It was back in Kopaonik, Serbia’s most prominent ski resort and the place where the Djokovic family ran a local restaurant, where the two first met; Novak a young boy trying to get the ball over the net and Gencic looking for her next star. As a former national tennis champion (she also played handball for Yugoslavia), Gencic became Fed Cup captain and then as a coach, she discovered Monica Seles and Goran Ivanisevic; now she had a third superstar on her hands.
Read More – HERE
Olga was fierce. To help you understand Ivan Lendl’s relationship with his mother, Olga, have a flick through back issues of Sports Illustrated magazine. According to one old profile of Lendl, when Ivan was a boy Olga would strike him with her left hand if he talked back, until she broke her wristwatch with one of the blows, and she then had to remember to hit him with her right. Another issue told the story of the time he initially refused to eat his carrots and peas, and so she set a timer for ten minutes and left the room – he knew then to clear his plate. Olga, who was once the second-ranked female player in Czechoslovakia, was always tough on her son. He was just six years old when she told him at the courts: “If you’re going to cry, go home.”
Read More – HERE
The fall-out from Lance Armstrong’s drugs confessions has reached the other side of the world. Leading players here at the Australian Open have been united in their condemnation of the American cyclist and several have backed the calls, first made by Andy Murray at the end of last year, for more blood tests. Most importantly, the International Tennis Federation is to increase its budget for drug testing and is set to introduce biological passports, along the lines of those used in cycling.
Novak Djokovic revealed here that he had not been blood-tested for “six or seven months”. In 2011 only 21 tennis players worldwide – 18 men and three women – were blood-tested out of competition by the ITF, which administers the sport’s anti-doping programme, and by the World Anti-Doping Agency. Murray, who had a maximum of three such tests in 2011 and none at all in 2010, says he would welcome more.
Read more – HERE
One of the best tennis blogs is Sports Illustrated’s “Beyond the Baseline ” blog by Courtney Nguyen. Here are some of this weeks highlights and links to the blog.
Thats my birthday cakes !!!🎂pic.twitter.com/MgOcbhbII
There’s more – HERE
• Rivalries revisited: In intriguing third-round matches, Maria Sharapova and Venus Williams headline the night session on Rod Laver Arena, while Ana Ivanovic and Jelena Jankovic turn back the clock (hopefully) to resurrect the rivalry that once determined the No. 1 ranking. “You certainly know what she’s capable of,” Sharapova said of Williams. “But when you’re out on the court, you’re not thinking how many titles she’s won or how experienced she is. You’re thinking about what you need to do to step it up in a certain situation and win as many points as you can.”
Lots More – HERE
Then there is the “Daily Bagel” posts which feature links and briefs descriptions of tennis from all over the web.
• Video: The Australian Open asks the top players which qualities they would like to have from other players. Among the answers: Novak Djokovic wants
Rafa’s Rafter’s volleys, and Agnieszka Radwanska wants Sam Stosur’s serve.
• Ana Ivanovic and Jelena Jankovic have buried the hatchet. Time heals all wounds.
• From CNN: How women cracked the tennis glass ceiling.
CLICK HERE for lots more great tennis from this post
Good recap of the Wednesday action at the Australian Open on Tennis X blog (CLICK HERE)
TENNIS-X NEWS, NOTES, QUOTES AND BARBS
Roger Federer has 17 wins over Nikolay Davydenko. Davydenko has just one win in his last 17 matches against Top 10 players…Hard luck case Brian Baker will need right knee surgery and will be out four months after tearing his lateral meniscus today against Sam Querrey…Want some streaks? We got them: Serena Williams has won 17 straight matches…Ryan Harrison has lost 16 straight matches to Top 10 players…Novak Djokovic has won 17 straight at the Australian Open…Andy Murray has won his last 8 Grand Slam matches…Venus Williams has won 7 straight matches…Aggie Radwasnka is on an 11-match win streak, winning all 22 sets…Lukas Lacko has lost 13 straight matches to Top 10ers…Bernard Tomic has won all 9 matches this year…And after leading 5-2 in the third set against Zheng Jie, Sam Stosur is on a 5-game losing streak…Who will have a better career,Madison Keys or Donna Vekic?…Serena Williams and Venus are still scheduled for doubles later Thursday, so maybe the right ankle is OK. Then again maybe not…Andy Murray’s worst Grand Slam loss by ranking was to No. 91 Arnuad Clement, today he’ll face No. 100 Joao Sousa…For the second straight year no Australian women reached the third round at the Australian Open… Ther is more to this section at the link above.
