Maria Sharapova after winning the French Open against Sara Errani

Maria Sharapova: to the very end, a happy contradiction

To the very end of her illustrious career as a professional tennis player, Maria Sharapova remained a pleasing and positive puzzle, one the sports world had a hard time solving. Sharapova’s retirement on Monday, announced before her 29th birthday in April, offered one last revealing glimpse into an athlete who was easy to judge from […]


The Occasionals: WTA players who captured rare moments

It sounds like the name of the local neighborhood alternative band who plays at the pub just around the corner from the grocery store: The Occasionals. It’s the name I thought of for a certain kind of WTA player, inspired by the runs of Samantha Stosur and Kiki Bertens to the Roland Garros semifinals. Regardless […]


Serena Williams continues to define professionalism

Serena Williams really does deserve her own entry in the dictionary of the English language. Serena Williams (noun) – A professional, and everything that word means. * Interestingly enough, another American female tennis player owns a connection — albeit a very tangential one — to this idea of professionalism and how Serena so fully embodies […]


Halep and Radwanska have no one to blame but themselves

Simona Halep and Agnieszka Radwanska were not happy with French Open officials on Tuesday. In rain-soaked conditions, both players would have preferred to not play. On merit, their points were not unreasonable. Hitting a waterlogged ball on a highly saturated court doesn’t seem like an ideal way to contest a major championship. The ball should […]

Japan's Kei Nishikori reacts after losing his men's fourth round match against France's Richard Gasquet at the Roland Garros 2016 French Tennis Open in Paris on May 29, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / PHILIPPE LOPEZ

For Nishikori and Cilic, 2014 becomes an increasingly distant memory

Remember when Kei Nishikori and Marin Cilic knocked off Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer in the same major tournament’s semifinal round? Nishikori was 24 years old when he reached the 2014 U.S. Open final, and Cilic was 25 when he won it. It’s true that Cilic permanently eliminated the burden of having to win a […]


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 […]


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 […]


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 […]


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 […]


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, […]


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 […]