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Can Anyone Stop Dimitrov? 09/26/2010 - 8:57 AM

102165447 Sorry, I just couldn't resist echoing that headline from the other day, despite its questionable relevance to the story about Kazakhstan appearing in the Davis Cup World Group draw for the first time. But it's a modest workday for me and this Bulgarian boy, 19-year-old Grigor Dimitrov, is really lighting it up on the Challeger circuit, having just won the third successive event he's played.

Dimitrov's streak goes back to Geneva, in August, and includes two recent wins—Bangkok 1 and Bangkok 2—in Thailand. I guess you can call Dimitrov's feat a Thai Challenger Mini Slam. And why not add two more Challenger segments, so you could could create the Thai Challenger Grand Slam? I'd change the names, though: "Bangkok 1, 2, 3 and 4" just doesn't have the same ring as "Australian Open, Roland Garros, Wimbledon and U.S. Open."

Seriously though, I assume that Thai officials have enough dough to create two tournaments instead of one high-paying one, and in some ways doing so is a better deal for everyone except the guy collecting the winner's check—as counter-intuitive as it may seem in an enterprise where the size of the purse is one of the major selling points for the event and all those interested in it.

Offering two opportunities to earn ATP points is a better incentive to lure up-and-coming players to what is still, relatively speaking, a far-flung outpost of the game. And if you look at the Challenger schedule, you'll see that it's organized in segments that slightly eases the pain (cost of travel) for players who are usually just scraping by, or even going into hock to earn a shot at stardom. I also wouldn't be surprised if they had to come up with Bangkok 1 and 2 in order to earn the ATP sanction, and the tournaments are obviously linked to the ATP 250 event coming up there. BTW, if you want to poke around in these esoteric regions to investigate these issues, Core Tennis (unfortunately, the site doesn't load for me today) and Steve G Tennis are great places to start.

In any event, On May 19th of 2008, Dimitrov (who was ranked as high as No. 3 among world juniors)  was ranked outside the world Top 1,000. He has a lot of up-side. His ranking has climbed to No. 146. So he's coming up on ATP and Grand Slam direct acceptance territory, and quick. Watch out world!

Meanwhile, Pablo Andujar, a journeyman experiencing a dream week, is set to play Juan Ignacio Chela, the No. 3 seed, for the title in Bucharest, and Mischa Zverev of Germany is in his first-ever ATP final. He'll play eighth-seeded Gilles Simon for the title in Metz.

So, while the U.S. Open is long over, the Grand Slam year has ended, and fall weather in the northern hemisphere is dampening tennis enthusiasm among all but the most dedicated of fans, the dream lives on. . . an on. All around the world. Is this a great sport, or what?

- Pete


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Posted by thebigapple 09/26/2010 at 09:26 AM

Perhaps....we may not have settle for grinding,grunting defensive tennis after all??

Please say it is so!

Let us see what this boy has got. A long way to go yet!

Posted by tatty 09/26/2010 at 10:17 AM

I saw him a Queens , not exactly inspiring but I can see the Sampras crowd loving him - as some already have.

Sampras mark 2 , although is serve is more like Feds, his demeanour is defintely Pete..

So wheres baby Nadal ?

Getting his arse wiped somewhere ??

Posted by chicklet 09/26/2010 at 10:41 AM

Thanks for the post, Pete. Always nice to see an up-and-comer highlighted on this blog.

I've heard of Dimitrov as part of the Adidas camp, but I've never gotten the chance to see him play. That should change quickly as his ranking continues to climb.

Posted by Fern 09/26/2010 at 11:12 AM

Dimitrov garnered quite a lot of publicity in the UK (especially when he played at Queens) touted as a 'Baby Fed' - probably because of his OHB and at the time was coached by Peter Lundgren. FWIW, an elderly relative of mine who used to play at county level (UK) standard, was very impressed - not sure which match she saw! She thinks he'll be the next big thing, though it could take him a couple of years to really hit his stride.

Posted by skip1515 09/26/2010 at 11:15 AM

"Is this a great sport, or what?"

Yes.

Do I remember correctly that Dmitrov was with Bob Brett at one time? No longer?

Posted by Mary Lennon 1980 09/26/2010 at 11:38 AM

Always good to hear of the up and comers in the great sport of tennis. Good luck to all of them and please continue to keep us informed. As this is a quiet period, can we have some coverage on the behind the scenes people, specifically the chair umpires? I've asked before and now would be a good time to high light some of them?? By the way, where is Mohammed Ahlyani (sp)? He was not in Cincy and I did not see him at the US Open. Anyone have any information? I consider him to be the best and I wonder if everything is OK. Thanks

Posted by temes 09/26/2010 at 12:06 PM

He is gonna break Fed's Slam record!

Posted by evangelyst 09/26/2010 at 12:49 PM

Good luck to Dimitrov. He is currently coached by Peter McNamara, is the highest ranked teenager (at around 136 after his third challenger win) and under Peter McNamara has won 42 of his last 47 matches. I hope he comes up quickly into the Top 100, plays the World Tour next year and starts making a splash at the Grand Slams. I think he will definitely be a potential GS contender in a couple of years.

