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.
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!
My paperwork has finally been processed at the UK Consulate and my visa has been approved. They tell me my passport along with my visa should be returned to me in the next 48 hours. So, finally I have some good news to report. Unfortunately, due to the delay I’ve missed the first two tournaments in Herzliya, Israel, but thankfully I’ll be able to make the third and final tournament which starts with qualifying on the 14th of June. From Israel, it’s on to England for the month of July and three Futures on grass in Manchester, Felixstowe and Ilkley. Growing up in Zimbabwe we had a grass court at home, so I’m really looking forward to getting back onto the surface I was raised on.
The Friday Doubles League kicked off last Friday with a close battle between Team Johnson & O’Leary (Andy and Spencer) and Team Blonde (Brittany and Michelle). After a number of deuce games that went back and forth to start the match, Andy and Spencer were able to nudge their noses into the lead and stay there, hanging on for an 8-5 victory.
In the second match, Team Air Cooled (Chris and Granville) came out on fire against Team Leftovers (Troy and Mark). They never took their foot of the gas pedal and cruised to a 8-0 victory.
Chris and Granville got off to a hot start in Week 1 with an 8-0 victory.
“We came out strong and just kept getting stronger,” Chris said. “We wanted to send a message to the rest of the league,” Granville added.
Week 1 Results:
Team Johnson & O’Leary def. Team Blonde…8-5
Team Air Cooled def. Team Leftovers…8-0
Week 2 Schedule (both matches scheduled for Friday):
Team Johnson & O’Leary vs. Team Leftovers
Team Blonde vs. Team Air Cooled
Here’s a few more questions I got to ask Chris and Granville today after their match:
Q: Both of you have playtested for a while here at TW…what are currently a couple of your go-to racquet/string setups?
The French Open is on the horizon, but first, the WTA and ATP makes a stop in Madrid, Spain for the Mutua Madrid Open. The draws are packed full with the top players, the clay is back to red and the tennis is sure to heat up! So let’s take a quick look at what’s going on at the Mutua Madrid Open!
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.
Caroline Wozniacki practicing in Miami
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.
Tennis is such an emotional sport. More so than any other sport because you’re an island out there on the court. A one-man wolf pack if you will. One can go from the highest of highs to the lowest of lows in a matter of minutes. It’s a roller coaster of emotions and you can sometimes only hang on for the ride. As such, anger and frustration is a natural part of the game. It doesn’t matter whether your Roger Federer or Joe Schmo, at some point we’ve all gotten pissed off on court.
And we all handle our frustrations differently. Some people internalize it. Others need to vocalize it. Regardless, there’s a breaking point in all of us. And when this pent up anger builds to this breaking point, it needs to be released. Where can it go? This isn’t basketball or football; you can’t yell at your teammates, and your coach isn’t standing on the sideline to be a human punching bag for you. This isn’t baseball where you can take your bat to an innocent Gatorade cooler. And this surely isn’t hockey where one can actually physically take their anger out on the opponent while the referees watch and the crowd cheers. Sure, one can yell at the commentators (who did deserve it) or scream at the umpire/line judge ala John McEnroe and Serena Williams, respectively. But where can one turn to really rage? I’m talking, let-the-world-know-I’m-pissed-off-and-I’m-turning-green rage. Yea, I’m talking Hulk rage.
Congratulations! We’ve made it another year. Another year that was filled with the usual: unbelievable matches, shocking upsets and ridiculous shot making. But this year was different, this year had something happen that in the past 2,011 years didn’t happen. Yup, you guessed it, this year we had Gangnam Style. You might hate it, you might love it, but either way, you know you’re singing along when you hear “heeeeeeeeeey, sexy lady.” If you are one of the very few, and I mean, very few, who has no idea what I’m talking about, do yourself a favor and click here. And since we’re on the subject of firsts in 2012, and because this is “technically” a “tennis” blog just because it’s “technically” related to “Tennis Warehouse“: Andy Murray and Victoria Azarenka both won their first Grand Slams. How about that!
Before we get to the 2012 T-Dubby awards, here is a quick recap of this past year:
- Novak Djokovic is human! But still really good. He couldn’t duplicate his unreal 2011 season but 2012 was no slouch.
- Rafa is still really good on clay.
