Thursday, 30 October 2014


The return of serve has long been considered possibly the most under practiced shot in tennis. How often do you see a young player working on this particular shot ?
Most players will be happy to just groove the ground strokes with their practice partner doing exactly the same at the other end. It may just be the key though to being a complete player as opposed to one who just lacks 'that one thing'.
The game has seen many great returners such as Borg , Agassi, Chang and Wilander plus the current Big 4 with all of them possessing an art to simply getting the delivery back. I vividly remember Bjorn Borg at Wimbledon with an amazing style that is not replicated too often now days.
The Swede would let the serve take it's full spin as he sat way back behind the base line then return it as you would a normal ground stroke. I believe that it was perhaps why Borg was so good, he treated every ball he received whether it be a return or rally ball with the same technique, he gave himself time to hit it.
The way the return is hit now days is remarkable to say the least and Andre Agassi took it to another level as he saw the serve quicker than any other player in his era. Watching the Las Vegas showman step inside the base line and belt the Sampras serve back just as hard as it arrived was one of the most amazing things I have witnessed in tennis. He seemed to know where they were going with surprising ease.
The return of serve can either get you back into a 50/50 situation in a game or it will produce an energy conserving game from the server as he dictates play. I believe Federer has once completed a service game in 49 seconds, that's dictating play in any man's language.
I recall once a Davis Cup tie between Germany and the US with Agassi taking on the great Boris Becker or 'Boom Boom' as he was known, for obvious reasons. In practice the Americans actually came up to the service line to belt serves at Agassi to give him a realistic idea of the pace of serve that he was about to receive from the German.
This practice idea on the return may not have been unique but it was one that had merit then and still does now. From memory Agassi lost in 5 after winning the first two but he was around 18 years old at the time and he only got better from that point, especially on the return.
So to the recent Paribas Open in Paris where the Quarter Finals were just a tie break away from having the top 8 seeds play off ( Wawrinka lost 6-7 in the third to Anderson). The return of serve statistics were alarming. Grigor Dimitrov who was seeded 9 won just 8 of 44 service return points or 18 per cent in technical terms. The player who beat him 6-3, 6-3 Andy Murray won 22 of 53 service returns or 42 per cent, that was the difference in the end with 3 breaks to Murray and none to Dimitrov. As flashy as the Bulgarian is he may just have to find a way to get the serve back before he can start to show the World his obvious talent on his ground strokes.
Other match statistics saw Federer win just under 40 per cent of his return points against unseeded Frenchman Lucas Poille who managed just 22 per cent whereas David Ferrer was outstanding. In his match against countryman Fernando Verdasco he returned with amazing ease against a serve that comes down regularly at 200 km. Ferrer in fact won 25 of 39 return points or 64 per cent, that's seeing it with an eye like Agassi.
Even the brilliant returning of Novak Djokovic could not get him to the 50 per cent mark against the big delivery of Frenchman Gael Monfils with just 38 per cent or 23 of 60 points won. Novak still won in straight sets however. So if a player can't regularly break another player what does he do ? 
Against a player such as Isner or Karlovic most players are content to get to a tie breaker and chance their luck on either a double fault or a look at a second serve or two. I have never seen two players contest more tie breakers than the above mentioned two. Why these guys don't work more on their returning is a mystery but they are making plenty of $$$ so they obviously have a plan.
As I mentioned in the Federer 'Genius' chapter I am a big fan of the '50/50 ball' return that Roger does so well, the ball that asks the question of his opponent. A ball returned down the middle with depth but lack of pace is almost an insult to a big server. "Is that the best you got buddy" ?? 
I am sure the Gentleman in Mr Federer would never say that out loud , he may not even think it, but it's what it looks like to the rest of us. Just get it back, life is a whole lot easier on court if you do.......

Wednesday, 29 October 2014


My last chapter was about Tommy Robredo, the Spanish Champion who has lived in the shadow of some more famous countrymen for quite some time now. Robredo's season has been soul destroying to say the least as his match point conversion rate in title matches recently has been disastrous. So what do you do if you can't convert a match point or maybe 10 of them in two title matches over the past month or so ? Simple, you keep turning up with your racket and a philosophical attitude.
The Paribas Masters currently underway in Paris has the who's who of Men's Professional Tennis playing with the exception of an injured and out of sorts Rafael Nadal, his season over. This particular event will have the Tennis World watching intently as the Swiss genius Mr Federer has the chance to reclaim the number 1 spot. It would be fitting if he reached the final along with Novak which I am certain would make for a title match of huge proportions, the winner to be crowned King for the year.
Only two can get there, so what about Tommy ? Well at his current standing of World Number 17 Tommy Robredo will go into a break toward the end of the year with a few questions to ask of himself. The showdown of the best eight players is well out of his grasp even if a couple get injured. So at a rather 'respectable' ranking and around 1.5 Million this year in prize money does the Spaniard bury his head in the towel and feel sorry for himself after his last two heartbreaking losses ? 
Tommy is a former top ten player so he knows he is capable of a more than just matching it with the best in the World but his confidence would surely have taken a pounding lately. So for him to be at 5-5 in a third set tie breaker in his very next match , this time in Paris he would surely have been asking some questions of himself. Vasek Pospisil of Canada can play the game, he is half of the current Wimbledon Doubles Champion team so this match was a first round match that was worthy of perhaps a round of 16 , not one to start proceedings.
Robredo is a seasoned campaigner, he has already beaten World Number 1 Novak Djokovic this year in Cincinnati and last year he beat Federer in straight sets at the US Open. The first round match against the Canadian in Paris however was a match that could have gone either way from a set all and five all in the final set tie breaker. 
You always feel for players who are at the end of their careers in any sport and you just want them to have one more title to go out on. He was perhaps two points away from a ranking of around 12 or 13 if he had converted against Murray in both China and Valencia yet he has to be content with where he currently sits.
So it pleased me greatly to read that Tommy had at last won a close match, 7-5 in the tie breaker against a player who has plenty more years ahead of him to figure out a way to win the close one's.
He now plays Kei Nishikori in the second round, it doesn't get any easier. An older, wiser head against the exuberance and talent of youth , it has the makings of another epic match. I just hope for Robredo's sake it doesn't go to another final set tie breaker.
The questions a player asks of them self at that point in a match are one's that require a calm set of answers and only the best players win the tight one's on a regular basis. All part of the fun of playing tennis........

