Lars Burgsmuller, Xavier Malisse, Richard Gasquet, Sebastien Grosjean, David Ferrer, Roger Federer, Mariano Puerta, Robin Soderling, Kevin Kim, Paul-Henri Mathieu, Lleyton Hewitt, Novak Djokovic, Ivan Ljubicic, Roger Federer, Juan Martin del Potro, Flavio Cipolla, Albert Montanes, Lleyton Hewitt, Carlos Moya, Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, Thomaz Bellucci, Nicolas Devilder, Jarkko Nieminen, Fernando Verdasco, Nicolas Almagro, Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, Marcos Daniel, Teimuraz Gabashvili, and finally, Lleyton Hewitt...
That's a pretty impressive list of 31 names in men's tennis. Those are the names that were vanquished by Rafael Nadal since 2005 at Roland Garros en route to his four straight French Open titles. But that all came to an end on a shocking Sunday morning in Paris, when Swedish veteran Robin Soderling erased the memories of being eliminated by Nadal in the first round of the French Open in 2006 by beating the Spanish superstar 6-2, 6-7, 6-4, 7-6 as a 25-1 underdog.
It was really only a matter of time that Nadal finally dropped a match on the clay courts. Everyone figured that it would be either a Novak Djokovic or Andy Murray or Roger Federer that knocked him out. That's what makes Soderling's upset so special. Even though Soderling was ranked 23rd in the world coming into this tournament, it could legitimately be considered one of the greatest upsets in the history of sports as we know them.
Nadal only dropped seven sets in his previous 31 matches on the clay courts of Roland Garros, the most recent of which came in 2007 in the final against Roger Federer. Think about that for just a second... Nadal went ten matches... 22 sets... without even dropping a set, let alone the three sets required to be knocked out of the tournament. No one told the Swede that he was just supposed to lie down and die for the King of the Clay Courts. He legitimately could've taken out Nadal in straight sets, but had to settle for a four-set upset.
What does this mean for the rest of the field? Without a doubt, all eyes turn to Roger Federer, who clearly has easiest path to capture the only jewel he is missing for his career Grand Slam. One glance at the remaining bracket shows that Federer should clearly be the odds-on favorite left standing in France. He will do battle with unranked Tommy Haas tomorrow as a -1500 favorite before having to deal with either Andy Roddick or Giles Monfils in the quarterfinals. There could be another Frenchman awaiting in the semifinals, as Jo-Wilfried Tsonga is one of four ranked opponents that could be Federer's foe. In the final, it will most likely be Brit, Andy Murray, who is the second highest seeded player left in this tournament.
Still, without Novak Djokovic or Rafael Nadal floating around in the bracket any longer, now is the time for Roger Federer to complete his career Grand Slam. The Swiss native isn't getting any younger, and he's showing signs of coming back towards a young field that is gaining on him with every passing week. Federer has to know that the time is now, or there could always be that gaping hole in his career resume where the 2009 French Open crown could be sitting.
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Staff Calls for Shutdown of Sports Illustrated Publisher’s ‘Blue Lives Matter’ Site
Employees at Maven Media Brands, the U.S. digital-media publisher that owns outlets like Sports Illustrated and Maxim, are calling upon the company to cut ties with a Blue Lives Matter website in its portfolio.In an all-staff meeting on Friday, Maven announced that it will institute a 15-percent salary reduction across the organization as part of cost-saving measures as a result of the collapse of the digital advertising market following the spread of the coronavirus. While staffers were upset about the latest round of cuts, many raised another concern: The company’s continued affiliation with Defense Maven, a website also known as Blue Lives Matter. The website has been in Maven’s portfolio since 2017 and covers police-related news almost exclusively from an overtly pro-cop perspective—an angle emphasized by its name, a phrase coined in direct response to the Black Lives Matter movement and often used to undermine or deflect from concerns about police brutality and racial disparities in the criminal-justice system.During the tense meeting, a number of employees called upon the company to altogether deplatform Blue Lives Matter amid nationwide protests against police brutality, sparked by the Minneapolis police killing of George Floyd. In a chat accompanying the virtual meeting, staffers called the website “embarrassing,” “a disgrace,” and “horrible,” saying many of the comments were overtly racist “with no monitoring,” and noting how the site’s loose editorial restrictions allow factually incorrect information to go unchecked.The existence of the site was top of mind for many staffers, one of whom noted: “We are not asking for a wide-ranging conversation about diversity right now. We’re asking for you to take that site down and explain why it is still up.”One staffer noted how a site commenter on Thursday advocated for putting snipers and armed drones in place to target and shoot looters to “set an example for the world to see.” A different employee added: “Blue Lives Matters’s comment sections are full of people calling for the extermination of people like me.”Sports Illustrated’s Bosses Can’t Figure Out Who to Blame for Massive LayoffsA sales employee suggested that advertisers are less interested in advertising with Maven Media Brands because of its association with the Blue Lives Matter blog (the company’s CEO acknowledged later on Friday that the site was “hurting the company financially,” and that the decision to carry the site or not is ultimately unrelated to its revenue draw). The Maven did not immediately return a request for comment.“I don’t care whether or not they make us money,” another employee said. “It’s morally wrong to continue platforming a site that advocates for the fascistic oppression of all Americans but especially black people, other POCs, LGBTQ, and the disabled.” According to people who attended the all-staff calls, Maven’s CEO and founder James Heckman said that while he heard employees’ concerns, he also emphasized the company’s original journalistic mission to promote an open dialogue and break down readers’ ideological bubbles with different perspectives. During a second meeting about the topic later on Friday, Heckman explained that he started the company with the vision of “trying to get both sides of the table”—including the blog Photography Is Not a Crime, which has documented police brutality, and Blue Lives Matter, which defends the police perspective—and “empowering both sides of hot issues” for “civilized discourse between people with diametrically opposing views.” The CEO acknowledged that the company has tried to more aggressively moderate its comments, but said that totally banning comments could be “problematic too.” Ultimately, following confrontational questioning from the staff, Heckman said he would seek approval from the company board to remove Blue Lives Matter from the Maven platform, and asked for employees to submit screenshots of hateful messages on the site.“I think for sure this is something we have to do,” Heckman said. “I’m going to make that recommendation to the board, I’m sure the board will be supportive.”Friday’s pay cuts, meanwhile, were just the latest in a series of negative financial announcements for the Maven. In March, Maven announced it would lay off 9 percent of staff across its websites, a move the company said it needed to take amid an estimated $30-million revenue shortfall. Read more at The Daily Beast.Got a tip? Send it to The Daily Beast hereGet our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.