Andy Murray has had a phenomenal year so far.
But he’s aiming for an even better one.
For the Scottish tennis legend, who won his second Olympic gold medal this year, slowing down is just simply not an option. He wants to go even further and claim the World Number 1 spot for himself. If he can achieve that, it would be the first time in his already illustrious tennis career that he would occupy the top spot. And he’s absolutely on the top of his game.
The same can’t be said for the current Number 1 Novak Djokovic who aims to pull out of the ongoing China Open citing an elbow injury. This would further clear the road for Murray to do what seemed, for a long time, almost impossible.
It won’t be easy though.
When it comes to Tennis, less is more for American tennis player and former president of the ATP Player Council, Eric Butorac. He is of the opinion that tennis must have shorter matches if it wants to engage a younger audience.
This, apparently, is what Butorac told his successor in the ATP Player Council, Novak Djokovic, and the member of the board, Andy Murray. “It’s too slow,” Butorac told Murray, “I’m too busy. I’ve got two kids, I’ve got stuff to do. I love watching you guys play but I don’t need four hours of it.”
On one hand, Butorac’s suggestion makes perfect sense. Men’s matches do have a tendency to go on for far too long, a fact that can be quite frustrating in today’s fast-paced lifestyle. The length of an average men’s singles match in the US Open in 2014 was around 2 hours and 44 minutes. And there was the legendary face-off between Djokovic and Nadal at the Australian Open final in 2012 which went on for 5 hours and 53 minutes.
The solution to the problem, however, is not as simple as it seems.
Firstly, it could face serious opposition from the tennis players, and there are a lot of them, who think longer is better. Even if, by some miracle, the proposal is accepted by the wider tennis community, it would raise more problems than it solves.
Would the matches consist of fewer sets in a match or fewer games in a set? Will the tennis community ever come to an agreement on this?
For now, that prospect seems highly unlikely.
The upcoming Rio Olympics have been mired in controversy ever since the games were announced in 2009.
Commentators and observers have raised concerns about the corruption and instability of Brazil’s government, Rio’s alarming crime rate, the lack of or weaknesses in the existing infrastructure, pollution problems, and the significant health and safety concerns which include the potential threat of the Zika virus.
But the controversies don’t end here. Many are raising questions about the future of tennis in the Olympics after various high profile players have pulled out of the contests. Although everyone has their own reasons for not taking part in the Olympics, the overwhelming takeaway seems to be that many players are angry over the absence of prize money and ranking points.
Among those players is Latvian Ernests Gulbis who announced he would not be attending the Olympics while calling it “tennis tourism.” Another notable absence is that of the tennis legend Roger Federer. The 17-time Grand Slam champion is not attending the event due to fears of injury and the Zika virus.
Some of the other notable players not attending the event include Milos Raonic, Dominic Thiem, Tomas Berdych, Richard Gasquet, Feliciano Lopez, Nick Kyrgios, and John Isner. Among the women, Victoria Azarenka, Karolina Pliskova, Simona Halep, and Belinda Bencic will not grace the Olympics with their presence.
With concerns over the Olympics not being as important as Grand Slam events for many of the prominent players, it would be exciting to see what the future holds for tennis in the Olympics
“My life right now is an absolute nightmare. What I am going through, I wouldn’t wish it on [anyone].”
French tennis star Marion Bartoli poured her heart out in an interview and addressed the issue of her dramatic weight loss. Bartoli has lost around 30 kg since she was crowned the Wimbledon champion in 2013.
The former champion has been a frequent victim of abuse online and in the media. Critics allege that she is suffering from an eating disorder. This interview was Bartoli’s first attempt to address the criticisms around her weight loss.
And her explanation was met with skepticism.
According to Bartoli, the cause of her shocking weight loss is not an eating disorder but a virus which is causing bizarre symptoms. The virus, which she admits the doctors couldn’t identify, renders her unable to eat anything other than organic salad leaves. She also cannot go near tap water and electronic devices.
“I can’t even wash myself with tap water,” said Bartoli. “I can’t be on my phone for more than five minutes as my heart starts to pump … Every time I do something, I’m scared to see the reaction to my body, it’s a constant fear.”
Despite her incessant claims that she loves to eat and does not suffer from any kind of disorder, her critics remain adamant and consider the explanation to be unbelievable. On the other hand, some express disgust over the online abuse hurled over Bartoli. They believe that her treatment is just one example of how women in tennis are expected to conform to certain body standards.
Which side do you stand on?
Maria Sharapova has been banned by the International Tennis Federation for two years.
Sharapova, one of the world’s highest-paid female athletes and a five-time grand slam champion, was banned by the ITF because she committed a doping violation through the use of banned performance-enhancing drugs.
The news has come as a shock to many of her fans and supporters. On one hand, many people are protesting the decision. Sharapova herself recently posted on her Facebook account to state, “I cannot accept an unfairly harsh two-year suspension.” On the other hand, people are blaming her for the sentence. Regardless of where people stand on the matter, one question continues to haunt them.
Did she know it was illegal?
Sharapova has an excuse. She says she simply didn’t open the emails from ITF that explicitly stated that the drug was banned. ITF themselves cannot prove that Sharapova knew about the ban. Perhaps that’s the reason she got a two-year penalty, rather than a four-year ban.
While Sharapova’s excuse may well have convinced many of her fans to stand behind her, not everyone is in a particular hurry to rush over to her defence.