Would have liked more of Pete's views on Dimitrov's game and prospects, rather than an analysis on Bangkok 1 and 2.

Posted by Sherlock (AgnostiGoat) 09/26/2010 at 12:55 PM

Lol. Well done, Temes. :)

Posted by x-fan 09/26/2010 at 01:13 PM

" Can Anyone Stop Dimitrov? "

I'd say yes, himself!

There are many talented players out there but how many are there with the 'champion' mentality?

We shall see...

Posted by tina (forever proud to be in the "Đ-block") 09/26/2010 at 01:16 PM

apologies for OT:

Happy Birthday Serena Williams!

It seems like only yesterday she was just a kid - now she's 29!

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Rafa Did Do It For Wayne! 09/26/2010 at 01:36 PM

Pete Thanks.

Tina You beat me to it

Happy Birthday Serena!

Hmm I wish I was 29 again lol!

Temes Of course he is LOL!

Posted by Info 09/26/2010 at 01:39 PM

Grigor Dimitrov was #1 in the junior ranking! He won junior US Open and Wimbledon

Posted by glazkovss 09/26/2010 at 01:40 PM

Dimitrov beat Berdych and took a set from Rafa in Rotterdam in 2009, and looked spectacular all the way. Since then havent made anithing fitting to his "next big thing" status until recent weeks. Has he matured finally?

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Rafa Did Do It For Wayne! 09/26/2010 at 01:42 PM

Pete May I say doing well in challengers and taking the next step up to ATP level is indeed a big one.As I say

We Gonna See No?

Posted by CL 09/26/2010 at 01:58 PM

Don't think I have actually seen Dimitrov play...though I have certainly heard his name bandied about for a bit now. I look forward to the opportunity to see him. Did he play the USO this year?

And yes this a great sport..no 'what' about it.

Completely OT but here is a piece about another great sport and a great writer rolled into one.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/26/sports/baseball/26williams.html?_r=1&ref=sports

Posted by evangelyst 09/26/2010 at 01:58 PM

Here is Dimitrov in action in an amazing rally with Nadal from 2009. Enjoy!

http://youtu.be/H8zNApQuv4U

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Rafa Did Do It For Wayne! 09/26/2010 at 02:12 PM

Hmm Rafa was wearing those insane outfits from Nike though in 2009

Still is.Hmmmm.

Look we have the same kind of Wonder Boy from Down Under our Knight in Shining Armour Bernard Tomic who took Cilic to 5 sets at the AO earlier this year.

Bernard has had soo much "hype" about him.Was picked up by Nike and is under the same management group as Roger Federer.Though of late his results havent been that great.His clay game for one "stinks" though even at junior level it wasnt good.He too is playing the challenger circuit and realises there is soo much more work he has to do in his game.Also from a physical point of view as well not to mention the mental side of the game.

Posted by bhai mirzai 09/26/2010 at 02:18 PM

I thought Ryan Harrison was the next big thing!

Posted by Master Ace 09/26/2010 at 02:19 PM

Monday Order of Play:

WTA: Tokyo at 9:30 PM(Sunday) - Bartoli vs Wickmayer, Peer, Safarova vs Azarenka, Petrova, Kuznetsova vs Szavay, Vandeweghe, Safina and Rezai scheduled
WTA: Tokyo at 10:30 PM(Sunday) - Date Krumm vs Sharapova and A Radwanska scheduled
ATP: Kuala Lumpur at 11 PM(Sunday) - Przysiezny vs Giraldo
ATP: Kuala Lumpur at Midnight - Falla vs Anderson to be followed by Stakhovsky vs Russell
ATP: Bangkok at 1 AM - Gabashvili vs Serra and De Bakker vs Lopez scheduled
WTA: Tokyo at 4 AM - A Bondarenko vs Jankovic to be followed by Kleybanova vs Ivanovic
ATP: Bangkok at 4 AM - Brands vs Marchenko
ATP: Kuala Lumpur at 6 AM - Lu vs Golubev to be followed by Si vs Bhambri
ATP: Bangkok at 8 AM - Troicki vs Chiudinelli

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Rafa Did Do It For Wayne! 09/26/2010 at 02:31 PM

Master Ace Thanks for the schedule for the woman in Tokyo.At least its on a good time zone for me.Great I have to go through another Safina match.I havent got over the other one as yet.I see Safina and Azarenka are playing doubles together and they did win their 1st rd match.

Posted by glazkovss 09/26/2010 at 02:35 PM

Dimitrov also won 3 futures events in four weeks in mid summer. Transition from challengers to World Tour level should not be as difficult as transition from juniors to seniors. In fact challengers is already an ATP level, it's just a tier lower than the World Tour. Just look at the players who played in challenger events recently: Schuettler, Andreev, Tursunov, Sela.

Posted by manuelsantanafan 09/26/2010 at 02:40 PM

CL:

Thanks for the link to that NYTImes article on T.Williams and John Updike.

