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athletes Athletics photography sport tennis

Dominic Thiem: A Major Force to be Reckoned With.

26 year old Dominic Thiem has finally arrived on the world tennis stage. Having defeated Alexander Zverev in the 2020 Australian Open semifinals, employing his usual barrage of blistering drives smacked relentlessly into every corner, as well as great defensive skills, guile, boldness, and purpose, he now faces a formidable task: conquering 16-time major champion Novak Djokovic in the finals. However: the Austrian has gotten the better of the Serbian in four of their last five meetings, including two at Roland Garros, and one at the World Tour finals.

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athletes Athletics photography Roger Federer sport tennis

A Retrospective: Roger Federer.

What with Roger Federer‘s departure from the 2020 Australian Open, let us look back at some of the Swiss maestro’s finer moments from earlier AO’s, when his unparallelled feline movement {coupled with his trademark magical racket head control} was unhampered, allowing him to dictate or defend, as few {if any} have ever done. Federer had an uncanny ability to defang even opponents with the most lethal of arsenals, as he would glide along {or above} the court, using his exquisite timing, imagination, and power to assume command of the point, and strike winner after unbelievable winner. Almost always he seemed to be playing offense, controlling play. Against Novak Djokovic, an aging and injured Fed soldiered on, with “maybe a 3% chance” {his words}. But according to his greatest rival, Rafael Nadal, “When he’s 100 percent, he’s playing in another league. It’s impossible to stop him.”

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athletes Athletics photography sport tennis

An Epic Quarterfinal: Thiem vs. Nadal.

Dominic Thiem produced utterly brilliant tennis when it mattered most to edge the great Rafael Nadal at the 2020 Australian Open. This match featured unreal shotmaking, fierce competitive spirit, and admirable boldness/aggression from both players. Titanic exchanges were the norm, and each man was hitting rockets. Also noteworthy: Nadal’s extreme graciousness in defeat, giving Thiem full credit. The Austrian, too, was humble and thoughtful in victory; obviously, a great deal of mutual respect was present.

Thiem, who not only punished the ball relentlessly, but also showed outstanding defensive skills, deserved this massive win, ousting the immortal Rafa by the slimmest of margins, with seemingly endless blistering drives to both corners, and great heart.

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athletes Athletics photography sport tennis

An Enigma Inspired: Nick Kyrgios.

A talent of otherworldly proportions, Nick Kyrgios has thusfar in his career been held in check only by his mentality, which is perhaps of an unfathomable nature. His apparently never-ending drama of the psyche notwithstanding, the Aussie’s awesome power coupled with exquisite touch, when clicking on all cylinders, is thrilling, and seems unbeatable. And, as of the current moment, in the 2020 Australian Open, his oft-quirky {and sometimes downright bizarre} mindset seems focused and solid, more or less. What will the future hold for Mr. Kyrgios?

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Motown Music music videos Soul vocalists

Motown Personified: The Four Tops.

The 1st video is a live performance; the 2nd is the studio version.

Featuring Levi Stubbs on lead vocal, this combo took the world by storm with a number of hits in the sixties, most memorably with the immortal “Reach Out, I’ll Be There”.

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athletes Athletics photography Roger Federer sport tennis

Roger Federer: Legend.

Make no mistake: at age 38, Federer, the greatest shotmaker, and arguably the greatest period, in the annals of tennis history, remains very much a threat to capture the Australian Open 2020 title. His game is still impeccable, and his ceiling is still higher than that of any other living player.

Note: for more on this great man, see earlier post on this site here.

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athletes Athletics photography sport tennis

Prodigy: Coco Gauff.

Gauff, at the age of 15, is making waves in women’s tennis. She shows tremendous poise, court sense, competitive toughness, and confidence already. Plus, her backhand is otherworldly.

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athletes Athletics photography sport tennis

Already a Champion: Naomi Osaka.

The 22 year old Osaka is blessed with a wondrous all-court game, and no shortage of power. She covers the court extremely well, and is a fierce competitor, as she demonstrated during the 2018 US Open final, under difficult circumstances. Already a 2-time grand slam event champion, Naomi ought to be at or near the highest echelons of tennis for years to come.

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athletes Athletics photography sport tennis

A Stunning Talent: Denis Shapovalov.

The astonishing 20 year old has immense possibilities; called “a combination of Nadal and Federer” by former great Mats Wilander, Denis merely has to harness his skills to rise to the top of men’s tennis. He’s still a bit volatile/mercurial, as his early exit from the 2020 Australian Open illustrates. But his off-the-charts shotmaking abilities are something to behold.

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athletes Athletics photography sport tennis

On the Ascent: Aryna Sabalenka.

Aryna has at her disposal groundstrokes of remarkable power; her forehand, particularly, is a thing of beauty. A formidable shotmaker.