Podcast: Online Digital Platforms in the Tennis World

Sources and Information

Tennis sounds were taken from freeSFX.

WTA website and ATP World Tour website.

Roger Federer’s Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

ESPN article of Djokovic Press Conference and Federer Interview.

ESPN article of Djokovic’s response.

Agniezska Radwanska sound clip.

WTA Insider podcasts.

Federer’s partner announcement for Rio 2016:

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Federer 2016 schedule announcement:

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Agnieszka Radwanska Q&A:

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Great Britain Wins Davis Cup! Season Complete.

With world number 2 Andy Murray leading the charge, Great Britain wins its first Davis Cup title in 79 years. Unlike the Czech team in the Fed Cup, the British Davis Cup team is not lined with the top stars in the game. Last year was the first year that Great Britain returned to World Group action in a long time with a win over the United States. They then competed in the first round this year with a repeat victory over the American team. After that they went on to beat France, Australia, and then Belgium in the Davis Cup final.

It started out well for Belgium with Goffin defeating Edmund in a five set bout. After that, it was all Andy Murray who competed in two singles matches, and the doubles match with brother Jamie as well. If it was not for the Murrays, especially Andy, the British team would not have been able to go this far. Andy Murray competed in both the singles and doubles throughout most of the year notching the crucial three points in order to gain victories in each tie.

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Andy Murray is victorious in the Davis Cup final

Murray was a elated with the victory and said:

“It feels amazing. I never thought we would have the opportunity to do this. I can’t believe we did it. It’s unbelievably tough. Tough year. We have to enjoy this because we may never have an opportunity to do this again as a team.”

It was a great day for Great Britain and their fans. Now the season is complete and the players will be able to get some rest after a long almost 11 month season. However, not all players will be vacationing or training until the tour resumes on January 4th. Some players will also compete in either the International Premier Tennis League or the Champions Tennis League, which are team tennis events. But the official season is now over.

The End of the Season. Almost.

The ATP World Tour Finals is the season ending championship of the ATP World Tour. It is just like the WTA Finals, where the top eight players compete in a round robin format, where the top two players in each group advance to the single elimination stage, and the semi-finals.

The results were as followed:

Sunday round robin with Djokovic beating Nishikori, and Federer beating Berdych

Monday round robin with Murray beating Ferrer, and Nadal beating Wawrinka

Tuesday round robin with Nishikori beating Berdych, and Federer beating Djokovic

Wednesday round robin with Nadal beating Murray, and Wawrinka beating Ferrer

Thursday round robin with Federer beating Nishikori, and Djokovic beating Berdych

Friday round robin with Nadal beating Ferrer, and Wawrinka beating Murray

Saturday semi-finals with Djokovic beating Nadal, and Federer beating Wawrinka

Sunday final with Djokovic beating Federer

From these results, we see a few interesting occurrences. The first one being that Djokovic and Federer split their matches with Federer winning in the round robin, and Djokovic winning the championship match. There was a little bit of controversy after Djokovic said:

“Credit to Roger for mixing up the pace, giving me always a different ball. He used the slice and spin very wisely. He served very efficiently. I made a lot of, lot of unforced errors. Just handed him the win, especially in the second set.”

It was reported that Djokovic said he ‘handed’ the match, and Federer responded by saying:

“Well, he wasn’t as good as in the first set. But I feel, honestly, with the way he’s played this season, you still have to put him away. It’s not an easy thing to do. It’s not like he played terrible. I know he can play better. Why did he play that way? I’d like to give myself credit for that, quite honestly, yeah.”

This was talked about in the media for the next few days until he responded to a question at a press conference two days later after beating Berdych and said:

“Whoever created that story, I don’t know what to say. It’s not fair. There is no need to create any kind of bad blood between Roger and me because I said what I needed to say, that he deserved to win that match, he was a better player. I said that I was disappointed with my level, but that has nothing to do with me handing the victory. This is ridiculous.”

This begs the question why the media was trying to spark to spark a controversy by focusing on the phrasing ‘handed the victory’ in the headlines. If you read the full quote, Djokovic does give Federer credit for the win, and was just saying how disappointed he was in himself for not stepping it up. The media was over zealous when talking about his comments.

The other storyline that struck me was how Murray declined in the event. Murray had previously discussed skipping the finals in favor of preparing for the Davis Cup final the following weekend, but reconsidered this plan when the ATP stated that it was mandatory and a fine would be imposed for missing it. From the results of the matches it seemed like Murray, though participating, did not play at his best with the Davis Cup tie in the back of his mind.

The result being that world number 1 Novak Djokovic retained his ATP World Tour Finals crown for the fourth consecutive year in a row. And that concluded the season. . . except for the Davis Cup final.

