Tuesday, 30 September 2014

'A HAIRCUT AND A FOREHAND'

If ever there was a famous quote in World Tennis it had to be the one from Czech Champion Ivan Lendl in 1987 when asked at a press conference what he thought of a young Andre Agassi.
 The Stratton Mountain Tournament in the US played in August of '87 saw the emergence of a 17 year old kid who wore denim tennis shorts and wore his hair rather long. The kid would go on to win every Grand Slam available and became the World's best player in 1995.
Andre Agassi entered Stratton Mountain as a player ranked 90 in a field of 64 players so naturally he had to receive a bit of a helping hand by the tournament committee, a Wild Card was granted.
 In the first round he faced American Luke Jensen , a player ranked number 415 but who could serve with both his left and right arms , now that's clever.
Andre struggled past Jensen in three sets then set up a second round meeting with '87 Wimbledon Champion, Aussie Pat Cash. On paper this match looked rather one sided however Agassi found a way to sneak past Cash in two breakers , people were starting to take notice.
The round of 16 saw Andre take out American Chip Hooper in three, then a quarter final win against countryman Joey Rive in straight had him up against World number 1 Ivan Lendl. Now this match was entertaining however I have only seen extended highlights of it , would love to watch the entire match one day.
This match saw Andre running around his backhand at any given opportunity to belt his already huge forehand back at Lendl who at times looked rather confused at the kid's ability. The big Czech eventually won the match in three sets , 6-2, 5-7, 6-3 but not before being given a huge fright by a skinny 17 year old with flash shorts.
The press conference after the match was one that produced this chapter's title as Lendl gave his opinion on the new kid on the block. Looking back I suppose Andre could've taken it as a compliment as it was rather obvious that Ivan rated the forehand highly, perhaps not so much the haircut.
A year earlier at the same tournament John McEnroe beat Andre at the quarter final stage in straight sets but paid him a huge compliment. Whilst I do not have the transcript in front of me he told a press conference that a winner by Agassi from his forehand was the hardest shot he had ever had hit against him. Fair endorsement for a 16 year old. 
Some people knock Agassi because he admitted taking drugs but they obviously haven't read all the detail.
 I don't remember the last time a recreational drug has been proven to enhance any sportsman's performance, Andre included. At the time that he tried it he stated he wasn't enjoying the game and his ranking had dropped. I believe everyone is entitled to a little 'time out'.
Andre Agassi didn't have to tell anyone yet he was big enough to admit he took something, I think that shows integrity........

 
CONNORS, AGASSI, SAMPRAS, A LACK OF LOVE
Jimmy Connors and Pete Sampras  have one thing in common with each other, there is tension between them and Andre Agassi, for different reasons. As far as I know there is no tension between Sampras and Connors and these two are definitely not members of the Andre Agassi fan club. Here's why.
The tension between Andre and Jimmy started way back when a young Andre was apparently 'snubbed' by Jimmy when all the young fellow wanted was a friendly chat and as Andre put it in his book, 'some love'. Andre's father used to string Jimmy's rackets so there should've been a starting point for a conversation however it didn't really eventuate. Rather than me try to explain it have a read of the Agassi book , a great read and it explains it in detail. 
Andre Agassi had to wait possibly another 10 years until he got some pay back on Connors for the way he was apparently spoken to as a kid, a 1988 US Open Quarter Final. This match was no real classic but it gave the tennis public a glimpse of the talent of an 18 year old kid with long hair and a very big forehand.
 At the conclusion of the match in an interview Agassi apparently told reporters that he had a dream he would win the match 3, 3 and 3. A loss of just 9 games against a man who won 109 tournaments, a big ask. He actually won 6-2, 7-6, 6-1 so his prediction of a win with the loss of just 9 games proved to be correct, just around the wrong way, near enough.
Connors was rather peeved at the way Andre spoke of the dream as reporters relayed the Agassi prediction. 'Jimbo' was notorious for his 'Jimbo quotes' and this was his post match reaction to Agassi's comment. "I enjoy playing guys who could be my children. Maybe he's one of them. I spent a lot of time in Vegas".  
The 1989 US Open Quarter Final between these two was a different story, in fact Connors took the third set 6-0 and came back from 1-5 all the way to 4-5 in the fifth set to just lose in a thriller. In Agassi's book he writes about a comment he made to his brother in the crowd  "I'm going to take him to five sets and give him some pain". I suppose if you lose a set in around 20 minutes with 19 unforced errors then you have something planned.
Andre was not happy again with Connors when he had played his last match of his career against Benjamin Becker at the 2006 US Open in round 3. Connors did not applaud Agassi in the locker room as everyone else apparently did and Agassi felt offended.

He wrote words to that effect in his book. Connors said it wasn't his style to applaud other players . It seems that this was the case especially with Agassi, a long history that started some 25 years earlier.
As far as Agassi and Pistol Pete were concerned well this was all rather silly. The Hit For Haiti in 2010 was a charity event and a Mens doubles match between Federer and Sampras against Rafa and Andre was a ripper. Andre however thought Pete should loosen up a little as he felt he was taking it too seriously so he told him "You always have to go and get serious don't you Pete "? That brought on an impersonation of Andre by Pete so Andre returned the favour, then it got rather uncomfortable, worth a look on the net.
Sampras did however get his revenge against Andre , a 6-4, 7-5 victory in New York early in 2011. Usually though an exhibition match is a 'friendly' match, this one however wasn't as Pistol fired down ace after ace plus many non returnable serves that had Andre scrambling left, right and centre for. Andre was in no physical shape to belt them back as he so often used to.

A phone call to Pistol later that night did not go down too well as Andre asked Pete to 'lighten up' as it was only an exhibition match. This was a quote from Andre regarding the matter: "Pete certainly is more capable than me on the court these days and the quality of that entertainment was solely in his hands".
The following exhibition matches scheduled in Argentina did not take place, they in fact flew in replacement opponents, Mardy Fish and Marat Safin. Is the common denominator in all of this one man by the name of Andre or is it just me ? Three players, several incidents, yet one man's name keeps coming up.
Egotistical sport is tennis, always has been , always will be........


