7th Annual T-Dubby’s. 2015 Year End Awards & 2016 Fearless Predictions

Posted on December 31, 2015 in Miscellaneous

In 2014, for the first time in 16 years, the ATP and WTA had a different champion for each of the Grand Slams. Finally some parity on the Tour!

Well, that didn’t last long. How things have changed in 2015.

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In 2015, Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams won 6 of the 8 Grand Slams. In the two Slams they didn’t win, Novak made it to the finals of the French and Serena made it to the semis of the US Open. Their dominance over the field in 2015 was impressive. Here’s a look at some jaw dropping stats:

– Serena won 53 of her 56 matches.
– Novak reached the final in 15 of 16 tournaments.
– First time in WTA history, Serena had more than double the ranking points of her closest competitor.
– Novak has more ranking points than Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal combined.

But who had the better year? More on that later. Let’s get to the exciting stuff.

Shot of the Year:

Monfils:

Ivanovic:

Wawrinka:

Paire:

Paire:

Nishioka:

Winner:

Stan The Man

Point of the Year
Wawrinka vs Djokovic:

Federer vs Lopez:

Djokovic vs Murray:

Ferrer vs Dolgopolov:

Dzumhur/Brkic:

Coric vs Murray:

Winner:

Djokovic vs Murray

Player of the Year

Nominees:

Novak Djokovic: Went 82-6. Winning 3 major titles, becoming only the 3rd man to reach all 4 major finals (after Rod Laver and Roger Federer), a record 6 Masters 1000 tournaments, reaching the final of 8 Masters 1000 tournaments, reaching 15 consecutive finals, a record 31 top 10 match victories and earning a record breaking amount of prize money.

Serena Williams: Went 53-3. On October 5, Williams surpassed Chris Evert for third-most weeks ranked world no. 1. Williams finished the year at no. 1, and held the ranking for the entire year. She became the first person since Steffi Graf in 1990 to hold the top ranking for two consecutive years. It is also fifth time that Williams ended as the number 1 player in the year. She was also voted WTA Player of the Year for the seventh time in her career, and on December 14, 2015, it was announced that Sports Illustrated named Serena their 2015 Sportsperson of the Year, the third solo woman to earn this honor.

Winner

Novak Djokovic

2016 Fearless Predictions (see how we did with our 2015 predictions here)

Karly:
– Serena Williams beats every Italian player 6-0, 6-0.
– Garbine Muguruza wins a grand slam title before Halep.
– Roger Federer wins the gold medal in Rio.
– Novak Djokovic is stopped and fails to win a grand slam title this year.
– The next time Richard Gasquet and Karly meet at BNP, Richard will tell her he’s her biggest fan and then they will live happily ever after.

Andy:
– America goes “Sock-crazy!” Not just in wearing crazy sock designs, but Jack Sock breaks into the top 15 during the American summer circuit and becomes the #1 American on the ATP Tour.
– Borna Coric takes out a top 5 player at a major this year
– Grigor Dimitrov finds his form again and finishes the year at the ATP World Tour Finals.
– Watch out for Belinda Bencic at Wimbledon! Semis or better this year…
– Maria Sharapova wins the Australian Open.

Michelle:
– Garbine Muguruza wins her first major!
– Venus & Serena Williams win gold for the US and Venus announces her retirement shortly after (Flavia Pennetta style).
– Eugenie Bouchard is bounced before the 3rd round of all the majors and doesn’t play the US Open for obvious reasons (fear of another concussion!)
– It’s the year of the DOG! Ok, technically it is the year of the Monkey, BUT Mr. Dolgopolov starts the year off strong and stuns them all at the Aussie Open!
– Roger Federer wins Wimbledon and shuts all the nay-sayers up.
– Juan Martin Del Potro actually comes back this year and wins a Masters series.
– An American male wins a major (possibly the US Open…I’m looking at you John Isner or Jack Sock).

