Posts Tagged ‘tennis’

Maria Sahrapova Raises Questions With a Joke.

What an amazing world we live in.

Maria Sharapova recently blew out of the Wuhan Open. In the third round on Wednesday she

Maria Sharapova. Photo:searchednews.com

Maria Sharapova. Photo:searchednews.com

went down to the dogged and determined rising Swiss hopeful Timea Bacsinszky 7-6 (7-3) 7-5.

Sharapova racked up an uncharacteristic six double-faults in the first set alone. She never looked comfortable against her machinelike rival. Sharapova also managed to blow two tie-breakers in the second set.

It was an uncharacteristic loss of focus for the Russian tennis superstar, and one that earned her an early trip home.

This is where things get strange.

“Hey buddy, I’m, right behind you … :)” Photo: www.news.com.au

“Hey buddy, I’m, right behind you … :)” Photo: www.news.com.au

Maria had taken her seat on the aeroplane. Sitting in front of her was a man reading a newspaper. He turns to the sports section (as men are wont to do) and starts reading about Maria’s early exit from the Wuhan Open.

Maria seized the moment and took a snapshot of the fellow. She posted it to Twitter with the caption, “Hey buddy, I’m, right behind you … J”

All Maria’s fans on Twitter must have enjoyed the joke.

But several questions emerge:

First, how did the Chinese man not notice the tall, blonde, famous Russian tennis superstar on a plane full of other Chinese?

Second, what the hell was Maria Sharapova (the best paid sportswoman in the world) doing flying economy!?

Sharapova Claims French Open

Sharapova Wins French Open

MariaRussian tennis ace Maria Sharapova claimed her second Frnch Open by annihilating Romanian fourth seed Simona Haep 6-4, 7-7(5), 6-4.

Halep came into the Grand Final a favourite after not dropping a set throughout the tournament. However she had no answer to Sharapova’s thunderbolt forehands; with the Romanian was forced to watch Sharapova’s cross court shots rocket by, time and again, just out of reach.

The first set was a spirited fight with the two women treating the Roland Garros crowd to superb tennis. Halep got out to an early two set lead. Sharpaova clawed back to make it two all.

The crowd were chanting ‘Simona, Simona’ as it seemed Halep would find some answer to Sharapova’s forehand. The two battled to 4-4 in the first set with Sharapova fending off two break points.

But it wasn’t to be.

Sharapova’s dominance wore Halep down. And while she won the hearts of tennis fans aroundSimona the world for her never-say-die fighting spirit, there was little Halep could do to hold back the tide of ferocious forehands that pounded her court from all angles.

In the third set Sharapova broke Halep to love and fell to her knees in celebration.

Halep too was very emotional after the game, “Its’ my first grand slam page, emotionally it’s difficult. I hope there will be many more, but this one will be special for me all my life. Congrat’s Maria, you’re a great champion.”

Williams the One to Beat in French Open

Maria Sharapova and Li Na both have a healthy respect for Serena Williams as they go into the French Open. Both tennis stars consider Williams the one to beat after her almost complete domination of the title last year in Paris.

Serena WilliamsWilliams has had, at best, a patchy 2014. She has won titles in Brisbane and Miami, but was bundled out of the Australian Open and succumbed to a succession of injuries.

However, she goes into the French Open as favourite on the back of a power-pack performance in Rome last week where she dropped just one set throughout the tournament.

Sharapova concedes she has a big hill to climb. Williams has a long run of wins against Sharapova. Sharapova is hoping the French crowd will get behind her. “It’s tough to handle the pressure because you know that if you do bad you know they are going to be tough with you; but on the other hand, you ned to charm them because they are pretty tough to charm.” But when yu have them in your pocket they are just behind you 100% and they can give you wings.”

Williams, by contrast thrives on the pressure, “… as Billie Jean King tells me,” she told reporters, “pressure is a privilege.”

Melbourne Madness

melbourne-grand-prix

Melbournians could be forgiven for breathing a collective sigh of relief at the end of this week, when the Australian Open – this year characterised by extreme heat in the early rounds, and shock exits of some loftily-seeded players – wraps up and the international tennis stars shuffle off. That sigh seems unlikely to eventuate, though, given the slew of other events sure to keep sports fans entertained.

