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Written by Thomas Rooney | 31 December 2012

We all love a bit of cheesiness at Christmas and Stan James have produced an absolute belter this year. It is safe to say it will not be challenging for number one in the charts anytime soon, but it is two minutes of everything you could want in a festive jingle.

Not only that, there is the added bonus of this all being about sports betting, with Stan and James giving everyone a catchy reminder that there are so many ways to keep on placing your bets and winning some money, even though it is the festive season.

The boys remind you that the football season is only half way through, so there is a lot of time to bet on a whole range of different markets.

Also, this is the busiest time of year for football betting, so you don’t want to be missing out.

If you like dodgy decorations, tacky jumpers and clichéd lyrics, then this really is the video for you as it is a prime example of all three of them.

Donning a snowman outfit and an elf outfit, the pair bounce around their flat with friends making a mess. There’s no room for pleasantries in the StanJames flat as sprouts go flying, a penalty shoot-out takes place and gravy is spilt everywhere – so it is Christmas with a difference.

The lads all get together to enjoy an afternoon of football and even describe Christmas Day as ‘boring’ due to the lack of football. It is after the 25th December that the sport really comes into a busy period, so that is what StanJames are focusing on. Also, many people are able to sit back, relax and watch whatever they may fancy, so keep an eye on what might be coming up.

We are not going to spoil the fun for you though as you can enjoy the StanJames Christmas music video for yourself!


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Written by Thomas Rooney | 08 November 2012

Former world number one Andy Roddick believes that the days when tennis players won Grand Slam events when in their teens are over and that Andy Murray has shown years of hard work, graft and determination are what is needed to win one of the sport’s biggest prizes.

Roddick retired from the game back in September, shortly after his 30th birthday and he believes that the fitness and talent of the top four players in the world is too much for someone like him to compete with.

He said: “Boris Becker won when he was 17, Rafa (Nadal) won when he was 19, I won when I was 21 and now there is not a teenager in the top 100 at the moment because you aren't strong enough at that point in your career."

There are not many players in the sport that work harder than Murray as he is known to spend a lot of the off-season, even Christmas Day doing intense training to make sure he remains in shape for when he is back in action again.

Roddick, who was the last American to win a Grand Slam back in 2003, is a big admirer of the way that the Scotsman goes about his business.

"He gets it. He gets what it takes. It just seems that over the years he became more and more motivated, perhaps because of the pressures that were put on him, he almost took it the other way and ratcheted it up and worked harder, that is something you respect." he added.

The 30-year-old now believes that Murray will go on to have a superb few years in tennis and thinks it is between now and when he turns 30 where he will win the majority of his titles. Even if you prefer playing Pub Games, you will know that the first Grand Slam win is the toughest.

Roddick also insisted that he did not fall out of love with the game, but his body could simply not cope with the gruelling ATP schedule: "I've never really resented the game, I've always loved it and enjoyed it just my body wouldn't let me do it at the level I was accustomed to and I didn't want to do it at a lower level than I was used to."

Written by Thomas Rooney | 06 September 2012

Andy Roddick bowed out of tennis with a four-set defeat to Juan Martin Del Potro in the fourth round of the US Open.

Those over at BetVictor note how it wasn’t to be the fairytale ending for the American, but his final match was on home soil and on the court where he won the US Open back in 2003.

After the match, Roddick addressed the crowd and thanked them for all their support over the years: "I love you guys with all my heart. Hopefully I'll come back to this place someday and see you all again."  He said.

He did manage to win the first-set, but in the end the number-seven seed Del Potro had too much for him and wrapped up the match by taking the next three-sets.

Roddick did manage to rescue a match point, something that was met with huge cheers from the crowd at Flushing Meadows, but in the end the Argentine took the match in three hours and 15 minutes.

The 30-year-old was quite clearly very emotional and he went on to say: "It was tough. Once he got up in that match it was a different set of circumstances than my previous matches.

"You start thinking about how real it is. You're thinking about matches you're playing when you're 12, I was thinking about my mom driving me to practice all over the place.”

The reason for his retirement is that, quite simply, he did not think that he was good enough to compete with the best players in the world anymore.

