Saturday, May 30, 2009

The Calm before the Storm

The Fog cleared by 9am and clear blue Sky's greeted all participants in the 2009 10s and 12s teams event held in Timaru over the Queens Birthday weekend.Juniors from Nelson,Otago,Lakes,Canterbury and as well as our locals from South Canterbury made the most of near perfect conditions today.Great performances from the 10s boys team as they won both ties today.Jono Ellis and Hugh Rollison played strongly as did Ben Deeley and Harrison Darling.Amelia Race and Anna Cochrane pictured above also showed
outstanding form.The weather however is expected to take a turn for the worse tomorrow with play continuing Sunday and Monday.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Escapes,Tears and Business as Usual

Both Roger Federer and Venus Williams escaped against gallant opponents in matches played overnight.Roger Federer def. Jose Acasuso, 7-6 (10-8), 5-7, 7-6 (7-2), 6-2 after coming from 1-5 down in the third set.Venus Williams found her self 4-5 in the third set before pulling off a win against Lucie Safarova, 6-7 (5-7), 6-2, 7-5. Neither Acasuso or Safarova were pencilled in to win and both Federer and Williams will have to perform better against the seeded players from now on.Spare a thought for comeback Queen Jelena Dokic who won the first set 6-2 against 4th seed Elena Dementieva and at 2-2 in the second set suffered an injury to her back.Ahead 3-2 and after an injury time out the injury worsened and at 3-4 down in the second Dokic had to retire giving Dementieva the win.Aussie girls perfomed well with Samantha Stosur (30) def. Yanina Wickmayer, 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 whilst Wild card recipient Olivia Rogowska went down in three sets after serving for the match in the third against Kateryna Bondarenko 4-6, 7-5, 7-5.Below are all completed match results Day 5.
Roger Federer (2) def. Jose Acasuso, 7-6 (10-8), 5-7, 7-6 (7-2), 6-2
Novak Djokovic (4) vs. Sergiy Stakhovsky, 6-3, 6-4 suspended
Juan Martin Del Potro (5) def. Viktor Troicki, 6-3, 7-5, 6-0
Andy Roddick (6) def. Ivo Minar, 6-2, 6-2, 7-6 (7-2)
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (9) def. Juan Monaco, 7-5, 2-6, 6-1, 7-6 (10-8)
Nikolay Davydenko (10) def. Diego Junqueira, 4-6, 6-3, 6-0, 6-2
Gael Monfils (11) def. Victor Crivoi, 6-4, 6-3, 6-3
Tommy Robredo (16) def. Daniel Gimeno-Traver, 6-4, 6-4, 6-3
Jurgen Melzer (24) def. Guillaume Rufin, 6-2, 7-5, 6-4
Igor Andreev (25) def. Martin Vassallo Arguello, 1-6, 7-5, 5-7, 6-3, 6-4
Philipp Kohlschreiber, (29) vs. Juan Carlos Ferrero, 6-4, 2-6, 6-4, 6-7 (3-7) suspended
Paul-Henri Mathieu (32) def. Pablo Andujar, 6-2, 6-3, 6-4
Christophe Rochus def. Arnaud Clement, 6-1, 7-5, 4-6, 6-3
Maximo Gonzalez def. Andreas Seppi, 7-6 (10-8), 6-3, 6-3
Tommy Haas def. Leonardo Mayer, 6-3, 7-6 (7-2), 3-6, 4-6, 6-3
Marc Gicquel def. Andreas Beck, 6-4, 6-7 (6-8), 7-6 (7-3), 7-5
Jeremy Chardy def. Simone Bolelli, 6-2, 6-3, 4-6, 4-6, 6-1

