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Early-season ATP winners and losers

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Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic completed the Indian Wells/Miami double for the second time. (Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

Before the clay-court season heats up, Beyond The Baseline is taking stock of the year in tennis so far. Here’s a look at the ATP Tour winners and losers from the first three months. Click here for the WTA Tour breakdown.

Winners

Stanislas Wawrinka: Wawrinka failed the best he’s ever failed — and, really, better than we ever thought he would fail — at the Australian Open, where he won his first major title and became the first player to beat Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal in a Grand Slam tournament. His vengeful 2-6, 6-4, 6-2, 3-6, 9-7 victory over Djokovic, the three-time defending champion, in the quarterfinals was his signature win of the season and left no doubt that Wawrinka can continue to be a force on tour as long as he stays healthy and motivated. (The 29-year-old Swiss hasn’t been at his best since Melbourne, though.) Wawrinka also won the season-opening Chennai Open, climbed to No. 3 to supplant Roger Federer as the Swiss No. 1 and teamed with Federer to lead Switzerland into the Davis Cup semifinals for the first time in 11 years.

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  • Published On Apr 08, 2014
  • Maria Sharapova gives Andy Murray some fashion advice

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    Maria Sharapova

    Maria Sharapova discussed a variety of topics with her fellow pros. (Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

    Maria Sharapova is used to being on the “answer” side of a Q&A, but rarely does she have to field any inquisitive questions from her colleagues. In the HEAD video below, a relaxed Sharapova talks Sugarpova, Paris and fashion while answering a few questions from her sponsor-mates Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray and Richard Gasquet.

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  • Published On Apr 07, 2014
  • Tweets of the week: British media won’t leave Andy Murray alone

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    Andy Murray’s April Fools’ Day joke falls flat (again), the British press corp track his every move and everyone wants a picture with Serena and Venus. Here are the best tweets of the week.

    (And the British press ran with it.)

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  • Published On Apr 04, 2014
  • British media falls hard for Andy Murray’s April Fools’ Day prank

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    It’s April 1, and Andy Murray, a player known for pulling a prank or two when it comes to coaching appointments, sends a tweet saying he’s set to announce his new coach.

    Without taking into consideration the dry and sarcastic nature of Murray’s Twitter account and the fact that it’s April Fools’ Day, the venerable BBC (and many other British media outlets) fell for it and ran it as breaking news, without realizing they were being pranked. Again.

    Screen Shot 2014-04-01 at 12.26.43 PM.jpg

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  • Published On Apr 01, 2014
  • Andy Murray asks followers on Twitter to find him a new coach

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    Andy Murray

    Andy Murray’s recent split with Ivan Lendl has him looking for a new coach. (David Santiago/El Nuevo Herald/MCT via Getty Images)

    Andy Murray is wasting no time in his search for a new coach to replace Ivan Lendl.

    With such a significant decision to make, Murray did what everyone does these days when faced with a difficult decision:

    He asked Twitter.

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  • Published On Mar 29, 2014
  • Watch: Andy Murray shows off vintage form against Novak Djokovic at Sony

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    Although he came away with a loss, Andy Murray exhibited some promising play against Novak Djokovic. (Joel Auerbach/AP)

    Although he came away with a loss, Andy Murray exhibited some promising play against Novak Djokovic. (Joel Auerbach/AP)

    It’s been nearly nine months since we’ve seen anything resembling Andy Murray’s best tennis, but that’s OK. Finally achieving a career-defining victory and then going under the knife for back surgery will do that to you. But Murray finally seemed to turn the corner this week at the Sony Open, where he ripped through the draw only to lose to Novak Djokovic in the quarterfinals in a well-contested match.

