Federer looking to 1-up the rest at ATP Finals


Federer looking to 1-up the rest at ATP Finals

LONDON (AP) The world's best tennis players will be trying to one-up each other this week at the ATP World Tour Finals.

Novak Djokovic has already clinched the year-end No. 1 ranking, robbing that aspect from the season-ending tournament for the top eight players in the world. But with the Australian Open champion sharing the Grand Slams this year with Rafael Nadal (French Open), Roger Federer (Wimbledon) and Andy Murray (U.S. Open), there is still one more big title to win in 2012.

``Whoever wins this wins something more,'' Federer said Sunday, a day before the tournament opens at the O2 Arena. ``That's where I think you can feel the importance of this event.''

Federer, a six-time champion at the ATP Finals, is in Group B with David Ferrer, Juan Martin del Potro and Janko Tipsarevic. Djokovic and Murray are both in Group A, along with Tomas Berdych and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.

Murray will open play Monday against Berdych, with Djokovic facing Tsonga in the evening match. On Tuesday, Federer will face Tipsarevic before Ferrer takes on Del Potro.

``The crowd's going to be on his side,'' Berdych said of his opening match against Murray, who also won the Olympic gold medal this year. ``I possibly cannot get anything harder than this.''

The big name missing from the tournament is Nadal, who hasn't played since June and pulled out of the ATP Finals because of a left knee injury.

``Groups are loaded with great players on both sides and I'm sure it's going to be difficult for the three of us,'' Federer said, leaving Nadal out of the equation. ``Obviously we do miss Rafa, because he also belongs in here.''

Djokovic comes into the ATP Finals after losing last week in the second round of the Paris Masters, where he said he felt physically down.

That is likely to change in London as each player is guaranteed to play at least three matches in the round-robin stage.

``It's expected not to be always in your top form, especially at this time of year. The effects of the long season can influence you physically and mentally, also,'' Djokovic said Sunday. ``I'm sure that I will find the strength, mental and physical strength, to perform my best.''

The ATP Finals is being played in London for the fourth straight year, and Federer is looking for his third straight win and seventh overall. He'll certainly be the man to beat this week playing indoors where the warm and calm conditions suit his game better than anyone else's.

``You just try hard and hope it all works out and it falls into place,'' said Federer, who also won two season-ending titles in Houston and two in Shanghai before the tournament moved to London in 2009.

``Overall, I think I manage my schedule pretty well to make sure that actually the back end of the season doesn't feel like the back end. So it feels more like a priority, being fresh mentally and physically.''

Although Federer recently reclaimed the No. 1 ranking - and broke Pete Sampras' record for most weeks as the world's top player - Djokovic has enough points to guarantee himself the top spot once the season comes to an end.

``The real No. 1, we know who that is,'' Federer said, referring to Djokovic. ``I don't think there should be any debate around that. The rankings is something that shows you how you've played over a 365-day period. OK, it might all change again in two months at the Australian Open.''

Federer also spoke about doping tests, saying he has been tested less frequently in recent years.

He said he would welcome more.

``I don't like it when I'm only getting tested, whatever number it is, which I don't think is enough, sufficient during the year. So I think we should up it a little bit,'' Federer said. ``I think it's key and vital the sport stays clean. It's got to.''

Quick Links

The 2018 NFL schedule is here, but we still don't really know anything

USA Today Sports Images

The 2018 NFL schedule is here, but we still don't really know anything

The NFL dropped the Redskins' 2018 regular-season schedule on Thursday and everybody will predict the team’s season-long record. 

It’s a fun exercise, and something the football world enjoys doing.

Myself included. 

But don’t read much, if anything, into the schedule right now. 

Every year, some teams look mighty in the offseason only to fall apart in the regular season. 

Need an example? Many predicted the Giants to be the beasts of the NFC East in 2017, and the Eagles to finish last in the NFC East. 

What actually happened? The Giants finished 3-13 and the Eagles won the Super Bowl. 

The NFL cannot be predicted year to year. It can hardly be predicted week to week. 

Last season, two December home games against the Broncos and Cardinals looked very daunting when the schedule came out. Instead, that was a two-game win streak. 

Enjoy the schedule release. It’s a fun time to guess what will happen in 2018.

But remember, once the games start, anything can happen. 

(For the record: My prediction is 9-7.)


Another Thanksgiving game for Redskins

Quick Links

Redskins release official 2018 regular-season schedule

NBC Sports Washington

Redskins release official 2018 regular-season schedule

The 2018 NFL regular-season schedule is finally here.

We’ve known who the Redskins will play in the 2018 season and where the games will be played since the regular season ended.

Now we know the when.

Here is the Redskins 2018 schedule; games are at 1:00 Eastern unless otherwise indicated.

The first thing that jumps out is the Thanksgiving game. This will be the third straight year that the Redskins have played on Thanksgiving. Two years ago they lost at Dallas and last year the got a win over the Giants at home. 

Three Thanksgiving games in a row for a team that is not the Lions or Cowboys, the two teams that traditionally host on Turkey Day, is not without precedent although it is unusual. Besides Dallas and Detroit, only two teams have played in three straight Thanksgiving games since the 1970 merger.

The Bears played every Thanksgiving from 1979-1981. The Cardinals also played three straight, but there is an asterisk there since they hosted the game instead of the Cowboys in 1975 and 1977. In between the played at Dallas on Thanksgiving.

Washington Redskins 2018 Regular-Season Schedule

Week 1: Sunday, 9/9. 4:05 PM at Arizona Cardinals
Week 2 Sunday, 9/16 vs Indianapolis Colts
Week 3 Sunday, 9/23 vs Green Bay Packers
Week 4 BYE
Week 5 Monday, 10/8. 8:15 at New Orleans Saints 
Week 6 Sunday, 10/14. vs Carolina Panthers
Week 7 Sunday, 10/21. 4:25 vs Cowboys
Week 8 Sunday, 10/28.  At New York Giants
Week 9 Sunday, 11/4. vs Atlanta Falcons 
Week 10 Sunday, 11/11. At Tampa Bay Buccaneers 
Week 11 Sunday, 11/18. vs Houston Texans 
Week 12 Thursday, 11/22 (Thanksgiving).  4:30 at Dallas Cowboys 
Week 13 Monday, 12/3. 8:15 at Philadelphia Eagles 
Week 14 Sunday, 12/9. vs New York Giants 
Week 15 Sunday, 12/16. At Jacksonville Jaguars
Week 16 Sunday, 12/23.  At Tennessee Titans (Time TBD)
Week 17 Sunday, 12/30. vs Philadelphia Eagles


  • If the Redskins are going to take advantage of home cooking, they will need to get off to a good start. They have five home games in the first half of the season. After Week 9 they have just three home games and they face a stretch of four road games in five weeks in late November and December. Three of the teams in that stretch, the Eagles, Jaguars, and Titans, made the playoffs and won at least one game. The Eagles, of course, won it all. The other road game in that stretch is against the Cowboys, who finished 9-7 last year. 
  • The Redskins will open on the road for the first time since 2014 when they opened in Houston. This year they will have to travel west to Arizona and try to win to remove the goose egg in Jay Gruden’s 0-4 opening-game record as coach of the Redskins.
  • They get an early bye, in Week 4. That will be their earliest bye week since 2007 when the bye also came in Week 4. 
  • On the plus side, their two games in Florida come at times when hot weather is unlikely to be a factor. Their game in Tampa comes in November and the contest at Jacksonville comes in mid-December.