tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-28768758052442976022015-09-17T17:11:48.302-04:00Tennis Talk, Anyone?Tennis Talk, Anyone?http://www.blogger.com/profile/15851928994754867832noreply@blogger.comBlogger643125tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-2876875805244297602.post-39703864639086129492015-09-17T17:11:00.001-04:002015-09-17T17:11:48.336-04:00A stroke of brilliance with the U.S. Davis Cup lineup<div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-isLRltZwYec/Vfjs-_WWhaI/AAAAAAAAB3Q/E3KtI1Vg5Gc/s1600/dc1ac0aba4426d26800f6a7067000330.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="225" src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-isLRltZwYec/Vfjs-_WWhaI/AAAAAAAAB3Q/E3KtI1Vg5Gc/s400/dc1ac0aba4426d26800f6a7067000330.jpg" width="400" /></a></div><br />If you didn't know this about me, then let me fill you in on a personal fact:<br /><br />I love Davis Cup, specifically the U.S. Davis Cup team. And there was an announcement this week that has me more excited about the squad then I've been in a minute—and for a playoff tie, no less!<br /><br />Amid the Serena Slam-chasing, the Federer-romping, the Djokovic-winning and Flavia-winning/retiring and other happenings going on at the U.S. Open, the lineup for the U.S. in its playoff against Uzbekistan was announced. Making up the team will be Steve Johnson, Donald Young, Jack Sock and Sam Querrey.<br /><br />Yes!<br /><br />Now why, you may ask, would this have me excited? Because I wholeheartedly feel that it's the best way to develop these young players.<br /><br />I wrote <a href="http://www.tennisviewmag.com/tennis-view-magazine/article/could-davis-cup-boost-prospects-america%E2%80%99s-next-generation" target="_blank">something along those lines for Tennis View Magazine</a> a couple of years ago. It's kind of the sink-or-swim theory: Throw the youngsters into pressure-packed situations and see how they handle it. Just imagine the confidence Sock or Young could gain from winning a live fifth rubber against a hostile away crowd. Or conversely, being able to soak in the praise of pulling off a feat like that at home.<br /><br />Davis Cup Captain Jim Courier's counterpart, Fed Cup Captain Mary Joe Fernandez, has been going with the younger players for years—often because of the Williams' unavailability—and has had stellar results. <a href="http://www.tennisviewmag.com/tennis-view-magazine/article/mary-joe-fernandez-model-team-leaders" target="_blank">I wrote something about that for Tennis View, too</a>. (I guess I write a lot for TV!) A good draw with young talent and a bit of a veteran presence can do a lot of damage: i.e., Australia this year.<br /><br />Anyway, I think the guy that broke the mold on in recent years of going with young talent was Courier's predecessor Patrick McEnroe. One of my all-time favorite coaching moves in sport is when he told Bob and Mike Bryan they had to win a Slam first before he put them on the team, forsaking an all-singles players lineup. They did, and the rest is history.<br /><br />Now, not to say that John Isner and the Bryans should be kept off the team: All three have had amazing results over the years. But if there's a situation like this, let the neophytes play. And be sure to bring along Tommy Paul, Frances Tiafoe, Taylor May Fritz—any/all of those whipper-snappers—as practice partners.<br /><br />A youth movement can only be a good thing.<br /><br />(Photo: AP) Tennis Talk, Anyone?http://www.blogger.com/profile/15851928994754867832noreply@blogger.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-2876875805244297602.post-28828035784838522522015-08-09T22:33:00.003-04:002015-08-09T22:33:59.180-04:00Sloane did it!<div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-Yoy0vwRpmbQ/VcgNPU1k3QI/AAAAAAAAB2w/JXFI3XELMp8/s1600/201508091854680438206.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="320" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-Yoy0vwRpmbQ/VcgNPU1k3QI/AAAAAAAAB2w/JXFI3XELMp8/s320/201508091854680438206.jpg" width="220" /></a></div>I have to admit, I had some serious doubts about Sloane Stephens getting that first final/title anytime in the near future. The past year had its ups and downs as far as results go with losses aplenty and coaching changes.<br /><br />But any kinds of doubts were erased this week in Washington as the young American won her first career title (in her first career final). She beat Sam Stosur in the semis, then turned around and tagged Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova. In the last three sets played between those two matches, Stephens dropped only <i>three</i> games.<br /><br />That's some serious ballin' right there.<br /><br />(A side note: That's about how many games I've won in my last three sets. I'm really in a bad funk, right now.)<br /><br />Anyway...<br /><br />Extremely well done by Sephens. Here's hoping she can keep it up and live up to her potential.<br /><br />(Photo: AP)Tennis Talk, Anyone?http://www.blogger.com/profile/15851928994754867832noreply@blogger.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-2876875805244297602.post-82762947203154715442015-08-05T16:35:00.002-04:002015-08-05T16:35:48.687-04:00The summer of Sam Stosur?<div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-pmDIR-pfqW0/VcJzYJFMGPI/AAAAAAAAB2U/_yqM7PFyDq8/s1600/Part-DV-DV2073051-1-1-0.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="225" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-pmDIR-pfqW0/VcJzYJFMGPI/AAAAAAAAB2U/_yqM7PFyDq8/s400/Part-DV-DV2073051-1-1-0.jpg" width="400" /></a></div><br />A funny thing, from a couple of years ago:<br /><br />After Samantha Stosur won the WTA stop in Carlsbad, Calif., in 2013, she immediately went to the top of my favorites list for that year's U.S. Open. I even wrote about it for Bleacher Report and everything. But things weren't meant to be for the '11 Open champ.<br /><br />And that might actually be a bit of an understatement as she fell in the first round of the tournament to American Vicky Duval. Grand Slams have been a bit tricky for Stosur since her breakthrough. She managed a quarter and a semi in 2012, but nothing that deep since. You can almost mark her down for an early-round upset victim at any Major.