Rethink required! Dubai scheduling has been very poorly planned!

The latest Premier tournament on the WTA tour arrived in Dubai on Monday and it’s fair to say the planning and scheduling has been far from premier!

On Wednesday as with every other day this week in Dubai plays doesn’t begin until 2pm local time which is unusual for any event on the tour usually beginning at around 11am local time.

There is nothing wrong with beginning play at 2pm but when you are squeezing five matches on the one court it will be a long day which is unfair for players.

Garbine Muguruza and Cici Billis were due second on court in the night session which didn’t begin until almost half past midnight and didn’t leave the court until 2am local time with just over 12 hours turnover until the winners next match!

I don’t get where the planning has come from with any thought attached! Muguruza who won in two sets thanked those in the crowd who stay until 2am in the morning to watch the match.

This is a similar story tomorrow in Dubai. Obviously less matches but final match of the day which is Kasatkina v Vesnina and it won’t be on until probably 10pm local time in Dubai.

The scheduling isn’t fair on the players but is something surely needs addressing in future tournaments in Dubai?

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Tennis Ball and Racket

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Will he? Won’t he? Will Federer skip the entire clay court season once again?

When Roger Federer made his return to tennis last January after 6 months out he began the season with titles in Melbourne, Indian Wells and Miami. He then announced he’d skip the entire clay court season as he prepared for the summer on grass followed by the hard court swing in the final quarter of 2017 but what will he do this year?

After winning the Australian Open last year he went to Dubai and lost in R2 to Donskoy and no decision has been made yet whether he will return to Dubai this year, the wildcard is on the table for Federer with only upcoming confirmations being Indian Wells and Miami in March.

I expect Federer to go to Indian Wells and Miami and not Dubai but the question is, clay?

I’d be very surprised if Federer repeats last year and doesn’t play some clay court tournaments. I however do not expect him to play a full schedule on the clay.

I’d expect Federer to most likely head to Rome. I’d be very surprised to see him travel to Monte-Carlo but at the same time I wouldn’t rule out a return to Madrid where he has been a champion in the past. Rome however is his most appeared clay court tournament in his career (except Roland Garros) and has only missed two tournaments in Rome in 18 years.

I fully expect Roger to play a revised schedule of Rome and Roland Garros but at the same time he could end up surprising us as well with the outdoor clay tournament in his home country Switzerland the week before Roland Garros.

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Grigor Dimitrov may be ranked at No.4 but Rotterdam showed us his second serve needs a big improvement!

The final that offered so much delivered so little. All talk prior to the match was on Dimitrov and how he felt to get to the next level winning against Roger would help that but his 0-6 record is now 0-7 after a 6-2 6-2 thrashing in Sunday’s final but how can Dimitrov learn from Roger?

Watching the match I tweeted to say this looks like a man who has put too much thought into a potential win and after the first game when he started so well it quickly de-railed.

Grigor tried to go toe to toe in rallies and did well quite a few of the times but the rallies start somewhere and that was his second serve which let him down. For someone like Dimitrov who has a big first serve it is surprising not to see him let it go a little bit more on the second.

Dimitrov is ranked at 4 in the world but on second serve points won this year he is ranked at 96 in the world. His % is at 45.23% winning just 204/451 points behind the serve. This is something that Federer and his team would have studied and they did.

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After the second serve is thrown in by Federer and Dimitrov in Rotterdam for Federer it has variety so it’s difficult to nail him down but the emphasis on this graphic shouldn’t be on Dimitrov’s position inside or behind the baseline but look where the majority of Dimitrov’ second serves are sent, down to the backhand!

The backhand is a strong shot on the attack but on the defence it is more of a reflex which makes it a weakness in this situation.

Now, let’s look at the second serve…

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This is Dimitrov’ second serve very early on and of course get’s broken. The serve is too weak. Federer actually doesn’t move to return the serve, he just leans to the left and sends the backhand cross court which then leads to this…

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This is the reflex shot, he has not option but to play this shot as Federer has gone for the backhand, the error comes and he loses the point and it was his last game of the set.

This shows a need to improve the second serve. It’s not just about speed but position, the ball was too central in the court asking no question of Federer but inviting him to attack the serve.

To improve it he should look at going for the serve out-wide on the ad side and on the deuce court going for the serve down the T taking the ball away from their comfortable zone which is what Federer has done so well throughout his career. His second serve doesn’t always need to be powerful but effective which we saw on match point Federer served out-wide on the second serve and with the skills he has finishes it off with a volley at the net.

