Serena Williams NikeCourt Flare shoe

Engineered specifically for Serena Williams, the NikeCourt Flare delivers stability through a lightweight, minimal design. The shoe, designed by Aaron Cooper at Nike, was created in response to Serena’s ankle issues.

“At the time, I was having issues rolling my ankle,” Williams says. “So I wanted to create a shoe that would give me a lot of stability and make me a better player.”

According to Cooper, the silhouette was inspired by the collection of KOBE signature shoes, kung fu masters and the idea of footwear being an extension of the body.

“Serena was looking for a shoe with more stability that was bigger and more built up,” Cooper says. “What she actually needed was the complete opposite; something that was less built up and with a lower profile. She needed something that would really work with her as a second skin.”

NikeCourt Flare shoe

NikeCourt Flare shoe

The NikeCourt flare will be Serena Williams’ tennis shoe for Wimbledon.

“This shoe really is an extension of my foot,” Williams says. “And when you think about it, if you’re at home in your house and you don’t have shoes on, you just don’t think about anything else. It’s just your body. And that’s what this shoe is all about.”

Serena Williams NikeCourt Flare shoes

Learn more about the design process:

The NikeCourt Flare, a women’s only model, is now available in select Nike retailers and on nike.com/nikecourt.

Henman disqualified at Wimbledon

From Alan Mills’ autobiography, Lifting the covers: (Alan Mills was Wimbledon tournament referee from 1982 to 2005).

There were three major incidents that year, all of them utterly extraordinary, dramatic and traumatic in their own way. The first involved a young Tim Henman, then playing in only his second Wimbledon. I had known Tim since he was a young teenager when I was refereeing junior tournaments in Surrey. Although he was largely unknown to the British public at this time, he was a player of outstanding promise and those who had watched his development, with the help of Jim Slater and David Lloyd, were convinced that Britain had finally managed to produce a player of truly world-class potential – the best since Perry, many claimed. In my association with him up to that time, I had found Henman to be impeccably courteous, even-tempered and good-natured character – the last person on a tennis court you would expect to have to throw the book at for a breach of the rules.

Henman, who had lost in the second round of the singles to the defending champion Sampras in straight sets earlier in the day, was involved in a doubles match out on Court 14, now situated outside the new broadcasters’ complex between Centre Court and the new Court 1. He was partnering his fellow Britton Jeremy Bates against Swede Henrik Holm and a live-wire character called Jeff Tarango who I would get to know all too well by the end of that fortnight.
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Clijsters, Navratilova, Hénin, Fernandez, Davenport, Roland Garros 2015

Clijsters, Navratilova, Hénin, Fernandez, Davenport

It’s always a joy for me to watch former great champions battle on the court. I really had a great time watching the final of the Legends Trophy opposing Martina Navratilova and Kim Clijsters to Lindsay Davenport and Mary Joe Fernandez. 18 + 4 + 3 that’s 25 singles Grand Slam titles on the court!
Every time I see her play I’m amazed by Navratilova’s play at the net. She’s in her late 50s but she’s still has it!

Clijsters and Navratilova captured the title for the second year in a row (I can’t remember the score…). And guess who presented the trophy? None other than 4-time Roland Garros champion Justine Henin.

Serena Williams, Roland Garros 2015
Serena Williams road to the final

Much tougher than expected for Serena Williams who rallied four times (!) from one set down to reach the final. The best-ranked player she faced being Sara Errani, seeded 17. Sick in the semifinals, she beat the surprising Swiss Timea Bacsinszky after much drama.

