Category: tennis

Can Grigor (Grisha) Dimitrov win Wimbledon?

Grigor (Grisha) Dimitrov just eliminated defending Wimbledon champion Andy Murray in straight sets on Centre Court in the 2014 quarter-finals. Could the Bulgarian go all the way and win it all, like his girlfriend Maria Sharapova did in 2004?

I predict a Dimitrov-Raonic final, with Dimitrov winning in four sets.

Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov advances to the 2014 Wimbledon semifinal by eliminating defending champion Andy Murray in straight sets
Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov advances to the 2014 Wimbledon semifinal by eliminating defending champion Andy Murray in straight sets

Tennis news from the US Open August-September 2013

The 2013 is almost here, and there’s a lot of tennis in the news. In this article I will keep a running log of what I consider newsworthy tennis stories throughout the 2013 US Open tournament. Stories appear in reverse chronological order, with the latest story on top, and the oldest story (Thursday, August 15, 2013) at the bottom of the article.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

  •  In three sets, no less. 6-4, 6-3, 6-2.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

    • Here’s Flavia and me at the 2010 US Open:

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

  • “To watch Federer this summer is to listen to an opera singer who can no longer hit the high notes.” –Greg Bishop, The New York Times (why no NYT link)

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

  •  American teenager Victoria Duval stunned 2011 U.S. Open champion Sam Stosur in the tournament’s first round Tuesday. The 17-year-old qualifier, ranked 296th, won 5-7, 6-4, 6-4, leaping into the air in celebration after converting her fourth match point with a forehand winner. Duval was playing in just her second Grand Slam match.

Monday, August 26, 2013

  • One year after Andy Roddick announced his retirement from tennis, compatriot and colleague James Blake has decided to do the same. Blake made the announcement at a news conference Monday, the opening day of the U.S. Open.

Friday, August 23, 2013

  •  At 32, winning another major will be “quite difficult,” McEnroe says.
  •  According to the tennis pro her beau has impeccable style too.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

  •  “Maria has informed us that she will be unable to compete at the US Open this year due to a right shoulder bursitis and has withdrawn from the tournament,” US Open Tournament Director David Brewer said in a statement.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

  • The best improvement to the 2013 US Open tournament so far: All Pepsi products have been replaced by Coca-Cola products. In years past Coke fans like me have had to smuggle in their own. This year we don’t have to (although you may still choose to, as a 20-ounce bottle of ice-cold Coca-Cola will cost you a steep $5.00. Still, you have a backup plan in case you run out).
  • Coca-Cola stand at the 2013 US Open tennis tournament
    Coca-Cola stand at the 2013 US Open tennis tournament

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

  • . The U.S. Open women’s seedings will be announced Tuesday; the draw is scheduled for Thursday. John Isner, at No. 13, is the highest-seeded American.

Monday, August 19, 2013

  • Greg Rusedski: . “The fact Rafa lost so early at Wimbledon meant he had so much time to prepare for the hard courts,” said Rusedski. “Usually he is in the latter stages but that hiccup has actually helped him and he has gotten better because of it.”

Saturday, August 17, 2013

  • Going to the US Open? Read carefully the tournament’s . Here is what I’ve learned from personal experience in years past (keep in mind that rules may have changed this year, so no guarantees): You can bring a sandwich. You can bring soft drinks in unsealed plastic bottles. You cannot enter the grounds with cans, glass bottles, or opened plastic bottles. You can bring cameras, including DSLRs. You cannot bring backpacks, defined as bags with two shoulder straps. You CAN bring a bag with one shoulder strap.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

  • First off, I must tell you about the . It’s held free to the public from Tuesday, Aug. 20, to Friday, Aug. 23, and consists of 128 men and 128 women competing for the final 32 entries (16 men and 16 women) in the 2013 US Open singles draws.
  • . With her body aching after another loss, Wimbledon champion Marion Bartoli decided to retire Wednesday night, saying she could no longer deal with the continuous pain on the court.
  • . “Today I have to take care of myself and make sure I can play at 100 percent,” the 28-year-old said on his official website. “The thinking is simple, the doctors told me it would be at least two months before my tendon is partially healed and five months to be completely healed. It would be stupid to go there knowing full well that I have no chance because I’m not prepared enough.”
  • . The US Open’s latest endeavor is its grandest yet: a sweeping transformation of the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center that will create a new Louis Armstrong Stadium, a new Grandstand, wider walkways and improved traffic flow around the grounds and a retractable roof over Arthur Ashe Stadium.

Bartoli winning Wimbledon lesser news than Djokovic, Murray making the final

Is women’s tennis less popular than men’s tennis? This seems to be the case, at least by one measure — Google News rankings.

A couple of hours after Marion Bartoli from France won her first Wimbledon (and her first-ever slam tournament), the news of the event ranked lower in Google News than the previous day’s news about the upcoming Wimbledon Men’s final between Novak Djokovic from Serbia and Andy Murray from the United Kingdom.

How does Google News rank news stories?

 (Search Engine Land)

In this case the publication is the same (USA TODAY), as are the topic and geography. Bartoli’s story’s freshness could not offset the influence of the other deciding factor — user clicks.

See below screenshots of this morning’s Google News sports section on web and mobile.