<br /><br />However…<br /><br />Call me crazy, but I'm getting those old '13 feelings about her again. She's in the quarters in Washington, D.C., this week and is currently riding a seven-match winning streak, having won her second clay-court title of the year in Austria last week. She's playing solid tennis on her favorite surfaces and can hurt almost anyone with her serve and forehand.<br /><br />Of course, it's super-early in the hard-court swing and Stosur's only two matches into it. But let's say she wins Washington, which from her vantage point as the second seed, is very doable. A 10-match roll would be a perfect thing to build upon as she gets ready for New York.<br /><br />It's a long summer, but it could be a great one for Sam.<br /><br />(Photo: AFP)Tennis Talk, Anyone?http://www.blogger.com/profile/15851928994754867832noreply@blogger.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-2876875805244297602.post-89607462030294321272015-07-22T00:20:00.002-04:002015-07-22T00:20:39.095-04:00The TTA? challengeThere's nothing like a challenge to get the old blood flowing and the keys moving, I always say!<br /><br />Let me tell you about one I've just been issued.<br /><br />While figuring out some writing stuff, namely how to do more of it, my wife issued a challenge to me: Do at least four posts a week here up until the U.S. Open. Seeing as how it looks like I've fallen into doing four a year nowadays, I thought that would be kind of tough.<br /><br />But you know what? Who says life is all fun and games? I'm going to take the missus up on her challenge and go for it. It should be doable and there are benefits all around: I get to write, you get to read (hopefully). It's a win-win all around!<br /><br />So stick around here for more posts and the like. There is so much happening in the tennis world right now: TTA? aims to be along for the ride--four times a week!Tennis Talk, Anyone?http://www.blogger.com/profile/15851928994754867832noreply@blogger.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-2876875805244297602.post-89808481751108318082015-06-28T23:22:00.001-04:002015-06-28T23:22:52.322-04:00Wimbledon picks (from the round of 16 on)<div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-oOe7PeT-F64/VZC5r1XGj9I/AAAAAAAAB1w/HcPAvf1HzQ8/s1600/novakshot.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="225" src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-oOe7PeT-F64/VZC5r1XGj9I/AAAAAAAAB1w/HcPAvf1HzQ8/s400/novakshot.jpg" width="400" /></a></div><br />Would you believe me if I told you I knew Stan Wawrinka and Serena Williams were going to win the French Open a few weeks ago?<br /><br />Yeah, I wouldn't believe me either, especially without any proof in the form of a blog post to back it up.<br /><br />So I figured I'd better get my Wimbledon picks up for documentation!<br /><br />Here you go, for the men, in TTA? patented <b>round-of-16-on</b> fashion:<br /><br />Novak Djokovic (1) vs. Kevin Anderson (14)<br />Marin Cilic (9) vs. Kei Nishikori (5)<br />Stan Wawrinka (5) vs. Marcos Baghdatis<br />Richard Gasquet (21) vs. Milos Raonic (7)<br />Vasek Pospisil vs. Rafael Nadal (10)<br />Gilles Muller vs. Andy Murray (3)<br />Tomas Berdych (8) vs. Gael Monfils (18)<br />Feliciano Lopez (15) vs. Roger Federer (2)<br /><br /><b>Quarterfinals</b><br />Djokovic vs. Cilic<br />Wawrinka vs. Gasquet<br />Nadal vs. Murray<br />Berdych vs. Federer<br /><br /><b>Semifinals</b><br />Djokovic over Gasquet<br />Murray over Federer<br /><br /><b>Finals</b><br />Djokovic over Murray<br /><br />And for the women<br /><br /><b>Round of 16</b><br />Serena Williams (1) vs. Venus Williams (16)<br />Victoria Azarenka (23) vs. Belinda Bencic (30)<br />Maria Sharapova (4) vs. Flavia Pennetta (24)<br />CoCo Vandeweghe vs. Lucie Safarova (6)<br />Paula Parmentier vs. Angelique Kerber (10)<br />Sabine Lisicki (18) vs. Simona Halep (3)<br />Ekaterina Makarova (8) vs. Madison Keys (21)<br />Elina Svitolina (17) vs. Petra Kvitova (2)<br /><br /><b>Quarterfinals</b><br />Williams vs. Azarenka<br />Sharapova vs. Safarova<br />Kerber vs. Lisicki<br />Makarova vs. Kvitova<br /><br /><b>Semifinals</b><br />Williams over Sharapova<br />Kerber over Kvitova<br /><br /><b>Finals</b><br />Williams over Kerber<br /><br />Check back to see how I made out!<br /><br />(Photo: Tenis, Londres)Tennis Talk, Anyone?http://www.blogger.com/profile/15851928994754867832noreply@blogger.com1tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-2876875805244297602.post-57708305915690510802015-04-28T10:59:00.002-04:002015-04-29T18:15:20.922-04:00My call, once again, for American men to hit the dirt in Europe<div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-t4EEXgGm_iI/VT-gH5kH88I/AAAAAAAAB1E/f2wFr6R6M9M/s1600/atp-masters-series-monte-carlo-20150416-134749-188.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-t4EEXgGm_iI/VT-gH5kH88I/AAAAAAAAB1E/f2wFr6R6M9M/s1600/atp-masters-series-monte-carlo-20150416-134749-188.jpg" height="225" width="400" /></a></div><br />I hope I don't sound like too much of a broken record on this one, but I just can't figure out why the top American men don't play a heavier schedule on the red clay in Europe.<br /><br />I know that that's a long way from home base. I know there are finances involved. I know that there's the inclination to save oneself for the faster surfaces. But there's so much potential there to do well on the clay, and pick up points and prize money.<br /><br />Jack Sock just won the U.S. Clay Court Championships and did so in quite impressive fashion, counting among his wins Roberto Bautista Agut—no slouch on the clay at all. Why couldn't Sock hit Munich?<br /><br />I think if there was ever a surface built for current U.S. number-one John Isner, it's clay. He's battled Rafael Nadal to the brink on it a couple of times, and beaten Roger Federer. I'd think he could've made a dent in that Istanbul draw if he'd played.<br /><br />It might sound crazy, but I think an American male of this generation could have a better shot at going deeper at the French than Wimbledon. They can't follow the Courier/Agassi/Sampras/Chang model of showing up for the big warm-ups, either winning them or going deep in the draw, then advancing far at Roland Garros, mainly because those four are among the greatest players of all time.<br /><br />If the commitment's there from this current crop, though, the results will come.