Tag Archives: Juan Martin Del Potro

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

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.

The PRO

No surprises – just “if only’s” and “should haves.”

6 Jun

Tsonga 2012 French Open Jo-Wi…. grr if only I put Novak away.

Wow – the mens draw at this year’s French Open has been chock a block full of exhilarating tennis – and for the average punter all seems to be just as you would expect. No surprises. The semis already confirmed will be another instalment of the Roger Federer versus Novak Djokovic rivalry. Could it be another epic a-la 2011 Roland Garros semi – the last Grand slam match Novak lost? – or the 2011 US Open semi – where Roger had 4 match points only to lose the match.

And also in the bottom half of the draw we are heading for a Rafael Nadal v Andy Murray / or David Ferrer semi. Also very predicatable – and in fact this half of the draw has been more or less untouched by surprises. Raphael Nadal plays compatriot Nicolas Almagro and Andy Murray takes on David Ferrer in the remaining 1/4 finals tonight. The only “wow” on this side of the draw has been the total eclipse of everyone in his path by Rafa. Rafa the clay court King has dropped only 19 games for the tournament – the best since Guillermo Vilas lost only 14 games in a blistering run to the 1977 quarter finals.

But what about the “if only – and the perhaps should haves”.

Just ask Jo-Wilfried Tsonga – 2 sets to one up against Novak Djokovic, and playing the match of his life. You need to remember Tsonga and Djokovic have a very legitimate rivalry in the true sense of the word. Going in to this match they were 5 wins apiece in their head to head record. Tsonga was playing near faultless tennis and racked up 4 match points in the 4th set. But –  somehow, Novak’s iron will again prevailed – he is so mentally strong and seems to be willing himself to the “Serbian Slam”.

Jo-Wi is left to sit and rue the opportunity that has passed him by. He is not alone. Andreas Seppi had Djokovic on the ropes and looking for the white towel in their 4th round encounter. Seppi led a hapless Nole 2 sets to love but could not strike the fatal blow. He went down in 5. Novak’s only comment – “I want to forget about that match and move on”.

Roger Federer too, has also had an unusually rocky road to the semi. He has been dropping sets to qualifiers, lucky losers and journeyman. And then he was staring at a 1/4 final defeat, 2 sets to love down at the hands of Juan Martin Del Potro – but Delpo ran out of petrol – and as the wise old sage Roger said in his presser – “this is a marathon, not a sprint”. We are at the “pointy” end. No more time for if’s, but’s and maybes, and you definitely don’t want to have a “I should have”. I’m sticking with Rafa – nothing seems to be standing in his way… but does Novak know that.

The PRO

Roger Federer, Juan Martin Del Potro and Timmy Karpinski (huh?)

24 Jan

There is a real buzz at Melbourne Park today. The thermometer is expected to reach 34 degrees, and I’m expecting the tennis to be at least that hot, with a dream match-up on Rod Laver Arena later this afternoon. It holds special interest for the PRO.

Roger Federer has his Fed express rolling along on all 6 cylinders – he has gears that it would appear only Novak Djokovic can also go to. Federer will meet Argentina’s Juan Martin Del Potro. Del Potro, at 6′ 6″ with a serve, wingspan and forehand to match is much respected by Federer. In fact at his press conference yesterday Federer said he felt Del Potro was on track to taking the world number 1 ranking before his major wrist surgery in May 2010. Del Potro is also running into red-hot form.

Following his surgery Del Potro plummeted to a ranking of 485, some 12 months ago, but has rapidly risen again and currently sits at number 11. Whilst Federer may hold a 7-2 career head to head, a more telling statistic is that Del Potro has won 2 of their last 3 meetings, including the US Open final in 2009. Their only other meeting in a ‘slam was in the semis of the 2009 French Open with Roger Federer prevailing. Both matches were 5 set epics. They have ‘slam history these two, and I am expecting a cracker of a match.

But why also is the PRO so excited about this 1/4 final – well one of my young players – Timmy Karpinski won the award for best player during the recent Super 10s matches here in Victoria. His prize – to toss the coin at the Federer / Del Potro quarter final here at Rod Laver Arena. The PRO will be watching on proudly. Enjoy the match.

The PRO.