After some amazing tennis yesterday with a great comeback and win from Sabine Lisicki, there is a promise of much more amazing tennis to be played.
photo by Cynthia Lum
Novak Djokovic, who has his spot in the men’s final against Andy Murray, has been traveling with a quite a big team around him throughout the past years. His tennis coach, Marian Vajda, is an experienced coach that always has been there for Novak when he needed him. Miljan Amanovic is Novak’s physio. He used to work in basketball and football before teaming up with Nole. He has been working with Novak for many years and I believe he is a great person to have around with his great sense of humor and the perfect mentality when it comes to getting work done. The physical trainer of Nole is Gebhard Phil-Gritsch. He used to work with Thomas Muster a former French Open champion. He is very experienced and knows exactly what he is doing. He always says how little improvements can have a huge impact. I guess he has been spot on. When he started working with Novak in the end of 2010 he worked a lot on the flexibility which was clearly to see in 2011.
Many people have been speaking about German tennis lately. But since Stefanie Graf, Michael Stich and Boris Becker, no other German player has really been able to follow in their footsteps. However, being a German coach and player myself, in my eyes this is not the case. There are good German players out there, but tennis has become so much more physical than ever and now there is a big difference between “good” and “very good” players, and good doesn’t always correlate to winning a grand slam.
Take a look at the top German tennis players right now.
In my eyes, Tommy Haas is definitely what other people would call an “underachiever.” The talent and feel he has for the game is truly impressive. Unfortunately, until 2012 he was always forced to take time off due to injuries. Besides Christian Groh (who travels a lot with him Tommy) he has also taken Ulf Fischer on board to complete his team. And in 2012 he has hired a physio (Carlos Costa) who travels with him and is following him like his own shadow.
Not sure what happened yesterday, but it seems that some serious injuries were forcing these players to not play. Rumors were going around Wimbledon that the grass courts could be the reason, but Richard Lewis, CEO of the All England Club, published a statement regarding this subject.
“The court preparation has been to exactly the same meticulous standard as in previous years and it is well known that grass surfaces tend to be more lush at the start of an event. The factual evidence, which is independently checked, is that the courts are almost identical to last year, as dry and firm as they should be, and we expect them to continue to play to their usual high quality.”
Richard Lewis, Chief Executive The All England Club
I would like to take the chance and speak about one of these up and coming players.
Monica Puig, a young up and comer has had a couple of good results over the past months is just one of the younger players starting to make her mark. She has been with adidas since she was a junior. I remember watching her during one of her matches during the Junior Roland Garros. Back then, her first and second serve were about the same speed and she obviously lost a lot of points with the risky serve. But over the years her and her coach, Alain de Vos, have worked incredibly hard to get where Monica is and where she might get to.
I have been here since Wednesday helping at the adidas house here in the Wimbledon village to set up the distribution. Five times a year the adidas contracted players do receive new products. One of the occasions is here at Wimbledon. The players receive a big bag with the Wimbledon gear and a complete new range of products with new color-ways for in between Wimbledon and the US Open where they then get new products again.
Rafa has been absolutely dominating the clay court season, besides his loss in Monte Carlo against Novak Djokovic, after having won there eight consecutive times before! He will be on fire and ready to play Novak for a spot in the RG finals. But at the same he has a lot of respect for how Novak has been playing. I predict it will be a brutally long match with long exhausting rallies and great points!
Tsonga vs Ferrer
This is the first French Open semifinal for both of these players and one of them will go through to the finals. Tsonga, who hasn’t lost a set yet (even when playing Roger!), is definitely on a roll! His on court performance has impressed me a lot and I am looking forward to seeing him play today. And how many sets has David lost so far? Take a guess. Correct…none! They both seem to have conserved a lot of energy out there and this will be another great match to look forward to!
What a crazy day here at Roland Garros today. Rain and showers. The players have been on and off the court.
It is very tough for the players to handle these kind of situations because they have to stay warm and be ready to go back on court at any time. Injury prevention is a very important issue, especially with the wet and cold weather. The courts are heavy and slippery at the same time which certainly increases the chances of getting injured if not properly warmed up before going back on!
Rain delays are also tough mentally because you have to be to switch the game face on when needed. That is not an easy part either!