, to ensure you don’t waste endless hours trying to find information about sailing. This is not a sailing blog. It is in fact a tennis blog, with posts from every walk of tennis life that I think I can write about. It could be at times a little bit random or unexpected.  (Cue picture of giant squirrel eating an ice cream cone and wearing pink bloomers) But mostof the time it will be about tennis. Or sometimes baking. But mostly tennis. In an effort to appear swanky I will now post a picture of  Beyonce and J-Z lounging it up courtside while they were visiting wimby.


Beyonce and Jay-Z chillin' at SW19

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