Simon Reed

  • Heat and fans stand in Murray’s way

    What struck me most about the opening day at the French Open wasn't the quality of play, but the tremendous crowds.

    It hasn't been confirmed to me yet, but I wouldn't be surprised if it was an all-time record at the tournament.

    Considering there was no Federer or Nadal on show, the sheer numbers who flocked to Roland Garros was simply phenomenal.

    The French are very patriotic, and if they're watching an exciting home player they'll go crazy for them. That's what happened yesterday with the likes of Wilfried Tsonga and Josselin Ouanna playing and it was fantastic to be a part of it.


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  • King of clay will be in seventh heaven

    As long as his knees hold up, I see Rafael Nadal winning his seventh Grand Slam at this year's French Open.

    Roger Federer pushed him quite close in Madrid last Sunday, but that is only the best-of-three sets. The best-of-five sets is a different kettle of fish when you are playing Nadal.

    I think he is too powerful. For me, he is a red-hot favourite with Federer an outside second favourite.

    I honestly think there is nobody who can really touch Nadal over two weeks at the French Open - if his knees are in good condition. There just isn't. He is simply too strong.

    He seems fit again, and his

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  • Murray’s win comes at a cost

    When you look at Andy Murray's victory over Richard Gasquet in five sets you have to ask yourself whether it is a good thing that he was able to come back from two sets down, or worrying that he found himself in such a situation in the first place?

    In truth, it is a bit of both. Gasquet was sensational in the first two sets; he was producing some terrific tennis and he had the crowd right behind him, so Andy did superbly to come back and take the match.

    You always felt that Gasquet was going to have to win in straight sets, and then when he lost the third Murray showed an impressively ruthless

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  • Gritty Serena confounds critics

    Serena Williams has shown everyone that she lacks no desire or character in playing through immense humidity and pain to win the WTA Championships in Doha.

    I think Serena has always tried her best, but sometimes in tournaments outside the Grand Slams she cannot find the adrenaline she needs. This can lead to some people harshly questioning her temperament or hunger, which is utterly ridiculous.

    In many ways this was her most commendable performance of the year because she played through a lot of pain and showed tremendous desire to win.

    It was a super display from Serena to beat her sister

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  • Who’s the GOAT? 2-Pete Sampras v 3-Bjorn Borg

    In the second of our Greatest of All Time semi-finals, second seed Pete Sampras takes on third seed Bjorn Borg in a clash that would likely have been a real thriller.

    Who will face top seed Roger Federer in the final?

    Under our GOAT rules each match is three sets, one on each surface. Here's the rundown on the two contenders.

    Pete Sampras

    Nationality: American

    Seeded: 2

    Grand Slam titles: 14

    Australian Open: Winner (1994, 1997)

    French Open: Semi-finalist (1996)

    Wimbledon: Winner (1993, 1994, 1995, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000)

    US Open: Winner (1990, 1993, 1995, 1996, 2002)

    Bjorn Borg


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  • Who’s the GOAT? 1-Federer v 12-Laver

    In the first of our Greatest Of All Time semi-finals the two men with arguably the strongest claim to the title go head-to-head.

    Top seed Roger Federer takes on Australian legend Rod Laver for a place in the title match.

    Roger Federer

    Nationality: Swiss

    Seeded: 1

    Grand Slam titles: 16

    Australian Open winner (2004, 2006, 2007, 2010)

    French Open winner (2009)

    Wimbledon winner (2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009)

    US Open winner (2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008)

    Rod Laver

    Nationality: Australian

    Seeded: 12

    Grand Slam titles: 11

    Australian Open winner (1960, 1962, 1969)

    French Open winner (1962, 1969)

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  • Peer protestors are loathsome

    I'm astonished that people would once again protest against Shahar Peer's participation at the Auckland Classic just because she is representing Israel.

    It is obviously the same people that caused the problems last year, and frankly the behaviour of the protestors is loathsome.

    She is simply a tennis player, plying her trade - there is no agenda for her. Even if you don't like what her country stands for, Peer herself is not personally involved in any kind of politics.

    She should be allowed to play without trouble, anywhere she wants, because she has done absolutely nothing wrong.

    It was

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  • Surprise Soderling

    The two people that have surprised me most in London are Robin Soderling and Roger Federer.

    To be honest, Soderling didn't shock me too much against Rafael Nadal. I think Nadal's got problems, and in many ways he's probably the weakest link in the eight-man field at the moment, so a straights-sets loss to Soderling was no great surprise for me.

    I was surprised he beat Djokovic.

    Djokovic is telling anyone who'll listen how tired he is and I can understand that, but Soderling is playing very well and he's going to be a threat.

    I still don't see him as the winner of the tournament but he's

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  • Henin justifies favourite tag

    I thought for a couple of weeks that Sam Stosur was the best outsider for Roland Garros, so for Henin to beat her in Stuttgart when when the Australian was playing so well was significant.

    Justine has achieved a lot in her comeback. It hasn't been the meteoric comeback she hoped for, but it has been pretty good.

    It all looks to be working well for me. I think she is about 6/4 against to win Roland Garros, which is about right when you consider Rafa is about 2/1 on to win the men's title. Those would be about right odds for me. I was very impressed with her.

    Justine is not playing this week. I

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  • Reed’s shotmakers: Best women at the net

    Simon Reed's continues his run-down of the best shotmakers in the game with a look at the best volley and drop-shot players in women's tennis.

    THE BEST - Martina Navratilova

    Martina Navratilova is the greatest volleyer the women's game has seen, and if you had to pick a player of either sex who emblemises brilliance at the net then it would be her.

    Volleying was her meat and drink, pure and simple. Her serve was good but not devastating, but the way she followed it up was sublime.

    She anticipated better, moved in faster, got down lower and finished more clinically at the net than anybody

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