'SOMETHING SPECIAL'

In 1984 at the French Open in Paris there was a gentleman by the name of Hans Gildemeister from Chile who owned a rather interesting style of playing, he hit with two hands off both sides. Hans went into Roland Garos un seeded in '84 as his ranking had dipped quite dramatically from his career high of 12 in 1980. He in fact sat outside the top 100 for his shot at the title in Paris in '84.
Gildemeister was not just a singles player however as he reached World number 5 in doubles in 1987, the year he actually retired. He won 23 doubles titles in his career, 17 of those were with 1990 French Open Mens Singles Champion Andres Gomez of Ecuador. Hans was a remarkably talented tennis player as he had to be to survive in the Borg era of the 70's and early 80's. 
He in fact played Borg in the quarter finals at Roland Garos in 1979 losing in straight sets though the final set was 7-5. Anyone who knows tennis will realise that if you managed to get to five games all against Borg on clay you were a gifted tennis player, to say the least. So back to the draw of 1984 and Gildemeister started his campaign with a straight sets win over the '79 finalist Victor Pecci and then won even more convincingly against Brad Gilbert in round two.
In the third round Hans was drawn to meet Swedish Davis Cup hero Henrik Sundstrom, the number 9 seed, a tough assignment on clay as the Swede was known for the brutal amount of spin he put on the ball. On clay that is tough to deal with. It is unclear just how Gildemeister actually did it as footage of this match is not available yet he lead Sundstrom by a score that would have any tennis die hard searching for the video for tactical ideas.
It is set in concrete that Hans Gildemeister of Chile lead Henrik Sundstrom of Sweden in the 1984 French Open, round three by the score of 6-2, 6-0, 5-1, 30-0. He then lost. Yep he LOST from there. How did that happen ??! It is uncertain what on earth went on in that match from that point that seemingly had the Chilean cruising to an easy straight sets upset victory against one of the fancies for the title in '84.
At 5-1 up in the third set Hans Gildemeister was receiving Sundstrom's serve and won the first two points then after that his whole game fell apart. There were no fewer than 12 unforced errors in a row from Gildemeister from that point on which later Sundstrom would in fact describe as a 'choke'. Not quite sure about the etiquette of players back then however can you imagine that being said now days of an opponent ? Would go down about as well as a fish milkshake.....
For history's sake the final score in that particular match was 2-6, 0-6, 7-5, 6-3, 6-4 to Sundstrom and he would go on to win his next match in straight sets before the great Jimmy Connors found a way to hit through the topspin with his flatter style of play and beat him in straight sets.
I would give anything to watch what transpired from the 5-1, 30-0 moment in this match as it may in fact be the all time greatest comeback and 'choke' in the history of tennis.
There have in fact been more high profile matches such as the Davis Cup final of 1996 where Boetsch defeated Kulti after trailing 6-7, 0-40 in the final set in the fifth and deciding match but that particular match was tight throughout. The Gildemeister/ Sundstrom match was ridiculously one sided for the first three sets yet it went the way of the player who needed an alarm clock inside his head to wake him up before posting an outrageous comeback victory.
Sometimes in tennis a player can almost pace himself to a win even when victory it seems is not even on his agenda but we as spectators are non the wiser as to what is going on in their thought process. Did Faldo's win against Norman at the Masters in Augusta in 1996 have the same type of feel to it do you think ? After all the scoring was similar if you compare them.
Norman lead by six shots going into the final round yet shot a 78 whereas Faldo shot 67, there's an eleven shot discrepancy not unlike the twelve shot 'discrepancy' from the Gildemeister/ Sundstrom match.
The match in Paris in '84 will without a doubt go down as one of the all time greatest tennis comebacks from a seemingly impossible position yet the match was not a high profile one that people still talk about as they do the Norman/ Faldo result. Coming back from those types of losses is however where the mind comes into play.
Can you imagine the devastation ? It would be a tough thing to recover from.
For history's sake again, Gildemeister recovered, he won another nine doubles tournaments. Norman won three more including a million bucks in one particular event which required a birdie on the final hole for victory. The Swede Niclas Kulti went on to win the pivotal doubles with Bjorkman in the Davis Cup finals of '97 and '98 which set Sweden up for their two titles of those years.
A tough thing is professional sport. We as spectators simply look at it and offer our thoughts, "he choked, he's got no heart" or  "he's in the zone, he's a freak show".
A professional sportsman is a genius whether he wins a match or loses because he owns a mind to compete against the World's best and that requires something special.......


'TENNIS, A RICH PERSON'S SPORT'

The recent post on the ATP site in regards to Victor Estrella Burgos of the Dominican Republic is one of those typical tennis stories that have you both proud of the man himself yet almost angry at the sport and the way in which it is run. Victor didn't even turn pro until he turned 26 years of age, Borg was the same age when he retired.The reason the inspirational little man from the Caribbean didn't turn pro earlier was because he couldn't afford to, pretty simple really. The article begs the question, what if he had the funding to turn pro as a teenager or in his early twenties at least ? Many what if's with Victor Estrella Burgos.
I wrote a post on my site quite some time ago about this man because I was taken back by his desire to earn his spot in the Tennis World amongst the big guns albeit as a 'veteran' right from the very start.
I believe the yearly expenses of a tennis pro add up to around $150,000 including coaching also which means that three grand is needed per week just to make ends meet. Now that figure has not been plucked from thin air, it appears to be a fact.
The USTA has stated that it costs around $143,000 per year to fund the life of a Pro Tennis player however that figure could actually be halved by some. Apparently it costs $70,000 alone just to fund a travelling coach for the year so if you are a struggling player you may not even consider a coach. Tough to get better if you don't have someone analysing your matches and explaining where the improvement needs to happen.
I have always been rather bemused at the ever increasing prize money at the Grand Slams in particular as I am sure that all players would be more than happy with a 'capped' two million for a title win. Yet each year we read on in awe of the three or four million dollar first prize for a Grand Slam win which is more than an average Lotto win in the land of Oz.
I have often stated that I firmly believe the next Novak is sliding around on a clay court somewhere in an obscure South American Challenger event relying on a semi final showing just to break even for the week. The pressure to perform would be nothing short of enormous. Some say that it's the nature of the sport where only the strongest survive but I disagree with that.
If you have bucket loads of money you do not have to make the semis each time you play because you have a financial back up and no pressure as far as a time frame is concerned. Look at Victor's circumstances, he saved his coaching money and received nothing else to help him speed up the process of getting him on tour. 
That to me is a blight on the entire tennis system that boasts $100,000,000 in Novak's account now days, ( Before Tax of course ). 
Unless you are a 'once in a generation' talent such as Zverev or Coric you will scratch around for years on the Challenger Circuit earning the equivalent some weeks of a Check Out chick's K Mart wage. 
You know what I would love to see one day ? I know this is a real pipe dream but a portion of the Grand Slam title winner's purse to go into a fund to help the struggling future of the game simply make ends meet. Whip out a hundred grand before the cheque is even written, he won't even notice it's gone.
Victor Estrella Burgos is a man who could have been a top twenty player if he had the funds to support himself at an earlier age, no risk whatsoever. It is inspiring to read his story and how he will do his best to make sure in his Country at least the youth of the sport do not struggle like he had to.
As one last example that I believe to be most relevant, when Victor was just 23 he defeated a then 18 year old Pablo Cuevas of Uruguay in three straight sets in a Davis Cup match. Victor was ranked 1,110. Yes that isn't a mis print, ONE THOUSAND, ONE HUNDRED AND TEN. Cuevas sits currently at World Number 21.
As Victor says on the ATP World Tour site, he had the ability, just not the finances to make it happen. A rich person's sport indeed is tennis........


