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What Would Shamil Do? 11/08/2010 - 12:49 PM

Mel by Pete Bodo

Greetings, everyone. I've posted some thoughts on Roger Federer's victory in Basel over at ESPN, in case you're interested. Also, I watched Flavia Pennetta clinch the Fed Cup tie for Italy yesterday evening, and found the experience somewhat dispiriting, at least from a chauvinistic point of view. As I wrote in my Racquet Reaction piece, times must be pretty grim if a back-to-the-wall win at 0-2 by Melanie Oudin launches wild and desperate hopes for a miracle result by the U.S. Good grief.

It was pretty clear from the second game of the Penetta vs. Coco Vandeweghe battle that if the U.S. were to upset Italy by winning three straight matches, it would be a feat only slightly greater than the 1980 USA Olympic ice hockey team's "Miracle on Ice." As it turns out, Lake Placid is a long, long way from San Diego in every regard, as was the distance between the respective efforts by the American teams in their moments of reckoning.

Flavia blew away CoCo; the U.S. has walked away from consecutive Fed Cup finals with one of the smallest of consolation prizes—a single match win, courtesy of Oudin. The USA's Fed Cup record against Italy now drops to 9-2, and judging by the success, commitment, and simple joie de jour of the Italians, they've excised the once 0-9 record from memory pretty easily. We were just warming up, Italian captain Corrado Barazzutti might remark.

The most recent match win by an Italian before last year's final was in 1999, when Silvia Farina Elia shocked Monica Seles to level a World Group semifinal played on red clay in Italy at 1-all. Elia took that tough three-setter, 6-4 in the third, after which Venus and Serena Williams said, "No mas!"

Venus surrendered just two games to Elia in the next match of the tie, and then Serena, a substitute for Seles, posted an identical 6-1, 6-1 win over Rita Grande. Remember the Williams sisters? Their past service somewhat mitigates their late-career indifference to Fed Cup.

When it comes to the specifics of the tie that ended yesterday, I come down on Mary Joe Fernandez's side when it comes to the singles nominations. Choosing Vandeweghe over Oudin was the right move. It's funny, but in our podcast before the tie started, I made a point to say it was probably premature to assume that Oudin would be nominated to play singles. Pundits and fans tend to overlook one critical dimension of team selection, which is current form. I'm not talking about the official WTA records over the past three months, either (although those were inconclusive in this case). I mean the team practices that take place in the days leading up to the tie. Trust me, the captains often demand that their singles candidates go at it tooth-and-claw, in order to get a good, "live," sense of each player's game. Practice sessions have often been the determining factor in nominations.

Those of us who weren't in San Diego had no idea of how the team practices went, and when you're talking about a pair of youngsters as talented—and still flawed—as Oudin and Vandeweghe, you don't have a lot of history to draw upon, either broadly speaking or in terms of recent WTA/ITF tournament results. Both girls have struggled, but Vandeweghe probably was playing slightly more consistent tennis. Plus, nominating Vandeweghe must have come as at least a mild surprise to the Italians (as it did to so many USA fans). I imagine the Italians were licking their chops at the prospect of getting a whack at America's darling, Oudin.

Another factor in play, and perhaps the most important one after current form, had to be the sheer bigness of Vandeweghe's game. Oudin, despite that Miracle on Cement slapshot forehand, just isn't the kind of player who can crush or dictate to an opponent. But CoCo can; she's 6-1 and (reportedly) 155 pounds (No, I am not going there. Fingers please stop!). She can crack the big serve and powder the forehand. And she seems comfortable attacking the net. All she lacks is the quality that, regrettably, is the ante for becoming an impact player—consistency.

But if you're Mary Joe, why not ask yourself, What would Shamil Do? (Shamil being Russian Davis and Fed Cup captain Shamil Tarpischev, who's made a career out of his out-of-the-box, last-minute substitutions that inevitably seem to work out.)

And here's something else: Don't you think seeing Vandeweghe selected to play singles helped light a fire under Oudin? She played a good match against an obviously off-form Francesca Schiavone. Still, it went into the books as a W over the world No. 7 and French Open champion. There's nothing like an implicit rejection to motivate a player, and if it jump starts Oudin's confidence, the up-side of this otherwise banal loss could be significant.