The point at 5:45 was one of the best points all year.
This was a cat-and-mouse exchange that lasted way longer than any live spectators anticipated.
To see all the video’s – CLICK HERE
- Are These The 10 Best Shots Of The 2012 ATP Season? [Video] (tennis-x.com)
From the ATP web site.
2012 By The Numbers… Novak’s 5 M.P. Saved Tops List
First-Time ATP Winners
Only one player won his first ATP World Tour title in 2012, compared with 10 in 2011. As players competing for their first ATP World Tour title went 1-15 in finals this season, 23-year-old Martin Klizan was the only breakthrough, triumphing at the St. Petersburg Open with a straight-sets win over Fabio Fognini. He became the first Slovakian to win a tour title since Dominik Hrbaty triumphed at Marseille in February 2004.
It was a mark of how competitive the ATP World Tour was in 2012 that the longest winning streak any player was able to put together was Roger Federer’s run of 16 matches in February-March. In 2011, Novak Djokovic had opened with a staggering 41-0 mark, while a year earlier Nadal had compiled a 24-match winning run.
Winning Titles Without Losing A Set
Rafael Nadal reminded the tennis world of his clay-court supremacy in 2012, winning three titles at Monte-Carlo, Barcelona and Rome without the loss of a set. Novak Djokovic was also able to win an ATP World Tour Masters 1000 title with a clean slate over six matches, retaining his title in Miami.
See the whole article – HERE
“Tennis Connected” has released their predictions of the year end top 10 players on the ATP tour. See if you agree. Better yet, write it down and see if you do better at the end of the year. Here is a few excerpts from this years article:
1. Novak Djokovic: Pound for pound, I can’t see anyone playing better on all four surfaces next year than Djokovic. He’s exceptional on hard-courts (the bulk of the season) and his clay and grass results are only second to Nadal and Federer. He’ll have his share of points to defend in ‘13, but nothing like what he faced in 2012. That being said, Djokovic should start strong and benefit from the 1500 points he gained at the WTF.
2. Andy Murray: It should be a good year for Murray, but not good enough for No. 1. The clay will again hurt his chances at the top spot, while the immense pressure at Wimbledon (even more pressure than before if you can believe it) should strike him there, and let’s not forget about his defense in New York later that summer. If there’s one solace for Murray over the upcoming season, it will be the Masters events. Not performing well in the elite tournaments in ‘12, Murray will have tons of room to improve.
9. Marin Cilic: From what I’ve seen from Cilic the past few seasons, I truly believe it’s only a matter of time before he starts challenging for majors. He’s got the height and court speed to give anyone fits, and his lack of fan fare will bode well for him in the coming years. Don’t look for Marin to be in a slam final in the next 12 months, but I think it’s reasonable to predict that he’ll be more of a factor on a regular basis.
A Few of the Comments:
Shalomo on December 4th, 2012 1:05 pm
I predict Nishikori will make it into Top 10 – not Cilic. Raonic will probably be 8-9. Nadal will have 0 points to defend for half the year so he’ll rebound to number one.
Kate on December 4th, 2012 12:44 pm
I’d be surprised if Ferrer finishes as low as number 8. He’s made real improvements to his game – serve, court positioning, transition game to the net, more aggressive groundstrokes. These improvements have enabled him to have a dominant record over Del Potro, Berdych, Tsonga, Tipsarevic and Gasquet this year. Whilst it’ll be hard to repeat the 7 titles, I think he will have another successful season. I think he and Del Potro will end the year ranked 5 and 6, in any order.
To read the entire article and to even add your opinion – CLICK HERE
and HERE for last years top 10 predictions.
A further look at the Top 50 Men according to Matt Cronin’s tennisreporters.net. The previous article featured players 1-5. Here we look at players 6-10 on the Men’s side. Tomas Berdych, Juan Martin Del Potro, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Janko Tipsarevic and Richard Gasquet. Here are few excerpts from the article on players 6-10.