Round Opponent Score
R1 Andrea Hlavackova 6-2 6-3
R2 Anna-Lena Friedsam 5-7 6-3 6-3
R3 Victoria Azarenka [27] 3-6 6-4 6-2
R4 Sloane Stephens 1-6 7-5 6-3
QF Sara Errani [17] 6-1 6-3
SF Timea Bacsinszky [23] 4-6 6-3 6-0

Serena will be the huge favorite to lift the trophy on Saturday. That what she said about the pressure to be the player to beat year after year:

It’s not easy. Some days I feel it and the pressure gets to you. It’s kind of hard when you go to every single match and you’re the favourite to win and it’s bigger news when you lose than when you win. But there’s one thing that I learned when I was really young, when I had an opportunity to work with Billie Jean King. She said “Pressure is a privilege”. I’m in a position of privilege to be able to feel that pressure.

Lucie Safarova’s road to the final

Lucie Safarova

Round Opponent Score
R1 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 7-6 7-6
R2 Kurumi Nara 6-2 6-0
R3 Sabine Lisicki [20] 6-3 7-6
R4 Maria Sharapova [2] 7-6 6-4
QF Garbine Muguruza [21] 7-6 6-3
SF Ana Ivanovic [7] 7-5 7-5

A Wimbledon semifinalist last year, Lucie Safarova reached her first Grand Slam final without losing a set, an impressive feat when you look at the players she faced: defending champion Maria Sharapova, Sabine Lisicki, Garbine Muguruza… She beat Ana Ivanovic 7-5 7-5 in the semifinals, after an nerve-wrecking end of match. Watch Lucie’s joy after the last point:

A popular player on the WTA tour, Safarova was congratulated by current and former players on Twitter after her victory over Ana Ivanovic in the semifinals:

[instagram url=https://instagram.com/p/3g0ejnmag5/]

Asked if the “good girl” could win the title she said:

I hope so. I think sport should be about fair play. I think people should be nice to each other. Doesn’t matter if it’s in sports or in general. So that’s what I’m trying to do, even here. I have a few good friends on tour. It’s not easy when you play them, but that’s life.

Serena Williams – Lucie Safarova head to head: 8-0

Lucie Safarova has never beaten Serena Williams in eight meetings. Their most disputed match was in fact their first back in 2007, won by Serena 7-6 in the third.

Year Tournament Surface Winner Score
2014 Beijing R16 Hard Serena Williams 6-1 1-6 6-2
2014 Montreal R16 Hard Serena Williams 7-5 6-4
2013 Charleston QF Clay Serena Williams 6-4 6-1
2012 Charleston F Clay Serena Williams 6-0 6-1
2011 Toronto QF Hard Serena Williams 4-6 6-3 6-2
2009 Toronto QF Hard Serena Williams 6-3 6-2
2007 Miami R32 Hard Serena Williams 6-3 6-4
2007 Hobart R16 Hard Serena Williams 6-3 3-6 7-6

So, epic battle or routine win? Serena or Lucie? Who do you think will win? Please share your thoughts.
I’ll be watching the final at Roland Garros tomorrow and I’ll be rooting for Safarova, hoping she won’t be taken by nerves.

Who will win Roland Garros 2015?

  • Serena Williams (43%, 105 Votes)
  • Maria Sharapova (30%, 73 Votes)
  • Simona Halep (11%, 28 Votes)
  • Ana Ivanovic (4%, 10 Votes)
  • Eugenie Bouchard (3%, 8 Votes)
  • Other (3%, 8 Votes)
  • Caroline Wozniacki (2%, 6 Votes)
  • Petra Kvitova (2%, 5 Votes)
  • Carla Suarez Navarro (1%, 2 Votes)
  • Ekaterina Makarova (0%, 1 Votes)
  • Andrea Petkovic (0%, 1 Votes)

Total Voters: 247

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Jo Wilfried Tsonga

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga was all smile today as he practiced on court 10 in front of fans and journalists.
Tsonga will play his second semifinal at Roland Garros tomorrow, against Stanislas Wawrinka. Do you think he will be the first Frenchman to reach the final since Henri Leconte in 1988?

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
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Maria Sharapova

Enjoy some pics and videos of Maria Sharapova practicing with coach Sven Groeneveld and two sparring partners on Thursday. A really intense hitting session for the defending champion.

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