However, I do question the author's assertion that: "It’s not too much to say that [Updike's] “Hub Fans” changed sportswriting."

How so?

Did Updike introduce satire or a tongue-in-cheek approach to sports writing, to writing on baseball?

Nope. Ring Lardner was employing satire in his baseball fiction forty years before.

Did not Damon Runyon take an irreverent look at sports in his much of his nonfiction newspaper work, long before "Hub Fans" was published?

I believe he did.

"Hub Fans," standing on its own, may be an excellently crafted piece. I haven't read it.

However, I very much doubt that this piece had more than a minimal impact on the course sportswriting in the U.S., let alone the world, has taken.

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Rafa Did Do It For Wayne! 09/26/2010 at 02:45 PM

Indeed the challenger circuit is strong still playing with the big boys is another challenge in itself.

Posted by Aube,family mebers,please be back now,I'm lonely!!! 09/26/2010 at 02:55 PM

Soooooooooooooooooooo happy for Kleybanova,when I first watch her defeat Ana Ivanovic in Australia 2009 I was so confident in her game,she did not quite follow up with that great match, but she's probably getting there,like her a lot!congrats Kleyby!!!
Afternoon tennis guys!!!

Posted by sokol (Caro for next Slamless #1 :-)) 09/26/2010 at 03:44 PM

Congrats to Simon on winning the title.

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Rafa Did Do It For Wayne! 09/26/2010 at 03:54 PM

sokol yes thanks for the reminder regarding Simon good to see him winning a title after all his knee trouble.

Posted by chicklet 09/26/2010 at 04:15 PM

Wee! Owlet grabbed a win.
Hope he buys something fancy for his new family.

Catching up on the mailbag over on SI where I read this tidbit:
"Speaking of Murray: Alan Billings, Durham, N.C.: "Having just read your 'Fifty thoughts from the U.S. Open,' I have a take on the ball people handling towels. As a ball person at the Open (I'm 44, so ball kid doesn't apply) during the Murray/Warwrinka match, after punching his strings in frustration, Andy Murray sufficienly bloodied his knuckles enough to make his towel untouchable to me. I didn't notice this right away and waited until the end of his service game to politely inform him myself that his towel was covered in blood and I wasn't going to be allowed to handle it any more. Usually we are to inform the chair judge of the situation and he informs the player not to ask us to bring him the towel. But since this wasn't on a changeover I decided to take the initiative and deal with it.
Andy was, suprisingly, very apologetic, and once I had retreived him a fresh towel, he stated to me that he wouldn't use the affected hand to hold the towel while wiping his face, etc. Given that Andy is known to be a little testy at times, this was a great relief to see that the players have frustration levels that can be turned on and off depending on the type of situation presented to them. And it was an experience I will long remember."

Muzz's on court behavior can be tough to take, but I'm pleased to hear that he refrains from directing his sour mood towards innocent bystanders...except Brad Gilbert :)

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Rafa Did Do It For Wayne! 09/26/2010 at 04:19 PM

Thanks Chicklet I dont think Andy and Brad will be exchanging Christmas Cards this year

Posted by CL 09/26/2010 at 04:21 PM

msf - I recommend the entire Updike piece wholeheartedly. And I think that the article's author's point was that Updike did something that, up until then was at least rare...if not wholly unheard of...he wrote about sport..an athlete...with neither condescension or purple prose...heart felt, yet clear eyed. (Unless of course you are being sarcastic and/or ironic about the piece...both are often lost on me...especially in cyber space where no one can hear you sneer. (Not 'you' you, you understand...just the generic 'you.'))

I am not that big an Updike fan overall...much of his writing leaves me cold. the 'Rabbit' series, in particular I found over rated. Except "Rabbit at Rest," which, with its unblinking and unflinching look at 20th century mid life, middle class, mid despair, mid value, mid hope, mid muddle, might well be the great American novel of the 20th century.

Posted by evangelyst 09/26/2010 at 04:32 PM

Dimitrov, Tomic, Harrison and Krajinovic are the future of mens tennis. Yes, each has a ways to go before they can be considered successors to Federer and Nadal, but they have the potential.

Posted by evangelyst 09/26/2010 at 04:36 PM

Gap between Challengers and WorldTour is big, agreed. However Dimitrov beat Pablo Andujar in one of his Challenger wins, and Andujar reached the ATP 250 final this week before losing to Chela. So Dimitrov should be able to cope.

Posted by CL 09/26/2010 at 04:43 PM

chicklet - very interesting that, about Muzz and his bloody towel. Bloody match he played against Stan overall. Bu good for him for not taking it out on a ballnotakidanymore.

When Roger managed to bash his own shin at the end of a service motion, (which may have endeared him to hackers and klutzes everywhere.), he was a bit flummoxed when told by the chair umpire that the ball kid couldn't take the towel because it had blood on it. I think he had to take it and stash it in the corner til after the game. Cheerful about the whole thing, but confused.

And did this every come up when Andre A used to blow his nose into his towel? Talk about bodily fluids!

