TW Playtester Jason’s Pick of the Week – Nike USA apparel

I don’t know about you, but I love me some America. That’s right, I said it. People who know me know that if there’s one thing I love…… it’s fried chicken. But that’s followed very closely by America. And if I could eat fried chicken while being in America? Well, that’s just the gift that keeps on giving. I also love the Olympics. It’s not too often you can watch grown men and women slide across ice while frantically moving a broom in front of a large stone on prime time TV. Riveting.

Every two years, when the Olympics come around, I turn my patriotism up a notch. On a scale of 1-10, I’m a bald eagle with McDonald’s in one claw and a Coke in the other. Point is, I love the Olympics! And I love cheering on Team USA! Back in 2008, I made it out to Beijing, China to root on the United States in person. How cool is that right?! I know.

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The Raging Bull charges again

Rafael Nadal returns to the ATP tour with a bang after winning 3 of his first 4 tournaments back.

Rafael Nadal returns to the ATP tour with a bang after winning 3 of his first 4 tournaments back.  Photo courtesy of Cynthia Lum.

It’s the first week of August, and the professional tennis tour has returned to the hallowed grounds of the All England Club for the second time in a month. A month ago, Roger Federer once again reigned supreme taking his 7th Wimbledon title, and now the battle for Olympic gold has begun. Many of the top players had their eyes on the Olympics for a while, like Roger Federer seeking his first Olympic gold in singles or Andy Murray playing in his home nation of Great Britain.  The Grand Slams are always important, but the Olympics only come around every four years and present a unique opportunity to represent your country and be remembered forever as a national hero.

Another player looking forward to the Olympics was Spaniard Rafael Nadal, who up until just a few days before the event was not only Spain’s best chance at a tennis gold medal, but was slated to have the honor of being Spain’s flag-bearer in the Opening Ceremony. An incredible honor, and one that Rafa did not take lightly.
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WTA Blog: 2012 Year End Power Rankings

Serena Williams dominated the WTA Tour in 2012.

With the 2012 WTA campaign coming to an end, I wanted to post my end of the year Power Rankings. Just like in football and basketball, these don’t exactly follow the official rankings, but are reflective of who I feel is playing the best tennis to close the year and head into 2013. Without further ado, I give you…

2012 Year End WTA Power Rankings
Power Ranking. Name (WTA Ranking)

1. Serena Williams (3)
When she’s at her best, there’s no woman in the world that can beat her, and for the last half of the year she’s been on fire! Since her first round loss at the French Open, she’s 32-1, winning Wimbledon, the Olympics, the US Open, and the year end WTA Championships (among other titles). There’s no question she’s the best in the world as the year comes to a close.

Victoria Azarenka finishes 2012 with 69 match wins, the highest total on tour this year.

2. Victoria Azarenka (1)
There’s no debate who the second best player in the world is. Vika has dominated the rest of the tour, with a 69-5 record on the year against players that aren’t named Serena. The feisty 23-year-old from Belarus reached two Grand Slam finals this year and won one of them (Australian). Look for her to build on her best year as a pro in 2013.

3. Maria Sharapova (2)
Maria has quietly put together a very nice year, with a 60-11 record and a French Open title to complete her career Grand Slam. She also reached the finals at 7 other major tournaments this year and beat Vika Azarenka twice, the only player other than Serena to do that this year.

4. Na Li (7)
She didn’t perform well at the majors this year, but Na Li has had a nice second half of the year and given the rest of the Top 10 fits. Since the start of the summer hard court season, she’s 6-2 against the rest of the Top 10 outside of the Top 3, and took the title in Cincinnati.

5. Agnieszka Radwanska (4)
The young Pole had an excellent start of the year, and after all is said and done, is finishing the year with 59 match wins, good for 4th best on tour. She’d be higher on the list if Na Li hadn’t beat her three times since August.

6. Sara Errani (6)
The 5’4″ Italian built on her surprise French Open finals appearance and turned in an even bigger surprise semifinal appearance at the US Open. She also took home 4 singles titles and 8 doubles titles this year, along with $3 million in prize money. Not a bad 2012!

7. Angelique Kerber (5)
She’s one of three players to reach the 60 win mark this year, and the only person to beat Serena in the second half of the year. However, she’s struggled for the most part against the best, with a 3-10 against the rest of the Top 10 since the start of Wimbledon. On the bright side, this is the first year the big hitting lefty will finish inside the Top 30.

8. Nadia Petrova (12)
Ever since losing close to Maria Sharapova at the US Open (6-4 in the third), she’s been on a tear, winning two titles and posting a 12-2 record to finish the year. She’s hot and one to watch for at the beginning of 2013.

Caroline Wozniacki looks to get back into the Top 5 in 2013.

9. Caroline Wozniacki (10)
She might be better known for being the First Lady of the PGA Tour this year rather than her on-court results, but Woz has quietly closed 2012 with a flurry. Since the US Open, she’s won two titles and reached the finals of the third tournament, and is gaining momentum going into 2013.

10. Marion Bartoli (11)
The French veteran has been streaky all year, but she had two of her best tournaments at the US Open and in Beijing to finish the year. She’s been hovering around the top 10 for years, and continues to be a threat if the best aren’t at the top of their games.

Thanks for reading!

-AG