Tennis Brain: Previewing the Need to Stay Mentally Tough

Tennis is a very physical sport, however, the mental part of tennis is what separates the top players from the rest of the crowd. In order to be able to compete, players must be mentally tough enough to deal with the ebbs and flows of competing at a high level. When competing, they want to win every point. However, it is nearly impossible to win every point given the calibre of players they are competing against. All players train, and spend endless hours perfecting their game. The issue then becomes whether or not they can hold up under the pressure of playing matches, and competing for titles.

Very few aspiring tennis players make it to no. 1 in the world, and win Grand Slam titles. Many hopefuls will never break through on the ATP or WTA tour, or even at lower level ITF pro circuit events. That is where it all starts for players start, either in the ITF professional circuit or ITF junior circuit. Before players can compete at the ATP World Tour (for men) or the WTA tour (for women), they must first prove themselves in smaller tournaments most people have no clue about. They need to win matches at those tournaments, and ideally win the tournaments themselves to rise in the rankings and bring them closer to tennis glory.

In order to compete at this tournaments, players must have a high degree of confidence in their game. If they lack the confidence, they will likely lose their matches. This year Eugenie Bouchard lost multiple matches in a row and according to tennis.com, Vince Spadea has the record of 21 losses in a row. Jelena Jankovic, former no. 1, also went on a 10 match losing streak after her success, and has rebounded since then.

The leading text on the mental side of tennis is The Inner Game of Tennis. Author W. Timothy Galley writes:

“Every game is composed of two parts, an outer game and an inner game.”

It’s hard to analyze what goes on inside players heads, and we can only speculate. While it is fun to analyze players, and say what makes them tick. The reality is that only they can really understand why they feel the way they do. It is easier for us to see their physical condition, or outer game. For example, if a player has their left ankle taped, there is probably something wrong with it, since tape is not usually an aesthetic decision. However, similar to the mental side, there can often be a lot of speculation around a player’s physical condition.

Due to human nature, we enjoy speculation. That’s why we enjoy gossip, and the tennis world is not short of that. It’s entertaining to follow the next engagement or breakup. And the life events of players can fuel speculation as to what is going on in their heads. I don’t want to engage in gossip, so I will do my best to keep my blog around the court and out of the home.

It’s a tough sport, and players must stay focused on the task at hand… winning.

Season Update: Serena Out, Tennis at Love Back

It has been a while since I have posted to the blog. This blog when it began seemed to lack a direction. The original purpose of setting this blog up was my love of watching tennis. I wanted a place for myself to post my thoughts about what was going on in the tennis world. It then became an exercise of needing to post daily, and just became facts of what happened that day of interest to me. Unfortunately, due to school, work, and other events in life, it became neglected. Fortunately, however, as a part of a course on digital journalism, the blog is revived. The new purpose, to commentate more on the major news and events in the tennis from a personal pursuit of finding out what is happening, and why it is important. Right now it will be more personal, but I hope to reach out to people, and organizations to bring a greater perspective on the world I love.

Since I last left off the Davis Cup final has been set between Belgium and Great Britain. And in Fed Cup, the final will be contested between the Czech Republic and Russia, with Maria Sharapova expected to make a rare appearance in Fed Cup competition. Both of those competitions will take place after the season is over in November. Until then, there are still several weeks to go before the WTA Finals in Singapore, and the ATP World Tour Finals in London.

Also since my last post, Serena Williams did not win the Grand Slam at the U.S. Open this year losing out in the semifinals to Roberta Vinci. All the commentators on TV used the same word to describe what happened: unbelievable. It seemed like a mortal lock at that point in the tournament. On September 30th, her coach, Patrick Mouratoglou told ESPNW she may not play again this season due to her disappointment. The next day she withdraws from both Beijing and Singapore. This leaves only two players qualified so far for the even, which is only three weeks away. Simona Halep and Maria Sharapova might have to wait a couple of weeks before finding out who will join them this year in the top 10.

In the U.S. Open championship matches, Novak Djokovic showed the world why he is number one in the world on the men’s side, with a victory over Roger Federer in the final. On the women’s side, Flavia Pennetta won and announced her retirement, but only after the season is over. With all the points she collected she has a great opportunity to join Halep and Sharapova in the finals.

The men have not had any tournaments since the U.S. Open with big name players due to the Davis Cup, and the women have had Tokyo and Wuhan. Agnieszka Radwanska from Poland won in Tokyo, while Venus Williams, Serena Williams sister, won in Wuhan. This week is the Premier Mandatory tournament for the women in Beijing. Some of the men will join them for the ATP 500 tournament there, while others will play in Tokyo. The season is almost over, but not done yet.