Posted by lilscot 09/26/2010 at 04:43 PM

Dimitrov is sure one to watch, along with Tomic and Harrison. It's great to see some great new faces on the rise. During each great period we are always looking for our next champions. Part of the fun of our sport. I remember when Andre was nearing his end I was turning myself inside out wondering what I was going to to after he was gone. Who would I be able to put as much energy and passion into as a fan? Then, at exactly the right time Rafa came along. Same thing when Chrissie was winding down. She was my absolute favourite. Then along came Monica just in time. Thankfully there's a few more years, hopefully, before I have to start wondering who will replace Rafa for me amongst active players.

Also congrats to Simon on his win. Nice little after-present for the new papa. I almost said "a nice little after-birth present" until I realized that would be terrible English! :)

As for the women, HAPPY BIRTHDAY SERENA! Hope you enjoy the hell out of your day, you deserve it. Man, she looked smashing and glamorous in her cat-walk photos.

Tokyo should be an awesome tourney.

Posted by lilscot 09/26/2010 at 04:46 PM

Eeew, yes, Andre's farmer's blow. For as much as some people find Rafa's "kicker-pick" distasteful, I always found that farmer's blow much worse. And of course I never could tell exactly when it was going to happen and always seemed to look at the t.v. screen just as he would do it. Why do my heroes always have to have some gross bad habit???

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Rafa Did Do It For Wayne! 09/26/2010 at 04:51 PM

lilscot Rafa has admitted that its a "habit" and he was given a large bottom? LOL!

Though he did go one to say he hopes people watch him for his tennis and not his bottom in a interview I read sometime ago.

If that makes sense go for it lol!

Posted by lilscot 09/26/2010 at 05:15 PM

AM: 4:51 p.m.

Lol! That's too funny. I've actually never had a problem with his gonch-pull, maybe because I'm a guy, I don't know. But I know that guys like Roddick and Murray do the "frontal adjustment" alot. Most guys do that, in or out of sports, lol! Things just move around down there, or get stuck in places that are uncomfortable.

I guess people get turned off by it because he follows up the pull with a swipe over each ear and under his nose. Maybe that's it. All I know is that once that flash of a second of his pull is over the great tennis begins.

Either way, it's just one more thing that endears him to me. Makes him more human to me.

Posted by lilscot 09/26/2010 at 05:17 PM

Oops, that should read, "a lot," not, "alot." My grandmother, who was a school teacher, is most likely rolling in her grave right about now. That was one of her pet-peeves. People using a lot as one word. That and when people spell definitely, "definately."

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Rafa Did Do It For Wayne! 09/26/2010 at 05:37 PM

liiscot Please take no offence to this I thought you were a woman LOL!

Thanks for clearer up that gender matter for me.

Posted by L.Rubin 09/26/2010 at 05:39 PM

lilscot,

How about "doggy dog" for "dog-eat-dog?" I read that once--I swear!!

--Liron

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Rafa Did Do It For Wayne! 09/26/2010 at 05:46 PM

Count me out in the spelling stakes

Though my over use of comma's has improved out of sight

Posted by AB 09/26/2010 at 06:19 PM

lilscot: you're waaay too prissy. At least you caught AA blowing into a towel. I've often flinched watching him do a 1-2 (left nostril/right nostril) honk right onto the court. BTW-didn't matter what soorfrace it was.

Posted by thebigapple 09/26/2010 at 06:32 PM

Blowing your nose is seen in public a lot. Tolerable.

Picking at your arse in public...not so much! How quaint?...

One friend on mine (guy!) on seeing Nadal play for the first time, could hardly wait to see the end of match handshake. For him that was the highlight of his USO evening....

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Rafa Did Do It For Wayne! 09/26/2010 at 06:54 PM

the big apple LOL!

Posted by lilscot 09/26/2010 at 07:22 PM

AM: 5:37 p.m.

Hey, no offence taken. :) My biggest heroes in life have been women, including my mom!

L.Rubin: 5:39 p.m.

Wow, that's a good one. Sometimes editors just miss things. And we're better for it! That's hilarious.

AB: 6:19 p.m.

Oh no, I wasn't talking about into a towel. That was CL. I was talking about his double-blow, left to right on the court. You know, where he grabs the bridge of his nose and blows. That's what I was grossed out about.

Posted by lilscot 09/26/2010 at 07:25 PM

It's not a farmer's blow if it's into a towel of Kleenex.

thebigapple: 6:32 p.m.

