Monthly Archives: July 2014

No Holds Barred: Our Five Favorite Boris Becker Posts

?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????Retirement in tennis isn’t an easy thing. It’s hard to go from being the best in the world to being just another wealthy 30-something (sometimes even 20-something) retiree who needs to occupy his or her time. There are countless tales of woe among the recently retired, from Bjorn Borg’s financial woes, to the embarrassing Agassi-Sampras squabble during a Hit for Haiti exhibition. And, until recently, aside from those who were fortunate enough to find jobs as commentators, few of the game’s greats stuck around the tennis scene post-career.

But, with Andy Murray’s hire of Ivan Lendl at the end of 2011, the floodgates opened for a number of high profile coaching assignments for other legends of the game, including Michael Chang working with Kei Nishikori, Amelie Mauresmo and Andy Murray, and Stefan Edberg and Roger Federer. Like with Murray-Lendl, these coaching assignments make sense. The one that had everyone a bit perplexed though, was Novak Djokovic’s hire of Boris Becker to provide inspiration. While I can’t say for sure I know what Boris brings to the team, as a long-time follower of Boris’ social media hijinks, I’m thrilled that there is a larger audience of people to witness Boris’ online game.

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LeBron, Fedal and Winning Hearts in the Big Four Era

With one 2010 decision, LeBron James chose the certainty of winning championships, but lost the love of his hometown fans and the respect of many others who follow the NBA. The decision he made on Friday, however, reveals that, having won his rings, LeBron now wants to be loved.

Cynics may note that, even with every advantage in place, King James ended up losing half of the finals he was in while in Miami. They may add that, as he approaches 30, his chance of winning as many championships as Jordan, Magic or Russell were rapidly dwindling, and that this return of the prodigal son was a deft way of lowering expectations and changing the metrics by which his career and legacy would be measured.

But, aside from the decreased presence of Andy Murray and Serena Williams courtside in Miami, what does The Second Decision have to do with tennis? It’s true that top tennis players these days don’t have to deal with teams, free agency, or deciding where to take their talents. However, they are not immune to the basic human desire that Lebron showed the world on Friday: they want to be loved.

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The Lion in Winter: Roger Federer’s Roaring Return to Relevance

Even in defeat, Roger Federer roars back.

Aside from a few shanked balls at 4-5 in the fifth set during Sunday’s final, Roger Federer is right where he wants to be.  True, the disappointment of failing to win the Wimbledon title was subtly etched on his face as he held his runner-up trophy and waved to his daughters.  And, a stuffy nose at his runner up press conference betrayed a possible post-match cry.  But, after the match, Federer, ever the realist, noted:

“I already have seven. It’s not like I need another one.”

Skeptics may point to this as a sign of Federer’s lack of grace in defeat, though his full statements demonstrated his respect for his opponent and the quality of the match.  But, make no mistake, in the midst of answering the expected questions regarding the loss, his ability to win another Slam, and his future, Federer made his message clear: I don’t need your pity.  I didn’t need this title to solidify my place in tennis history.  And I’m not going anywhere.

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It’s Hard to Be King: Rafa’s Wimbledon Woes

Rafael Nadal’s history at Wimbledon has taken a curious turn following his epic final with Roger Federer in 2008. Sidelined by his chronic knee problems, he didn’t play in 2009, only to return in 2010 and win his second title. In 2011, he lost in the final – the first of three consecutive Grand Slam finals he would lose to Novak Djokovic. And then it really gets weird – in 2012 he lost to Lukas Rosol in the second round, and then fell to Steve Darcis in the first round last year. Yet, Rafa’s loss to Nick Kyrgios this year felt different than his last two early exits from SW19. For the first time in his career, Rafa really looked the part of the veteran, attempting to fend off the attacks of a younger, confident rival who bounded across the court and relished the opportunity to take it to Nadal.

From 2005 to 2008, Rafael Nadal was prince to Roger Federer’s king, but an impudent prince at that. Even though Nadal routinely beat Federer on clay, Federer still reigned over the grass and hard court seasons. This arrangement suited the temperaments of both men – Federer enjoyed flying above his peers with his skillful displays, and Nadal embraced the battle to reach the top, conquering Federer, grass and hard courts along the way. Even though he was only in his 20s at the time, Federer was cast in the role of the veteran defending his turf from Nadal for virtually all of his reign at the top.

Continue reading at The Changeover…