2014 Coaching/Player Relationships on the ATP and WTA

I don’t know about you guys, but I am ready for tennis season to be back in full force! I am counting down the days until the Australian Open! But until then, let’s discuss some player/coach relationships as it seems like lately there has been an influx of new relationships being formed.

It’s not new to see former pros on the coaching end of things, but it seems like lately, all of our favorite players from the past have made their way back to the circuit via coaching. Brad Gilbert has worked with the best of them — everyone from Agassi, Roddick, Andy Murray to Nishikori and even Sam Querrey. Some of those relationships blossomed in chemistry, and some were duds. In 2013, we saw Sharapova hire, and quickly fire, Jimmy Connors — but let’s be honest, there wasn’t enough room on the court for those two superstars. Then there was Martina Hingis’ stint in coaching Anastasia Pavlyuchnkova…until Martina realized how much she missed the limelight and competition.

So, who do we have paired up in 2014?

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Federer and Edberg are working together in 2014 — photos by Cynthia Lum

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Thanksgiving is here…and GOAT is on the table!

Another year in the ATP is in the books. Four majors have been played, 3 separate men have captured those titles. The pros are busy preparing for the year to come. So, who can we crown the GOAT of 2013? Rafa? Nole? Murray? The discussion is on the table!

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our Tennis Warehouse GOAT

Rafael Nadal. After receiving the “Legend Award” this week in Spain, Nadal proves to be possibly the GOAT of 2013…and possibly of all time. With his domination on most surfaces he competes on and his all-out physical game, we have seen Rafa take a new approach to tennis this year with taking chunks of time off to properly train and rehab. With the French Open and US Open titles under his belt plus 8 other titles, it’s an impressive feat indeed. But can we really give the GOAT award to a player with an early 1st round exit from Wimbledon?
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Just a Reminder – These guys are better than you at tennis

Before anyone gets angry with me, thinking I’m trashing their game, remember, it’s not you, it’s them. These guys are really, really, really good. There’s a reason they are the top 8 players in the world (minus a hurt Andy Murray).

With the year end Barclays ATP World Tour Finals underway, showcasing the best of the best our sport has to offer, I wanted to just take some time to remind you why they are and forever will be better than you or me or pretty much any mere mortal human being. And if you want ATP World Tour Finals apparel, click here.

Here are just a few videos from this past 2013 year to refresh your memory on just how incredible these guys are at their craft.

The “I can hit the ball harder than you” shot

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Keeping Up With the Playtesters

I always get a bit bummed the couple days after a Grand Slam ends. For two weeks straight I had hours on end of awesome tennis to watch (good thing Davis Cup is back in action this weekend), and now football is the only thing I see when I turn on the TV (which, isn’t a bad thing, go Niners, it just isn’t tennis!). Anyway, to recap our US Open picks, my picks were knocked out by the 4th or 5th day of the US Open, while Karly and Jason were the only two playtesters who called the US Open 2013 Champions — and Tiffani was oh, so close with her Gasquet pick! This week, since I don’t have any live tennis to watch today, I decided to bug my fellow playtesters and ask them,

“Who from the WTA or ATP would play doubles with? (We already answered the mixed doubles question, so stay within your gender on this one!)”

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Keeping Up With the Playtesters…round 2!

This week’s question is a fun one. As you may or may not know, our playtesters are a competitive bunch, so check out how they answered when asked,

If you could pick anyone from the ATP/WTA to play MIXED doubles with, who would you pick and why?!

photos courtesy of Cynthia Lum

photos courtesy of Cynthia Lum

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Saskatoon Round 2

Yesterday I played the #1 seed in qualifying to get into the main draw. He is from Australia, is currently ranked about 1000 and is only 17 years old. Though he is young, he has a lot more experience than I do playing international tournaments and he is getting top notch coaching and has hit with the likes of Tipsarevic and Sharapova at the Australian Open.

Though I have been having some issues with my knee and some feet blisters at the moment, I was definitely feeling ready to compete hard. Right off the bat, the umpire told me my shirt’s logo is too big (ITF rule) as well as the one in my bag. The referee comes out and gives me a slight scare, but they let it slide this time.
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Saskatoon Round 1

Fortunately, the weather co-operated today without rain, and we got a full schedule of matches in. I had a warmup with my friend again who played at 10, and then I was 3rd match on my court. While I rested, I was able to watch the rest of the Wimbledon final — which was incredible to watch, as the finals never disappoint!