Now THAT'S prissy. Funny, but prissy. It's probably just me, but unless someone was naked and picking at his ass, I find watching someone honk out a big ol' greeny onto the court way grosser than some dude playing a sport where you're all sweaty and he pulls at his underwear. But hey, that's just me. :)

Posted by Master Ace 09/26/2010 at 07:30 PM

Monday Order of Play:

WTA: Tokyo at 9:30 PM(Sunday) - Bartoli vs Wickmayer, Peer, Safarova vs Azarenka, Petrova, Kuznetsova vs Szavay, Vandeweghe, Safina and Rezai scheduled
WTA: Tokyo at 10:30 PM(Sunday) - Date Krumm vs Sharapova and Govortsova vs A Radwanska(match to be streamed on tennistv.com) scheduled
ATP: Kuala Lumpur at 11 PM(Sunday) - Przysiezny vs Giraldo
ATP: Kuala Lumpur at Midnight - Falla vs Anderson to be followed by Stakhovsky vs Russell
ATP: Bangkok at 1 AM - Gabashvili vs Serra and De Bakker vs Lopez scheduled
WTA: Tokyo at 4 AM - A Bondarenko vs Jankovic to be followed by Kleybanova vs Ivanovic(both matches to be streamed on tennistv.com)
ATP: Bangkok at 4 AM - Brands vs Marchenko
ATP: Kuala Lumpur at 6 AM - Lu vs Golubev to be followed by Si vs Bhambri
ATP: Bangkok at 8 AM - Troicki vs Chiudinelli

Posted by Kate 09/26/2010 at 07:32 PM

lilscot: I agree with you.

I
just never cared for Agassi. Now that I know he indulged in towel-nose-blowing, he moves down further in my mind.

Did he, as The Sod does, then wipe said towel on his own head?

Do these men not have mothers? Nannies? Someone to say, here, dear, use this. Never that.

Djokovic, the other day, had an entire box of tissues in his bag (and was using them appropriately). I could have hugged him.

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Rafa Did Do It For Wayne! 09/26/2010 at 07:37 PM

Kate Ahhhh I have just eaten breakfast and the pictures now in my mind of the Sod etc has my stomach swirling over time.

Posted by Kate 09/26/2010 at 07:40 PM

Oh, AM, I am so very sorry. I forgot about the time differences.

Please forgive me. Think about the Career Slam.

There. Better?

Posted by thebigapple 09/26/2010 at 07:47 PM

All in fun!

Prissy..lol!

Posted by chicklet 09/26/2010 at 07:50 PM

Gah, this discussion makes me glad that I don't pay much attention to the "actions" between points. Never noticed Sod's nose-blow-head-rub, but I'm sure I won't miss it now...

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Rafa Did Do It For Wayne! 09/26/2010 at 07:55 PM

Kate No worries I have some stomach medicine left over from one of Rafa,Safina's matches

Posted by Kate 09/26/2010 at 07:57 PM

chicklet--

My apologies to you, too.

It is, however, so oogey that I just keep railing about it.

Posted by lilscot 09/26/2010 at 08:01 PM

thebigapple: 7:47 p.m.

For sure! And AM, that was toooooo funny about your thoughts about Sod and, um, you know. :)

Posted by Kate 09/26/2010 at 08:06 PM

AM: I'm so glad you have supplies that carry you through these difficult periods.

I find ironing clothing obsessively through tense matches is beneficial. I hate ironing, but it's nice when I look down at the end of a tournament and find everything is neatly pressed.

Of course, when there's no tennis, everything is wrinkled and sloppy here.

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Rafa Did Do It For Wayne! 09/26/2010 at 08:07 PM

Well The Sod has never been one of my fav players.Though I give hime credit for the better results he has shown.

Though Gross comes to mind when I think about it

Then I am a Rafa fan an thats just as Gross to me as well.

Thank goodness my idol Borg never got up to such things on the court

I better get out some tapes and check.

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Rafa Did Do It For Wayne! 09/26/2010 at 08:32 PM

Hmmm hoping "brainless husband" hasnt got to those tapes as well.

Posted by Kate 09/26/2010 at 08:42 PM

I think Borg was a pretty clean guy, wasn't he?

Certainly very dapper these days--love that gray hair. And he wears the most gorgeous suits.

Posted by Kate 09/26/2010 at 08:54 PM

AM: Oh, no! Poor Peter.

Will you ever forgive him?

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Rafa Did Do It For Wayne! 09/26/2010 at 09:01 PM

Kate Never

I am putting in a new clause in our new wills this Friday

"If He Ever Tampers With My Tapes Past,Present and Future"

I get Everything!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I mean I know he is old and needs to wear his reading glasses to operate these machines though how anyone could tape over something that was in bold letters and staring at him I will never know.

Posted by Tic 09/26/2010 at 09:03 PM

First saw Dimitrov winning junior Wimbledon final. He was so much physically stronger than his opponent that it was difficult to really judge his game. His OHBH was crisp, his serve solid.

After seeing him play so well against Nadal at 2009 Queen's, I really wanted to see his next matches. Tennis blogs exploded with excessive expectations. But then, nothing happened, although he retained Lundgren services. He kept losing first rounds. Bloggers suggested he should stop getting all those ATP wild cards and turn to challengers instead. Which he finally did, also changing his coach, and here we are now - he started winning them.

But, young Grigor has a bit of an attitude that could (and probably already did) affect his carrer. There are YouTube clips of him flashing middle finger at the umpire instead of shaking hands at the and of a junior's match. After that Queen's match he seemed to start believing his own hype and appearing in photos (un)dressed and styled like Verdasco or Ronaldo, doubly ridiculous for somebody so young. He apparently hanged out with Tursunov, not exactly a model of sports discipline.

