BBC BLOGS - Jonathan Overend

Archives for June 2012

Schooled the Agassi way

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Jonathan Overend | 20:30 UK time, Tuesday, 19 June 2012

The taxi route from McCarran International Airport flirts with the centre of Las Vegas, brushing past the strip's famous casinos - Caesar's Palace, The Bellagio, Mandalay Bay - all dripping in dollars.

Inside, millions are at stake with dice, cards and slots. Outside, massive billboards promote the latest money-spinning shows of Celine Dion or Elton John.

You find yourself hanging out of the window gawping at the latest over-the-top hotel, but quickly the Vegas we've all heard about is left behind. The architecture returns to normal. We come off the I-15 for West Lake Mead Boulevard and we're in a different world.

We're still in the heart of the city but now the streets are tough with many of the houses ramshackle structures, on some children are on the steps, seemingly oblivious to the excesses down the road. Welcome to Las Vegas.

As we turn the corner, in this mostly deprived neighbourhood, a smart building looms - "The Andre Agassi College Preparatory Academy". Agassi Prep, for short.

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Nalbandian's double fault at Queen's

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Jonathan Overend | 23:27 UK time, Sunday, 17 June 2012

As they say in football or rugby, he simply had to go.

David Nalbandian left the ATP officials with no choice but to issue an instant 'red card', or at least the tennis equivalent - a default - after injuring a line judge in the dramatic end to the Queen's final.

He didn't mean it and admitted his mistake - an instinctive action of fury and frustration - but the vicious assault on the advertising hoarding and the inevitable impact on the line judge, who was struck on the leg at point blank range, was indefensible.

How can anyone draw blood from an official and expect to stay on the field of play?

The board, which he didn't just kick but belted into next week, was directly in front of the line judge's chair. Nalbandian was facing the official and surely knew his proximity when he lashed out.

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Prophetic Murray accepts he is not amongst clay-court elite

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Jonathan Overend | 21:51 UK time, Wednesday, 6 June 2012

At Roland Garros

Andy Murray got it right when he said the French Open semi-finals would feature the four best clay-court players in the world.

David Ferrer may be six in the rankings but he's a clear notch above Murray on the crushed brick red stuff. With five years more experience, and a game style so demoralising and exhausting to compete against, it's hard to deny the Spaniard a first Roland Garros semi-final.

Murray may get his chance in the future against 30-year-old Ferrer, a man who is respected and admired throughout the locker rooms of the world, but, as things stand, you have to say he did well to stretch his four-set defeat out to three hours and 45 minutes.

Remember Murray has only beaten one top-10 player on the dirt - Nikolay Davydenko in Monte Carlo a couple of years back - so winning this one was always a long shot. When he made the semis a year ago he had to beat Juan Ignacio Chela in the last eight. Ferrer would beat Chela 6-3 6-2 6-1 or something similar.

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