Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Fed vs. Rafa: What to Look For

Rafael Nadal vs. Roger Federer is one of the greatest matchups in the history of tennis. Nadal has been leading head to head, but Roger is never one to be counted out. Lets see what will decide the match:

1. Federer's First Serve

If Federer has a high first serve percentage and gets a lot of free points off of his serve, watch out Rafa!

2. Court Speed

The faster the court, the better for Federer. A fast court could be more problematic for the big swings of Rafa. A lower bouncing ball is much better for Federer's one handed backhand.

3. Federer's Second Serve Return

Working with Paul Annacone has been a blessing for Federer. He has gotten much more aggressive. Look for him to really go after Nadal's second serve.

4. Nadal's Forehand

Nadal has really made a conscous effort to run around his backhand. Look for him to do this often and look to attack.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Ivan a Good Fit for Murray ?

A perfect fit ! Murray's problem in the past is his lack of aggression when it matters. If hes playing the big four in a grand slam semi or final, he never hits out and play too passive. Ivan Lendle is know as one of the most agressive players ever. He can teach Andy that you can still be patient when trying to be offensive. Lendle knew when to attack, which explains his 8 grand slams.

Monday, January 23, 2012

What Does this Loss Mean for Serena ?

It doesn't mean anything. Serena Williams losing at this years Australian Open is a dissappointment, but does not change the dynamic of her place in tennis. She is still the most dangerous player at every slam. It is her third slam back from suffering a bloddclot and slicing a tendent in her foot. Her trip to the fourth round will give her enough points to propel her into the top 10. It is not certain how much Serena will focus o nthe clay court season. It is her weakest surface and the French Open is the only title where she has only won once. It would be smart for Serena to take the clay seriously if she wants to have a good shot at being the official number one.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Power Pays Off

Mary Carillo famously coined the phrase "big babe tennis." It describes players like Serena with hard strokes and an aggressive mindset. This years Australian Open has catered to the big babes. The most aggressive hitters on tour, Serena Williams, Sharapova, Sabine Lisiki, Victoria Azaranka, and Kim Clijsters all advanced to either the round of 16 or quaterfinals so far. They have the power to hit through the very slow paced hard courts of Australia.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Gimelstob Demoted ?

I noticed that Justin Gimelstop was not in the press booth during tennis channels coverage of the Aussie Open. He was a courtside reporter. I wonder if this was a deliberate move to demote the former 1999 Wimbledon Mixed Doubles Champion. The move would be welcomed. Gimelstob is way too analytical and matches up extremely poorly with  his legendary co-anchors, Martina Navratilova and Lindsey Davenport.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Party Likes it 2003

Andy Roddick reacts after falling awkwardly on the court during his match against Lleyton Hewitt.
Watching Hewitt and Roddick play each today was kinda weird. Even though they are 30 and 29 years old, it was like watching a classic rewind. Hewitt and Roddick were once greats of the game and now have fell into tennis obscurity. Both are still warriors on the court and respectable champions. Hewitt beat Roddick when Roddick had to pull out because of a hamstring injury.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Stosur's Waterloo

Sam Stosur shocked the world last year when she beat Serena to twin the US Open. Her first round departure at the Australian Open was even more surprising. She continues a modern Aussie tradition of the home countries players, playing poorly at their home slam. Hewitt never won here and Stosur never even made a semifinal.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Verdasco's Future ?

Fernando Verdasco lost a heartbreaking match against Bernard Tomic in the opening round of the Australian Open. Verdasco lost, while being up two sets to love. With Vedasco aging his future is quite uncertain. His ranking has also slipped significantly. Verdasco's game has a lot of variety so he will always be able to compete, but it is very unclear for how much longer.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Australian Open Woes

The Australian Open has been elusive to many great champions of the game of tennis. Lets take a look at some of the most famous players never to win this slam :

Venus Williams

Reason: It is not played on grass (anymore)

John McEnroe

Reason : Only played the slam one or two times when he was in his prime

Bjorn Borg

Only appeared once

Michael Chang

Reason: His game was not tailored for a slow hard court. The flat hitters like Agassi and Sampras dominated.