Hopefully he stopped the silliness, which his latest challenger results seem to indicate. His second shot at grownups is next.

As for a potential Baby Rafa, it could be Carlos Boluda (17), who seem to follow the same junior path like Rafa, winning handily Tarbes twice:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L7l0RVzLXbU&feature=related

and being of the same sturdy body type (check his back and arms at 16):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nmWY3fop3ok&feature=related

From Wiki:
Carlos Boluda Purkiss is a Spanish tennis player. He is one of the leading junior tennis stars, having won Les Petits As championships in Tarbes, France, both as under-14 and after he turned 14. He is endorsed by Nike and Prince.

The point with Boluda is the lack of hype, which just might help him make it.

Posted by Kate 09/26/2010 at 09:04 PM

AM Not sure what kinds of tapes you use, but the VHSes used to have a tab you could remove to insure against accidental retaping.

Poor Peter.

Maybe you should have had a do-not-tape-over prenup.

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Rafa Did Do It For Wayne! 09/26/2010 at 09:10 PM

Kate Good idea

Hmmm my pre nup needs up dating

Thanks.

Posted by Kate 09/26/2010 at 09:15 PM

My daughter says, "Another good idea why you should stay single. No one can mess up your tapes."

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Rafa Did Do It For Wayne! 09/26/2010 at 09:16 PM

I ma out with hype in juniors

I have been involved with them have seen some good ones

We have a 12 year old here who has trained in Argentina with a pro and has people gushing at him.He went to the Orange Bowl this year he lost.Though I love this kids attidude at such a young age.His dream is to win Roland Garos coming from Down Under and how we have left our clay courts go I admire him.He also seems grounded as well.

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Rafa Did Do It For Wayne! 09/26/2010 at 09:18 PM

Kate Tell your daughter there are other beneifits lol!

Posted by Kate 09/26/2010 at 09:21 PM

AM But that's great. I'm missing the era of great Australian players.

Won't even go into what I fear is becoming an American drought.

I don't care how much weight Fish lost (did you hear?) or how well he did at DC. He's blooming awfully late, don't you think? I cynically fear he just peaked.

Then there's the whole girly-sock thing. Hard to get past this.

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Rafa Did Do It For Wayne! 09/26/2010 at 09:28 PM

Kate Dont ask.Our girls are doing better than our men.

Its got to do with the top brass.We have a new Boss coming in this October hopefully he can mend the arugements,the loss of our good junior coaches for starters.

I mean Richard Gasquet was declared a "child tennis prodigy at 4 years of age" he has the technical shots as most Ftrench players do though he hasnt lived up to the French expectations of him.Too much pressure at such a young age.Boys take longer to grow physically and mentally than girls.

Posted by Kate 09/26/2010 at 09:30 PM

AM I agree. And the temperment for playing tennis--both tough and fragile, all at once.

I could never do it. I have trouble going through doors sometimes. Marching out into Arthur Ashe? No way.

Posted by Larry 09/26/2010 at 11:28 PM

I practiced with a Bulgarian guy several years ago. He raved about Dimitrov. It is impossible to predict where a guy like that will end up. A year ago, Cilic was the next great thing, Andy Murray was destined (in my view and others') to compete for #1, Djokovic had stalled out, and Nadal's prime time was over. I personally thought injuries would do Rafa in; his doctors say they still might, but what he has accomplished this year alone is a career for most players, or more.

I still like Murray's game, and think he'll win a few Majors. If someone toughens up Gulbis a bit, he's a potential #1, but I doubt that will happen, though Top 5 is possible. Djokovic really impressed at the US Open, and Cilic looks to be fading. I have never seen Ryan Harrison play, but from reading his interviews, he has exactly the passion and discipline and self-awareness that, given to a Gulbis, would be amazing. I think Harrison will be Top 10. I am disappointed that Donald Young is not better, and believe that he has wasted much of his talent. Strength and fitness and real coaching could still make him a Top 20 or even Top 10 player. His strokes and speed are that good.

Posted by Queeny 09/27/2010 at 12:38 AM

Sorry but "baby rafa" is only 5'5 at age 17 so unless he grows another FOOT he will be struggling when he has to play the big boys.

Posted by Slice-n-Dice 09/27/2010 at 10:32 AM

For those of you who love, like or tolerate John Updike, I highly recommend you give Ian McEwan a read or two. He goes as deep into the ordinary man's psyche as any reader writing today, and his dialogue is spot on.

Posted by Slice-n-Dice 09/27/2010 at 10:44 AM

Larry, in general I agree with your assessment of these current and former up-and-comers. However, I don;t think Donald Young will ever be a consistent top-50 performer. The last time I watched him working out was at a Davis Cup tie where he worked with Jay Berger and Pat McEnroe, and I was baffled at how poorly he executed his backhands. If he made 6 out of 10 inside the lines off a feed ball, it was a good series. A feed ball, mind you. Nope, despite great wheels, he doesn't have it.