Coco At this year's U.S. Open, Oudin was a player suffering terribly from lack of confidence. I believe Oudin is destined to be a much better player than she's been this year. Maybe not Top 10, but at least a player who swings freely and confidently, and believes she has a right—and the tools—to be a factor at tournaments. I believe the same of Vandeweghe. The raw material is good, although I have some reservations about what I can only describe as a lack of discipline—usually, by 18, a player has the strokes that are going to make or break her career.

Vandeweghe will need to control all those moving parts better, play tighter, and work up an A-game based on making the best use of that big serve to hold games (rather than just clock aces or unreturnables), and develop a returning strategy based on the assumption that she can hold. Allowing Pennetta to break her right back at the beginning of the match, despite having led 40-love and extending the game to an excruciating 13 minutes, was the critical error of the tie. For it looked to me that Pennetta was struggling and playing too much within herself through the entire match. Vandeweghe couldn't exploit that timidity.

I thought Tracy Austin made the most relevant remark about Vandeweghe, while trying to describe a pretty egregious error CoCo made with, I think, her backhand. All in all, it was a botched shot, and you could get pretty deep into stroking science to explain it—postion of the hip, turn of the shoulders, yadda-yadda-yadda. But Tracy nailed it when she said the culprit was footwork. Pure and simple. Lousy footwork is a bit like a sloppy error in math. You inadvertently substitue a 6 for a 9 at the beginning of a calculation, and by the time you've arrived at the end of your formula you might as well throw it all out and start anew.

Basic speed and quickness are—more or less—god-given. Vandeweghe moves around the court pretty well for a girl of her size. What she'll need to do is improve that footwork, which will make her mobility more dangerous and effective.

I'm not prepared to give up on Vandeweghe yet. Nor on Oudin.


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Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Dear Wayne is Free,VamosWayne 11/09/2010 at 02:52 AM

AA Which French film are you going to?

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Dear Wayne is Free,VamosWayne 11/09/2010 at 03:00 AM

AA There is a woman at the weights gym who is 65 and has been thin all her life and has been working out with weights for about 20 years.She has a great body

There is hope for us yet lol!

Posted by Angel of the Surf (Flavia and Gisela YEC Doubles Champion and Winner of 7 Titles in 2010) 11/09/2010 at 04:23 AM

AM before my op I could do about 10 chin ups and loads of push ups with a good technique but unfortunately I don't have the upper body strength atm. But I have set myself small goals which are achievable.

The french movie is called 'Anything for her' and is about a woman who gets 20 years jail for a murder she did not commit and her husband attempt in freeing her. Apparently there is an american version being made with Russel Crowe playing the husband.

Ok that is me for the day.

Oh before I forget AM went and spoke to the marketing secretary about seats for the hopman cup and she said they were for clients only so I need to get onto my project manager about it. I know for a fact that the box won't be occupied every day.

Really off. Vamos Pico and davai Mishca.

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Dear Wayne is Free,VamosWayne 11/09/2010 at 04:28 AM

From Fox sports news,

Further to the news regarding the 29 year old Taylor Dent who is retiring from tennis.His agent said Dent wants to stay active in the sport and explore opportunities.

His career record is 151-150 with 4 titles,3 in 2003.He and 1974 AO runner up Phil Dent were the first father and son duo to win titles in the open era.

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Dear Wayne is Free,VamosWayne 11/09/2010 at 04:30 AM

AA Bye and good luck with getting those private box seats at the Hopman Cup

Good to set yourself goals though remember you have had a enormous thing to get over in your life.So steady remember.

Hope you enjoy the film.

Bye!

Posted by Samantha Elin, Caro 2010 YE #1 11/09/2010 at 04:35 AM

Sherlock, I will answer your question this way. I think it is ridiculous to compare a player who went out of 90% of her tournament by the first to second rounds and is ranked 68 to a player who won 6 titles, including the pretigeous and high tier level Roger's cup and is currently the reigning World's no l. An apple and orange comparison. BTW, Caro can hit serves at 115 MPH and her BH is a huge weapon. This beautiful and very talented Scandinavian girl has many gifts, you don't achieve what she has done without them. Kom sa, Caro

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Dear Wayne is Free,VamosWayne 11/09/2010 at 05:02 AM

Some thoughts from Rafa regarding the final in London.

"I going to be with special motivation,with special allusion,and I'm going do all in my hands to play well there" said Nadal.

"It is a goal for me to try to imporve the image of last year.I think I am focused to try to do this".

Rafa was the first to qualify for the end of year championships and he is keen to rest the demons of last years trip to London,when he arrived not at his physical best following a succession of injuries and lost all of his three round robin matches.

