Monday, May 31, 2010

Nadal Blogs

Here is a Link to the Times an English paper who features a blog by Nadal.Usually they run it during Wimbledon but Nadal has been blogging for them during the French Open.I'm not sure how much Nadal actually writes but its a good insight to some of the other goings on not just what you see on the Tennis Court.You can even ask questions ....and if your lucky Rafa may answer :) LINK

Day 9 Roland Garros Tips


Robby Ginepri(USA) vs. Novak Djokovic(SRB)[3]
Surely Novak wont take a dizzy spell and will end the Run of the last American Male left in the singles Draw.Ginepri has had a good run but Djokovic after all is the number 3

Thomaz Bellucci(BRA)[24] vs. Rafael Nadal(ESP)[2]
Bellucci has come a long way since Rafa put him away on clay previous.This will be a good match .....He cant beat the King of Clay! can he?

Teimuraz Gabashvili(RUS vs. Jurgen Melzer(AUT)[22]
Qualifyer versus seed....Both mentally unstable I would think Melzer just a little more experience at this stage.The Russian will either hit a lot of winners or hit a lot out.

Fernando Verdasco(ESP)[7] vs. Nicolas Almagro(ESP)[19]
This is like a lottery! I know that Verdasco has just been scrapping in and Almagro sent Ferrer packing with ease.Will go for the upset .


Justine Henin(BEL)[22] vs. Samantha Stosur(AUS)[7]
Henin is not the same player as when she previous won here.Stotsur could if everything went right win IE that means she has to hit a lot of balls in....But that is asking way too much at this level.

Jarmila Groth(AUS) vs. Yaroslava Shvedova(KAZ)

An even match up, each player could not ask for a better draw in the round of 16.

Serena Williams(USA)[1] vs. Shahar Peer(ISR)[18]

What dramatic attack could go wrong with Serena today? Seren should do what big sister could not do.WIN

Jelena Jankovic(SRB)[4] vs. Daniela Hantuchova(SVK)[23]

Its getting towards the business end of the competition.Jelena could crack at any stage, but not today.

What you say about my Fashion Sense!

As expected the Fed Express won yesterday whilst Venus Williams will just be left to concentrate on the doubles as she lost to Petrova.Tsonga lasted one set and retired,I mean why come out if you are injured play a set call the trainer and then default.Whats with these latest French Players seem to get injured way to much.Soderling I would say after watching him last match is definitely a Contender after some of his Facial expressions showing his fire.He plays Federer next and that wont go all Feds way.Here is a piece from Soderling's interview after beating Cilic.

Q. If I understand you correctly, are you saying that basically the difference between last year and this year and maybe between a top 20 player and a top 3 or 4 player, 5 player, is that you learn how to win without playing at your best level, that is, knowing how to win without being at your top level?
ROBIN SODERLING: Yeah, I'd like to think so. If you look at all the top guys, they're not playing the best tennis every week. Maybe you have three or four, maybe five matches in a year where you feel like you play really, really well.
The other 50 matches you still have to win, and then all the top guys, they win a lot of matches against good players without playing the best tennis. I think that's the biggest difference between a guy ranked in the top 10 and the guy ranked in the top 30, 40.

Q. You've cracked that secret. Can you tell us how it's done? Can you give us just one example of knowing how to win when you're not...
ROBIN SODERLING: Of course, winning a lot of matches against good players gives you confidence. I think this year and also last year I won a lot of matches against really good players, so my confidence is good.
You know, in matches like this, it's very often it's a couple of points here and there which decides the match. And then the guy who has the best confidence wins the match and the points most of the time.

This is very much a valid point that every time you go onto the court you cant play your best tennis and players that learn how to win matches when they are not playing their best are the ones that come though.A lesson for all you junior players out there.

Other winners Justine Henin,Tomas Berdych ..who sent Andy Murray back across the channel where he can prepare for "Murray Mania" ...Francesca Schiavone,Elena Dementieva and Caroline Wozniacki.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Roland Garros Day 8- Tips

Well it was a day a few seeds hit the dust and are on their way to Wimbledon and the grasscourt season.Andy Roddick was sent packing in straight sets by Russian Teimuraz Gabashvili.How serious was Roddick about Paris, his build up wasn't there and neither was his thinking he could win this event.What on earth happened to David Ferrer the 9th seed , at least Roddick has some excuse in the fact he cant play on clay but Ferrer!And goodbye Ivan Ljubicic as tipped bye the eye he too went the same direction as the above....OUT of the tournament.And to make matters worse American Robert Ginepri gave the former French Open Champ Juan Carlos Ferrero a gentle push out the door also. At least Verdasco and Djokovic went through.I guess all the girls in the locker room where smiling with the defeat of 13th seed Marion Bartoli and the Match of the day Henin Vs Sharapova resumes tonight. Yesterday was a disaster for tipping from the eye.Lets see if today can be better.

Elena Dementieva(RUS)[5] vs. Chanelle Scheepers(RSA)
Surely the Russian will be too experienced.But Scheepers has had a very good tournament and will be tough.

Nadia Petrova(RUS)[19] vs. Venus Williams(USA)[2]
This should be a beauty. Petrova is on form and I think will be the winner,rumour has it she is wearing the same undies as Venus for the match...but different color of course.

Maria Kirilenko(RUS)[30] vs. Francesca Schiavone(ITA)[17]
Toss a coin for this one....heads the Russian

Flavia Pennetta(ITA)[14] vs. Caroline Wozniacki(DEN)[3]

Wozniacki is tough so I'm sure she will get there just


Roger Federer(SUI)[1] vs. Stanislas Wawrinka(SUI)[20]
Countryman vs countryman , we all know the result ...Federer.

Mikhail Youzhny(RUS)[11] vs. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga(FRA)[8]
Home town crowd enough to get Tsonga through.Stop with the Im carrying an injury between points and then chases like he hasnt during the point.

Marin Cilic(CRO)[10] vs. Robin Soderling(SWE)[5]
Ok guess we are going to see if Soderling is Pretender or contender with this match up.

Andy Murray(GBR)[4] vs. Tomas Berdych(CZE)[15]
I have tipped against Murray every time ,so why change!.

They say Man evolved from the apes so does the below picture have any evidence that that is true?

