Everybody has an opinion when it comes to rating the best and worst of things and it’s no different for sports. The year 2010 featured a lot of excellent athletic events and performances throughout the world, especially with the Winter Olympic Games and World Cup of soccer taking place. However, when it came time for 515 journalists across the world to vote for the sportsman of the year, the award went to 24-year-old tennis player Rafael Nadal of Spain.
Nadal had an exceptional year as he became just the fourth male ever during the tennis open era to win the tennis grand slam after winning Wimbledon, the French Open, and the U.S. Open. He ended up getting 16 per cent of the vote from the 515 journalists while Argentine soccer player Lionel Messi came in second place and Spanish soccer player Andres Iniesta came in third. Messi and Iniests are teammates with Barcelona of Spain’s La Liga.
Tiger Woods no longer represents “The Best a Man Can Get,” at least according to the marketing bigwigs at Procter & Gambel. The corporation announced that as of December 31, its Gillette brand is cutting ties with the now World’s No. 2 golfer, as well as several soccer stars including Thierry Henry, Kaka, Rafa Marquez and Lionel Messi.
The marketing bigwigs seem to be trying not to burn bridges with Tiger, as their generally phasing out their Gillette Champions campaign. However, Gillette is still keeping New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter, tennis champ Roger Federer, and Washington Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin.
According to USA Today, Tiger still has endorsement deals with eight sponsors: Nike Golf; Upper Deck; EA Sports; Tag Heuer; NetJets; TLC Laser Eye Centers; Golf Digest and the Tiger Woods Dubai Resort. Tiger is still expected to clear between $55 million and $60 million from those endorsements in 2011.
I admit it. I believed Federer would lose yesterday against Isner and so I placed a bet on that at 6 times my money. But when I tuned in to the match in the end of the first set I saw a Federer that reminded me of the old, dominating Fed Express. He looked Fedtastic and I realized I was about to lose a little money.
I did lose money in the end, but it was worth it just to see Federer play that kind of divine tennis that only he can play. It had everything, a hot dog shot where he ended up winning the point, blistering forehand winners, laser sharp serves, good returns, and an amazing running shot that nobody thought he would get to, deliciously angling the ball cross-court for the point. It was close to a perfect match for him and it was over before Isner knew what hit him, 6-3 6-4.
I just watched Soderling beat Tipsarevic in straight sets which is an indication that he is back to decent form after a few mediocre performances. This made me think of his chances in Shanghai and the draw in general, which in turn made me realize that both Federer and Nadal are in danger of losing today.
But back to Soderling. Indoor courts were always Soderlings surface. It plays fast, there are no strange bounces and the wind doesn’t upset his serve. This is the part of season where he should play his best tennis.
That hasn’t happened in the tournaments leading up to Shanghai Masters, but we saw some of the old Soderling today.
If he keeps up this play he will likely meet Federer in the quarterfinals. They seem destined to always meet there. It is rough for Soderling who loses 90% of the time, but it is also tough for Federer as Soderling always poses a threat – something we saw in Roland Garros.
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