Nadal the acid test for new crackdown on timewasting

January 7, 2013

As the new season kicks into gear, the players have a new rule to contend with as tennis chiefs try to crack down on time wasting.

This season, players on the ATP Tour will have 25 seconds between points - and after one warning players will lose a serve - or a point for the receiver - for subsequent time violations.

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First slam win over Federer puts Murray in final

January 25, 2013

Andy Murray will face Novak Djokovic in Sunday's Australian Open final after picking up his first grand slam victory over Roger Federer.

The Scot, looking for back-to-back major victories after his breakthrough triumph at last year's US Open, proved too strong for Federer in a hard-fought but narrowly deserved 6-4 6-7(5) 6-3 6-7(2) 6-2 win in their semi-final on Friday.

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Djokovic denies Murray for Australian Open hat-trick

January 27, 2013

Andy Murray failed in his bid to win back-to-back majors as Novak Djokovic made history of his own with a third successive Australian Open title.

Seeking to become the first man to follow up his maiden grand slam title with a second at consecutive majors following his victory at the US Open last September, Murray was beaten 6-7(2) 7-6(3) 6-3 6-2 at Melbourne Park.

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I was like, 'Oh crap, it's Roger'. Bernard Tomic is spooked by his Australian Open rival

Savour tennis' new big rivalry

January 23, 2013

When Victoria Azarenka, a fiery 19-year-old from Belarus, throttled Serena Williams in the 2009 Miami final, it looked like the makings of a new world order.

But Azarenka was sometimes her own worst enemy. She often battled to maintain her composure, reminiscent of a racket-smashing junior named Roger Federer. Williams won their next nine consecutive matches and 18 of 20 sets, six of them in majors and the Olympics. Azarenka led the last of those nine matchups 5-3 in the third set, but couldn't close the deal and Williams was the 2012 US Open winner.

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JANUARY: Novak Djokovic has proved unbeatable at the Australian Open for three years - can he make it four in 2014? © Getty Images


Federer calls for more blood testing in tennis

February 12, 2013

Roger Federer has added his voice to calls for tennis to step up its anti-doping programme to prove that the sport is as clean he believes it to be.

The 17-time grand slam champion believes blood tests and the biological passports adopted by cycling would help catch and deter those intent on using performance enhancing drugs.

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Shocked Williams is world No. 1 again

February 15, 2013

On Monday Serena Williams will become the oldest world No. 1 in the female game since the introduction of computer rankings in 1975.

Williams, 31, will take the accolade off American Chris Evert who last held the No. 1 slot in November 1985 at the age of 30.

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Federer battered by Benneteau

February 15, 2013

Defending champion Roger Federer was beaten in straight sets 6-3 7-5 by Frenchman Julien Benneteau at the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam.

World No. 2 Federer was broken five times by his No. 39-ranked opponent at the indoor tournament - an event the 2012 Wimbledon champion has won twice before.

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I have never played tennis that long. I like it because I now have a new experience. Czech Tomas Berdych after his seven-hour Davis Cup doubles rubber against Switzerland.

Nadal may skip Indian Wells and Miami

February 26, 2013

Rafael Nadal has opted to miss the first Masters 1000 events of the season in Indian Wells and Miami as his troubles with a persistent knee injury continue, according to a report in Marca.

The 11-time grand slam champion, who plays the third tournament of his comeback after seven months on the sidelines in Acapulco this week, has decided to play only on clay courts between now and the French Open in May, according to Spanish sports daily Marca.

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FEBRUARY: Petra Kvitova picked up this beautiful trophy for her victory in Dubai © Getty Images


Nadal obliterates Ferrer to take Mexico Open title

March 3, 2013

Rafael Nadal produced the most impressive display since his return from injury with a crushing 6-0 6-2 win over David Ferrer to clinch the Mexico Open title.

Ferrer came into the final as the No. 1 seed and in search of his fourth successive win in the event, but he was simply no match for his fellow Spaniard.