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga: I feel much the same way about Tsonga that I do about Berdych: here’s a man with a huge game, who actually moves better than the Czech and is more sure handed at the net, but who consistently comes up short against the Big 4. Look at his Slam year: a fantastic five-set win over Wawrinka at Roland Garros, flowed up by four amazing sets in front of the home crowd against Djokovic, and then a fast fade in the fifth. At Wimbledon he scored two hearty four-set wins over Fish and Kohlschreiber and then watched Murray pick him apart in the semis. And those were his two better Slams.
Big Jo has now hired a coach, Roger Rasheed, who is a serious man who will likely attempt to impose some discipline on him on court and off. Maybe that’s all Jo needs, although an improved backhand and return of serve would surely help, too.
Juan Martin Del Potro: When asked in Argentina the other day whether Argentine Juan Martin Del Potro had the goods to become No. 1, Roger Federer answered in the affirmative. But what was he supposed to say with DelPo sitting right next to him and 400 Argentine journalists in the room? ‘No at best he’ll reach No. 3?’ Frankly, trying to come back from wrist surgery on your playing arm is a frightening prospect. It also has to scare DelPo that he began to have trouble with his other wrist (left) last summer. So he scored a couple of wins over Federer in the fall, which was impressive, but he also took three straight losses to Djokovic after upsetting him for the Olympic bronze medal. Yes JMDP has a killer forehand, moves better than any 6-feet-6 player ever, has a pretty big first serve and a consistent backhand, but the man has yet to win Masters Series, or reach a Slam final since he came back in late 2010. Sure he could accomplish both those things in theory, but I want to see it happen first before I agree with Federer.
Read the whole article – HERE
Matt Cronin’s tennisreporters.net came up with it’s year end Top 50 Men. The top 5 were Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray and David Ferrer. The article has two paragraphs on each player.
Here are few excerpts:
Novak Djokovic: Yes, in 2012, he only won one major, the Aussie Open, but he also reached the Roland Garros final, the Wimbledon semis, the US Open final and when a lot of chips were on the line heading into the fall over who the Player of the Year was, he grabbed Shanghai and the ATP World Finals to seal POY honors.
David Ferrer: Has there ever been a more beloved world No. 5 than the gritty and gusty Ferrer? Perhaps not. Everyone loves his hustle, the way he always fight to the last ball, how much he has improved his serve and has been willing to go on the attack more. But while he clearly had a better year than anyone ranked below him, he didn’t even end the year ranked higher than Nadal, who stopped playing in late June.
As Ferrer has said, it’s more than possible that every member of the Big 4 is simply better than he is. In 2012, he went 0-3 against Djokovic and Nadal, ran his record to 0-14 vs. Federer with two losses, and split matches with Murray. He needs to go after the ball more against those players, but it is altogether possible that outside of Murray, that even if he does, he will be pushed back. But here’s hoping he reaches his first Slam final in 2013 in great shape because it would be a lot of fun to see the 30 year old sprinting wall to wall to in an attempt to win his first major. That would cap off one of the most dedicated careers of any 21st century competitor.
Read the whole article – HERE
First up, only the top 87 players are entitled to a locker. So bad luck Filippo Volandri who currently stands at 88 in the world rankings.
Roger Federer will have locker number 5, because he is going for his fifth title. No surprise which locker he will have the following year if he wins.
Novak Djokovic will have 86, because it is next to a mirror. Novak is also known to play lots of practical jokes in the locker room to kill time.
Read More – HERE
Sports Illustrated’s Courtney Nguyen gives her year end grades for many of the players at her “Beyond the Baseline” blog. A sampling of things from the blog is listed below.
Novak Djokovic: A The 25-year-old Serb could have gone very negative after the London Games, but he dusted himself off and collected four of his six titles in the second half, winning Toronto, Beijing, Shanghai and the World Tour Finals.
Roger Federer: A. Age ain’t nothin’ but a number for Federer, who continued to build on the momentum gained last fall — when he won Basel, Paris and the World Tour Finals to finish the season — and captured his seventh Wimbledon crown to earn the No. 1 ranking for a record-breaking 287th week. The latter was the most astonishing accomplishment of the year for Federer. I have no doubt he has a few more Slams in him, but getting back to No. 1 showed that the now 31-year-old was still capable of consistency over a 365-day span.