 


Monday, 29 September 2014

' THE RALLY BALL'

Not sure if I have already posted this one, the memory is getting worse as I head towards 50 but I do remember many days on court speaking to my students about the benefit of the 'rally ball'. I don't know if I was ahead of my time or behind as i have seen some rather funny ways of teaching over the past 31 years on court but one thing is for certain. If you can rally, you can win a game of tennis.
I received a comment on my site a while back from a gentleman who has sent me numerous 'ideas' on what he perceives as smart tennis, this one in particular stuck in my mind. "No point in tactics without weapons, gotta have weapons first and foremost ". 
This comment came from a chapter I wrote on tactics regarding the high bouncing ball , Rafa style, as I felt it was a smart way of playing. I believe that the high topspin ball off either side can win free points as it creates many short balls from the opponent unless it is returned precisely. 
I am all for 'weapons' however you have to start somewhere. How do you think Rafa's forehand became possibly the biggest shot in World Tennis ? Did it start from the first ball struck ? I doubt it. I would suspect that after many sessions as a 14 and 15 year old on the clay with mentor Carlos Moya that the 'rally ball' from Rafa was turned into a shot that dictated play. 
It gave me great heart that what I was teaching regarding the 'rally ball' was in fact technically correct after buying a copy of the Andre Agassi book that spoke of the benefits of simply keeping the ball in play. Page 189 of 'Open' is testimony to the fact . "What'd you do that for ? I know it's a killer shot , but every shot doesn't have to be killer. Sometimes the best shot is a holding shot, an OK shot, a shot that gives the other guy a chance to miss. Let the other guy play ".( Brad Gilbert )
Pretty simple stuff hey ? But it's not, the whole perception of teaching the game has changed, it's more about 'pulling the trigger' ala Roger Rasheed style . The guy is obsessed with it as you would have seen with his commentating at the Australian Open . You can't 'pull the trigger' on a ball unless you get it into your hitting zone and how do you get it into your hitting zone ? You set it up with smart play. Smart rallying will do this. 
I had a lesson with a kid last season who wanted to drive every ball within a foot of the height of the net so I asked the obvious question ."So how about your margin for error" ?
Told him that he would have to be technically gifted and as fit as hell to be able to sustain that sort of hitting throughout a match. Showed him the benefits of a slower ball with height to mix up play. On top of that I also pointed out that front foot tennis is not possible on every shot as some kids think. I told him to watch Rafa and Novak on wide balls to their backhand side , front foot tennis is not an option in these circumstances. 
As the great Mats Wilander states on many occasions "The open stance finds you ". Problem is simple, some players , especially kids are only taught front foot play, that's an issue, no player is quick enough to get every ball on the front foot.
Complex game tennis but one thing is for sure, the rally ball can win you a match without you even hitting a winner, just keep it in play, keep it simple........

Sunday, 28 September 2014

'A TIEBREAK STORY'

Here's one for you, a tiebreak story that backs up my last chapter. You tell me if the following match statistics doesn't make for good entertainment. 
A Futures match in Florida between two battlers, a guy ranked 569 vs another ranked 636 saw the most amazing tiebreak that perhaps has ever been played. The score was 36-34 in favor of Benjamin Balleret of Monaco against fellow countryman Guillaume Couillard. 
If you do the sums on that then you will realize that from say 6 points to 5 in favor of either player then it is quite plausible that each player may have had a total of around 15 set points each, roughly anyhow. The second set score was 6-1. Do you think that maybe after having 15 set points and losing the set it could have shattered the confidence of Couilliard ?? 
Quite possibly.........

'TIEBREAK OR NO TIEBREAK'

I often thought that the Americans had it right as far as the fifth set of a Men's Singles match was concerned, they played a tiebreaker. What this did was rather obvious, it gave players a chance to conserve their energy for another match even if it did go the distance.
June 22-24 2010 at Wimbledon gave an argument that the tiebreak system was in fact a good idea as American John Isner and Frenchman Nicolas Mahut played possibly the most ridiculous match of all time. This match was no classic, it was one that simply dragged on, it actually dragged on over 3 days with the final set lasting over 8 hours, the match just over 11 hours. Tough to schedule matches when this happens.
The match between these two was intriguing but not one that will go down as a shot maker's dream, it was simply a match that gave an argument to a rather old saying in tennis " It has to end sometime ".
The US Open can schedule matches far better than any other Grand Slam Tournament as the tiebreaker in the deciding set will end a match possibly up to an hour or even longer than an advantage set will. Surely this is enough to sway the other big 3 to change their rules, doesn't seem to be the case though.
Let's look at it another way, what does a match like the above mentioned do to players ? Easy to answer. Isner got belted in his next match 6-0, 6-3, 6-2 by Thiemmo de Bakker of The Netherlands, a player ranked 30 places behind him. So is it fair on players to make them play this long ? Well in a match such as this one it is an extraordinarily long match and one that totally put the scheduling behind and one that defied logic. Glad it happened though personally, it got people talking as to whether the rules needed to change.
I think 5 sets of tennis can be a little 'ho hum' at times especially with big servers, not much gets sent to the highlight package man and as far as a spectator friendly match is concerned it lacks entertainment value. Mac and Borg, well now that was entertainment, Rafa and Roger, brilliant, some matches just can't go long enough and the highlight reel is never ending.
Isner didn't play again after his second round loss at Wimbledon until the 19th of the following month, you do the sums on why. Was he a little body and mind weary ? I do believe that even the great John McEnroe stated something along the lines of "A match like this could take months off a player's game ". Mac would know. As far as doubles were concerned, more fire to the tie break argument.
Isner was seeded 12 with partner Sam Querrey, two huge servers, tough to return against on grass, they were a big chance. This pairing didn't even get on court, Isner withdrew due to fatigue. That's tough on a guy like Querrey who relies on doubles to bump up his earnings as he struggles to go deep in tournaments in singles.
Personally I believe the Americans have it right, the tie breaker in the fifth is a fantastic way to finish a match, it's cut throat yet it's exciting, every point counts. One day I would love to see a tournament played like the one I designed myself locally where every point you won went towards your score for the day. It was something different, well received, I think 250 points won the day, good fun.
I am a big fan of the US Open , I remember the match between Connors and Krickstein in '91, absolute classic , not just the match either but the way it unfolded in the end, theater at it's best. Agassi and Blake played another classic in the Quarter Finals of the 2005 US Open, Andre eventually won the breaker 8-6 in the fifth. That's an exciting way to finish a tennis match, not one that drags on.
Keep the game fresh, 5 sets with a breaker to finish is still a lot of tennis either for live viewers or a television audience and most importantly the players may just have enough energy left to perform in the next round.
Tennis doesn't need to be over cooked, well done both sides served with something light is plenty, sorry Mr Isner........