Melbourne has, in the past, been heralded as the sporting capital of the world. Whether or not this label is deserved, it’s certain that the city is never short on high quality sporting drawcards, with international stars forever jetting in and out. If there’s one thing we can be certain of, it’s that it’s been a busy season for the Melbourne hotel industry – and for good reason.

Cricket

If you’re not a fan of the sport, you could be forgiven for feeling like this year’s summer of cricket has dragged on for far too long. Unfortunately, as a cricket abstainer, you’d also be in the minority there.

Australia and England will face off once again at the MCG on the last day of January. At this point the result seems all but assured. It’s important, though, that the Australian team don’t rest on their laurels, as so many teams in their position would do. Redoubling their efforts and not relying purely on the momentum of this summer will ensure that Clarke and co. maintain the incredible winning streak they’ve been experiencing.

To get a true indication of just how taxing this summer has been for English fans, you could consider checking in to a Melbourne CBD hotel populated by Poms. Their howls of woe and admissions of lethargy are sure to make this match all the more enjoyable for Australian spectators, and victory all the sweeter for our own excellent team.

Formula 1 Grand Prixmelboure-shin

As soon as the words “Grand Prix” are uttered, most of us can almost hear the roaring of engines, and smell the burning of rubber. This year – as always – the event will not only attract adrenaline junkie drivers and their incredible machines, but also a nest of celebrities and a sea of crowds. The Grand Prix is certainly in the top tier of annual sports outings hosted by Melbourne – along with the Open and the Melbourne Cup – and is not to be missed by motoring enthusiasts. The high esteem in which the event is held means that leaving bookings to the last minute can result in a desperate, often disappointing scramble for tickets and accommodation. Rev-heads who have brains to match, then, should be sure to book a room at Hotel Urban Melbourne as far in advance as possible. On your marks, get set…!

Golf

Compared to the adrenaline of the Grand Prix, the 2014 Handa Australian Women’s Open is sure to be a civilised – if at times still cutthroat – event. This year’s tournament will attract many of the world’s top ten female golfers, including defending champion Jiyai Shin. The standard of the game is excellent, so we can only hope that the media gives this tournament the attention it warrants.

Prolongoing Sydney’s Summer of Sports

summer-dragon

So far, the 2013/2014 Australian summer has been one of high drama and high stakes. From Australia’s incredible cricket victories, to tough conditions in the Sydney To Hobart, to a number of early high-profile knockouts in the Australian Open, it’s been consistently surprising and engaging. It’s not over yet, though.

It’s true that a lot of international sportspeople will be heading for the Departures terminal in the next week or so, as big events wind up. What we’re left with, though, is a range of events that cater to tastes that are diverse and slightly left-of-field. Those hoping to assert their status as a well-rounded sports fan will do well to stick around in Sydney, situating themselves in a North Sydney hotel so they have close access to all corners of the city, which will play host to a variety of different sports in the coming weeks and months.

summer-surfingAustralian Open of Surfing

Surfing and youth culture have always gone hand in hand. It makes perfect sense, then, that the Open of Surfing doesn’t restrict itself to sport. Music, art, and fashion will also be on display during the nine-day event, which is free and is expected to attract about 125,000 spectators to Manly during February. There’s also a skateboarding element, ensuring that the tastes of teenagers the country over will be catered to. It’s pretty rare for an event to combine so many elements of youth culture, so don’t be surprised if your uppity teenager is asking to be booked into a nearby hotelurban.com.au/sydney in the near future.

Dragon Boat racing

Now a cornerstone of Sydney’s annual Chinese New Year Festival, dragon boat racing attracts spectators for a number of reason. The physical prowess of participating paddlers is not to be scoffed at, for one thing. Dragon boat racing is also of great significance in Chinese culture, and both reflects and perpetuates national pride and collectivity. Equally important is the visual spectacle aspect that the races bring to Cockle Bay, as an armada of delicately crafted, exquisitely decorated boats – each twelve metres long and housing twenty paddlers – descend for a weekend.

Waratahs vs Blues

A February 7 preview match, to be held at Allianz Stadium, will serve as an interesting preview of what’s to come in 2014 for Super Rugby.