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Dear Wayne is Free,VamosWayne 11/09/2010 at 05:04 AM

1st match up on centre court isd

M.Youzhny v E. Gulbis

Umpire is Carlos Bernardes

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Dear Wayne is Free,VamosWayne 11/09/2010 at 05:11 AM

Commentators on this match is Chris "boring" Wilkinson and Robbie

Gulbis won the toss and has elected to receive

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Dear Wayne is Free,VamosWayne 11/09/2010 at 05:17 AM

Both players held serve with Gulbis a love service game

1 game all 1st set and Youz to serve

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Dear Wayne is Free,VamosWayne 11/09/2010 at 05:22 AM

Youzhny was taken to deuce though 2 good 1st serves and he held

Youzhny 2-1 and Gublis to serve

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Dear Wayne is Free,VamosWayne 11/09/2010 at 05:28 AM

Gulbis d/faults though he was getting his 1st serve and good 2nd serves in soo far.Youx hasnt been able to get a good read on the serves soo far.

Gulbis with a beautiful serve its technically spot on and so fluid and jsut a joy to watch.

deuce now

Gulbis oover played b/hand

ad to Youz

Gulbis good 1st serve and Youz ROS wide

deuce

2nd serve for Gulbis

ad to Gulbis Youz b/hand wide

Good wide serve for Gulbis and he holds 2 games all

Youzhny to serve

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Dear Wayne is Free,VamosWayne 11/09/2010 at 05:33 AM

Youz struggling with timing and his b/hand is off at the moment

Gulbis with 3 b/points

Gulibs has had a match already though Chela did retire

Good 2nd serve by Youz

Youz 15-40

Good tee serve by the Youz

Youz 30-40

Gulbis is challenging the call the ball caught the line and is in

deuce

Youz 2nd serve

Good b/hand Youz

ad to Youz

Youz holds with 5 good points in a row

Youzhny 3-2 and Gulbis to serve


Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Dear Wayne is Free,VamosWayne 11/09/2010 at 05:38 AM

Youz with 2 b/points

Gulbis making too many u/erros

Gulbis 30-40

Good first serve

deuce

2nd serve for Gulbis

ad to Gulbis Youz b/hand wide

Great serve and Gulbis holds.3 games all 1st set and Youz to serve

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Dear Wayne is Free,VamosWayne 11/09/2010 at 05:44 AM

Youz again timing issues on his ground strokes

Gulbis again has 2 b/points can he convert?

Good 1st serve by Youz

Youa 30-40

2nd serve for Youz

Good use of variety in his shots with low slices and then increased his pace of shots

deuce

2nd serve for Youz

Good lob by Gulbis and Youz mis hits

ad to Gulbis

2nd serve for Youz

B/hand wide and Gulbis breaks finally he was 0/5 on b/points

Gublis to serve 4-3

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Dear Wayne is Free,VamosWayne 11/09/2010 at 05:47 AM

Gulbis consolidates his break with a love service game

Gulbis 5-3 and Youz to serve

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Dear Wayne is Free,VamosWayne 11/09/2010 at 05:50 AM

Better service game from Youz

Gulbis 5-4 and he will serve

Posted by temes 11/09/2010 at 05:51 AM

Gulbis should tame his hair.

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Dear Wayne is Free,VamosWayne 11/09/2010 at 05:53 AM

Gulbis will now serve for the 1st set

Good service game and Gulbis wins the 1st set 6-4

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Dear Wayne is Free,VamosWayne 11/09/2010 at 05:55 AM

Winners for Gulbis 13 and u/errors 7

Winners for Youzhny 8 and u/errors 18?? which has been the telling factor in this 1st set

Youzhny to serve 1st in the 2nd set

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Dear Wayne is Free,VamosWayne 11/09/2010 at 05:56 AM

temes Colette calls him the "wild one" lol!

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Dear Wayne is Free,VamosWayne 11/09/2010 at 05:57 AM

Jason Goodall has joined the commentary has Robbie has a break

Pity it wasnt Chris

Posted by temes 11/09/2010 at 06:00 AM

Lol AM, his hair is like the attack of the red curls.

Quiet here, Aussiemarg dominating the page lol.

