Can Roger Federer Finally Win A Davis Cup

The average team wins at home 63 percent of the time and on the road just 37 percent of the time. But the differential is much smaller for France and even smaller for Switzerland. In fact, France lost the past two finals it hosted, in 1999 and 2002.Andrew Flowers contributed to the analysis of data supplied by the International Tennis Federation. This story appears in ESPN The Magazine’s Nov. 24 The State of Football Issue. The farther Cup teams have to travel, the worse they perform (though traveling between 501 and 1,000 miles seems particularly tough). Luckily for Roger & Co.: Lille is just 325 miles from the Swiss capital of Bern, minimizing the French advantage. Roger Federer holds a record 17 Grand Slam titles, but there’s one trophy he’s still itching to lift: the Davis Cup. Starting Friday, he gets his best chance yet. In his first Davis Cup final, the 33-year-old ace and his Swiss teammates will battle the French in Lille, France.Yes, playing away from home significantly diminishes the win probability for the Swiss. And because Davis Cup rules dictate that the host country gets to choose the playing surface, Federer will be forced to compete on clay, his least favorite type of court — without much practice, after a back problem kept him sidelined until a short session Wednesday.But the good news for Federer is that Lille is a
 lot closer to home than Melbourne, where he lost to the Australians in 2003, the only other time he made a Cup semifinal. Plus, Switzerland is one of a handful of major teams to maintain a winning Cup road record since the modern era began in 1972.Of course, the second-ranked Federer is simply better most days than any of his Lille opponents. (France is led by No. 12 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.) And he’s so popular globally that he takes home-court advantage with him when he travels. Consider Roland Garros. “When he plays a French player,” says France’s Gilles Simon, “[the crowd] is 50-50, and I’m like, ‘Guys, what’s going on?’ ”The Swiss aren’t likely to feel that much love in Lille. But they still have plenty on their side to get the job done. Here’s a closer look at the factors in their favor. Federer’s 37–7 Davis Cup singles record is even more impressive when you consider that he’s been even better on the road than at home—especially in Europe, where he’s won his past 15 matches. read more

With raised sprits Ohio State mens basketball focuses on Penn State

Junior center Amir Williams dunks the ball during a game against Iowa Jan. 12 at the Schottenstein Center. OSU lost, 84-74.Credit: Shelby Lum / Photo editorThe night is darkest before the dawn, and for the No. 24-ranked Ohio State men’s basketball team (16-4, 3-4), that dawn might have arrived.After struggling through a four-game losing streak — the program’s longest since February 2008 — the Buckeyes got back on track with a 62-55 victory against Illinois last Thursday.Freshman forward Marc Loving said just getting a win helped raise spirits in the locker room.“Our moods are definitely a lot lighter than what they were during the four-game losing streak,” Loving said Tuesday. “I would say there’s been a lighter load going into the next game. I feel like a weight’s been lifted off of us, get a little monkey off our back. Going into this next game, we definitely have a mindset that we’ve got to execute and get stops defensively because that’s what we key on.”It’s been more than two weeks since OSU headed into a game off a win, and some players are hoping their problems have been fixed.Junior center Amir Williams, who saw his minutes decline during the losing streak, said a lot of time in practice has been dedicated to two things: defense and shooting.“We spent a lot of time these past few days working on our defense and a lot with our shooting,” Williams said Tuesday. “That’s mainly been a problem that we’ve had in the past, guys were just driving by us and not playing our principles on defense so we just got back to the basics and broke down what we had to do defensively to keep teams from scoring against us and just get up a lot of shots offensively. We’ve been putting a lot of time into shooting the ball.”Williams added that another four-game losing streak has to be prevented at all costs for a team with as high of goals like OSU’s.“We can’t take any team for granted,” Williams said. “This is a tough conference to play in night in and night out so we’re going to continue to build … That four-game losing streak is something that can’t happen to us again. We’re going to have losses and we’re going to win some games but we can’t just not show up to play like we did those last four games.”Next up, the Buckeyes are set to take on Penn State (10-10, 1-6) and will be hoping to contain their leading scorers, redshirt-junior guard D.J. Newbill (17.2 points per game) and graduate-senior guard Tim Frazier (16.5 points per game).OSU coach Thad Matta said despite the Nittany Lions’ record, they will not be overlooked by the Buckeyes.“You look at Penn State, they’ve been in every single game they’ve played this season and had some of the craziest losses I’ve seen in terms of the ball didn’t bounce their way,” Matta said Tuesday. “Obviously Frazier and Newbill have shown, not only this year but throughout their career, that they can go into an arena and get 30 on you … but you get a pretty good feel of who they’re trying to get shots for and we’ve got to do a pretty good job of locking those guys down the best we can.”The last time OSU lost to Penn State was Jan. 10, 2004. Tipoff is scheduled for Wednesday at 7 p.m. at the Schottenstein Center. read more