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Federer triumphant after earthquake & back injury

March 12, 2013

Defending champion Roger Federer beat Ivan Dodig of Croatia 6-3 6-1 in the third round of the BNP Paribas Open on Monday, with the Swiss star tweaking his back near the end of the match.

Federer earned his 890th career ATP Tour victory, joining Jimmy Connors, Ivan Lendl and Guillermo Vilas as the only men to have won at least that many matches in the Open era.

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Brilliant Nadal back mixing it with the big boys

March 19, 2013

Rafael Nadal made a seamless transition from clay to the tough-on-the-body concrete with victory at Indian Wells and I think what he has done just shows what a great competitor and player he is.

He was out for seven months with a knee injury and already he has won 18 matches in his last six weeks, with only one defeat, which is the best start to a season he has had in his career. How he has been able to reel this run off just shows what a player he is. He was a runner-up in Vina Del Mar, then won in Brazil and Acapulco and then went on to Indian Wells to win there. And off the back of not having not played for seven months, I think it is quite incredible.

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That was the loudest grunting I have ever heard. Andy Murray was far from happy with the verbal barrage from his opponent Carlos Berlocq at the BNP Paribas Open

Del Potro to mingle with the awesome foursome

March 26, 2013

In sporting terms, it is a blessing to see the top four players in the world as competitive as they are right now, but is time running out on how long Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, Andy Murray and Rafael Nadal will be able to dominate the ATP Tour circuit?

With 35 grand slams between the four of them, Djokovic and Murray are currently the pair close to the peak of their powers after winning the last two slams. However, at the other end of the scale Federer and Nadal have seemingly lost the duopoly they once had when it comes to fighting it out for major honours, evident with Federer not winning a title of any kind in 2013 while Nadal continues to battle back from injury to regain his place in the top four.

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MARCH: The Miami Masters remains one of the most spectacular venues on tour © Getty Images


Murray eyes top spot after rankings rise

April 1, 2013

Andy Murray believes a strong clay court season could see him challenge for the world No. 1 ranking after his Sony Open victory over David Ferrer lifted him to the No. 2 spot for the second time in his career.

Murray came back from match point down to beat Ferrer in a gruelling three-set contest in Miami, a result that saw him rise above Roger Federer in the ATP World Tour rankings for the first time.

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Nadal: Knee talk has to stop

April 16, 2013

Rafael Nadal insists that he does not consider himself the favourite to win a ninth Monte Carlo Masters title, but believes constant updates on his knees are becoming a distraction.

The former world No. 1, who has lost just one match at the Monte Carlo Country Club in his career, has been forced to ease himself back into action on the ATP Tour following a seven-month lay-off after his Wimbledon exit in 2012 to recover from tendititis in his left knee.

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Djokovic outclasses Nadal for title

April 21, 2013

Novak Djokovic denied Rafael Nadal a ninth consecutive Monte Carlo Masters title, producing an impressive performance to dominate the Spaniard on clay and take a 6-2 7-6(1) victory.

Victory for world No. 1 Djokovic ended a ten-year, 46-match unbeaten streak in Monaco for Nadal, as well as crowning the Serb's third victory on clay over the Spaniard.

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Is Federer the best ever? I don't know. You have to say he is the most successful player we have seen, but how can you decide for sure that he is the best ever? Boris Becker, in an exclusive interview with ESPN

Wimbledon to put roof on No. 1 Court

April 23, 2013

The All England Club has announced plans to build a retractable roof above No. 1 Court in time for the 2019 Wimbledon Championships.

Once work on the second retractable roof is complete, Wimbledon will have the ability to maintain covered play on both principal show courts in front of over 26,500 spectators when rain stops play on the outside courts.

