Tag Archives: atp challenger

Tommy Guns. Federer shot down.

3 Sep

 

Tommy Robredo celebrates his 7-6, 6-3, 6-4 victory against Roger Federer on Day 8 at the 2013 US Open.

How sweet it is: Tommy Robredo, winners are grinners.

John McEnroe always had a way with words. Many times in his playing career they were hurled in a verbal spray at all and sundry. To hear him lament “I don’t believe what I am seeing” during the ESPN coverage was McEnroe’s calm TV network voice – but he might as well have been screaming “you cannot be serious” as Robredo systematically pulled Swiss maestro Roger Federer’s game apart.

In what can only be described as the upset of the US Open to date (with apologies to Little Lleyton Hewitt for his gutsy win over #6 Juan Martin Del Potro) Tommy Robredo has sent Roger Federer packing, with a straight set 7-6, 6-3, 6-4 demolition of the Swiss 5 time US Open singles champion. It was Robredo’s first win over the Fed Express in 11 attempts, and on the flipside, it is the first time since 2002 that we won’t see the name Roger Federer in any of the men’s slam singles final in a calendar year.

Tommy Robredo’s is a story of courage, persistence and resilience. He had to forgo much of  the 2011 and 2012  tour with a leg injury that ultimately required surgery and saw his ATP ranking drop below 470 early in 2012. I was lucky enough to sit down at the lowly ATP Challenger in Milano with Tommy Robredo following his tournament victory there, and he spoke of his ambition to once again reach the top echelon of the game. You could be excused for thinking he had been too long in the 37 degree Italian sun.

Tommy Robredo returns in the third set during his 7-6, 6-3, 6-4 victory over Roger Federer on Day 8 at the 2013 US Open.

Robredo has quietly and efficiently gone about the business of being a true tennis professional from that tournament forward. He has steadily climbed the rankings and already has won two ATP main tier events this year in Santiago and Umag. Perhaps the most telling truth in his determination and burning desire to succeed were on show at this year’s French Open, where Tommy Robredo, in his run to the quarter finals, won three five set matches in a row from two sets to love down. That takes courage, commitment and enormous self-belief. Tommy Robredo – you cannot be serious – John McEnroe – you better believe it.

The PRO.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Marinko Matosevic, classic late bloomer.

13 Aug

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Marinko Matosevic on the rise – thanks to new coach Mark Woodforde.

You would hardly call it a quick ascent up the tennis rankings for Australian 28 year old Marinko Matosevic. Marinko has been chipping away at a tennis career since the age of 10, and was stalled in the rankings between 250 to 1000+ for his first 7 years as a pro. In fact, even as a 26 year old in 2011 Matosevic was still outside the top 200. How do you keep going when you are so far from your dream?

Resilience. Perseverance. The reality that this may be your last chance. Maturity. Stubborness. All have played a part in Marinko’s climb. 2012, his 9th year on tour. Matosevic clawed his way above the pack rising from the minor ATP Challenger event in laid back Caloundra to a qualifying breakthrough into the main tour event in Delray Beach. Matosevic carried that qualifying form all the way through to his first final, and by year end had not only broken through the top 100 barrier to #49, but had picked up the prestigious “ATP Most Improved player for 2012” award. And one other baton was passed on – Marinko Matosevic ended the year as Australia’s top ranked male singles player. This baton, however, was more an indictment on the state of Australian tennis, than an endorsement of Matosevic’s rise.

After a horror start to 2013, which saw him almost tumble out of the top 100, Marinko Matosevic has sought the advice of former Aussie great Mark Woodforde. In the one month together he has reached 2 quarter finals, and had wins over Tommy Haas, Benjamin Becker, Benoit Paire and Milos Raonic. Every one of those players would have had Marinko for breakfast for the first 8 years of his career. Perhaps he has learnt new skills. Listening, belief, and more than likely, fear. Fear at how close the finish line is to a late blooming career, and fear in the inability to see yourself doing anything else once that fleeting career is over. For Marinko – the time is now.

The PRO.