Thursday, 25 September 2014

'REACHING POTENTIAL'

Paul Kilderry was the best junior tennis player I have ever seen, he was quite simply, brilliant. Paul was coached by his father Rob and by 1991 was ranked 8 in the World for juniors in singles and 4 for doubles. I had the good fortune to play on a court next to him at a junior championship in Perth and I found watching him to be rather extraordinary. I was disappointed to not play him but I got belted in the quarters of the East Fremantle Junior Championships by Christian Christensen from Sweden 3 and 2 . The Swede went on to beat Paul in the Semi's in 3 sets but the most significant aspect of the whole tournament was that Paul was from memory 12 years old at the time playing in the 16's.
I don't see that much now days because the physical difference between these age groups is huge but Paul made up for it with his technical brilliance. We all knew that this kid was going to be something else, yet it didn't really happen.
I remember vividly Kilderry losing to Thomas Enqvist of Sweden in the Semi's of the Wimbledon juniors 2 and 2, perhaps 1990. Enqvist went on to become a top ten player for the Men and reached an Australian Open Singles Final.
 Paul hit a high of 138 in the World for singles in 1995 , made half a million dollars , beat Wimbledon Champion Richard Krajicek in Florida and became Pat Rafter's practice partner and travelling buddy. Paul left an impression on me however as his standard was something that I visualize in juniors when I see them play now days as a sort of bench mark.
Victor Estrella Burgos from the Dominican Republic just reached a career high of 69 this month and he made it to the third round of the US Open . He lost a match in three straight tie breakers , tough way to go out of a Slam, beaten by one of the World's biggest servers of all time Ivo Karlovic.
Victor is 34 years of age. So what's the difference between Paul Kilderry and Victor Estrella Burgos ? Paul I believe peaked at a very young age, he was in a way unfortunate to have done this , he simply failed to get any better. Victor has done things his way, peaked at an age that most players are thinking about or have already retired, he simply maintained the passion to reach his potential despite his age.
Do I think Paul still reached his potential ? Yes I do , the problem was that he reached it at an age too young to cope with the physical and mental demands of the game.
Putting it another way, Kilderry got too good, too young, he reached a height of ability that was tough to improve on as tennis is a game you get better at as you become physically and mentally stronger. Just because you are a top junior doesn't necessarily guarantee you a spot with the big boys , it's a spot you earn with experience. You can own every shot in the book as a 12 year old but by the time you are 18 you may have hit all those shots to a standard that may not have any improvement left.
Some juniors such as Agassi, Becker, Wilander, Krickstein, Arias and Chang all made the top ten after being some of the World's best juniors, these guys are a one in a million. Victor Estrella Burgos is a story of a player who every tennis player needs to take notice of as he is one who perhaps will reach his potential at age 35 or 36 depending on his fitness. 
You can have the World at your feet as a tennis player at a very young age but there are no guarantees you will get any better because of the numerous reasons why the game has been labelled the toughest individual sport in the World. My buddy who I toured Europe with in '91 Brett Patten made it to World Number 1 for his age group 35-40 just recently. That's never letting go of your dream to reach your potential.
If someone was to give me an option of two profiles I would take Victor's over Paul's as much as I loved to see young Kilderry play when I was a kid. Paul had a lot of pressure on him from many people and organizations because of his ridiculous talent as a kid , tough to live up to expectations. Mr Burgos has quietly gone about his business as a tennis 'journeyman' , no pressure, just simply living the life as a Pro Tennis Player who has doubled his career earnings within the past year.
So did he leave his run too late ? Of course not. If you reach your potential it doesn't matter how old you are, if you get to a standard that you cannot possibly surpass then I think you made it as a tennis player.......

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

'OUTSTANDING MARINKO'

To the 'forgotten' Aussie Tennis Professional who I believe has a better win/ loss ratio than any other male Australian Tennis Professional this year. A great win over Kyrgios in Kuala Lumpur this week. Remember Marinko was the one who made himself 'unavailable' for Davis Cup duties in Cottesloe earlier this month. As per usual I had a theory on this one.
He was never going to gain a spot over Kyrgios or Hewitt so why would he have made himself available, practised on the turf that is played on for around 4 weeks each year then be left out in favour of the above mentioned ?
Nope this guy is all class, a man who knows which side his bread is buttered on and a man who has a crystal ball plus a smart coach in Woodforde who no doubt knew the Davis Cup selections ahead of the official draw.
Marinko did some training instead, looks like it paid off, a moral victory, good lad......

'PARTY TIME'

I have always been fascinated by tennis scores, I have always looked further into them than just the score that has been published in the paper the next day. I used to cut out newspaper clippings when I was a kid and stick them on my wall.
 There is always more to a score line in the game of tennis than what appears to be just a series of numbers. Rather than going back through internet data I will simply go from the memory bank as to the matches that stuck in my mind for reasons other than just a win or a loss to Professional Tennis players.
Czech player Thomas Smid was a player who had some very similar losses as far as score cards were concerned. Thomas once lost two matches within a fortnight by the score of 7-6, 6-1 and 7-6, 6-0. He then won a match not long after these two losses by a score of 7-6, 6-2, from memory. Pardon me for the lack of knowledge on the tournaments these were played in , I simply just remember them even though I was a kid. So why ?
It told me that Smid was a front runner, a player who relied on a first set victory, a player who if down in a match possibly did not have the mindset to come back. A first set tie break loss can be disappointing to say the least , it can break a player. So what of that victory by Smid of a similar score ? That's easy. After a tight first set that's when you are loose, it's party time, the narrow win in the first can often bring an easy win in the second. Not that I am a fan of Women's Tennis but do you remember the Women's Semi Finals at Wimbledon this year ? 7-6, 6-1 and 7-6, 6-2 , pretty obvious what happened there.
Bjorn Borg, the great Swedish Champion destroyed Argentinian Guillermo Vilas in two French Open finals by the scores of 6-1, 6-1, 6-3 and 6-2, 6-3, 6-4, interesting score lines. How does the World's best clay courter beat the second best on that surface at the final match of a Grand Slam Championship ? The mind, simply the mind. If you watch the way both Borg and Vilas played it was very similar , a huge amount of spin, very few volleys, a serve that was simply a point starter and one that won very few cheap points. It all came down to the thought process.
Borg once beat American Eddie Dibbs, a former top ten player in the final of a clay court event by the score of 6-0, 6-0, 6-2, work that one out. Borg in his early career once beat an American Professional by the name of Billy Martin 0-6, 6-0, 6-1. To throw some useless trivia on this particular score it was once stated that former Coach of Vilas, Ion Tiriac came to the side of the court and told Borg to stop going for so many winners, apparently fact.
Rafael Nadal once beat former top Aussie Mark Phillippousis 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 at the US Open, so what's unusual about that ? Nothing but look at the score, what does it tell you ? Rafa knew he only had to step up the pace and pressure on the return of Flip's once each set, any more than that would be a bonus, not a necessity. 
Every time a first serve is missed against the return of Rafa the pressure goes up a notch and it can bring on some double faults. A second serve to Rafa is usually a 50/50 situation and when it comes to baseline hitting in a 50/50 who will more often than not come out on top ?
And finally I will dedicate these last paragraphs to my two favourite players of all time , Wilander and Borg. At the US Open in 1980 Borg took on Johan Kriek and after losing the first two sets 4-6, 4-6, Borg won the next three 6-1, 6-1, 6-1. This tells us that Borg was waiting for Kriek to finish playing his best tennis that he knew he could not sustain for 5 sets. After that it was simply a formality for a man as smart as Borg. The Swede not only knew his own limitations but usually he knew his opponent's. 
At the 1982 French Open Final Vilas had Mats right where he wanted him at a 6-1 first set win and set point in the second set to gain a strangle hold on the title. Wilander saved the set point, won the set in a breaker , smashed Vilas 6-0 in the third set and claimed the match in the fourth set 6-4. That was a turn around of epic proportions especially when you consider Mats was only 17 years of age. So my theory ? The 'party time' mind set about getting 'out of jail' with a tie break win. It loosens a player up to such an extent that their best tennis can be played from then on, with no fear, with no limitations.
A good player will always weigh up situations in a tennis match that can be used to their advantage , it's what separates the good from the rest........
* FOOT NOTE * My inquisitive mind got the better of me and I looked up Smid's Profile, here were the actual scores and Tournaments that I mentioned earlier. Ok I admit I was a few games out plus his win came before the two losses but hey it was 1983 ;
24-1-1983 Brazil  Smid def Dupre 7-5, 6-2
31-1- 1983 Philadelphia   McNamara def Smid 7-6, 6-0
7- 2 -1983  Ricmond USA   Borowiak  def Smid  7-6, 6-0