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Dear Wayne is Free,VamosWayne 11/09/2010 at 06:02 AM

deuce now

2nd serve for Youz

B/hand shot wide by Gulbis

ad to Youz

2nd serve for Youz

ROS by Gulbis good and deep Yous shot finds the net

deuce

2nd serve for Youz cant get a 1st serve in

Good ROS by Gulbis and Youz ROS find the net

ad to Gulbis

2nd serve by Youz

challenge by Youz slice b/hand by Youz was called out and it was out

Gulbis breaks

Gulbis 1-0 and will serve in the 2nd set

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Dear Wayne is Free,VamosWayne 11/09/2010 at 06:03 AM

temes Yes no fights at all LOL!

Me likey if I didnt do the match call I would fall asleep

Maybe I should just fall asleep its just 10.00pm here

Posted by temes 11/09/2010 at 06:05 AM

Btw I too think Fed Cup is quite boring. I never follow it. It might have something to do with the fact that Finland won't have a chance at winning it in a million years but yeah I prefer my every man/woman for themselves tennis.

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Dear Wayne is Free,VamosWayne 11/09/2010 at 06:06 AM

Gulbis consolidates the break with a good service game

I like his mental approach soo far he hasnt gone walk about he has the talent and his serve is just wonderful to watch

Gulbis 2-0 2nd set and Youz to serve

Posted by mick1303 11/09/2010 at 06:07 AM

Lira,

To answer you question – not at all.
My initial goal was to create a formula to calculate the greatest of Open Era. At first I was collecting ATP data only. It started with just collecting the Slam results (meaning player X won or reached semi or whatever), then I’ve added other tournaments, and then I’ve started to collect match results, which allowed me to count win-loss percentages and calculate head-to-heads.
At some point I developed tools to ease and automate data collection and I began to collect WTA data as well.

Lately, when I ran out of old tournaments (there are definitely gaps in my data in the late 60s and early 70s, but I can’t easily find the missing data), I’ve started to collect challengers as well.

Now the initial goal does not look closer than in the beginning, but I have a lot of data to play with.

Posted by temes 11/09/2010 at 06:07 AM

Well I like match calls they make me feel all warm and fuzzy inside LOL.

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Dear Wayne is Free,VamosWayne 11/09/2010 at 06:09 AM

Youz is just self destructing now

Gukbis has 3 b.points this match could be over very quickly

Gulbis breaks has won 15 of the last 20 points

Youzhny retires he was struggling and had no energy

Gulbis wins 6-4 1st set and 3-0 with the retirement of Youzhny

Though I must say I like the way he went into this match

Bad luck Youz you cant qualify for London now have a good season break

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Dear Wayne is Free,VamosWayne 11/09/2010 at 06:11 AM

temes I didnt know you lived in Finland?

Posted by temes 11/09/2010 at 06:12 AM

Gulbis looking good. He's really good when playing well, I wish he did that more often.

Posted by susan 11/09/2010 at 06:13 AM

i dubbed gulbis wild thing, if i remember correctly.
CL had a cloud name (forgot it, but how about cumulus?)

AM, btw, Leonard Cohen "delayed indefinitely" his concert in Cambodia. Tickets were refunded. I went today to buy tickets after agonising days of indecision, and there you go, decision made.

he also cancelled a Dec 5 hawaii concert as well. he cited "logistical problems' for both. hmmm. maybe it's just too much for a guy his age. there was criticism of the ticket prices -- incredibly high for such a low-income country. they were counting on lots of expats to pay.

monaco and guerrey - is that going on now. they just switched. tiebreak.

off to dinner...

Posted by susan 11/09/2010 at 06:14 AM

2-1 querrey

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Dear Wayne is Free,VamosWayne 11/09/2010 at 06:16 AM

susan Oops sorry I thought it was Colette lol!

Hmm bad luck about Leonard though I hope you do get to see him in the future.

Posted by temes 11/09/2010 at 06:17 AM

Yes AM I live in Finland, and I'm a man. lol

I saw Leonard a few months ago best concert I've ever been to, even though I'm more into the singer singer type artist it was just sublime.

Posted by temes 11/09/2010 at 06:20 AM

Youzhny retired?

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Dear Wayne is Free,VamosWayne 11/09/2010 at 06:20 AM

Well I too need my beauty sleep and after my discussion with my friend Tim who I will still give a one year membership to Yoga I feel he needs to get his tension out another way and I would love to see him in Yoga gear.I believe Stella Mccartney does Yoga gear well I will pass on this info to Tim next time I am talking to him

Later everyone.

