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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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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Mats Merkel: From the Australian Open 2013, Day 10

As the draw is getting smaller and smaller there are 4 matches today.

Two quarterfinals for the women and two for the men. First on Victoria Azarenka vs Svetlana Kuznetsova. A tight first set between the two where Kuznetsova was leading 4-1 but Azarenka came back to win the set 7-5.

1Victoria+Azarenka+2013+Australian+Open+Day+ZzowWJK8QqGlThen an unexpected result occurred when Serena Williams lost to Sloane Stephens in three sets 3-6, 7-5, 6-4. A great result for the young and upcoming American tennis talent! Congratulations and best of luck for the next round!

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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.

Year End Awards……according to Jason

Also known as The T-Dubbys.

T-Dubby

Without further ado:

Most Valuable Player (MVP)
Nominees:
-       Roger Federer. Surpassed Sampras’ all time Grand Slam record and won that elusive French Open title. With his win at Roland Garros this year, he is, and it hurts me to type this, the greatest player of all time.

-       Andre Agassi. Got the whole nation to talk about tennis. Hey, like they say, any publicity is good publicity. With his book, Open,  he single-handedly placed tennis at the front of sporting news. Until some guy named Tiger ran into a fire hydrant.

-      Rafael Nadal. Came out of the gates of 2009 hot! Won the Australian Open in an epic match against Federer. Won again at the “5th Slam”, BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells. Then, his knees decided enough was enough. Ended the year strong on his favorite surface, clay, helping Spain win the Davis Cup.

-       Serena Williams. Say what you will about her and her attitude, but she dominated 2009. Including her doubles record, Serena won 5 Grand Slams this year. 5! Plus, she put foot faulting on the map! Don’t tell me you weren’t constantly calling foot faults on your friends when you went out and played.
Winner: Roger Federer


Surprise Player of the Year (SPY)
Nominees:
-       Melanie Oudin. At the 2009 US Open, what did Elena Dementieva (4), Maria Sharapova (29), and Nadia Petrova (13) all have in common? They all lost to the 17-year-old American.  This might’ve been the first time you heard of her, but earlier, she upset Sybille Bammer (29) and Jelena Jankovic (6) at Wimbledon. USA! USA! USA!

-       Kim Clijsters. If I could borrow a line from Johnny Mac, “You cannot be serious!” How does one take two years off from tennis to have a baby, then, come back and in only her 3rd tournament, win the US Open?! She beat Venus Williams before beating Serena in the now, infamous Footgate incident.

-       Juan Martin Del Potro. As a major underdog, beat world #2 Rafael Nadal in the semis then beat defending champion Roger Federer in the finals at the US Open. He was down 2 sets and a break too. ‘Nuff said.
Winner: Juan Martin Del Potro


Best Supporting Player in a Loss (BSPL)
Nominees:
-       Fernando Verdasco @ Australian Open vs. Rafael Nadal. This was the longest match in Australian Open history. Unbelievable points, ridiculously long exchanges, a heavyweight slugfest, but in the end, Nadal was the victor. And it only took him 5 hours and 14 minutes. I wonder if he went for a run afterward to get some real exercise. Yes people, that was sarcasm.

-       Andy Roddick @ Wimbledon vs. Roger Federer. I’m not saying this was better than last year’s final, but this was one hell of an encore. Facing the pressure to hold or lose in the 5th set, Roddick held serve 11 times before getting broken for the match.
Winner: Andy Roddick


Best Point
Nominees: I’ll let the videos do the talking
-       Clijsters vs. Wozniacki. US Open Finals.
-       Federer vs. Djokovic. US Open Semi-Finals.
-       Nadal vs. Verdasco. Australian Open Semi-Finals.
-       Nadal vs. Federer. Australian Open Finals.
-       Monfils vs. Ferrero. Rogers Cup.
Winner: Nadal vs. Federer. Australian Open Finals


Biggest Upset
Nominees:
-       Soderling over Nadal @ The French Open. The King of Clay was going for his 5th straight French Open title. Just weeks before, he won two other clay tournaments. 32 straight matches won at Roland Garros. He never even lost a match in his career at Roland Garros. Ok, you get the picture. All that came to in end in the 4th round when Soderling beat him in 4 sets.

-       Del Potro over Federer @ The US Open. Rafa was only going for 5 straight titles at Roland Garros. Federer was going for 6 in a row. Down 2 sets and a break, Del Potro rallied all the way back with his 100+ MPH forehands and handed Federer his first loss since 2003. Down goes Frazier! Down goes Frazier!
Winner: Soderling over Nadal


Ms. Congeniality
Nominees:
-       Serena Williams. Come on! I had to give her a shout out. Pun intended.
Winner: Serena Williams


That’s it. 2009 is in the books. Do you have any nominees for these categories? Did I miss any obvious ones? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Here’s to a great 2010 season,

Jason, TW

Wimbledon. Place your bets!

Wimbledon is just around the corner (June 22) and here at Tennis Warehouse, we are getting in the mood by making picks on who’s going to be the last one standing. The office mates make 2 picks, their favorite and a dark horse. So, what’s at stake here? A trophy? Money? No, what’s a stake is more valuable than all of that, it is intangible and priceless: pride and office bragging rights. (Maybe a beer or two)

The rules are simple: pick 2 players, a favorite and a dark horse. The dark horse needs to be seeded out of the top 10. As I reveal each pick, I will share with you my thoughts on the player and give odds on them winning the championship. (Note: these odds are completely made up in my head; there is absolutely no scientific research behind this. Zip. Zero. None.)

MEN’S PICKS

Chris
Fav: Novak Djokovic. I think he has a damn good shot at winning. He has all the shots and he moves well. Plus, since it’s in England, heat shouldn’t be an issue. Odds: 8-1
DH: Mardy Fish. Made it to the QF at the Queens Club, so that’s a plus. But he gets minus points for beating my dark horse earlier this year. Odds: 93-1

Spencer
Fav: Juan Martin Del Potro. A big man with a big game. He’s the youngest player in the top 10, so he’s got age on his side. Odds: 11-1
DH: Ivan Lubijic. The man speaks 3 languages: Croatian, Italian and English. Odds: 95-1

Tiffani
Fav: Andy Murray. Coming off a win at the Queens Club, this guy is hot. The switch to the Head Youtek Radical racquet  might just give him the advantage he needs. Odds: 9-1
DH: Marin Cilic. He claims grass is one of his favorite surfaces, lucky for him, Wimbledon is on grass! Odds: 84-1

Jason
Fav: Rafael Nadal. Sure he has tendonitis in both knees, but after watching that epic Finals match in 2008, I’m not putting anything past him. He’s gotta be hungry after that French Open loss. Odds: 1-2 (Come on, he’s my pick, I had to give him the best odds)
DH: James Blake. OK, so I don’t really think he can win this, but he’s my favorite player. Big forehand, speed, shot making ability BUT so frustrating to watch. Odds: 90-1

Kana
Fav: Roger Federer. What grace, what elegance. Fred Astaire with a racquet. This guy’s not bad at tennis, huh? Odds: 4-1
DH: Tommy Robredo. Off to a great start in ’09 (32-11), but most of that was on clay. Let’s see what he can do on the lawn. Odds: 124-1

Next time, I’ll unveil the women’s picks. Here’s a small hint at my pick; it’s Venus Williams.

Jason, TW