Roger Federer has been supremely dominant on the tennis court for years. There are the present rivals in top-two ranked Nadal and Djokovic but tennis' future powerhouses are just beginning to surface. One of them is a 21 year-old named Milos Raonic.
Milos Raonic has competed twice with Federer this season. Once was on the hard court at Indian Wells and once on clay in Madrid. Both were close in three-set matches. Now Raonic is set to clash again with Federer for the quarterfinals in Halle at the Gerry Weber Open. This time it will be on grass. This is definitely a season for Raonic to make his mark and test his skills.
Fewer than 2 years ago, Raonic was a somewhat gangly, very quiet player at the ATP Challenger event in Aptos, CA. He didn't even make an impression there other than he seemed to move around the court like it was small and he had a style that was very reminiscent of a more advanced player. It was like he was practicing for the top-20 on the ATP ranking. As they always say, how you practice is how you play. It didn't take him that long to play well and to get ready to crack the top 20. He currently is ranked 21st.
What a week it has been for Maria Sharapova who has returned to being the world's No. 1 and completed a career Grand Slam in the span of five days. It's been a long journey back for Sharapova, who won her first Grand Slam at 17 at Wimbledon in 2004.
Sharapova's perseverance in regaining the No. 1 overall ranking embodies the tail of a truly great athlete.
Sharapova now has a new confidence that she can carry through into future majors. She has achieved the impossible such as coming back from major shoulder surgery, including a lengthy rehabilitation phase and dropping in the world rankings. Her rise has been remarkable to say the least and that confidence will carry her a long way in the future.
At 25 years old, Sharapova is now just in the peak of her career. The next five years of her prime will determine her legacy. Armed with her newfound confidence, her ability to overcome her mental lapses, her top fitness and her ability to overcome the odds, Sharapova will be the favorite in many Grand Slams to come.
Everyone is aware of the long-standing Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal rivalry, but in the last few years there is another athlete that has dominated men's tennis. Novak Djokovic has managed to fend off his two rivals to become No. 1 player in the world.
When Djokovic was No.3 behind Nadal and Federer, all the focus was away from him. However, since he became No. 1 midway through 2011, he has had the difficult task of defending all the points that he has earned in 2011 and while he has played well, he hasn't been as dominant as the juggernaut that won 43-consecutive matches last year.
Federer was the opponent that put an end to Djokovic's winning streak and now the Swiss star has a chance to put an end to Djokovic's opportunity of achieving a tennis Grand Slam.
Maria Sharapova has advanced to the 2012 French Open Finals after defeating Petra Kvitova and in the process returned to No. 1 in the world. A victory in the Final would give Sharapova, a career Grand Slam at the age of 25 including her 2004 Wimbledon title, the 2006 US Open and the 2008 Australian Open.
Sharapova has many strengths and when she is at her best her forehand, backhand and power serve her well and allow her to completely dominate players. However, at a Grand Slam Final, it is the weaknesses of the player that often determines the outcome.
Sharapova weaknesses are her volleys and her speed moving around. Often her serve can be a weakness or an asset. This variability in her serve largely is based on the state of her mental stamina. With any luck, the thought of a career Grand Slam as well as a world No. 1 ranking should be enough to propel her to focus and channel her mental toughness.
Chris Bosh suffered an abdominal strain in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals and missed Miami's next nine postseason games. Despite his 9 points and 7 rebounds in his return to game action in Game 5, it will be difficult for Bosh to continue playing unrestricted with the same success he had before the injury. Returning to the court for Game 5 was definitely a boost for the team and for the psychology of Bosh himself but can the Heat increase his minutes?
There is no question about the talents of Chris Bosh as a power forward that has the ability to shoot free throws, hit jump shots and drive to the basket. Each game begs the question regarding how much Bosh will the Heat have at their disposal in Game 6?
It has been over three weeks since his injury and even with optimal rehabilitation there are many questions remaining. Some of the questions are whether his injury was milder than originally thought or is the injury progressing quicker than expected or does rehabilitation need to go a possible six weeks? Is he really returning it full play?