The Emancipation of Kei Nishikori

I bet everyone wishes they were as free as Kei Nishikori right now. By wearing 2 shades of green with mustard yellow accents in the French Open he is collectively telling the athletic apparel industry that he is no ones bitch. It’s quite refreshing not to see a player slathered in Barney purple, or navy and coral, or some other dystopian color combination that unimaginative apparel designers conjure up. Overall, kits for the French Open are quite pleasant this year.

Playing Andy Murray at Roland Garros. Photo source

Borna Ćorić – Stevie Johnson at Roland Garros 2017 6-2, 7-6, 3-6, 7-6

One thing I detest is when players lose their shit on the court. It’s usually due to a heated match, high emotions or sometimes just a poor attitude.  In the second round of the French Open is was all 3 that caused a meltdown between Ćorić and Johnson. In the second set Johnson ran too far off the court to go for a ball and could not stop, so the referee deducted a point from him. Before that Johnson was raising his voice to the ref about another call, so I’m sure the referee was trying to do a little behavior correction with the point deduction. It was completely a bogus call. Coming off the heels of losing his father weeks earlier, this was a very emotional match for Johnson.

After losing to Johnson, Ćorić smashed his racket into pieces and then threw his water bottle on the court as he was leaving. He acted trashy and without class. Players need to realize that they lose fans over behavior like this. Some may not care about that, but when your balls are against the wall, it helps to have the crowd on your side.

Sharapova Not Entitled to French Open Wildcard

If you are keeping up with professional tennis you may know that Maria Sharapova failed to get a wildcard into the French Open and some folks are aghast. I’ve also seen some poor journalism regarding this tragedy. I’ve read that she was “snubbed,” and that she is being “punished.” Excuse me, but who in the hell said Sharapova was entitled to get a wildcard to the French Open? That is exactly what it sounds like.

Wildcards are at the discretion of the tournament, some having guidelines to go by. Sharapova has already proven herself on the world stage of tennis, so why should she be awarded a valuable spot over an up and coming player that has the potential to break into the big leagues? Saying she is being punished is akin to saying she deserves to be treated exceptionally.  Most Grand Slams give wildcards to native athletes, with some having an exchange with other tournaments for preferred up and coming athletes. Giving Sharapova a Wild Card to the French Open would actually be punishing an up and coming player, and conversely, rewarding Sharapova for doping with a performance enhancing drug. Bravo to the French Open for doing what is right and not caving in to pressure. Here is a list of the players that did get a wild card to play in the French Open.

Viewpoints:
French Tennis Federation: FFT chief Bernard Giudicelli Ferrandini said: “There can be a wildcard for the return from injuries – there cannot be a wildcard for the return from doping.

WTA, Steve Simon: “I don’t agree with the basis for their decision. She has complied with the sanction,” said WTA chief Steve Simon.

Pat Cash, Former WImbeldon Champion:  “She certainly should not be getting benefits from the fact that she got caught using an illegal drug,” he told BBC Radio 5 live. I would hope they [Wimbledon] would stay strong and say ‘no sorry, you have got to go through and play qualifying’.”

Maria Sharapova: “If this is what it takes to rise up again, then I am in it all the way, everyday,” she posted on Twitter on Wednesday. “No words, games, or actions will ever stop me from reaching my own dreams. And I have many.”

Sharapova is one of the hardest fighters on the tennis court and I have no doubt that she is able to work her way back up, whether it is by qualifiers or scant wildcards.

Barcelona Open – On Fashion

If you have not tuned in to the Benoit Paire and Marcel Granollers match, go and treat yourself. Although I’m please to see some players wear more tailored shorts, Paire is stretching the limit a bit. Pun intended. His shorts are so tight that his pockets are puckered. Does he look good in them? No. He looks amazing. He looks a bit uncomfortable, though. Maybe he does this so that it’s easier to get balls out of his pockets?  Maybe he forgot his shorts and had to improvise? Maybe housekeeping got his laundry mixed up with the Juniors tournament? Maybe we should not question out good fortune- just enjoy the view.