Bartoli Djokovic Murray Wimbledon final news web
Bartoli Djokovic Murray Wimbledon final news web
Bartoli Djokovic Murray Wimbledon final news mobile
Bartoli Djokovic Murray Wimbledon final news mobile

Top ten tennis countries in the world in 2013

Which are the top ten tennis countries in the world in 2013? The answer depends on the definition of “top tennis country”. Is it the country with the most tennis players? Is it the country with the most professional players? Is it the country with the most champions?

I rated “tennis countries” according to two sets of criteria:

  1. The country with the most professional tennis players in the top 100
  2. #1 above, normalized by country population

A tale of two maps

I mapped the data separately for both criteria — #1 (total number of players in the top 100) and #2 (players in the top 100 per million residents). You can see that the two maps (below) look starkly different.

The tabular data below each map shows that Spain ranks #1 by total number of players, while Slovakia ranks tops by players per population. So, which is the top tennis country in the world? You be the judge.

Top ten tennis countries ranked by number of players in the top 100
Top ten tennis countries ranked by number of players in the top 100

 

Top ten tennis countries ranked by number of players in the top 100 normalized by population
Top ten tennis countries ranked by number of players in the top 100 normalized by population

 

See also maps for the top 100 ATP (men) and WTA (women) professional tennis players for 2013, and a similar set of maps for 2012.

Top professional tennis players by country — 2013 edition (WTA — women)

Below is a map of the top 100 WTA (female) professional tennis players by country as of May 28, 2013. The map shows that the United States and Russia are a hotbed for women’s professional tennis, with 10 players in the top 100 each.

This map is an update of a similar map I published last year, with a few minor tweaks. I used source data from the , and Google’s mapping technology. Below the map is the source data in a Google spreadsheet.

I published a similar updated map for the ATP (men’s tennis pro tour) yesterday.

Number of top 100 professional tennis players per country, WTA tennis rankings as of May 28, 2013
Number of top 100 professional tennis players per country, WTA tennis rankings as of May 28, 2013

 

See also maps for the top ten tennis countries in the world for 2013.

Top professional tennis players by country — 2013 edition (ATP — men)

Below is a map of the top 100 ATP (male) professional tennis players by country as of May 28, 2013. The map shows that Spain and France are a hotbed for men’s professional tennis, with 13 and 12 players in the top 100, respectively.

This map is an update of a similar map I published last year, with a few minor tweaks. I used source data from the , and Google’s mapping technology. Below the map is the source data in a Google spreadsheet.

I will publish an updated map for the WTA (women’s tennis pro tour) tomorrow. [UPDATE: posted]

Number of top 100 professional tennis players per country, ATP tennis rankings as of May 28, 2013
Number of top 100 professional tennis players per country, ATP tennis rankings as of May 28, 2013

See also maps for the top ten tennis countries in the world for 2013.

Dimitrov stuns Djokovic, causes major upset

They don’t call him “Baby Federer” for nothing. Bulgarian Grigor (Grisha) Dimitrov eliminated the world number one professional tennis player Novak Djokovic from Serbia in the second round of the tennis tournament, 6-7, 7-6, 3-6, in 3 hours and 4 minutes.

Below is a screenshot of the final score and match stats, and an earlier photo of Dimitrov at the US Open Series UCLA tournament, both courtesy of our friends at .

Djokovic-Dimitrov Madrid Open final score May 7 2013
Djokovic-Dimitrov Madrid Open final score May 7 2013
Credit:
Grigor "Grisha" Dimitrov (a.k.a. "Baby Federer")
Grigor “Grisha” Dimitrov (a.k.a. “Baby Federer”)
Credit:

David Foster Wallace on ambition

This short (4:20) PBS Digital Studios video went live yesterday. A precious insight into David Foster Wallace’s way of thinking, it was recorded on March 4, 1996.

A few excerpts (full video embedded below):

  • Perfectionism is very dangerous because if your fidelity to perfectionism is too high you never do anything.
  • The people who seriously, seriously play [tennis] devote their lives to it the way monks do.
  • In college I barely even played on the team ’cause just classes were a lot more interesting.
  • I was a very difficult person to teach when I was a student. I thought I was smarter than my teachers.
  • I have learned more [by] teaching in the last three years than I ever learned as a student.
  • […] how empty and frustrating it is for a reader to invest their time and attention in something and to feel that the agenda is basically to show you that the writer’s clever.
  • The only way that I’m well known at Illinois State is that I am the Grammar Nazi.
  • Any student whose deployment of a semicolon is not absolutely Mozartesque knows that they’re gonna get a C in my class.

Tennis courts — what is the actual distance between the baseline and the fence?

I am a club tennis player. Every once in a while I run into the back fence or curtain. One of my partners — a younger and much faster guy who runs for every ball — hits the back fence much more frequently. We were wondering whether the pros at large tournaments have more room behind the baseline than us tennis hackers. I decided to find out.

It turns out they do.

I used my  skills and aerial photography from Google Maps to compare the courts at the US Open in Flushing Meadows, New York and the courts at a local East Brunswick, New Jersey park.

The image below illustrates my findings (the distances between the baseline and the fence are in feet). In summary — yes, the pros do have more room, but not that much more. In addition, I found that no two distances between baseline and fence were the same. Measurements are approximate, +/- 1′.

UPDATE: For completeness, . There is no standard.

Tennis courts with labeled measurements -- US Open and community park comparison
Tennis courts with labeled measurements — US Open and community park comparison

NOTE: This article originally appeared in August 2011 on .