Monday, 22 September 2014

'TOMIC FAMILY SAYS GAME OVER'

Punch in the above headline the next time you are on the search for something to read regarding Tennis in Australia, it's a great piece of literature from a frustrated tennis parent. John Tomic has had some issues regarding both his son and daughter but what he says in this article is rather interesting to say the least.
The claim that Tennis Australia is buying players from overseas rather than putting money into what is already in this country is eye opening. Do yourself a favor, have a read.......

Saturday, 20 September 2014

'CLASSIC'

Latvian Tennis Professional Ernest Gulbis got himself into hot water at the 2013 French Open when he labelled the Top 4 Rafa , Federer, Novak and Murray 'boring'. If you look at the big 4 of the past, Mac, Connors, Lendl, Borg , well they all had different personalities but they were allowed to express. They did it in their own different ways .
Connors wanted to belt his opponents, McEnroe wanted to belt the umpire, Lendl wanted to hurt his opposition with his forehand ( he did so on a few occasions ) and Borg, well Bjorn didn't want to upset anyone, so quite simply, he didn't.
Gulbis thinks that all interviews by the big 4 are "crap", this may also have merit but Roger Federer puts it all into perspective for us all. Fed believes that Gulbis has a point , he gets what he means but he has a way with words the great man from Switzerland.
 Roger said " But we have to give interviews every single day , so it's not our fault. Gulbis has to do very few interviews ". Now that was funny.
Fast forward the clock.
In 2014 Gulbis knocked Roger out of the French Open , from memory I believe perhaps Round 3 or 4, will look it up later.
Ernest perhaps took those comments from Roger and fired himself up. I watched the match, it had every thing in it including toilet breaks to upset the opposition, funny stuff.
Ernest Gulbis may not be in the book of polite tennis players but he does have a point. If he keeps beating guys like Roger then I am sure he will be giving many more interviews in the future......

Friday, 19 September 2014

'SPARE A THOUGHT'

I read recently that a Woman in Madrid was complaining that kids do not get a chance to become a ball kid at the Madrid Masters as they do in just about every other Pro Tournament around the World. 
I must admit, it's not a good look for tennis,ball kids are an essential part of Pro Tennis Tournaments.
I did hear though on the grapevine that the waiting list for this event is at an all time high, just a rumor. I will leave you with some pics of the obvious concern that the Men have in regards to playing this tournament where Female Models are hired to do the job of trained ball kids. 
I did hear one Pro say " I don't give a sh.. if they don't know how to throw the ball to me, it eases my frustration at losing a point".......

                 

                 
By all reports both Roger and Rafa hate going to Madrid........

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

'SO WHY IS THIS ?'

Some people think I am too harsh on Lleyton Hewitt as I have dedicated a few chapters to the arrogant Aussie in regards to what I don't like about him. But in all fairness I think Lleyton is a fantastic tennis player, just can't stand his on court mannerism, I think he carries on like a pork chop. I was hoping that as he approached his twilight years on the circuit that he would in fact tone down the way he goes about his business, but he hasn't and I still don't like him. Nuf said....
This chapter is dedicated to John Newcombe, an Aussie tennis legend , a man who reached World Number 1 in 1967 and a man who won all the majors except for the French Open. I don't mind 'Newk'.
What disappoints me greatly though is the Wimbledon commentary from Newk when he pairs up with another Aussie Champion Todd Woodbridge who I actually like to hear. So the problem with Newk ? 
Biased commentary, it's at a level of embarrassment that I am not quite sure of why or how it has been allowed to get so bad. For example , why is John allowed to say the following? "C'mon Lleyton let's get the break and finish it right here"!
Correct me if I am wrong but when you are employed as a commentator in any sport it is your job to be non biased towards any player or team. Could you imagine the great Australian AFL Commentator Bruce McAvaney giving his version of what Newk does at Wimbledon in an AFL game ? 
"Go you little bloody ripper Buddy, grab it , kick a goal, bang it home son and let's stick it fair up the opposition , we got these guys on toast ". Wouldn't go down too well now would it hey ? So what of Newk and his Wimbledon call ? 
Once again I will reiterate that whilst I do not like the way Hewitt conducts himself on court I do appreciate his obvious talent at playing the game, nuf said again. Newk has no right to take sides in a role as a Sports Commentator, the example I gave was one of many. His whole call on the match between Hewitt and Przysiezny was a fair dinkum disgrace. What made Newk believe that everyone watching actually wanted Hewitt to win ? 
Todd Woodbridge has a way with words, I like him as he even made reference to the 'Prima Donna' herself Victoria Azarenka regarding her ridiculous 'injury' and 'choking' time outs, fair call Toddy. I once dedicated a chapter to the 'cheater' regarding her rather embarrassing effort at the Australian Open when she couldn't close out the match against Stephens so she went and had a cuppa for ten minutes. 
So why is Woody paired up with Newk ? F... knows but it's like chalk and cheese with these two as Todd knows what to say and Newk just says what he wants to say regardless of whether or not it's actually in the commentator's rule book.
Eddie Maguire no longer commentates football games as his one eyed commentary during Collingwood games were beyond laughable.They were in fact just plain silly and Channel 7 copped a fair bit of flack over the whole thing. 
Is there a chance that someone can please do the same thing with Newk and put him 'out to pasture' please ? Great player , but commentator ? Even Eddie may not have been this biased........

