Tag Archives: Andre Agassi

Davis Cup. Could this be a Swiss master stroke.

20 Nov

Roger rips BHand

Roger Federer in full flight, ripping into a backhand earlier in 2014.

It will be interesting to see if the so-called spat between team mates (and good      mates) Roger Federer and Stan Wawrinka has any implication for team harmony   in the Davis Cup final which starts tomorrow in Lille, France.

The tie will be played indoors on clay – a choice made by the home French team –  who probably feel they need to slow things down to negate the Stanimal and  Roger’s weapons. Should be an amazing atmosphere – a 27,000 seat indoor  stadium full of parochial French, with the 4th ranked Swiss looking to topple the  2nd ranked French team.

122 nations contested the Davis Cup in 2014, and now we are down to the final two. This will be a great clash. The French have a long and proud history in Davis Cup. Equal 3rd on the all-time tally with 9 victories, whilst Switzerland are yet to win the Davis Cup. It is one of Roger Federer’s stated remaining goals in the game. The Swiss did make the final back in 1992 – but ran into something of a USA Dream Team – Andre Agassi, Pete Sampras, Jim Courier and John McEnroe!

The French will probably go with Tsonga and Monfils in the singles, but could surprise with either Gasquet or Simon – nice to have those selection issues.. The Swiss are a little more straight forward – Federer and Wawrinka – and hang their hopes on gaining 3 singles wins.

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David Ferrer. Class act

3 Jul

David Ferrer shows his usual hustle to make a fantastic save against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.

David Ferrer – at home on clay.

In a David versus Goliath match-up, Spanish ball machine – all 5′ 9″ of David Ferrer, takes on Argentina’s 6′ 6” Juan Martin Del Potro in a Wimbledon 1/4 final. In an event that has been dubbed “Wimble-geddon” due to seeded players crashing out, Del Potro (seeded 8) and Ferrer (seeded 4),whilst being anything but grass court specialists, have in fact justified their seedings.

Ferrer is in career best form – and there are not too many 13 year tour veterans, who at 31 year’s of age you can say that about. No matter what happens in this match Ferrer rises above Roger Federer to #3 on the world rankings next week. It is a fitting reward for a player who comes across as shy and reserved, but is in fact one of the true nice guys in the locker room. David Ferrer is dour. Dogged. Determined. Aussie coach Darren Cahill rates Ferrer as the current best service returner in the game. A big call, but Cahill has substance in the debate – he did coach both Lleyton Hewitt and Andre Agassi – both acknowledged as the best returners in their time too.

David Ferrer has the strength of mind to get the job done. As a junior, Ferrer’s coach Javier Piles, unhappy with David’s work rate, locked him in a dark ball cupboard for several hours. Coach Piles is still on hand today and far more content with his player’s output. Ferrer too is content – “Tennis doesn’t owe me anything. Tennis is one of the fairest sports. It’s given me so many extraordinary feelings.” Look for a fast, fit Ferrer to frustrate Delpo. Ferrer in four sets for me.

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Tommy – more than a pinball wizard

4 Jun

Super serve                        4 down!
Tommy Haas the victor. 35 and going strong

Thirty five year years young, Germany’s Tommy Haas showed that old guys rule when he blasted his way into the French Open 1/4 finals today with a thumping win over Mikhail Youzhny. Haas has been a clay court revelation in 2013, especially for a player with a self confessed preference for hardcourt. He won his 14th ATP title earlier this year on the clay at Munich and has risen to a ranking of #13.

Haas is a survivor. He has had to endure multiple shoulder, elbow and hip surgeries over the years, and has seen his ranking plummet to the 370’s as recently as 2011. By winning his 4th round match today in Paris, Tommy Haas has the distinction of achieving the full set of career Grand Slam 1/4 finals. A fitting record for a genuine stalwart of the game. In fact Haas’s longevity makes sense when in a recent interview he conceded he “didn’t know what he would do when and if he stopped playing”, and that “tennis is all I know”.

Lucky wristband?Bullseye!

Haas has broken a couple of quirky statistics here – it took him the most number of match points ever to close out the match against big John Isner – not surprising that record is against Isner with his booming serve. Haas is the oldest 1/4 finalist since Andre Agassi at the 2005 US Open, and was quoted at his post match press conference to be “really proud to make the 1/4’s here for the first time”. In a fitting comment he said “he is smarter in how he trains, how he eats and how he recovers” – who said you can’t teach old dogs new tricks.

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