Tramlines

  • French Open organisers defended their security arrangements after anti-gay marriage protesters, one letting off a flare and running on court, briefly interrupted the final between Spaniards Rafa Nadal and David Ferrer on Sunday.

    A police source told Reuters that seven people had been formally detained on Sunday night after the showpiece match was disrupted and protests broke out elsewhere at Roland Garros in Paris. Five others were released after initial questioning.

    A group called "Hommen" claimed responsibility for the protests on social-networking sites Facebook and Tumblr, describing

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  • Murray calls in famous face for Wimbledon work

    Andy Murray has been training at Queen's Club ahead of his tilt at the Wimbledon title and the British number one has roped in a familiar face.

    Tim Henman, a man who knows only too well how it feels to have the hopes of a nation resting on his shoulders, helped Murray warm up ahead of the tournament in SW19.

    Henman reached four semi-finals at Wimbledon during his own playing career, while Murray has gone one better, reaching last year's final where he lost to Roger Federer.

    Having missed the French Open due to injury, Murray will be hoping some extra work with Tiger Tim might help him claim

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  • Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova play very similarly. Both love to dominate from the baseline, neither defends particularly well on clay, and both are fiercely competitive.

    There’s not much to choose between their first serves either: both are pacey and their average speeds are almost identical.

    The patterns of play they prefer are also identical: Williams favours the slice serve out wide to the deuce court and the serve up the T to the ad court, as does Sharapova.

    And both work well, with Sharapova winning 72 per cent of her first serve points, and Williams winning 76% so far in the

    Read More »from Hawk-Eye: Sharapova’s second serve could prove her downfall against Serena
  • Nadal-Djokovic: Magic moments from a French Open classic

    The word 'epic' might be horribly overused in tennis but the French Open semi-finals gave us a match worthy of the tag.

    The showdown between seven-time champion Rafael Nadal and world number one Novak Djokovic lived up to the hype as a pulsating encounter was finally settled in the fifth set, the Spaniard winning 6-4 3-6 6-1 6-7(3) 9-7.

    A match of high-drama featured a point penalty, a near tumble over the net and trick-shot mishaps as the two titans of the game traded blows.

    Here is our pick of the magic moments from an unforgettable contest.

    Nadal's superb forehand winner from deep

    After

    Read More »from Nadal-Djokovic: Magic moments from a French Open classic
  • History beckons for Nadal at Roland Garros

    Rafael Nadal will make history if he can beat Novak Djokovic on Friday then go on to win the French Open.

    The Mallorcan is already Roland Garros royalty after winning an incredible 57 of 58 matches on the red clay there, with his sole loss coming against Robin Soderling in the fourth round in 2009.

    Last year he became the first man to win seven French Open titles in the open era, surpassing Bjorn Borg's six, but he can achieve an even more impressive feat this weekend.

    If he downs the Serb in the semis then overcomes either Jo-Wilfried Tsonga or David Ferrer in Sunday's final, he will become

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  • Hawk-Eye: Backhand key to titanic battle

    Rafael Nadal’s game plan against right-handers is relatively simple: initially he peppers their backhands with slice serves and then continues to beat them into submission with his ferocious forehand.

    So as an opponent the one shot that gets put under pressure more than any other is the backhand. And dealing with his viscous topspin, which kicks like a mule off the court, is imperative yet almost impossible, especially with a single-handed backhand.

    And that’s why Nadal’s record when facing those players is so good on clay.

    But of course Novak Djokovic has a double-handed backhand and this

    Read More »from Hawk-Eye: Backhand key to titanic battle
  • Pippa Middleton explains Wimbledon to Americans

    Image: Vanity Fair's July 2013 issue

    Pippa Middleton has written a column on the art of watching tennis for Americans.

    Among the advice for her readership is to "allow enough time for tennis," to make sure to take a raincoat, and also to look out for Bulgarian rising star Grigor Dimitrov because he is "easy on the eye for the ladies".

    Fresh from writing the infamous Celebrate: A Year of Festivities for Families and Friends, ridiculed as 'terrible' in some quarters, Middleton has turned her attention to a US audience in the first of a series of dispatches for Vanity Fair magazine.

    "We're

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  • Hawk-Eye: Errani a long shot against Serena

    Sara Errani and Serena Williams are polar opposites, physically. And that dictates the style of tennis they are able to play.

    Serena’s serve is the best in the business. Her fastest of the tournament so far was clocked at 189 kilometres per hour – 117 miles per hour. Errani’s was just 145 kmph (90mph).

    This means when Serena is able to combine that kind of pace with accuracy, she can really begin to rack up the aces. So far she’s well ahead of the field with 26 aces in total, compared to just one for the Italian.

    Williams’ second serve is also very strong, meaning she is able to hit it with a

    Read More »from Hawk-Eye: Errani a long shot against Serena
  • French Open legend makes cameo as umpire

    Mansour Bahrami’s 'legends doubles' match at the French Open on Wednesday, which saw him team up with Pat Cash to play Guy Forget and Henri Leconte was, as one can imagine, a nice treat for the Parisian audience.

    Not content with how pleased they were with the side attraction, however, Bahrami decided to give them even more to smile about – and begun by 'ejecting' the umpire, complete with his own oversized red card.

    After escorting the bemused official off court, Bahrami brought on his replacement – 1983 Roland Garros winner, France’s own Yannick Noah.

    Noah by his own admission missed

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  • It's no secret that the Internet's full of idiots — not you, dear reader, never you — and that plenty of keyboard tough guys love to vent at celebrities, athletes and other public figures from behind a wall of anonymity on Twitter. But as Slate notes this week, plenty of tennis players are getting some inexplicable criticism.

    Take, for example, Alex Kuznetsov. The virtually anonymous player, ranked 171st in the world, played his way into the French Open ... where he proceeded to lose in the first round. So what, right? Guy made it to a major, that's more than most of us will ever do. But of

    Read More »from Tennis players harassed over Twitter; gambling possibly a factor