TIME tennis

Novak Djokovic Denies Roger Federer a (Final?) Wimbledon

Novak Djokovic kisses the trophy after defeating Roger Federer in the men's singles final at the All England Lawn Tennis Championships in Wimbledon, London, on July 6, 2014
Novak Djokovic kisses the trophy after defeating Roger Federer in the men's singles final at the All England Lawn Tennis Championships in Wimbledon, London, on July 6, 2014 Ben Curtis—AP

The Serbian star played just enough defense to win his second Wimbledon title and regain the world's top ranking

Roger Federer had one of the best service sets of his beautiful career during Sunday’s Wimbledon final. He was tied a set a piece with Novak Djokovic, the top seed of this year’s tournament. On serve, Federer treated Djokovic like a junior: he aced him again and again, 13 in all, to Djokovic’s one. Some games were barely competitive.

Federer still lost that set. And eventually, the match.

A locked-in Djokovic held his own serves in that crucial third set, and took the tiebreaker that put him a set up. Federer, who was seeking a record eighth Wimbledon title, wouldn’t go quietly; he staved off a 5-2 Djokovic lead and a championship point, in a dizzying fourth set to force a fifth. It was the first Wimbledon final to go the distance since Federer won his 2009 classic over Andy Roddick (final score of that fifth set — 16-14).

Djokovic, circa 2008, likely would have wilted after blowing such a golden opportunity. And Federer, as we once knew him, would have finished Djokovic off. But this is a new era: Djokovic reclaimed the world’s top ranking with his close-to-classic 6-7 (7-9), 6-4, 7-6 (7-4), 5-7, 6-4 victory over Federer.

The match won’t be remembered like Rafael Nadal’s marathon win over Federer in the 2008 final. Still, it was a gripping match, one of the best finals in recent Grand Slam history. Early on, Federer wasn’t showing his age. He was moving with authority and confusing Djokovic with his tactical approach, sometimes playing a serve-and-volley game, sometimes staying home on the baseline, where his racket was a magic wand putting the ball in at seemingly impossible angles. We’ve seen that Federer at Wimbledon so many times before.

Not that Djokovic didn’t make Federer pay when he approached the net: he hit 14 passing shots for winners, to Federer’s two. Federer served big throughout the match: he had 29 aces, to Djokovic’s 13. But when the ball was in play, Djokovic’s reach and quickness — he hustled so hard, he fell a few times on Wimbledon’s worn grass — enabled him to play just enough defense to wear down Federer, who smacked championship point into the net.

Was this Federer’s last chance at a Slam? He turns 33 in August, and if he was going to steal one more title, it was probably going to be his favorite one, Wimbledon. Federer has 17 Slams, while Rafael Nadal, five years his junior, has 14, including nine at the French Open. Even if Nadal falls short everywhere else but clay, he could eclipse Federer’s record.

But that won’t be easy, thanks to this Djokovic fellow. It’s easy to obsess over the Roger-Rafa title chase, while forgetting that Djokovic is, you know, the best player in the world. Since his monster 2011, when he won every Slam but the French, Djokovic has just won two Australian Opens. Not a bad haul, but coming into this match, he had lost three straight Grand Slam finals, including a four-setter to Nadal in this year’s French. Djokovic is close to breaking through at Roland Garros — winning that title would give him a career Grand Slam.

After the match, an emotional Djokovic announced that he was about to become a father; his future wife is six months pregnant. He called Wimbledon “the best tournament in the world, the most valuable one” and you know something, he’s right: it’s the Masters of tennis, the tournament with the most prestige. His second Wimbledon title is his sweetest, especially after defeating the seven-time champ in five sets. Federer stood by the net, gracious, as Djokovic spoke. The closest, perhaps, he’ll ever get to the Wimbledon trophy again.

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MONEY Kids and Money

What It Costs to Raise a Wimbledon Champion

Does your kid hope to be the next Roger Federer? Start saving money now. Steve Bardens—Getty Images

Want your kid to win Wimbledon? Start shelling out $30,000 a year.