Sunday, 26 October 2014


Spanish Tennis Champion Tommy Robredo must be wondering what he has to do to win a tennis tournament. In the space of just over a month he held no fewer than 10 match points over two title matches in two different countries yet he failed to convert any of them. Andy Murray somehow managed to save all 10 match points with a will to win and a refusal to lose.
The Shenzhen Open in China in September saw Robredo lead by a set and 6 points to 2 in the second set tie breaker before somehow finding a way to lose all of them . He held another match point at 7-6 before Murray took the breaker 11-9. The final set was all one way traffic in a 6-1 romp to Murray . A loss like that from a commanding position would no doubt be soul destroying however it seemed that Robredo was philosophical in defeat and headed to Beijing.
When a player loses a tight match it can test the mind in many ways and he lost in the round of 16 to John Isner in a third set tie break. Perhaps Robredo was now starting to doubt his ability to win the close ones and his very next tournament perhaps proved the theory correct. He lost to a player ranked more than 60 places behind him , again in a third set breaker. Mikhael Kukushkin has been playing well of late but should be no match for a player of Robredo's experience. Maybe he got the Spaniard at a time where his mental state was at an all time low, he had lost his ability to close out a match.
The Valencia Title match against Andy Murray was almost history repeating itself as Robredo lead by a set and held two match points in the second set tie break , he failed to convert either. He broke Murray to lead 4-3 in the final set , was broken back immediately but then held a further 3 match points in the tie breaker.
The point at 6-5 was one that if Robredo could have his time again I am sure he would have played it differently. After a huge forehand inside out to Murray's backhand he had the Brit right where he wanted him but he made a huge mistake by not coming in behind it. In fact his forehand was that good that it was a surprise that Murray got it back at all but his backhand slice offered Robredo a choice.
If the Spaniard had followed the forehand to the net I am certain he would now be the Valencia Open Champion but he chose to step back and hit an awkward half volley that allowed Murray back into the point. Murray in fact closed this particular point out with a winning volley after  reversing the roles of perhaps 4 shots earlier. The 3-6, 7-6, 7-6 win by Murray will go down in history as a fantastic title match but the two tie breakers that Robredo lost by 9-7 and 10-8 will also be looked upon as chances that went begging.
Would Roger Federer have come in after hitting a forehand as good as the one that Robredo hit on his third match point at 6-5 in the breaker ? 
I have no doubt he would have as the Swiss Genius is a man who can sense an opportunity better than any other current player when it comes to finishing a point. When it comes to decision making the top ten in the World are where they are for a reason. Robredo currently sits at number 21 at age 32 with time running out to clinch tournament victories. 
What was going through Murray's head when faced with 10 match points against him over two title matches with Robredo is anyone's guess but it shows why he is as good as he is. Tennis is a game full of split decisions, some simply decide how to play them better than others......


From 1985 through to 1988 it seemed as though there was a change of pace as far as men's Professional Tennis was concerned . Players such as Thomas Muster, Andre Agassi, Jim Courier , John McEnroe and Sergi Brugera were all hitting with graphite tennis rackets. This was the next change up from the wooden rackets that we were all used to from the beginning of time. Players were starting to hit the ball harder and it seemed more than just a coincidence that from 1985 through to 2001 at Wimbledon a big server was crowned the Champion. Andre Agassi was perhaps the only 'odd man out' in 1992.
Perhaps the most 'uninteresting' final in that era was the 1994 title match between Pete Sampras and Goran Ivanisevic, this was a farce of epic proportions. A 7-6, 7-6, 6-0 win to Sampras with a four shot rally being perhaps the longest exchange for the day had experts wondering if tennis was on the decline as far as a spectacle was concerned. This match forced some changes, but it took a few years for them to be implimented.
In 2001 Wimbledon changed it's grass seed to 100 per cent perennial rye which actually resulted in a higher bounce and the following year in 2002 a bigger tennis ball was introduced. It was said to have given players at least 10 per cent more reaction time on a service return and that is a big difference in any player's game. The change in both the grass surface in London along with the slower, bigger ball in fact saw the last of the predominantly big server's domination on the turf.
From the very next year it was in fact won by the back court expertise of Australian  Lleyton Hewitt over another base liner David Nalbandian . From 2003 through to this year it was then dominated by the current big four of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray. None of the above mentioned dominated with either a serve or a volley. Federer served perhaps slightly bigger than the rest however he is not just a server as we all know and his serve and volley routine is not his only style of play.
Looking back on the winners from '85 through to 2001 it was a rarity if the eventual champion (except for Agassi) didn't follow both the first and second serves into the net for a volley . So did Wimbledon do the tennis loving public a favor in regards to the changes made in slowing down the play ?
Well personally I like watching a serve and volley expert up against a base line master as it reminds me of my first impressions of the game, Borg vs McEnroe, entertaining. These two however were in a class of their own and they both almost perfected their respective ways of playing.
Federer and Nadal have always been entertaining to watch because it was never going to be two players sitting at the base line. Federer was always going to try to finish it at the net, he knew then and still knows his limitations .
What Wimbledon did do however was unique as it opened up the tournament to a different style of play due to the domination of the big server. Some of the past Champions such as McEnroe, Ashe, Laver , Newcombe, Borg etc all had good serves, some bigger than others but the equipment then used had it's limitations as far as effect was concerned.
So when players such as Sampras , Ivanisavic , Krajicek and Becker came along with a new racket it required a special type of returner to even get close to them. Only Agassi springs to mind, not too many others made an impression in that time frame.
Wimbledon I believe saved it's own tournament by counter acting the new pace of server due to the new racket technology that enabled players to serve bombs and win without rallying. The other side of the coin now though is the fact that the game is pretty much all the same, a base line war of attrition. Only Federer really has a game that differs from the rest as far as the top 20 players are concerned.
Personally I believe that Wimbledon got it right, slowing it all down opened the tournament up to all styles of play, it's now an even playing field. It will be even more so when the Big 4 have hung up their rackets.
Perhaps a new Borg and McEnroe will one day serve us up a classic like they did in the 1980 Men's final, a serve and volley expert vs the base line master. That would be worth the wait..........