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Day 7 Roland Garros Picks

Well yesterday 8 out of 10 in the men's, my long shots failed namely Baghdatis and Bakker!Below are my picks for today.

Victor Hanescu(ROU)[31] vs. Novak Djokovic(SRB)[3]
Is it not time Djokovic takes a dizzy spell or something or is that next round so Ill go for Novak today.

Lleyton Hewitt(AUS)[28] vs. Rafael Nadal(ESP)[2]
By the time Sky NZ switches to the tennis Hewitt will be done and dusted ,Nadal was injured last year and beat him so what will he do to the Aussie Battler this year.!

Andy Roddick(USA)[6] vs. Teimuraz Gabashvili(RUS)
Roddick trying for his best French Open ever! Surely he must run into a name soon and send him off across the channel.

Fernando Verdasco(ESP) vs. Philipp Kohlschreiber(GER)
This is a tricky match up cant under estimate the German and Vedasco has been just scrapping through.Will go with the lefty from Spain.

Jurgen Melzer(AUT)[22] vs. David Ferrer(ESP)[9]
Ferrer is in good form and should be to tough for Jurgen

Juan Carlos Ferrero(ESP)[16] vs. Robby Ginepri(USA)
Ginepri still around! Time for him to go via Juan Carlos

Ivan Ljubicic(CRO)[14] vs. Thomaz Bellucci(BRA)[24]
Ivan seems to have been around for yonks! Cant see him backing up after the Fish match.

Nicolas Almagro(ESP) vs. Oleksandr Dolgopolov Jr(UKR)

This is going to be close I think but Almagro to get there just.


The Chinese where sent packing yesterday along with defending champion Svetlana Kuznetsova.Picks most correct, and happy I finally backed the South African Chanelle Scheepers.

Serena Williams(USA)[1] vs. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova(RUS)[29]
The Willams machine will keep moving .

Maria Sharapova(RUS)[12] vs. Justine Henin(BEL)[22]
MATCH OF THE DAY FOR SURE. THIS WILL BE AN INETERSTING MATCH FOR SURE.I have to go with consistency so Henin for me.

Shahar Peer(ISR)[18] vs. Marion Bartoli(FRA)[13]
Not many players like coming up against Marion.....not too many friends against peers! sorry for the pun.

Jelena Jankovic(SRB)[4] vs. Alona Bondarenko(UKR)[27]
I guess its going to be Jankovic............BUT !!!!!!!!!!!!!

Jarmila Groth(AUS) vs. Anastasia Rodionova(AUS)
How ironic a match up with "true blue Aussie's" NOT .No doubt Tennis Australia will jump on the fact that an Aussie will be in the 4th round........what development program did the come through again?

Anastasia Pivovarova(RUS) vs. Samantha Stosur(AUS)[7]

Stotsur has looked shaky! I have a gut feeling she is going out this round or next.

Above Maria Kirilenko who put out the Defending Ladies Champ

The Roland Garros Diaries

Just a post with a few behind the scenes goings on at the French Open. I have too much time on my hands lately with the wet weather in South Canterbury and hence the above picture is a spoof on the American Hit TV Series the Vampire Diaries.Can you guess the above tennis players all no doubt will be playing a major role in the Finale of Roland Garros( Rafa,Fed ,Justine).

Serena when asked about Fed Cup and her country

Q. And your thinking on Fed Cup? Is that a matter of scheduling? Do you feel that you have any responsibility to the country in terms of getting into the championships? What are your thoughts on that?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, my only responsibility is my two dogs. So I have to make sure they're okay and that I can afford to take care of them. That's the only real responsibility I have.

Interesting response but not surprising.

What is Andy Murray's Favorite Surface

Q. Although you've said consistently that you think the French is the Grand Slam where you've got the least chance of winning, are you sort of actually quietly enjoying this championship and the ups and downs of how you've got this far and relishing the prospect of the second week here?

ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, I mean, I enjoy it as a tournament. I always loved to play on clay when I was younger. I've said it many times it's my favorite surface to play on, even though my results haven't been as good.
You know, I feel like I can play well on clay, play very well on clay. It just takes me a bit more time to get used to the surface again. You know, I love the tournament. It's probably the hardest physically to win, you know, because obviously a lot of long rallies, long points, and long matches.
Yeah, I enjoy coming here, and it's very different to me than at the other Slams where, you know, I'm a lot more sure of myself there just because I know how to move well and how to play properly on those courts.

Early in the week talk was that the Roland Garros courts where playing as fast as they have for 20 years.John Isner and then Todd Woodbridge telling the Tennis Channel yesterday that this was the fastest the surface has played in 20 years of his experience.Didn't help Isner!

Federer makes an appearance in the Nike football world cup commercial.Here is the commercial.

You may have picked up Nadal is wearing a watch for the first time whilst playing. Its a Richard Mille watch designed specifically for Nadal, with materials used in space exploration. Mille says there are 50 for sale—at a price of about $425,000.Nadal never before has worn a watch while competing.Wonder what the sponsorship deal is ,,,,,I will order 4 :)

Friday, May 28, 2010

Day 6 Roland Garros - Picks

Well yesterday a lot of scheduled matches did not go on court with the Paris rain.Today I will only list matches that are new not ones carried over from yesterday.

Thiemo De Bakker(NED) vs. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga(FRA)[8]
This I think will be a great match.Certainly Bakker is not a household name but he is a former Wimbledon Junior Champion(2006) who over the past 12 months has really improved his ranking.Recently he has had a win over Tsonga and Bakker is my pick for what will be an intersting encounter.

Roger Federer(SUI)[1] vs. Julian Reister(GER)
Another players who form has been good is German Julian Reister but the moment will be too great for him and below is what he had to say about Federer.
"He (Federer) is my absolute favorite player. Actually I don't really want to win against him. Because that would mean that he'd be eliminated from the tournament, and I'd be sad as a result "

Andy Murray(GBR)[4] vs. Marcos Baghdatis(CYP)[25]
Murray back on court and this match will see if he is a contender or pretender. Ive gone for Baghdatis simply because this will be the best time for him to defeat Murray.I have to say its a longshot but Murray is vulnerable.