The records on www.betvictor.com will tell you that Roddick made five Grand Slam final appearances in his career and lost three matches at Wimbledon to Roger Federer, but is still regarded as a very talented player that was very well respected by everyone in the sport.

His opponent in the fourth round Del Potro hailed the former world number one: “He has to enjoy his life and I would like to congratulate him because he made an unbelievable career."

Roddick’s retirement now means that there are no American men that have one a Grand Slam title currently playing and that there are now only three in the top 50 in the world.


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Written by Thomas Rooney | 27 August 2012

Third seed and hot tip Andy Murray will play Alex Bogomolov Jr in the first round of the US Open, which starts at Flushing Meadows, New York on Monday.

The Russian world number 73 beat the Great Britain number one in 2011's Sony Ericsson Open, breaking serve seven times in a 6-1 7-5 victory. But the Scot – fresh from a final appearance at Wimbledon and winning the mens’ singles gold medal at the Olympics – should have few problems.

If Murray can negotiate his way through to the semi-finals, he could face world number one and top seed Roger Federer in the semi-finals after the pair were drawn in the same half of the draw.

But two former Grand Slam champions have tipped Murray for US Open glory after some excellent form this year. It’s also worth noting, even if you are more focused on finding the best mobile casino,that the Flushing Meadows hard courts are his preferred surface.

And 2001 Wimbledon winner Goran Ivanisevic and 1988 US Open champion Mats Wilander have both backed Murray for success in New York.

"The US Open is his best surface so I think he will do it. If Andy plays well, he can win,” Ivanisevic said on the BBC ahead of Murray’s first match on Monday.

The Croat reached the semi-final of the US Open in 1996 and he also fared well at the Olympics, winning two bronze medals in 1992. And Ivanisevic believes Murray's success at the 2012 Games in London will be a massive boost to the Scot.

"He played a really great Olympic Games and I think this will give him extra motivation and confidence. I would really like to see him win it - he deserves it."

In the women's event, Great Britain's Heather Watson and Anne Keothavong have been handed tough first round matches in the women's singles.

Watson will face 2011 French Open champion Li Na of China while Keothavong will play sixth seed Angelique Kerber of Germany.

Fellow Brit and Olympic mixed doubles silver medallist Laura Robson has a better first round chance, opening against a qualifier. 18-year-old Robson could then, however, face three-time US Open champion Kim Clijsters in the second round.

Clijsters will retire after the US Open but the 2009 and 2010 champion is looking to continue a 21-match unbeaten run at Flushing Meadows after missing the 2011 tournament through injury.

But from this side of the pond, all eyes will be Murray and his quest to win his first Grand Slam after four final appearances. He certainly won’t have a better opportunity.


 

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Written by Zach Kleiman | 19 August 2012

Here’s an email conversation from last month.

It’s quite common and unique and fun.

On Jul 23, 2012, at 10:22 AM

Hi Zach,
My dream of playing in the nationals is still alive.  I am co-captaining a super senior doubles team this summer.  We’re in first place with one match to go, next Sunday morning. I have only played one match, which was my first competition in a year and a half.  I couldn't believe how nervous I was. We lost 5-7 and 3-4 in a second set tiebreak in a timed match.  I was so overwhelmed that all I could do was get the ball back.  Not enough.

Playing again with the big hitters, I have to say, I still have a hard time maintaining a loose grip against them.

Tips that help:  watch the ball coming off their strings, get ready for the next shot instead of judging mine, smile and have fun.  All things that I had been doing until that match.  Also, recently, I began working on my serve.  When I use a slow toss, flex my knees, keep a loose wrist, see contact and pronate, I have been hitting some amazing serves. Then, I have "expectations" and they are not so amazing.   

Next Sunday’s match is a must win, I could use some of your pearls of wisdom this week.
Hope all is well with you~

ML

On Jul 23, 2012, at 8:15 PM

ML,

Would you like to speak or write? All is so well here. My first impulse is to look at "must win." What is your first priority?

Zach

Date: Tue, 24 Jul 2012 12:06:37
Zach,

Glad things are well in your corner.  A chat would be nice, email more convenient.  Yes, the "must win" would be a good start.