Thursday, 23 October 2014

'THE 50/50 BALL'

I wrote a chapter a while back regarding Women's Tennis, under duress, I don't like Women's Tennis for more than one reason but above all I dislike the lack of variety that is dished up. The lack of volleying is one thing but the variety from where they all sit, the baseline, well that's even more one dimensional. The two chapters that I wrote back to back involved the mix of play by Roger Federer and the lack of it in Women's Tennis.
So what about the headline ? The 50/50 ball in tennis is a ball that is put back into play that does not give your opponent anything to hit back to you with any real conviction. Whilst the heavily hit topspin ball is one option I believe that the other option is what Mr Federer again does better than any other player, the slice backhand.
The return of serve from Federer's backhand side is a shot that blunts the opposition's power when he chooses to slice it as opposed to hitting over it. Most Male Pro's serves' have such a huge amount of kick on it that the sliced return, if hit well is a much safer option than the driven one.
If you look at the return from the ad court by Roger in particular you will see two types of shot, one that is placed back deep with no real pace and the other, a short angled service box return. Both of these shots have merit. The one that is hit back deep is a ball that most players hate, a ball with no real speed on it that is tough to generate pace on. The other is a shot that a baseliner in particular probably dislikes even more as it forces them forward from a wide part of the court. Both of these returns are not easy to deal with and it's why Federer is known for having such a vast repertoire of variety in his play.
It's not just the return that Federer offers the slice on , he will also put a sliced ball in during a topspin rally that mixes up the pace. This type of shot quite often will throw his opponent's timing and rhythm out, a smart tactic. Even Rafa has learned to slice his backhand more now from both the return and the rally and it has added some more variety to his once one dimensional game.
Djokovic is not so happy to slice his backhand as the wide ball he receives to his backhand side will often be hit with just as much pace as the one in his hitting zone, freak of nature.
So to the ladies, why isn't the slice backhand a more commonly hit shot ? I don't believe that it is being taught, that would be my take on it. When a female tennis player is drawn wide it seems that the idea is to get there with the open stance and do the 'Djokovic style' type of backhand.
But wouldn't it be easier to hit a slice ? Well according to the 17 time Grand Slam winner from Switzerland it is, and it's rather obvious that the great man's preference is the shot that puts his body under the least amount of stress when under duress.
Even the great Andre Agassi learned to slice from his backhand side, it wasn't what you would call a text book style slice yet he used it as did Jimmy Connors. Now here was a backhand slice with a difference, he did it with two hands. Jimmy could return the high ball to his backhand side with a two handed slice just as well as could hit a short ball and approach the net with, it was a rather unique way of slicing.
Most players have a slice backhand but very few play it as regularly as Federer except for perhaps Feliciano Lopez from Spain, now there's a man who may even play it more than his topspin ball. When a slice is hit from the backhand side it is a shot of grace, an effortlessly guided shot that can do so many different things to an opponent's mindset. If a player is dealt a series of both topspin and slice it puts doubt into their mind as to whether the backhand side is actually the side to try to attack.
There is usually less variety from a forehand and if a player can deal with pace then perhaps the forehand is a better option to attack than a backhand that has two options.
I believe in teaching the slice backhand from a young age, it has merit, it adds dimension to a player's game and it can conserve energy.
There is more upside than down to learning a slice backhand........


Swede Robin Soderling has gone missing, he disappeared from World Tennis just prior to his wife giving birth to their first child in 2012. The reasons for Soderling's absence from the tour have varied from a wrist injury to mononucleosis. Now the latter is actually known as 'the kissing disease' and can give sufferer's among other things an enlarged spleen , sounds uncomfortable. So they are the reasons given for the former World number 4 player's absence.
Soderling won over ten million dollars in a career spanning just over ten years so I doubt whether he would have to go and get a 'real job' in the near future. It seems that the Swede is rather content in semi retirement with no plans at this stage to return to a game that he seemed to be getting better at, his last tournament suggested just that.
The Swedish Open in July of 2011 saw a display from Soderling that will possibly be marked in history as one of the all time dominant performances in Men's Professional Tennis. The hometown hero dropped just 13 games for the entire tournament including a 6-0, 6-1 demolition of then World number 9 Thomas Berdych in the semi's then a 6-2, 6-2 whitewash of then World number 6 David Ferrer in the final. Yet he has not played since.
It's almost like one of those fairy tale sporting story's where the local champion comes home to finish his career, something like that anyhow. Soderling is now aged 30 and nearing the time when most tennis players are looking at life outside of the game so if he is going to make a come back you would think it would have to be soon. Word has it though that the tall Swede has developed and marketed a tennis ball complete with his own brand on it, perhaps he will add to that ten mil after all.
In 2007 at Wimbledon in the third round Soderling sparked controversy when he made fun of Rafa as he tugged at his own shorts 'Rafa style' as he narrowly went down 5-7 in the fifth set. Now I am all for tennis players behaving themselves however that effort from Soderling has to be considered rather humorous to say the least. Did I mention unique and original also ??
Apparently Rafa was not happy with the impersonation but all players are different and some simply don't appreciate his ritualistic ways before delivering his serve , the Swede was simply giving his version of it all. Freedom of speech ?
Soderling had the last laugh and this probably hurt Rafa more than an impersonation, his only loss in the French Open in the last ten years. The four set round of 16 win by Soderling in 2009 will no doubt be classed as one of the all time great upsets in Men's Tennis. To put that win into perspective, just a month earlier in Rome Rafa belted Robin 6-1, 6-0 , work that one out.
Soderling lost in the final that year in Paris to Federer which gave the great man from Switzerland his career Grand Slam. He then lost in the following year's final to the 'original shorts tugger' Rafa, so I suppose Rafa had the last laugh after all.
Robin Soderling was a different type of character on court, arrogant in many ways and seemed to be not overly friendly toward fellow pro's. I do recall a match against Djokovic , from memory in Rome again where the handshake was possibly one of the quickest and coldest you will ever witness.
The big man from Sweden had a unique style, he basically thumped the cover off the ball, he had one pace, flat out, tough to play against when he was on song. He definitely did not fit into the regular mould of past Swedish Champions with their heavy looping topspin shots.
If you get a chance look him up on You Tube , he is the sort of player most Tennis Coaches will not want a student to watch too often for a style check. Playing that sort of way requires amazing timing and fitness, give me the slower loop any day.
Personally I think we have seen the last of Robin Soderling, Rafa I am sure won't be too upset about it........