<br /><br />(Photo: Getty Images)<br /><br />Tennis Talk, Anyone?http://www.blogger.com/profile/15851928994754867832noreply@blogger.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-2876875805244297602.post-88244457026920596582015-03-29T23:48:00.001-04:002015-03-29T23:48:27.203-04:00Miami shaking out OK for Andy Murray<div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-YCZseKfsT5A/VRjHU3ToTyI/AAAAAAAAB0s/lFpBy69-n1E/s1600/andymurrayshot.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-YCZseKfsT5A/VRjHU3ToTyI/AAAAAAAAB0s/lFpBy69-n1E/s1600/andymurrayshot.jpg" height="266" width="400" /></a></div><br />It's been an interesting 2015 so far for Andy Murray.<br /><br />There was that Australian Open final. There was that return to the "Big 4." There was that stretch of tournaments without a sniff of a semifinal. There were those convincing defeats at the hands of Novak Djokovic.<br /><br />But I guess you'd have to say the good outweighs the bad, for the most part, especially coming off a season where he was rebounding from back surgery--not really the easiest thing in the world for a professional athlete to deal with.<br /><br />Anyway, the reason I bring up Andy Murray is because of Rafael Nadal and his upset loss to countryman Fernando Verdasco. Not that Nadal's exactly been a Miami world-beater, but in my mind, his loss makes a Murray run to the finals as close to a sure thing as it gets. I'd say the toughest player left in the bottom half of the draw is Tomas Berdych, and Murray's come through against him with regularity.<br /><br />I'm not necessarily tapping Murray for the finals once he gets there--I don't know what can derail the Novak Djokovic express--but a title-round tilt can be another notch in what has been an interesting campaign so far.<br /><br />(Photo: USA Today Sports)Tennis Talk, Anyone?http://www.blogger.com/profile/15851928994754867832noreply@blogger.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-2876875805244297602.post-40707206355131556002015-02-17T10:03:00.001-05:002015-02-17T10:03:14.963-05:00One of the best top tens in years?<div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-pcYR8zQdYds/VONYBaOc3OI/AAAAAAAABzo/cO15kBHH4i0/s1600/201502151652607476616-2.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-pcYR8zQdYds/VONYBaOc3OI/AAAAAAAABzo/cO15kBHH4i0/s1600/201502151652607476616-2.jpg" height="225" width="400" /></a></div><div><br /></div><div>Over the weekend, Kei Nishikori won his first title of the year in what's essentially become his home court, Memphis. Stan Wawrinka took home his second trophy of the season after winning Rotterdam.</div><div><br /></div><div>Wawrinka beat Tomas Berdych, a fellow member of the top 10, who has been having a very solid season as well.</div><div><br /></div><div>This has got me wondering: Is this one of the best top tens in men's tennis in years?</div><div><br /></div><div>You know Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Andy Murray are going to get theirs--and have been doing so for years.</div><div><br /></div><div>What makes things different nowadays is that the other guys are showing such a high level of mental toughness. Nishikori fought all the way through that Memphis draw. Wawrinka bounced back nicely after failing to defend his Australian Open title. Berdych's consistency has been at a high level all season. And you can't overlook Milos Raonic and David Ferrer: at opposite ends point-in-their-career-wise, but both eager for continues improvement.</div><div><br /></div><div>The jury's still out on Marin Cilic, who's been battling injury all year. Whenever he does return, he'll have a big battle ahead of him to maintain his spot among the above-mentioned players, who all appear eager for any challenge.<br /><br />(Photo: The Associated Press)</div>Tennis Talk, Anyone?http://www.blogger.com/profile/15851928994754867832noreply@blogger.com1tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-2876875805244297602.post-55287653316079116792015-01-25T22:25:00.003-05:002015-01-25T22:26:05.655-05:00One of those crazy Australian Open thoughts...<div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-n1wLC1GLdh8/VMWzaXyofgI/AAAAAAAABzI/WCyHvQOySjs/s1600/201501250530198176824.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-n1wLC1GLdh8/VMWzaXyofgI/AAAAAAAABzI/WCyHvQOySjs/s1600/201501250530198176824.jpg" height="225" width="400" /></a></div><br />So, this seems a little odd for me, chiming in at this point of the year's first Grand Slam when I usually would've had my patented round of 16 predictions all said and done by now, with another post or two in between. But I just had this crazy, nutty, out-of-this-world thought:<br /><br />What if no one from the "Big 4" made it to the semis?<br /><br />Like, suppose Nick Kyrgios continues to play like the fearless teenager that he is and rides the momentum of hometown support, and shocks Andy Murray in the quarters? What if Tomas Berdych decides no one beats him 18 times in a row and takes it to Rafael Nadal in their final-eight matchup?<br /><br />Roger Federer's already gone, having lost to Andreas Seppi in the third round. That just leaves the top dog himself, Novak Djokovic, who's been looking like the man to beat so far. He faces a resurgent Gilles Muller, then if he gets past that, big-boomer Milos Raonic or the underrated Feliciano Lopez in the quarters. Could one of them pull off the biggie?<br /><br />I don't know when the last time all four of the four were entered in a tournament and not one of them made the semifinals. I'd probably have to guess the safe answer would be "never." But what if it happened now?<br /><br />Crazier things in this world of ours have happened. And this would definitely be up there, tennis-wise.<br /><br />To be clear, I'm not actually rooting for that to happen, but if it did, it would be mind-blowing.<br /><br />And who doesn't like a little mind-blowing every now and then?<br /><br />(Photo: The Associated Press)Tennis Talk, Anyone?http://www.blogger.com/profile/15851928994754867832noreply@blogger.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-2876875805244297602.post-49483284394672463122014-11-21T07:58:00.002-05:002014-11-21T12:41:51.151-05:00Federer, Wawrinka Facing Biggest Test of Careers<!