Posted by susan 11/09/2010 at 06:21 AM

oh g-od temes i just read your comment. so disappointed!! well, will definitely do it the next chance i get..

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Dear Wayne is Free,VamosWayne 11/09/2010 at 06:21 AM

temes I just caught your post before I signed off

I adore Cohen he came to Sydney in 08 and I am seeing him next Saturday

He is just amazing on stage.

Really going now

Posted by susan 11/09/2010 at 06:25 AM

later AM. Tim was definitely on a roll there, i must say. Highly caffeinated?!
need to eat....

Posted by temes 11/09/2010 at 06:25 AM

Susan don't worry even though he is 76 he didn't show any signs of slowing down! I don't even remember how many encores he did lol. He'll be back.

Posted by temes 11/09/2010 at 06:33 AM

All by myself, don't wanna be...

Nalby on court.

Posted by temes 11/09/2010 at 06:41 AM

Why can't Nalby play at his level more his game is so fluid and a joy to watch...

Posted by Kwaku 11/09/2010 at 08:30 AM

Where is the thread for commenting live action?

Posted by Master Ace 11/09/2010 at 08:35 AM

Kwaku,
You are at the correct thread to discuss Paris. Guess TWibe is waiting for tomorrow when Federer, Djokovic and Murray vs Nalbandian commence. Aussiemarg has gone to sleep as it is late in her timezone.

Posted by Kwaku 11/09/2010 at 08:41 AM

Thank you, MA.
Verdasco needs Paris SF for London chance, and has just lost his first set against Clement.
At least he won his first round BYE yesterday. Soon he will be losing even those.

Posted by Heather 11/09/2010 at 08:43 AM

Morning! So, if Verdasco loses then Andy R will qualify even if he loses tomorrow, right? Unless Melzer somehow wins Paris?

Posted by Master Ace 11/09/2010 at 08:44 AM

If Clement defeat Verdasco, Berdych and Ferrer will be in London with Roddick at 95% in. Only way, at that point, Roddick can get knocked out if he loses early and Melzer wins Paris. Chances of Melzer winning Paris - .1%.

Posted by Kwaku 11/09/2010 at 08:46 AM

Heather, the only way Roddick does not qualify if Verdasco loses today is that Melzer wins the whole thing.

Posted by Roddick fan from Virginia 11/09/2010 at 08:46 AM

I would like to wish Taylor Dent well in his retirement and thank him for the memories he gave me over the last 15 months. I loved the USO battle last and the 148 mph serve this year. Good and may the Lord bless and your family.

Posted by Master Ace 11/09/2010 at 08:46 AM

Heather,
Besides my 8:44 AM post, Roddick will be in London if he makes the QF which will make Melzer winning Paris null and void.

Posted by Kwaku 11/09/2010 at 08:48 AM

Ok, MA said it earlier and better (what a surprise :-)
Anyway, I think Roddick will qualify by all means because Dasco is not going to make it to the semis. Right now he is facing break ball again to start the second.

Posted by Kwaku 11/09/2010 at 08:53 AM

Is Taylor Dent retiring?

Posted by Kwaku 11/09/2010 at 09:01 AM

Fiasco Verdasco can lose the unlosable. He fails to consolidate with a double fault.

Posted by Colette 11/09/2010 at 09:02 AM

Speaking of fiascos, what's up with that hair! He looks like a troll. :)

Posted by Roddick fan from Virginia 11/09/2010 at 09:03 AM

Yes,Taylor retired.

Posted by Kwaku 11/09/2010 at 09:05 AM

Sorry about that, I liked Dent very much.
And good luck with his family life now.

Posted by Kwaku 11/09/2010 at 09:07 AM

And a double fault to concede break point. Great.

Posted by Kwaku 11/09/2010 at 09:07 AM

Pathetic.

Posted by Heather 11/09/2010 at 09:10 AM

Thanks everyone for the clarification! :)

Posted by Kwaku 11/09/2010 at 09:16 AM

Bellucci won the first set against Kohlwriter I see.

Posted by Kwaku 11/09/2010 at 09:17 AM

(If you spell Kohlschreiber properly here you look like an idiot :-)

Posted by Cayman Karen (yes back in the office and working hard) 11/09/2010 at 09:23 AM

Morning All. Just popping in to say that I arrived safe and sound and back at work.

Posted by Kwaku 11/09/2010 at 09:29 AM

Clement is merciful. According to the dictionary.