Commentary Thad Matta departs Ohio State in an honorable way

Thad Matta addresses the media for the final time as head coach at Ohio State on June 5, 2017. Credit: Courtesy of 97.1 The FanThad Matta was fired Monday because lately the Ohio State men’s basketball team hasn’t won enough games, and it is an honorable reason to be fired. There is no shortage of reasons why college coaches are fired, and failure to win enough games is the best of them. Just think about the last two big-time coaches fired at OSU: Jim O’Brien, who Matta succeeded, and Jim Tressel.Both were removed amid scandal. Both left behind a trail of embarrassment and NCAA sanctions. Heck, turn back the clock a little further and you can even toss beloved Woody Hayes in there, who was dismissed after punching an opposing player. Of course, most coaches in college football and basketball are not fired for scandal, covering up a scandal or assault. Most cases are similar to Matta’s, and the phrases we heard Monday during his farewell press conference have become common parlance. Time for new leadership. A change in direction. Mutually agreed upon. We’ve heard those phrases over and over, but it’s important for fans — especially OSU fans right now — to remember that a failure to win games does not automatically indicate the failure to build a successful program. That is, we cannot simply let our measure of success be banners and win percentage. They are important, but they cannot become the only thing that matters.We’ve seen the effects of that thinking already, and they look like Louisville’s Rick Pitino keeping his job despite his program reportedly hiring escorts for recruits, though he denied wrongdoing. They look like Jim Boeheim, of Syracuse, who actually received an extension in March despite having been suspended two years ago after the NCAA found he “failed to monitor his program” while it racked up violation after violation, including academic misconduct and impermissible benefits. In his 13 seasons leading the Buckeyes, Matta carried himself with grace and integrity, and he built a program with principles and decency. In this column, there is no need to list the number of Big Ten titles he won or how far he took his team in the NCAA tournament. The one stat worth mentioning, Matta brought up himself. “When I got here, we had a 20 percent graduation rate. We’re up to, I think, 88 percent right now,” he said. “To see these guys walk in here and the one-and-dones that we had and those guys fulfilling their dreams. The stories are countless and I don’t want to be up here all day, but I could tell stories that makes me feel good. Just in terms of what we’re able to accomplish, I’m very proud of it.”OSU basketball coach Thad Matta laughs as he answers a question during Media Day on Oct. 10, 2013, at the Schottenstein Center. Credit: Lantern file photoMatta’s former players are proud to call him their coach, too, and many took to social media to share his impact, which speaks volumes about the who he is as a person, not only a coach. “Your enthusiasm, passion, knowledge, and humor are the reasons why I’m glad I made the decision to become a buckeye when I was 17,” wrote Evan Turner, who was the national player of the year under Matta in 2010, on Instagram. “You helped me weed thru a lot of ups and down in order to be the player and man you knew I could become. I’ll forever love you for that and you’ll always be a legend and great man in my book.” “Family aside, no one has done more for my life than Coach Matta,” tweeted Mark Titus, a former walk-on and current writer at The Ringer. “Love that man w all my heart and will forever be indebted to him.” Aaron Craft, one of the most beloved Buckeyes of the Matta era, tweeted, “Man, words can’t describe what Coach meant to me and the program! Wouldn’t have wanted to play for anyone else!”So, yeah, Matta was fired because his team didn’t win enough. His health issues appeared to play a role, and the struggles in recruiting — which tie directly to the ability to win games — were broached during the press conference. In the end, he used to win a lot of basketball games, and recently he didn’t win as many basketball games, so now he lost his job coaching basketball at OSU.Coach Thad Matta talks to his players during a game against on Minnesota Feb. 22, 2014, at the Schottenstein Center. Credit: Lantern file photo“The wins, the losses, those things, they come,” Matta said. “We hit a stretch here that was probably about a five-year stretch as good as anybody in the country in terms of college basketball.”  Consider this departure in an age where coaches have been fired for throwing basketballs at players, and where entire athletic departments have been plagued by questions of academic misconduct or, in the case of Baylor, covered up sexual assault allegations against its players, and where coaches have been fired after lying to the NCAA during an investigation. “And I think the last thing that I hope I’m always remembered for is that we always did it the right way,” Matta said.  “That to me is something that I want to hold or hang my hat on. That this program was run the right way.”  Indeed, Matta built a program the right way, and its sterling reputation remains intact as he departs in the most honorable way a dismissed coach can: because lately he didn’t win enough. read more

