Busted Racquet - Tennis

  • In every sport we have our favorite highlight maker. In basketball it's the dunk, in football it's the one-handed catch and in tennis it's the tweener.

    Nothing says professional athleticism like a guy running full speed only to hit a shot between his legs to a spot he isn't looking, and that shot is even cooler when it results in a point for the person brave enough to take on that shot.

    Andreas Seppi was playing No. 15 Mikhail Youzhny in the first round of the Monte Carlo Masters when he found himself having to run down a perfectly placed lob shot. Seppi really didn't have any other option but to go between his legs, and he did so brilliantly.

    His shot just caught the line for the outright winner, giving us one of the coolest tweeners we've ever seen. Seppi went on to win his match against Youzhny and this shot definitely helped his case.

    Watch the whole sequence here.

    h/t Beyond the Baseline

  • If you've ever played tennis at any sort of competitive level, you've probably lost your mind at some point. Those forehands keep dipping in the net, the backhand won't stay down, and the serve is just an absolute joke.

    Andy Roddick was known to get heated on the tennis court at times. The 2003 U.S. Open champion has retired from professional tennis, but that doesn't mean he can't get out and hit it around with his wife, model Brooklyn Decker.

    Decker was on "The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson" on Monday and admitted that her temper when playing tennis with her husband might eclipse how mad he used to get when he was playing the game.

    "I am the one with the worst temper in the household. There is no sugar coating, I threw a fit ... I throw racquets when I'm getting a tennis lesson and crush them into little bits," Decker said.

    The clip is below, so check out how Decker says she handles herself when hitting the ball around with Roddick, and see the advice he first gave her when he gave his wife her first ever tennis lesson.

  • The first meeting of the year between Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic looked like it would be a dandy, but the first set ended quite abruptly after a blown call rattled Murray. 

    Serving at 5-6 to force an opening set tiebreaker, Murray hit a desperate lob near the net that Djokovic looked to handle easily, but if you look a bit closer you'll see that a rule was clearly broken by the No. 2 player in the world.

    Djokovic's racquet crossed the net as he put away the easy winner, a violation that the chair umpire missed, allowing Djokovic to keep the 0-15 lead. Murray didn't seem that upset initially, but after the shot was shown on the big screen at the Sony Open he started to question the call. 

    Murray initially approached Djokovic about the call, with Novak admitting he hit the ball with his racquet over the net, but Damien Steiner, the chair umpire, said that the ball was actually hit on Djokovic's side, with his racquet following through over the net (which is legal). 

    Watch the video below and see for yourself ... 

    Murray continued with his service game, but the No. 6 ranked player was clearly rattled, losing the game at love to drop the opening set to Djokovic.

    He continued with Steiner after the game was over, pleading his case to the chair umpire especially after Djokovic admitted that he made an error. 

    "You’re having a laugh, man," Murray said to Steiner in the below video. "You can see it on the replay. He even said his racket was over the net. Novak said his racket was over the net. He said the racket was over the net! Over the net!!!"

    The match ended with a straight set win by Djokovic, but even he admitted afterwards that the call was wrong and should have been Murray's point. 

    "It might be my mistake as well," Djokovic told reporters. "I think I crossed the net with the racket and won the point. I didn’t touch the net. I really had a bad experience with that last year at French Open against Rafa (Nadal) – I touched the net and lost the point. Maybe the rule is you’re not allowed to pass on his side with the racket. I’m not sure. You tell me."

    Djokovic now moves to the semifinals in Miami where he will be searching for his second straight ATP win of 2014 after his triumph at Indian Wells, but even with a victory this might be the topic of conversation to come out of the Sony Open after the championship wraps up. 

    h/t for the videos Beyond the Baseline 

  • It might not have been the match he was able to win, but Grigor Dimitrov won over a ton of fans with his kind gesture on Sunday at the Sony Open.

    The 16th-ranked player in the world was in a first set tiebreaker with Kei Nishikori when he noticed one of the ballgirls with what looked like a touch of a heat stroke. The young lady was struggling to get Dimitrov his towel, and after signaling a few times he went over to assist her to the sidelines.

    Dimitrov used a timeout to get the girl the needed attention, and despite a straight set loss to Nishikori, he was the man on Sunday in Miami. 

    h/t SB Nation

  • Roger Federer is no young man anymore. That isn't news to anyone. He's 32, ancient in most tennis circles, and hasn't made a Grand Slam final since his win at Wimbledon in 2012.

    Anytime Federer goes up against these great players it seems that his ability to push people around with his groundstrokes is lost, and eventually the younger names can take care of Federer the longer they hang around.

    It seemed like Federer needed a new plan heading into 2014 if he really wanted another chance at not only an 18th Grand Slam, but just a solid year that wouldn't push him closer and closer to retirement.

    On Friday in Dubai, Federer got just that, and it wasn't just because his opponent was struggling with his game. Federer took down Novak Djokovic 3-6, 6-3, 6-2, his first ever win against Djokovic after dropping the first set and first win against him since the 2012 World Masters in Cincinnati.

    The reason was simple; Federer decided to change up his strategy against the No. 2 player in the world, charging to the net whenever he could in the final set to not only break Djokovic early, but break him often.

    It was the type of performance that you see from legends that gives them a boost, and it was the type of play by Federer on Friday that reminds us that while it might be unlikely he can run through two weeks of a Grand Slam unscathed at this point in his career, it isn't impossible.