Tuesday, 21 October 2014


The following highlights are from 2010 in Miami where Argentinian David Nalbandian is up against Viktor Troicki of Serbia. I am not quite sure why Troicki is so furious with himself , especially at the end of the match as Nalbandian is in the 'zone'. 
I shared this on my site as I believe the camera angle is unique, not enough tennis matches are televised like this, it gives a clearer insight into what a player is up against. As my last chapter suggested David Nalbandian's backhand is quite remarkable and should be used as a coaching bench mark for that shot.
It does not matter how high the ball is hit to that side of the court, height is not something Nalbandian struggles with, he simply 'climbs' over the ball. A truly gifted tennis player was Nalbandian and one who I believe did not win as much as his ball striking would suggest.......

Nalbandian en Miami 2010

Monday, 20 October 2014


I have stated many times on my site that there are two types of tennis players, in fact there are probably many types of tennis players but two spring to mind; There are tennis players who can play tennis and there are tennis players who can't, pretty simple stuff, so what's the catch ? 
Anyone can hit a tennis ball, some do it to almost perfection especially when up against a ball machine or a practice opponent yet that's where the form stays. So what about the other type ?
Well the other type of tennis player is the one who perhaps doesn't even train as hard as the ball machine player yet this person knows how to play tennis. 
The game of tennis has long been known for being one that produces players who are technically gifted yet their claim to fame may be simply the occasional good win or smaller tournament victory. Look at the American Ryan Harrison, this guy is an enigma. He was a top ten player in the World Junior rankings in 2008 but he has not been able to replicate that sort of ability into the senior ranks. He is currently ranked 197.
That's not to say Harrison can't play tennis but it seems that unless he finds a way soon to match it with the big boys then he may just be another in a long list of wasted talents. If you aren't sure who this guy even is well to get an indication of how he hits a tennis ball I would recommend looking him up on You Tube. There is no doubt about the fact that Ryan Harrison owns every shot to succeed at the game of tennis but he can't find that one thing to lift him out of the pack of 'good players' to the next pack of great players. 
Now to a totally different class of player altogether and this guy was brilliant, David Nalbandian of Argentina, without a doubt an enigma of World Tennis. In fact while I think of it I may share a you tube highlight package of this guy's backhand on this site as I believe it may just have been the best of his time. 
Nalbandian reached the semi finals of every Grand Slam and won the year ending Tennis Masters Cup in 2005 over Federer in the final, from memory 7-6 in the fifth. How he never won a Grand Slam I suppose will remain a mystery however he was in an era of brilliant tennis players and not every great player has won a Slam. 
Was the only thing lacking in Nalbandian's repertoire a mind as brilliant as his backhand ? Who knows ? Maybe only David knows the answer.
I do believe though that if ever a kid would like to learn how to strike a double handed backhand to perfection then Nalbandian's should be studied closely, it was remarkable to say the least.
So back to the original chapter headline, how do you go from being someone who can hit a tennis ball well to being someone who can 'play' tennis ? As I have written many times it may just be in the way our mind has been programmed and it's tough to reprogram the grey matter, fact of life. There are so many brilliant ball strikers in tennis, not just at the elite level but at the Challenger level and even College level yet only a handful of players break through.
You can hit a tennis ball all you like , it may get you to a certain stage with your tennis but chances are it will not take you to a high level of competition. Some players I believe are born with a gift of 'no fear' when playing and a mind that can almost see the game tactically before it even happens. These players have something that the rest of us can only dream of.
What goes into winning a tennis match is far more than a cracking forehand and a huge serve, it's what the mind can deliver in a split second or even less in a series of decision making.
I don't believe in 'over coaching' players as far as court time is concerned and endless hitting sessions with no substance are pointless. It's what can be instilled into the mind in a session that will ultimately define a player and bring out their best........

Saturday, 18 October 2014


It's rather amazing just how quickly a game of tennis can change in the space of 15 minutes. I was on the ATP Site tonight watching the live score updates from the Stockholm Open Semi Finals. Australian Bernie Tomich was up against Grigor Dimitrov, a match that the Bulgarian perhaps was expected to win comfortably.
 Bernie lately though seems to have got his act together and this match looked like one that he felt he had a bit of a chance in. After a 6-3 first set win to the favored Bulgarian World number 11 Tomic was cruising at 5-2 in the second and deuce on Dimitrov's serve, just two points from a third set showdown. From memory the match clock was showing one hour and six minutes .
At one hour and nineteen minutes the match was over , 6-3, 7-5 to Dimitrov. Was it the fact that Tomic felt he could have or should have taken that set at 5-2 up then started the final set on his serve or did he simply tighten up ? Either way the game of tennis has a way of sorting the men from the boys especially when the match gets to a time of high stakes decision making.
It's why the best are the best and the rest, well, they are just that , the rest, and there's a lot of em........

Thursday, 16 October 2014


If ever there was an example or two as to just how tough the game of tennis is then look no further than the recent results in Moscow at The Kremlin Cup. At times I think we all take for granted that the World's best players simply just keep winning, after all it's their job isn't it ? If they didn't keep winning well surely they would be the next Bricklayers or Lawn Mower Men.
So how tough is it in Men's Professional Tennis ? How's this.....
Ricardas Berankis, an old practice partner of Roger Federer took out World number 9 Milos Raonic in three sets in the second round . Berankis is in fact ranked 116 currently.
Mikhael Kukushkin is ranked 74 currently and he belted the Italian 'gangster' Fabio Fognini easily 4 and 2 in the same round. Fabio is currently ranked 19 but as we all know, he has his ups , downs and more downs.
So there you go , do the sums on those two matches. Are you the hunter or the hunted in Men's World Tennis ? All depends on who turns up, 'Dr Jekyll' or 'Mr Hyde'........


