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9:21AM

Newsday (N.Y.): Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic square off for Wimbledon title 

By Art Spander
Special to Newsday

WIMBLEDON, England — Novak Djokovic is considered the best men’s player in tennis right now. Roger Federer is considered the best men’s player of all time.

Read the full story here.

Copyright © 2019 Newsday. All rights reserved. 

9:19AM

Newsday (N.Y.): Halep wins Wimbledon, stops Williams' bid for 24th Slam

By Art Spander
Special to Newsday

WIMBLEDON, England — Simona Halep needed less than an hour to stun Serena Williams — and maybe the entire tennis world — while winning the Wimbledon women’s final, 6-2, 6-2, Saturday on Centre Court.

Read the full story here.

Copyright © 2019 Newsday. All rights reserved.

10:48PM

Another Federer masterpiece at the theater of Wimbledon

By Art Spander

WIMBLEDON, England — This is his stage, if not quite his masterpiece theater then his theater of masterpieces, Wimbledon, Centre Court.

Others have made appearances, but somehow as Friday, invariably the place is Roger Federer’s.

Rafael Nadal, a bit younger, seemingly a bit stronger, was supposed to win that semifinal, wasn’t he? But when the guy on the other side of the net is Roger Federer, and the match is at Wimbledon, as we learned again, predictions go wrong.

Federer took Nadal out of his game and with a 7-6 (3), 1-6, 6-3, 6-4 victory took himself into a Wimbledon final for a 12th time. He’s won eight of those finals and Sunday has the opportunity make it nine.

His opponent will be Novak Djokovic, the defending champion, the top player in the ATP rankings and a 6-2, 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 winner over Roberto Bautista Agut in the other semi.

“It will be difficult,” said Federer. “He’s not No. 1 by chance. But I’m very excited.”

As were the screaming fans at Wimbledon, whether in the high-priced seats where, like Lakers and Warriors games back in the states, royalty gathers — there figurative, here genuine — and up on “Henman Hill,” where the masses watch on giant screen TV, the action happening a few yards away.

Federer may be Swiss, but the Brits have come to embrace him because of the classy, graceful way he’s performed at the their tournament, the world’s oldest, the All-England Lawn Tennis championships.

He is 37, almost 38, but the elegantly way he plays, those one-handed backhands, those huge serves — he opened with an ace — is ageless. “I’m exhausted,” he told the BBC, moments after leaving the court.

Just four sets and just 3 hours and 2 minutes, compared to that five-set, 4 hour and 48 minute epic final between Roger and Rafa in 2008, but he was 11 years younger.

And of course, he had 11 fewer years experience.

“It was tough at the end,” said Federer of Nadal almost forcing a fifth set. “He played some unbelievable shots in the match. I think the match was played at a very high level.”

Which one would suppose when the two of the three players acknowledged to be the best of their era go at it, Federer with his 20 Grand Slam victories, the 33-year-old Nadal with his 18.

“The first set was huge,” said Federer. Indeed, Federer had won only two of the previous 18 matches when Nadal took the first set. Now, overall, against each other, Nadal has 25 wins, Federer 16.

To Nadal, the outcome could be explained easily. “I think his return (game) was better than my one,” he said.

As you know, Rafa, a Spaniard who came to English after he came to the tennis tour, sometimes has problems with the language. That bothers him less than the problems he had with Federer. And with his own game. “I didn’t receive well,” said Nadal, meaning returning serve, not going out for a sideline pass.

“When that happens,” Nadal said, “(Federer’s) at an advantage. He’s in control of the match because you feel a little bit more under pressure than him.”

Rafa had problems with his own backhand. Those could be overcome against most players, but not against the other members of the Big Three, Federer or Djokovic.

“I was a little bit too worried about the backhand,” said Nadal, sounding very much like a weekend muni court player, “so I was not able to move with the freedom in the forehand. When that happens against a player like him, is so difficult.”

As the years pass, to Federer and to the public, each victory in a Grand Slam becomes bigger and bigger. When he didn’t even make the semis in 2018, the talk was he was in full decline. So much for talk.

"Yeah, I mean, obviously extremely high,” Federer said when asked where the win ranks among the dozens he’s earned. “It's always very, very cool to play against Rafa here, especially when I haven't played in so long. It lived up to the hype, especially from coming out of the gates; we were both playing very well. Then the climax at the end with the crazy last game, some tough rallies there.

“But it's definitely, definitely going to go down as one of my favorite matches to look back at, again, because it's Rafa, it's at Wimbledon, the crowds were into it, great weather.”

What else need be said?

2:07PM

Serena Williams says technology serves her well

By Art Spander
For Maven Sports

WIMBLEDON, England — She kept bringing up names of those in sports for whom success had not been diminished by the passing of years, names such as Tom Brady, Peyton Manning and, in her own game, Roger Federer.

Read the full story here.

Copyright 2019 The Maven 

3:02PM

Wins for tennis's Big Three and farewell to Andy and Serena

By Art Spander
For Maven Sports

WIMBLEDON, England — It’s their tournament, isn’t it? I mean, they do call it the All-England Lawn Tennis Championships. So if a Brit who isn’t even entered in the singles gets the same attention as Roger, Novak and Rafa — please, you don’t need last names — then fine.

Read the full story here.

Copyright 2019 The Maven