Kei Nishikori(JPN) vs. Novak Djokovic(SRB)[3]
Some are picking an upset here, Nishikori is good but not today.

Albert Montanes(ESP)[29] vs. Robin Soderling(SWE)[5]
A much tougher match than last for the 5th seed but Soderling looked good and I think will have too much power for Montanes but wont get his own way like Dent match.

Marin Cilic(CRO)[10] vs. Leonardo Mayer(ARG)
Mikhail Youzhny(RUS)[11] vs. Viktor Troicki(SRB)
John Isner(USA)[17] vs. Tomas Berdych(CZE)[15]
Victor Hanescu(ROU)[31] vs. Yuri Schukin(KAZ)

Stanislas Wawrinka(SUI)[20] vs. Fabio Fognini(ITA)
Wow Fabio back on court and more people will be following his progress after the Monfils Match. Im not sure he can beat Wawrinka so will go with my head not my heart.


Aravane Rezai(FRA)[15] vs. Nadia Petrova(RUS)[19]

Elena Dementieva(RUS)[5] vs. Aleksandra Wozniak(CAN)
Wozniak is gritty and Dementieva will have to be at her best or an upset will be on the cards.

Svetlana Kuznetsova(RUS)[6] vs. Maria Kirilenko(RUS)[30]
Not all that confident with the defending champ but should get through.

Jie Zheng(CHN)[25] vs. Anastasia Pivovarova(RUS)
going for the upset here.

Flavia Pennetta(ITA)[14] vs. Polona Hercog(SLO)
Francesca Schiavone(ITA)[17] vs. Na Li(CHN)[11]
Akgul Amanmuradova(UZB) vs. Chanelle Scheepers(RSA)
Havnt picked scheepers yet so a change up today

Tennis its enough to pull your hair out!

The above picture tells it all.Even at Pro Level general human traits that we see at our regular junior tournaments transgress.If you watch Monfils/Fognini match you will see a bunch of visable emotions from both players.Its pretty easy for an outsider to see these work against the player on route to a loss and very hard for the player to assess what those negatives are that need improving.Monfils should of had the match won,he himself must work more on the mental side of his game.No doubt he has the talent but at this level you have to be able to think also.On the other side Fognini may have needed a win like this to help his career.He has been for a long time thought of as the next big thing in Italian tennis but has so far failed to live up to this.This match may be a turning point.Time will tell.

A couple of posts ago I had an article whats up with Australian Tennis.Well I soon will be posting an update on Whats up with New Zealand tennis.Whilst the post about Australia had some seen to be moves in the right direction, my post wont be as flattering in regards to junior development here in the Land of the Long white Cloud.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Day 5 French Open Tennis 2010 - Tips

Well yesterdays Mens pick only had one wrong with all matches that where completed.Had two selections wrong in the Ladies below are my Day 5 selections.


Jelena Jankovic(SRB)[4] vs. Kaia Kanepi(EST)
Klara Zakopalova(CZE) vs. Justine Henin(BEL)[22]
Olivia Sanchez(FRA) vs. Marion Bartoli(FRA)[13]
Serena Williams(USA)[1] vs. Julia Goerges(GER)
Alisa Kleybanova(RUS)[28] vs. Ana Ivanovic(SRB)
Maria Sharapova(RUS)[12] vs. Kirsten Flipkens(BEL)
Elena Dementieva(RUS)[5] vs. A. Medina Garrigues(ESP)
Rossana De Los Rios(PAR) vs. Samantha Stosur(AUS)[7]
Francesca Schiavone(ITA)[17] vs. Sophie Ferguson(AUS)Daniela Hantuchova(SVK)[23] vs. Olga Govortsova(BLR)
Yaroslava Shvedova(KAZ) vs. Agnieszka Radwanska(POL)[8]
Aleksandra Wozniak(CAN) vs. Kateryna Bondarenko(UKR)[32]
Magdalena Rybarikova(SVK) vs. Alona Bondarenko(UKR)[27]
Kimiko Date Krumm(JPN) vs. Jarmila Groth(AUS)
Jie Zheng(CHN)[25] vs. Anastasia Pivovarova(RUS)
Stephanie Cohen-Aloro(FRA) vs. Na Li(CHN)[11]
Sybille Bammer(AUT) vs. Yanina Wickmayer(BEL)[16]
Anastasia Rodionova(AUS) vs. Vera Zvonareva(RUS)[21]
Teimuraz Gabashvili(RUS) vs. Grega Zemlja(SLO)
Shahar Peer(ISR)[18] vs. Bethanie Mattek-Sands(USA)
Jill Craybas(USA) vs. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova(RUS)[29]

Fernando Verdasco(ESP)[7] vs. Florent Serra(FRA)
Horacio Zeballos(ARG) vs. Rafael Nadal(ESP)[2]
Andy Roddick(USA)[6] vs. Blaz Kavcic(SLO)
Kei Nishikori(JPN) vs. Novak Djokovic(SRB)[3]
Jurgen Melzer(AUT)[22] vs. Nicolas Mahut(FRA)
Oleksandr Dolgopolov Jr(UKR) vs. Fernando Gonzalez(CHI)[12]
Juan Carlos Ferrero(ESP)[16] vs. Pere Riba(ESP)
Lleyton Hewitt(AUS)[28] vs. Denis Istomin(UZB)
Pablo Andujar(ESP) vs. Thomaz Bellucci(BRA)[24]
Nicolas Almagro(ESP)[19] vs. Steve Darcis(BEL)
Potito Starace(ITA) vs. Robby Ginepri(USA)
Ivan Ljubicic(CRO)[14] vs. Mardy Fish(USA)
Xavier Malisse(BEL) vs. David Ferrer(ESP)[9]
Victor Hanescu(ROU)[31] vs. Yuri Schukin(KAZ)
Andreas Seppi(ITA) vs. Philipp Kohlschreiber(GER)[30]

Drama at The French Open

What was looking at a straight forward win for Gael Monfils against Italian Fabio Fognini turned into a circus as play was suspended at 5 all in the fifth due to bad light....and I mean bad light it was near dark.Monfils, who took the first two sets 6-2 6-4 ,but Fognini fought back to win the next two.Tempers boiled over at 4-4 in the fifth set when Fognini asked umpire Carlos Bernardes to stop play because of the gloom on Phillipe Chatrier Court.Fognini was given a point penalty at 4-4 won that game and then had match points on Monfils serve.Both players were looking tired especially Monfils who was cramping when he served to level at 5all.The match will resume again today/night depending which country you are living :)

Below is the closing stages commentary is not English but you can certainly see the drama ,the resumption will probably be an anti climax.

