Nike Lunar Ballistec

We previewed it a few weeks ago, Nike officially unveiled it today: the Nike Lunar Ballistec, the new Rafael Nadal signature shoe.

“Our primary objective was to design a revolutionary Nike Tennis shoe that makes players faster to the ball,” said Michael Hui, Senior Designer of Tennis Footwear at Nike. “It wasn’t about making a shoe lighter at all costs. We wanted to add to the superb durability, support and cushioning that existed in our tennis footwear to create a shoe that would improve our athlete’s ability to compete and win.”

Nike Lunar Ballistec Men:

Nike Lunar Ballistec Women:

“I love the Nike Lunar Ballistec because it’s so light. It gives you quickness in the feet so you can be explosive when changing direction without worrying about losing control,” said Victoria Azarenka. “We play on all kinds of hard surfaces so to have that type of comfort and protection is a game changer.”

The new Nike Lunar Ballistec for men and women launches globally on Nike.com and at select retailers worldwide beginning January 2, 2014.

Victoria Azarenka will compete in New York wearing a lightweight tank and skirt combination. Azarenka’s shoe of choice is the Nike Zoom Vapor 9 Tour women’s shoe.

Victoria Azarenka

vika

Quintessentially English yet drawing enormous audiences globally, the Wimbledon Championships are all set to brighten up the summer. The grass court season is well and truly upon us, and the All England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club will open their gates on the 24th of June.

The buzz Wimbledon creates is quite unique. Strawberries and cream, the blaze of the Championships’ dark purple and green livery, the celebrities in the crowd, the finest tennis players on the planet and the ever present threat of Cliff Richard taking bad weather as his cue to burst into song. Wimbledon has the lot.

Of course, the tournament will actually be all about the players. Looking at the men, Rafael Nadal is quite deservedly 18/5 to win; the player himself is cautious yet hopeful, that he’ll be in the running for the honour:

“I will check all my body and I really hope to be ready for Wimbledon. I won’t play a tournament before Wimbledon, so that’s not the ideal situation before a grand slam that is on grass and the conditions are very different. It’s the tournament that is more unpredictable for that reason. But I am going to try to arrive in good shape to Wimbledon.”

Rafael Nadal

Representing the men, one of the biggest stars is undoubtedly Roger Federer.
Federer looks great value at 25/4 to win the tournament. So far in 2013, he has won 22 matches having only lost 7. For those of you interested in the financials, that all equates to a rather respectable year to date earnings figure of $1,384,057 USD that has been banked by the Swiss star.

Federer even features on the front cover of this July’s edition of GQ Magazine. His crisp white outfit carries a touch of gold and the description of his shirt as having ‘sonic-welded side seams’ can only provide the merest hint as to how fascinated fans are by everything to do with the man, voted number 1 in the Tennis Channel‘s ‘100 greatest of all time’ listing.
The 17 time grand slam winner is deservedly an iconic figure. He is a versatile, frequently brilliant shot maker, with a charmed forehand. His mental strength is unquestionable and his character and demeanour on court have meant that audiences have genuinely warmed to the 31 year old.

The 4-6, 7-5, 6-3, 6-4 victory over Andy Murray in the 2012 final won’t be far from Federer’s mind as he steps out to play his first match at Wimbledon this year, and nor ought it. He is quite definitely the one to watch, and you get a sense of his focus:

“I love the grass-court season. Especially as it’s been 10 years since my first Wimbledon victory…So I’m looking forward to coming back to Halle and Wimbledon, where I did the double 10 years ago. I’m sure it’s going to be a nice swing.”

Dublane born Andy Murray will undoubtedly be in the frame. His back injury may well have turned out to be a blessing in disguise. His absence from competitive tennis was due to a back problem that sent him into a cycle of scans and specialist evaluations. A scenario that has been obviously far from ideal, but if his rehabilitation has been successful, then he could make his return as a man reinvigorated. Murray is decent value at 17/4 to win:

“A bit of time away from something makes you to realise how much you love it. You can take your health for granted some times and I realised after missing the French that I want to be back out on these courts, I want to be competing. That’s why I’ve done everything I can to get ready for Queen’s. I can’t wait to get back on the match court.”

Novak Djokovic at 21/10 is not just the favourite, but a man looking for an upswing in fortune from his visit to SW19, he told the BBC:

“Of course the feeling is not great at the moment, but I still feel I have years in front of me. Hopefully I can use this next period that is coming up to recover and mentally get motivated, get inspired again, to play my best tennis in Wimbledon.”

Wimbledon 2013 champion?

  • Rafael Nadal (31%, 48 Votes)
  • Roger Federer (29%, 45 Votes)
  • Novak Djokovic (18%, 28 Votes)
  • Andy Murray (18%, 28 Votes)
  • Juan Martin Del Potro (1%, 2 Votes)
  • David Ferrer (1%, 1 Votes)
  • Tomas Berdych (1%, 1 Votes)
  • Other (1%, 1 Votes)
  • Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 154

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Moving to the ladies and it’s all about Serena Williams. Undefeated on clay this year, she’s won her second French Open and her 16th Grand Slam Title. Wimbledon glory isn’t a foregone conclusion, but she has to be incredibly difficult to oppose.

Williams appears to be in unstoppable form, and having won The Championship on 5 previous occasions, a 6th win of the Crown that means so much to her is rightly priced at 11/17.

Looking to give Williams a run for her money will be Maria Sharapova. That said, the Russian superstar hasn’t had it all her own way in London. Since 2007, she has only advanced beyond the fourth round once. Her recent form elsewhere has been mixed and there is little doubt that she will have to be at the very top of her game to make the required impact:

“It’s always the one that I always want to perform well at and the one that I always look forward to. It’s not like I really need someone to give me motivation towards that. When I get to the grass I always feel that motivation going into it.”

Another to keep an eye on, this time representing the ladies, has to be Victoria Azarenka. 2013 sees the Minsk born star in fine form herself, having won 27 and only lost 3 matches so far. And for those still harboring any thoughts of women’s tennis being a second string operation, Azarenka’s year to date prize money totals an impressive $3,714,651 USD.

There are of course other names in the frame, but whoever makes it through, seats for Wimbledon will be in unprecedented demand. With a preference for hard courts, the trip to Wimbledon is one that Azarenka must see as somewhat of a challenge; however in her past two showings, the 23 year old has made rock solid progress and made back to back semi final appearances in The Championships.
Ranked number 2 by the WTA, Azarenka is 8/1 to win the tournament. If the surface can be countered, then the ultimate test will surely be the force of nature that is, Serena Williams.

And so the stage is very almost set. Wimbledon will be a severe test for all who enter it. But for many tennis fans, it’s the must watch Championship of the season.

Wimbledon 2013 champion?

  • Serena Williams (56%, 78 Votes)
  • Maria Sharapova (19%, 26 Votes)
  • Victoria Azarenka (16%, 23 Votes)
  • Other (5%, 7 Votes)
  • Agnieszka Radwanska (1%, 2 Votes)
  • Petra Kvitova (1%, 2 Votes)
  • Li Na (1%, 1 Votes)
  • Angelique Kerber (1%, 1 Votes)
  • Sara Errani (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 140

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As I’ve already told you, I’ll spend most of the week at Roland Garros. I’m pretty excited to finally watch some live tennis, as my last tournament was Bercy last November.

My first day at Roland Garros started pretty well, with a smiling Vika hitting on court 9:

Victoria Azarenka

Victoria Azarenka

Victoria Azarenka

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