Posted by Master Ace 11/09/2010 at 09:34 AM

Cayman Karen,
Glad you made it back safe and sound.

Kwaku,
What happened to Clement? Did Verdasco pick his play up?

Posted by Kwaku 11/09/2010 at 09:36 AM

MA, no. I looks they are competing to see who can play worse.

Posted by Kwaku 11/09/2010 at 09:44 AM

And it looks Clement is going to win that particular battle. Two breaks down in the third.

Posted by Lynne (Rafalite) 11/09/2010 at 09:44 AM

Morning all ! News this morning is that Czech doubles player, Martin Damm is retiring and will now coach American Ryan Harrison.

Karen : Glad to see you had a safe journey.

Posted by lrk 11/09/2010 at 09:45 AM

"looks they are competing to see who can play worse"

so Clement is winning that competition at the moment, no?

Posted by Kwaku 11/09/2010 at 09:46 AM

Bud Dasco counter-attacks. Double fault to start his service game.

Posted by Kwaku 11/09/2010 at 09:47 AM

And another double fault.

Posted by Kwaku 11/09/2010 at 09:50 AM

But Clement manages to lose the game. Down 0-4.

Posted by Kwaku 11/09/2010 at 09:54 AM

And Clement down 0-5. But Dasco to serve.

Posted by Kwaku 11/09/2010 at 09:57 AM

One of our commentators is Dasco's co-coach. He is saying when he talks to him he will say: "Fernando, if you play like this, you won't beat anyone. You won today because it was Clement, who is well past his prime".

Posted by Kwaku 11/09/2010 at 09:59 AM

And Clement deserts serving himself a doughnut for dessert.

Posted by Colette 11/09/2010 at 10:01 AM

CKaren, glad your move went well

Posted by Master Ace 11/09/2010 at 10:18 AM

See that we will see Brad Gilbert, Patrick McEnroe, Pam Shriver and the gang for Indian Wells and Miami per tennis.com headlines on ESPN2 and ABC. Wonder will CBS still cover the finals or will the finals actually be on ABC?

Posted by Texastennis 11/09/2010 at 10:20 AM

What the heck happened in that Verdasco-Clement match - did Clement just throw in the towel? Apparently Verdasco didn't suddenly find the form he's lost for the last few months...

No idea why the announcement of Damm to coach Harrison is being repeated now - that was announced weeks and weeks ago.

MA - could you explain why Clijsters wasn't even on your list for the bonus money? All very confusing. Is it sensible to have a system that even those of us following tennis very closely find difficult to fathom?

Posted by Lynne (Rafalite) 11/09/2010 at 10:26 AM

Texastennis: In that case, my apologies for repeating it.

Posted by Larry in the Silicon 11/09/2010 at 10:31 AM

Coco V is a big talent. She is young and probably something of a Valley Girl. They can't help it. She is also overweight.

I won't be original here - it's too painful anyhow - but if the girl loses weight and ups her workouts she's guaranteed Top 20 with her coordination and size. Coco might even be Top 10 material.

Oudin is probably too small for Top 10. You need the exceptional gifts of a Henin to overcome the height disadvantage for that. When Justine was in her prime, the girls were shorter. Now they're Amazons. Viewed from overhead at Stanford this summer, Dinara Safina still resembled a blushing, too-high-serve-tossing tree. No less than a tree...

Posted by adicecream 11/09/2010 at 10:34 AM

MA, I am excited about different networks covering Indian Wells and Miami. I don't even care which network does the finals or who the announcers are. (Well, as long as it's not Tracy Austin.) We don't get Fox in my corner of the world.

Posted by Master Ace 11/09/2010 at 10:53 AM

Texastennis,
Kim did not finish in the Top 10 in 2009 therefore, she was not eligible for the Roadmap program done by the WTA for 2010. She will be eligible in 2011 as she finished at 3.

Posted by Master Ace 11/09/2010 at 10:55 AM

Adicecream,
Understand completely on ESPN2 getting back in coverage the spring North American season.

Posted by adicecream 11/09/2010 at 11:14 AM

Thanks, Master Ace. Of course I will miss coming on here and whining about Fox this spring.

Posted by Texastennis 11/09/2010 at 11:22 AM

Lynne - no need for apologies. It's on the tennis.com headline list - and they had a lead story about that right after the USO.

MA - oh I see re Clijsters' absence. Still too hard to follow though.

Posted by Master Ace 11/09/2010 at 11:28 AM

Pete has posted today's thread. Match calls, if any, should continue there.