    It was also the type of play that was needed by Federer. We've seen a lot of settling from Federer over the last year, including that semifinal loss to Rafael Nadal at the Australian Open that made Federer look lost and a step slow in Melbourne.

    This decision to change up his play and force Djokovic to hit passing shots when his game wasn't as sharp as normal was a smart move by Roger and something fans would like to see more of in the coming months.

    Federer will now face Tomas Berdych, a man who beat him at this event a year ago in the semifinals, on Sunday with the championship on the line.

  • It seems whenever Serena Williams and Jelena Jankovic draw each other in a tournament, drama is sure to be involved at some point during their match.

    It happened again on Thursday at the Dubai Championship, where Serena took out Jankovic 6-2, 6-2 to advance to the semifinals but not before a rather testy final game that saw both players yell across the net at each other.

    Jankovic was visibly upset by the time Serena was taking between points, trying to serve points faster and faster with Williams holding her up a few times.

    You'll see in the video below that Williams holds up her racquet as a sign to wait so she could cough, and that was the final straw for Jankovic, who walked away from the service line and apparently yelled "you can take more time, it's yours" to Serena sarcastically.

    Williams fired back, "Do you want to do this again, Jelena" to the delight of the crowd, drawing back memories to similar situations at the 2013 Family Circus Cup and the 2010 Italian Open, when time was another issue between players.

    After Williams broke Jankovic the two met at net, and Williams looked to try to clear things up with Jankovic, saying afterwards that she just wanted to make sure everything was okay between the two after the match was completed.

    Via the AP report ...

    ''I told her at the end, 'Look, I didn't mean anything. I'm sorry if I played slow,''' Williams said. ''She was like, 'No, it was more like they say (I) play too fast and then too slow.' She said she couldn't get it right.

    ''I was like, 'Look, are we cool because I'm cool with you?'''

    Williams now moves to 9-4 in her career against Jankovic, so maybe she wasn't as annoyed at Serena as she is at her inability to take her down, losing her last five matches to the No. 1 player in the world.

    Serena moves on to play Alize Cornet in the semifinals on Friday.

    h/t The Changeover

  • Andy Roddick might have retired from the ATP, but the 31-year-old is still a tennis player at heart and there are plenty of other places to get your fix even if you leave the big stage.

    Roddick played his first ever PowerShares Series event this past week in Alabama, and while it isn't exactly a showdown with Roger Federer at Wimbledon it does pit big name players against others that have stepped away from competitive tennis.

    The former U.S. Open champion got a taste of just how good these champions tour players can be when Mark Philippoussis hit a first serve that found Roddick in a very, very sensitive area.

    Roddick took plenty of time before returning to play another point, but he was able to calm himself and not only win his match against Philippoussis but take down John McEnroe in the finals.

  • Gael Monfils might not have the wins to prove his skill, but he's one of the most fun tennis players to watch in the world. Oh, and he's right-handed. Very much right-handed.

    That didn't really matter during his semifinal win last week against Jarkko Nieminen at the Open Sud de France. Monfils was down in the second set and got himself in a tough spot with Nieminen taking control of the point up 2-0.

    Nieminen hit a passing shot that looked like it would end up behind Monfils, but the Frenchman did the only thing he could do; stick out his racquet with his left hand and hit a winner.

    Yes, that is a left-handed forehand winner from a right-handed player, and for Monfils it was just another highlight in a long YouTube list of highlights that will continue to follow him around long after he leaves this great game.

    Monfils went on to win the event over Richard Gasquet, moving him up seven spots into the top-25 of the ATP world rankings.

    h/t Beyond the Baseline

  • It's hard not to love Andy Roddick. From his "leave it all out on the court" playing style that won him a Grand Slam to his always hilarious interviews after matches to his genuinely awesome relationship with his wife, Roddick seems legit.

    But, the highly skilled tennis player turned broadcaster isn't going to be on SNL anytime soon trying to imitate one of the most famous rappers in the world.

    Roddick went to Instagram after the Grammys and posted this impression of Jay-Z, who won the award for best rap album on Sunday night and gave a heartwarming speech thanking his wife, Beyonce, and their new daughter.

    The saying might go, "if at first you don't succeed, try, try again," but maybe in this case Roddick should just close the book on this impression and just go with something else.

    Oh, and if you want a real Jay-Z impression, check out what comedian Ry Doon has done on Vine.

  • So here is your early "shot in the dark" moment for all the sports gamblers in 2014; someone in Australia had money on both Li Na and Stanislas Wawrinka to win the Australian Open and it turned out to be a really, really good move.

    How good? The random gambler, made anonymous because he put the bet in with cash at one of the 2,900 Tab stores in Australia, put $435 down on the eventual champions, with the odds coming in at a hefty 451-to-1 at the time of the bet.

    The Australian bookmaker Tab Corp. took the beating, but made the news public on Monday and I must say, it would be pretty nice to pocket nearly $200,000 on a tennis bet but who in the world is laying nearly $500 on a Na-Wawrinka bet in Melbourne?

    Na wasn't a completely insane choice as she had made two of the last three finals at the Australian Open, losing in both, but it's the Wawrinka pick that is so confusing.

    I could understand pairing Na with Rafael Nadal or Novak Djokovic or someone like that, which would pay much less, but again, I obviously have no idea what I'm saying since this person made nearly a quarter of a million bucks with his choice.

    So, congrats to whoever made this bet and may they do the one thing that almost every Las Vegas gambler cannot do; enjoy the winnings and never, ever bet again.

    Why not end your career as a gambler on a very, very high note?!

Busted Racquet

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