I am not quite sure where ego and tennis all started but I believe that in any form of one on one sport there is a certain element of 'ego vs ego'. Andre Agassi speaks of tennis as a 'boxing match' albeit around 70 feet from your opponent. Agassi talks of Boris Becker in his book 'Open' and how he despised him yet when you put it all into perspective the great 'Boom Boom' Becker was 6 foot 3. Agassi was then and still should be 5 foot 11, that's my height, and personally I know my own capabilities. But did Andre ? 
The Las Vegas showman didn't have to put the boxing gloves on, he simply had to return the serve of the German regularly to drive his ego. Despite Andre being the son of a boxer I believe he may have just found the extra 10 cm and weight disadvantage to be a little too much if the gloves were put on.
Andre Agassi also talks of the great Jimmy Connors in a less than complimentary way in his book, preferring to label Connors an 'egotist' . I find that amusing. When Connors and Agassi first traded blows in 1988 on court at the US Open  Agassi was 18 years of age, Connors 36. Agassi won in straight sets. Personally I believe that the comments in the press conference ( earlier chapter ) hurt Connors more than the loss. 
The following year in New York Connors won the third set against Agassi 6-0 when Connors was 37 years of age, Agassi 19, surely this demands some respect ? Nope, not according to Andre as his book suggests. The best excuse he could come up with was that he was trying to take Jimmy to 5 sets to give him 'some pain'. I find this rather amusing. 
If Andre was that confident that he 'owned' Jimmy then surely he would have won the last two sets say 6-1, 6-2 rather than 6-3 and 6-4 as was the case.
 I don't believe for a minute that Andre was in control of this particular match as he basically said , it was I believe an egotistical claim. The third set was rather silly but Connors was not missing a ball against his much younger opponent so despite Andre's claims that he basically tanked the set I think there was more to it. More ego.
I received an email a while back from a much younger fellow than myself, almost the difference between Jimmy and Andre, in years, obviously not ability. The young fellow was not happy with one or two of my chapters so he challenged me to a match ! Fair dinkum I have seen some things over the years but this may have just taken the cake. As I always say " If you take offence to what I write then perhaps it has some substance after all ".
Remember the chapter I titled 'Stefan Koubek ( Legend ) ? Well here is a man who did not possess the skills of Becker , Agassi or Connors yet his egotistical ways on court were almost second to none. Trying to choke his opponent at the side of the court was maybe one of the funniest yet strangest things you could ever witness in tennis.
So to my conclusion; It's an egotistical game, it's one on one, mind vs mind, body vs body, shot vs shot, it has to be EGO VS EGO, what else could it possibly be ? As far as coaches of the game of tennis are concerned , well I have a theory. 
Usually the ones that 'bite' to others comments are the ones that are a little unsure of either who they are or what they even stand for in the sport of tennis. After all if you are doing a good job then others' opinions should not affect the way they teach or talk about the game . 'Water off a Duck's back' should be their motto yet strangely this does not seem to be the case.
So to the guy who accused me of writing sh.. : No we have not played that challenge match yet, I am waiting another few years til he gets closer to my age, one day Champ.......

Monday, 13 October 2014


Some people ask me why I don't write about women's tennis. Easy answer , it does not interest me. Even if Sharapova is playing I won't really watch any more than perhaps a game or two because she is too loud. Victoria Azarenka brought the whole women's tour into disrepute two Australian Opens back when she blatantly cheated against Stephens. Funny thing is, she was allowed to do it, not sure why but all that was missing in this episode was the footage of Azarenka having a cuppa and a tim tam while she gathered her thoughts.
Women's tennis to me is almost baffling. Why if you were Sam Stosur wouldn't you come to the net behind that serve ? She hits it like a man, especially the second delivery that has a kick on it that surely would set up an easy volley or two. Yet she chooses to stay back just like the rest of the pack. It's a wonderful thing the internet as it allows you to look up practically anything so here it goes, the statistic that backs the following claim ; Women simply don't go to the net except to shake hands.
The following information is from 20 or so matches from the WTA Tour at the beginning of January 2014, it's fascinating.
Of the 40 players who were put under the microscope only 27 of them came to the net so that means that 13 players only came to the net to give a handshake. The 27 players who did come to the net however only averaged just under 5 approaches per match. A vast difference from Roger Federer who in my last chapter was marked at 48 net approaches in his match against Djokovic, which Federer won.
The data states that out of the 126 net approaches that these women combined to make, a total of 84 points were in fact won. That's two thirds, I think. Just over 10 per cent were cleanly passed with a winner, so what does that tell us ?
Coming to the net is a great way to finish the point as it either forces an opponent into error or it can keep the points a little shorter which inevitably maintains the body, or both.
It seems that the whole concept of coming to the net is just too stressful for most women tennis players so they sit back and belt the ground strokes. So is the net game being taught by the modern day tennis coach ?
You do the sums.......
So there you go I have written a chapter about Women's Tennis, but will be my last. This was just to prove I am open to suggestion......