Posted by CL 11/09/2010 at 11:49 AM

Anyone still lingering here...get thee to the new thread and prepare for a treat.

Posted by Master Ace 11/09/2010 at 11:53 AM

Oops, the thread is done by Gauloises. Good read!

Posted by magritte 11/09/2010 at 12:00 PM

I think both players have potential, but I don't see them as top players. Oudin's serve will likely always be a liability and while she has a nice forehand, she doesn't generate that much pace of her own. She needs to hit flat and take it very early to be effective (a bit like Vera Zvonareva) and I doubt she can do it as consistently as Vera. Her biggest asset is her competitiveness and her head, and her confidence has been lacking this year. This win may help her get that back, but at best she's a Agnieszka Radwanska-level player...which is a perfectly good career and certainly good enough to help the U.S. fed cup team in the future.

As to Coco, well...she's a big hitter but she's almost 19, so I don't see her getting clean enough mechanically (particularly footwork) to go to the top. I really think you have to establish good technique very early; you just have a harder time forming muscle memory as an adult. I can see her being a dangerous player capable of big upsets when she gets hot, but not someone who's going to be a week-in, week-out winner.

Posted by Matt Zemek 11/09/2010 at 12:16 PM

Hey, kids!

The Cincinnati Bengals just won in Bercy!

Stepanek d. Almagro, 6 and 4.

Who said the Bengals were bad in November?

Posted by jbradhunter 11/09/2010 at 01:06 PM

Mr. Moonpie (Tim)-
I, like you, have played tennis since 12 (which for me was 20ish years ago-- for you? don't worry I wouldn't expect you to reveal your true age- haha) anyways- a few years ago, I also changed my grip on the serve, via a Tip I saw on Tennis Channel, and was able to fairly easily add some MPHs to my first serve- It's not uncommon for players to mess with their technique and beef up serves--remember when Michael Chang added the extra oomph to his serve, later in his career? as well as Murray a few years ago

If I didn't know any better, I'd think you hated Rafa

Posted by Tim (Moonpies lead to violence!) 11/09/2010 at 01:44 PM

hi brad lol

technique, yes... grip, no ... but thats just my opinion based on my own playin experience over the years ... a grip change can add spin, kick, etc., but i cant see how it can add 20 mph to a serve to a player who's been on tour for 7 years already!

obviously like many beginners do, if you try serve with a forehand grip, u cant get much mph on the serve, and u can when you slide towards a backhand grip, but as far as I know Rafa isnt a beginner and certainly has always used a standard serving grip similar to most world class players ...

and his technique seems exactly the same to me, so the mystery continues ...

Posted by jbradhunter 11/09/2010 at 01:57 PM

Tim- I learned the kick serve and topspin serves growing up in Naples, FL- playing on all that Florida green clay... and my coach taught me to use the Backhand Eastern Grip for 1st and 2nd serves- high percentages and such-- as previously mentioned, when I switched my 1st serve grip to Continental grip, I added loads of MPHs- instantly-- seriously-- Here's the "grip" page I found just now when trying to figure out how to explain this
http://www.tennis.com/articles/templates/instruction.aspx?articleid=1337

Oh- and on Pete's Topic- MJF made a mistake going with Coco over Melanie on day 1-- forced error by MJF

Posted by tennyrunners 11/09/2010 at 02:30 PM

For whatever it's worth, Melanie seems to play way better after she has spent time with MJF. Her best results of the year came right after Fed Cup. I wonder if there is anything to this or if it is just a fluke. Will be interesting to see if she can win in Phoenix now.

Posted by Samantha Elin, Caro 2010 YE #1 11/09/2010 at 04:27 PM

Tennyrunners, it's called a fluke, an average player playing above their level for a very short period of time and then resuming their normal level of play. Similar to what happened to Pironkova, played well reaching the Wimby semi final and then when right back to her normal level which is to go out early as she did prior to Wimbledon. It happens quite frequently in tennis. Kivitova did the same. To evaluate a player, you need to look at more than one match which only give you a tiny snap shot. Looking at their total season gives you a better measurement of what a player can do. That said, good luck to her. Kom sa, Caro!

Posted by the fan child 11/10/2010 at 03:15 PM

Miracle on Cement! Love it -- great stuff, agree on all fronts, and I think both Melanie and Coco will be better in the future because of MJ's decision and what transpired in S.D.

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