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When Serena Williams lost at the US Open, falling short of the calendar Grand Slam, I was gutted. But on reflection, it’s a good thing: it stops Serena being called the greatest of all time without question, when she clearly isn’t (see below); and it’s a great reminder that upsets are key to sport. Without them, it’s dullsville.

Which brings us to the Rugby World Cup. An All Blacks victory is obviously the smart prediction, but the 2011 edition aside, it’s been a great world cup when New Zealand don’t win.

And so to Chelsea, whose title defence is already in ruins. Nobody saw that coming. You can’t win the season after five games – but can you lose it? I suspect so.

Read / click on for the best sports pieces of the last week or so.

It’s the third biggest World Cup in the world! Or maybe the second, given how terribly the Cricket World Cup is run. Whatever, it starts this week, and here are three things to read.

Is English rugby just for posh kids?

A journey though New Zealand rugby, via Graham Henry. #longread.

Calling John Inverdale! Why Rugby World Cup pundits should not be afraid of being partisan.

Serena Watch: the biggest upset EVER! Really. Ever. But forget the upset, she isn’t the greatest of all time anyway. Plus she’s a really bad loser, so there.

Novak Djokovic is compiling a pretty decent career, thank you very much. His dominance could go on for quite a while.

Jon Wertheim’s 50 thoughts post-any-slam is always worth a read.

This is BRILLIANT: How to Write a Roger Federer Think Piece. Here’s one on his evergreen career. And one on his everywhere-home support.

Marge, did you know Murray is at a Crossroads?”

Another beefy game is kicking off: The NFL. Now I thought it was in the midst of a golden age of passing, but according to the WSJ, the NFL has a quarterback crisis.

If once is misfortune, twice is careless, what is screwing up five times? It’s Roger Goodell, that’s what.

The trouble with NFL predictions, FiveThirtyEight edition; NYTimes edition.

Data attack! Every NFL player is wired, and in a good way.

Chelsea: Has Jose Mourinho blown the title already? (Yes)

Are green cards the answer to bad behaviour in football? Or should we solve part of the problem by rethinking diving as an art form?

In what should be an Onion article, Louis van Gaal says he is a ‘communicator not a dictator‘.

Why Wayne Rooney deserves a little credit. And his place at the top.

The Mail in Paula Radcliffe-drugs-intelligent-and-nuanced-article shock. Plus a very geeky take on Paula Radcliffe, off-scores and transparency.


Forget the arguments and ego – Kevin Pietersen was a brilliant Test batsman. Here’s the three shots that changed English cricket history.

That’s it! See you next Tuesday, and keep the suggestions coming (