Who will the next men and women be to win a maiden Grand Slam singles title be? Will any of the next generation of WTA and ATP stars win three or more Grand Slam singles titles as only Serena and Venus Williams, Maria Sharapova, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic have done?
Garbine Muguruza Wimbledon final 2015 babolat

I hope new players who possess great integrity (refraining from making excuses when they lose), who respect tennis itself and act in the best interests of the game are the ones who become the next multiple Grand Slam singles champions in both the women’s and men’s games.

I would love to see these new players frequently display their enjoyment of the game during matches, create their unique stamp on the game plus play points with far more variety in their passages of play including volleying and continue the grace of the single-handed backhand drive.

Roger Federer winner of the most Grand Slam singles titles in men’s tennis with 17 and equal second most prolific Rafael Nadal with 14 together with Novak Djokovic who has won five of the past 7 Grand Slam titles to own 11 have collectively won 38 of the past 44 Grand Slam singles titles since Rafa won his first in 2005 at Roland Garros. At the Masters 1000 level Federer, Nadal and Djokovic have won 44 of the past 55 Masters 1000 singles titles.

Federer turns 35 this August and won his last Grand Slam title almost 4 years ago at Wimbledon 2012. Nadal turns 30 during this year’s Roland Garros event, which also marks 2 years for Rafa without winning a Grand Slam singles title. Nadal has had increasingly more injury problems over the past 10 years. Last year was the first time in 11 years that he did not win a Grand Slam title and the first time he didn’t win a clay court title in the European clay court season.

Serena Williams is the winner of the most Grand Slam singles titles of the active WTA players with 21 and turns 35 this year. Venus Williams follows Serena with 7 with last win at 2008 Wimbledon already 35 years of age with another birthday in June. Maria Sharapova is next with 5 and considerably younger, the most recent being Roland Garros 2014, although her playing future uncertain at the moment. Furthermore, three of the past four women to win a Grand Slam singles title pretty much all retired immediately: Marion Bartoli Wimbledon 2013, Li Na Australian Open 2014 and Flavia Pennetta US Open 2015.

Pictured is 22-year-old Garbiñe Muguruza of Spain prepared for a forehand during Wimbledon 2015 where she won through to the final, fighting admirably all the way before being the runner-up to Serena Williams. The 1.82m Muguruza made the her first Grand Slam singles quarter final at Roland Garros in 2014 defeating Serena Williams 6-2 6-2 on the way then reached the same stage at Roland Garros in 2015. Can Muguruza make another huge stride this year and win a Grand Slam?

The Top 10 highest ranked WTA players aged 22 and under at the moment are:

4. Garbiñe Muguruza (Spain) 22 year old – double-handed backhand
10. Belinda Benic (Switzerland) 19 years old – double-handed backhand
17. Elina Svitolina (Ukraine) 21 years old – double-handed backhand
24. Madison Keys (USA) 21 years old – double-handed backhand
27. Kristina Mladenovic (France) 22 years old – double-handed backhand
32. Daria Kasatkina (Russia) 18 years old – double-handed backhand
34. Anna Karolina Schmiedlova (Slovakia) 21 years old – double-handed backhand
37. Jelena Ostapenko (Latvia) 18 years old – double-handed backhand
39. Daria Gavrilova (Australia) 22 years old – double-handed backhand
70. Timea Babos (Hungary) 22 years old – double-handed backhand

The Top 10 highest ranked ATP players aged 22 and under at the moment are:

15. Dominic Thiem (Austria) 22 year old – singled-handed backhand
20. Nick Kyrgios (Australia) 21 years old – double-handed backhand
40. Borna Coric (Croatia) 19 years old – double-handed backhand
49. Alexander Zverev (Germany) 19 years old – double-handed backhand
56. Lucas Pouille (France) 22 years old – double-handed backhand
63. Jiri Vesely (Czech) 22 years old – double-handed backhand
70. Taylor Fritz (USA) 18 years old – double-handed backhand
84. Hyeon Chung (Korea) 19 years old – double-handed backhand
89. Kyle Edmund (Great Britain) 21 years old – double-handed backhand
103. Yoshihito Nishioka (Japan) 20 years old – double-handed backhand

 

Djokovic defeats Murray in Miami finalIt seems almost as if Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic tennis careers have been in constant alignment.

Born just a week apart – they both celebrate their 28th birthdays in May – the pair even learned their craft together as teenagers in Spain.

Since then, they have met in countless tournament finals – 11 to be exact, as well as in many other classic matches.

So who tends to get the upper hand? And who has developed into the better player?