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APRIL: Maria Sharapova drove off in this sporty little number after her victory in the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart © Getty Images


Murray slams 'biggest cover-up in history'

May 1, 2013

Andy Murray has hit out at the Spanish judge who ordered the destruction of evidence relating to one of the biggest doping rings in sporting history.

Murray, the world No. 3, branded Madrid judge Julia Santamaria's decision to have 211 blood bags from 35 different, unnamed athletes destroyed "beyond a joke", adding that it was "the biggest cover-up in sports history".

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Nadal won't receive preferential Roland Garros seeding

May 4, 2013

Rafael Nadal will not be seeded higher than fourth at this year's French Open despite his stellar record in the event, organisers have confirmed.

Nadal, the current world No. 5, has won seven times at Roland Garros - only losing one match in his entire career at the Paris event.

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Sore loser Serena slammed by Stephens

May 6, 2013

Serena Williams has come under fire from compatriot Sloane Stephens, who claims the world No. 1 refuses to speak to her after the pair met earlier this year.

Williams is currently competing at the Madrid Open, where she came through her first round clash against Yulia Putintseva 7-6(5) 6-1.

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You don't unfollow someone on Twitter, delete them off of BlackBerry Messenger. I mean, what for? Why? Sloane Stephens feels shunned by Serena Williams

Federer suffers shock defeat in Madrid

May 9, 2013

Defending champion Roger Federer crashed out of the Mutua Madrid Open after suffering a third round 6-4 1-6 6-2 defeat to an impressive Kei Nishikori.

Federer simply did not produce his best tennis and was made to suffer by his stubborn Japanese opponent.

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MAY: Tennis fans in fancy dress pose with the French national flag during day six of the French Open © Getty Images


Federer digs deep to push back Father Time

June 1, 2013

Before Sunday, he had advanced to a record 35 consecutive grand slam quarterfinals, a staggering achievement. But along the way, Roger Federer has been increasingly fragile.

After a dizzying and unprecedented run in which he won 16 grand slam singles titles in a span of 27 opportunities, his last 12 majors have yielded only one championship: last year at Wimbledon. More often, the semifinals and the quarterfinals have been the final resting place for the 31-year-old.

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Nadal edges five-set classic to vanquish Djokovic

June 7, 2013

Rafael Nadal remains the master of clay in Paris, after defeating world No. 1 Novak Djokovic in five gruelling sets to reach his eighth French Open final.

Nadal has still only ever lost once at Roland Garros - but he came mighty close to doubling that figure on Friday, as Djokovic pushed him all the way in an eventual 6-4 3-6 6-1 6-7(3) 9-7 win for the Spaniard.

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Rafael Nadal's feat off the charts

June 9, 2013

Rafael Nadal is listed at six-foot-one, 188 pounds, but he looks much bigger.

He hits the heaviest forehand in tennis, which is even tougher to return because he is left-handed. That torque routinely sends the ball bounding up and out of an opponent's comfort zone. And then there is his dazzling speed, an astonishing ability to retrieve and turn defence, on a dime, into offence. And more than any of these attributes, Nadal has impeccable - and unmatched - mental toughness.

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I have been challenged by someone on Twitter to taking on Serena Williams. I'd be up for it, why not? Andy Murray throws down the gauntlet to Serena Williams as the battle of the sexes talk hots up

Federer floored by super Stakhovsky

June 26, 2013

Roger Federer will not be defending his Wimbledon crown this year after the Swiss suffered a shock defeat to Sergiy Stakhovsky - a result which left the seven-time champion stunned along with the crowd on Centre Court.

On a day when several players withdrew and top seeds tumbled all over SW19, Federer follows Rafael Nadal through the exit door as a surprise early loser, and falls before the quarter-final stage of a grand slam for the first time since the 2004 French Open, and his first at Wimbledon two years prior to that.

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JUNE: A protester bursts onto the court at the French Open Final in Paris © Getty Images


Magnificent Murray delivers title a nation longed for

July 7, 2013

Andy Murray became the toast of a nation on Sunday - in truth, probably for the rest of his life - as he won the men's title at Wimbledon, ending the longest, most agonising wait in British sport in the most emphatic of fashions.