On July 1, two-time Wimbledon champ Rafael Nadal, age 28, was bested by 19-year-old Australian player Nick Kyrgios—the youngest man in the draw, and the first teen in nearly a decade to knock off a No. 1-ranked player at a Grand Slam tournament.

If that youthful feat fuels your kid’s dream of tennis stardom, then get ready to open your wallet. In the United States, families of elite tennis players easily spend $30,000 a year so their kids can compete on the national level, says Tim Donovan, founder of Donovan Tennis Strategies, a college recruiting consulting group. That can start as early as age 11 or 12. At the high end, Donovan says, some parents spend $100,000 a year.

On what, you might ask. Here’s the breakdown:

  • Court time. Practice makes perfect, but practice can be expensive, especially if you need to practice indoors in the winter. In Boston, where Donovan is based, court time costs about $45 an hour. In New York City, court time can run over $100 an hour.
  • Training. Figure $4,500 to $5,000 a year for private lessons, plus $7,000 to $8,000 for group lessons—in addition to the aforementioned court fees to practice on your own.
  • Tournaments. National tournament entrance fees run about $150. Plus, you have to travel to get there. Serious players will go to 20 tournaments a year. Donovan estimates that two-thirds of the tournaments might be a few hours away, but elite athletes will need to fly to national events six or seven times a year. Want to bring your coach with you? Add another $300 a day, plus expenses.
  • School. You’ve already racked up $30,000 in bills. But if your kid is really serious, you might also spring for a special tennis academy. Full-time boarding school tuition at Florida’s IMG Academy costs $71,400 a year.

So what’s the return on investment? While most parents don’t expect to see their kids at Wimbledon, many still hope that tennis will open doors when it comes time to apply to college. But the reality is that athletic scholarships are few and far between. In 2011-2012, only 0.8% of undergrads won any kind of athletic scholarship, says Mark Kantrowitz, publisher of Edvisors.com.

Opportunities are particularly limited for boys. Donovan notes that because of Title IX—which requires that schools provide an equal number of scholarships for men and women—a Division I college with a football program might offer eight full tennis scholarships for women, but only half as many for men, because male scholarships need to go to the football players.

Bottom line: If you spend $30,000 a year hoping your tennis star will go to college for free, you’ll probably be disappointed with your ROI.

“Recipients of athletic scholarships graduate with somewhat less debt than other students but not significantly so,” says Kantrowitz. “The main benefit of athletic scholarships is providing access to higher-cost colleges without increasing costs, moreso than reducing the cost of a college education.”

That’s where Donovan comes in: For $3,500 to $10,000, Donovan Tennis Strategies provides different levels of assistance with the college application process. Oftentimes, Donovan’s clients are able to pay full tuition but want additional help leveraging tennis to get their kids into better (and more expensive) schools.

The strategy can pay off. According to Donovan, recruited athletes have a 48% higher chance of admission, sometimes even with SAT scores that are more than 300 points lower than those of non-athletes. “The coach can go in and significantly advocate for somebody and change the outcome,” he says.

So if you’re a parent to a budding tennis star, can you foster his or her talent for less? The IMG Academy does offer scholarships to promising young athletes whose parents can’t pay full freight, and the United States Tennis Association offers some grants and funding. But ultimately, players need to log hours on the court to get good, and that costs money.

“The more you’re playing, the better you’re going to be,” Donovan says. “That’s pretty well documented … and that adds up over time.”

TIME royals

Experience Andy Murray’s Wimbledon Loss Through This Kate Middleton GIF

The Duchess of Cambridge's upper lip was anything but stiff as the reigning Wimbledon champ lost in the quarter-finals

Getty Images (6); Gif by Adam Glanzman for TIME

The usually reserved royals betrayed their country’s stiff upper lip while watching Wimbledon’s reigning champion Andy Murray lose to Bulgaria’s Grigor Dimitrov in the quarter-finals. The Duchess of Cambridge appeared quite animated during the match, pulling a variety of faces that show just how passionate she is about tennis.

Kate, whose family has already made several appearances at the Royal Box at Wimbledon this week, was clad in a white eyelet dress by Zimmerman, while William wore his usual uniform of pants, shirt and a jacket. She also donned a pair of stylish oversize shades with her tennis whites for the event.

