Mats Merkel: From the Australian Open 2013, Day 5

Hello again, everybody!

Today it is very cloudy and a lot cooler than yesterday. It is crazy how the temperature drops here in Melbourne. Because the forecast for today was rain many of the players went indoors this morning. So did I with the players I work with here.

From 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. I had a session with Caroline Wozniacki. Her father is her full time coach traveling with her 52 weeks a year. After having warmed up properly, we did some work on the serve and return. Most of the players who are still in the tournament don’t work too much on their game on their days off. They usually play points with each other. But some of them do work on their game by practicing “Serve and First Shot.” The player serves, and either the coach feeds them a ball from the other side of the court or tosses a ball into the player’s side of the court.

Next to us at 9 a.m. Agnieszka Radwanska was warming up for her match on Hisense Arena. She was actually hitting with her sister, Ursula. There could be a couple of reasons why she did not warm up on Hisense Arena. Maybe because that specific time slot age wanted had been taken already and she did not want to share the court. Or simply because she wanted to be by herself indoors where no press had access to.

Then at 10 a.m. No. 1 in the world Victoria Azarenka came also indoors making sure to get a hit in without being influenced by the possible forecasted rain. She and her coach Sam Sumyk had organized a hitting partner, but in between exercises Sam would always do some drills with her. Also “Serve and First Shot.”

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At 11 a.m. I had a session with Ayumi Morita. She had her day off today.

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Ayumi Morita will face Serena Williams. So we spoke a bit about tactics. Serena is a player whom many other players are scared to play. She has a very powerful game and is a good mover for her height, too. It will be a great challenge for Ayumi tomorrow on Rod Laver Arena.

Having started into the new season not only with new racket as clothing sponsors (Wilson and Asics), but also a tournament victory in Auckland, Gael Monfils has played some high level tennis here so far! Last night he beat Lu in 5 sets. At 7-6, 40:15 in the fifth sets he actually served two double faults but still managed to keep his composure and serve it out. He is here without a coach but with a good friend and is in great spirits. Tomorrow he will face fellow countryman Gilles Simon. This will be a battle of total different game styles. Monfils with his powerful but sometimes also risky game-style and Simon the typical patient counter puncher. Both are great movers so we can expect some long rallies.

Happy Birthday to Angelique Kerber – she is turning 25 years old  today. By winning against 17-year-old Madison Keys she probably gave herself the nicest birthday present.

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Fernando Verdasco, who is going for the Wolverine look, just won the first set 6-4 against South African Kevin Anderson.

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Fernando probably has one of the biggest forehands on the tour, and if he is in good form he is definitely a tough one to stop.

Julia Goerges beat Jie Zheng (who had beaten Samantha Stosur here) in three sets! What a great win for her.

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She has hired a new physio/physical trainer his name is Damian Prasad, a very knowledgable and professional person. He had worked with german Nicolas Kiefer in the past. Since Sascha Nensel who was Kiefer’s coach back then is now with Goerges, Damian’s work style was already well known before starting the preseason with Goerges. Well done, mate :)

Enjoy the tennis and until tomorrow!

Here the schedule for Day 6: http://www.australianopen.com/en_AU/scores/schedule/schedule11.html

Mats Merkel

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