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Roger Federer’s Twilight Zone isn’t what you think it is

Roger Federer, being 34 years old, could be viewed as a tennis player who is stepping into the twilight of his career. Whether or not that view is supremely fair or substantive is another question, but the idea that a 34-year-old tennis player stands in or near the twilight realm of his (her) journey is […]

Novak Djokovic is just not fair

When a remarkable athlete performs at his best, a turn of phrase which most readily comes to mind is “a cheat code.” That’s what Novak Djokovic has become. He reminded us of this reality on Thursday night in Melbourne. In 2011, Novak Djokovic defeated Rafael Nadal in the Wimbledon final in four sets. With the […]

Absence, Presence, and Ascension: Angelique Kerber figures it out

What does it look like when a talented player finally puts the pieces together in the moment when she most desperately needs to do so? Samantha Jane Stosur did this at the 2011 U.S. Open against Elena Dementieva on one Sunday, and then against Serena Williams one Sunday later. Francesca Schiavone, after many years of […]

The economy of tennis and the “next match fallacy”

One relatively common, pervasive and durable component of tennis analysis — especially in relationship to the practice of predicting outcomes — is the citation of a player’s form. He’s the more in-form player at the moment. Based on current form, she should be the favorite. The idea is easy enough to understand, and it’s not […]

Ranking the Australian Open’s first-round upsets

Between the men’s and women’s draws, 17 upsets emerged in the first round if viewed strictly through the prism of seeded players losing–five from the men and a whopping 11 on the women’s side. Some of these came out of nowhere, some were more-or-less expected, some were in between. In order of most expected to […]

20 for 2015: 20 Notable Players At This Year’s Major Tournaments

We did this last year, and we’re going to do it again right now. Without commentary or analysis, here’s how 20 notable WTA and ATP players performed at the majors in 2015. Review the year at the majors solely through the lens of results. Commentary can be found in our other U.S. Open wrap-ups and […]

Glorious suffering, screaming ironies, and Simona Halep’s classroom

Anyone who has played tennis with at least some desire to win a match — no matter how relaxed or recreational the setting — could relate to what Simona Halep was going through on Monday afternoon at the U.S. Open. No one who has played tennis in a purely recreational context could possibly relate to […]

Novak Djokovic Displays a Greater Greatness, And Could Become Even Greater

In the 2009 Wimbledon final, Roger Federer — down a set — fell behind in the second-set tiebreaker, 6-2. He improbably won a point on his opponent’s serve at 6-5 in that tiebreaker and eventually won the tiebreaker. Federer won the third set and then outlasted Andy Roddick in one of Wimbledon’s greatest championship matches. […]

Ken Rosewall: Supreme Longevity, Quiet Greatness

When he attends the Australian Open, Ken Rosewall is a distinguished guest. He is a global legend, one especially cherished in Australia. He’s part of the phenomenal golden generation of Australian male tennis players, the group of marvelously skilled wizards who — from 1950 through 1967 — won 14 of 18 Davis Cup championships, part […]

Roger Federer Isn’t God, But He Played One On TV

In January of 2003, another old man — in tennis terms — won a major title. Andre Agassi, three months short of his 33rd birthday, became one of the oldest ATP major champions in the Open Era of professional tennis. His opponent in the final of the 2003 Australian Open, though, was not Andy Murray, […]

Serena Williams And The Freshness Of Familiarity

For some fans of tennis and some fans of various sports, dominance is boring. What’s so special about seeing the same winner over and over again, the same movie over and over again? It’s not inherently right or wrong to look at sports this way — it’s simply a matter of taste and preference. The […]

Before Wimbledon Begins, A New Way To Appreciate Roger And Rafa

We’ve traveled many thousands of miles as tennis fans and chroniclers with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. Billions of words have been written about them. Millions of arguments have been launched by their partisans. Neither man should be favored to win the 2015 edition of Wimbledon, though both have a chance and could slip through […]

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