Gulbis has all the talewnt in the world, but seems to have trouble finding that balance between reckless abandonment and controlled aggression. Still, with maturity he should crack the top 10 for some time, and pull down a dozen titles, though no majors.

Murray continues to disappoint, despite having the best overal package of them all -- size, strength, speed, stroke production and tactical sense. He just cannot seem to get across the finish line first at the biggest events. But then again, with Rafa and Roger standing in the way, who can? The trouble is, unless Rafa's knees do indeed do him in sooner rather than later (for do him in they surely will), Murray will alsways have him to contend with.

Djokovic needs the right conditions in his favor, due to his respiratory issues, so his winning several majors is doubtful. Still, he could be the best one-slam wonder we've seen in a long, long time.

I like this kid Harrison, and not just for his game. He speaks with the wisdom of a veteran, which tells me he's not only coachable, butu that he's been coachable for quite a long time. And when was the last time any of us met a 15-year-old boy who was coachable? He'll go as far as his natural talents can take him.

Tomic is a head case. Dimitrov may be the real deal, and I hope that he is, because I don't think I can get really excited about the retrun of Del Potro, or John Isner's or Sam Querrey's rise, or even Berdych or Sooderling. I'd much rather root for Fish, as he is willing to come forwrad and put it all on the line.

Posted by evangelyst 09/27/2010 at 10:45 AM

Tic, Larry and a few others

Great analysis of the young talents. I would add Krajinovic as another potential Top 20 player. Folks like Brad Gilbert say he is a bit like Agassi and are very impressed with his talent.

It would be very interesting to see how these folks develop. Of course, several players as mentioned above dont reach their full potential - Would ass Gasquet, Monfils and Berdych in that list. So many things could happen, lack of discipline, injuries etc. but am hoping most of these guys get a shot at developing to their best potential.

Posted by John 09/27/2010 at 11:06 AM

Ive seen the Harrison kid quite a bit. He has a real chance to make it. He also has a kid brother who lost to Boluda in the finals of La Petits at the age of 12. He has been out injured for quite some time but will really be one to watch when he gets back.

Posted by Larry 09/27/2010 at 11:09 AM

Slice, evangelyst, thanks. Slice, you're probably right about Young. I was flashing on his performance in New Haven a few years back. Well, I still think a real coach would help him. I don't agree with you about either Djoker or Murray. Novak showed that his biggest issue is/was competitive focus; when he has that, his tennis is dominant. True, the weather in Australia is too tough for him, but you can't really say that about Paris or Wimbledon, or even New York (where the weather varies).

I don't understand the comment about Murray having to face down Nadal. Andy is actually a nemesis for Rafa; it's Fed and a few other that bedevil the Scot.

evan, I have not seen Krajinovic, but Gilbert knows his ball, as Mary C might say. I think Monfils is a really stupid tennis player, Gasquet might get there but probably not, and Berdych still lacks mental and physical fitness. He flopped in the Apple.

Posted by gauloises 09/27/2010 at 11:17 AM

"Andy is actually a nemesis for Rafa"

Not at Wimbledon, sadly.

Posted by Slice-n-Dice 09/27/2010 at 11:27 AM

Larry,

Yes, Murray's head-to-head against Rafa is pretty good, but it is aso pretty good against Federer, save in the big matches. But we're also seeing a "new" Rafa, IMO, who is improving in leaps and bounds. Will his knees hold out, is the only question. But Murray seems to find a way to stumble.

As for Djokovic, I stand by my assertion that he needs the right conditions. Too much heat and/or humidity, too much altitude, etc. all do him in. His best shot is at the U.S. Open, IMO, if (as happened this year) he can survive a brutal first week and the weather turns a bit coooler in the second week.

Posted by John 09/27/2010 at 11:32 AM

And not in RG, so where? maybe on HC in the past? I don't think at the present.
Federer KADS, don't try so hard to find a "nemesis" for Rafa. He can lose matches because he is a human been like the others but the "nemesis" still has not showed.

Posted by Tennis Fan 09/27/2010 at 11:42 AM

I'm officially worried about Sharapova.

Posted by sokol (Caro for next Slamless #1 :-)) 09/27/2010 at 11:48 AM

what is Maria's ranking going to look like next week after? she's going to be out of top 20, right?

Posted by Master Ace 09/27/2010 at 11:51 AM

Sokol,
Highest Maria will be after this week is 21. She could fall below 21 if other players have solid results.

Posted by sokol (Caro for next Slamless #1 :-)) 09/27/2010 at 11:52 AM

thanks, MA

Posted by sokol (Caro for next Slamless #1 :-)) 09/27/2010 at 11:53 AM

hoping for good week for Svetlana, I want her back in the top 10

Posted by gauloises 09/27/2010 at 11:55 AM

I’d really like to keep the faith in Maria, but I have to admit, I’m wavering.

She’s so got it in her though. And it’s not like she doesn’t have plenty of time to put everything back together.

