Tag Archives: US Open

Omar Jasika – I kept fighting.

11 Sep

Omar Jasika US juniors 2014

Melbourne junior Omar Jasika has joined the ranks of Pat Cash and Bernard Tomic by winning the US Open Boys Singles. Omar even went one step better than those guys by also winning the doubles title with Japan’s Naoki Nakagawa. In the singles he defeated players from the USA, Germany, France, Korea and Cyprus – again a reminder of the cosmopolitan nature of the sport.

Jasika, whose whole family are members of the Melbourne suburban Bentleigh Rec. and Clarinda Tennis Clubs, went into the event unseeded and along the way to the title defeated 3 players ranked in the top 8 seeds. In the final he managed his first win over world #4 junior and European Champion, Frenchman Quentin Halys. Halys is a powerful ball striker and has plenty of big game experience, but lefty Jasika was able to quell Haly’s power and fought back from the brink of a straight sets loss to take out the title in a gutsy 3 set win.

Great to see Omar is another in the “I started playing tennis by hitting a ball against the wall” production line. He regularly practices with Kei Nishikori, who he describes as a mentor figure. Pat Cash remarked “Jasika reminds me of former world #1 Marcelo Rios, a lefty and whilst not tall, hits the ball hard and fast”. Hopefully Cashy is on the money. Omar kept it simple in his press conference after the final. “I hung in all week and kept fighting”. Omar Jasika is a player to look out for over the next few years.

Congrats to Omar and the Bentleigh corner shop Jasika family!
The PRO

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Cilic has all the Kei’s.

10 Sep
Great win by a rejuvenated Marin Cilic in the US Open this morning “Down under” time.  Cilic was able to subdue the road runner Kei Nishikori – who may well have used up all his petrol tickets prior to taking the court. Nishikori will be back on the main stage, he is too good a player to fade away.

Hats off to Cilic – who has always had something of an Aussie connection. Cilic’s long time coach (though no longer) was Bob Brett. Brett used to come out to Australia each year to visit his Mum – and would always bring a handful of players with him to train at Melbourne Park. Quite often we would match up a few lucky players from my Academy program to drill or play points with Bob’s troops.

One of those was Marin Cilic and for several weeks he and his brother, Goran would pester me for balls, courts, ball machines. Cilic must have been 15 or 16 at the time. A tall, lanky bean pole who was always practicing his serve.
Today’s win takes his career ranking back to #9, where he spent much of 2010. This could be the making of Marin Cilic. He has the game to intimidate players and is driven to succeed. Bobby Brett taught him well.
The PRO
Photo: Great win by a rejuvenated Marin Cilic in the US Open this morning "Down under" time. Cilic was able to subdue the road runner Kei Nishikori - who may well have used up all his petrol tickets prior to taking the court. Nishikori will be back on the main stage, he is too good a player to fade away.
Hats off to Cilic - who has always had something of an Aussie connection. Cilic's long time coach (though no longer) was Bob Brett. Brett used to come out to Australia each year to visit his Mum - and would always bring a handful of players with him to train at Melbourne Park. Quite often we would match up a few lucky players from my Academy program to drill or play points with Bob's troops.
One of those was Marin Cilic and for several weeks he and his brother, Goran would pester me for balls, courts, ball machines. Cilic must have been 15 or 16 at the time. A tall, lanky bean pole who was always practicing his serve. 
Today's win takes his career ranking back to #9, where he spent much of 2010. This could be the making of Marin Cilic. He has the game to intimidate players and is driven to succeed. Bobby Brett taught him well.
JPT

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tomic stretched. Barty all business.

27 Aug

  

Aussie young guns Ash Barty and Bernard Tomic advanced in contrasting styles in the 1st round at the US Open today.

Australia, despite being in the tennis wilderness for the best part of ten years (with apologies to Lleyton Hewitt – whose great big heart has broken his little body, and the phlegmatic, roller coaster that is Sam Stosur) was able to brag of two winners on day one of the 2013 US Open.

Teen prodigy Ash Barty broke through in her debut US Open singles match with a resounding 6-1, 6-4 victory over Spain’s  Estrella Cabenza Candela. Barty looked comfortable out on Court 15 and a sign of her maturity was her ability to return serve well and convert four of nine break point opportunities. In a really good gauge to how far Ashleigh Barty has come, her next match pits her against 2011 quarter finalist Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova. Coach Jason Stoltenberg will have done his homework and Barty may well surprise a few more players along the way.

Despite not having father and coach, John Tomic in the stands, Bernard Tomic was able to overcome his Spanish opponent, lefty Albert Ramos in a gruelling 5 set match 6-3, 3-6, 4-6, 7-6, 6-3. Twenty year old Australian Tomic was able to grind out the win with his trademark angles, court craft and cunning, in what was described as the best match of opening day.

In the battle of the “bad boys”, look for Tomic to advance past Brit surprise packet Daniel Evans. Evans trounced Japan’s world #11 Kei Nishikori in straight sets. Tomic was prophetic, and somewhat ironic in his post match interview, and referred to “today being all about finding a way to get out of tough situations”. Scary one line summary of his fledgling career.

The PRO.

US men. Down and out

30 Jun

Andy Roddick US Open 2009 368 crop.jpg

Andy Roddick: the last American man to win a slam.

Spare a thought for the contingent of American men  – all 11 of them – in Wimbledon’s draw. How many left now? None. It’s the first time in 101 years that there has been no American in the men’s 3rd round. There will be lots of soul searching done in the corridors of the USTA, and the shock waves should probably reach out to other tennis nations, especially those who have unashamedly modelled their programs and pathways on the US system. It has been an amazing 39 Slam events since there was a US male winner – and that was now retired Andy Roddick at the 2003 US Open.

John McEnroe put it simply. “In the USA girls are more likely to play tennis. The greatest American athletes play football and basketball. We are lower down on the totem pole”. And McEnroe concludes “We’re certainly not where we want to be”. Check out last month’s blog from The PRO on the resurgence of US women – and the concluding question – where are the US male tennis players? is even more relevant following only 3 days of Wimbledon.

https://tennistipsfromapro.wordpress.com/2013/06/02/us-women-out-of-the-blue/

The PRO

Hardcourts. Yep, just ask Rafa.

5 Feb

AO: A huge fight, but not quite enough

“This surface, in my opinion, is very bad for the lower back, for the knees, for all of this.

“It makes me scared for my body for the future.”

Tennis world #2 Spain’s Raphael Nadal has admitted in a frank interview what many of us in the tennis profession have long known. Hardcourts are just that. HARD. There is no getting away from the fact hardcourts are very tough on the body and are having a significant impact on injury rates and training loads of many players, in particular juniors.

RAFA SAYS

“I’m a little bit scared about how my body gonna feel when I retire because the hardcourts like here (Melbourne Park), like the US Open, like Indian Wells, Miami are very aggressive on the body,” he said in an interview. 

Rafa’s advice – echoed by most leading tennis professionals and coaches – if at all possible shift your training “heavy” load to a clay court emphasis, and if you are practicing on hardcourts – short bursts are best, with plenty of pre and post training stretching. The injuries most common with young athletes on hardcourts are hip, back and repetitive stress injuries such as shin splints and stress fractures of the foot. Knee related injuries are common too. So keep Rafa’s advice in mind and if you are serious about your game – develop it on clay.

The PRO.

PS for more great stuff from Rafa check out his personal blog. Follow this link http://www.nadalnews.com/

Rod Laver is in the house!

27 Jan

Many regard him as the greatest of all time. The Rockhampton Rocket – Rod Laver – pictured here at Wimbledon.

Rocket Rod has returned to Melbourne Park to celebrate 50 years since his first Grand Slam in 1962. Laver, the Aussie left handed serve and volley player is looking fit for his 73 years of age and was justifiably chuffed to be honoured in his house – Rod Laver Arena. Laver not only won the 1962 Grand Slam but then went on to become the only male player to win the Grand Slam (all 4 majors in a calendar year – Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon and the US Open) in the open era, and was ranked world # 1 tennis player for 7 consecutive years (1964 to 1970).

In a typically humble press conference Laver spoke of the honour  of being invited and how it is the crowning jewel of his whole career to see the stadium lit up with his name on it. For a fantastic listen for tennis historians – follow this link to a chat yesterday on ESPN (the US network) with Roger Federer, Rod Laver and Darren Cahill.

http://espn.go.com/video/clip?id=7501282&categoryid=2491545