The loss was quite a blow for the great Scot: Murray has made the semi-finals at the Grand Slam event every year since 2008.

 

TIME Wimbledon

The Defiant Outfits Wimbledon Didn’t Want You to See

The dress code at Wimbledon got a little stricter this year, with officials applying the all-white rule even to accessories, including undergarments, wristbands and headbands. Here's a look back at the players who have pushed the boundaries of the dress code throughout the years

TIME tennis

Wimbledon: The Scene Behind the Green

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TIME tennis

4 Things to Watch for at This Year’s Wimbledon

Including a return to the Roger-Rafa rivalry, and Serena's struggles

+ READ ARTICLE

We know you might be addicted to the World Cup, and who can blame you? It’s been pretty amazing. But if your brain can digest two events showcasing some of the greatest athletes from around the globe, don’t forget about Wimbledon, which starts on Monday. This year’s fortnight should be special. Here are four reasons why:

1. The Roger-Rafa Slam Chase. If Roger Federer is going to win a record 18th Grand Slam — and put a little more distance between him and Rafael Nadal, who has 14 titles, and is five years younger than his longtime rival — odds are the victory will come at Wimbledon. Federer has won seven championships at the British tournament, and his last Grand Slam title came on the Wimbledon grass, when he beat Andy Murray in the 2012 final. Federer won his grass-court tune-up in Halle, Germany, this year; counting him out would be pure folly.

Nadal, on the other hand, has recently had a hellish time on grass. He lost in the first round of that same Wimbledon tune-up. Last year, he fell in the first round at Wimbledon, and in 2012, he was beaten in the second round — and then was sidelined for seven months because of a bum knee. But Nadal tends to surprise. He had the worst clay-court season of his career this year and still took the French Open.

The two-time Wimbledon champ could meet Federer in the semifinals. There might be some hype around that match.

2. Not-So-Dandy Andy. Last year, Andy Murray — of Scotland — ended Great Britain’s tortuous Wimbledon drought, as he became the first British man to win the fortnight in 77 years. He entered that tournament on a bit of a high: he had won the previous year’s Olympic event on the Wimbledon grass, the U.S. Open a few months later, the Miami hard-court tournament in March 2013 and the Queen’s Club Wimbledon tune-up.

But Murray not only hasn’t won a single tournament since last year’s Wimbledon, he hasn’t even reached a final. Murray had back surgery nine months ago and split with his coach, Ivan Lendl, in March; Amélie Mauresmo, the 2006 women’s Wimbledon champ, is his new coach. Will Mauresmo be able to lift Murray’s game and give Great Britain something to cheer about? After England’s World Cup flameout, many fans could use a lift. Top-seeded Novak Djokovic, however, is in Murray’s half of the draw.

3. Sharapova Surging. Ten years ago, Russian teenager Maria Sharapova stunned the globe when she beat Serena Williams in the Wimbledon final, denying Williams a third straight title. Since that breakout event when she was 17, Sharapova has won four more Grand Slams, including the French Open a few weeks ago. Williams was the last woman to win the French and Wimbledon titles in the same year, in 2002. Sharapova hasn’t lifted the Wimbledon trophy since her breakout win a decade ago, and she faces a potential quarterfinal clash against Williams, who owns a 16-2 career record against her rival — though when you dominate an opponent like Williams has dominated Sharapova, can it really be called a rivalry?

4. Serena’s Struggles. The good news for Sharapova: Williams has had a frustrating year. Although she won the hard-court tournament in Miami in March and won on clay in Rome in May, she also lost in the round of 16 at the Australian Open, and made a shock exit in the second round of the French Open, at the hands of Garbiñe Muguruza of Spain. Williams also pulled out of the Madrid tournament in the quarterfinals with a thigh injury. The Wimbledon draw has done Williams, who has won five titles on the west London courts, no favors. When Serena gets written off, however, she tends to dominate. A sixth Wimbledon could be her sweetest.