I was feeling really anxious last week because I was focusing on the outcome - this is something that I want very badly.  I shifted my attention to the process - what could I do now?  That has helped to calm me down.  So, I asked the pro to gear our group drill yesterday to things that we needed to work on and he did.  We did approach shots, lob volleys, serve and volley and return of serve.  Personally, I also focused on loose grip, breathing, letting the serve flow instead of muscling it... and having fun.  I will play Wednesday and Friday focusing on those same things and seeing the ball.

My mental game.  I am doing daily meditation to stay calm, working on my breathing, visualizing my performance and a good outcome, saying positive affirmations, listening to my songs for this season "I Got a Feeling" and "Man of La Mancha." Yes, I am on a quest!  I have also been working on managing allergies as they put me in a mental fog.   That's it from my corner.

Thank you~

ML

On Jul 25, 2012, at 12:11 AM
ML,

I love competition as a player and a coach. Keeping the days before a tournament/match as clear and simple as possible is often essential. It sounds like that's what you’re doing. The three Ps: Phocus, practice, process. Which is what will happen in the match. Focus on the want and then trust, trust your practice, get involved in the points - the process. And trust some more.

Maybe take a day off the intensity of preparing the day before the match - this often helps to trigger the hunger to play. Just a thought. I want to peak during the tourney, not before.

Is this going in the right direction?

Love-Fifteen,

Zach


Date: Wednesday
Zach,

Yes, right on target!  I just declined an invitation in order to just take it easy this week and I will remember your words:  "I love competition!" and "Phocus (phunny), Practice, Process and especially, "Trust."  I sure do need to trust myself and trust that everything I am doing will make me ready to peak on Sunday.

I have to say that since watching the ball come off my opponent's strings, my court coverage has really improved.  I get to everything.  Sometimes, it's like I have too much time.  Then, I start thinking about where I will hit the ball - something I never had time for before - and as a result I over-hit.  That is not like me.  My game is consistency.  Speaking of consistency or should I say inconsistency, as I mentioned, I have been working on my serve.   I know that the power comes from a loose grip/wrist and I can't make it happen, but have to let it happen – which is not automatic – yet. Then when I hit a serve that feels good, I fall into the "expectation" trap for the next one.  With going into competition, it sure would feel better to be more confident of holding serve. Any thoughts on these fronts?

Forty-Love,

ML

On Jul 25, 2012, at 10:01 PM

ML,

First thought is humor. Hold the ball in one hand and the feathery feel of the racket in the other. Get off the future. You will not be able hold your serve before you serve. You will probably not be able to control the return of serve. Service selection is probably more important than controlling the serve.

Just some quick thoughts. Oh, regarding the over-hitting... If you know it's happening, gently, slyly, subtly adjust your aim and continue to trust.

Zach

On July 25, 2012 at 11:02pm
Yes, Zach, humor is a good place to start!  I once had a partner who would tell me funny stories during a match to keep me loose.  And you are right that I need to stay in the present moment and focus on process.  Todd Martin said, “In tennis, like anything else in life, we must focus on the process to get the desired result.  So, I learned to stop worrying about the score, who my opponent is, or the outcome, all things that lead to distracted play.  Instead, I started focusing on the ball, each point, one point at a time and let the winning take care of itself.”

So, today, I'll focus on my mental game - visualization, meditation, affirmations, etc.  Come Sunday, I want to play within myself, with the game that I have...trust myself and enjoy the moment.  That will be my goal in practice tomorrow.   Since being back to playing with my big hitting friends, I find that I am too focused on winning and being good enough.  Then I get too intense… and tense.  I always do better when I just focus on playing my game and enjoying the time on the court which is truly a blessing.

After your last Soul Pancake, I also will take time to wonder. (Does worry stop your wonder? http://tinyurl.com/7jrngek)
ML

A day later, Sunday evening:

Subject: We did it!!!!

 

Our team won today!  So, we are now the Chicago District Champions and Illinois State Champions!  That qualifies us to go to the USTA Midwest Regionals in Indy the end of September - our ticket for Nationals.  My dream is alive!  I really appreciated your support.