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <w:WordDocument> <w:View>Normal</w:View> <w:Zoom>0</w:Zoom> <w:TrackMoves/> <w:TrackFormatting/> <w:PunctuationKerning/> <w:ValidateAgainstSchemas/> <w:SaveIfXMLInvalid>false</w:SaveIfXMLInvalid> <w:IgnoreMixedContent>false</w:IgnoreMixedContent> <w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText>false</w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText> <w:DoNotPromoteQF/> <w:LidThemeOther>EN-US</w:LidThemeOther> <w:LidThemeAsian>X-NONE</w:LidThemeAsian> <w:LidThemeComplexScript>X-NONE</w:LidThemeComplexScript> <w:Compatibility> <w:BreakWrappedTables/> <w:SnapToGridInCell/> <w:WrapTextWithPunct/> <w:UseAsianBreakRules/> <w:DontGrowAutofit/> <w:SplitPgBreakAndParaMark/> <w:DontVertAlignCellWithSp/> <w:DontBreakConstrainedForcedTables/> <w:DontVertAlignInTxbx/> <w:Word11KerningPairs/> <w:CachedColBalance/> </w:Compatibility> <w:BrowserLevel>MicrosoftInternetExplorer4</w:BrowserLevel> <m:mathPr> <m:mathFont m:val="Cambria Math"/> <m:brkBin m:val="before"/> <m:brkBinSub m:val="--"/> <m:smallFrac m:val="off"/> <m:dispDef/> <m:lMargin m:val="0"/> <m:rMargin m:val="0"/> <m:defJc m:val="centerGroup"/> <m:wrapIndent m:val="1440"/> <m:intLim m:val="subSup"/> <m:naryLim m:val="undOvr"/> </m:mathPr></w:WordDocument></xml><![endif]--> <br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-0QNgryLkcd8/VG821ADRW7I/AAAAAAAABys/XWOqnJ9xbog/s1600/201411200635237346609-p5.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-0QNgryLkcd8/VG821ADRW7I/AAAAAAAABys/XWOqnJ9xbog/s1600/201411200635237346609-p5.jpg" height="225" width="400" /></a></div><div class="MsoNormal">It wasn’t so long ago that Roger Federer and Stan Wawrinka—two of the top four players in the world—lost a Davis Cup tie that they were overwhelming favorites to win. <br /><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal">At home.<br /><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal">Indoors on clay.<br /><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal">Against the United States.<br /><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal">The Swiss team has managed to bounce back against that most ignominious defeat quite nicely and finds itself in the Davis Cup finals for only the second time in the nation’s history. And even though Federer and Wawrinka have had fantastic years, they’re faced with some serious obstacles:<br /><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal">Playing indoors on clay.<br /><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal">On the road against a veteran French team.<br /><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal">Balky health.<br /><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal">And the unbelievable amount of pressure to capitalize on their best opportunity to win the Davis Cup and put one last feather in the cap of Federer’s accomplishments.<br /><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal">It’s a stern test, possibly the biggest of both of their careers—even that of the most prolific Grand Slam winner in men’s singles.<br /><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal">Because of his near-decade of dominance, Federer has rarely found himself in a situation where he’s been so close to capturing a meaningful title and the situation representing his best opportunity to achieving the feat. In one instance, after Rafael Nadal lost early at the 2009 French Open, Federer became the overwhelming favorite to win the title, which he did, finally completing his career Grand Slam. <br /><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal">Conversely, at the 2012 Summer Olympics, Federer made it to the Gold Medal match, but was soundly defeated by Andy Murray, whom he’d just beaten on that same court a few weeks earlier in the finals of Wimbledon. More than likely, it was Federer’s best chance to join the likes of Nadal and Andre Agassi as holders of the career “Golden Slam.”<br /><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal">As for Wawrinka, his career has been one of mostly ups and downs. In 2014,<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>though, coming off his first year-end top 10 finish, he finally realized his potential and won his first Grand Slam singles crown, defeating Novak Djokovic and Nadal en route to the Australian Open title. The months afterward showed he wasn’t ready to quite capitalize on that surprise victory as he won only one more tournament over the course of the year.<br /><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal">Wawrinka has been a Davis Cup stalwart for Switzerland, often having to pick up the slack when Federer hasn’t participated in the competition over the years. But the situation this weekend is entirely different as the Swiss players will be facing former top-tenners in Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Gael Monfils, who both know how to work a crowd to their advantage.<br /><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal">It’s a difficult situation, especially as Federer and Wawrinka are the favorites on paper and are both accomplished clay-courters. Can they overcome one of the stiffest tests they’ve had to face in their careers?<br /><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal">One thing’s for certain: It’ll be worthwhile viewing to see how they handle the pressure. </div><div class="MsoNormal"><br /></div><!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <w:LatentStyles DefLockedState="false" DefUnhideWhenUsed="true" DefSemiHidden="true" DefQFormat="false" DefPriority="99" LatentStyleCount="267"> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="0" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" QFormat="true" Name="Normal"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="9" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" QFormat="true" Name="heading 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="9" QFormat="true" Name="heading 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="9" QFormat="true" Name="heading 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="9" QFormat="true" Name="heading 4"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="9" QFormat="true" Name="heading 5"/> <w:LsdException 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mso-para-margin-right:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:10.0pt; mso-para-margin-left:0in; line-height:115%; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:11.0pt; font-family:"Calibri","sans-serif"; mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-fareast-theme-font:minor-fareast; mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;} </style><![endif]-->Tennis Talk, Anyone?http://www.blogger.com/profile/15851928994754867832noreply@blogger.