The Champ vs. The Nearly Man

When you consider their Major records, it’s a no-brainer. The Serb has won eight Grand Slam singles titles, and has been ranked number one in the world for nigh on three calendar years.

In 2012, Djokovic became only the fourth player in history to reach all four Grand Slam finals although the French Open still eludes him.

But he’s won the big ones on eight separate occasions – five Australian Open titles, two Wimbledon wins and a single US Open championship, and this has secured his legacy as one of the best players to ever pick up a racket.

For Andy Murray, the title of ‘nearly man’ must be starting to wear a little thin. He has appeared in eight Grand Slam finals… but only lifted the trophy on two occasions (Wimbledon in 2013 and the US Open in 2012).

His career has been beset by injuries, but his finals record suggests that there is a lack of the killer instinct that Djokovic boasts in abundance. The fact that he has lost four of those majors to the Serb perhaps sums up this discussion quite nicely.

The Battle of the Aussie Open

It was surprising then that the Scot entered his 2015 final against Djokovic in Australia as the man most likely to – according to the bookmakers anyway, for whom ‘Murray favourite for Aus Open’ was a regular headline.

It was perhaps the way in which he had disposed of his Wimbledon conqueror Grigor Dimitrov, home favourite Nick Kyrgios and the dangerous Tomas Berdych en route to the final that had convinced the bookies he was the man to beat.

And they looked to be correct as the players shared the opening two sets, both going to a tiebreak. But from then on Djokovic champions’ instinct kicked in; and he took the last two sets 6-3, 6-0 with ease.

This tied the Serb level on eight Grand Slam victories with court legends Jimmy Connors, Ivan Lendl and Andre Agassi. He’s still got a lot of work on his hands to catch Roger Federer on 17 wins however.

And for Murray, well, he’ll be hoping to shake off that nearly man tag during the 2015 season.

Photo courtesy of HEAD Tennis please follow @head_tennis on Twitter

 

Tennis Aces turn to poker

Boris Becker

The path from the tennis court to the poker table is one that has been followed by a variety of previous world sports stars, choosing to swap the tennis racket for a hand of dealt cards in search of further success.

Becker serving up aces

Former World No. 1, Boris Becker, has enjoyed much success on the tennis court, becoming and still holding the record for youngest ever Wimbeldon champion, after clinching the title back in 1985.

The German, who is now the coach of current World No.1 Novak Djokovic, has brought the same intensity and will to win to the table that he had on the court, if not the same level of results, yet. Becker’s live tournament winnings currently stand over an eye-watering $25,000,000.

The poker industry across the globe has been growing at an extremely rapid pace and competition has never been fiercer. Gambling companies across the world are under constant pressure to innovate and come up with original promotions, strategies and events that appeal to a world-wide audience.

Recognizing this constant need to invent and promote effective, The Global Poker Index announced that it had teamed up with tennis legend and grand slam winner Boris Becker. Becker who is a former world number one player loves playing poker and has now joined the GPI to promote their brand and bridge the gap between sports and poker.

For practise, in between coaching superstar Djokovic and playing in live poker events, Becker would take to online casino sites like Betsafe in order keep up his intensity and skills while waiting for the next upcoming live tournament. This is a technique used by several top sports stars who have dived into the world of poker, after originally starting off in a different sporting background. Others to have dipped into online poker are former AC Milan striker Andriy Shevchenko and Tennis ace Rafael Nadal.

Becker started playing poker seriously when a sponsor paid him to attend a tournament. Now he is on the circuit, playing for big money in Vegas and Monte Carlo, travelling all around the world again, like when he was in the prime of his career as a tennis pro. “The poker tour is like the tennis tour, travelling from city to city. Very competitive. It reminds me of being 20 again,” he said.

Game, set and match

Seemingly discontent with being one of the world’s best tennis players, Nadal has been undergoing some extreme training to turn himself into a poker expert too.

Nadal is another top sports star to have made the huge leap into the rewarding and risky world of high-stakes poker.

Last year, the 14-time Grand Slam winner, scored a first when he beat a line-up of sports stars, including the world number one poker player, to claim the EPT Charity Challenge title. It was the Spaniard’s first ever competitive live game of poker and the tennis ace’s competitive streak shone through to win €50,000 for his charity, The Good Hand Project.

The two-time Wimbeldon champion recently joined up with Brazilian football legend, Ronaldo, for another charity poker game in which the Spanish tennis star triumphed in. Nadal’s win earned $50,000 for his other charity, the Rafa Nadal Foundation. Unfortunately for Ronaldo, he was then left with 400 plates to wash up as punishment and a forfeit.