Thank you~

Mary Lou


On Jul 29, 2012, at 7:01 PM

ML,

Congratulations! How was the focus, looseness and presence? And trust. And humor.

I'd love to hear a touch of the court story.

Love-Forty,

Zach


Good morning, Zach,

Thank you!  So, you want the rest of the story…  In the warm up, I noticed that one of our opponents was making errors on her backhand and that she could hit two shots, but not three. So, in the first set we capitalized on that and won 6-2.  Also, my partner hit some very effective lobs. In the second set, the Error Lady became more consistent.  She had a windmill swing and hit an off-paced ball - hard to read and hard to put away.  At 4-3, she raised the level of her game incredibly and that motivated her partner to do the same.  They charged the net, poached and went for it.  They won the set 6-4.  They asked for a washroom break before we started the third set super tie-break. First to win 10 points by a margin of 2.

During the bathroom break, I noticed that our team’s best players (on another court) had lost the first set and were down 1-4 in the second.  I knew that our match could end up being the deciding one.  I really wanted this. Before starting the tie-break, I said to my partner and myself that we will do whatever it takes. Their momentum carried into the tiebreak and we were down 3-6.  On the change over, I told my partner that we needed to hang in because a lot can happen on the way to the 10th point.  We won the next 6 points.  At 9-6, they won 2 points.  It was now 9-8 and I was receiving.  Julie and I said, “Right here and right now.” I returned serve at the server’s feet and she hit the ball out.   And we won.

Looking back, at 3-6 I went into the zone - sheer determination - and I only remember 3 of the last 7 points.  There was a peculiar point where a ball was smacked down low in front of me and there was a weird sound on my hit.  I got it back and they missed it.  They asked if it had bounced twice.  I said I thought that I had gotten it with the rim.  It happened so fast that I can't recreate it in my mind so at this point I don't even know what happened.

My sore-winner moment: It was a bad-allergy day and I had a sinus headache.  My focus was not what I would have liked it to be and that affected my trust.  This being only my second competition match in over a year, I was tense.  My partner and I reminded each other to breathe between points.  While we didn't use humor, we smiled a lot, kept each other positive.

Every time I play, I will focus on seeing the ball come off the strings, a loose grip, breathing and taking care of the point that I am on.  I will work on my serve so that I am more confident with it.  Maybe then, I will trust myself more and be able to be more relaxed in competition.

Wow! We did it.



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Written by Thomas Rooney | 21 March 2012

British No.1 Andy Murray has spoken  to those interested in tennis tickets about the need for compulsory heart tests for tennis players following Bolton footballer Fabrice Muamba collapsing at White Hart Lane on Saturday.

The 23-year-old fell to the floor during an FA Cup quarter-final tie against Tottenham and he is now showing positive signs of recovery, although it is unknown what long-term damage there will be.

Part of the reason Muamba survived was the quick medical attention he received at the ground and Murray is convinced Tennis players should have their health assessed more regularly.

The Scotsman said: “I was actually watching the game when it happened and I was head in hands. You just can’t believe it. It’s an amazing fight from him and hopefully he’s going to make a safe recovery.”

“I think it’s time in almost all sports everybody should have screenings before they can compete. This has happened too many times. Here in the States it’s happened in high school and college basketball games and, of course, it’s happened a few times in football.”

“With all the pressure and stress of modern sport you have no idea how much you are pushing yourself on the pitch or court, I think it’s something that’s just got to be done.”

Murray then spoke about the own tests he undertakes, saying that his medical team always keep a close eye on things and he hopes this is the same across the sport before long.

He continued: “I do my tests independently. I’ve been doing my tests for three years now so I have heart scans, heart monitors and other tests. I started when these things seemed to be happening more often.”

“But it’s not something that’s done within tennis. But I just think it should be. Everyone should have a medical or a check-up before you’re allowed to compete because it’s such a horrible thing for people to witness.”

“The reality is if something doesn’t happen about it, it’s likely to happen again at some stage, and it’s just so, so horrible. You don’t wish something like that to happen to anybody.”

“It’s clear to me that all the teams should be checked. I’m not sure if they do, but I know in tennis we don’t.”