Sunday, 12 October 2014


Sorry mate this chapter isn't about you. This is about the man from Switzerland, a man who Ernest Gulbis reckons gives too many 'perfect' press conferences ( another chapter ) . This is about the man who's game defies most modern day tennis coaches as they teach their students that staying at the back of the court all day is the way to go.
Mr Roger Federer had made the net game cool again, something that the great Jonny Mac did with just as much genius, perhaps even more, but Fed now does it with a gentleman's touch. Only going to the net to shake hands as many players do now days is no longer deemed as the only way to win. The recent Shanghai Masters is proof that getting to the net to finish the point is not only a gutsy way of playing tennis but also an effective one.
If you aren't sure of what I mean then take a look at the highlights of the match Federer vs Djokovic, this is an absolute clinic on how you go about dismantling a baseline player. In this match Federer came to the net a total of 48 times, that's a lot of passing shots he is asking of the Djoker to hit.
The net attack was a mixture of serve and volley plus approaching during a rally, even chip and charge, a perfect mix it seems.
If you look at these highlights you will also see that many of Federer's approaches are directed down the middle of the court and that's a sign of a very smart player. Not giving angle to a player who thrives off it is something that is almost unheard of in some player's thought process but simply natural for a man of Fed's ability.
What is also so educating to watch is the way Roger creeps into the net to finish a point when his opponent is expecting him to still be back at the baseline. At times his opponents are putting a rally ball back into play only to see Federer at the net to put away a simple volley. The element of surprise in Federer's game at the moment is nothing short of genius.
I am hoping the man from Switzerland will remain fit to play for several years yet as he may just change the way this game is taught especially if he continues his current form. Beating Novak who rarely misses during baseline exchanges will no doubt get the cogs cranking in the minds of all of those tennis 'guru's' who think they know the game.
 What a win like this does is defy the current robotic style of player who just keeps hitting from the back and relies on wearing his opponent out . It also gives credibility to the fact that coming to the net actually can maintain a player's body by finishing the points earlier.
The Fed is a genius, no doubt about it. Forget the Nadal way of playing , at least try something different, change it up , hit that big forehand then get in behind it . Keep the backhand slice low down the middle and give your angle loving opponent nothing to drive his ego with.
A thinking man's game is tennis, just keep thinking, and watching Mr Federer........

Thursday, 9 October 2014


I am not always speaking my mind on this site, a lot of the time I simply relay moments in the game that perhaps are considered rather controversial, like this one. 
Now don't get me wrong, I am not a fan of ugly parents or over bearing coaches but this one has always made me smile, I actually believe it has substance. 
Roger Rasheed, according to Bernard Tomic's Father John is 'not a tennis coach, he is a fitness instructor'. Does anyone not agree so far ? This comment was made many years ago when young Bernie was just 16. Rasheed may have started the feud when he had a go at Mr Tomic Snr regarding his over bearing ways regarding his son's mentoring. No real argument there either. 
From June 2003 to January 2007 Roger Rasheed was Lleyton Hewitt's Coach so why don't we look at the rankings history just to confirm John Tomic's claim ? 
June 2003 Lleyton Hewitt is ranked World Number 2 , two months earlier he was in fact World Number 1, not much difference really is there ?
By Christmas time Hewitt was ranked 17, now there IS a difference. 
By April 2004 the following year Hewitt was ranked 20, still heading the wrong way, sorry Roger R.
By September 2004 Lleyton was back to World Number 3, happy days again but a bit of a roller coaster ride with his new coach Mr Rasheed. 
I do remember reading once from Mr John Tomic a comment directed at Roger along the lines of " I would like to congratulate Roger Rasheed for taking Lleyton Hewitt from World number 2 to world number 20". I believe this was almost 100 per cent correct as my memory is pretty good. 
Anyhow all this aside, who is to blame ? Anyone who had commented on the whole thing , that's who is to blame just as I mentioned in an earlier chapter regarding Marinko Matosevic and Sam Stosur.
Marinko was asked for an opinion , he gave it, Sam Stosur had a go at Marinko, silly stuff really. How can you have a shot at someone who is simply asked to give an opinion ? What is right and what is wrong ? 
Personally I do not like Rasheed or Tomic but I will say one thing, the proof is in the example given. John Tomic did not appreciate what Rasheed said about his son so he fired back with some facts and figures.When you do the sums Mr Tomic may just be correct. Rasheed did take over an apparent 'dream job' of coaching the best player in the World however there is a slight problem there. 
It's one thing to take over a champion but the obvious issue is simple, can you keep them at the top ?  Personally I like the idea of taking a player from novice to champion, that's when you know you are teaching the game well.
Not quite sure how Roger and John are getting along now days but John T may just be quietly smiling. Gael Monfils and Jo Wilfred are no longer with Rasheed and Dimitrov is up and down like a yo yo with Roger as his coach.
Is Dimitrov cutting corners ? Apparently he has every shot in the book but needed a fitness coach as well as a technical coach. I don't believe Rasheed can do both......

Wednesday, 8 October 2014


I can't say it enough , I thank you all sincerely for tuning in and reading my many chapters , it inspires me to write more. To the guy locally that jumped on at midnight to read several chapters, thanks Champ, perhaps a bit of insomnia so you needed something to read ? Or something to put you back to sleep maybe ??!!
To the members of the committee of people who have expressed their dislike for the things I write I see that you still can't help but log on to this site. I am glad you appreciate my writing despite your lack of appreciation for me personally. 
The game of tennis is one where we all express ourselves in different ways and I enjoy putting my memory of the game down on this site. As far as my theories are concerned, well we are all entitled to an opinion.
To those who I offended in the past with my rather blunt assessment on their ways of teaching the game or the way certain Clubs conducted themselves, well it's simple really;
If you take offence then perhaps what I have written has some substance after all.
I don't rely on tennis coaching for a living, never have and never will. I enjoy teaching however and sharing my thoughts on the game with students of all ages. After 32 years on court you learn a thing or two and above all I believe in not over charging or over coaching for that matter.
It may be the reason why I not only still enjoy teaching the game but I still enjoy playing. A win in the State 45's at the end of last season proved to be a moment in my tennis that I was extremely proud of. The title was a bonus but just playing it was something that proved that the desire was still there.
There was just one thing I was after before I turned 50 and that was an Australian age ranking , something I have not had since I was age 17. Somehow I managed to also gain a World age ranking, not sure how but I will take it. 
One bloke sent me a rather humorous message and told me I wasn't having a go at any tournaments so what right did I have to talk about anyone else ?! That tournament victory I dedicated to him. 
Just one thing before I go, remind me never to offer free one on one lessons again , whilst it's been good for business I am running out of time to do other things, you live and learn......
Regards Glenn


