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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Keeping Up with the Playtesters…US Open Picks!

The US Open is just days away (I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait!). Working at TW is always fun during the tournaments because we all have our favorites and are glued to the matches, so of course I wanted to know who the playtesters were picking to win it all this year! Check out their answers and let us know who you pick to win it all this year at Flushing Meadows!

“Who are your picks to win the 2013 US Open?”

Granville: “It’s not going to be pretty – Djokovic and Radwanska (Aggie).”
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Men’s Semifinals

Hello all,

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

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.

 

Mats

@matsmerkel

Men’s Semifinals of French

What a great 2 semifinals are awaiting us!
Nadal vs Djokovic
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Last year’s final between Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic will be the semis of this year!
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

 

fer:tsoThis 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!

 

Enjoy this day of great Tennis!

 

Mats
@matsmerkel

French Open Today

FotoThe sun is out…or should I say, it is not raining today but is partly cloudy!

Anyway, it is a great day for tennis and a great day for the spectators to finally see some matches in a row!

Maria Sharapova is on Court Philippe Chatrier right now playing Jie Zheng.
A great schedule today for the spectators with access to centre court. They will get to see Nadal vs Fognini and Djokovic vs Dimitrov later on.

High level tennis all day!

Have fun!

Mats
@matsmerkel

New King of Monte Carlo

After beginning the week not even sure if he would be able to compete, Novak Djokovic and his Head YOUTEK Graphene Speed Pro have dethroned 8 time back to back champion Rafael Nadal to take the Monte Carlo Rolex Masters Title.

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Image courtesy of HEAD

In defiance of the bad ankle injury he endured at Davis Cup just two weeks ago, Nole took to Facebook last Tuesday to assure fans that he would be competing at Monte Carlo and was sure he was ready to get back on the court. Despite dropping the first sets of his first two matches, Nole looked to be moving and playing just fine by the quarterfinals. Watching the finals, it became clear that there isn’t anyone on the ATP Tour right now that can consistently go toe to toe with Nole and his solid groundstrokes. Nadal’s reign ended and his streak was laid to rest as Nole blasted balls from the baseline exposing Nadal’s weakness. Coming away with a 6-2, 7-6 victory, Nole couldn’t have been happier to win the elusive Monte Carlo title.

“If somebody told me 10 days ago I’d be winning the trophy, I wouldn’t think it’s so realistic, to be honest. I went through pain, I went through a big challenge, mentally, physically, emotionally, and in the end it was getting better as the tournament was going on. It was a high mountain to climb for me, and I knew that. It was the biggest challenge that you can have on clay. But I managed to overcome it. I was ready to accept that challenge. I made the decision to play – and it was the best decision I’ve made in my life.”

- Novak Djokovic

Djokovic only seems to continue to improve steadily while collecting titles on his way. His groundstrokes are so clean, crisp and consistent — he’s finding so much success while using his Head YOUTEK Graphene Speed Pro, which begs the obvious question, why aren’t more touring players choosing the Head YOUTEK Graphene Speed Pro Racquet as their racquet of choice? (I personally can say, it’s currently one of my top 3 favorite racquets and I love it from the baseline.) But back to the topic at hand, what can we expect from Nole next? With a couple weeks of rest and practice before Roland Garros, only time will tell who will be named the King of the Clay in 2013!

Play with heart,

Michelle

aHEAD of the Game

A player can usually base their success on how far they get in a tournament. And the larger the tournament and deeper into the draw they get, the more success that can be celebrated after grinding away for two weeks. So how would a brand measure their success? Seems like success could be measured with how many players the brand has using their product in the final rounds of each tournament. With that being said and with the quarterfinals and the semifinals set at the Sony Open in Miami this week, let’s take a gander at what racquets the players still in the draw are using.

Sony Open 2013

Andy Murray using his HEAD Youtek Radical Pro in Miami at the Sony Open – Photo by Cynthia Lum

HEAD currently has six out of the eight men that are in the quarterfinals of the Sony Open using their racquets (and in case you haven’t heard, Djokovic lost yesterday, so he isn’t in that count).  This bunch of HEAD players includes Andy Murray, Tomas Berdych, Richard Gasquet, Marin Cilic, Gilles Simon and Tommy Haas.

On the women’s side, already into the semifinals is HEAD Youtek Graphene Instinct MP user Maria Sharapova and Roberta Vinci is currently playing her quarterfinal match this evening with her HEAD Youtek IG Extreme Pro 2.0.

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Who’s hot and who’s not on the ATP Tour

It’s been an exciting first half of the 2012 season on the ATP Tour! We’ve seen Roger regain the #1 spot in the world rankings and three different players win majors, which hasn’t happened to start the year since 2005. Anything can happen leading into the Olympics in a couple weeks and with the American hard court season looming. Let’s take a look at who’s hot and who’s not on the ATP Tour leading into summer…

Who's hotter then the #1 ranked player in the world, Roger Federer?!

Who’s Hot??

Roger Federer – Record 287 weeks at #1. He’s just won his record 17th major and record-tying 7th Wimbledon title. He’s compiled a 46-6 record so far in 2012 with 5 titles, with two Masters 1000′s (Indian Wells and Madrid) and a major. Don’t look now, but Roger has returned to the throne at the top of the men’s game, and he’s turning 31 next month. G.O.A.T.? Without a doubt!