It will be interesting to see how things develop in this field. Hopefully Muamba will make a full recovery and it can have a positive effect on sport across the world.

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Written by Thomas Rooney | 01 March 2012

Andy Murray appeared to have shaken off the early season rust that dogged his game in the early rounds of the Dubai Championships as he made his was safely past Marco Chiudnielli to take his place in the tournament’s quarter finals.

Those assessing Bookmaker Bonuses note how the British number one dispatched his Swiss opponent 6-3 6-4 in under an hour and a half to set up a showdown with Thomas Berdych, who beat Lukas Lacko to secure his place in the last eight.

Murray, the number three seed for the tournament, appeared to be moving more freely than in earlier rounds where he struggled to get going, particularly in his first round match against German qualifier Michael Berrer that marked his first appearance since losing in the final of the Australian Open last month.

The Scot, who has traditionally struggled in tournaments following the first Grand Slam of the year, admitted he was pleased to be making progress in Dubai, although only went as far as saying he played a ‘bit better’ against Chiudnielli.

"I played well throughout today," he said. "I played a little bit better, so that's progress. Now I just need to keep that going."

World number one Djokovic is still in the tournament and is a potential final opponent of Murray’s having eased past Ukraine's Sergiy Stakhovsky.

While temperatures soared in Dubai, Muuray batted away suggestions that the heat may be a defining factor in the outcome of the tournament, saying conditions in the United Arab emirates were ‘perfect’ for him.

"Conditions in Miami (where Murray has been training) are hotter than this," he said. "I find the conditions here almost perfect. I'd been practising my serve quite a lot there and I think that went well today."

Even those over at Poker Genius note how Murray came close to ending his pursuit of his first ever Grand Slam title as he made his second consecutive appearance in the Australian Open final last month, only to miss out to Djokovic.

The 24-year-old recently appointed former Grand Slam winner Ivan Lendl as his full time coach in a bid to end his pursuit for a major title, although with the French Open the next Grand Slam tournament he may struggle to break that duck with Rafa Nadal expected to return from injury to defend the titles he has won at Roland Garros in the last two years.

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Written by Thomas Rooney | 21 February 2012

Great Britain beat Slovakia 3-2 in their Davis Cup tie, with Dan Evans holding his nerve to win the deciding rubber.


Those studying in play betting note how Evans (21) beat Martin Klizan, a player ranked 156 places higher than him in the world, 6-1, 6-1, 4-6, 3-6, 6-3.


Before hand, James Ward was beaten 6-7 (9-11), 1-6, 3-6 by Lukas Lacko, leaving the tie level at 2-2 in the Europe/Africa Group I.


The win for Evans means it is five triumphs on the bounce for coach Leon Smith in the Davis Cup, and means Great Britain will now face Belgium in Glasgow later this year in the second round.


Smith said: “While Dan is the hero of this tie, it is about the group. I am so proud of the boys and back room staff.”


Despite this set of players serving the team so well, Smith insisted that should world number four, Andy Murray be available for selection in the next round, he would be an automatic choice for the team.


He added: “We would welcome him back at any time, but we want selection issues for the other places.”


Before this weekend Evans had not won a Davis Cup runner, but will certainly have done his chances of playing in the Belgium tie no harm.


The world number 276 broke Klizan in the opening game before racing into a 5-0 first set lead. He then broke twice in the second set to take charge of the match.


But Evans soon gave Klizan a foothold in the game with a double fault in the ninth game of the third set to give the Slovakian the advantage.


In the fourth set Klizan broke again to level the scores at 2-2, and it appeared his extra experience and momentum would be enough to carry him to victory.


Coach Smith stopped Evans ahead of the fifth set to give him something of a pep talk which seemed to do the trick.


The Birmingham based youngster then broke in the third game and held serve before a double fault from Klizan at match point handed him the victory.


After the match, Smith said: “Leon has to take quite a bit of credit, he kept me calm in the chair. I didn't really snap once throughout the whole weekend, which probably would have been odds-on to happen at the start.


“I was enjoying it because it was a good match. Both players were playing good tennis and there is nothing better when everybody in the building, bar a few, is behind you.”