And certainly the Williams sisters are never far from the Fashion news.Venus's underwear is all the talk in Paris and if you had bad eye sight it might be mistaken that there is no underwear !

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

French Open Day 4 - Tips

Well not a bad day yesterday with Tips.Report Card for the Ladies 16 out of 20.Of course i went with Safina to win and I knew that the Japanese veteran Kimiko Date Krumm would be tough!But really this was a bad result for Safina and shows that anyone that can hit a lot of balls back and think will beat her.At 39 Date has seen her best years.!In the men's my scorecard was 15 out of 20.I just missed the Roddick upset but he hung tough and beat Nieminen in five.So below are my Day 4 tips.

Roger Federer(SUI)[1] vs. Alejandro Falla(COL)
Fabio Fognini(ITA) vs. Gael Monfils(FRA)[13]
Taylor Dent(USA) vs. Robin Soderling(SWE)[5]
Josselin Ouanna(FRA) vs. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga(FRA)[8]
Leonardo Mayer(ARG) vs. Julien Benneteau(FRA)
Andy Murray(GBR)[4] vs. Juan Ignacio Chela(ARG)
Marin Cilic(CRO)[10] vs. Daniel Gimeno-Traver(ESP)
Edouard Roger-Vasselin(FRA) vs. Tomas Berdych(CZE)[15]
Guillermo Garcia-Lopez(ESP)[32] vs. Thiemo De Bakker(NED)
Marcel Granollers(ESP) vs. Marcos Baghdatis(CYP)[25]
Mikhail Youzhny(RUS)[11] vs. Lukas Lacko(SVK)
John Isner(USA)[17] vs. Marco Chiudinelli(SUI)
Carsten Ball(AUS) vs. Viktor Troicki(SRB)
Olivier Rochus(BEL) vs. Julian Reister(GER)
Albert Montanes(ESP)[29] vs. Tobias Kamke(GER)
Stanislas Wawrinka(SUI)[20] vs. Andreas Beck(GER)

Arantxa Parra Santonja(ESP) vs. Venus Williams(USA)[2]
Elena Dementieva(RUS)[5] vs. A. Medina Garrigues(ESP)
Aravane Rezai(FRA)[15] vs. Angelique Kerber(GER)
Tathiana Garbin(ITA) vs. Caroline Wozniacki(DEN)[3]
Svetlana Kuznetsova(RUS)[6] vs. Andrea Petkovic(GER)
Stephanie Cohen-Aloro(FRA) vs. Na Li(CHN)[11]
Flavia Pennetta(ITA)[14] vs. Roberta Vinci(ITA)
Francesca Schiavone(ITA)[17] vs. Sophie Ferguson(AUS)
Agnes Szavay(HUN) vs. Nadia Petrova(RUS)[19]
Aleksandra Wozniak(CAN) vs. Kateryna Bondarenko(UKR)[32]
Dominika Cibulkova(SVK)[26] vs. Varvara Lepchenko(USA)
Chanelle Scheepers(RSA) vs. Gisela Dulko(ARG)
Polona Hercog(SLO) vs. Lucie Safarova(CZE)[24]
Yvonne Meusburger(AUT) vs. Maria Kirilenko(RUS)[30]

Josselin Ouanna in action above ......he's up against Tsonga today

On the Rise -Tennis Australia

I have to admit so far Australian's have fared very well in the early rounds of the French Open.Carsten Ball had a great first round win and the Ladies lead by Sam Stotsur have all recorded wins except Jelana Dokic.I must also say that a few players like Ball did not learn their trade in Australia coming through another national tennis system.I came across this article from the Times on Line headed "Australian tennis is on the up".The link is HEREWith interest I read how there ARE to be 74 regional Hubs set up Australia wide however the most intersting point to me was this " desire to support private coaches (the way forward), TA has 74 Talent Development Coaches who receive support for the development of athletes under of 12, that includes funding for camps and competitions, national travel grants, clay court opportunities as well as incentive bonuses for athlete performance".And its about "bloody time" the Private coach gets some recognition and giving them a vital role in the Pathway of a junior player.The problem has always been trying to pass on juniors from their private coach to a "Joe Blog" that often has learned all their skills from a book.With the appointment of a new CEO in New Zealand it would not be a bad idea for them to get their head around the principle idea of Private Coaches and the ones that have been getting results Nation wide.With McGraw gone the My way or the Highway approach should be dismantled very quickly.There are still many other factors but this is one of them,lets get on board those that are on the ground and producing results.Incentives to juniors to be able to go to the next level should be explored.The article is British based and it says their problem is that the LTA is driven by bringing everything in house to the detriment of confidence among those coaches working in the shires.We watch with interest developments in Australia.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Day 3 French Open Tennis Picks

Not bad with the Ladies picks yesterday but average with the Men's.Match of the day was Andy Murray coming from 2 sets down against Gasquet.Murray is very like Hewitt with his berating of his supporters box when things are not going well.I picked around 21 Ladies winners yesterday but Men's wise did not fare so good with only around 17.A few seeds exited the Men's draw yesterday ...guys you would think would do a little better on Clay made their exit among those Robredo and Lopez.
Well here goes with today's pick again my selections are in bold.
Ladies Singles