Sometimes my memory goes way back to a time that even I don't understand why , I simply remember things on a day to day basis that inspired me to play the game of tennis. I remember scores that are over 30 years old and I recall matches where I can still visualize certain points that inspired me to hit on my garage wall for hours.
 It is no secret that both Mats Wilander and Bjorn Borg of Sweden were my biggest inspiration.The small Scandinavian Country produced many more champions and their style of play was one I did my best to emulate.  Here's another story that I have never forgotten that may go down in history as one of the great title wins of all time.
The 1983 Australian Open at Kooyong was played on grass, a surface that reigning French Open Champion Mats Wilander knew very little about. He knew however that his famous countryman Borg could back up victory at the French Open on clay with victory on grass at Wimbledon. It is possibly one of the most difficult transitions in tennis but Wilander saw his chance.
The Australian Open of '83 saw just 80 players in the Men's Draw that also saw the top 16 seeds receive a first round bye, obviously due to the numbers. It wasn't to say that it was not a strong draw however as Lendl, McEnroe, Mayotte and Teltscher all showed as did two former champions Vitas Gerulaitis and Johan Kriek. The surface of '83 was not one for the baseliners , it was tailor made for a player of McEnroe's serving and volleying expertise. Keeping the points short was the key to victory or so the form guide said.
Mats Wilander was only 18 years of age and after a fourth round showing at Wimbledon in '82 this was only his second Grand Slam entry on the turf . Seeded 3 the Swede took on big serving American Ben Testerman in the second round . Testerman had a game to bother most players especially on grass and lead Wilander two sets to one before Mats came back to win 6-2 in the fifth.
The third round saw Wilander up against Roscoe Tanner, a former Wimbledon finalist and top ten player with arguably the biggest serve of his time. Wilander won in four and then took on Australian Paul McNamee in the round of 16. A year earlier McNamee lost 5-7 in the fifth set of his semi final against eventual champion Johan Kriek of South Africa. From memory he also held match point.
Wilander was beginning to gain some confidence on the grass and beat the Aussie in straight sets and earned the right to play Kriek in the quarter finals.
Johan Kriek on the turf was a clever player , not a huge serve but a consistent volleyer and he attacked well, hence his tournament victories of the previous two years. Wilander's returning in this match was something that Kriek could not come to terms with and a 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 victory now saw the Swede take on tournament favourite John McEnroe.
 Now this was a match that Mac on paper should have won comfortably, he was a genius on grass and a multiple Wimbledon Champion. I did watch this match, it was rather remarkable as I have never seen a player hit so many passing shots and topspin lobs as Mats did , he was quite simply in the 'zone'. I believe the score was 4-6, 6-3, 6-4, 6-3 and it took the 18 year into the final against World number 1 Ivan Lendl.
Now Lendl had quietly gone about his business on his side of the draw and had a couple of solid wins against quality grass court players, namely Thomas Smid and Tim Mayotte. The latter in fact was a semi finalist at Wimbledon a year earlier and had perhaps one of the best serve and volley games of the early to mid eighties. Lendl however beat Mayotte with ease in his semi  6-1, 7-6, 6-3, the final surely would be a classic.
Neither Lendl or Wilander had any real grass court wins of  significance coming into the Australian Open of 1983 but by the time of the final the grass had been worn to more of a hard court. This was a surface that Lendl felt more at home with.
This match for some reason however failed to live up to any expectations which looking back on was not that unusual for Lendl. The win by Wilander of the score 6-1, 6-4, 6-4 was in fact the fourth time Lendl had been relegated to runner up in a Slam following losses to Borg at the French and Connors twice at the US.
Lendl would eventually overcome his nerves in the majors and picked up a total of eight Grand Slam Championships that commenced in 1984 at the French Open. Wilander picked up a further five major's which gave him a total of seven Grand Slams or eight if you count the 1986 Wimbledon Doubles title with countryman Joakim Nystrom.
Just another moment in tennis history that I perhaps will not cover in my lifetime but I am slowly but surely getting through the ones that inspired me to learn the intricacies of  tennis.
The Australian Open of 1983 was unusual in the way that it was won by a player who defied that surface's more fancied players. Perhaps again it was the mental side of the game that enabled the winner to ignore the bigger name and simply play the ball, something we could all try more often..........

Monday, 6 October 2014


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 favor, 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 nonreturnable serves that had Andre scrambling left, right and center 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........

Sunday, 5 October 2014


Jimmy Connors , when I was a kid first starting to watch the game of tennis was a larger than life type of player who's tennis was exhilarating but his mannerism's were just as entertaining. I have looked everywhere on You Tube for a piece of footage that I will never forget yet it seems to be forgotten by the Tennis World unfortunately.
This particular match I had in mind was one against arch rival Ivan Lendl, these two didn't really have much time for each other either on or off court. I recall vividly Lendl complaining about the umpiring and in fact sitting down in his chair in protest about something. Connors did what any character of the game would do, he grabbed a court side microphone and started interviewing crowd members . From memory I believe one of his questions was " Excuse me Sir is this the most amazing thing you have ever seen on a tennis court"?
This was possibly one of the funniest things I have ever seen in tennis yet it seems as though it has no footage at all anymore, perhaps one day it will turn up, hopefully. Jimmy Connors was like that , he could be an entertainer as well as a champion tennis player. Matches between him and McEnroe were particularly worth watching as these two really didn't like each other either. Connors did like Borg though as the champion Swede never did anything to upset him, he simply just beat him all the time. From memory perhaps ten or eleven matches in a row to Borg.
The thing that Connors did was play with a style that many kids of today could emulate, he played with guts. Jimmy was never a great volleyer yet if you watch some old footage you will see a man who played with no limitations. 'Jimbo' would at times get on a roll with his approach shots and keep coming in to finish the point, it was attacking tennis at it's best from a baseliner.
The Lipton Championship final of 1988 saw Connors come to the net over 100 times in a four set loss to Wilander but he lived by one rule, don't die wondering. Jimbo will always be remembered for his many famous quotes, some were priceless, none better than " I hate to lose more than I like to win".
Connors was possibly the biggest driving force behind the Seniors Tour , a series of tournaments involving past champions who still had much to offer to the public as far as their ability was concerned. The tour was and still is a huge success.
 Whilst many considered Jimbo egotistical and arrogant he was one of the most charismatic players the game has ever produced. The brand that he delivered was one that will possibly always remain unique with a mixture of hard flat hitting combined with a solid volley. When Connors was in trouble he would often resort to all out attack rather than sit on the baseline and play safe tennis.
These quotes from Jimbo will go down in history as some of the best....
"People don't seem to understand that it's a damn war out there ".
" Experience is a great advantage. The problem is that when you get the experience you're too damned old to do anything about it ". 
" I'm not looking to be understood or liked. Like me or not, I don't care. I am an outsider, that is the way I was brought up ".
Jimmy's book 'The Outsider' is a classic, do yourself a favour......