Smith admitted that he was really pleased with the atmosphere and how the week had gone overall, and was already looking forward to the next round.


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Written by Thomas Rooney | 22 December 2011

Judy Murray says it is an honour to be able to represent Great Britain as the new captain of the Fed Cup team.


Even those over at pokernet will be interested to note that she will take charge of the British team in February next year, as they aim to climb into tennis' World Group II.


The mother of Scottish stars Andy and Jamie Murray revealed that it was the possibility of a reunion with Leon Smith that convinced her to take up the role.


“Leon contacted me a few weeks ago to say he was taking over the women's side and asked if I would be interested in a role,” Murray told the BBC.


“I'm really excited to get started.”


Murray accepts that it is going to be a big challenge for Britain to qualify from the Europe/Africa Zone Group I, but say it is one she is very much looking forward to.


She added: “It is very difficult because there's 15 teams in the group and only two will go through.


“You have to win three matches to get out of your group, and then you need to win another one in the play-off, and there are some very strong teams in there.


“If our girls are playing well and we have a favourable draw, then I really think anything is possible.”


She says one of her main aims will be to tackle the prominent issues of sexism that seem to be surrounding British tennis at the moment.


Currently there are no Britons in the Women's Tennis Association's (WTA) top 50, with Elena Baltacha just outside it in 51st.


She said: “I think we're pretty much outnumbered about 10 to 1 male coaches to female coaches on the performance side of the game and it's something I'd very much like to try to rectify.


“So that is another part of my role beyond the Fed Cup is to try to help develop a female coaching workforce.”


That may be the case at the higher end of the game, but one report suggested that 24 per cent of the 1,652 licensed tennis coaches in the UK were female.


British number one, Baltacha has offered her support to Murray, and believes she will prove to be a wise appointment.


She said: “I think the decision is absolutely fantastic.


“I think he (Leon Smith) couldn't have picked a better person for the job. She brings so much experience to it, so much knowledge, and it will just be so nice to have her there.”


The 28-year-old who has worked alongside Murray for a number of years now added: “I remember Judy taking me on some trips at under-14, under-16 and under-18 tournaments.


“She was a great captain then and she will be now. She's a tough cookie and she won't put up with any nonsense.”


The Fed Cup ties will take place between 1 and 4 February, with only two teams from the 15 entries qualifying.


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Written by Thomas Rooney | 21 November 2011

There were no shocks at the ATP Tour Finals yesterday as Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal came through their opening matches unscathed.

Those looking at betting offers note how Federer had to work hard for his victory over Jo-Wilfried Tsonga though, with the former World No.1 eventually coming through to win 6-2, 2-6, 6-4 in one hour and 28 minutes.

Federer dominated the first set before Tsonga hit back. An upset then looked like a distinct possibility, but Federer showed his experience to come through in the third set.

Speaking afterwards, he said: “Jo-Wilfried served well in the second set and it was hard to control the rallies at the baseline.”

“But I think this is the best I've played all year. It helped that I had some good time off before playing great at Basel and Paris.”

Tsonga added: “I think he was a bit surprised because I played so bad in the first set, then I played correctly in the second, but it's always difficult because he's really quick.”

"Sometimes you think you will get the point but Roger is still there. That's why it's tough to play against him.”

As for Nadal, he had to work a lot harder for victory against Mardy Fish in a match that entertained the O2 arena crowd for two hours and 53 minutes.

Nadal eventually won 6-2 3-6 7-6 (7-3), with the game finishing at 11.30pm, meaning that several spectators had to leave before the match came to an end.

This raised questions about the start time – single matches are not to start before 8pm – something which event organisers might have to look at in the future.

Nevertheless, those assessing the best betting sites will agree that it was a thrilling first day of ATP World Tour Finals action at the O2 arena and spectators will hope that there is many more matches like the Nadal v Fish to come.

Speaking of Nadal, the Spaniard has reacted angrily to comments from former tennis player Yannick Noah who suggested that Spanish players can only be truly successful with a ‘magic potion’.

Nadal said:What he said is completely stupid. This guy does not deserve to write in newspapers anymore.”

 

Action at the O2 arena continues this evening with Andy Murray in action against David Ferrer.