Tramlines

Welcome the new number one in waiting

Tramlines

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It is
about time we introduced the new world number one in waiting: the rejuvenated,
reenergised, redoubtable Novak Djokovic.

The
Serb clinched his second Australian Open crown at the first Grand Slam of the
year, and the feat could hardly have been achieved with more panache, spirit
and ruthless conviction.

Djokovic
has corrected the much-publicised flaws with his serve, strengthened his
physique with an off season spent curling dumbbells and pumping iron. Oh, and
he also appears to suddenly be mentally indestructible.

The
23-year-old will gain further mammoth points in the ATP rankings if he can beat
his quarter-final finish at Roland Garros, and you would have to be a fool of Murphy
Jensen standards to count against him doing so.

Equally,
if Djoko can emulate his own hype in taking the Wimbledon title (or at least
progressing to the showpiece final) then he would improve further on his
performance in the last campaign.

Djokovic
didn't get past the semi-final stage in any Masters event last year and, given
his sparkling, irrepressible form in Melbourne, you would have to think he
would right a few wrongs on that count too.

The
Serb's game is ideally suited to flourishing at Flushing Meadows, and a
distinguished performance in New York would put the proverbial icing on the
cake for him at the end of the season.

After
breaking into the top five almost four years ago, it's time for Djokovic to
finally take the significant steps of consolidating his dominance and
establishing himself at the top of the men's game.

The
world number one spot is certainly not out of his reach.

What is
more, if Djokovic and 'big buddy' Andy Murray follow through on their bold
assertion that they could take the doubles world by storm this year, the Serb
may well require a far larger trophy cabinet.

The
Djoker is back!

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Tramlines
was perturbed by the news that Nikolay Davydenko had crashed out of the World
Indoor tournament in Rotterdam in straight sets to French veteran Michael
Llodra.

The
Russian has now slipped to 34th in the rankings after he was also pummelled by
German Florian Mayer in the opening round of the Australian Open, and Davydenko
appears to have fundamentally mislaid his mojo.

The
29-year-old is tumbling down the rankings at an alarming rate, and his self-defeatist
attitude is not helping matters.

"I'll
be number 40 soon maybe!" Davydenko noted after his latest unexpected
defeat, and that is not the positive talk of a former World Tour Finals
champion.

12
months earlier, Davydenko was one of the form players in world tennis, but his
inauspicious display in Melbourne and subsequent shoddy showings will surely
have left the 'Russian monk' scratching his heads.

Everyone
in the game will no doubt hope that the Russian can claw his way back up to the
standing which his talent warrants, but perhaps one of tennis' great
entertainers needs a new formula (tennis talk for a new coach) or a new
injection of self-confidence to rediscover his poise.

Davydenko
is a man in decline: what can he do to arrest this startling slump in form?

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TRAMLINES
READERS' CORNER

After a
chaotic few weeks of Australian Open action, Tramlines will resume the popular
feature 'readers' corner', where the winner of this week's captain competition will
be given the dubious pleasure of providing the world with 100 words of magic,
to be published in a future blog.

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LAST
WEEK'S CAPTION COMPETITION

Congratulations
to R.Snee for his winning entry in the caption competition for
the below photo: "Hey linesman, if you start snoring over there I'm going
to do a Serena and kick off, then parade the trophy!"

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Email your 100 words on any tennis subject you like
(within reason of course!) into us at tramlineseurosport@yahoo.co.uk, and TL will
publish them in a future blog.

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THIS
WEEK'S CAPTION COMPETITION

For the
rest of you, here is this week's photo of former tennis joker Yannick Noah. Come up with a caption, leave it below
and TL will pick the best for next week.

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THIS
WEEK IN TENNIS

The SAP Open in San Jose sees $600,000
prize money on offer, while the World Indoor tournament in Rotterdam sees a $1,444,000
kitty on offer: don't say Tramlines only has eyes for one thing, but that's a
competition worth every ounce of effort. Oh, and there's also the Brazil Open
in Costa do Sauipe on clay, with $527,700 on the table.

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RANKINGS

The top-20 sees very little movement
in the latest instalment of the ATP rankings, with just Mikhail Youzhny of
Russia and Jurgen Melzer swapping places at 10 and 11 respectively, while the
lovable Marcos Baghdatis sneaks back in at number 20.

Equally, on the WTA Tour there is
little movement in the latest rankings released today, with Carline Wozniacki
consolidating top spot, and no changes being made to the established top 20.

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TWEETS
OF THE WEEK

Winner: "Hey guys! I haven't slept for 36 hours! Time to get some sleep and play well..." (Victoria Azarenka will be worrying family members with her astonishing revelation of sleep deprivation. Let's hope she does play well!)

Runner-up:
"Nice opening 6-0 6-2! Tomorrow against
Tursunow! Let's go and get the title!" Philipp Petzschner not only
misspells the surname of his next opponent, but pre-emptively hypes his own
charge towards the title. Nice!

Wooden Spoon: "Whooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo cheese!!!!!! YeAaaaaaaa."
(It's no surprise to anyone to see Serena
Williams
force her way into this spot again - what more can you say?)

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A-BOG
v A-BOG

Alex Bogmolov Jr reached the
quarter-finals of ATP Zagreb before being dumped out by Guillermo Garcia-Lopez
of Spain in what was a distinguished showing from the world number 148. Alex
Bogdanovic, seemingly leaving his racquets firmly in the broom cupboard, drops
seven spots to 281 in the rankings.

Standings:
A-Bog (US) 21-12 A-Bog (GB) (season 1-0)

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