Simon Reed

  • Artful Roger building towards golden year

    A focused Roger Federer is poised to enjoy a golden year

    Another week, another trophy collected by the ongoing Roger Federer. If we accept the consensus that the standard of tennis has improved year on year in the past three or four years, do we assume that Roger Federer is playing as well as he was when he was winning Grand Slams for fun? There is a case to be made for such a thought.

    Favours were certainly done for him in Indian Wells with Guillermo Garcia-Lopez beating Andy Murray, and Novak Djokovic losing to John Isner along the way. That was a big surprise, but Federer can only beat the men in front of him. This he did with some style.

    The

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  • Stosur’s problems all in her head

    Samantha Stosur

    It is easy to forget that just six months ago Samantha Stosur was celebrating winning her first Grand Slam title at the US Open.

    After another early exit at Indian Wells, it is clear that the Australian has lost all confidence in her game.

    She has a very stable team behind her, but she does go through periods where she really seems to have nothing to offer.

    It happened last year -  the Australian Open in 2011 was a disaster as she just could not cope with the hype - and despite taking that big step in New York, she is still not right.

    I don't see anything wrong with her tennis at all, but she

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  • Beating Murray bonus for Dubai master Fed

    Roger Federer does enjoy putting Andy Murray in his place. It has happened at Grand Slams before, but it tends not to take place at events such as Dubai.

    Andy has managed to pick him off from time to time in this type of tournament but Federer was damn sure that wasn't going to happen again.

    Murray is more friendly with Rafa Nadal than he is with Roger, and some of the things the Scot has said have been more favourable towards the Spaniard. So Roger will have taken particular pleasure out of beating Andy.

    Andy would have been full of confidence after defeating Novak Djokovic, even though it

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  • Golden girl can carry off Golden Slam

    Victoria Azarenka is starting to fulfil early promise

    The odds of Victoria Azarenka winning all four majors after her success at the Australian Open were around 33/1. It is a definite possibility.

    As it stands at the moment, I could see her winning Wimbledon and the US Open. The question mark would come on the clay of Roland Garros at the French Open, but winning any major depends on the form of the player rather than the surface.

    From what we've seen, she is the kind of woman who doesn't lose focus. There is a chance she could win the lot this season.

    I think Petra Kvitova at her best could stop her. Kvitova at her best beats Azarenka at her

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  • Where were the Slovaks? But frankly, who cares…

    It may have been a strangely indifferent display from Slovakia but Great Britain, and Dan Evans in particular, were inspired as they won their tie at the Braehead Arena.

    As I said in my blog last week, Britain knew that it would be a huge challenge against Slovakia, but Leon Smith's side proceeded to stage one of the biggest upsets of recent years.

    Inexplicably, world number 65 Lukas Lacko simply failed to turn up, and he let his team down badly with a very subdued, nervy display against Evans.

    Lacko is an enigma at the best of times, but I was astounded at his limp, lethargic showing over the

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  • A massive challenge awaits for Great Britain

    Ross Hutchins and Colin Fleming

    This will be Britain's first tie since their promotion to the Euro/Africa Zone Group I and, make no mistake about it, the step up in quality will be very significant.

    Slovakia number one Lukas Lacko has a false ranking of 65, because he is actually much better than that: he really is a class act.

    Lacko is a mercurial player because he is far too inconsistent, but he has immense talent and will surely break into the world's top 50 this year.

    It will be a huge step up for James Ward and Dan Evans with Andy Murray out of the tie, and the difference in the quality of the opposition following

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  • A great final, but will it get stale?

    Djokovic and Nadal - againWhat a great men's final it was to end the 2012 Australian Open.

    It will doubtless be forgotten that the two weren't at their best in the first couple of hours, still shaking the fatigue off — I thought that they had played their best tennis earlier in the tournament — but sure enough it sprung into life, full of incident, and it will rightly be remembered as a classic encounter. It turned into a thrilling match between two fighters, and Djokovic — just — was the last man standing.

    I thought this year we would reach the point where the phrase 'top four' might soon be outdated as others stepped

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  • Federer and Kvitova to triumph in Australia

    The Australian Open is always a very difficult Grand Slam to predict, because it is the first of the season and the conditions are fairly unique.

    On the men's side, Roger Federer has to be the favourite with Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic close behind; meanwhile, Petra Kvitova can win the women's title with Serena Williams also in contention.

    Djokovic will be an unknown quantity this year and it will be very interesting to see if he can match his intensity and focus from last season.

    The most important issue is whether the Serb can replicate that form, and I have a hunch that his motivation

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  • Reed’s tennis awards for 2011

    Men's player of the year

    There are two men who stand out for me following their performances in 2011, and they are Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer.

    I certainly did not see Djokovic's success coming, and he completely revolutionised his game and set the world alight as a result of his incredible improvement.

    Federer has enjoyed a truly brilliant end to the year, and that is really heartening.

    It was quite a renaissance for the Swiss, and it bodes well for him having a distinguished 2012 with perhaps one or two more Grand Slam wins.

    Djokovic has to be the player of the year if I am picking

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  • Murray set to unlock potential in 2012

    Judy Murray is an excellent appointment to the role of the LTA's Fed Cup captain.

    The Scot has valuable experience in every aspect required for the job and has a proven track record.

    She has proven herself in producing two top-class tennis players in her own family, which is as much as the LTA have managed in the last couple of decades.

    Murray has nine years of experience at the top of Scottish tennis, and so she knows how to coach at various levels and has a unique understanding of the game.

    She has very good relationships with key individuals at the top of the sport, and at grassroots level

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