‘Very weird’ Djokovic’ assessment of his 6-7 6-4 1-6 defeat

Yesterday Novak Djokovic posted a picture on Twitter which said ‘more flexible than ever’ however I have never seen the former world number one move quite like that.

Novak is the best mover the game has ever seen in my opinion, his ability to move and slide on a hard court is amazing to watch and this was a tough watch.

Even from early on the movement wasn’t there and there were a couple of moments in the match that showed a lack of fitness I assume.

nd move

The one on the left is a backhand down the line by Daniel at 4-5 in set one and you can see Novak not even ready to move he just looks at it and the second one is in the third set with Daniel breaking Novak to love and he isn’t even looking.

A usually fit Djokovic would be chasing these down. Questions were asked over his shoulder in Melbourne and he had to withdraw but I feel like we’ve walked away with more questions than answers after a tough and bizarre performance hitting a quite incredible no less than 60 unforced errors…

Credit to Daniel, he stuck to it. It is soo easy to become distracted when a player is visible being bothered by something but he maintained what he had to do to get the win and did it in style to defeat the 5 time Indian Wells champion!


16 year old Amanda Anisimova ends Petra Kvitova’s 14 match unbeaten run!

Indian Wells is never full of stories and Sunday night provided another as Petra Kvitova’s unbeaten was brought to an end by 16 year old American Amanda Anisimova.

From the first moment of the match she showed no fear and an astute game plan against one of the toughest opponents on the tour who crushes the ball so well but she arrived and put her game out there!

You can see on the first break point she manages to construct her first thought is ‘I have to move Petra’.


If you let Petra sit in the middle of the court and spray ground strokes for fun you are in for a short time on court but she utilised that flat backhand she has to pull the two time Wimbledon wide and took advantage of that opening up the court for the forehand winner (the old one, two) so effective!

I wish I had a graphic to show the shot placement of Anisimova during the match, it was near on perfect! The height of the ball, the depth and the angles she created really ruffled Kvitova. I’ve put this together below to show where she made an impact.

I’ve put this together below to show where she managed to hit the ball with the backhand (red) and forehand (yellow) moving the ball around the court freely.

fh bh animisova

It was a stunning performance and to come up with it at 16 is a credit to her, even some of the tour veterans struggle to implement a game plan against Petra which is effective throughout and cope with what she can throw at you!

Venus v Serena – Why meeting No.29 is the most important

In 2001 this was not Tennis paradise it was hell. Venus Williams withdrew from her semi-final at Indian Wells with injury meaning received a walk-over into the final. On the day of the final Serena was booed throughout the match which she won in three sets against Kim Clijsters and her father Richard and sister Venus were also booed and claims were made of racist comments made towards them.

Venus and Serena skipped Indian Wells for 14 years. Serena returned in 2015 and Venus in 2016. On return both received standing ovations and cheers from the crowd welcoming them back to the event.

Now in 2018, Venus at the age of 37 continues to defy the odds with her stunning level of tennis and Serena at the age of 36 who recently got married and gave birth is on one hell of a return to the women’s tour!

A match-up at Indian Wells is quite fitting. Unfortunately someone’s tournament will come to an end in round three.

This match will have soo much feeling attached to it to see these two on court in 2018 with everything they have been through, it’s quite stunning!

Expectations? I wouldn’t put any on this it’s all about enjoyment and it will be a incredible match up which I expect to take centre stage at night as they meet for the 29th time on the tour.




Back to the drawing board – Dimitrov, Muguruza & Konta all out of Indian Wells

It’s fair to say this isn’t a surprise. In the last 48 hours we have seen Grigor Dimitrov, Garbine Muguruza and Johanna Konta’s campaign come to an early end in what turned out to be not tennis paradise for the three players. So, what went wrong and where do they go from here?

Grigor Dimitrov

Dimitrov’ performances of late have not been great. His second serve is taking a beating and it isn’t getting better. I didn’t think Dimitrov actually played too badly in his defeat against Fernando Verdasco but the tricky Spaniard is never easy to play against especially so early on in a tournament. Smallest of margins took the biggest impact. Verdasco saved 7/10 break points on his serve so Dimitrov created but couldn’t capatalise on chances but the Bulgarian faced 1 break point a set and failed to save all 3 in the match. His second serve was slightly more effective winning 19/35 points at 53% but isn’t top 5 level.

There is work to do to get back to that level we saw last year and that serve I’ve said a lot this year needs improving quick!

Garbine Muguruza

For the first set and a half she was unplayable, honestly it was the best tennis I had seen from her all year. She was hitting the ground strokes well, timing the ball and using her net play to her advantage to take a 6-2 3-0 40-0 lead and lost…

Before you know it Muguruza loses the set 7-5 and completely unravels in the third to lose 6-1. She looked shell-shocked! I don’t know how she managed to let that go the concentration wasn’t there and it was a similar story against Daria Kasatkina lately in Dubai.