Monday, 15 September 2014

'FOR SAM'

Hopefully Sam Stosur will get a look at this chapter as I believe it has merit, but obviously I am a little biased as I believe all that i write has substance. The latest controversy in World Tennis is 'Mad Dog' Marinko Matosevic speaking his mind and fellow Aussie Sam Stosur snapping back at him, rather funny stuff, here's how it all started.
Marinko Matosevic was asked what he thought of Andy Murray employing a female coach , so he gave an opinion, a Man's opinion, as you do, if you are a man of course. Sammy didn't like it so she had a go at Marinko , not sure why, it was just an opinion, apparently a free World permits this. Sammy did just this when she lost early at Wimbledon, as she usually does, she tweeted her feelings just after her apparent 'shock' loss to a lesser credentialed player.
Her 'tweet' was possibly one of the dumbest things i have ever read from a professional Sportsperson, even John Newcombe said the same thing . Worth a read.....
Anyhow back to 'Mad Dog ' Matosevic, this guy is a ripper , he speaks his mind, doesn't hold back and even made himself 'unavailable' for the recent Davis Cup tie in Western Australia. Come on you guys he was never going to gain a spot, we all know that, this was Lleyton's 'farewell' apparently . Hewitt was always going to play singles with Kyrgios even though Matosevic has a better win/loss ratio this year and is hitting a good ball. So what was Marinko going to do ? Peel the oranges ? Well done 'Mad Dog' , the week off in the States was a great idea......
Back to the idea behind this chapter. Sammy thinks 'Mad Dog' is 'out of line' as he has basically disrespected women , c'mon Sam get over it. Let's put things into perspective.
Men and Women 'earn' the same prize money at the Slams, not sure why but they do . If we really look further into it we can see that on average a Male Pro will play for around 3 hours, sometimes 4 or even 5 and pick up the same as what a Female Professional Tennis Player 'earns' in around 60 minutes, maybe 90 in an 'epic'. Money for jam.....
So what Marinko said regarding Andy Murray is brilliant and has merit as Amelie Mauresmo is a big surprise as the new coach of the Scotsman . What has she to offer for Andy after a genius such as Lendl or is it the percentage of prize money that may be the biggest factor here ?? 
When was the last time Amelie played 5 sets of tennis ??
Can I suggest something ?
Before Women Tennis Professionals can start knocking the guys for 'trivial' reasons they should maybe take a look at just how easy they have it in the Tennis World at the majors. Court time is not even close to what the Men do and the entertainment value for spectators is in the proof of ticket sales and bums on seats , correct me if I am wrong.
It is also rather obvious when the Slams are televised as to what matches gain 'Prime Time', again correct me if I am out of line.
Sammy probably won't read this but if anyone knows Sammy can you please forward this to her thank you ? To Marinko 'Mad Dog' Matosevic, you are onto something buddy , keep up the great work, regards GT.......

Sunday, 14 September 2014

'HAPPY BIRTHDAY BLOG'

 This was the first thing I put on this site one year ago...Saturday, 14 September 2013


Introduction

I WOULD LIKE TO THINK THAT I NOT ONLY TEACH THE GAME OF TENNIS PROFESSIONALLY, BUT ALSO MAKE IT AFFORDABLE .
SMALL GROUPS ARE THE KEY TO FAST TRACK IMPROVEMENT IN A GAME THAT CONTINUES TO EVOLVE .
I RECOMMEND TO ALL STUDENTS THAT THE EMPHASIS WHILE LEARNING NEEDS TO BE ON TECHNIQUE , NOT THE AMOUNT OF BALLS HIT PER SESSION.
HITTING A THOUSAND TENNIS BALLS PER DAY WILL NOT NECESSARILY MAKE YOU A BETTER PLAYER , HOWEVER IF YOU HIT THEM TECHNICALLY CORRECT THEN IMPROVEMENT IS GUARANTEED ...........


I thought this was a pretty good start as I heard many things from many students who had been to many different coaches. Most of them however said that they simply just 'hit balls'.
That's where the bad habits start and can be very hard to fix later on especially if a student simply hits with no correction or direction.
I don't apologize for knocking 'coaches' who don't do what they are paid ridiculous amounts of money for per hour as many of them are 'imposters' with a piece of paper that states they are a 'Tennis Coach'.
It takes years to become a good player, many more years to become a great player. It takes not only years to become a good coach of the game but many, many years to gain the knowledge required to implement changes to someone's game with a positive effect.
Somewhere along the course of this site I was side tracked as my frustrations regarding the above mentioned 'coaches' boiled over and I got stuck into the whole process . I in fact upset some people to the point where I received not only comments but letters complaining I was being 'too harsh' on individuals. 
I find that rather humerous.
Tennis is a big Business , no doubt about it but for some reason in this country we are simply not over flowing with superstars  that other nations are. So is it simply a Business ?? 
I don't believe that unless a 'real' tennis coach has either played at a high level, seen it played at a high level or learned under an experienced mentor that they have the right to charge more than $40 per hour. Yet we see regularly that the average cost now is around $70 an hour , some charge more. Some actually are worth it though as I have seen the ability of 'real' Coaches both in Australia and Europe operate. Quite simply these higher credentialed and experienced Coaches are brilliant at teaching the game.
The problem is that quite often the consumer has not seen anyone else but their local 'coach' and this is why I will always say. "Don't just take my word for it, when you go to the City pay extra and gain as many opinions as you can on the game of tennis". It's a sport that requires as many ideas as you can possibly gain when first learning, after all does one person know everything ?
Make your 'coach' accountable for their price and don't just take their word as gospel unless of course you are beating all before you with ease.
I understand why some 'coaches' hate this site but I won't be changing the content in the near future. Tennis is more than just a sport where you get the ball over the net, it's a sport where your mind needs to get the ball not only over the net but where your opponent doesn't want it.
Now that requires a smart Tennis Coach to teach it.......