Justine Henin(BEL)[22]vs Tsvetana Pironkova(BUL)
Marion Bartoli(FRA)[13] v Maria Elena Camerin(ITA)
Dinara Safina(RUS)[9] vs. Kimiko Date Krumm(JPN)
Maria Sharapova(RUS)[12] vs. Ksenia Pervak(RUS)
Alize Cornet(FRA) vs. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova(RUS)[29]
Sandra Zahlavova(CZE) vs. Yanina Wickmayer(BEL)[16]
Daniela Hantuchova(SVK)[23] vs. Tamarine Tanasugarn(THA)
Ayumi Morita(JPN) vs. Kirsten Flipkens(BEL)
Mariana Duque Marino(COL) vs. Sybille Bammer(AUT)
Katie O'brien(GBR) vs. Jill Craybas(USA)
Jarmila Groth(AUS) vs. Yung-Jan Chan(TPE)
Klara Zakopalova(CZE) vs. Katarina Srebotnik(SLO)
Anastasia Pivovarova(RUS) vs. Ioana Raluca Olaru(ROU)
Shahar Peer(ISR)[18] vs. Nuria Llagostera Vives(ESP)
Vania King(USA) vs. Bethanie Mattek-Sands(USA)
Jie Zheng(CHN)[25] vs. Ekaterina Bychkova(RUS)
Shenay Perry(USA) vs. Olivia Sanchez(FRA)
Anastasia Rodionova(AUS) vs. Ekaterina Makarova(RUS)
Olga Govortsova(BLR) vs. Carla Suarez Navarro(ESP)
Alberta Brianti(ITA) vs. Vera Zvonareva(RUS)[21]

Mens Singles
Andy Roddick(USA)[6] vs. Jarkko Nieminen(FIN) * going for an upset here, just know that Roddick will go out early maybe not this early but is a hard forst round match up.
Lleyton Hewitt(AUS)[28] vs. Jeremy Chardy(FRA) *not looking great for the Aussie Battler , probably will go out first round but can't bring myself to go against him.
Fernando Verdasco(ESP)[7] vs. Igor Kunitsyn(RUS)
Gianni Mina(FRA) vs. Rafael Nadal(ESP)[2]
Mischa Zverev(GER) vs. Nicolas Mahut(FRA)
Juan Carlos Ferrero(ESP)[16] vs. Pablo Cuevas(URU)
Robby Ginepri(USA) vs. Sam Querrey(USA)[18]
David Guez(FRA) vs. David Ferrer(ESP)[9]
Jurgen Melzer(AUT)[22] vs. Dudi Sela(ISR)
Marc Gicquel(FRA) vs. Pere Riba(ESP)
Santiago Ventura(ESP) vs. Andreas Seppi(ITA)
Eduardo Schwank(ARG) vs. Blaz Kavcic(SLO)
Karol Beck(SVK) vs. Philipp Kohlschreiber(GER)[30]
Denis Istomin(UZB) vs. Benjamin Becker(GER)
Grega Zemlja(SLO) vs. Juan Monaco(ARG)[26]
Florent Serra(FRA) vs. Michael Russell(USA)
Teimuraz Gabashvili(RUS) vs. Daniel Koellerer(AUT)
Horacio Zeballos(ARG) vs. Martin Fischer(AUT)
Potito Starace(ITA) vs. Illya Marchenko(UKR)
Xavier Malisse(BEL) vs. Simon Greul(GER)

Well that's it for Day 3 a few good match ups and of course Rafa on court finally.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Day 2 French Open Tennis- Tips

Just like any Grand slam is very hard to get every pick right..My report card for the Men's Matches 11/15.The main surprise came from the defeat of Gulbis the 23 rd seed by French Player Julien Benneteau , this guy can also play and will be a danger for his next oppenent.My Ladies picks also scored 11/15 with my tip that the 10th seed Victoria Azarenka would go down came to fruition.Today's more matches and some great matchups which I will put in italic.Again my tips are In Bold.


Federer vs Luczak
F. Mayer vs Monfils
Korolev vs Djokovic
Murray vs Gasquet this will be a great match, looking at an upset here
Paire vs O. Rochus
Llodra vs Bellucci
Wawrinka vs Hajek
Mathieu vs Granollers
N. Lapentti vs Dent
Alves vs Gonzalez
Tursunov vs Gimeno-Traver
Petzschner vs Ball
Ram vs Schukin
Nishikori vs Giraldo
Ljubicic vs Lu
Witten vs Baghdatis
Clement vs Dolgopolov Jr
Andujar vs Bolelli
Hanescu vs Hernandez
Lorenzi vs Beck
L. Mayer vs Stakhovsky
Berrer vs Fish
Isner vs Golubev
Vliegen vs Darcis
Reister vs F. Lopez
Almagro vs Haase
Aquilar vs Berdych
Troicki vs Robredo


Roberta Vinci v Virginie Razzano
Kristina Barrois v Tathiana Garbin
Sofia Arvidsson v Magdalena Rybarikova
Barbora Zahlavova Strycova v Rossana De Los Rios
Sara Errani v Yaroslava Shvedova
Vera Dushevina v Alona Bondarenko
Julie Coin v Kateryna Bondarenko
Timea Bacsinszky v Tatjana Malek
Stephanie Dubois v Stephanie Cohen Aloro
Melanie Oudin v Anabel Medina Garrigues
Aleksandra Wozniak v Iveta Benesova
Melinda Czink v Julia Goerges SR12
Arantxa Parra Santonja v Kurumi Nara
Petra Kvitova v Sophie Ferguson
Kaia Kanepi v Pauline Parmentier
Francesca Schiavone v Regina Kulikova
Simona Halep v Samantha Stosur
Alisa Kleybanova v Mariya Koryttseva
Alexandra Dulgheru v Lucie Hradecka
Elena Dementieva v Petra Martic
Misaki Doi v Polona Hercog
Elena Baltacha v Agnieszka Radwanska
Kai-Chen Chang v Ana Ivanovic
Alla Kudryavtseva v Caroline Wozniacki
Jelena Dokic v Lucie Safarova
Jelena Jankovic v Alicia Molik
Serena Williams v Stefanie Voegele
Kristina Mladenovic v Na Li

A couple of Aussies playing tonight and expect them all to go down.The above picture is from the office at Roland Garros and you can see that they really make sure they get the right information for their tennis news :)

