The 2014 Desert Showdown

Stadium Court at La Quinta Resort

Stadium Court at La Quinta Resort

The Desert Showdown (formerly the Desert Smash) was a happening place to be this year. Like last year, I was able to attend the event and was entertained from the moment I got there until the moment I left. This year’s event came with a new name along with several other notable changes. The first was that the event expanded into two days to include both golf and tennis events. Will Ferrell was the host this year to keep everyone and anyone entertained throughout the event. The tennis event featured a pro am tournament in the morning (with the participants receiving a goody bag from Tennis Warehouse!) and then an exhibition in the afternoon at the beautiful La Quinta Resort.
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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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5th Annual T Dubbies: Year End Tennis Awards

The most coveted award in all of tennis

The most coveted award in all of tennis

I don’t know about you, but to me, 2013 seemed like it was only about 3 months long. One minute everyone was doing the Harlem Shake and the next, they moved on to something called twerking. It felt like just yesterday that I was writing my 2012 year in review. Weren’t we just talking about Rafael Nadal’s comeback? But here we are, at the end of the 2013, less than 1 month away from the 2014 Australian Open. And Rafa’s knee, much like Miley Cyrus, appears to be alive and well.

These past 12 months can be summed up in 2 words: Rafa, Serena. Both had spectacular seasons and both went into 2013 with question marks. Rafa with his knee and Serena with her age (which, at 32, is considered “over the hill” in tennis years). And yes, let’s not forget that this was the year Andy Murray got the monkey, well, more like Godzilla, off his back by winning Wimbledon.

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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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Claremont Qualies

Well, it was a tough weekend of qualifying but I managed to make it through. Thankfully I only had to play one match a day, anything else in the heat of Claremont would have been a real challenge. I got a first round bye on Friday, meaning that I started my qualifying campaign first thing on Saturday morning. I won my first and second rounds convincingly, 6-2 6-1 and 6-1 6-4 respectively. I played my final round of qualifying this morning. My opponent was Emmett Egger, a player from the University of Washington. On the line, a spot in the main draw and a little bit of revenge for me. Egger and his partner Kyle McMorrow had been the only team to beat my doubles partner, Andre Dome, and I in the collegiate regular season last year.

I got off to a great start. Serving big and really putting pressure on my opponents return games. I broke in the third game and never looked back. Although I was putting more pressure on him than he was putting on me, we both held serve for the rest of the set. 6-4 to me.

The second set was a carbon copy of the first. I broke early and then held serve convincingly to take the match 6-4 6-4. It was a great feeling to qualify without losing a set and an even better feeling to get some wins under my belt. Qualifiers get the following day off, so I’ll play my next match on Wednesday morning. The draw was just posted and my opponent is Marcos Giron, the standout from UCLA. Not the greatest draw, but definitely not the worst. My partner, Fabian Matthews, and I are scheduled to play doubles tomorrow afternoon.

I’ll let you know how it goes. I have to get back to watching the US Open final, Nadal up 4-3 in the third. Unbelievable tennis going on right now. Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal really are taking our sport to new heights. It’s incredible to watch.

Enjoy it!

Matt

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

Fashion + Function = New Bags from HEAD

HEAD Tennis has been on top of the trends lately creating some of the newest, freshest styles of tennis bags over the past year making sure that each of their players are carrying their racquets to the courts in style.

Maria Sharapova HEAD BagHEAD launches some functional and fashion-forward new bags. Maria Sharapova designed these bags to be elegant and dynamic for the tennis player that is looking for style when carrying their gear to the court. There are two bags available in this collection, the Maria Sharapova Tennis Court Bag and the Maria Sharapova Tennis Racquet Bag Combi. These bags are black with pops of neon lime and purple accents. Complete with accessory bags and lots of pockets, these bags are perfect for any tennis fashionista!

 
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Head RED Limited Edition Bags

HEAD has launched a (RED) Special Edition bag collection to raise awareness and money for the fight against Aids. HEAD will be contributing 40% of the profits off the (RED) HEAD line of bags going to the Global Fund to fight Aids. Tennis Warehouse is excited to be getting these bags in and help spread the word about the collaboration between HEAD and RED.

HEAD tennis players including, Novak Djokovic, Sloane Stephens and Tomas Berdych have been showing their support by carrying the HEAD Special Edition racquet bag on court this week during the French Open.

head RED

The line of bags features a RED Monstercombi and a RED Backpack. Both are made of 100% polyester. The Monstercombi has once climate control pocket racquet section and the bag can hold up to 12 racquets. Included is a front zipper pocket as well as an inside mesh pocket and extra shoesack. It also has detachable, adjustable and hideable back pack straps to ensure comfortable carrying. The Backpack has a compartment that can hold 1 racquet and includes and integrated shoe compartment with a front zipper pocket.
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Dimitrov defeats Djokovic (& more)

You may know him as Baby Fed, or Hollywood, or maybe by which WTA Diva he is currently dating, but yesterday, Grigor Dimitrov made sure people should know him strictly for his tennis, heart, and fight on the court.

Just 21 years old, the young Bulgarian defeated Novak Djokovic in the second round of Madrid in a battle 7-6 (6), 6-7 (8), 6-3. Nothing short of being a dramatic match, Dimitrov came out victorious, covered in red clay and bloody knees after he waded out the storm. The match was complete with Djokovic twisting an ankle, proceeded by taking a long injury time out, Dimitrov fought through body cramps, and the fans got behind the underdog and chanted his name until the end. After shaking hands, the Bulgarian was clearly proud, fought back tears and signed the camera by writing “I love you Dad.”

Grigor Dimitrov after beating Novak Djokovic

Grigor Dimitrov after beating Novak Djokovic photo by Mats Merkel

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