My match began around 1, and it was pretty windy. With my knee that I hurt last week still bothering me and being a little nervous, I was hoping not to come out flat. I started the match with 2 long points on my serve, losing both, but came back to win the game. This eased my tension a bit and I started playing pretty well. We had some close games that I was behind in, but I kept focused and won most of them to win my first round 6-1 6-1.

It is nice to get the first win under my belt after traveling so far, but there’s a lot left that I want to accomplish. Today will be tough against the #1 seed, a 17 year old Aussie ranked about 1000. Hopefully I can play well and I’ll be ready for a long battle. I would really like to get that ATP ranking… 2 wins to go!

Tony

Beating the rain and winning in Virginia!

I just got back from a National Open tournament in Reston, Virginia and had a great time! I was able to win the tournament after playing 5 matches, and enjoyed my first visit to that area. The goal, besides simply winning, was to get several good matches in as well as some confidence before heading into the rest of the tougher tournaments of the season. After a long weekend in Virginia, I came out with a National Open title, some prize money, and some national ranking points, so hopefully it will not be an issue getting into Futures tournament draws.

Reston 2013

This tournament reminded me of how difficult the travel life of a serious tennis player can be. I was up at 3:30 am for our early flight out on Thursday, and was not really able to get much sleep before the alarm went off. Once in Reston, our hotel room would not be ready for a couple hours, so I tried to sleep very uncomfortably on a hotel chair and coffee table, and ended up getting a sore back in the process. When our room was finally ready, I went straight to the bed and zonked out for most of the day aside from a bit of time on the practice courts. My plan was to have my dad feed me a couple drills, but with limited access to balls, he ended up hitting with me (even though he has not played tennis in probably 10 years, which was the last time he hit with me!). Surprisingly, the old man still has some game and did pretty well, though I do have to hit every ball to his forehand (I did hit one hard flat forehand of mine at him which he whiffed and was pretty funny)! Luckily, a couple local players agreed to do some 2 on 1s with me once my dad’s elbow began to give out. After my hit, it was dinner and basically time for lights out.

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Davis Cup Quarterfinals

Davis Cup kicks off some exciting rubbers in the Quarterfinal Rounds for the World Group today.

Davis Cup Quarterfinals

Led by Jim Courier, Team USA begins play today on home soil this round on an indoor court in Boise, Idaho and will take on Serbia. Having met just one time before, Team USA comes up against the only World Team to have the highest ranked player on the ATP on their active roster, number one in the world, Novak Djokovic. Djokovic teams up with Viktor Troicki, Ilija Bozoljac, and Nenad Zimonjic to take on our team of Sam Querrey, John Isner, and The Bryan Brothers. Despite having powerhouse Nole on their team (who has proven to be human over the past couple months and has taken a loss or two), I am hoping to see the US take full advantage of the crisp, clean (and high altitude) Boise air and use the home court advantage to pull off the upset over Serbia.
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Day 2 at the Miami Sony Open

Hello everybody,

The players have been coming out early in the morning this week down here in Miami to escape the heat. And more importantly, so they can secure their own court to practice on and have the luxury of using a full court instead of splitting one with any of their tour rivals.

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Caroline Wozniacki practicing in Miami

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Serena Williams practicing in Miami

On Tuesday, I had a quality practice with Caroline Wozniacki on Centre Court but today even
though coming out at 8:30am she didn’t get a show court.  Even Serena Williams didn’t get centre court to practice on today when coming out at 8:30am. She was practicing out there on one of the regular practice courts with her hitting partner Sascha Bajin and her coach Patrick Mouratoglou.

 

Both Caroline and Serena will be opening up play tomorrow in Miami.  Serena will play Flavia Pennetta second on the Main Stadium, while Caroline’s first match is against qualifier Karolina Pliskova and will be third on over on the Grandstand.

Kevin Anderson is continuing to grind and work hard here in Miami. He was already hitting them big when I arrived to the site this morning at 8:15, he must have started  around 7am. It looks like he won’t officially take to the courts until Friday, which gives him enough time to adjust to the Miami heat and humidity.

Great effort by all of them.

Enjoy the Tennis!

Mats

@matsmerkel