Kvitova’s comeback has been incredible and it keeps on getting better!

Comebacks don’t get better than this. Just over 12 months ago Petra Kvitova was stabbed at home in her left hand multiple times by an intruder. There were concerns whether she’d get back to her highest level but after her return to tennis around 9 months ago she hasn’t looked back and it’s been a comeback out of this world.

I can’t put into words what this lady has done over this season and last. This week saw her defeat Svitolina, Wozniacki and Muguruza on route to winning the title her second title in three weeks, her 13th win a row and a return to the WTA’s top 10 on Monday!

You can just see the relief, emotion and fight in her and it is a joy to watch and I said at the back end of last year it will only get better and my god it’s been bloody brilliant!

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No.1 again and Title No.97 – Roger rules in Rotterdam!

For Grigor Dimitrov his abysmal run against Roger Federer continues. The Bulgarian was out of sorts as he fell in straight sets to lose his seventh consecutive match against yes the world number one.

Earlier on in the week Roger became the oldest world number one in history on the men’s tour and continues to edge his name into records in the history books with his 97th career title as well in Rotterdam.

Grigor became the match like a steam train! He went after everything at 100mph and played a stunning opening and then it unravelled. I felt like this seemed like I was watching a man who put too much thought into it and it ended up quite predictable. Dimitrov did play some good shots but it felt like Roger was a shot ahead at all times and defended deep and well as he raced to a 6-2 lead in set one.

Roger raced to a 5-1 lead in set two average his service game time at 110 seconds and after 52 minutes would serve for the title.

His record of quick holds of serve was kept as he sealed the win with a lovely serve and volley move to win title no.97

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The question now, does he go to Dubai in a week’s time or rest ahead of IW and Miami?

 

 

Halep’s had an incredible year so far and she is right to rest ahead of crucial months!

Over the last few months Simona Halep has played some of the best tennis of her career but now she has to be careful. She won in Shenzhen to begin the year and made the final of the Australian Open putting on some simply stunning performances but this foot won’t go away and now is the time to protect herself.

Halep is all surface type of player, she is dangerous wherever and the pressure does seem to be greater than it has ever been but she seems to be thriving off it.

Halep decided after her win against Bellis to withdraw from the competition as this foot/ankle is still bothering her which it was in Melbourne.

As Halep is in good form it’s easy to continue to try and play but she made the sensible decision looking at the bigger picture. Her withdrawal meant Garbine Muguruza received a walk-over into the final and she will also miss Dubai next week with all eyes set on Indian Wells where she is a former champion, Miami and of course Roland Garros but let’s not look too far ahead just yet!

I think Halep has made the right decision to rest, an important three tense months of the season are about to begin and to rest and head to Indian Wells early will do her no harm as she looks to continue her excellent season.

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Wimbledon asked the question they should already know the answer to!

It’s amazing how this question or debate still goes on? Should scheduling on the big courts at Wimbledon (or any joint tennis tournament) be equal, the answer? Yes! So, why have Wimbledon asked something they should know already?

This is a talking debate every year and tournament but is something we shouldn’t be debating or asking the question because if you ask the question do you believe in the right answer?

Wimbledon

So, they asked the question above priorities of the Championships one of which was “Showing an equal number of Gentlemen’s and Ladies’ matches on centre court and no.1 court.”

Honestly it should be a top priority. I think Wimbledon have made a mistake with this question as it suggests one isn’t as important as the other and recent scheduling suggests that. There are 128 players on each men’s and women’s draw and same prize money so court equality throughout the tournament has to be a major priority.

Venus Williams a 5 time Wimbledon champion didn’t get on Centre Court last year….

Let’s rewind back to 2015, I wrote a piece after Caroline Wozniacki’s comments which you can find below;

Caroline Wozniacki is right! Women don’t get enough chances to play on the big courts at Wimbledon

Caroline said;

“You only get one women’s match on court one and centre court,”

“Most of last week it was only one women’s match on court two as well. It’s definitely different, that’s all I can say.

“I think a lot of us women feel like we deserve to play on the big courts in front of a big crowd as well.”

In 2015 the matches only 9/24 matches on centre court at Wimbledon were from the ladies draw, why not 12 each?

The question put to the public shouldn’t be a question but unfortunately is but here’s hoping they make the right decision!