Marin Cilic – He’s won 2 titles in 2012 and they have both come in the last month, winning Queen’s Club (Nalbandian’s epic meltdown) and this past week’s clay court event in Umag in his home country of Croatia. After missing the first couple months of the year due to injury, Marin has compiled a 22-10 record (and four of those losses are to Del Potro). His only top 10 win of the year was against Isner in Madrid, but I think the big serving Croatian is gaining confidence and finding his form coming into summer.

Hard-working Croatian Marin Cilic could be finding his form leading into summer

Brian Baker – Is there a better story in tennis right now than this guy? After five surgeries and leaving the game to coach college tennis at hometown Belmont University in Nashville, TN, the smooth-moving American has come back with a bang and exploded into the world’s top 100 rankings. And if you think his recent results are a fluke then you’re heavily mistaken…he was formally number 2 in the world in juniors, and he’s won 32 of his last 38 matches dating back to April. Watch Brian continue his hot play on the American hard courts and reach the top 50 by the end of the year.

 

Who’s Not??

John Isner – After beating Djokovic and reaching the finals in Indian Wells in March, the big serving Georgia Bulldog hasn’t done much in tournament play since the tour moved over to Europe for the clay court season. I know he won Newport this past weekend, but his best win of the week was against fellow American #48 ranked Ryan Harrison, which just so happens to be his highest-ranked win in the last two months. He lost 5 of his 8 matches on the red dirt, which normally is a surface he’s strong on. Hopefully the big man can pick up some momentum in front of the home crowds in the States this summer, because the confidence seems to be lacking a bit in recent weeks.

Big John Isner will hopefully ride the momentum of winning Newport into the American hard court season

Feliciano Lopez – He’s lost 6 of his last 7 matches, including a first round loss at Wimbledon followed by a first round loss at a Challenger event in Colombia against the 213th-ranked player in the world. Not sure what’s going on right now with the big lefty from Madrid, but he’s seen his ranking drop from a career high #15 in April to his current #30 position. We’ll see if he can get out of a tough section of the draw in Gstaad, Switzerland this week and gain some momentum for the coming weeks.

Gael Monfils – He’s been struggling with a knee injury since the beginning of the year, and we haven’t seen him since his loss to Brian Baker in Nice just before the French Open. Given his history of injuries, who knows when we will see the exciting Frenchmen again. He’s got some ranking points to defend from last year’s summer hard court season, so if he doesn’t come back soon he’ll be out of the top 20 for the first time since 2008.

Speedy Frenchmen Gael Monfils has been struggling with knee problems since the beginning of 2012

 

 

Stay tuned for more pro tennis talk as the summer action heat’s up!  Thanks for reading!

Andy G.

Double Vision

Rafael Nadal and Marc Lopez are pictured here playing doubles at the BNP Paribas Open. (Picture by Kana, TW)

Indian Wells, California — The biggest names in tennis took to the courts in the doubles draw at the BNP Paribas Open.

Rafael Nadal of Spain teamed up with countryman Marc Lopez for the second match of the day on Stadium Court 1. Roger Federer took to the courts with fellow Swiss player, Stanislas Wawrinka while Scotland’s Andy Murray once again partnered with his brother, Jamie Murray.

Nadal and Lopez are the defending champions here and they showed why with a tough 7-6 (5), 7-6 (2) win over the all Polish team of Mariusz Fyrstenberg and Marcin Matkowski.

Nadal showed great hands at net, successfully fending off fast reflex volleys throughout the match. Fyrstenberg and Matkowski played a more traditional style of doubles and controlled the net well when playing two-up. However, Nadal’s groundstrokes separated him from the rest as he hit blistering passing shots Fyrstenberg and Matkowski had no answer for. Nadal’s partner, Lopez, took note and upped the pace of his forehand in the second set, racking up some impressive winners of his own.

Andy Murray and brother Jamie Murray are pictured here in the doubles event at the BNP Paribas Open. (Picture by Kana, TW

The team of Federer and Wawrinka look almost unstoppable, even against a team of proven doubles veterans like Max (the Beast from the East) Mirnyi and Daniel Nestor. The Swiss pair rolled through both sets with a convincing 6-1, 6-2 win.

Federer’s serve gave Mirnyi and Nestor trouble, while Wawrinka continued to show the same impressive serve and volley form he displayed on occasion during his run to the semifinals of this year’s Australian Open.

Day turned to night while the Murray brothers battled it out on Stadium Court 2 against the Brazilian team of Marcelo Melo and Bruno Soares. The Scott’s got off to a strong start, taking the first set 7-5. The Brazilian’s stepped up their level in the second set and closed it out 6-3. As the match progressed to the deciding tiebreak, the two teams battled closely until the score reached 5-5. It was then that the Murray’s put together a string of points and pulled out an insurmountable lead, finally closing out the breaker 10-6.

Novak Djokovic and Viktor Troicki are pictured here during doubles play at the BNP Paribas Open. (Picture by Kana, TW).

Serbia’s Novak Djokovic and Viktor Troicki also got off to a successful start in doubles with a 6-3, 7-5 win over the Argentinean team of Juan Ignacio Chela and Juan Monaco.

With so many big names in the doubles draw, it was great to see the stands packed again for doubles matches. For the players, it is a chance for them to secure a solid ranking with a fellow countryman in order to qualify for the 2012 Olympics in London, England.