French Open women's singles second round
Serena Williams (2) def. Virginia Ruano Pascual, 6-2, 6-0
Venus Williams (3) def. Lucie Safarova, 6-7 (5-7), 6-2, 7-5
Elena Dementieva (4) def. Jelena Dokic, , 2-6, 4-3 retired
Jelena Jankovic (5) def. Magdalena Rybarikova, 6-1, 6-2
Svetlana Kuznetsova (7) def. Galina Voskoboeva, 6-0, 6-2
Caroline Wozniacki (10) def. Jill Craybas, 6-1, 6-4
Agnieszka Radwanska (12) def. Mariya Koryttseva, 6-1, 6-4
Tathiana Garbin def. Marion Bartoli (13), 6-3, 7-5
Virginie Razzano def. Anabel Medina Garrigues (18), 6-2, 6-2
Sorana Cirstea def. Alize Cornet (21), 6-3, 6-2
Aleksandra Wozniak (24) def. Petra Martic, 6-3, 6-3
Melinda Czink def. Sybille Bammer (28), 4-6, 6-3, 10-8
Samantha Stosur (30) def. Yanina Wickmayer, 6-3, 4-6, 6-4
Kateryna Bondarenko def. Olivia Rogowska, 4-6, 7-5, 7-5
Alexa Glatch vs. Lourdes Dominguez Lino, 6-7, 5-7
Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez def. Viktoria Kutuzova, 3-6, 6-3, 6-3
Jarmila Groth def. Mariana Duque Marino, 6-2, 7-6 (11-9)

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Day of The Seeds- Mens Draw French Open

Only two seeds fell on Day four with Marat Safin losing a thriller 10-8 in the Fith Set against Josselin Ouanna.The other seed to fall was Lopez against Tipsarevic. Andy Murray had to work hard to get through is match winning 6-3, 2-6, 7-5, 6-4 against Potito Starace.Maria Sharapova won 8-6 in the third set against the 11th seed Petrova.Below are all Day four results.
1] R Nadal (ESP) d T Gabashvili (RUS) 61 64 62
[3] A Murray (GBR) d P Starace (ITA) 63 26 75 64
[7] G Simon (FRA) d R Kendrick (USA) 75 60 61
[8] F Verdasco (ESP) d P Petzschner (GER) 61 62 63
[12] F Gonzalez (CHI) d R Machado (POR) 62 63 62
[13] M Cilic (CRO) d D Sela (ISR) 60 63 61
[14] D Ferrer (ESP) d N Kiefer (GER) 63 57 64 36 62
[17] S Wawrinka (SUI) d N Massu (CHI) 61 61 62
[18] R Stepanek (CZE) d [LL] M Montcourt (FRA) 64 46 64 64
J Ouanna (FRA) d [20] M Safin (RUS) 76(2) 76(4) 46 36 10-8
[23] R Soderling (SWE) d D Istomin (UZB) 64 76(4) 64
[30] V Hanescu (ROU) d M Youzhny (RUS) 75 75 75
[31] N Almagro (ESP) d E Gulbis (LAT) 67(4) 76(5) 63 62
J Tipsarevic (SRB) d [28] F Lopez (ESP) 67(9) 64 76(4) 63
L Hewitt (AUS) d A Golubev (KAZ) 64 63 61
[10] N Davydenko (RUS) vs D Junqueira (ARG) 46 63 60 22 - to finish Thursday

1) Dinara Safina (RUS) d. (Q) Vitalia Diatchenko (RUS) 61 61
(8) Ana Ivanovic (SRB) d. Tamarine Tanasugarn (THA) 61 62
(9) Victoria Azarenka (BLR) d. Kristina Barrois (GER) 76(1) 75
Maria Sharapova (RUS) d. (11) Nadia Petrova (RUS) 62 16 86
(Q) Michelle Larcher de Brito (POR) d. (15) Zheng Jie (CHN) 64 63
(20) Dominika Cibulkova (SVK) d. Kirsten Flipkens (BEL) 61 60
(22) Carla Suárez Navarro (ESP) d. Lucie Hradecka (CZE) 62 64
(25) Li Na (CHN) d. Timea Bacsinszky (SUI) 61 64
(27) Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (RUS) d. Julie Coin (FRA) 62 76(2)
(29) Agnes Szavay (HUN) d. Elena Vesnina (RUS) 62 60
(32) Iveta Benesova (CZE) d. Alla Kudryavtseva (RUS) 61 62
Gisela Dulko (ARG) d. Anna-Lena Groenefeld (GER) 76(5) 06 62
Aravane Rezai (FRA) d. (Q) Polona Hercog (SLO) 36 64 62
Olga Govortsova (BLR) d. Akgul Amanmuradova (UZB) 63 67(3) 75
(Q) Yaroslava Shvedova (KAZ) d. (Q) Arantxa Rus (NED) 60 62

Suspended due to darkness
Lucie Safarova (CZE) leads (3) Venus Williams (USA) 76(5)

Keep and eye on Michelle Larcher de Brito from portugal, De Brito is yet another product of the Bolletieri Florida production line which produced among others Maria Sharapova.

Just like the Russian golden girl, de Brito was under Bolletieri's wing when she was still a child, in her case just nine years old. Also like Sharapova, she's not afraid to exercise the vocal chords when the pressure is on.

I mentioned her a while ago as a player to watch.She beat the 15th seed today.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Roddick makes opponent eat Dirt -----I mean Clay

The video tells the story, one of the craziest moments on the ATP that has ever happened.Well Day 2 provided no real upsets and anyone that thought American James Blake the tournaments 15th seed loss to Leonardo Mayer of Argentina 7-6 7-5 6-2 was an upset I beg to differ.Frenchman Gail Monfils looked impressive with his first round win and he is my Dark Horse in the field.Mardy Fish(22) joined his fellow countryman Blake and Rainer Schuettler(27)where the only other seeds to fall in the men's.Australian junior Bernard Tomic was dealt a Clay Court lesson from Philipp Kohlschreiber of Germany 6-1 6-2 6-2.Tomic was recipient of a Wild Card deal between Australia and the French Tennis Federations. In the Ladies Serena Williams won in three sets but looked far from being the French Open Winner with movement being a big problem throughout the match.The only seed to fall in the ladies today was Shuai Peng of china losing to Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez of Spain in three sets.Australian females Stosur and Dokic both had good first round wins.Tomorrow match ups provide some interesting matches with in the Ladies Nadia Petrova (RUS)[11] v.Maria Sharapova (RUS)going at it.Whilst in the men's Josselin Ouanna (FRA)v.Marat Safin Rus looks a very even match on paper regardless of Safin being the 20th Seed.

Monday, May 25, 2009

The Women's Form for French Open

Yesterday I charted the Top 8 men and how many matches and tournaments each player had played since the Australian Open.Today I have included the Top 8 Women's Chart.

Jankovic leads with most events played 9 in total and 25 wins.Ivanovic has only played 4 events with 13 wins.The women's event as I have stated is wide open and anyone of these players could win the event.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

So Which Male Tennis Player has the Form on the Board

Please find a chart which shows how many events ( excluding davis cup and teams events) for the top 8 ranked ATP men and number of matches played since the Australian Open until the start of the French Open.Simon the French player and World ranked number 7 leads the most tournaments played with 10.Djokovic has the most wins with 39 playing 9 tournaments.In brackets on the chart is the number of events each player has played.

Federer has played the least but enters the tournament with a recent win over Nadal in his last match.Verdasco and Roddick have both played 6 events with Roddick having 22 matches to Verdasco's 20 .Murray has also an impresive 28 matches from seven events.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

New Edition Hits the Stands

The French Open Tennis draw is out with no major first round clashes.Click on this LINK for the official website .Four-time champion Rafael Nadal finds himself in Andy Murray’s half of the draw, while No2 seed Roger Federer is set to face clay specialists in the early rounds. In the women’s draw, the Williams sisters are in seperate sides of the draw, while world No1 Dinara Safina seems to be in the slightly easier half .If it goes according to plan 4th round matchups will look like this
Possible Round of 16
Men’s singles
Nadal (No1) – Ferrer (No14)
Davydenko (No10) – Verdasco (No8)
Murray (No3) – Cilic (No13)
Gonzalez (No12) – Simon (No7)
Del Potro (No5) – Tsonga (No9)
Robredo (No16) – Djokovic (No4)
Roddick (No6) – Monfils (No11)
Blake (No15) – Federer (No2)

Women’s singles
Safina (No1) – Zheng (No15)
Azarenka (No9) – Ivanovic (No8)
V. Williams (No3) – Mauresmo (No16)
Petrova (No11) – Zvonareva (No6)
Jankovic (No5) – Wozniacki (No10)
Bartoli (No13) – Dementieva (No4)
Kuznetsova (No7) – A. Radwanska (No12)
Pennetta (No14) – S. Williams (No2)

The french Open will however provide upsets Blake,Murray and Roddick may be earlier casualties as this is not their favourite surfaces.In the ladies it sometimes depends on how they feel on the day and look for a lot of even contests here with no standout at this stage.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Views World Wide

When i started this blog my main concern especially for me was keeping it fresh and updated I have now posted 119 articles since commencing last year.I am now climbing towards 8,000 hits and have regular readers not only in New Zealand but world wide. Top Visiting countries today have been the USA ,Mexico and Germany and its aways interesting to know which countries are reading the blog.The above pictures just show what great exposure one gets from the Internet and I look forward to continuing news and opinions on tennis.

Monday, May 18, 2009

World ranking's for tennis kids

Someone put this question to me recently on World rankings for junior age groups such as 12s 14s and 16s,was there any official rankings released for these age groups.The answer is no it would be impossible to collate as each national association would have a different age group ranking system.The Itf rankings would not give anymore indication as as there are hundreds of talented juniors 14 and under around the world that have yet to play an ITF event.

Here is a brief summary on how to get an Itf World junior ranking.If you're talking about a world junior ranking (18 and under), you must compete in Junior ITF tournaments. The ITF calendar runs 52 weeks of the year in many different countries around the world.There are various levels of tournaments that you must compete and win matches in to accumulate the ranking points that will both give you and determine your World Ranking.And if you are prepared to spend a lot of money you certainly can get a better ranking to go along with your talent.Players like Nadal and Sharapova and the Williams sisters and many more spent little time playing these events.At the highest level are the four Grand Slam events at Pro Level -- the Australian Open, the French Open, Wimbledon, and the US Open. Althgough these are the highest status events, they are not the most difficult events to gain entry. The reason is that their draw sizes are 128, with a qualifying event also of 128. These are the largest draw sizes of any events on the Pro Tour.

The lowest level of professional tournaments are called Futures events. These tournaments offer either $10,000 or $15,000 in total prizemoney, and are considered entry level events to the Pro Tour. In the main, these are the tournaments where ambitious young players compete to acquire their first ranking points, which, in turn, gives them their ATP world ranking.

Most exceptional juniors leave the ITF'S early and establish themselves on both the mens and women's circuits.At the end of the day junior rankings are not a natural progression to success on the pro circuit.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Roland Garros -Preview Vid

Hope you enjoy my first attempt at a video tennis preview , Im sure I will get better with each one, hope you enjoy.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

The Main Act

Roland Garros will soon be underway the venue for the French Open.Can Nadal win again,I think he can but I am sure his opponent's will lift their game when it counts.One thing that is distinguishable from hard courts to clay court play is that great clay courters will have as part of their weapons a competent drop shot,they will know when to play it and how to use it as game change up.This shot is used a lot more during the clay court season than on hard court.Clay court tennis is like a game of chess staying one step ahead as rally's are often longer and you have to manoeuvre your opposition around the court with change up's such as drop shots an angles.American players have not really fared that well recently at the french open and they just don't have some of the change ups that are needed to be successful on clay courts, Roddick, Blake and co just don't posses the clay court "brain" and although I am sure they go in with a game plan they still try at times to power their opponents into submission and this is why they wont be holding the trophy above their heads .Clay court play is an art in itself and its a player that can adapt and be prepared to play lots of balls ,grinding it out until they have the put away shot that comes much earlier on faster courts.Its a grand slam and maybe the toughest to win as in the two week period you are going to hit a lot of tennis balls.Only the fittest will survive.I am looking forward to the start of this event and watching the skill of the claycourter's in action.

Friday, May 15, 2009

The Clay Court Season Has Begun -In New Zealand winter sports full on

Who will stop Rafeal Nadal as he marches on with a crushing 6-3, 6-1 victory over Austrian Jurgen Melzer in the Mutua Madrilena Madrid Open.The 22-year-old Nadal improved his phenomenal clay-court record to 31 matches unbeaten, including 17 match wins this season. To beat Nadal now on any surface let alone clay is becoming an achievement in itself.Nadal would have to be the fittest and the strongest player on the tour and it will take a superhuman effort to defeat him at Roland Garros commencing soon.You could count on one hand the players that could cause him problems and alas Federer will not be one of them this year.

Meanwhile winter has set in here in New Zealand and summer sports which tennis falls in this category take second "fiddle" to rugby, hockey and netball.This is a huge factor in trying to lift the standard of tennis players locally as many with potential and talent to be top tennis players diversify over the winter months with other sports.This is culture and as long as one cares to remember this has been going on.What we need as coaches are reasons why to keep tennis a year round sport and incentives must be given by the national body so we can encourage more participation over winter. Tennis needs to compete with other sports. The rugby season and the soccer season are starting earlier each year and when sports overlap especially in a smaller area like South Canterbury rep players must choose ,as often the juniors that are great at tennis are more than competent with other sports.

For juniors really wanting to go far in tennis one must start to solely devote more time , if you have a high national ranking then you really can't switch off over the winter period.Most top 5 juniors that are ranked in their age groups have probably done this however I have seen juniors win national titles and think with out a strong winter plan can stay ahead of the pack.Someone, somwhere is devoting more time than you for sure.!

Over winter months competition is stagnated and if the powers that be want New Zealand to produce world ranked players of note more incentives and reason's why to play have to be actioned. Pictured above are Jack Deeley(left) and Jono Ellis(right) enjoying their winter program here in South Canterbury.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Tennis Footwork is a bit like Line Dancing

Footwork is very much a key component to any tennis players success.Is footwork a natural progression ? and is it installed in most athletes anyhow, can this be taught to the multitude , or does this become a natural instinct to those that have this ability.By working hard being ready to go and moving ,much of the movement is natural, have a look at the best tennis players in the world a lot of their movement has evolved by chasing tennis balls for a period of sustained length every day.It is something that can be worked , however a lot of this develops naturally just make sure your fitness is very good and you are prepared to work every time you step onto the court, because if your not then no matter what the footwork specialists tell may as well be Line Dancing than playing tennis.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Grass Roots -Missing in Action

Sorry for the lack of updates but I've been visiting family in Australia.My tennis started here in my home town Mendooran 6hrs drive inland west of Sydney.Ive take a collage of pictures 1.The Main Street 2.Welcome to Mendooran ( a population of around 300) 3.Is a mural on the side of the tennis club with the players being myself and my sister Lisa (Grady)who was ranked 4 in Australia in the 16s and winning many state titles in NSW.When we were both juniors there were no tennis coaches in the country and our parents every school holidays took us to Sydney for Pro Coaching.4.Is a view of the courts that now have become Hardcourt's, in our juniors days they were typical "ant bed" surface similar to clay ,they had to be prepared before play with water and bagging and rolling with a heavy roller, then marked with a Lime Marker.Every Sunday we had matches against local towns sadly these have became a thing of the past and only a night competition is played nowadays.My father took lisa and myself every Saturday to Dubbo for competition in a club team giving us vital match play, and sometimes even Sunday's to representative fixtures, Dubbo being about an 1hrs drive.5.Depicts a signpost with typical "Aussie Names" 6.Is one of the buildings around the town that features Murals which make the town stand out.From a little country town in Australia the game of tennis has taken me around the world and its with great memories that one returns to the grass roots at some stage.Whether you win Wimbledon or the Mendooran Open tennis opens the doors to life and by playing and striving to achieve can create many "paths". The path I have taken and still on started here and juniors and players world wide are indebted for picking up that first racket no matter where they were.