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  • Published On Mar 27, 2014
  • Novak Djokovic ousts Andy Murray amid officiating controversy at Sony Open

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    Novak Djokovic admitted that his racket crossed the net while hitting the shot, but the chair umpire missed it. (Al Bello/Getty Images)

    Novak Djokovic admitted that his racket crossed the net while hitting the shot, but the chair umpire missed it. (Al Bello/Getty Images)

    In their first clash of the season, Novak Djokovic defeated Andy Murray 7-5, 6-3 to advance to the semifinals of the Sony Open, where he will play either Roger Federer or Kei Nishikori. The match featured a high-quality first set of tennis from both men before a controversial officiating decision left Murray unraveled.

    With Murray serving to force a first-set tiebreak at 5-6,  Djokovic raced into the net on the first point of the game and appeared to make contact with the ball on Murray’s side of the net — which is against the rules — as he hit the put-away winner. The chair umpire, Damien Steiner, made no call but when the stadium big screens showed the replay, Murray wanted answers.

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  • Published On Mar 26, 2014
  • Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic to clash in Sony Open quarterfinals

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    The mood between Andy Murray and Novak Djokvic may be less cordial at the Sony Open on Wednesday. (Kathy Kmonicek/AP)

    The mood between Andy Murray and Novak Djokvic may be less cordial at the Sony Open on Wednesday. (Kathy Kmonicek/AP)

    Novak Djokovic and defending champion Andy Murray will renew their rivalry on Wednesday in the quarterfinals of the Sony Open.

    Their 20th career meeting will be their first since the Wimbledon final last year, which Murray won 6-4, 7-5, 6-4, and their earliest at a tournament since the 2008 Rogers Cup quarterfinals, which Murray won 6-4, 7-6 (3). Djokovic leads the head-to-head 11-8, including 6-5 on outdoor hard courts.

    Murray, ranked No. 6, will drop to No. 8 unless he makes the final, a tough task considering Roger Federer may be waiting for him should he defeat Djokovic. The Brit has struggled to find his form since undergoing back surgery last September, but he may have finally turned a corner this week in Miami. Since dropping the first set of his first match, Murray has lost just 11 games in six sets, defeating Matt Ebden, Feliciano Lopez and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.

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  • Published On Mar 25, 2014
  • Watch: Andy Murray shows off his pinpoint accuracy in Miami win

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    Andy Murray struggled early but regrouped to beat Matt Ebden at the Sony Open. (Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

    Andy Murray struggled early but regrouped to beat Matt Ebden at the Sony Open. (Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

    Andy Murray’s level of play has been spotty in 2014, but he’s still capable of conjuring up some magic. In his second round match at the Sony Open against Matt Ebden, Murray dropped the first set 6-3 before finding his groove and winning 12 of the last 13 games of the match to win 3-6, 6-0, 6-1. Read More…


  • Published On Mar 23, 2014
  • Ranking the Big Four rivalries

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    The ATP Big Four of (from left) Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray (Getty Images)

    The ATP Big Four of (from left) Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray. (Getty Images)

    In his SI.com mailbag this week, Jon Wertheim was asked to rank the best matchups among the ATP Big Four of Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Andy Murray. Here’s how I would answer the question:

    1. Rafael Nadal vs. Roger Federer

    Head-to-head: Nadal leads 23-10
    First match: 2004
    Number of finals: 20
    Signature match: 2008 Wimbledon final; Nadal won 6-4, 6-4, 6-7 (5), 6-7 (8), 9-7

    I still consider this to be tennis’ most compelling rivalry despite Nadal’s decided head-to-head advantage, which includes a five-match winning streak and 15 victories in the last 19 meetings. Nadal-Federer features the most distinct contrast of styles among the Big Four matchups, and they’ve contested 20 finals, including eight at Grand Slam tournaments, over the last 10 years. Just imagine how different their careers would be without the other serving as a roadblock. Nadal has won nine of their 11 matches at majors; it’s conceivable that Federer might have completed the Grand Slam — whether calendar or career — a few times over and pushed the Slam record from 17 to well over 20 without the presence of Nadal.

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  • Published On Mar 21, 2014


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