Connors didn’t come from the traditional tennis background. While the sport was dominated by country club folks with a lot of money and monocles by the box load, Connors was the outlier. A kid from East St.Louis that was coached by his demanding, task-master of a mom, Connors not only made it when he wasn’t supposed to, but excelled.
Archive for the ‘Tennis’ Category
Posted by Devang Desai under ESPN, Tennis on Oct 30, 2013
Posted by Devang Desai under Davis Cup, Tennis on Sep 16, 2013
My love for tennis was the biggest thing I had in common with my dad growing up. We used to play a lot until his knees no longer allowed it. We lived and died on every point Pete Sampras won or lost. It was the same with Roger Federer. When I lived away from home our calls would focus on what happened in Rotterdam or Gstaad. Wherever the tour set up shop for the week.
My dad is no longer the person he once was. Age, issues both external and internal have conspired to make him unrecognizable. My family has battled through, but in the end we face the inevitable. We’re just riding out the last few years. Writing that one year ago would’ve been a lot more difficult, but here we are.
Canada almost made the Davis Cup final. They almost did the impossible, beating Serbia, on clay, in Serbia. A bunch of Canadians with great cutouts made their presence felt in Belgrade. Milos Raonic gutted out an intense five set win over Janko Tipsarevic on Friday. Milos Raonic gutted out a five set win on clay. That will never sound normal to me.
Posted by Devang Desai under Andy Murray, Milos Raonic, Novak Djokovic, Rafa Nadal, Roger Federer, Serena Williams, Tennis, U.S. Open, Victoria Azarenka on Aug 26, 2013
The moral degradation of society continues unabated. This isn’t about barbaric laws, athletes committing crimes or authority figures abusing their power.
Professional tennis has come to symbolize everything that is wrong with us.
Posted by Devang Desai under Rafa Nadal, Rogers Cup, Serena Williams, Tennis on Aug 12, 2013
With most of the Tennis world’s focus on Montreal, a Romanian in Toronto became more than just another runner up.
Sorana Cirstea’s week in Toronto will be remembered for the giants she slayed and the one she couldn’t. Along the way a supporters group that consisted of half of Bucharest and a smattering of folks who live to cheer for the underdog took over the grounds at York University.
Posted by Devang Desai under Rogers Cup, Tennis on Aug 06, 2013
No one actually asked me that as I walked into the media room at the Rogers Cup in Toronto. It was me asking myself the question.
Breaching the line between fan and ‘journalist’ – I use the term loosely – was something on the check list for sometime. When the opportunity presented itself a few weeks ago it only made sense. Now or never.
And yet it was with a feeling of trepidation and cat calls of ‘coward!’ echoing out in my head that I began a day chock-full of watching, evading and listening at the Rexall Centre. I know. What a coward.
Posted by Devang Desai under Roger Federer, Serena Williams, Tennis, Wimbledon on Jun 24, 2013
In terms of what we see today, the 1994 Men’s final at Wimbledon was the beginning of the end. Pete Sampras and Goran Ivanisevic led a serve and volley masterclass on centre court. Points ended in seconds. Spectators risked missing three games with a trip to the restroom. Their first serves were bombs. Their second serves were only slightly less powerful. Sampras prevailed 7-6, 7-6. 6-0 and won his fifth grand slam.
The media wasn’t happy. This wasn’t tennis they shouted, citing the lack of rallies that made the French Open a grueling litmus test. Calls for slower courts were implemented throughout the 90s, and as the big servers faded into their elder years, the baseliners took over. The serve and volley at Wimbledon was no longer the only way to win. The likes of Lleyton Hewitt and David Nalbandian were making finals while Tim Henman valiantly advanced towards inevitable defeat.
And then Roger came. The serve and volley was in again, as Federer captured his first Wimbledon trophy employing a style that hearkened back to Sampras while also executing his own brand of sublime ground strokes, ones that have become common place amongst the top players today. Today, it’s the all rounders dominating the game. There will be no Richard Kraijeck at this year’s tournament. In one sense, that’s progress. But the image of Mahut and Isner on the verge of passing out on court lingers.
Playing tennis on grass will never look normal to me. I was obsessed with Wimbledon from the moment Andre Agassi and Todd Martin went five sets in 94. The breakfast at Wimbledon theme, the monocle clad elites in the royal box. It was the sporting version of a fairytale.
There were no grass courts where I grew up. Instead, we used a freshly cut soccer field to try and emulate our idols. It didn’t work so well. To this day I’m not sure how tennis on grass works at all.
For the weekend warriors out their without the means to scam their way into the posher country clubs, we’re left waiting for Wimbledon. The grass court season is depressingly short. In turn the next two weeks are a respite from clay and concrete. Church Road is the place to be in late June.
Posted by Devang Desai under French Open, Li Na, Rafa Nadal, Roger Federer, Tennis on May 31, 2013
The rain is putting a damper on things at Roland Garros. Delayed matches, half empty stadiums and the pungent odor of dead worms wasn’t what we expected on Sunday. Some things have gone to plan. Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic have coasted through their opening round matches–Nadal suffered a slight scare against German big man Daniel Brands. On the women’s side Serena Williams is showing no signs of faltering. Maria Sharapova thrashed Canadian youngster Eugenie Bouchard in a battle of now vs. future. The French continue to hate Victoria Azarenka, not sure they even know about Red Foo.
However, there were some suprises. Andy Murray created a twitter sensation from the sickbay. Former champ Li Na bowed out early, losing to an American also ran. In fact the Americans, men and women, have been a revelation thus far. Left for dead by tennis wordsmiths, chain smoking Parisian bus drivers and the casual fan, the representatives of the red, white and blue have been great. 14 of them–10 women and 4 men–advanced the second round, the most since 15 accomplished the feat in 2003.
And finally, Gael Monfils managed two scintillating performances, somehow blocking out the part of his brain that murmurs insane thoughts at the most critical junctures.
Time for a bit of a correction. Rain aside it’s been pretty good. Let’s dig a little deeper.