Marco:
– Nick Kyrgios drops to #248.
– Dominic Thiem and his oneie gets to a career high #12.
– Novak Djokovic wins 3 majors.
– Sam Querrey fires up and gets to a slam quarterfinal.
– Maria Sharapova wins Wimbledon.
– Caroline Wozniacki gets back to top 10 after Australian Open.

Brittany:
– Roger Federer will sweep the Olympics winning singles, doubles and mixed and then retire.
– The US will win both Fed Cup and Davis Cup.
– We will have at least 3+ men in the top 20 (John Isner, Jack Sock, Sam Querrey and Steve Johnson).
– Eugenie Bouchard will continue to drop down the rankings but then surprise us when we least expect it.
– There will be a Venus and Serena Williams grand slam final at some point during the year.
– Belinda Bencic will win a grand slam.

Tiffani:
– Andy Murray finally takes the Australian Open, but Novak Djokovic wins his first Roland Garros!
– Dominic Thiem reaches the top 10.
– Belinda Bencic wins a slam.

Jason:
– Rafael Nadal returns to form. Wins 2 majors. Finishes year top 2.
– Donald Young cracks top 25.
– Madison Keys and Victoria Azarenka finish year in the top 10.
– The return of Maria Kirilenko.

Have any predictions of your own? Tell us in the comments section below!
Looking forward to 2016!

Jason, TW

Best tennis strings of 2015

Posted on in Strings

We’re wrapping our year’s best of lists with strings. Our Tennis Warehouse playtesters are weighing in on their favorite gear of the year after of product reviews. Read on for our picks of the best strings of 2015.

A new string from Solinco picked up the most votes from our team. Perhaps best known as the company behind Tour Bite, Solinco caught the attention of four TW testers (Mark, Andy, Michelle and Chris) for its new Hyper-G, a shaped co-poly.

Andy: “A premium shaped co-poly meant for big hitters, it also possesses a plusher feel and excellent responsiveness leaving you super connected to the ball as it leaves your strings.”

Michelle: “Comfortably firm, control-oriented with great spin potential and pocketing…check, check, check!”

It was a tight race for Chris, who also picked Robin Soderling’s string offering: “Tied: Solinco Hyper G and RS Lyon. Both of these co-poly strings offers exceptional control, great feel and impressive spin. They are both at the top of my list (along with Volkl’s venerable Cyclone) for what I’d want in my racquet come tournament time.”

Relative newcomer Diadem has made fans on our testing squad. Two players tapped Solstice Power 16L as their top string of 2015.

Troy: “I found this string to provide all things I look for in a trusty co-poly with the added benefit of comfort. I also found this string to have better tension maintenance than many of the other soft co-poly strings that I have tried.”

Marco: “I enjoyed the way this string really gripped the ball and gave me extra bite on my strokes. It played very lively and complemented my aggressive strokes well.”

The big name in polyester strings, Luxilon, couldn’t be ignored either. Its new Element string also received two votes.

Sebastian: “My favorite string of 2015: Luxilon Element (16 gauge) for exceptional spin-potential, great control and nice, comfortable feel.”

Jason: “It provides the control and spin that polyester string provides, but it also has a softer response that is easier on my arm. ”

You might have noticed that up until this point, the team has chosen some form of polyester string. Head Reflex MLT, tapped by two playtesters as their favorite, is an arm-friendly multifilament string.

Karly: “As a player who looks for comfort, I naturally like softer strings. Head Reflex MLT is a soft multifilament that offers a great blend of comfort and feel!”

Tiffani: “Although I can appreciate a nice soft co-poly, it’s hard to say no to the comfort of a multifilament like Reflex MLT. When it comes to multifilament strings, I am looking for comfort, but I don’t want to sacrifice too much control. Reflex fits the bill. I can string this at higher tensions to get the comfort I want and get the control that I need.”

Rounding out the team’s top strings for 2015 is an update to a control-oriented Gosen polyester string.

Brittany on her choice, Gosen Polylon Premium: “This is a great low powered poly and extremely comfortable!”

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Best tennis racquets of 2015

Posted on December 29, 2015 in Racquets

Prince Textreme Tour 95 and the 100P were staff picks.