Eight years on from his encouraging All-England Club debut as a fresh-faced 18-year-old, and 77 years removed from the legendary Fred Perry's third and final title at the same venue, Murray defeated nemesis Novak Djokovic in three brutal sets to deliver a triumph at SW19 that a nation had begun to wonder if it would ever see again.

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The best pictures from Andy Murray's triumph at Wimbledon

July 7, 2013

Andy Murray’s triumph at Wimbledon brought the nation to a standstill for a few glorious sunny hours – and a host of stars from the world of sport and beyond were there to witness the event on Centre Court.

Relive the glamour, emotion, anguish and jubilation with ESPN’s collection of the best photos from men’s finals day at SW19.

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Delight for a nation, vindication for an individual

July 7, 2013

It was done in style, in a fashion befitting the man who made history.

Say what you want about Andy Murray - and many people have and, despite this landmark occasion, probably will still continue to - but he has rarely played around with the emotions of those who have supported him.

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That last game I think will be the toughest game I play in my career ever. Andy Murray on THAT last game of the Wimbledon final

Magical Murray the jewel in Wimbledon's crown

July 10, 2013

I was there: on Centre Court, sat just to the side of the Royal Box in the members' area, to watch a British man win the Wimbledon singles title. It was, in short, quite something, and the crowning moment of one of the best Championships I have ever been involved with.

I was commentating for the radio for the fortnight, but I watched the final in its entirety and it was an amazing experience. From the moment the players walked on court the air was electric. The crowd really sensed something. There was a big buzz around - I've never known an atmosphere like it. As a British player, and having played on Centre Court, to be part of Andy Murray's triumph in some way and to be there on the day was a real honour and a privilege.

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JULY: It all gets too much for Andy Murray at the end of a pulsating Wimbledon final © Getty Images


What if ... Murray faced Lendl in his prime?

August 1, 2013

Ah, the classic battle of mentor versus mentee. Murray had always been a brilliant player, but then Lendl came along and made him great. So great, in fact, that Murray is the hottest thing going in tennis right now. He is, after all, your 2013 Wimbledon champ, and in the process, he wiped away 77 years of futility for a title-famished nation. Murray is also the most recent winner at the US Open and the Olympics. That's a pretty sweet string of success for someone who had long been earmarked the best player in the land without a major trophy. And, for the record, Murray made it to the Aussie final, as well. So, it goes without saying that any doubts we had about Murray have long since dissolved.

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Sharapova dumps Connors ... after one defeat

August 15, 2013

Maria Sharapova has dispensed with the services of coach Jimmy Connors - after only one match and a handful of practice sessions.

The Times reports that Sharapova made the call on Wednesday hours after her second-round loss to Sloane Stephens in the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati.

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Nadal captures Cincinnati crown

August 18, 2013

Rafael Nadal lifted the Western & Southern Open for the first time in his career after overcoming John Isner 7-6(8) 7-6(3) in the final in Cincinnati.

The Spaniard after winning the Rogers Cup in Montreal a week ago has now won back-to-back hard court events for the first time as well, and in taking the title in Cincinnati has equalled the feat of Novak Djokovic of two years ago by triumphing at five Masters 1000 events in a season.

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You can't predict what is going to happen down the line. [Any return to tennis] would come from desire deep inside, but for now I am just not at this point at all. My career has finished. Marion Bartoli, Wimbledon champion, retires

The challenges facing Murray, Nadal and Djokovic

August 23, 2013

For a while there, you could see the US Open men's champion coming from, well, across the water.

For four consecutive years, from 2004 to 2007, Roger Federer won Wimbledon and the US Open, the last two grand slam singles titles of the season. In 2010, Rafael Nadal took the last two. A year later, Novak Djokovic achieved the Wimbledon-US Open double.

