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Near-death in the afternoon: Murray and Wawrinka survive

The French Open didn’t occupy a prominent psychological place in Andy Murray’s tennis season — not in the distant past. Murray’s favorite major tournament is and has been the U.S. Open. His most consistent major tournament is the Australian Open, where he’s reached five finals dating back to 2010. The major tournament freighted with the […]

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Roland Garros 2016: when a story is drawn, not merely written

To a certain extent, it will always and inevitably be true that draws don’t matter that much in tennis. What looks good on paper often becomes nothing other than a dream. For blockbuster semifinals to emerge at the 2016 French Open, four players — Serena Williams, Angelique Kerber, Novak Djokovic, and Rafael Nadal — must […]

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When in Rome, discuss asterisks and professionalism

The past week at the Rome Masters did not reveal much about the ATP Tour — certainly not in terms of tennis. The story of men’s tennis at the Foro Italico proved to be illuminating not for its on-court aspects, but for its off-court dimensions. Italy’s Masters 1000 tournament represented a convincing argument for anyone […]

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Serena wins Rome, as the 2016 season swiftly shifts again

Serena wins. Yes, she does… a lot. Yet, Sunday’s championship in Rome — won against Madison Keys in a classic veteran-steals-the-cookies-from-the-young-challenger kind of match — was Serena’s first title since the summer of 2015. It had been a long time since Serena hoisted a trophy… which is an utterly odd thing to say in light […]

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Djokovic defeats Murray in Madrid, recalling familiar themes

The official record will state — for anyone and everyone who looks up the result in subsequent years — that Novak Djokovic defeated Andy Murray on Sunday for his latest Masters 1000 championship in Madrid. Unofficially, the man Djokovic most centrally defeated at La Caja Magica was Djokovic himself. The World No. 1 has won […]

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Halep wins: What happens in Madrid stays in Madrid… or will it?

If what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, one must then ask: “Does anything that happens in Madrid not stay in Madrid?” Simona Halep hopes the answer is yes after her championship in La Caja Magica this past week. Hope and reality don’t always find their way to the altar, but maybe in this case, […]

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The resurgence of Rafael Nadal and a magical week in Monte Carlo

Anyone who has ever loved tennis knows the sport possesses a singular quality, a uniquely combative nature which resonates across much of the globe. This is a violent sport. It’s anything but the longstanding and laughably empty stereotypical image of a “sissy” or “genteel” activity. Yet, the competitors don’t suffer black eyes, fractured jaws, or […]

Roger Federer of Switzerland wipes the sweat from his face during his semifinal match against Novak Djokovic of Serbia at the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne, Australia, Thursday, Jan. 28, 2016.(AP Photo/Andrew Brownbill)

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 […]

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 28:  Novak Djokovic of Serbia celebrates match point in his semi final match against Roger Federer of Switzerland during day 11 of the 2016 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 28, 2016 in Melbourne, Australia.  (Photo by Michael Dodge/Getty Images)

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 […]

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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 […]

Canada's Milos Raonic celebrates victory during his men's singles match against France's Gael Monfils on day ten of the 2016 Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne on January 27, 2016.

Milos Raonic Leaps Into The Australian Open Semifinals

Tennis fans have waited years for another men’s tennis player to take the proverbial leap, becoming a player not necessarily on the level of Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer or Andy Murray, but clearly a step above the rest of the top 20. We might be watching Milos Raonic make that move. The Canadian dispatched Gael […]

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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 […]

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