- Rafa’s knees, in general, not as good.
- Roger Federer is still really good despite being 31 (that’s 58 in tennis years)
- When motivated and healthy, Serena is scary good.
- Blue clay is scary bad.
- Redfoo of LMFAO really likes tennis. Or really likes hanging out with tennis players. One of those.
Redfoo from LMFAO rocking the TW exclusive Gel Resolution 4 shoes
With 2013 right around the corner (or if you’re following the Mayan calendar, maybe not), let’s take a look at this year’s nominees.
Best Match Nominees: Australian Open Men’s Finals: Novak Djokovic vs. Rafael Nadal
It was the longest match in Australian Open history and at the end, both players could barely stand during the trophy ceremony. I remember watching the 5th set and thinking that these guys were hitting the ball harder in that set than the 1st set. This was a match that ended at 1:27 in the morning, lasted almost 6 hours and featured the score of 5-7, 6-4, 6-2, 6-7 (5), 7-5 to Djokovic. And yet, despite that all that, Novak Djokovic was still able to muster up the energy to rip his shirt off. How?! HOW?! I’m going gluten free.
Olympic Second Round: Milos Raonic vs. Jo Wilfried Tsonga
It was just a 2nd round match that featured the 5th seeded Tsonga and an unseeded Raonic. This was supposed to be a relatively win for Tsonga, who made it to the semi-finals of the last 2 Wimbledons. They exchanged sets and then the 3rd set happened. Let’s see here, the first 2 sets were 6-3, 3-6 for a total of 18 games. The 3rd set had a total of 48 games and ended 25-23 to Tsonga. That was exhausting just typing it out, let alone playing it out.
French Open Quarterfinal: Novak Djokovic vs. Jo Wilfried Tsonga
4 match points. Novak Djokovic battled off 4 match points to beat Jo Wilfried Tsonga 6-1, 5-7, 5-7, 7-6 (6), 6-1. He also had to battle off a crowd that was audibly against him and for the Frenchman Tsonga.
US Open Final. Serena Williams vs Victoria Azarenka
After the 1st set, it looked like it would be another easy win for Serena Williams. But after Azarenka battled back to take the 2nd set, the match went to the decisive 3rd set, a first since 1995. At one point Azarenka even served for the match. But Serena, with the crowd behind her, and Serena being Serena, fought back and eventually won it 7-5.
Winner: Australian Open Finals: Novak Djokovic vs. Rafael Nadal
The “Wow These Guys Are Good” Award (Best Point) Nominees Rafael Nadal vs Tomas Berdych @ Australian Open
Olivier Rochus vs Fernando Verdasco @ Monte Carlo Rolex Masters
Roger Federer vs Novak Djokovic @ ATP World Tour Finals
We think the new Wilson Blades for 2013 are the best yet! Get a demo and give them a try for yourself!
The highly anticipated new Wilson Blade racquets are here, and now available for pre-sale!
Wilson has built upon the success of the Blade line and re-engineered the racquets to make them more solid and more comfortable than ever. The new versions include Wilson’s Amplifeel technology, a handle system designed to provide a clean, more enhanced feel for the player upon ball contact. In addition, the frame has been re-designed with a new construction, making it more stable on impact and off-center hits.
When Wilson presented these new racquets, we were told these were the best Blades ever. We took them to the court, and sure enough, our playtest team felt these were a huge improvement upon previous generations. The improvements that Wilson set out to make were exactly that – noticeable improvements!
The biggest difference we noticed was in the construction, where the new Blades significantly outplayed the previous ones. The new Blade 93 offers superior comfort, feel and a larger sweetspot compared to the BLX Blade Tour it replaces.
In the 98s, the new Blades are rock solid! The Amplifeel in the handle is an improvement, making them softer and more comfortable, providing a better connection between the ball and the player. Furthermore, we were excited to see the open (16×19) string pattern being offered in the 98 square inch version. We found it to have a much livelier feel than the 18×20 version, offering both more power and spin.
All in all, these new Blades are everything they are hyped up to be. The improvements Wilson set out to make are real, and our whole playtesting team loved hitting the new sticks. Be sure to check out our full written and video reviews by clicking on the review links on the product pages for each new Blade.
Here is some additional info and in-house specs about each racquet in the new Blade line: