Tag Archives: ATP tour

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.














Ocho for Rafa. Bravo

11 Jun

Nadal slides to a reverse backhand return to Djokovic.

Raphael Nadal – rarely stretched in his 8th French Open victory.

Raphael Nadal proved once again what we already know. He is the greatest clay court player of this, and probably all generations with a clinical straight sets win over fellow Spaniard David Ferrer. And in a rare quirk of ATP computer treachery, the win saw Nadal drop from #4 to #5 on the rankings, while Ferrer moved up from #5 to #4. I won’t go into detail on the need to “defend” points from the previous 12 months – suffice to say Ferrer making the final was an improvement on 2012, whereas Rafa winning the final was the same result for him. It’s hard to improve on perfection – more on that later.

Rafa becomes the first man to win a Slam 8 times – both Roger Federer and Pete Sampras amassed 7 Wimbledon titles – and Roger will still start pretty close to favourite this year at Wimbledon. I’m not sure if Federer, Djokovic or Murray will be able to stop the runaway train that is Raphael Nadal. He is relishing his time back on court following serious knee trouble that plagued him in 2012.

In his victorious post match press conference, Rafa conceded “sure I have doubts, so I work as hard as I can.. that’s why I am back” David Ferrer summed things up. “Rafa was better than me – he has the best mentality I’ve ever seen in my career.  He has everything, no?”

Spare a thought for the rest of the players on the ATP tour with Rafa’s fitting final words – “I will keep practising with the same passion and intensity to bring my tennis to the highest level possible…in tennis, for sure, you can improve and keep improving”. Scary.


* worth reading this earlier post from the PRO on Rafa’s comeback


Rest just the tonic for Tomic

11 Oct

Tomic still welcome in Sydney

Aussie young gun Bernard Tomic has admitted his guns are out of firepower as his “breakout” year on the ATP tour came to a grinding halt in China, at the Shanghai Masters event. Tomic looked to be heading for the Top 20 as he bamboozled players with his unique talent, peaking at #27 in June. Since then it has been 9 out of 12 first round losses as his ranking slides, and will bottom out below 50 in the next ranking update.

Following his 6-4, 6-0 loss to German Florian Mayer, Tomic confessed to only giving “roughly 85%” in his match. In doing so he opens himself up to repeats of the criticism from John McEnroe, Pat Rafter, Paul McNamee and host of tennis experts. Labelled a “disgrace” by Rafter, who “was obviously tanking” by McEnroe following an insipid performance at the US Open. Tomic has done himself no favours by dropping another match 6-0 in the closing set, and to make it worse concede in his presser that “it has been a long year” and also that “the mental skill is one of my biggest problems”. Honest – yes, smart – no.

We keep being reminded that Tomic is only 19 – but 19 only for another week. His lack of maturity is clearly evident.  “it’s scary how much I have improved” – “it will be very soon that I start beating the top 4” – quotes from this years Australian Open. And in China he attributes his slide down the rankings to a poorly planned schedule, that has “cost me a lot of matches I should have won”.

Tomic has pulled out of the Swedish Open next week and is unlikely to play the Swiss Indoor the following week. It could be time to rest, recover and re-invent himself as an Aussie battler. He has plenty of time.

The PRO 

Kei – Opens doors in Japan

7 Oct

Kei has the key to Japan

Japan’s Kei Nishikori has won his hometown ATP Japan Open after a  3 set defeat of young Canadian gun Milos Raonic. Nishikori, dubbed Project 45 by JTA officials, becomes the first Japanese player to reach, and then win his home event final.

It has been a stellar year for the young Japanese player and he has consolidated a top 20 ranking at #17 currently. Not bad for someone who was outside the top 50 12 months ago and was ranked over 430 toward the end of 2009.

See my blog on Nishikori’s rise to prominence from January 25 this year in the archives section or via this link. https://tennistipsfromapro.wordpress.com/2012/01/25/kei-nishikori-now-he-really-is-big-in-japan/

Nishikori has a bright future ahead of him and is truly a STAR in Japan. Watch out for more success from Kei.



Rafa. Clay please it’s easier on my knees.

7 Oct

Rafa on the run.

Raphael Nadal is hopeful of a return to the ATP tour prior to the season end, and may make himself available for the Davis Cup final. This will come as a relief to many who held grave doubts for Rafa’s continued longevity on the tour.

