Tramlines

  • Venus floored by fearsome foe

    Is this the end of the road for Venus? The American's
    last-minute withdrawal from her second round match with Sabine Lisicki does not
    bode well at all.

    She's suffering from Sjogren's Syndrome, a chronic disease
    where white blood cells attack moisture-producing glands resulting in fatigue
    and joint pain. That's not ideal for a professional athlete.

    It's something that has clearly hampered her for some time.

    "I am thankful I finally have a diagnosis and am now
    focused on getting better and returning to the court soon," she said.

    The words 'finally' indicate this has been a long-term
    problem -

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  • Florence and the machines

    In an age when sports
    stars are all too often portrayed as emotionless machines, it was refreshing to
    see Elena Baltacha proving otherwise on day two of action at Flushing Meadows.

    In a touching scene rarely
    witnessed on the battle ground that is a tennis court, the British number one showed
    remarkable compassion when her opponent collapsed in a heap, her body riddled
    with cramps.

    Doing her best impression
    of Florence Nightingale, Baltacha rounded the net and tended to the stricken Jamie
    Hampton, rubbing ice into the American's body until she was fit enough to walk
    off court herself.

    Baltacha,

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  • Djokovic collapses under weight of own brilliance

    It's not
    often that watching a tennis match reminds Tramlines of Super Mario Kart,
    the Black Death or the theory of black holes - but Novak Djokovic's retirement
    from the final in Cincinnati managed to do all three at once.

    For those
    that missed it, the Serb's annus mirabilis came to a grinding halt on Sunday as
    a painful shoulder forced him to retire after losing the first set and slipping
    3-0 behind in the second
    , handing Andy Murray his second title of the year.

    In
    doing so Djokovic gave us all a gloomy reminder that, just like all those who have swept before him to the top
    of tennis's

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  • Serena looking ominous for US Open

    As anyone who watched any coverage of WTA
    Stanford last week will know, Serena Williams is well and truly back.

    Technically she returned at Eastbourne in June, but that wasn't really Serena. The
    Serena we all know, the Serena we are used to seeing, didn't even turn up at Wimbledon - although her battling performance was pretty
    familiar.

    But the former world number one is back on form now, wiping the floor with any
    opponent put in front of her last week including Wimbledon
    finalist Maria Sharapova and the woman who beat her at SW19, Marion Bartoli.

    It's beginning to look like the only
    thing

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  • Djokovic now in everyone’s head

    When it comes to sport it is great to be respected, but even better to be feared - and Novak Djokovic has reached the point where he is now both on the ATP Tour.

    Even after surprisingly losing a set to the impressive Mardy Fish in the final of the Montreal Masters, did it ever look for a moment like anyone else was going to win the tournament?

    A simplistic summation of his victory in Canada would be to say that he had it easy, as Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray were all nicely dispatched in the early rounds for him by other players, but you cannot overestimate the psychological

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  • An unhappy 30th birthday for Federer?

    The most
    significant moment of the tennis week did not take place on court.

    Robin Haase
    may have won his first ATP tour title in Kitzbuhel while Radek Stepanek triumphed
    in Washington - but what mattered most to the sport comes today, as Roger
    Federer celebrates his 30th birthday.

    First, the
    formalities: happy birthday Roger. Tramlines hopes you have a smashing (pun intentional) day.

    Now, the
    bad news.

    Thirty is not a
    good number for a male tennis player.

    Tennis,
    more than just about any other sport, is a young man's game. Once into the
    thirties, the chances of winning a Grand Slam depreciate

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  • Murray the undisputed world number four

    Order was restored on Friday as the two best players in the world showed their mental and physical superiority to the chasing pack after withstanding the sternest tests they had been given thus far at Wimbledon.

    New world number one Novak Djokovic will face defending champion Rafael Nadal in Sunday's final at the All England Club and no-one can dispute that they are worthy opponents.

    They went through in two very different matches, between very different players: Djokovic's win over Jo-Wilfried Tsonga was an eye-catching wonder of athleticism, adventure, flair and technique; Nadal and Andy

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  • Can anyone stop Djokovic?

    Novak Djokovic confirmed his place at the
    top of the world rankings by beating the outgoing world number one Rafael Nadal
    to win his first Wimbledon title.

    It was a neat way to wrap up the change
    in the rankings, which will come into affect on Monday morning when the new
    list is released, in a way that Nadal winning would not quite have been.

    But it also got Tramlines thinking: if
    Djokovic can keep this level of play up, can anyone stop the Serb?

    The 24-year-old, as we all know, has lost
    just one match in the last six months. It took an sublime performance by Roger
    Federer to stop Djokovic at

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  • Rafa slammed

    So, there it is - the Rafa-Slam is over. As the Australia Day fireworks exploded over Melbourne, so too the world number one's hopes of emulating Rod Laver and Don Budge went up in smoke.

    Not that he relinquished his dream without a fight. Oh no. That's not how Rafa rolls. Despite the unfortunate hamstring injury he sustained early in the first set against David Ferrer, Rafa's warrior spirit still shone through.

    He was in obvious pain and far from the player who got himself into a position to become just the third man in history to collect a fourth straight Grand Slam title in a non-calendar

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