Men’s Tennis champions : 23 Week 2013

NADAL

DOWNS

FERRER

TO CAPTURE

EIGHTH FRENCH OPEN TITLE

ARIS — If Rafael Nadal truly was going to be challenged, if his bid for an unprecedented eighth French Open championship would be slowed even a bit, this might have been the moment.

Leading by a set and a break 70 minutes into Sunday’s final against David Ferrer, another generally indefatigable Spaniard, Nadal faced four break points in one game. The last was a 31-stroke exchange, the match’s longest, capped when Nadal absorbed Ferrer’s strong backhand approach and transformed it into a cross-court backhand passing shot.

Ferrer glared at the ball as it flew past and landed in a corner, then smiled ruefully. What else was there to do? Dealing with Nadal’s defence-to-offence on red clay is a thankless task. His rain-soaked 6-3, 6-2, 6-3 victory over Ferrer on was Nadal’s record 59th win in 60 matches at the French Open and made him the only man with eight titles at any Grand Slam tournament.

“I never like to compare years, but it’s true that this year means something very special for me,” Nadal said, alluding to the way he managed to come back from a left knee injury that sidelined him for about seven months.

“When you have a period of time like I had,” he added, “you realize that you don’t know if you will have the chance to be back here with this trophy another time.”

But he does it, year after year.

He won four French Opens in a row from 2005-08, and another four in a row from 2010-13.

“Rafael was better than me,” said Ferrer, who had won all 18 sets he’d played the past two weeks to reach his first Grand Slam final at age 31. “He didn’t make mistakes.”

A week past his 27th birthday, Nadal now owns 12 major trophies in all — including two from Wimbledon, one each from the U.S. Open and Australian Open — to eclipse Bjorn Borg and Rod Laver and equal Roy Emerson for the third-most in history. Nadal trails only Roger Federer’s 17 and Pete Sampras’ 14.

“Winning 17 Grand Slam titles, that’s miles away,” Nadal said with his typical humility. “I’m not even thinking about it.”

This was Nadal’s first major tournament after a surprising second-round loss at Wimbledon last June. Since rejoining the tour in February, he is 43-2 with seven titles and two runner-up finishes. He’s won his past 22 matches.

“For me, it’s incredible,” said Toni Nadal, Rafael’s uncle and coach. “When I think of all that Rafael has done, I don’t understand it.”

Images and text credits  ; http://www.tsn.ca/tennis/

compiled by : ram0ram

women’s Tennis champions : 23 Week 2013

SERENA

BEATS

SHARAPOVA

TO WIN

FRENCH OPEN TITLE

PARIS — Serena Williams thinks her best years may still be ahead of her at the age of 31.

She overcame stubborn resistance from defending champion Maria Sharapova in the French Open final on Saturday to clinch her 16th Grand Slam title, beating the Russian 6-4, 6-4 and extending her own winning streak to 31 matches.

“I want to go out in my peak. That’s my goal. But have I peaked yet?” Williams said. “I definitely want to continue my journey to get a few more.”

Williams has some way to go before retiring, then, and a long way to go to match Australian Margaret Court’s 24 major titles. But she will catch Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert by the end of the year if she wins Wimbledon and the U.S. Open.

That would then leave Helen Wills Moody (19), Steffi Graf (22) and Court — who may just be a little too far off to catch.

“I always said that I felt like I have never played my best tennis. I have said that for years, that I feel like I can always do better and play better,” Williams said. “The day I feel that I cannot improve, it’s going to be a problem for me. I’m going to have to debate whether I should keep playing. But I feel like as of know I can do a lot of things better.”

Williams certainly does not feel slower with age.

“I have never felt so fit,” she said. “If I see someone that’s 31, I’m like, ‘You’re old.’ Then I’m like, I’m 31. But I don’t feel it.”

Images and text credits  ; http://www.tsn.ca/tennis/

compiled by : ram0ram