S’final Feat Surprises Federer

first_imgFederer, who has not won a Grand Slam title since triumphing at Wimbledon in 2012, had been sidelined by a knee injury throughout the second half of last year and has slipped from third in the world to 17th.He played in the non-ranking Hopman Cup in Perth earlier in January, but has come through 18 sets in Melbourne.“I think winning back-to-back matches in best-of-five sets against quality, great players has surprised me most,” he said.“Really that’s been for me the big question mark, if I could do that so early in my comeback.“I felt I was always going to be dangerous on any given day in a match situation. But obviously as the tournament would progress, maybe I would fade away with energy, you know, that kind of stuff.”Federer and Wawrinka last met at the 2015 ATP World Tour Finals, with Federer winning 7-5 6-3Federer holds an 18-3 winning record against Wawrinka, but the 31-year-old will go into the semi-final as the world number four and looking for a second consecutive Grand Slam title after last year’s US Open success.Federer has won their past two meetings, at the ATP World Tour Finals and in the US Open in 2015, but Wawrinka holds a Grand Slam win against his Davis Cup team-mate, coming in the quarter-finals of the French Open in the same year.“Against Roger, it’s always special because he’s so good. He’s the best player of all time,” said the three-time Grand Slam winner.“He has an answer for everything. But I managed to beat him in a Grand Slam, so we’ll see.“It’s great to see him back at that level. Hopefully I can manage to play a great match.”All of Wawrinka’s three Grand Slam titles have come since Federer won his last five years ago.And Wawrinka’s rise to becoming a consistent top-10 player did not come until he was aged 28, and after plenty of help from his fellow Swiss.“I remember giving Stan a lot of advice on how he should play certain guys,” said Federer.“Then the day came where he didn’t call me so much any more. He called me less and less.“I also felt like I didn’t tell him any more, because he created his knowledge, his base, had his team. Only from time to time would I give him advice if he asked me.“Otherwise I was happy that he was able to let go and go on his own path.”Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegram Seventeen-time Grand Slam winner Roger Federer has said that he did not expect to reach the Australian Open semi-finals after a six-month injury lay-off.The four-time champion in Melbourne is making his competitive return after last playing at Wimbledon in July.Federer beat Mischa Zverev 6-1 7-5 6-2 to set up tomorrow’s last-four match against fellow Swiss Stan Wawrinka.“Feeling as good as I am, playing as good as I am, that’s a huge surprise to me,” said the 35-year-old.“For Stan, yes, but not for me. I honestly didn’t even know a few days ago that he was in my section of the draw or I’m in his section.”last_img read more

Now a member of Boeheim’s Army, Hakim Warrick’s still remembered for ‘The Block’

first_img Comments Facebook Twitter Google+ NEW YORK — Take away the new outfit and Hakim Warrick looked about the same last weekend as he did 15 years ago. He plays for Boeheim’s Army these days, not the 2003 Syracuse team that won the national championship. But with his length inside (6-foot-9) on the defensive end and his highlight-reel dunk on Saturday, Warrick channeled his former self.Early on Saturday night, in BA’s first win of The Basketball Tournament, Warrick took flight in a familiar way. He needed only one dribble to drive from the corner all of the way to the rim. The result was a one-handed slam. It was a display of hops, the kind that former NBA players like Warrick can offer. It was also a display of air time offering a reminder of Warrick’s block just over 15 years ago.The Block, as it’s become known to SU fans. The one that secured Syracuse’s 81-78 national title victory over Kansas, giving SU its lone national championship. The one that left Kansas shocked and heartbroken. Its fans were still bitter 15 years later at an Omaha, Nebraska, hotel in March. The one that gave Warrick an unforgettable name in Syracuse lore.Kansas had a chance to tie after Warrick missed a pair of free throws, and the Jayhawks needed a 3-pointer to force overtime.But Warrick blocked Michael Lee’s shot with 0.7 seconds remaining on the game clock, and Syracuse avenged a second-round loss to Kansas two years earlier.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text With time, Warrick grew to be a National Player of the Year candidate as a senior after deciding to forgo the 2004 NBA Draft. He was the Big East Player of the Year as a senior in 2005. He spent eight years in the NBA with six teams, including his most recent NBA stint, with the Charlotte Bobcats in 2013.Warrick is now playing pro ball in Israel and said he plans to retire in a few years. He wants a job, probably in the Washington, D.C., area, as long as it’s not an office job.He doesn’t stay in touch with many members of the 2003 team, with Anthony being an exception. He hasn’t spoken with Boeheim in a year or so, but his legacy in central New York — cemented in that singular block — lives on.“I haven’t seen G-Mac in a while,” Warrick said. “But when we talk about old stories like the 2003 title, we don’t skip a beat.”center_img Published on July 26, 2018 at 8:47 pm Contact Matthew: mguti100@syr.edu | @MatthewGut21 After a one-year hiatus, Warrick, 36, is back for Boeheim’s Army as the oldest player on the roster. Although he helped start the team in 2015, he has occupied a diminished role. He doesn’t start and played only sparingly this weekend. He does not have the same responsibility he once held: As a sophomore power forward for the Orange, he averaged 14.8 points per game on the 2002-03 title team, second only to Carmelo Anthony.For Warrick, The Block pops up in his head every month or so. He has no choice. When he’s playing overseas, coaches recognize his name and link him to the 2003 title game, Warrick said. They think of the tall, thin sophomore for the Orange who helped SU win its only national title. They ask him about Anthony, Syracuse, Boeheim, and of course The Block itself.Every March, when the NCAA Tournament is on TV, Warrick said he replays the block in his mind. Over and over, he visualizes the dying seconds of the 2003 title game.“It seems like it was yesterday,” Warrick said last weekend. “It’s something you always want to be a part of. Whenever I see a Kansas fan, they hate me … I was playing center, didn’t think I was going to get out there, so I just wanted to contest and try not to get the foul.”He arrived to SU as the lowest-rated out of the five incoming freshmen. He was shy and quiet. His mom often begged him to speak more and explain how he was liking SU. He rarely elaborated, but he became known for his ear-to-ear smile on the court. He hid behind his close friend, Anthony, the superstar freshman on the title team.“Warrick weighed 160 pounds when he came in here as a freshman and he was pretty good,” Boeheim said last fall, comparing then-freshman Marek Dolezaj’s frame to that of Warrick. “He never weighed more than 180.”last_img read more