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-2876875805244297602.post-43108901951401182362014-11-14T19:02:00.001-05:002014-11-14T19:02:03.754-05:00So, what have I missed?Only a couple Slams, some Masters 1000 events, a year-end championship, a Fed Cup title, a Davis Cup round or two...<div><br></div><div>You get the idea!</div><div><br></div><div>But let's let all that go and talk about the here and now, now being the ATP World Tour Finals. Not much drama on the singles side with a lot of whuppings going on. Should be some good semifinal matches, though. Kei Nishikori is a gamer, Novak Djokovic is on fire, Roger Federer is playing like it's the late aughts and Stan Wawrinka has been solid. It's a solid efinal four, and one I'll ruminate on post-matchups.</div><div><br></div><div>And I promise it'll be sooner than my last post!</div>Tennis Talk, Anyone?http://www.blogger.com/profile/15851928994754867832noreply@blogger.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-2876875805244297602.post-90788275525451268612014-06-23T17:52:00.001-04:002014-06-23T17:52:09.785-04:00Still going (kinda) strong after all these years!Happy birthday!<br /><br />Not to you (unless it is your birthday!), not to me (still a month away).<br /><br />Rather to this old blog of mine, Tennis Talk, Anyone? Seven years old today!<br /><br />My, they grow up so fast!<br /><br />I can't even begin to list all the things that have happened tennis-wise over the years, but they've been great and a lot of them due to TTA?.<br /><br />I know I don't get to post as much as I'd like, but I try and vow to try even harder. And if you're still reading this blog, thank you so much! I hope it doesn't let you down.Tennis Talk, Anyone?http://www.blogger.com/profile/15851928994754867832noreply@blogger.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-2876875805244297602.post-86410637783261249722014-06-22T22:12:00.000-04:002014-06-22T22:14:51.809-04:00Wimbledon picks for '14 (and as always, from the fourth round on)<div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"></div>I missed it for the French, but in true TTA? fashion—aside from that aforementioned blemish—here's my Slam predictions, from the fourth round on. Enjoy the start of Wimbledon! <br /><br /><br /><b>MEN</b><br /><b>Fourth Round</b><br />Novak Djokovic (1) vs. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (14)<br />Fernando Verdasco (18) vs. Tomas Berdych (6)<br />Andy Murray (3) vs. Kevin Anderson (20)<br />Grigor Dimitrov (11) vs. Marcos Baghdatis<br />Denis Istomin vs. Feliciano Lopez (19)<br />Lleyton Hewitt vs. Roger Federer (4)<br />Milos Raonic (8) vs. Philipp Kohlschreiber (22)<br />Richard Gasquet (13) vs. Rafael Nadal (2)<br /><br /><b>Quarterfinals</b><br />Djokovic vs. Berdych<br />Murray vs. Dimitrov<br />Lopez vs. Federer<br />Raonic vs. Nadal<br /><br /><b>Semifinals</b><br />Djokovic vs. Murray<br />Federer vs. Nadal<br /><br /><b>Finals</b><br />Nadal over Murray <br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-yLgZxLWpHq8/U6eNfrMly7I/AAAAAAAAByM/avlHJJX6QUg/s1600/201406220740276026403-p5.png" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-yLgZxLWpHq8/U6eNfrMly7I/AAAAAAAAByM/avlHJJX6QUg/s1600/201406220740276026403-p5.png" height="320" width="208" /></a></div><b>WOMEN</b><br /><b>Fourth Round</b><br />Serena Williams (1) vs. Eugenie Bouchard (13)<br />Angelique Kerber (9) vs. Maria Sharapova (5)<br />Sorana Cirstea (29) vs. Shuai Zhang<br />Sabine Lisicki (19) vs. Taylor Townsend<br />Coco Vandeweghe vs. Lucie Safarova (23)<br />Ekaterina Makarova (22) vs. Agnieszka Radwanska (4)<br />Venus Williams (30) vs. Flavia Pennetta (12)<br />Caroline Wozniacki (15) vs. Li Na (2)<br /><br /><b>Quarterfinals</b><br />S. Williams vs. Sharapova<br />Cirstea vs. Lisicki<br />Vandeweghe vs. Radwanska<br />V. Williams vs. Na<br /><br /><br /><b>Semifinals</b><br />Sharapova vs. Lisicki<br />Radwanska vs. V. Williams<br /><br /><b>Finals</b><br />Sharapova over Radwanska<br /><br />(Photo: The Associated Press)Tennis Talk, Anyone?http://www.blogger.com/profile/15851928994754867832noreply@blogger.com1tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-2876875805244297602.post-8920965824741717842014-05-02T00:42:00.001-04:002014-05-02T00:42:52.167-04:00The TTA? answer to improve American men's tennis<div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-3MuInsR7rMg/U2Mh558QZGI/AAAAAAAABxo/Ey1B06O6nWQ/s1600/201404112100756337519-p5.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-3MuInsR7rMg/U2Mh558QZGI/AAAAAAAABxo/Ey1B06O6nWQ/s1600/201404112100756337519-p5.jpg" height="400" width="260" /></a></div>Earlier this year, I wrote an article stating that <a href="http://www.tennisviewmag.com/tennis-view-magazine/article/no-death-knell-yet-american-men" target="_blank">U.S. men's tennis is actually in alright shape</a>—or at least that there's cause for optimism.<br /><br />But now, but now (I had to type it twice for extra emphasis!) I just don't know.<br /><br />All doesn't have to be lost, though. Why just tonight, in fact, I've come up with two ways that the fates and fortunes of the U.S.-born can improve. And since the whole point of a blog is to share your thoughts, here they are:<br /><br />1. Make the Commitment<br />Someone's going to have to do this: the second that their U.S. Clay Court Championship run is over, they have to hop on a plane and go to Europe.<br /><br />And stay there. At least until their Wimbledon run is over.<br /><br />Of course, being away from home will be hard. But to be the best, one must go against the best first, and the best players are all playing abroad. Showing up three weeks into the clay-court season is a wasted effort as it takes much longer to get acclimated to the different playing conditions, from surfaces to weather.<br /><br />Every American male within the top 100 should be overseas at least by now.