Readers unfamiliar with the curious love/hate relationships between Australians and New Zealanders may well find the stoush enlightening. Interactions between the two nations are like a more jovial, good-natured version of the French and English rapprochement, in sentiment if not in practicality. With the two sides last year occupying neighbouring slots towards the bottom of the Super Rugby ladder, fans will be waiting with baited breath to see who can gain the upper hand in 2014.

Observers from overseas are like to find that situating themselves in the heart of Waratahs territory will make the lead-up and come-down from the match even more exciting. So book yourself into the Chatswood Shopping Center hotel to truly  get a true indication of just how passionate New South Welshman are about their sport. Go ‘Tahs!

A Sporting Body

body-muscles

We’ve all seen them: the toned bodies of professional sportspeople, glistening in the summer sun, their muscles rippling under the glorious scrutiny of a televised super slo-mo…

After you re-surface from a reverie involving the enviable figure of your favourite tennis star, you might start to ponder how you could go about whipping your body into similarly flawless shape. The god(dess)-like forms of professional sportspeople are a thing of wonderment, and can often inspire us – particularly during the summer months – to improve our own lot. In cases such as these though, aesthetics might take priority over actual health benefits, even though the two ultimately go hand in hand.

Crafting a body on par of that of a professional sportsperson is much more easily said than done. Those of us whose working hours are dedicated to anything other than regular, intensive exercise – the vast majority of the population, then – might need to review a few different options to develop a sporting body.

Dietary changes

Depending on your body inspiration, you might be looking to slim down – or bulk up. If the latter is your objective, then lean proteins (fish, red meat, dairy products) and carbohydrates (fruits, paste, legumes) should make up a decent majority of your diet. It’s important to remember that this diet will only be of benefit if you’re undertaking the right sort of exercise to go with it. Of course, protein shakes will also help, but sacrificing your tastebuds for the sake of your muscles mightn’t necessarily be worth the trade-off.

Those looking to slim down should probably try to minimise their intakes of the proteins and carbs favoured by their bulking counterparts, and consider enlisting the help of tried and tested dieting aids like Jenny Craig or Weight Watchers.

body-boujardShortcuts

Professional sportspeople have so many resources at their disposal: coaches, dieticians, physios, sponsors, exercise equipment – the works. Both time and money can impede the access us mere civilians have to these sorts of leg-ups. To compensate for the head start full-time athletes have in the body stakes, some might consider options like body sculpting in Melbourne, for instance.

The ability to skip the months of blood, sweat, and tears that define any long-term body transformation is always tempting. Services like the Me Clinic help customers to achieve their aesthetic goals in a short amount of time. Procedures like breast augmentation surgery even offer up possibilities that no sportsperson could achieve with mere exercise.

Work Bitch

You want a hot body? This is a tried and tested formula, if you’re willing to put in the hard yards. Develop an exercise plan that takes your day-to-day schedule into account, and stick to it. Make like Michelle Bridges, and remember that in any given workout, the mind is sure to reach breaking point well before the body.

If you can select the choice that will works best for you, and put in the effort – monetary, physical, emotional – that is required, then next summer you could be the envy of Roger, Maria, Novak and Eugenie.

Australia’s Summer of Sports

summer-open

The Australian summer is always shaped around rituals. First, of course, is Christmas; then Boxing Day; the trawl up the coast to a sleepy, beach-side town; and the sporting events scattered throughout the calendar.

Often the annual matches and competitions that occur over summer can go by – or be flicked past on the television – relatively unnoticed. However, it’s worth giving them a look-in, as these events draw huge crowds (and television audiences) year in, year out. They’re an important part of our national psyche, and engaging with them can help you feel more connected to your fellow Australians.

Sailing

The Sydney to Hobart yacht race, which I’ve previously written about, is a chief motivation for avoiding alcoholic over-indulgence on Christmas Day. The knowledge that you’ll be spending the following day in awe of a sea of boats – perhaps from North Head, or even on a spectator boat – is reason enough to put the eggnogg away at a reasonable hour. Each year, the race generates a flurry of publicity in the weeks and months leading up to the start of the race. Equally intense is the swarm of bets – frequently placed in a last-minute, post-Christmas, still-somewhat-inebriated rush. In order to avoid this stress, dedicated commentators and observers alike are sure to learn how to pick and bet on winners well in advance. It is expected that this year, six-time line honours winner Wild Oats will engage in a fierce battle with Perpetual LOYAL for the prestigious pole position.