The Tennis Warehouse playtesters are choosing their favorite gear of 2015 after a year of reviews. Today they weigh in on their favorite racquets of the year.

Yonex EZONE DR 98 and 100

Yonex EZONE DR 98 and 100

Considering the popularity of the EZONE Ai models, it comes as no surprise that Yonex scored well with the EZONE DR 98 and EZONE DR 100. Three playtesters chose an EZONE DR model as their favorite of 2015.

Andy on the Yonex EZONE DR 98: “Yonex took a racquet that was already my favorite on the market and made it EVEN BETTER!”

Brittany on the EZONE DR 100: “The update to my racquet of choice was excellently executed. Great combination of power and control, and I loved the spin potential and feel!”

Jason couldn’t pick just one, also choosing a Wilson Ultra model: “Yonex Ezone DR 100 or Wilson Ultra 100. The Yonex DR version offers a bit more stability than the Ai model, which is already my racquet of choice. It feels like my weighted up version without the additional weight added. And the Wilson Ultra 100 was a real surprise to me. It felt great from the get-go. Maneuverable, plenty of pop, spin friendly. What’s not to like?”

Babolat Pure Drive Plus Tour and the Pure Aero Tour

Babolat Pure Drive Plus Tour and the Pure Aero Tour

A longtime favorite, Babolat’s Aero line received an update this year, and the Pure Aero Tour in particular caught attention from our review squad.

Both Mark and Chris chose the Babolat Pure Aero Tour. Chris: “Rock solid stability, great power and exceptional spin. What’s not to like!? Every time I pick up this heavier version of the Pure Aero it feels like a natural fit for my game.”

Not to be ignored, the Pure Drive line also garnered a vote for its powerful response. Troy on his choice, the Babolat Pure Drive Tour Plus: “This racquet packs a ton of power, especially on serves! I love the extended length handle for my two-handed backhand and added range on my returns. The added mass in this Tour version satisfies my craving for plowthrough in a racquet. I really enjoy how this 2015 update, with the FSI string pattern, amped up the control to tame this beast of a racquet!”

Prince Textreme Tour 95 and the 100P were staff picks.

Prince Textreme Tour 95 and the 100P were staff picks.

Prince’s Textreme line also drew plenty of praise from the TW playtesters. Two players switched to the Textreme Tour 95 this year.

Sebastian: “My current racquet of choice is the Prince Textreme Tour 95 because of its solid and control-oriented feel. I also appreciate the overall comfort I get out of this Prince racquet. To maximize the performance of my racquet of choice, I would string it with a hybrid setup. To get the best possible blend of power, spin and feel, I would use Babolat RPM Blast 17 gauge in the mains and Babolat VS 16 gauge in the crosses.”

Karly: “I can’t say enough good things about the Prince Textreme Tour 95 — it’s a traditional playing racquet with extreme amounts of control, comfort, stability and maneuverability.”

Tiffani was also a fan of the Textreme Tour racquets, making the Textreme Tour 100P her pick: “I synced so quickly with this racquet. The racquet is comfortable on my arm, and the balance of power and control is just the right mix for my game. I just feel more confident during points when I’m playing with this racquet.”

Wilson Blade 98 16x19, Wilson Ultra 100, Wilson Pro Staff 97S

Wilson Blade 98 16×19, Wilson Ultra 100, Wilson Pro Staff 97S

Jason chose the Wilson Ultra 100 as one of his favorites, but other Wilson racquet families got some love, too.

Marco switched to the Wilson Blade 98 16×19 this year: “The blend of comfort, control, power, and precision is spot on for me in this racquet and it fits my game well.”

Although Michelle uses the RF97 Autograph as her go-to, she found a spin frame she liked. Michelle on the Wilson Pro Staff 97S: “This is the first Spin Effect racquet I really enjoyed hitting with as the spec falls into that of a ‘player’s frame’ and the string pattern doesn’t create any erratic launches off the stringbed but rather generates spin right when you need it. With a bit of customization, this was one of my guilty pleasure racquets of the year!”

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