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AUGUST: Juan Martin del Potro lets the emotion show through © Getty Images


Serena Williams scraps to fifth US Open title

September 8, 2013

Serena Williams won her fifth US Open championship and 17th grand slam title overall by beating No. 2 Victoria Azarenka 7-5, 6-7 (6), 6-1 in two hours 45 minutes at a windy Flushing Meadows.

Williams, who had not lost a set in her previous six matches, was bothered throughout by the blustery conditions and her service game was particular unreliable. But despite that both Williams and Azarenka played some sublime tennis, albeit in fits and starts.

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Nadal can break Federer's grand slam record

September 9, 2013

On Rafael Nadal's win over Novak Djokovic…

Rafael Nadal can go on and win 20 grand slams.

How many people are going to beat him at the French Open over the next few years? Not many. You would not bet against him winning at least three more titles at Roland Garros - and that takes him to within one of Roger Federer's 17.

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Rafa Nadal wins second US Open crown

September 10, 2013

Rafa Nadal beat Noval Djokovic in four sets to secure his second US Open title and the 13th grand slam of his career, putting him one behind Peter Sampras and within four of Roger Federer.

The scoreline - Nadal won 6-2 3-6 6-4 6-1 in three hours 21 minutes - does not reflect the tense match which included one rally of 54 shots, the longest of the tournament by 20 strokes.

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I'm not saying the men work harder than the women, but, if you have to train to play five sets, it's a longer distance. It's like someone training to be a 400m runner and someone training to be a 600m runner. Andy Murray can't leave the male-female debate alone

Back surgery set to end Murray's season

September 19, 2013

Andy Murray is likely to miss the rest of the season after deciding to undergo minor back surgery next week.

Murray has been plagued with a disc problem in his lower back for the last 18 months, which flared up in May and forced him to withdraw from the French Open.

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SEPTEMBER: Rafael Nadal walked tall amongst the New York skyscrapers once again © Getty Images


Djokovic the master of Shanghai

October 13, 2013

Encounters between Novak Djokovic and Juan Martin del Potro tend to be thrillers, and the latest between the pair produced yet another as Djokovic retained his Shanghai Masters title with a 6-1 3-6 7-6(3) triumph.

Both players had lifted trophies and compiled winning streaks heading into the final, Djokovic clinching the China Open and securing 11 victories on the spin, and Del Potro taking the honours in Tokyo and winning eight consecutive games.

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Federer stars as James Bond in new coffee ad

October 17, 2013

Form is temporary, class is permanent, and this certainly applies to Roger Federer right now.

While the record 17-time grand slam champion may be struggling on a tennis court, the Swiss certainly knows how to act as the model gentleman off it, as revealed in this latest commercial he was a part of for Jura's Impressa J9.3 automatic coffee centre, priced at €3,600.

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Del Potro into history books after Federer win

October 27, 2013

Juan Martin Del Potro successfully defended his Swiss Indoors title in Basel and wrote himself into the history books as the first man to win four ATP500 events in a single season.

The 7-6(3) 2-6 6-4 victory for the Argentinean means opponent Roger Federer will have to wait a little bit longer to qualify for the World Tour Finals - but his spot at the O2 is all but confirmed.

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In the middle of a drug test hahaha I'm goin to be late!!! Andy Murray tweets about his delay ahead of receiving his OBE from Prince William

Fitting end to great year for Serena

October 27, 2013

Here's a fun fact: We have 23 jelly-like disks in our spine and, as we age, degeneration kicks in and the bones in our vertebrae collapse. In other words, old people shrink.

Everyone, that is, except for Serena Williams. At the tender age of 32 years old, she continues to tower over the WTA Tour. With most of her contemporaries either quaffing coffee at the local donut joint or playing the slot machines at the nearest casino, she was busy making room in her already overcrowded lair for the latest trophy.

