If you’re a sports enthusiast, the term “big three” most likely immediately draws your thinking to basketball. When Lebron James announced back in July 2010 that he would bring his talents to south beach, the Miami Heat all of a sudden had a roster filled with him and fellow all-stars Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade. The amalgamation was formed with the intention of winning championships, and each player took a minor pay cut in order to form the team. The trio was quickly deemed “the big three.” Since then, NBA writers have made an effort to attribute this moniker to other teams. Until Ray Allen’s recent free agency transition, the Boston Celtics had a veteran big three consisting of him, Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce (Don’t fret, Rajon Rondo will take Allen’s place). The Oklahoma City Thunder have their own big three in Kevin Durant, James Harden and Russell Westbrook. The Los Angeles Lakers, thanks to some stellar offseason moves, may even have a big four in Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, Dwight Howard and Steve Nash. Other teams have their own. Yet those who follow the NBA may be surprised to know that tennis has its own big three. On the men’s side, there have been three players that have simply been dominating the tour for the last five years: Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. With the U.S. Open only weeks away, tennis fans the world over are eager to see how well these players will fare in New York this year.
Djokovic is the reigning victor from last year. He took out Nadal in four relatively brisk sets. Back then, Djokovic was in the midst of playing some of the best tennis any observer of the game has ever seen. Even Pete Sampras, no slouch on the court himself, told reporters that Djokovic’s 2011 season was the best he had seen in his lifetime. In 2011, Djokovic played to the jaw-dropping record of 70-6, and won three majors, including the Open. His play has slowed a little bit in 2012, but the Serbian phenom continues to impress. Djokovic’s powerful play serves him well on hardcourt surfaces like the one at the Open, so the chances that he will repeat are not only good, but likely.
A list compiled by tennis.com recently placed him as the greatest tennis player of the Open era. It’s very hard to argue that placement. The man who has won an astonishing 74 tournaments is still playing extraordinary tennis into his 30s, and the US Open is one of his favorite spots. Five of his 74 tourney wins have come here, in record-breaking consecutive fashion even. He came close to making it six, but he lost in one of tennis’ most famed upsets to Argentina’s Juan Martin del Potro. Even though he hasn’t won since 2008, this Swiss maestro must always be considered a threat here. Those who discount him do so at their own peril.
While Nadal has built his legacy as being the king of clay, he has typically fared well here, having won the tournament in 2010 and runner-up status last year. Even though his play has stepped up in New York over the last couple of years, don’t expect that trend to continue: Nadal has pulled out of the 2012 U.S. Open. It’s really not a surprise; his tendinitis has sidelined him for every tournament since his stunning second round loss at Wimbledon in June. He wasn’t able to defend his Gold medal at the London Olympics either. Yet while the element of surprise is vanished, the disappointment for tennis fans worldwide won’t go away as easy. Fans are now being left to ponder over Rafa’s future. Even at the spry age of 26, Nadal’s knees have an injury plagued history. We’ll see how he does when he returns for the Davis Cup, which Nadal is insistent he will be ready for.
Author bio: Jerome Manson is a sports enthusiast who enjoys both watching games and writing about them. When he is not cheering on his team from the stands, Jerome is blogging about 2012 US Open tennis for selectaticket.com.
During daytime matches Roger Federer will don the RF Hard Court Crew. The crew’s forward leaning shoulder seams and v-neck design maximize range of motion and comfort. Roger’s outfit is finished off with the RF Woven Short, a mix of exceptional fit and minimal weight, and the iconic Tinker Hatfield-designed Nike Zoom Vapor 9 Tour.
Roger will step onto the court for his night matches in the RF Hard Court Polo. The collar and bonded four-button placket is designed for comfort and class, highlighting the polo’s high-quality craftsmanship.
By Stuart Miller, author of The 100 Greatest in New York Sports
For the second straight year, Roger Federer dominated the U.S. Open but for the second straight year it was Andre Agassi who captured all the headlines. The shaggy-haired stylist turned bald elder statesman announced his retirement before the tournament but worse he seemed utterly spent—after his rousing 2005 jaunt to the finals, he’d been so hampered by painful back injuries throughout 2006 that many doubted he’d even survive the first round.
But after a tough four-set victory over Andre Pavel, Agassi endured another round of cortisone injections just to be able to take the court against the eighth seed, unheralded Marcos Baghdatis. The shots worked and Agassi looked like the great shot-maker of old in grinding out a 6-4, 6-4 lead over the first two sets. But Baghadatis pulled out a 6-3 third set and never stopped playing boldly even after he fell behind 4-0 in the fourth; with the crowd urging Agassi to victory, Baghdatis used dropshots and lobs and every other shot in his arsenal to pound his way back to a 7-5 fourth set win.