Sunday, May 23, 2010

The "Eyes" Day 1 French Open Tennis Tips

Men's Singles - First Round

Laurent Recouderc(FRA) vs. Robin Soderling(SWE)[5]
Daniel Brands(GER) vs. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga(FRA)[8]
Marin Cilic(CRO)[10] vs. Ricardo Mello(BRA)
Julien Benneteau(FRA) vs. Ernests Gulbis(LAT)[23]
Mikhail Youzhny(RUS)[11] vs. Michal Przysiezny(POL)
Josselin Ouanna(FRA) vs. Lukasz Kubot(POL)
Olivier Patience(FRA) vs. Thiemo De Bakker(NED)
Stephane Robert(FRA) vs. Tobias Kamke(GER)
Janko Tipsarevic(SRB) vs. Alejandro Falla(COL)
Somdev Devvarman(IND) vs. Marco Chiudinelli(SUI)
Guillermo Garcia-Lopez(ESP)[32] vs. Rainer Schuettler(GER)
Juan Ignacio Chela(ARG) vs. Ryan Sweeting(USA)
Nicolas Massu(CHI) vs. Fabio Fognini(ITA)
Edouard Roger-Vasselin(FRA) vs. Kevin Anderson(RSA)
Albert Montanes(ESP)[29] vs. Stefano Galvani(ITA)
Michael Yani(USA) vs. Lukas Lacko(SVK)

Women's Singles - First Round
Svetlana Kuznetsova(RUS)[6] vs. Sorana Cirstea(ROU)
Aravane Rezai(FRA)[15] vs. Heidi El Tabakh(CAN)
Gisela Dulko(ARG) vs. Victoria Azarenka(BLR)[10]
Patty Schnyder(SUI) vs. Venus Williams(USA)[2]
Mathilde Johansson(FRA) vs. Chanelle Scheepers(RSA)
Flavia Pennetta(ITA)[14] vs. Anne Keothavong(GBR)
Karolina Sprem(CRO) vs. Maria Kirilenko(RUS)[30]
Agnes Szavay(HUN) vs. Stephanie Foretz(FRA)
Dominika Cibulkova(SVK)[26] vs. Ekaterina Ivanova(RUS)
Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez(ESP)[20] vs. Akgul Amanmuradova(UZB)
Christina Mchale(USA) vs. Varvara Lepchenko(USA)
Anna Chakvetadze(RUS) vs. Angelique Kerber(GER)
Yvonne Meusburger(AUT) vs. Claire Feuerstein(FRA)
Shuai Zhang(CHN) vs. Nadia Petrova(RUS)[19]
Elena Vesnina(RUS) vs. Andrea Petkovic(GER)
Johanna Larsson(SWE) vs. Anastasija Sevastova(LAT)

Not a great line up of matches for Day 1 , my picks are in bold and no doubt lots of matches that could go either way. Will post how I go tomorrow NZ time.

The French Open- Women's review

I can bet that the winner is a little harder to pick than the men's.Look for plenty of upsets inside the first week!.The top 20 seeds are listed below with my rating.

Serena Williams - the thing about serena is she hasn't won here since 2002, and not that clear cut this year,interest will be to see what bandage she will have on.

Venus Williams - this year has some clay court form reaching the final of Madrid, but has suffered some Early round exits here in Paris before.

Caroline Wozniacki - cloud with being fully fit and to win the French you have to be

Jelena Jankovic - Has great from going into this event.Just cant get it together in grandlsams and running out of time.

Elena Dementieva -Hard to beat and will give her best

Svetlana Kuznetsova - again another player who is running out of time,knows how to win but has a hard first round opponent.

Sam Stosur - Australian press are writing her chances up ....but its all on paper unfortunately to win the French consistency is the key and this is what Stotsur lacks.

Agnieszka Radwanska -Won't win it

Dinara Safina -Promised so much and delivered so little

Victoria Azarenka
- dangerous on her day but you have to have more than a day to win here.

Li Na - Hard to beat , runs all day and the top players don't like to play her, but can be overpowered by the bigger girls.

Maria Sharapova - your guess is as good as mine, could go out first round, could make the final

Marion Bartoli -will win a few but not enough

Flavia Penatta - wont be in the finals

Aravene Rezai - player to watch for, winning Madrid signals a player with strong form

Yanina Wickmayer - tough player but wont win it

Francesa Schiavone - seems to have been around for ages, we have seen her best

Shahar Peer - a seed and that's all wont be a danger

Nadia Petrova - can pull off some big wins , but never can go all the way

Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez clay her best ...but her best wont be good enough here

Justine Henin will of course be a huge favorite to win and at this stage is the bookies favorite.Certainly her form this year is no where near what is was when she has won here.

Friday, May 21, 2010

The French Open Tennis

The premier Clay court event starts next week,The men's winner will come from the below list which makes up the top 20 clay courters for the past year.
1 2 Rafael Nadal (ESP) ...My tip for the title
2 1 Roger Federer (SUI) ........will be hard to beat
3 11 David Ferrer (ESP) .......a threat except for the top 2 seeds
4 7 Robin Soderling (SWE) ......last years finalist and I think has had his moment in the sun
5 9 Fernando Verdasco (ESP) ....flashy and cant go all the way in a grandslam
6 18 Juan Carlos Ferrero (ESP) ...past winner no threat to the top seeds
7 6 Nikolay Davydenko (RUS) out with injury
8 14 Fernando Gonzalez (CHI) hasnt has the best year so far
9 30 Juan Monaco (ARG) ....a pretender
10 37 Victor Hanescu (ROU) ....a pretender
11 22 Nicolas Almagro (ESP) ....good recent form
12 28 Thomaz Bellucci (BRA) ....a pretender
13 24 Stanislas Wawrinka (SUI) ....wont win it
14 27 Ernests Gulbis (LAT) ....a wild card and has great form ...may have discovered how to win.
15 5 Juan Martin del Potro (ARG) injured
16 38 Guillermo Garcia-Lopez (ESP) ..... pretender
17 3 Novak Djokovic (SRB) ...... average form hasnt done much since his service action changed
18 4 Andy Murray (GBR) ....setting for wimbledon no doubt ...a little beyond him here in Paris
19 34 Albert Montanes (ESP) ..... pretender
20 10 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA) ......contender but will struggle with tough matches and longer rally's

The first number is Clay court ranking and the second is ATP ranking.I havnt even rated Andy Roddick , in fact where is Andy Roddick?I think he will be good for a couple of rounds at best and then re-group for Wimbledon.Here is a couple of names to watch out for with major rises in ATP rankings, Thiemo de Bakker (NED) from 76 to 50 and a player thats been around for a while Juan Ignacio Chela 82 to 48 and Santiago Giraldo (COL) 83 to 55.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Nadal Sends Warning for French Open

It was not one of the Classic encounters however Rafael Nadal was able to close out Roger Federer in straight sets 6-4, 7-6 to win the Madrid Open.In doing so he became the first man to ever win three straight Masters 1000 events and surpassed Andre Agassi as the most prolific Masters champion of all time.At the key points Nadal was stronger he played those points as only Nadal can, running down shots and controlling the court when the opportunity presented.Federer had a few chances but unforced errors proved costly.Federer's backhand when he was deep on the baseline misfired and could not gain enough control when pressed.Nadal has just lost 2 sets in his pre French Open encounters so far and goes into this tournament next week as the favorite.

On a different note exciting week for New Zealand Tennis as they announce the New CEO.Its not an easy role to fill and the last two created more headaches than what was worth.Onny Parun a critic of Tennis New Zealand in recent times has been enlisted by Tennis New Zealand as a consultant in the High Performance area, on the eve of the announcement to maybe sooth the transition for the new appointment.Leave a comment if you would like to guess who it is and what you see should be the first area of tennis in new Zealand they should address.!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

World Power -WTA

It is not surprising that Russia has the most female players inside the top 100 with 15 players.The women's stats are somewhat interesting and one can see by looking deeper into each country's player base its not hard to see who will be dominating for sometime.Russia will continue dominance with female players for a long time, 29 Russian's are ranked inside the top 200 and increases to 41 if you look at the top 500.Next is another Eastern block country the Czech Republic have 8 inside the top 100 increases to 11 top 200 and 20 top 500.The women's game is very different from the men's with Spain and France leading the way in the Men's game. France in the ladies has 6 inside the Top 100 , 7 top 200 and 28 top 500 so depth wise looking OK.Germany is steady also with 7 inside the top 100, 9 inside the top 200 and 21 inside the top 500.Italy is also doing well in the Women's game 6 inside the top 100, 10 inside the top 200 and 28 inside the top 500 so definitely a Nation to watch.The USA has 5 inside the top 100 ,14 inside the top 200 and 44 inside the top 500 so looks like they are building also.Spain who are so dominate in the Men's have 4 inside the top 100 , 9 inside the top 200 and 23 inside the top 500.Lets look at closer to home Asia and Oceania region.Australia have just 3 inside the top 100 , 8 inside the top 200 and 19 inside the top 500.Doing it hard and not looking good for the next few years either.China has 3 inside the top 100 , 6 inside the top 200 and 17 inside the top 500, a large nation and looking at numbers depth wise still has a lot of work to do.Japan has 2 inside the top 100 , 7 inside the top 200 and 24 inside the top 500.Good little players and emphasis "little" genetically can not dominate in the current world game. And now New Zealand! Just 1 player inside the Top 200 and that's Sacha Jones at 163.Marina Erakovic is now 675!So look at the statistics if you are seriously thinking of winning Wimbledon or being inside the top 10 players in the World.Stats are against us for sure this side again as I have said in previous articles key component's...... depth and mind set ....essential for a strong tennis environment.

Blue = Top 100
Green = Top 200
Red = Top 500

Rankings are from the latest On WTA site.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

World Power

So which country and continent is performing well on the Men's Atp World rankings. Where is the power base.Spain and France head the top of the table with 12 men each inside the top 100 Male Players.Germany is next on 10 and the USA comes in 4th on 8.Argentina is 5th with 6.Australia appears in the Top 100 equal with a few countries who have two players inside the top 100.Australia is the only country in the Asia/Oceania group that ranks inside this group.Does this tell you something about basing yourself this side of the world in Men's Tennis.Lets take the top 250 Men and see if there is a change with the country's.Spain is still at the top of the list with 25 and France is still second on 23.USA come in third with 21.So depth wise USA still has a good representation in the top 250 men players.Germany(19) an Argentina(18) are still up there.Australia comes in 8th one player behind Russia who is 7th. Again the lack of players from China and Japan which signals that World power is the other side of the World.Taking in a wider range Top 500 Men players ,France takes the top country with the most players inside the top 500 on 39 followed by Spain on 38 ,Argentina on 36,Germany on 31 and USA on 30.Australia has 19 players and India and Japan feature with 8 players inside the top 500.Sadly New Zealand does not appear depth wise.So Aspiring junior Tennis players the longer you keep testing yourself against locals with the feel good "I can get an ITf ranking point from Fiji or New Caledonia" the chance is that's the level you will always be at.The statistics are there and its always nice to dream but the sooner you test yourself against quality opposition the better.We don't have the depth this side of the World and that is the very essence of improvement, forget Australia's cry for more clay courts to improve their play its depth we need and that intern will make stronger work and practice ethics.Life here is just too easy for most junior tennis players and whilst talent abounds its more the mindset we have to improve.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Magic Day at the Tennis Center

Great weather has made tennis training and practice very enjoyable and the above picture ( left to right) Geraldine Prisk,Annabel Ellis and Gabrielle Grady pictured catching the magic of the afternoon in South Canterbury.

The New Zealand 14s girls team has met stiff competition and will playoff for minor placing in the Oceania leg of the World Junior Tennis Competition - Asia/Oceania Final Qualifying in China.Australia will be hard to beat with promising junior Ashleigh Barty from Australia leading the way.Barty who is still only 13 recently won the Australian International Grade 4 ITF in Queensland defeating New Zealand's Emily Fanning 7-5 6-1.As I have said before ITF points are often inflated and sometimes irrelevant.Barty was unseeded for this event.Barty in winning defeated the 10th ,2nd and 4th seed for the title.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Questions and Answers

Roger Federer will be asked questions leading up too the French Open.Unfortunately he didnt have the answers as he faltered in his tuneup for the French Open, losing to defending champion Albert Montanes of Spain 6-2, 7-6 (7-5) Saturday in the Estoril Open semifinals in Oeiras, Portugal.I would not put a lot of money on Federer to defend his title this year.Great to see young Kiwi Anton Bettink has progressed at the 128 size qualifying draw for the US$10,000 ITF Men’s futures event in Tampa, United States.I have always rated Bettink and you can say you read it here as a player to watch out for.What I like he has entered a futures to test himself against the big guns.Too many younger players are too busy chasing Junior ITF points.