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OCTOBER: Even Rafael Nadal sometimes let's the toil of being a great tennis player shine through © Getty Images


'Unlucky' Nadal calls for surface change at World Tour Finals

November 4, 2013

Rafael Nadal believes it is unfair that the ATP World Tour Finals are played in an indoor arena, insisting being 'unlucky' is the main reason why he has yet to win the tournament during his career.

Despite qualifying for the ninth time, Nadal has never triumphed at the event, with his best run coming in 2010 where he was beaten in the final by Roger Federer.

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Djokovic blasts ATP and WADA for Troicki suspension

November 6, 2013

Novak Djokovic has slammed anti-doping agency WADA for the way they have handled the case of Viktor Troicki, saying the "negligence and unprofessionalism" of the doping control officer (DCO) is to blame.

Troicki had his ban reduced from 18 months to 12 after the Court of Arbitration for Sport decided that neither the Serb or the anti-doping agencies were at fault for Troicki refusing to give a blood sample on the requested day.

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Murray and Serena set for Vegas showdown

November 7, 2013

Andy Murray is set to take on Serena Williams in a Las Vegas showdown next year.

The idea was originally thrown about in a jokey exchange between the pair on Twitter, but looks like becoming a reality with the players' representatives negotiating over the next month. Williams and Murray train near each other in Miami during the off-season.

During Wimbledon, one of Serena's Twitter followers joked she might beat Murray on grass, with the eventual men's champion suggesting he would be keen on a match.

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I did play well in Australia. I don't know where you were. Were you under a rock? Roger Federer makes fun of a journalist's question at the ATP World Tour Finals

Djokovic's final flourish leaves Nadal at a loss

November 11, 2013

Novak Djokovic has successfully defended his ATP World Tour Finals crown after he denied Rafael Nadal a maiden triumph at the season finale in London.

The Serb ends his campaign on a 22-match win streak, and has won the season-ending event for the third time in his career after getting the better of the year-end world No. 1 6-3 6-4.

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NOVEMBER: Rafael Nadal looks on as Novak Djokovic lifts the trophy at the World Tour Finals © Getty Images


Djokovic criticises ATP, demands more power for players

December 3, 2013

Novak Djokovic has once again criticised the ATP and has called on the organisation to focus more on the players rather than tournaments.

The Serb expressed his anger with the ATP at the World Tour Finals in November following the anti-doping suspension of fellow countryman Viktor Troicki, blasting them for not supporting Troicki after his ban was reduced from 18 months to 12. Djokovic also lashed out at WADA for the handling of the case.

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Murray most talked about on Facebook in 2013

December 9, 2013

Andy Murray's win at Wimbledon was the most talked about topic on Facebook in the UK this year, ahead of even the passing of Margaret Thatcher and the birth of the Royal baby.

After ending 77 years of hurt by becoming the first British male winner at the All England Club with his straight sets win over Novak Djokovic in July, Murray's spectacular achievement topped a list of the most discussed events on the social networking site, according to research carried out by Facebook themselves.

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Sharapova: I'm not sure what grunting does

December 12, 2013

Four-time grand slam champion Maria Sharapova admits she does not know whether grunting helps her during matches.

The Russian, appearing on the Ellen DeGeneres Show, told the American talk show host that she is not sure what would happen if she stopped grunting on court.

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Going to try and play points today for the first time since surgery.... #rusty Andy Murray uses Twitter to announce his 'comeback' from injury

Murray and adidas have fun with 'personality' award

December 16, 2013

Andy Murray justified his odds-on favourite tag as he was named 2013 BBC Sports Personality of the Year on Sunday - as sponsors adidas also had fun with the Scot winning the award.

Murray became the first Brit since Fred Perry to claim the Wimbledon men's singles title in July, and improved on his third place finish at the 2012 award.

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DECEMBER: Novak Djokovic uses the off-season to practice his karate skills  © Twitter/@DjokerNole

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