31 August, 2011

US Open Day 2 - 3 Thoughts

Before the match started, I told my friend a little about Serena Williams' opponent, Bojana Jovanovski.  The basics, she's 19 year old Serb ranked 54th in the world who's had some solid results this year; a very good young player who could give Serena a test.  Hahahahaha, wrong; not about Jovanovski being a good player, but her being able to test Serena was laughable.  Not this Serena, not this night.  

30 August, 2011

US Open Day 1 - 3 Thoughts

As we watch this year's US Open we will begin each day with a brief recap of the prior day's action.

It's got to be tough to be Maria Sharapova.  No, I'm not talking about the annoyances that come with her good looks, fame or fortune, I'm talking about the ones that come with her game.  Before her match yesterday, I tweeted that win or lose, I hoped the yips wouldn't be a factor.  Of course, no sooner did that thought reach the ether did the Sharapova serve go completely and utterly off the rails.  You have to give credit where credit is due, for two sets, the 104th ranked young Brit, Heather Watson, gave Sharapova all she could handle, but there were two thoughts I couldn't shake.  

29 August, 2011

US Open Draw Breakdown 2011 - Men's

The US Open is the last chance.  With over four months until the entirety of the tennis world reconvenes in Australia, for better or for worse, how a player performs at the US Open tends to define their year.  Here's our 2011 US Open men's bracket breakdown.

23 August, 2011

Seeding Serena

How do you seed a player like Serena?  It seems the entirety of the tennis world is asking the USTA that question, and everyone has their own (detailed) opinion, including this guy.  So what's Blacklabel Tennis' take on the matter?

21 August, 2011

Return of the Djokester

I'm a couple of days late on this, but I had to share it with you.  Just as soon as I was ready to dub him  Robo-Nole, the Djokester re-emerges.  Obviously, bored with his domination of the men's tour, Novak Djokovic is back to imitating Maria Sharapova, this time in a commercial/viral video for their racquet maker, Head.

Maria responded on her Facebook page:

The Sunday Line, 8/21/11

Making the call on this weekend's Cincinnati Masters finals

Western & Southern Open
Cincinnati, Ohio, USA (Hard)

Andy Murray
Novak Djokovic

I believe, if I'm counting correctly, that the Cincinnati Masters marks the gazillion-and-first final this year for Djokovic (aka Robo-Nole).  The Serb has truly captured lightning in a bottle this season.  Even when he looks, to an outsider, as if he wants to pack up his racquet bag and check out of the Marriott (vs. Monfils - QF, vs. Berdych - SF), the universe seems to find ways to push him along to his destiny, which today is a 57-1 match record and a shot at a sixth Masters title this year.  The previous record was four.  Djokovic will face off against Dunblane native Andy Murray for the third time this year.  

14 August, 2011

The Sunday Line, 8/14/11

Making the call on this weekend's ATP and WTA finals.

Rogers Cup
Toronto, Canada (Hard)

Samantha Stosur
Serena Williams

As quickly as she's rounded her way into form it's easy to forget that Serena Williams is officially ranked 80th in the world and is only playing her fourth tournament of 2011.  As quickly as the wheels fell off after her upset loss to Francesca Schiavone in the Roland Garros final a year ago, it's easy to forget that this time last year Sam Stosur was a top five player who many tennis pundits were pegging as a future Grand Slam champion and potential World No. 1.  Such is tennis, the sport rewards those with the resilience and selective memories to put disappointment behind them consistently and bounce back to fight another day.

10 August, 2011

Blacklabel Tennis Guide To The US Open

USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center

Who needs the big, overblown, traditional holidays?  You can keep your thanksgiving turkeys, your 4th of July fireworks, your Santa Claus.  For this guy, the most wonderful time of the year is the start of another US Open tennis tournament.  Oh, it's not absolutely perfect; the weather always seems to veer from sweltering when the first ball is struck to sweatshirt weather by the end; the food prices always make me wonder why the USTA can't hire Kanye West's jeweler to build a platinum and diamond encrusted roof over Arthur Ashe stadium and frankly, there's always a point where I get tennis fatigue and have to leave a bit early for the day, but there's no time of the year I look forward to more than the US Open.

So, why am I writing this unofficial guide to the US Open when there are so many official sources out there?  Well, to be frank, because I'm me.  Living in New York, the US Open is my hometown major, one of the biggest events of the year and the tournament I know the best.  Unlike the professional beat writers who generally spend the tourney shuttling off to the press conferences and have cordoned off seats at the show courts, I've only ever experienced the Open like you, as a fan.  I boil in the summer heat like every other fan, I get no closer to the players than anybody else with an oversized tennis ball, I pay $4.75 for my Evian just like the rest of the hoi polloi.  In other words, for most of the last decade, I've experienced the Open in the exact same way you will and have learned a few tips and tricks that I think will help you (whoever you are) maximize your trip to the US Open.

04 August, 2011

Blacklabel Tennis Power Rankings - August 2011

Yep, it's that time of the month again.  Welcome to the second edition of the Blacklabel Tennis Power Rankings.  The idea's pretty simple, we'll tell you who the top ten players are RIGHT NOW every month, why they're hot, why they're cold and why you need to pay attention going forward.  Agree? Disagree?  Leave it in the comments.

In all honesty, a lot of the top dogs have been silent since we released the July rankings after Wimbledon, but there has been a bit of movement, including a strong showing by you know who...

1. Novak Djokovic (SRB) Last Month: (1)
Novak Djokovic hasn't done a lot wrong since he took the top post last month.  Sure, he lost his doubles match in a Davis Cup tie that Serbia won anyway and there was that photo, but has he done anything to make us believe he's not the best tennis player on Planet Earth right now?  Nope, I'd say not.  It'll be interesting to see if the month-long break rejuvenates him or saps his mojo.  Every player reacts differently to the time off and the lack of matchplay could leave him vulnerable to an early round upset in Montreal.  Montreal, belle ville though it is, is not the goal, New York, the US Open is. He may not sweep the hardcourt Masters, but at the moment, Djokovic is still the best player on the surface, as such, he leads the Power Rankings.