Victoria Azarenka: A. The scary thing about Azarenka’s tremendous year is that she played well within herself. Her 26-match winning streak to start the year wasn’t a player going on a hot run.
Serena Williams: A+. Serena says she still ranks her 2002 season as her best. That year she went 56-5 with eight titles, including three majors. Her numbers this year aren’t too shabby. She went 58-4 with two Slams, an Olympic gold medal and seven titles. That’s an incredible haul when you consider the bulk of it was accomplished during the second half of the season. After her shocking first-round exit to Virginie Razzano at Roland Garros, Williams lost one match in six tournaments the rest of the year. It was an incredible turnaround from a woman already known for defying the odds.
Maria Sharapova: B+ The Russian completed the career Grand Slam by romping to the French Open title, dropping only one set over the fortnight. She was remarkably consistent throughout the year, making the quarterfinals or better at every tournament save Wimbledon, where she lost to Sabine Lisicki in the fourth round. The problem for Sharapova was her performance in finals. She made nine finals this year and lost seven of them, all to Williams, Azarenka and Agnieszka Radwanska.
Caroline Wozniacki: D. From No. 1 to barely inside the top 10, this was quite the tumble for Wozniacki, who spent most of the year looking absolutely miserable on the court.
There are a lot more players who got grades from Nguyen and a lot more to the article. Read the whole article – HERE. See if you agree with her grades and her logic.
From “The Slice” Blog
Britain’s Prince William presented Novak Djokovic with the “Centrepoint Premier Award for Contribution to the Lives of Youth Accross the World” in recognition of his charity work with the Novak Djokavic Foundation tonight at the Winter Whites Gala in London. The Gala had numerous retired players in attendance (Bjorn Borg, Boris Becker, John McEnroe and more) as well as celebrities (Jude Law!) and attendees watched Tim Henman take on Goran Ivanisevic for a spot of enjoyable tennis.
“I think, on the men’s side Andy Murray will be difficult to beat this year,” Tiley said. “Novak is a defending champion, he is playing great tennis, he is obviously tough to beat, but I think Andy Murray is someone who we are going to see even more.”
“In the women’s draw, I think, Maria,” Tiley said. “I think she was probably playing the best tennis at the end of the year. Azarenka is playing great tennis and she won here last year obviously and this was her first breakthrough.”
So what are the odds?
On the Men’s side you can pay as little as 5/4 for Novak Djokovic (meaning a bet of four Euro’s will win you 5 Euro’s so you wil get back 9 Euro’s, the 5 you won plus the 4 you bet). You can get as high as 32/21 for a bet on Djokovic. Andy Murray is anywhere from 9/4 to 41/12. Roger Federer 15/4 to 59/10. Rafa is between 5/1 and 8/1. The reason the odds are in Euro’s is because gambling on sports is legal in London. If you want to take a chance on am American long shot you can get anywhere from 50/1 to 379/1 on John Isner. If you really want a long shot you can get 1,000/1 on Donald Young.
On the Women’s side Bet365 lists Serena Williams at 6/4; Victoria Azarenka at 11/4; Maria Sharapova at 7/1; Petra Kvitova at 9/1 and Christina McHale will bring in between 200/1 and 300/1.
Holiday gifts that for that special tennis player that you’ll find in the bookstore (Released in the past year or so):
When Andy Murray finally overcame Novak Djokovic in a five-set thriller to secure the 2012 US Open, it was a dream fulfilled for the man from Dunblane. After four previous defeats in Grand Slam finals, Murray had finally achieved what no British man had managed since the 1930s. But the story of how he got there was just as compelling as the final itself, with as many twists and turns along the way. Writer Mark Hodgkinson has been covering that story since the start – he was actually the first person to interview Murray for a national newspaper back in 2004, and has worked closely with Judy Murray in the past.
In Andy Murray: Champion, Hodgkinson explains how Murray first emerged as a tennis player of true quality, and how his rivalry with his brother Jamie spurred him on. He looks at the close relationship Murray has with his mother, and the various coaches who haved worked with him to assess their influence on his game. In a hugely competitive era of tennis, with Federer, Nadal and Djokovic all counted to be among the greatest tennis players of all time, Murray has earned the right to be ranked alongside them all – and this book explains how and why he has done so, becoming a true national sporting icon in the process.