Nadal himself is now choosing both his words – and his schedule very carefully. As the call for less emphasis on hardcourt training and events, particularly for developing junior players reaches a crescendo, Nadal maintains optimism for his future in the game. Uncle Toni Nadal insists he will not be hurrying Rafa back to the tour – but that “Rafa should be back on the practice courts in 10-15 days”

It wasn’t surprising to also hear Uncle Toni comments in a press conference yesterday in Sao Paulo, among the comments were a call to the ATP Tour to think about playing the year ending Masters final on clay – at least some of the time:

“They should think about a revaluation of the calendar,” said Rafa’s mentor, in view of the many tournaments that are played on hard courts “it is better to protect the health of the athletes.”

Late bloomers.

24 Feb

Over the past 10 years alone I have coached in excess of 25 players who have plied their tennis overseas, most of them at US Colleges. It is a great thing to see players strive and achieve their dreams. And many of these players were “also ran” juniors. What they had was the ability to not lose sight of their dreams, and to stick at the task in hand.

You don’t have to be a child prodigy to go places in tennis. In Australia we have had many examples of the “late bloomer” on the world stage – Wayne Arthurs, a doubles journeyman until his late twenties, went on to win his first ATP tour singles title after turning 30, Peter Luczak much the same; even Sam Stosur to some degree is a classic late bloomer. Top 50-100 most of her early career, now late 20’s and she is a WTA top tenner.

You could even argue Pat Rafter fits the bill – whilst he did breakthrough as a 19 year old – as a junior Rafter could not make Queensland state teams. The message here is simple – sometimes it is the player that starts late, has a real passion for the game in their more enlightened years, has not suffered “burn out” and does not take things for granted that pushes through to be the better player. This is why all juniors should stay involved and engaged with the sport. Keep chipping away at your targets and goals and look to achieve that breakthrough.

Like everyone’s Mum used to say – “Better late than never”

The PRO.

PS. check out the link which is a good example of one such player.


Serve BIG and eat meat – just like Milos.

17 Feb

Milos Raonic

Milos Raonic from Canada, who had a match in the Australian Open against Lleyton Hewitt where he averaged 217 km/h on his first serve and who this week hit a 250km/h bullet in the ATP event in San Jose this week, was asked “how?”

Here’s some serve tips from one of the most exciting prospects on the tour. 

Speed isn’t everything. Start with rhythm. And focus on target areas.
“Even from a young age I was able to serve pinpoint, play well. I spent a lot of time on it and just never focused on speed, that sort of came I guess with a lot of hours. I just have a good mental outlook on it, I think. I keep the same rhythm for everything. I’m able to hit all the spots from the same toss and I think this is important, to try to give away as little as possible.”

Work out in the gym.
“The speed has gone up gradually. Obviously I’m getting stronger and working more on my fitness and that is helping.”

A good shoulder helps!
“I’ve got a good shoulder, so I’m fortunate. I remember in school I was good at shot-put and all that kind of stuff with the shoulder, and that was without even working on it.”

Learn from the best. This is great stuff – love the comment on tempo and control of a match. Good goal for you all.
“Pete Sampras has always been my idol, because I just liked his style, the control of his serve, how he was able to do the same thing with one toss, hit all the spots. I thought he had a tremendous second serve and he did a very good job controlling the court and controlling the pace. You always had the feeling that the match was in his hands, win or lose. That’s something I’ve been working on and trying to develop as much as I can. I felt as those Sampras inspired those things in my game and development.”

Eat red meat.
“The night before a match, I eat medium-rare steak. Can I get to 260km/h with my serve? I don’t know, maybe. As long as I keep getting the free points I’ll be happy, I don’t care if it’s 165km/h or 265km/h.”

In a study The PRO is currently carrying out with his players – one group using a radar and benchmarking serve speed, and the other not using it…the overwhelming outcome is that using a radar while training definitely helps players attain faster serves sooner.

So there it is – one point for all to remember Raonic didn’t develop that serve overnight. He definitely used all the “P” words: perseverance, patience, positive thinking AND the 3 most important “P” words of all – practice, practice, practice. And maybe you too can serve like Raonic.

*Thanks to the tennis space for their Raonic interview.

The PRO.