Although the Rolex Sydney to Hobart race is undoubtedly the highlight of the yachting calendar, races occur regularly across the year, meaning that enthusiasts can get their fix on a regular basis.

Cricketsummer-cricket

If you find it challenging to eschew the temptation of eggnogg (or other, more powerful spirits) on Christmas Day, then staying at home to watch the Boxing Day test might be preferable to testing your sea legs so soon after alcoholic consumption. Putting some money on the sporting events directly following Christmas is also a great way to maximise (or minimise) any generous Christmas cheques. There’s so much horse racing info online, but resources and odds for other sports like cricket are also easy to find.

This year, the Boxing Day test will be played against England, forming the fourth test of the current Ashes series. Australia is currently leading the series 2-0, meaning that this test could prove pivotal in securing the series for Australia after a disappointing, 0-3 loss in the last Ashes series. The test looks set to be a roaring success crowd-wise, with tickets already sold out – a potentially record-breaking feat.

Tennis

You could be forgiven for thinking that following a cluster of Boxing Day events, things generally start to calm down in the sporting domain. Tennis, though, only begins to hit its stride in the New Year, with the Sydney International kicking off on January 5. Similar warm-up tournaments around the country will culminate in the Australian Open – perfect viewing when nursing a cup of over-sugared tea, waiting for the sun to begin its decline so you can return to the beach. Clued-in betting services like Practical Punting might suggest that Australia’s chances of producing a slam-winning player in time for the tournament mightn’t be all that great. But we can hope, right?

The Australian Open 2014

Australian Open

Tennis might not seem like the most outrageous sport around, but when you put a whole bunch of tennis players in the one area, battling it out for first place in the Australian Open, it tends to get pretty extreme. Tensions are rising, crowds are cheering, and everyone is on edge for this fantastic show of athleticism. The Australian Open is a national icon, with people coming from all over the world to little old Melbourne. The city becomes swamped with tennis fever, and everywhere you go someone is talking about one match or another. The Australian Open is coming back to Melbourne for another exhilarating sporting extravaganza, and it’s one Australian event you won’t want to miss!

The Australian Open 2014

Australian OpenFrom 13th until 26th January 2014, the Australian Open will completely takeover Melbourne. Tickets are already on sale for this exciting showcase of exceptional tennis, and the hype is already building. Imagine sitting in the Rod Laver Arena and watching pros like Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer battle it out for the champion title.

Prior to the commencement of the Australian Open, there will be final qualifying rounds. The qualifying rounds are held at Melbourne Park from Wednesday 9th January to Saturday 12th January. Entry is free with gates opening at 9:30am each day. Along with these events, there are a fantastic range of other special events that make the Australian Open just that much more diverse and accessible. Don’t miss the kids’ tennis day on Saturday 12th January in the Garden Square. The day will involve a whole host of tennis-related activities and entertainment for the kids.

Australian OpenFrom 23rd to 26th January, the Australian Open Wheelchair Championships will be held, featuring eight of the world’s top male and female players, as well as four of the world’s top quad players. This special event is an inspirational aspect of the Australian Open that reminds everyone just how exciting it can be to be a part of a sport like tennis.

And of course no event would be complete without a few entertainment surprises. Expect big stars like Bluejuice, the Rubens, Julia Stone and Wolfmother to perform at the Australian Open. In Garden Square, you’ll find everything from an autograph stand and fan zone, to magazine booths, where all your favourite tennis players will no doubt be roaming around.

Australian OpenWhen you’re visiting Melbourne, you’ll also want some great Melbourne CBD hotel accommodation. At the end of a long day chasing tennis matches and stalking the tennis stars, you’ll want a relaxing, comfortable place to put your feet up in. The Swanston Hotel offers all this and more, with a restaurant and bar for easy meals, a range of rooms to suit all visitors, and the ideal proximity to all that Melbourne has to offer. Check out The Swanston Hotel website for more information and a few sweet specials too.

The Australian Open is an exciting and outrageous sporting event to be a part of. With the atmosphere positively buzzing through the city, you’ll love the feeling of cheering on your favourites in a crowd full of tennis enthusiasts. Tickets to the major events will sell out quick, so book your tickets, book your hotel, and check out everything the Australian Open has to offer.