Saturday, 13 September 2014

'THANKYOU'

To my new 'friends' in New York and Copenhagen, thank you for tuning into my site. Whilst you are probably still trying to work out what it's all about I hope you have enjoyed reading some of my chapters.
This site is simply something I do as a past time, whenever I think of something that either pleases, frustrates or even amuses me as far as the sport of tennis is concerned. 
It's not everyone's 'cup of tea' though as i have received threats of law suits regarding defamation of people who simply have no sense of humor. I seemed to have talked my way out of trouble however and am free to do what I do. 
Like my site or hate it, people keep reading it, I sincerely thank you all........
Regards GT

Friday, 12 September 2014

'INTERESTING'

Farrukh Dustovh from Uzbekistan is ranked around 130 in the World of Tennis and this year he has amassed a grand total of around $75,000 . I believe that's US dollars. Take off what the Tax man believes he has earned plus expenses and the great Aussie Postman has probably taken home more this year already. This guy was flown from the other side of the World to play a Davis Cup tie against Australia in a beach side location known as Cottesloe on the West Coast. I am rather familiar with the Cottesloe Tennis Club, I was the Assistant Coach there for around three years in the early 90's, great club, a stone's throw from the water.
Farrukh joined fellow Uzbekistan team mate and much higher ranked Dennis Istomen to take on the Aussie contingent of Hewitt, Kyrgios, Guccioni and Groth, apparently a one sided affair. So the question needs to be asked; If Australia are really that good, why play on grass ?? 
Apparently by all reports Australian Tennis is going gang busters, at an all time high, in the form of the past two decades, Australia is on the move in World Tennis. Are we missing something?
Australia does not train on grass, in fact no one trains on grass, it's a surface that is trained on for maybe three weeks before Wimbledon in the lead up tournaments then afterwards at Newport as a Post Wimbledon Competition.
So along comes Mr Dustovh, the Postie wage earner to take on Mr Hewitt, the Women's Day and New Idea's front page boy who puts his life out there for all to read, including my very personal favorite .
 Firstly I must apologize, I was at the Doc's receiving my annual cortisone in the wrist prior to the new tennis season where i read the 'news of the year'. "THE ROMANCE IS OVER" . Yep this was big news in Australia, Lleyton and Bec's 'romance' was over, but wait , there's more. When you read the article it appears a little deceiving, for obvious reasons. You see Bec and Lleyton are still married, but the romance is over, fact of life you two, you aint rabbits anymore, kids to attend to, bills to pay, school trips now the order of the day. 
However, if you sell your life to a high selling Australian magazine they will glam it all up and sell their mag's at your expense, providing you have a profile of course, as Bec and Lleyton do. I did once read from Bec that she would have to consider 'going back to work' as her hubby was not winning like he used to. Hmmmm, that's interesting Bec, what would you do ?? Sell milkshakes at the local diner in Home And Away ??
Back to the Davis Cup; Australia were a shoe in with this tie against Uzbekistan, so why all the fuss surrounding the grass court advantage ? Why not play it on a neutral hard court at Melbourne Park , home of the Australian Open where Marinko Matosevic and Nick Kyrgios still would have won easily ? Gucc and Sam in the dubs would have served their way to a three zip win with their booming serves, a 'walk in the park'.
It seems Australian Tennis may not be where everyone seems to think it is, a resort back to the 'cow paddock' proves just that, there is no faith in the players we have or the apparent ability they now possess. No this is serious stuff Australia, it's a blast back to the glory past of Newk, Rocket Rod and Roy Emerson, the days of turf tennis, no look to the future of the game, play it safe.
Farrukh, I do apologize on behalf of an Australian for two reasons, one, the surface at which we made you play on and two , for Lleyton Hewitt for once again carrying on like a pork chop. You know, the reaction when he wins a set,  , the 'Lawn Mower Man' style celebration, not sure what that's all about. JJ Janowicz showed the arrogant Aussie just how to start that mower at Wimbledon when he beat him in five, that's how you start a lawn mower Mr 'New Idea'.....
So is there any point to this latest chapter from GT ? Not really, just thought I would let some people know that 'beating up' on lower ranked countries in Davis Cup on surfaces that aren't a true reflection on anyone's real ability is not what all of us Aussie's are about. 
Show some guts Tennis Oz, prove that Aussie Tennis Professionals are actually where you say they are, up with the best, by pass the grass, get on a neutral court, grow some balls........

Thursday, 11 September 2014

'ONE EXTREME TO THE OTHER'

So Pistol Pete Sampras as my last chapter suggested had a way to win the big matches, he proved that at his favorite tournament Wimbledon, with a perfect score of seven from seven. Sampras only tasted defeat in the final of a Slam on three occasions, that's not bad , 14 from 17. Now spare a thought for Ivan Lendl.
The big Czech tasted defeat on no fewer than 11 occasions at the final hurdle of a major, that's just plain ridiculous. In fact Lendl could have pushed towards the record of Sampras had he found a way earlier in his career to stem the nerves in the big matches. 
My first memory of Lendl was when he pushed the great Bjorn Borg to 5 sets in the 1981 French Open Men's Singles Final. The score of 6-1, 4-6, 6-2, 3-6, 6-1 told the story of a huge struggle for the Swede before he took Lendl apart in the final set.
Lendl finished runner up in the US Open in 1982 and 1983, both in 4 sets to American Jimmy Connors then in 1984 he was destroyed by John McEnroe in straight sets. In 1983 Lendl also lost in the final of the Australian Open to Sweden's heir apparent to Borg, Mats Wilander, again in straight sets.
Lendl somehow found a way to win from a near hopeless position in the final of the 1984 French Open against Mac when trailing 3-6, 2-6 and a break of serve. He was also down 2-4 in the fourth but came back to win in just over 4 hours, the final three sets 6-4, 7-5, 7-5. By all reports the match still haunts McEnroe as a major that he had the winner's speech already written after the second set. 
Whilst Lendl lost the final of the US Open for three straight years he then went on a winning spree and held the trophy up in New York in '85, '86 and '87 before losing the final in '88 and '89 to Wilander and Becker. So if you do the sums on what the big Czech achieved in New York it was one of the greatest consecutive runs of making the final in the history of any major Championship. Eight straight but for just three wins. 
Wimbledon was not kind to Lendl either where he lost consecutive finals in '86 and '87 to Becker and Cash, the latter being the Australian's one and only Grand Slam Title. So all in all it looked something like this for Ivan Lendl; Australian Open - Two Championships, two Runner Up performances
French Open - Three Championships, two Runner ups
Wimbledon - two finals, two losses
US Open - Three Championships, five Runner Ups 
That gives Ivan eight Grand Slam Championships with eleven runner up performances however Lendl did find a way to win the elite eight man field Masters in New York on five occasions. 
The big Czech Ivan Lendl will go down in history as one of the best ever but he will forever look back on his career as one that could have produced so much more.......