Its great too see your junior world ranking rise playing lots of these events and picking up points at insignificant tournaments however its no guarantee that these points transgress to the next level.

Last hope for a New Zealand junior team to qualify for a world's teams event rest with the 14 Girls in China this week.Its a very inexperienced team and unfortunately will be there for the experience rather than qualify.

I have had a few comments to a couple of posts.I agree with anonymous who said we need a cultural change.That is true , i don't have an answer however , can it be done I am not so sure, and that is why we have to identify the juniors with potential and put them in an environment that can challenge.Anonymous goes on to say "In relation to winter sports and our tennis calender, Lets be honest Steve if there were any truly gifted athletes out there in the tennis arena they would go to the main stream sports instead of one that costs so much and is so hard to succeed at.Tennis NZ must support this thinking by not having anything in it's calender for those months.(perhaps tnz get a kick back from rugby or league ?)" If we are going to create tennis stars we have to attract good athletes, anonymous is right in saying that these athletes generally go to mainstream sport, so its very important that Tennis New Zealand addresses incentives that we can entice more to the tennis game.This last point about the tennis Calender I do not agree on , The countries that are too the fore in World Tennis , Tennis is a year round sport, No Summer winter rivalries , you either want to be a tennis player or you don't........that is a very simple equation .Tennis NZ needs to add events during the winter period not shut up shop..... to think they would get kick backs from rugby or other winter sports is not on.Research has shown that it takes around 10 years and 10,000 hours to reach an elite level in sport. Those hours are made up of sport-specific training, physical training and other sports (in earlier years). This means that this comes to about three hours a day over 10 years! There is no doubt a huge time commitment is necessary to reach elite levels; it is important to bear in mind, however, that the 10,000 hours are weighted heavily in the latter stages of that 10-year period when the athlete will be training full time - often for over six hours a day. So allowing a 4 month non tennis period say for a six year period to an aspiring junior equates to losing 2 years. And that cannot be done in the tennis game unfortunately especially from the 13 years to 17 years.By 18 you should be able to realistically see where you will sit in the tennis world.

Stop Press
Anton Bettink has qualified for the Main Draw after winning 4 rounds of qualifying in Tampa.He has drawn top seed Fritz WOLMARANS (RSA).Follow the tournament at this Link

Wednesday, May 5, 2010


Today my niece turns 21. Wow how time flys it was only yesterday I was feeding her tennis balls and watching her do handstands as she played her first tennis match!Although tennis has been on the back burner in the last few years it played a big part in Kirsty's younger years.She was the top girl for Central West NSW for many years , making the NSW state primary school team twice.On moving to New Zealand Kirsty won many Canterbury titles, reached semi of National events and played in Southern teams that won silver and bronze at nationals.Kirsty was not an aggressive player she suffered from nerves and found the competition side to be sometimes overwhelming, but stepping onto the court she always gave her best.She picked up the racket again this year to play for South Canterbury at senior quads winning all her matches.Her trophy cabinet back in Australia is a legacy of her tennis which is filled with wins from all over NSW.Playing tennis has helped Kirsty in life aspects even though she probably doesn't know it yet.I wrote in her card today these few words.

Time is too slow for those who want
Too Swift for those who fear
Too Long for those who grieve
Too Short for those who rejoice
But for those who love, time is eternity.

Happy Birthday Kirsty- UNCLE

Monday, May 3, 2010

Confidence is a Major Factor even at the Top

Rafael Nadal has won his fifth Rome Masters title in six years, withstanding two rain delays to beat fellow Spaniard David Ferrer 7-5, 6-2 on Sunday.

Nadal improved to 10-0 on clay this year and signaled he’s back to dominating on his preferred surface after a series of injuries. He won the Monte Carlo Masters two weeks ago to end an 11-month title drought.

“I didn’t play at the level I did in Monte Carlo, but I’m still winning and that’s the important thing,” Nadal said. “I’m probably more happy winning without playing (my) best. It was more of a mental thing.”And this is very true when you start winning you get that sense you are "superman" and when you step out on the court you have that edge. Nadal is certainly stamped himself as favorite for the next Grand slam on his preferred surface.At the other end of the spectrum is Andy Murray a player that had a great Australian Open and was nearing his peak , but of course that did not happen as he was well beaten by Rodger Federer which brought Murray to tears.Lately Murray has been beaten by players he would normally handle, but mentally he is not that strong with the British Davis Cup saga taking its toll.Of course now it also gives players ranked below him a little bit more confidence knowing Murray is vulnerable and they will raise the level of their game knowing this.I think the clay court season will be a disaster for Murray and he will try to regroup for his Major Wimbledon. The mental side and in particular confidence plays a major role in winning and this is seen at a junior level also.Every one has a streak but at some stage it comes to an end .It will be interesting too watch the fortunes of both Nadal and Murray during the French Open.

New Zealand Girls Junior Fed cup team in Malaysia came up just short finishing 5th and maybe with the luck of the draw could have qualifeid.Final placings where 1. JAPAN (1) 2. UZBEKISTAN (4) 3. CHINA (2) 4. AUSTRALIA (5) 5. NEW ZEALAND (6) 6.THAILAND 7. KOREA (3) 8. KAZAKHSTAN 9. INDONESIA (7) 10. CHINESE TAIPEI 11.PHILIPPINES 12. MALAYSIA 13. INDIA (8) 14. SRI LANKA 15. HONG KONG 16. SINGAPORE.
Australia who finished fourth could be considered lucky.The top 4 teams qualify for the World finals.In a competition of such you have to take your chances and New Zealand did lose to Japan and Uzbekistan which put them out of contention.It was certainly a better effort than the boys(16s) and maybe New Zealands best chance to qualify.The 14s come up later and I don't hold out too much for either the boys or the girls qualifying as both teams lack depth and experience.I also doubt that this Asia Pacific Zone will carry any threats in the Final of the World groups later this year.Whilst every one gained a lot this side of the World playing the event, the Asian Zone is so stereotyped , however the one things that the Japanese and Chinese players have is discipline and that's what lacks in New Zealand and Australian juniors.