I waited to write about Gulbis’ victory over Federer in Round 3 of the French Open due to high emotions. I should also state a few disclaimers. 1. This is a highly opinated blog by someone that plays and watches a lot of tennis, who also played in college. 2. I love and have more respect for Roger Federer than most any player, but I’m not a dedicated fan like most. 3. I love Tommy Haas. And Juan Monaco.
Having gotten that out of the way, allow me to digress with the opinion part of this blog. In past interviews Gulbis has come off as a total ass, and interviews about his match with federer are not much different. Gulbis was down 2-5 in the fourth set and decided to take a medical time out before it was Federer’s turn to serve. Yes, it is allowed and no, it’s not always necessary for the player taking the time-out. However, it is a great way to slow momentum of the winning player.
Federer ended up losing to Gulbis. I don’t want to take away from Gulbis’ skillful playing in this match, because he did play well. By Gulbis’ own admission ‘..he got lucky’. Hey, even ugly whores make money! He also stated that, ”He’s Roger Federer, but he also gets tight.” To put the onus of mental toughness on Federer is completely short-sighted. If Roger is tight then what is Gulbis? Most of us in the tennis community do not hang out in the gutter, so it’s hard to relate to this mentality.
I’m not a disgruntled Federer fan, but I do believe in calling a fig a fig.
I hope Tomas Berdych kicks his ass in the quarters.
Tommy Haas defeated Stan Wawrinka to make it into the quarterfinals where he will compete with Dimitrov for a spot in the semifinals of the Italian Open. In the first set Haas had to adjust to the pace and seemed to be struggling to keep up, but his strength and agility were enough to perservere. Here are some observartions:
1. I was expecting him to use his down the line backhand more. Not sure if it is due to an injury or too much pace on Stan’s balls.
2. Haas made fewer errors than Wawrinka and had great focus. I can tell when Haas is focused because he swishes his tongue around in his mouth when he serves.
3. Drop shots were amazing
4. Ace down the T to win the match was sublime.
A few years back Tommy attributed his poor choice of tennis clothing due to the lack of a clothing contract. Since then he has picked up Ellesse as a sponsor. I just hope that they give him a tennis wardrobe that takes advantage of his flawless, timeless coloring. Against Wawrinka he wore white and navy. The white looked much better on him than the navy. Good colors for Tommy are lavender, red, turquoise and even lighter shades in the blue palette.
Two of my favorite things- Tommy Haas and Rome. It’s probably no secret that the Tennis Bitch utterly adores Tommy Haas and has fully endorsed him for the 2014 season. It’s admirable how he is still going strong and chasing his dream, being the oldest player on the ATP. Not to mention the finest looking. He is moving well and making great shots and serves during the first set of the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome against Seppi, leading 6-1.
I’m a huge underdog fan and no one has served as the poster child for tennis-underdog more than Andy Murray has. Being ranked number 4 the last few years without winning a major title has created a stigma around the direction of Andy’s future as a top contender. I love Federer, Tipsarevic, Isner, and we can all agree that Rafael Nadal is a pleasure to look at, but we seem to be willing Andy to win every time he plays for a major title, hoping he can break through. Andy recently won Olympic gold, giving Roger a beating- and by beating I want you to think of the passage in “50 Shades of Grey” where Christian puts the belt to Anna. Andy dominated over Roger at the 2012 London Summer Olympics.
It was very clear with Andy’s performance at Wimbeldon, the Olympics, and watching him play Tomas Berdych in the US Open, that he has two remarkable skills, which make him such a dangerous contender: 1. His return of serve is one of the best 2. He has great range in mobility in reaching balls on the court. His speed, combined with anticipation of shots, allows him to not only get to deep baseline shots, but to return them with a bitch-stamp.
Berdych excels at directing balls on the court and is playing extremely well at the net. He causes more harm to his opponent by hitting to the far corners of the court and coming in to volley, but Murray is no slouch at the net. His last few tournaments he has been very masterful at returning difficult volleys at the net with amazing accuracy.
The Murray-Berdych tiebreaker was a nail-biter to the end. Somehow Berdych managed to turn his serve back on. Murray was able to keep his cool and climb back up, earning a spot into the 2012 US Open finals. WAY TO GO ANDY!
I love how at the end of a match they shake hands and pat each other on the chest. If I ever get to meet a pro tennis player I’d love to do this; such a darling way to say ‘Good game pal.’
5-7, 6-2, 6-1,
As most ladies progress (3.5- 4.5 level) serves become an aggressive part of their game. Rarely will you see ladies that are at this level who don’t have good pace on their serve and can direct the ball to your forehand or backhand. At this level players usually go two separate paths. The first path is trying to serve faster, as well as direct the serve to backhand, forehand or to the body. The second path is using different grips to make the ball more lively along with some speed. Many ladies choose to keep the same grip for the sake of consistency.
Adding a little spin on the ball can cause much discomfort to your opponent and the ability to change up your serve adds more dimension to that part of your game- the one part you are in total control of.
Many ladies at this level rarely practice their serve. Not only should you practice your serve weekly, you should be methodical about placing each ball when practicing. The goal is to think about each ball before you serve it and where you want to place it.
Next week: Getting your head in the game!