Saturday, 4 October 2014


The year of 1988 was without a doubt my favourite year of tennis, as a spectator. My idol Mats Wilander won 3 of the 4 Grand Slams and made the quarter finals of the only one that he didn't win, Wimbledon. He also became World number 1 , he was just 24 years of age.
 In the final of the French Open against Henri Leconte of France a total of just two first serves were missed by Wilander. I believe that it worked out to be 97 per cent of first serves in or around 71 of 73 . The Swede won the match in straight sets.
If you look at this statistic it tells you that here was a player who did not have a great serve , so he didn't expend any more energy than he had to on the delivery. That to me is the sign of a smart player.
Wilander was a genius, a master tactician who not unlike Borg had no real weapons except the ability to not miss  and a mind that was willing to stay on court as long as necessary to win.
The fitness of Wilander was rather extraordinary as the Australian Open of '88 proved just how strong he was. He spent three hours and 19 minutes on court over 5 sets against Edberg in the semi's then three hours and 55 minutes in a 5 set win over Cash in the final.
 If you know anything about tennis you will realize that against a serve and volleyer your play has to be precise, Cash and Edberg were two of the best ever. Hitting pin point returns and passing shots against players like these  requires a radar that is second to none.
The US Open Final against Lendl was a completely different match however as Wilander had to nullify the big hitting of the Czech. Mats' tactics in the final were clever to say the least, he gave Lendl a mix of everything. 
With a variation of long baseline exchanges to serve and volleying plus many net approaches from his slice backhand in particular he gave Lendl no rhythm. From memory I believe it was around 37 to 74 in favour of Mats as far as unforced errors were concerned in his epic 5 set victory.
As far as a form guide in the lead up to the US Open it seemed that the Swede was destined to win the one major tournament that his famous countryman Borg couldn't. Wilander beat a strong field including top seed Stefan Edberg 3-6, 7-6, 7-6 in the final of Cincinnati two weeks prior to the Open in New York.
In '88 Wilander also won what was then considered the 'Fifth Grand Slam' in Key Biscane, Florida at the Lipton International Players Championships. The 6-4, 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 win over Jimmy Connors in the final was a classic match where the stats will tell you Connors went to the net over 100 times. Perhaps useless information however it tells you that as good as Connors was he obviously felt he could not win staying on the baseline.
The Lipton Championships were held in such high regard that the entire tournament was played over 5 sets, not just the final, hence the 'Fifth Grand Slam' tag. Perhaps the prize money for this tournament also proved that it was a major check in point for the World's best. The winners prize of $110,000 US was in fact more than the Australian Open winner's prize of that year which was just under $105,000 US.
Wilander's good friend and countryman Stefan Edberg in fact won Wimbledon in the same year giving Sweden the complete Grand Slam of Men's Singles titles.
1988, the year of the Swede......

Thursday, 2 October 2014


If there is any young tennis player out there under any illusions at just how tough it is to become a professional tennis player then look no further than a result just this week. Before I get to that result I wrote a chapter on August 24 of this year regarding a qualifying match in the US Open.
A Japanese player by the name of Tatsuma Ito won his first round qualifying match but hit a rather remarkable 46 unforced errors in the process. This I believe could just have been a turning point in his career, for the following reasons. 
In Ito's next match which he won comfortably he made just 16 unforced errors followed by a ridiculous 2 mistakes in his next, how the mindset can change from one match to another. Whether it was a case of making the most of his 'get out of jail free card' in his first match or simply a long hard look at what on earth he was producing as a pro in his next is unclear. Only Tatsuma knows, however as per usual  my theories flow.
Have a look at what Tatsuma Ito has earned in 2014 up until his second round showing at this year's US Open. $105,000, that's not a lot of cash for a pro tennis player who needs around two grand a week to pay for expenses and travel. The US Open netted him $60,000 for his second round loss. What would a pay cheque like 60 grand do for a player's mindset ? All of a sudden you aren't playing for your life so to speak, you are playing like a top tenner, no pressure on what you are going to pick up that week, a feeling of freedom within yourself and your game.
If ever there was perhaps some substance to this theory then look no further than this week's Japan Open where Ito received a Wild Card into the main draw. It wasn't a great draw though as he drew top seeded Stan Wawrinka, Fed's mate from Switzerland. Ito however played with a flair that threw his ranking of 103 out the window as he belted Stan in two sets.
Unfortunately Tatsuma could not go on with it in his second match and lost in straight sets to veteran Benjamin Becker. I would imagine though that Ito would have picked up around $25,000 US dollars for a round of 16 showing in a small 32 man field. Ito's bank account is looking healthier by the week.
So how tough is Professional Tennis ? When a guy ranked outside the top 100 beats a player in the top 5 it shows that there is very little separating the boys from the men. It may be an extra slice of fruit for brekky, an extra hour's sleep the night before or an extra 100 metre sprint in training a week before the tournament.
Unique game is tennis and unique are players who can keep winning each week when you take into account the physical similarities and technique brilliance of most players inside the top 200.
It's a game that requires perhaps a strong mind more than anything else, many theories but it's what makes tennis at times a mystery of sorts when trying to work out a player's form fluctuations. I am sure that's what makes many a player and coach alike scratch their heads in frustration, funny game tennis......