I really like a lot of the tennis kits I’m seeing for 2017.  So far the best looking one goes to Fila, for their Heritage Collection. I love the colors and the coordination.  You can see their lovely kits worn by Marin Cilic, John Isner, Sam Querrey and Andreas Seppi . Fila gets an A+.

2017 Kit by Fila

 

Smyczek vs. Nadal Australian Open 2015

Oh dear what a match this was.  Nadal had to fight hard to win this match in 5 sets (2-6, 6-3, 7-6, 3-6, 5-7). Smyczek was unrelenting and showed amazing mental strength and heart in his playing. Sometimes big cats like Nadal almost seem affronted when a relatively unknown, less-accomplished player reams them from inside out like Smyczek did, but Nadal showed amazing grace and deference to his very-worthy opponent. Nadal’s reaction to winning was as if he’d won the title, falling to his knees and quite emotional over his win.  The lesson or take-away for this match, though, is Smyczek’s show of upstanding sportsmanship. Nadal was serving at match-point and some pompous-ass fan yelled as he was hitting his serve, which resulted in a fault. Smyczek allowed Nadal to take the serve over and Nadal won the match. In this last game Smyczek came back from Love-40, which is a huge display of mental toughness.  I hope we see more of this guy in 2015.

Kevin Anderson vs. Jan-Lennard Struff

Disclaimer: I have a deep fondness and respect for Kevin Anderson

I’m watching this match live on the Tennsi Channel right now and Der Struffi is serving amazingly.  My favorite out of this match is Kevin Anderson, though, due to his experience.  I saw both of these gents play in 2014 and what was most impressive about Struff was his steadfast serving.  Not only does he hold serve very well, but his drive and skill to finish the point are reliable, and giving Anderson much trouble.

When Anderson does return Struff’s serve, he is able to make it a winner in many cases. Not to mention his serve is beautifuly on point. Of all the ATP players I have met in person, Anderson is one of the most genuine and down to earth there is. Even though I have an affliction for German tennis gods, Anderson’s personality and likability are swaying my pull right now. My prediction is that Anderson will win the tie-break and sweep the second set.

Isner vs. Janowicz Hopman Cup

I’m a huge Isner fan and have been waiting for his game to progress more beyond his serve.  Despite his 7-6/6-4 vistory over Janowicz, staying in rallies enough to win the point against big hitters has been a challenge for him.  This was witnessed in the 2015 Hopman Cup.  In matches like this one, aside from his serve, Isner is very dependent on his opponent’s errors in order to remain in the game.  With janowicz’s hard, flat return it was difficult for a very-tall Isner to get under these balls.

Another issue I’ve seen with Isner, and others that are losing points in the net or going long, is that they are not bending their knees enough in their returns. This is even more problematic with Isner’s height.  In most of his forehand returns that were hit in the net or went long, Isner was not bending his knees enough. If I were isner’s trainer I would prescribe him some light weight barbell squats to increase his vascular capacity and increase stamina and movement for bending those knees.

US Open 2014

I’ve been following The Open, but have been too busy to post with so much going on. If I were looking at underdogs for a finals meeting it would be a Nishikori – Kohlschreiber match up. Both of them have shown so much promise and are primed to win a major if injuries don’t come into play.

If you go by the natural order of alpha-male tennis, then a Federer – Djokovic match up may be more likely. Who do you knuckleheads see in a finals match up?

Dayum!

Did not get to watch the Berdych – Gulbis match, but it looks like serving was not in Berdych’s favor.  I guess we’ll have to wait for Djokovic to put the smack down.  Right now Muguruza is leading Sharapova 3-0, but not holding my breath on this match.  Hoping for a  peaceful final though!

Murray vs. Verdasco French Open

Currently watching Murray and Verdasco play in Round 4 of the French Open.  Love watching both of these men play.  Like many, I would predict Murray the winner based on record, but never underestimate a Spanaird and his red clay.  The French Open as become a tournaments of upsets this year.  My take on these two is that Murray is mentally tough and after a few games adapts so well to his opponents game and uses it against him.  Verdasco is still trying to create his own baggage, which can be an ace in his cap.   Murray’s power is amazing and he can easily chase down Verdasco’s direction of the ball.

Nice touch for these two wearing the same clothing. Nice job Adidas! :-)))