Mats Merkel: From the Australian Open 2013, Day 7

Wow! There is one certainty! At every Grand Slam there is at least one match that stays in your mind.

So far it is the match between Monfils and Simon last night at Hisense Arena.

It looked like they were both running out of steam in the second set already. They had such long rallies. The average rally count in their match was 11.5 shots which is very high! The longest rally was 71 shots, believe it or not.

At one stage they were both cramping. Monfils couldn’t hit forehands anymore and started slicing for a couple of games.

In the end Gilles Simon won the match in five sets 6/4 6/4 4/6 1/6 8/6.

Simon celebrates victory at the Australian Open.

Simon celebrates victory at the Australian Open.

Simon will now face Andy Murray.

17-Grand Slam winner Roger Federer beat Bernard Tomic last night in straight sets. He stopped Bernard’s winning streak and again showed his class to tennis world.

Federer and Tomic at net at the end of their three-set match at the Australian Open.

Federer and Tomic at net at the end of their three-set match at the Australian Open.

Caroline Wozniacki had her day off today. We had a practice session at 11am. Since the pre season for 2013 Caroline has hired a fitness trainer who was decathlonist and apparently the second best in Poland.

He does a lot of agility work on court and always ones up with new exercises. See the pictures below.

A very good exercise for the core, the explosiveness and the hip drive.

 

Wozniacki working out on court.

Wozniacki working out on court.

Some movement exercises to get the body going and work in the footwork as well.

Agility training on court with Wozniacki.

Agility training on court with Wozniacki.

We practiced for about 1,5 hours and to finish up Caroline and her dad had a little competition who would be able to throw a tennis ball into the basket.

Of course Caroline won ;)

Wozniacki training on court.

Wozniacki shows her dad how to throw a ball in the tennis hopper during a fun game at the end of practice.

 

Afterwards I caught up with one of my best friends on tour. Alex Stober who is the physical trainer of Na Li.

In the beginning of his career he had worked for the ATP for about 15 years traveling the entire world. Then he worked with Tommy Haas and for the last 5 years he has been working with Na Li.

I think he has the strongest hands in the world. He sometimes treats me as well and he is one of few people who bring tears into my eyes ;) but he always helped me and he is a well recognised person on the tennis tour. He has definitely earned his stripes.

Mats with Alex Stober.

Mats with Alex Stober.

He does the warm ups with Na Li and the physical training on tour but also treats her after her matches. These treatments can last up to 2,5 hours.

Na Li is playing Julia Goerges at the moment and is leading 7/6 2/0.

The Australian fans were enjoying the tennis today a well.

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And I even got to see some kangaroos on site playing the trumpets.

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Tonight, Serbian Ana Ivanovic will face Agniezka Radwanska on Rod Laver Arena. Ana, who has a lot of family here in Melbourne, can for sure count on plenty of support by her fellow country people.

One year my colleague Sven Groeneveld and I were invited by her family for a traditional lamb BBQ. We enjoyed that meal a lot and we still talk about it nowadays.

The juniors have started. That is also one of the things I am doing, looking at the next generation. There are a couple of interesting young players out there.

But since tennis is becoming more and more physical it will take these young kids a couple of years until they will show up in the main draw of the Grand Slams.

Good luck to them all!

Enjoy the tennis.

Mats Merkel

@matsmerkel

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