Posted by Arun 09/27/2010 at 12:05 PM

Rezai-Hercog don't seem to have played their 1st round match yet. Did one of them withdraw?

Posted by Arun 09/27/2010 at 12:07 PM

"And not in RG, so where? maybe on HC in the past? I don't think at the present.
Federer KADS, don't try so hard to find a "nemesis" for Rafa. He can lose matches because he is a human been like the others but the "nemesis" still has not showed. "

My grandpa would have been proud of all the consistently relevant points you make to the nice Tennis analysis in this blog.
If only you'd ever made one. Bleh.

Posted by gauloises 09/27/2010 at 12:09 PM

Arun -

According to the WTA website, (14) Aravane Rezai (FRA) d. Polona Hercog (SLO) 62 75

My SB hasn't worked properly all day.

Posted by Arun 09/27/2010 at 12:13 PM

Thanks, Gauloises.

Posted by gauloises 09/27/2010 at 12:14 PM

No, thank you :)

Incidentally, I think Polona Hercog is going to be a thing.

Posted by Arun 09/27/2010 at 12:19 PM

Do you mean 'welcome'? :)
Haven't watched Hercog play too much. But I thought Rezai could be the 'raw' Delpo of 2008, after her performance in Bali and earlier this year in Sydney or somewhere. But she has found innovative lose the straight-forward matches in the last 3 months or so. :/

Rezai-Bartoli QF, if it materializes, will be entertaining. :)

Posted by gauloises 09/27/2010 at 12:23 PM

Something along those lines :)

I would seriously get up in the middle of the night for that match.

But I can't stay at work when the work day is over. See you later, Arun.

Posted by Arun 09/27/2010 at 12:23 PM

*innovative ways to lose

Posted by Master Ace 09/27/2010 at 12:24 PM

Tuesday Order of Play:

WTA: Tokyo at 9:30 PM(Monday)uchenkova, Pennetta vs Kirilenko, Schiavone and Stosur scheduled
WTA: Tokyo at 10:30 PM(Monday) - Safarova vs Azarenka, Zvonareva and Dementieva vs Shvedova(match to be streamed on tennistv.com) scheduled
ATP: Kuala Lumpur at 11 PM(Monday) - Dolgopolov vs Recouderc to be followed by Soeda vs Andreev
WTA: Tokyo at 11 PM(Monday) - Kuznetsova vs Petkovic, Pironkova, Bartoli vs Ivanovic and Peer vs Kanepi scheduled
ATP: Kuala Lumpur at Midnight - Kunitsyn vs Raonic scheduled
ATP: Bangkok at 1 AM - Sela, Schuettler, Nieminen and DeHeart scheduled
ATP: Bangkok at 2 AM - Garcia-Lopez vs Berrer scheduled
WTA: Tokyo at 4 AM - Hantuchova vs Date Krumm to be followed by Wozniacki vs Arn(both matches will be streamed on tennistv.com)
ATP: Kuala Lumpur at 6 AM - Baghdatis vs Nishikori
ATP: Bangkok at 8 AM - O Rochus vs Del Potro

Posted by Arun 09/27/2010 at 12:24 PM

Later, G.

Posted by Master Ace 09/27/2010 at 12:25 PM

Some matches were moved to the university due to rain issues at Tokyo. Center Court has a roof but none of the outer courts.

Posted by gauloises 09/27/2010 at 12:26 PM

"ATP: Bangkok at 8 AM - O Rochus vs Del Potro"

!!!!!

OK, OK, taking a deep breath and really going now :)

Posted by Master Ace 09/27/2010 at 12:27 PM

Tuesday Order of Play:

WTA: Tokyo at 9:30 PM(Monday)Pavlyuchenkova, Pennetta vs Kirilenko, Schiavone and Stosur scheduled
WTA: Tokyo at 10:30 PM(Monday) - Safarova vs Azarenka, Zvonareva and Dementieva vs Shvedova(match to be streamed on tennistv.com) scheduled
ATP: Kuala Lumpur at 11 PM(Monday) - Dolgopolov vs Recouderc to be followed by Soeda vs Andreev
WTA: Tokyo at 11 PM(Monday) - Kuznetsova vs Petkovic, Pironkova, Bartoli vs Ivanovic and Peer vs Kanepi scheduled
ATP: Kuala Lumpur at Midnight - Kunitsyn vs Raonic scheduled
ATP: Bangkok at 1 AM - Sela, Schuettler, Nieminen and DeHeart scheduled
ATP: Bangkok at 2 AM - Garcia-Lopez vs Berrer scheduled
WTA: Tokyo at 4 AM - Hantuchova vs Date Krumm to be followed by Wozniacki vs Arn(both matches will be streamed on tennistv.com)
ATP: Kuala Lumpur at 6 AM - Baghdatis vs Nishikori
ATP: Bangkok at 8 AM - O Rochus vs Del Potro

Posted by Master Ace 09/27/2010 at 12:28 PM

Gauloises,
Will Juan Martin be playing when you are on your lunch break?

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