Screenshot (46)Screenshot (46)

Johanna Konta

It hasn’t happened for Konta this year. Early exits have been in a theme in Melbourne, Dubai and now Indian Wells. I watched Jo in Melbourne and I remember saying at the time she started the match looking erratic and full of panic! This was a close match at Indian Wells losing the two sets in 2 hours 15 but questions remain over her serve and also her ground strokes.

Konta plays a style of tennis I call ‘risky’ she goes for the lines and when the confidence isn’t high then it does suffer and it becomes messy. Jo does a lot of good in matches but it’s unravelled by these errors which will take time and confidence to eradicate something she does seem short on at the moment.


A fitting finale to International Women’s Day

A fitting end to International Women’s Day. A evening which saw the return of Serena Williams and Victoria Azarenka to a tennis court on one of the biggest stages in the world.

We’ve been waiting for so long and they say good things come to those who wait and we certainly got that as both ladies secured strong wins on their respective returns to the tour.

For Serena it was her first match in 404 days following her Australian Open win in 2017 and since then she has given birth to her daughter Alexis and got married. For Vika it’s been a tough 9 months, she hasn’t played since Wimbledon due to a custody battle which states she currently cannot leave California with her son Leo so she hasn’t been competing on the tour but you saw what this meant to both women.

The crowd pilled into Indian Wells for the highlight not just of the day but of the tour calendar year to welcome back two of the games greatest champions, characters and women!

I was quite surprised but pleased to see how well Serena played. There was obviously some rustiness that will go with game time but she was solid in movement and as the match went on began to strike to ball cleaner and with that brutality we are use to seeing!

Vika looks in good shape, I have a feeling she could go far here at Indian Wells. She hasn’t stopped practicing and played very well. The only thing she’d probably look at improving on is the error count but it will come with game time.

Serena had good friend Caroline Wozniacki watching on from the comfort of her hotel she posted on social media and will continue to draw the crowds when she takes on Kiki Bertens in round two.

For Vika a match against Sloane Stephens who has won just 2 of 11 matches since winning the US Open awaits for her.

screenshot-45.pngScreenshot (45)


Same questions resurface following latest Sharapova defeat!

Once again the same questions have resurfaced. This season Maria Sharapova has a win/loss record of 5/4. The former world number one has struggled since her return to tennis with her game in my opinion look outdated.

The loss against Angie Kerber in Melbourne asked big questions and in her last tournament in Doha I described her performance against Monica Niculescu ‘messy’ as she fell in three sets to the Romanian.

Unseeded here at Indian Wells brought her up against rising star in Naomi Osaka who was fearless on route to victory in the desert.

The same questions have resurfaced.

Watching the match back it’s almost a carbon copy of what we saw against Kerber in Melbourne. Sharapova was ok when she had time, took much time and on the defensive couldn’t get herself out of that sliced backhand position which gradually get’s broken down in rallies.

Anticipation once again was lacking and with the greatest of respect it was really poor!


This backhand should be an easy put away, why not go down the line? You should not be getting past and we saw it earlier on in the match when she got passed after a poor drop shot and you can’t put this down to issues with injuries, just a poor game plan.

I said in my Indian Wells preview Tennis moves on and it shows it however at the same time I cannot believe during Sharapova’s ban from tennis her and her team did not go through improvements to her game…


Pliskova ‘should’ be a contender in the Californian desert but will she?

Karolina Pliskova is a player I have described many times as cool and composed. I’ve also said she needs steel in her game to boss some authority on the court and it’s been lacking a lot lately.

Quite amazingly her last top 10 win on the tour which wasn’t at the WTA Finals in Singapore was infact back in Cincinatti in August which was almost 7 months ago.

I’ve watched a bit of Pliskova this year and honestly it’s been flat. Usually a player who is composed and cool seems rushed and nervous and it feels like there has been a lack of a game plan in matches.

I watched Pliskova play against CiCi Bellis in Dubai and it was just messy. Credit to the American who played a strong game and dictated with her forehand finding good depth but against Kerber honestly it was a shambles.

Against the best you play to your strength even if you want any chance of keeping the score line close.

Panic settled in quite quick and match point summed it up for me…


The backhand is a little cautious, she needed to aim it more towards the tramline. Her movement coming to the net confuses me. The way the body is moving she is covering cross-court but slows down. The backhand cross court is 90% going to happen here but Pliskova got caught in two minds and didn’t look like she trusted her play.

On match point realistically it would have been more beneficial for Pliskova to go cross court with the backhand and then follow in naturally with the movement forward the backhand gives you.

I’d love to see Pliskova do well but I don’t think she is there at the moment and with how strong the field is on the WTA tour it would take something monumental but I would like to see her find some better form going into the clay which is her least favourite surface.