Entering the fifth set, it seemed impossible that Agassi could recover, but he did more than that—he outlasted his younger foe in this 3 hour, 40 minute marathon as Baghdatis hobbled through much of the ending with excruciating leg cramps. Still, he held twice served needing just one point to force a fifth set tiebreaker before finally falling 7-5.
The match did take its toll on Agassi and he was unable to rebound in time for his next match, falling to 112th-ranked Benjamin Becker in four sets. But as the eight-minute long standing ovation that the fans showered on Agassi made abundantly clear, he went out a winner.
All US Open 2012 posts are tagged US Open and are listed up below:
Fashion and gear:
adidas players outfits
Andy Murray adidas outfit
Ana Ivanovic adidas outfit
Fernando Verdasco adidas outfit
Maria Kirilenko adidas outfit
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga adidas outfit
Caroline Wozniacki adidas outfit
Kim Clijsters Fila outfit
Roger Federer Nike outfit
Maria Sharapova Nike outfit
Serena Williams Nike outfit
Victoria Azarenka Nike outfit
Petra Kvitova Nike outfit
Li Na Nike outfit
Sam Stosur asics outfit
Novak Djokovic Uniqlo outfit
A trip down memory lane:
Top 5 strange events at the US Open
US Open biggest upsets
1970 US Open: Margaret Court completes the Grand Slam
1971 US Open: Chris Evert becomes the “It Girl”
79 US Open 2nd round: McEnroe vs Nastase, chaos on court
1979 US Open: John McEnroe defeats Vitas Gerulaitis
1980 US Open: John McEnroe defeats Bjorn Borg
1981 US Open: Tracy Austin defeats Martina Navratilova
1981 US Open: John McEnroe defeats Bjorn Borg: Borg’s last Grand Slam match
Back in 1990: Sabatini and Sampras win their first GS title: part 1 – part 2
1991 US Open: Connors, 39 qualifies for the semifinals
1991 US Open: Seles and Capriati introduce power in womens tennis
1991 US Open: Stefan Edberg defeats Jim Courier
1992: Stefan Edberg defeats Pete Sampras
1994 US Open 4th round: Jaime Yzaga defeats Pete Sampras
2000 US Open: Marat Safin defeats Pete Sampras
2001 US Open: Venus defeats sister Serena
2001 US Open QF: Andre Agassi – Pete Sampras
2001 US Open: Lleyton Hewitt defeats Pete Sampras
2002 US Open: last Grand Slam title for Pete Sampras
2003 US Open: Roddick wins his first (and only) Grand Slam title
2004 US Open: First time to NYC for a French fan of Agassi
Andre Agassi gives the Open crowd one more thrill ride, August 31st, 2006
2011 US Open by the numbers
Recap and analysis:
Who will win the 2012 US Open?
- Roger Federer (39%, 73 Votes)
- Andy Murray (29%, 54 Votes)
- Novak Djokovic (23%, 42 Votes)
- Tomas Berdych (4%, 7 Votes)
- Juan Martin del Potro (3%, 5 Votes)
- David Ferrer (1%, 2 Votes)
- Other (1%, 2 Votes)
- Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (1%, 1 Votes)
- John Isner (0%, 0 Votes)
Total Voters: 186
Who will win the 2012 US Open?
- Serena Williams (35%, 39 Votes)
- Maria Sharapova (23%, 25 Votes)
- Petra Kvitova (14%, 15 Votes)
- Victoria Azarenka (11%, 12 Votes)
- Agnieszka Radwanska (6%, 7 Votes)
- Other (5%, 5 Votes)
- Kim Clijsters (3%, 3 Votes)
- Caroline Wozniacki (2%, 2 Votes)
- Sam Stosur (2%, 2 Votes)
- Angelique Kerber (0%, 1 Votes)
Total Voters: 111
Every year a dedicated area of the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Museum changes, out with the old in with the new.
The 2012 exhibition has been dedicated to the Olympic Games, each graphic panel tells the story of tennis at the games. The exhibition uses gold, silver and bronze as lead colours throughout the exhibition, referencing the Olympics. Each panel features portraits of Olympic competitors through the history of the games, giving an insight of what it was like to be part of the greatest game in history.
The exhibition tells the stories of John Boland, the first Olympic tennis champion, Titanic survivor Richard Williams and his mixed doubles partner Hazel Wightman who triumphed in 1924, and the completion of Steffi Graf‘s Golden Slam in 1988 at Seoul.
The gold medals of Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer from the 2008 Beijing Olympics are on display, as is Tim Henman‘s silver medal from the 1996 Atlanta Olympics and the gold medal won by Peter Norfolk in the 2004 Athens Paralympics.
Pics: 1977 design