<br /><br />I'm not privy to anyone's bank accounts, but from what's been noted, John Isner and Sam Querrey, at least, are able to sustain themselves comfortably for a couple of consecutive months in Europe. In the past, all-time greats from John McEnroe to Pete Sampras to Andre Agassi to Andy Roddick could show up late because of their sheer talent. There's no one like that among the current crop of Americans, but hard work and sacrifice could make a world of difference.<br /><br />And the old adage of "Americans can't play on clay" is hardly true anymore as both Isner and Querrey have won titles on the dirt. In fact, they're probably better suited for clay now than grass.<br /><br />The truth is, no one can be forced to go over if they don't want to. But if that's going to be the case:<br /><br />2. The U.S. Needs to Establish a Clay-Court Circuit<br />The Clay-Court Championships are it. One ATP World Tour tournament in the U.S. on the game's most prevalent surface. That's a poor testament to the importance of helping the game grow in the American consciousness.<br /><br />There are tournaments being played on Har-Tru on the Challenger circuit, but the level of competition—while fierce—isn't what you'd find at this week's ATP World Tour event in Munich, for instance.<br /><br />What if one or two more ATP events were held on Har-Tru? Then, players could stay home and work on their groundstrokes while playing matches that count. And while the green clay here isn't as tricky as the red dirt, at least a better semblance of timing is being established over the course of a few weeks. Plus, green clay tournaments would attract players from South America and smaller countries on this side of the hemisphere.<br /><br />There's no need for anyone to worry about saving themselves for Wimbledon because the fact of the matter is that Americans are better suited for clay then grass by far nowadays. Get out on the dirt, hit big kick serves and forehands, and win matches. Doing that while being closer to home will build a semblance of confidence before heading abroad. Playing matches that count are better than practice sets anyway.<br /><br />It's almost become cliche that American men are having some struggles. But maybe it'll just take getting down and dirty to hit the heights once again.<br /><br />(Photo: The Associated Press)Tennis Talk, Anyone?http://www.blogger.com/profile/15851928994754867832noreply@blogger.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-2876875805244297602.post-76689629073217412822014-03-23T12:29:00.001-04:002014-03-23T12:29:23.857-04:00Can del Potro pull off another comeback?I was at a party yesterday talking to a tennis-liking/playing friend of mine and as usual, talked turned to the pro game: Federer's resurgence, Djokovic's toughness, etc.<div><br></div><div>Then we started talking about Juan Martin del Potro and that wrist of his. Tough break after all that work to rise from the 400s to a spot in the top 10, and now another year lost.</div><div><br></div><div>You have to wonder if he has another epic comeback in him. In talking with my friend, I noted how young del Potro is. He &nbsp;mentioned how it's one thing for Nadal to come back because he's so mentally tough, but how will it be for del Potro?&nbsp;</div><div><br></div><div>I think he'll be able to pull it off: depends, though, how much self-belief the Argentine has.</div>Tennis Talk, Anyone?http://www.blogger.com/profile/15851928994754867832noreply@blogger.com1tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-2876875805244297602.post-68738526781868371722014-02-07T18:56:00.001-05:002014-02-07T18:56:57.869-05:00Djokovic was up too longFigured I should add a post so I'm not always reminded of my pick being off!<div><br></div><div>But in case you missed it out there in your Internet tennis reading, I backtracked some and called it on Wawrinka topping him in their QF matchup. Yay me!</div><div><br></div><div>It was a fun tournament to watch, but it's time to move on. This weekend is Fed Cup and I have a story coming out tomorrow on Captain America, Mary Joe Fernandez. I'll be tweeting links and all, so hope you'll check it out!</div>Tennis Talk, Anyone?http://www.blogger.com/profile/15851928994754867832noreply@blogger.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-2876875805244297602.post-38235025469440737102014-01-12T01:22:00.001-05:002014-01-12T01:23:13.315-05:00Round of 16s: It's what I do (Australian Open men's and women's predictions)<div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-AHFG79gS8pU/UtI0ETNeAJI/AAAAAAAABxI/O4cVbe0aNZI/s1600/201401120001001168858-p5.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-AHFG79gS8pU/UtI0ETNeAJI/AAAAAAAABxI/O4cVbe0aNZI/s1600/201401120001001168858-p5.jpg" height="400" width="387" /></a></div>And here we are: Australian Open time!<br /><br />With that, I'm going to give you the round-of-16-to-winner picks I do every Slam. I've been batting about .750 on the men over the years, while usually operating on a 50-50 clip for the women.<br /><br />Anyway, here I go. First with the men:<br /><br /><b>Round of 16 </b><br />Rafael Nadal (1) vs. Kei Nishikori (16)<br />Grigor Dmitrov (22) vs. Juan Martin del Potro (5)<br />Andy Murray (4) vs. Philipp Kohlschreiber (21)<br />Marin Cilic vs. Roger Federer (7)<br />Tomas Berdych (7) vs. Kevin Anderson (19)<br />Florian Mayer vs. David Ferrer (3)<br />Stanislas Wawrinka (8) vs. Richard Gasquet (9)<br />Juan Monaco vs.&nbsp; Novak Djokovic (2)<br /><br /><b>Quarterfinals</b><br />Nadal vs. del Potro<br />Murray vs. Federer<br />Anderson vs. Ferrer<br />Wawrinka vs. Djokovic<br /><br /><b>Semifinals</b><br />Nadal vs. Federer<br />Ferrer vs. Djokovic<br /><br /><b>Finals&nbsp;</b><br />Djokovic over Nadal<br /><br /><b>For the women:</b><br /><br /><b>Round of 16</b><br />Serena Williams (1) vs. Tsvetana Pironkova<br />Kirsten Flipkens (18) vs. Julia Goerges<br />Na Li (4) vs. Venus Williams<br />Elena Vesnina (23) vs. Flavia Pennetta (28)<br />Shuai Peng vs. Simona Halep (11)<br />Dominika Cibulkova (20) vs. Maria Sharapova (3)<br />Agnieszka Radwanska (5) vs. Kaia Kanepi (24)<br />Svetlana Kuznetsova (19) vs. Victoria Azarenka (2)<br /><br /><b>Quarterfinals</b><br />Williams vs. Flipkens<br />Li vs. Pennetta<br />Halep vs. Sharapova<br />Radwanska vs. Azarenka<br /><br /><b>Semifinals</b><br />Williams over Li; Azarenka over Sharapova<br /><br /><b>Finals</b><br />Williams over Azarenka<br /><br />(Photo: The Associated Press)<br /><br /><br />Tennis Talk, Anyone?http://www.blogger.com/profile/15851928994754867832noreply@blogger.