TIME tennis

Serena Williams Exits French Open in Second Round Shock

Serena Williams French Open
Serena Williams of the U.S. covers her face after missing a return during the second round match of the French Open tennis tournament against Spain's Garbine Muguruza at the Roland Garros stadium, in Paris on May 28, 2014. Darko Vojinovic—AP

The U.S. star and top-ranked female tennis player in the world was beaten in the second round in straight sets by Spain's Garbine Muguruza, whom Williams easily bested last year. Williams' sister, Venus, also lost in the same round.

Tennis star Serena Williams, the French Open’s defending champion and No. 1 seed, crashed out of the tournament Wednesday after losing to no.35 seed Garbine Muguruza of Spain.

Williams’ surprising loss in two straight sets marks the first time the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds did not advance to the third round in a Grand Slam women’s singles tournament, Sports Illustrated reports. Agnieszka Radwanska is now the top-seeded competitor following Li Na’s loss on Tuesday.

Muguruza, who was the No. 35 seed, earned her first victory against a top-eight player with her 6-2, 6-2 win against Williams. The women played against each other for the first time last year at the Australian Open, where Williams won 6-2, 6-0 while dealing with an ankle injury.

Serena’s sister Venus also lost during the same round of the tournament. The last time the two did not advance to the third round of a Grand Slam was during the French Open in 2012.

[SI.com]

TIME tennis

Nadal, Djokovic Cruise Through Opening Round as Murray Faces First Match

Nadal of Spain reacts after defeating Ginepri of the U.S. in their men's singles match at the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris
Rafael Nadal of Spain reacts after defeating Robby Ginepri of the U.S. in their men's singles match at the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris May 26, 2014. © Vincent Kessler / Reuters—REUTERS

The tennis heavyweights sailed through the opening round of the French Open on Monday as the defending Wimbledon champ prepares to take a crack at the clay today

Rafael Nadal made it look easy, again. The Spaniard was in his element on Monday as he rolled through Robby Ginepri with a commanding 6-0, 6-3, 6-0 win in the first-round of the 2014 French Open.

Also on Monday, the world’s second ranked men’s player Novak Djokovic cruised through the opening match of the tournament with a 6-1, 6-2, 6-4 win over unseeded Joao Sousa.

On the women’s side, Maria Sharapova crushed Russia’s Ksenia Pervak 6-1, 6-2 following a rain delay.

On Tuesday, defending Wimbledon Champion Andy Murray will take the court against Kazakhstan’s Andrey Golubev at Roland Garros.

Murray has beaten Golubev handily in their past meetings in 2008 and 2010; however, the Kazakh appears unusually confident after recently beating Australian Open champion Stanislas Wawrinka in the Davis Cup.

TIME tennis

Federer, Serena Coast to Second Round in French Open After Nadal ‘Snub’

Roger Federer smiles following victory in his men's singles match against Lukas Lacko of Slovakia on day one of the French Open at Roland Garros on May 25, 2014 in Paris.
Roger Federer smiles following victory in his men's singles match against Lukas Lacko of Slovakia on day one of the French Open at Roland Garros on May 25, 2014 in Paris. Matthias Hangst—Getty Images

The French grand slam got off to a controversial start after returning champion Rafael Nadal was assigned to a secondary court for his opening round match. Meanwhile, world no. 4 Roger Federer and returning women's champ Serena Williams breezed through to the second round after convincing victories

Even after winning eight French Opens, Paris can still be unkind. Just ask Rafael Nadal.

The French Open kicked off this weekend with a touch of controversy after returning champion Nadal was assigned to the secondary Suzanne Lenglen Court for his opening match rather than to center stage at the Philippe Chatrier court, which is the customary but apparently not mandatory venue.

Nadal is set to play his opening match on Monday afternoon.

On Sunday, the world’s number four player Roger Federer breezed into the second round of the competition after delivering a thrashing to Lukas Lacko in a 6-2, 6-4, 6-2 rout.

On the women’s side, returning 2013 champ Serena Williams got off to an equally convincing victory on Sunday with a 6-2, 6-1 win over 138th-ranked Alize Lim.

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