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Monday, June 20, 2011

Kei Nishikori: Tennis Warrior

Have you ever seen the TV show “Ninja Warrior”? If you haven’t, stop what you’re doing right now (reading this awesome blog…and listening to smooth jazz?) and go put it on your TIVO right away. Back? Okay, good. Now please keep reading.

For many Japanese men, becoming a Ninja Warrior is a great accomplishment, but not great enough for 21 year-old Kei Nishikori. As a professional tennis player, Nishikori has set his goals a little higher as he attempts to become not only one of the best tennis players in Japanese history, but to also become one of the best tennis players in the world. Like many great things--cheese, wine, Li Na (the 29 year-old Chinese female who recently won the French Open), Nishikori can only promise to get better with age.

According to the very talkative, very hard-to-understand Japanese man with the cubicle next to me, it is actually quite common for Asian tennis players to reach their peak when they are much older (I told him it was the opposite of Asian Gymnasts, but I’m not sure if he got the joke…). At a mere 21, Nishikori has already reach a career high ranking of number 46 in the world AND has helped to raise over $160,000 for the Red Cross disaster relief in Japan. To say he has become an inspiration to his home nation would be an understatement.

With his game being described as athletic and acrobatic, Nishikori would actually be the perfect candidate for “Ninja Warrior” but luckily for us loyal tennis fans, he has taken his talents to the tennis court instead and we have no complaints here! Advancing to the third round this year at the Australian Open, and the second round at the French Open, we are already seeing flashes of brilliance from Nishikori. Hopefully he will continue this Grand Slam success as he takes his talents to the grass courts of Wimbledon next week.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

5 Hottest Singles (Players) At Wimbledon

Now that the Qualies of Wimbledon are underway, the tennis world is once again abuzz with the excitement of a Grand Slam Tournament. With the release of the main draw coming soon, there should be some great matches even in just the first round. Make sure to keep an eye out for these 5 singles players who are sure to provide matches that you can’t miss (oh and did I mention they are all very good looking?)

This argentine boasts a huge forehand, and a great smile. In 2009 he won the U.S. Open becoming the 1st and only man to beat both Federer and Nadal in the same Grand Slam. Unfortunately, soon after he was sidelined with a wrist injury. But now he’s back, and better than ever. With a 31-8 record in 2011, we can expect to see great things from him this year at Wimbledon

Grigor Dimitrov
As the youngest player in the top 100 rankings, 20 year-old Bulgarian Dimitrov is definitely someone to look out for this year. Turning pro at age 16, many people have compared him to Roger Federer, citing similarities in not only their game, but the young age at which they turned pro. Other people believe it is Karma for Dimitrov to become the next big thing as Sampras was born in 71, Federer was born in 81 and Dimitrov was born in 91. It could be karma, or it could be his charming good looks, either way I will be keeping a close eye on Dimitrov throughout the tournament.

This lefty is the top ranked player from Brazil with a current ranking of #29. Last year at Wimbledon he fell in the third round to Soderling, so this year he is back for revenge. With a big forehand and heavy topspin (and an awezome name), we will hopefully see Bellucci controlling a lot of points this year.

Hot hot hot! For me, this long haired Spaniard’s most impressive stat is his portrayal of himself on a Spanish soap opera in 2008. Currently ranked #44 in the world, this big server had the unfortunate luck of drawing Roger Federer in the first round of the French Open. Hopefully this time around we will get to see this long-haired lefty serving and volleying his way to a few victories.

Lukas Rosol 

This young lad from the Czech Republic made quite a run at the French Open as he not only made it through the qualies (3 wins), but then got to the third round before dropping a close match to end his run. Towering above the others at a height of 6 foot 5, Rosol, ranked at a career high of #88 will look to do more damage as he continues on his Grand Slam excursion.