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-2876875805244297602.post-9938530473037635172013-12-28T17:53:00.001-05:002013-12-28T17:53:44.325-05:00Kinda excited for '14: You?I promise I didn't give up on '13 because Federer didn't win the US Open as inaccurately predicted in my last post!<div><br></div><div>I dug what happened throughout the rest of the season: I mean, what can you say about the play of Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Serena Williams post-Open? Amazing, that's what I'll say!</div><div><br></div><div>And I think the sport's in an exciting place for the year ahead. For one, these coaching announcements the past few days are bonkers! Becker? Edberg? Chang? Wow. Players are fired up and I am, too.</div><div><br></div><div>That being said, I'm going to do everything I can to write everywhere I can: here, The Doubles Alley, various websites--if you'll have me, I'm there for you! : )</div><div><br></div><div>So it's onward and upward for the year ahead!</div>Tennis Talk, Anyone?http://www.blogger.com/profile/15851928994754867832noreply@blogger.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-2876875805244297602.post-87454478130842633412013-08-26T07:35:00.001-04:002013-08-26T07:35:56.813-04:00Sticking with tradition: U.S. Open predictions from the round of 16 on<div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-YRXYR7h5kjc/Uhs9OyRBnSI/AAAAAAAABwE/9aA73S8fDkI/s1600/2013-u-open-preview-20130824-195523-527.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="400" src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-YRXYR7h5kjc/Uhs9OyRBnSI/AAAAAAAABwE/9aA73S8fDkI/s400/2013-u-open-preview-20130824-195523-527.jpg" width="260" /></a></div>It's that time of the year again, where all the stars descend upon the Big Apple—where I happen to be—for the year's final Slam, the U.S. Open.<br /><br />And I'm going to do what I do here Slam time, give you my picks from the fourth round on.<br /><br />First, the men:<br /><br /><b>Fourth round</b><br />Djokovic (1) vs. Granollers<br />Haas (12) vs. Melzer (29)<br />Murray (3) vs. Seppi (20)<br />Anderson (17) vs. Berdych (6)<br />Tursunov (32) vs. Raonic (10)<br />Janowicz (14) vs. Ferrer (4)<br />Federer (7) vs. Nishikori (11)<br />Isner (13) vs. Nadal (2)<br /><br /><b>Quarterfinals</b><br />Djokovic vs. Melzer; Murray vs. Berdych; Tursunov vs. Ferrer; Federer vs. Nadal<br /><br /><b>Semifinals</b><br />Djokovic over Berdych; Federer over Nadal<br /><br /><b>Finals&nbsp;</b><br />Federer over Djokovic<br /><br />For the women:<br /><br /><b>Fourth round</b><br />Williams (1) vs. Hampton (23)<br />Williams vs. Kerber (8)<br />A. Radwanska (3) vs. Makarova (24)<br />Jankovic (9) vs. Li (5)<br />Wozniacki (6) vs. Vesnina (22)<br />Kirilenko (14) vs. Kuznetsova (27)<br />Petkovic vs. Stosur (11)<br />Cibulkova (17) vs. Azarenka (2)<br /><br /><b>Quarterfinals</b><br />S. Williams vs. Kerber; Radwanska vs. Li; Vesnina vs. Kuznetsova; Stosur vs. Azarenka<br /><br /><b>Semifinals</b><br />Williams over Li; Azarenka over Kuznetsova<br /><br /><b>Finals</b><br />Williams over Azarenka<br /><br />There you go! Enjoy the tournament!<br /><br />(Photo: Getty Images)Tennis Talk, Anyone?http://www.blogger.com/profile/15851928994754867832noreply@blogger.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-2876875805244297602.post-65688233171086927282013-07-09T19:09:00.001-04:002013-07-09T19:09:59.064-04:00A Wimbledon for the agesQuick post here: just wanted to say how I really loved this past Wimbledon.<div><br></div><div>Funny thing, though: I only got to watch about two hours of it all total!</div><div><br></div><div>Working full-time the past few months has seriously cut into my TV viewing, especially in the mornings. Trying to get a 4-year-old off to camp doesn't exactly help the sitch either.</div><div><br></div><div>But I did enjoy finals weekend: that Marion Bartoli win was amazing, and as a dad to a young daughter, I hope to experience that kind of moment her dad did watching his kid's dream come true.</div><div><br></div><div>As for Andy Murray's win, what can you say that hasn't been said already. Amazing, historic, phenomenal, wow. I've long been high on what he could do (I was retweeting old stories of mine all weekend). Glad he made me look good!</div><div><br></div><div><br></div>Tennis Talk, Anyone?http://www.blogger.com/profile/15851928994754867832noreply@blogger.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-2876875805244297602.post-73743227158361417422013-05-24T21:15:00.001-04:002013-05-24T21:15:05.274-04:00What the week before the French Open has revealedSo I've never been a big fan of legit contenders playing in those tiny warm-up events the week before Grand Slams.&nbsp;<div><br></div><div>Maybe it's a deep-rooted thing from way back in '95, when Andre Agassi played and won nearly every week before the U.S. Open then ran out of steam in the finals. I just think when you have a shot at going for your first or 14th Major, don't play the Aucklands and Strasbourgs of the world.</div><div><br></div><div>All of that said, I think this can be one of the most intriguing French Opens in years because of the above train of thought. The very top tier of players on the ATP and WTA tours took the week off from competition. There are three, in particular, to me that really stand out by standing down: David Ferrer, Agnieszka Radwanska and Nicolas Almagro.</div><div><br></div><div>Those three have been consistent top-10 threats for years, racking up titles. But they only have one Grand Slam final between them. Granted, they do compete in a pretty tough era, but what if they set their sights higher in regard to scheduling? It looks like that might be the case this year at Roland Garros.</div><div><br></div><div>And maybe a Slam breakthrough is in the cards</div>Tennis Talk, Anyone?http://www.blogger.com/profile/15851928994754867832noreply@blogger.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-2876875805244297602.post-55682602333956169002013-05-22T23:31:00.001-04:002013-05-22T23:31:30.674-04:00Mobile blogging? What will they think of next?Next thing you know, there'll be telephones that let you know the weather and keep up with sports scores around the world!