Parker “Kong” King is the number one tennis player in the world with a real talent for getting women in her bed. To prepare herself for the one title she’s never won—and avoid the press and her ex—she retreats to a secluded home in Press Cove, Alabama. There she’ll also be safe from the Soldiers of God who’ve threatened to kill her for what they see as her depraved lifestyle.
Commercial pilot Caption Sydney Parish loves the order that comes from a well-constructed plan for everything, her only failure being her personal life. She hopes a vacation will help heal her bruised heart, but soon finds that might not be possible when she discovers she’s one house over from Parker King.
When Parker and Sydney meet, sparks fly, but not from attraction. They have the summer to see if they have a love match, or will the Soldiers of God kill their chance for a relationship?
TENNIS CALENDARS – 2013
Tennis Anatomy Book. Focusing on the exercises and tecniques you need to improve your strength, speed and agility, this book will provide an education like no other. Learn how to modify exercises to target specific areas, improve your skills, and minimize injury. Every tennis player has specific needs and Tennis Anatomy allows you to understand and implement training on both an informative and practical level.
“In Tennis Anatomy, the authors do a terrific job of explaining how to use a balanced strength and conditioning program. Theinformation is practical for all levels and an invaluable tool for better performance on court.” – Paul Annacone (Current coach of Roger Federer and Former Coach of Pete Sampras)
“Tennis Anatomy is an essential resource for both players and coaches. Roetert and Kovacs provide expert instruction and a one-of-a-kind look inside the game.” John Isner (United States Davis Cup Player)
– 72 effective exercises with step-by-step descriptions and full-color anatomical illustrations highlighting muscles in action.
– Exercises for both baseline and net
– Illustrations of active muscles for forehands, backhands volleys, overheads and serves, showing how each exercise you do is fundamentally linked to your tennis performance
“For several years, tennis aficionados wondered whether they could really call Roger Federer the greatest ever tennis player. In 2009, Federer ended that debate by completing his collection of career Grand Slams and overtaking Pete Sampras’ all-time record of 14 major titles. With his olympic gold medal from 2008, Federer is now recognised as the greatest tennis player and has achieved legendary status in the wider sporting world. This authoritative and affectionate biography traces the rise of Federer, from his first tentative strokes with a tennis racket to how he dealt with being sent away to a training academy where he struggled to communicate in a French-speaking part of Switzerland; and how he handled the sudden death of his first real coach and mentor. It looks at his development as a sportsman and how he has matured into a family man with his marriage to Mirka Vavrinec and the birth of their twin girls. It also examines how Roger bounced back from arguably one of the most challenging periods of his career as, following a serious illness and a dip in form, his run of successive Wimbledon championship wins was ended and he was toppled from the number one spot by his long-time rival Rafael Nadal. In characteristic style, Federer silenced his criticsby winning the French Open title for the first time, reclaiming his Wimbledon crown and ending 2009 at the number one position for the fifth time.”–Publisher’s description.
Author and tennis historian Steve Flink profiles and ranks the greatest tennis matches in the history of the sport. Roger Federer, Billie Jean King, Rafael Nadal, Bjorn Borg, John McEnroe, Martina Navratilova, Rod Laver, and Chris Evert are all featured in this book that breaks down, analyzes, and puts into historical context the most memorable matches ever played. Practically providing readers with a courtside seat at tennis’ most historic and significant duels, this resource is sure to be the start—and end—of many tennis debates.
Amazon Customer Reviews
Richard continues to provide his unique insight into the tennis world. His perspective and style make this an excellent read for not just the tennis fan but for anyone interested in what it takes to be at the top of your profession.
Another excellent book by Richard Kent, noted sports writer from Connecticut. Kent has once again captured the essence of profesional tennis. A must read for the serious tennis fan– this one even better than his inside look at the US Open.
Solid groundstrokes, a confident net game, a dictating serve, a sharp return game, and specialty shots for every situation—build your game from the ground up with the techniques and shots that are essential for success in today’s versatile and powerful game. Combine that with winning tactics for singles and doubles, and Tennis Skills & Drills is your blueprint for taking your game to the next level.
Start with assessing the basic techniques for the various strokes and see how you can improve your footwork, grip choices, and swing patterns. Then increase your options with spins, angles, and depth. Complete instruction for all of the strokes along with over 110 practice drills is like having your own personal coach.