Liverpool defender talks about national team captaincy

first_imgLiverpool defender Andy Robertson has revealed what it feels like to be captain of the Scottish football team and how he communicates with his teammates.Due to his outward personality, Robertson would not be an obvious choice as the team’s captain. He’s not a ranter or raver and, at 24, still exudes the youthful enthusiasm that has carried him from amateur status at Queen’s Park to the highest echelons of European football.However, those attributes are why he got the nod from head coach Alex McLeish. He seems willing to take all the commensurate flak.“I feel extra responsibility when we come off the pitch as I have to help lift the boys and all the staff,” Robertson said, according to Daily Mail.“Everyone was down after that performance on Thursday. Fans can react negatively to me, that is all part and parcel of it. Since I was made captain, it has happened a bit more as they see me as a scapegoat.”Roberto Firmino, LiverpoolVirgil van Dijk praises Roberto Firmino after Liverpool’s win Andrew Smyth – September 14, 2019 Virgil van Dijk hailed team-mate Roberto Firmino after coming off the bench to inspire Liverpool to a 3-1 comeback win against Newcastle United.“I can take it on the chin. I have to up my performances. And if I can help even five per cent to get the lads right for the game against Portugal, then I will do that.”“It hurts. I was part of the team when Gibraltar came to Hampden and scored their first ever international goal.”“We went on to win 6-1 but all the players knew when that goal went in, we could have scored 12 and we’d still get negative reaction from the press and fans.”last_img read more

Epic victory with a fair twist

first_imgRam Bijoy- Ankia Naat was performed for the art and culture lovers of the city at Mavalankar Hall on 24 May. This is an endeavor by the Assam Tourism Development Corporation, Government of Assam in association with Raginee-a socio-cultural organization of Guwahati  to showcase the rich and glorious cultural legacy of the state Assam.Women performing an Ankia Naat which is considered to be a religious performance is self-explanatory of women empowerment and liberal culture of Assam. Till 1949 these Ankia Naataks were performed only by men. Thus the Capital witnessed this special treat that  had Assam’s best known actors gracing the stage.  Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’Ram Bijoy was designed and directed by Madhurima Choudhury. Ankia Naat Bhaona is a traditional art form of the 15th century – A style of drama conceived by Srimanta Sankardeva (1449-1568) that displayed spiritual music encompassing a combination of dance and dramaturgy.Ustad Amzad Ali Khan and his wife Subhalakshmi, Actor Adil Hussain, Hemoprova Saikia were also present along with other dignitaries.Ram Bijoy – Ankia Naat performed by a group of women who are top actresses of Assam including  Moloya Goswami, Nishita Goswami, Madhurima Chaudhuri, Rasarani Chetana Das and Barsha Rani Bishaya. The play was performed in Brajavali – concoction of Assamese, Hindi, Oriya and Maithili. Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with Netflix Ankia Naataks were performed only by men, even the female characters were enacted by male actors till 1949.  Women performing an Ankia Naat which is considered to be a religious performance is self-explanatory of women empowerment and liberal culture of Assam.‘I wanted to turn the tables. These are the times of women revolution, this women driven performance aids in empowering us’, said Madhurima Choudhury, designer and director of the play who essayed the role of Lord Ram.‘After my marriage I got the opportunity to explore the music of Sankardev. There is a need to recognize his contributions across the country.’ Choudhury added.last_img read more

May 28 2003 WORKSHOP 4 Welcome to the May 18 to

first_imgMay 28, 2003WORKSHOP 4: Welcome to the May 18. to June 20. 2003 workshop >>top from left>>: Michaela Hamill, Paul Heitman, Hiroshi Kondo, Jeffrey Harden, Jill Laakaniemi, Leila Khoshkbariie, Emily Edgington and Jewel Blackfeather Welter. >>middle from left>>: Carlos Flores, Jillian Andrew, Martin Quarcoopome, Leah Gordon and Luc Augspurger. >>bottom from left>>: Randall Reed and Sky Studabaker Nicholson. [Photo & text: sa]last_img