<div><br></div><div>So as you've noticed, I haven't posted here in a minute. I've still been writing elsewhere, like on Tennis View's website. I plan on being here more, though, with the blogger app. This is my first of many (I hope!) posts using my iPhone. A busy man needs tech for busy times!</div><div><br></div><div>Anyway, stay tuned!</div>Tennis Talk, Anyone?http://www.blogger.com/profile/15851928994754867832noreply@blogger.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-2876875805244297602.post-47630615918941077002013-03-31T23:10:00.000-04:002013-03-31T23:10:23.312-04:00Miami will always be the "Fifth Slam" to me<div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-CxjzywPAsUw/UVj6Y5S_jgI/AAAAAAAABvY/xAe8wmAmVgY/s1600/201303301425519437870-p2.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="276" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-CxjzywPAsUw/UVj6Y5S_jgI/AAAAAAAABvY/xAe8wmAmVgY/s400/201303301425519437870-p2.jpg" width="400" /></a></div><br />Those were some interesting finals over the weekend, huh?<br /><br />Andy Murray knocked off David Ferrer today to win his second career Sony Tennis Open and Serena Williams added to her Miami haul with her sixth title there, rallying to knock off Maria Sharapova.<br /><br />Three of those four are future Hall of Famers, while Ferrer has been one of the most consistent performers in the men's game over the past few years. In other words, the finals featured some marquee names--as it has throughout the tournament's history.<br /><br />Why, though, did this year feel so different?<br /><br />I don't know if it was the fact Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal were absent or what, but it seemed like there was a little less prestige attached to the tournament. Maybe it was coming off the heels of Indian Wells, which has been referred to as the "Fifth Slam" of late.<br /><br />But whoa, when did that happen?<br /><br />Indian Wells has always been a nice event as the first Masters 1000 tournament of the year. But since it's kicked up the prize money, revamped the facility and become a coed tournament, Indian Wells has become a highlight on the calendar.<br /><br />I'm old school enough to remember the "Lipton" being the top non-Slam for both the men and women, and Indian Wells, nice though it was, being considered a warm-up for Miami.<br /><br />Now, though, players are skipping it for whatever reason where once that never would've been the case. And Indian Wells has completely won over the players--particularly when it comes to comparing the venues.<br /><br />But I hope Miami can turn the tide on where it stands, or at least find itself on equal footing again.<br /><br />There's too much history behind the tournament. <br /><br />(Photo: The Associated Press)Tennis Talk, Anyone?http://www.blogger.com/profile/15851928994754867832noreply@blogger.com1tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-2876875805244297602.post-70026843201517886102013-03-14T23:25:00.000-04:002013-03-14T23:25:22.494-04:00I'm intrigued by Andy Murray in the desert<div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-xEUB7sg2Rvo/UUKUWt4CPMI/AAAAAAAABvI/2m1cPihPex4/s1600/201303132236813989214-p2.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="400" src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-xEUB7sg2Rvo/UUKUWt4CPMI/AAAAAAAABvI/2m1cPihPex4/s400/201303132236813989214-p2.jpg" width="320" /></a></div>That's like the weirdest headline I think I've ever wrote, but it kind of says it all—or at least segues into this post!<br /><br />Murray hadn't played since the Australian Open before showing up at the first ATP World Tour 1000 event of the season. He's made it to the quarterfinals where he has a beast of a match next up in Juan Martin del Potro. An in-form Murray should be in decent shape against the Argentine, but how well is he playing?<br /><br />He's had some interesting results this week, getting tested—and testy—in a couple of matches, but he's gotten through without too much fuss.<br /><br />If anything, his results in Indian Wells in '13 are way better than they had been the past two years, when he was knocked out in the first round.<br /><br />Maybe the reduced schedule so far this year will pay some dividends. By that same regard, though, he could be rusty against a player who's already won a title this year. <br /><br />It's intriguing, to say the least (which I guess I kinda did!)<br /><br />Photo: The Associated PressTennis Talk, Anyone?http://www.blogger.com/profile/15851928994754867832noreply@blogger.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-2876875805244297602.post-20956796239774239552013-02-25T00:18:00.001-05:002013-02-25T00:18:29.834-05:00David Ferrer and Kei Nishikori: the throwbacks<div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-LJgp_NNqYBQ/USrzsgY_oOI/AAAAAAAABu0/HTz88_NKG3c/s1600/201302241704614664115-p2.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="320" src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-LJgp_NNqYBQ/USrzsgY_oOI/AAAAAAAABu0/HTz88_NKG3c/s320/201302241704614664115-p2.jpg" width="256" /></a></div>David Ferrer and Kei Nishikori captured their 20th and third career singles titles, respectively, this weekend in Buenos Aires and Memphis. Ferrer was just doing what he's been doing the past few years, winning tournaments, while Nishikori's victory solidified his up-and-coming status.<br /><br />Their games are pretty different, to say the least, from that of the ATP's other weekend winner, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. David and Kei would never be confused with Jo-Willy, with their games being built on picture-perfect groundstrokes, great returns, superior court movement and a great court sense.<br /><br />I refer to them as "the throwbacks" because the way they play has always been, and always will be, a part of the pro game. The equipment might get more technologically advanced and the game might get even faster, but it seems there will be room for guys like Ferrer and Nishikori to threaten the top players. They probably won't be Slam winners anytime soon, but titles will be won.<br /><br />And it looks like these two will be leading the way for a time to come.<br /><br />(Photo: The Associated Press)Tennis Talk, Anyone?http://www.blogger.com/profile/15851928994754867832noreply@blogger.com0