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

'USELESS INFO'

Here's a rather unusual statistic for you , just off the top of my head. As good as the legendary 14 time Grand slam Champion Pete Sampras was he has a rare distinction.Call it useless information if you wish however the following statistics may be almost a rarity in World Tennis. 
Sampras won his final Slam at the 2002 US Open when he defeated Andre Agassi in 4 sets in the Men's Singles Final. Up until then he rarely lost at the final hurdle , here's the proof ;
Pistol Pete won the Australian Open twice, he finished runner up once, to Agassi. He never ever lost in a Wimbledon Final, seven appearances for seven wins. He was never a threat at the French, didn't have the game but he had some issues at the US Open. When i say 'issues' well this was the one tournament that he struggled at the final hurdle, he may be a rarity in the following;
Sampras was beaten in the 2000 final in New York by the tall Russian Marat Safin in three sets 6-4, 6-3, 6-3 , somewhat of a surprise , after all  Sampras in the final match of a Slam was where he was most feared. The following year in the final he was taken out again in straight sets , this time by Lleyton Hewitt 7-6, 6-1, 6-1, another surprise , especially the final two sets. 
So for a man who was looking for Grand Slam number 14 Pete Sampras was not even making an impression , particularly in New York. Perhaps he was waiting to deliver his best against a man who talks about Pete as though he were a man who ruined him . 
Andre Agassi often mentioned going into the 2002 US Open Final with 26 straight wins accounting for nothing as Pistol stopped him from winning a title he felt was in the bag. The 6-3, 6-4, 5-7, 6-4 victory to Sampras that year was almost strange in the way that he had folded the previous two years in straight sets. Sampras loved to torment Agassi, even after the two had retired. The two Champions had words at a charity match involving Federer and Nadal a few years back , rather personal words, there was something between these two. 
An unconfirmed quote from Agassi once read " No one deserves to be number one if they look like they swing from a tree ". (Agassi referring to Sampras) Interesting stuff, however as I said, unconfirmed......
I personally believe that Sampras knew he had one last crack at a major and winning it against Andre would make his career that little bit sweeter. 
It's a tough one, would you rather have all 4 majors as Andre does or more Slams and a final victory over someone you really wanted to beat ? Pro's and cons of both.........


Monday, 8 September 2014

'HOW MARIN WON'

As my last tip suggested, Marin Cilic would have too many big guns for Nishikori, however it wasn't just from the first delivery, many times his follow up.
Cilic didn't actually serve that well, in fact he only got just over half of his first serves in , he did however win 80 per cent of those first service points, that's remarkable. It emphasizes the need to develop a serve that is not just a point starter but a weapon to gain free points with. Just as Cilic's coach Goran Ivanisevic did back when he was playing, the 'student' has seen why his mentor was so effective. 
The Wimbledon Men's Singles Final in 2001 was an epic match but towards the end of the match I recall a comment made by someone that stuck in my mind. " You get the feeling Pat Rafter has no say in the outcome of this match right now". The comment referred to Goran's serving, it was huge , even at the end of the match and it was tough for Rafter as he didn't know whether to expect a double fault or an ace. In fact in that last game at 15 all Goran did put in a double fault giving the Aussie a glimmer of hope but he once again served his way out of trouble.
I am not a fan of the big serving style of play but Cilic is far from a one shot wonder, his ground strokes are magnificent, he proved that at Wimbledon this year. Apart from the final where Federer went oh so close to winning, Cilic was the only player to really trouble eventual Champion Djokovic. Cilic hits the ball not unlike the Swede Soderling who is the only player to beat Nadal at the French Open in the last 10 years. The power with each strike is sensational and puts the opponent on the back foot from the outset. Cilic's Coach Ivanisevic was much the same, his serve was huge but his ground strokes were hard and flat and he set up many easy volleys with big approaches.
In the US Open final this year Cilic not only out served Nishikori , he out hit him from the back of the court with ease. Marin only came to the net 13 times but to win 11 of those points tells you something, he came in on a shot that set him up for an easy volley. To win 43 per cent of service returns is also a statistic that says this player is seeing the ball like a basketball.
To only make 27 unforced errors but hit 38 winners tells the story of how Cilic plays and is testimony to the fact that his coach has almost 'brainwashed' him into playing like he did . Goran was unlucky to not win more major titles , especially at Wimbledon where he lost in three previous finals, two of them in 5 sets. It's a style that if on, is almost impossible to stop as it's a barrage of serving and heavy hitting that does not let up for a moment. 
Marin Cilic is a man who could win Wimbledon in the years to come but he would have to tone it down somewhat at the French, a tough surface to win on with his style.
Hats off to Kei Nishikori, another product of a former player Michael Chang who has instilled his values of making the opponent play every ball, he will no doubt be a top 5 player in the future.
Nice to see some new blood in the finals of a major at last, the whole script was becoming predictable.......

'MARIN'

I am tipping Marin Cilic to beat Nishikori in 4 sets in the US Open Men's final . As good as Kei has been I don't believe he can get enough serves back to break Cilic consistently. Nishikori's serve is breakable for a player who returns as big as Cilic. 
Whilst their groundie's are both sensational I think it will come down to the delivery and the big man from Croatia delivers like not too many others. In saying that , Nishikori returned big against Raonic who serves huge but Milos does not have the follow up on the ground strokes that Cilic does.
Should be a great match, whoever wins will be a deserving Champion.......

Saturday, 6 September 2014

'THE STAT'S ON SUPER SATURDAY IN NEW YORK'

Ok so I was out by a year . It was in fact 1984 that my last brief chapter touched briefly on Super Saturday in New York, I knew it was some time around the early 80's , getting old, the memory aint what it used to be.
I did get the Women's score right , these were the Men's Semi Final results
Mac beat Connors 6-4, 4-6, 7-5, 4-6, 6-3 , this was the second match
Lendl saved match point against Cash , 3-6, 6-3, 6-4, 6-7, 7-6
Navratilova defeated Evert- Lloyd 4-6, 6-4, 6-4
13 sets on offer, 13 sets played, the easiest set being 6-3, a tough day and night at the office for all players involved.
Just looking more into the tournament , these were the quarter Final results for the Men, the Semi Final results for the women.
Mac defeated American Gene Mayer 7-5, 6-3, 6-4
Connors defeated Brit John Lloyd 7-5, 6-2, 6-0
Lendl def Ecuador's Andres Gomez 6-4, 6-4, 6-1
Cash def my hero Mats Wilander 7-6, 6-4, 2-6, 6-3 (I wasn't happy )
Just for the record, Jonny Mac won the Men's final easily against Lendl 6-3, 6-4, 6-1
The Women's Semi's had Evert - Lloyd beat Canadian glamour girl Carling Bassett 2 and 2 .
Martina beat Aussie Wendy Turnbull 4 and 1
A great era of tennis was the 80's, this year possibly one of the best.....
Super Saturday New York, this year 1984 was a ripper......
                 
             



      The 1984 US Open featured the above players in the Women's single's , Bassett, Canadian junior prodigy, Aussie Wendy Turbull, American Evert- Lloyd and eventual winner Czech Navratilova.
The 4 men pictured are the Semi Finalists, Mac, Connors , Cash and Lendl, Legends........