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06/06/2017 11:21

As Rafael Nadal aims to win his 10th Grand Slam in Paris at Roland Garros we take a look at why the Spaniard is so dominant on the clay court.

Firstly he grew up playing on clay, so for him its the most natural surface. He can slide effectively on both sides enabling him to get to shots which would be winners on a hard court. The surface is also kinder to his body than a hard court, which at 31 is a real help.

A clay court plays slower than a hard court. This gives Nadal more time on his shots and also the ability to run round the backhand to his stronger forehand. A clay court also helps when spin is put on the ball, something Nadal does very effectively. Spinning balls lower and higher makes it difficult for his opponents to get their rhythm and to return with pace.

His attitude on court is always good, but on clay it seems to go up a level, giving him more determination to win the point. He never gives up and a great fitness level means he can keep going longer than many opponents.

So far it all looks good at Roland Garros for a 10th win but we'll have to see what Murray, Djokovic and others have to say about it as they battle on the clay.

28/03/2017 11:37

The Masters Tournament, also known as The Masters or The US Masters, is one of the four major championships in professioanl golf. The Masters is scheduled for the first full week of April, and it is the first of the majors to be played each year. Unlike the other major championships, the Masters is held each year at the same location, Augusta National Golf Club, a private golf club in the city of Augusta, Georgia, USA. The Augusta club is set in a stunning location and is considered one of the most beautiful golf courses in the world.

The Masters was started by Clifford Roberts and Bobby Jones.  Jones designed Augusta National with course architect Alister MacKenzie   The field of players is smaller than those of the other major championships because it is an invitational event, held by the Augusta National Golf Club.

The first "Augusta National Invitational" Tournament, as the Masters was originally known, began on March 22, 1934, and was won by Horton Smith.

The Big Three of Arnold Palmer, Gary Player, and Jack Nicklaus dominated the Masters from 1960 through 1978, winning the event 11 times among them during that span.

Gary Player became the first non-American to win the Masters in 1961, beating Palmer, the defending champion.

The first European to win the Masters was Seve Ballesteros in 1980. Nicklaus became the oldest player to win the Masters in 1986 when he won for the sixth time at age 46.

In 1997, Tiger Woods won the Masters by twelve shots at age 21, in the process breaking the tournament four-day scoring record that had stood for 32 years

In addition to a cash prize, the winner of the tournament is presented with a distinctive green jacket, formally awarded since 1949, and informally acquired by the champions for many years before that. The green sport coat is the official attire worn by members of Augusta National while on the club grounds; each Masters winner becomes an honorary member of the club. The recipient of the green jacket has it presented to him inside the Butler Cabin soon after the end of the tournament, and the presentation is then repeated outside near the 18th green in front of the spectators. Winners keep their jacket for the first year after their first victory, then return it to the club to wear whenever they visit. The tradition began in 1949, when Sam Snead won his first of three Masters titles.

Until 1983, all players in the Masters were required to use the services of an Augusta National Club caddy who by club tradition was always an African American man. Indeed, club co-founder Clifford Roberts is reputed to have said, "As long as I'm alive, golfers will be white, and caddies will be black." Since 1983, players have been allowed the option of bringing their own caddy to the tournament.

The Masters requires caddies to wear a uniform consisting of a white jumpsuit, a green Masters cap, and white tennis shoes. The surname, and sometimes first initial, of each player is found on the back of his caddie's uniform. The defending champion always receives caddy number "1": other golfers get their caddy numbers from the order in which they register for the tournament.
30/01/2017 10:42

He may be 35 and been away from the sport for 6 months with injury but Roger Federer returned to win an epic Grand Slam title over Rafael Nadal.

The close 5 set match swung between both players with Federer winning the first, third and crictically the fith set. The final score was 6:4, 3:6, 6:1, 3:6, 6:3. It was Federer's 18th grand slam title and victory was clearly very sweet.

He went on to party all night returning at dawn to show the trophy to his excited children and then a little later than normal he paraded the trophy through the Carlton Gardens. Some thought he might, like Pete Sampras announce a sudden retirement but instead there was talk of the French Open and Wimbledon. He won't be around for ever but at least we can see one of the world's finest tennis players in action for a little longer.

11/10/2016 13:20

It may not be decided until December but this year's BBC Sport's Personality of the Year looks like the being the most closely contested ever. Team GB had their most successful Olympics of all time and produced a host of worthy athletes for the shortlist.