Even though there are no games being played right now, NFL fans just experienced one of their most exciting weekends of the year. In late April, the NFL held its annual draft, in which the 32 teams pick the best players out of the NCAA over the course of seven rounds. The general managers of these teams make their picks using a lot of information available to them. Many of the players who choose to enter the draft are invited to participate in the NFL combine, a weeklong extravaganza in February where general managers, coaches, scouts and other interested NFL personnel put these players through an exorbitant amount of exercises and drills.
Other than watching NCAA games on television, this is the best way for a scout to see what a young player is all about. After this combine, and even beforehand, scouts usually compile player profiles for these individual draft prospects. A player profile is a succinct guide to an athlete’s strengths, weaknesses, habits and, in rare cases, vices. This kind of player profile is found in a majority of team sports that use a draft, including basketball and baseball as well. An individual sport like tennis does not have this same kind of formal player profiles. There is simply no need for them. But it is fun for many sports writers to write a sort of profile for these athletes as well though. Why not do so for players looking to compete at this year’s forthcoming US Open?
Last year’s US Open champion, Novak Djokovic, is an exceptional athlete. There are some, including former tennis titan Pete Sampras, who claim that Djokovic is currently playing the best tennis anyone has seen since the beginning of the Open era in 1968. Djokovic’s style of exemplary play derives from his phenomenal power, especially on the baseline. His backhand, even from deep in the court, is known to be fateful, due to his unrivaled precision. While many players with such offensive ability tend to sacrifice defensive skills, Djokovic is not such a player. Thanks to superior agility and a startling ability to read the court, his defensive skills are stellar. Djokovic’s x-factor is his passion for the game. He never slacks. His hustle is enough to keep him in any game.
Samantha Stosur won the US Open last year on the women’s side. She is currently ranked number five in the world. She has become such an accomplished player thanks to on the net play that frightens even the best opponents. Unlike most players in today’s game, she rushes the net after her serve, a style most players are not accustomed to. She has a lethal forehand ground-stroke. She is also very versatile in the way she serves. All in all, she is one of the more unpredictable forces on the tour. Her backhand, and her inability to perform in clutch scenarios, have been her weaknesses throughout her career.
Roger Federer was once named the best tennis player of all-time by the Tennis Channel. It’s hard to argue with this. While most players specialize on certain types of surfaces, Federer is known for his superb ability to adapt to any surface he is playing on. He is as good on the baseline as he is on the net. He is one of the fastest players in the game, which makes his ability to cover all parts of the court nearly impossible for opposing players to deliver lethal blows. Many have stated that his unbelievably powerful forehand motion may be the best shot any player currently possesses in the game of tennis. Djokovic and Federer have played 24 times, and Federer has won 14 of these matches. Their head-to-head matches are defined by powerful shots and a fast-paced tempo.
Djokovic’s female counterpart as the number one ranked player in the world is Victoria Azarenka. Like Djokovic, Azarenka is known for power that shakes her opponents. She is powerful no matter the type of shot. No matter where opponents put the ball, Azarenka has the ability to send it back like a rocket. Her speed, while solid, is her main weakness. She is by no means slow, but there are faster plays on the tennis circuit to be sure. In the five matches that Azarenka and Samantha Stosur have played, Azarenka has won all of them. As good as Stosur is, she has simply yet not found a way to combat Azarenka’s wicked force.
With all the players currently making the rounds in the tennis game, it would take hours to compile accurate profiles for all of them. But these players are certain to make a big splash at the US Open come the fall. It’s nice to know what to expect from them.
Author bio: Jerome Manson is a sports enthusiast who enjoys both watching games and writing about them. When he is not cheering on his team from the stands, Jerome is blogging about 2012 US Open tennis for selectaticket.com.