Andy Murray; NTC & Svitolina 🎾 Free hit? πŸ€” Washington ✈️ Toronto πŸ›¬ Cincinnati πŸ€·πŸΌβ€β™‚οΈ New York πŸ—½

Following his withdrawal from Wimbledon all eyes are on New York which is about 6 weeks away so what to expect from now until then from Andy Murray?

NTC & Svitolina

Andy was spotted at the national tennis centre in London this week and also playing there was Elina Svitolina who does reside a lot in London and the two practiced together.

Free hit?

Second half of the season is a free hit, there are no points to defend and it should be used as a chance to build up match momentum and any other positives will be a bonus but the real push should come in January.

Washington

Andy did sign up to the ATP 500 event in Washington a while back and is still down to play there in the lead up to New York. It isn’t known when Andy will head out to America however I fully expect him not to take part in Davis Cup.

Toronto

Following Washington the plan will be to head west to Toronto for the Rogers Cup where the hard courts are testing and will be the first big test ahead of US Open.

Cincinnati

There is nothing confirmed and he isn’t on entry lists for Cincinnati which is odd. It means he won’t use protected ranking but can still be offered a wildcard.

I do think it will be a last minute decision on Cincinnati depending on how he does in Toronto and doesn’t want to burn himself out.

New York

A return to Flushing Meadows to compete is the target. Andy will be on site a week before but if he doesn’t do Cincinnati I expect he will arrive early.

It’s great to see Andy back but I don’t expect him to pull up trees in New York as he hasn’t played best of five since Wimbledon last year and these conditions can be tough in New York.

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Kevin Anderson – Hard work, Injury hell, Ranking hit, Comeback, Two Grand Slam finals & No.5 in the world!

Kevin Anderson at the age of 32 is currently playing his best tennis. He has always worked hard and has done so well in moving on and making people open their minds a little bit more about players with a big serve.

There has always been a tour stereotype of players who are really tall having a big serve and being defined just by that and being called a ‘serve bot’

Kevin Anderson is for sure one of those players who has taken his game to the next level. He has improved his whole game and having that serve is a great back up if things don’t get well.

He has improved his net play, he can sometimes look a bit suspect going to the net but so can some of the best as it’s an instinct shot and added risk.

His main weapon is his forehand. The way he plays his serve and usually aims for his opponents forehand looking for that centre of the court ball but can run around the backhand to play that flat inside out but with the backhand it is good but doesn’t have longevity during rallies.

During 2016 he did suffer a injury hell and his ranking plumitted and even when he returned to the tour it took a while to find momentum and to keep going and work as hard as he has done is a credit to his character to improve. make

To have made two Grand Slam finals in the last 12 months is incredible and people will look at his path to the final and criticise because he didn’t have to play top players in certain rounds but you have to win your own matches. It’s easy to say they’ve had an easy draw but you can only win your own and not everyone else’s.

I do think he deserves a lot of credit, he’s a humble guy and now a career high of 5 in the world and is playing his best tennis and I do believe he has evolved his game and deserves respect for that.

His place to London on points accumulated this year looks confirmed but will have big points to defend in New York.

“Novak has found his mojo again” Please! He never lost it!

On June 5th Novak Djokovic was defeated at Roland Garros by Marco Cecchinato 6-3 7-6 1-6 7-6 (13-11) The Serb had chances especially in that fourth set to send it to five against the Italian who was exceptional throughout his stay in Paris.

Following the match the press conference of the year took place and Djokovic was unfairly criticised and written off. He didn’t want to go into the big press room but decided to go in a small side room with just a few journalists who made up their mind quickly.

I was seeing things saying he’s lost it, lost his mojo and was quizzed on his grass court season immediately after and in the raw emotion said he doesn’t know what he will do and it was taken literally.

I wrote a piece about this and it was unfair to write Novak off and was a disrespect to him.

Crisis? Not a chance, just a blip!

Two things I wrote about it this piece was that his frustration showed two things;

1 – he cares

2 – he expects better

I said in my Wimbledon preview do not write this man off!

He made the final of Queens and holes were picked in his game and Novak’s always had a rough ride but I think he deserves total respect and to come and win Wimbledon is fantastic for him and for the tour because he is back.

It’s a weird one as he did miss majority of last season injured but that doesn’t get spoken about like it does with other players finding their form again.

Like with all comebacks we all have opinions on how comebacks have panned out and I thought from the off it was a mistake to play in Melbourne, he didn’t look fit but fought hard. He then took a couple of months off and had this elbow issue still with R1 exits in Miami and Indian Wells.

In Rome back in May was when I thought he was moving well but the comeback is about building it back up and I have said anyone expected these players to return and pull up trees immediately need a reality check.

Back at No.10 in the world having slipped to 22 and a Grand Slam title in his hands… watch out!

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Del Potro 5-7 7-6 6-4 4-6 4-6 Nadal – the comebacks, the respect and of course the hug!

Arguably the match of the year.

Two of the tours most loved characters. Over the past year after a rough time with injury and poor form Rafael Nadal is playing some of his best ever tennis and his best tennis on grass for some time.

Juan Martin Del Potro is one of the most loved players on the tour. We thought it may not happen for him again following multiple surgeries. We hoped it would but realistically it looked glum and outside of Roger and Rafa he’s played the best tennis this year.

The match up between these two was absolutely fantastic and this photo below shows the respect each other have for the others performance but is definition of the phrase ‘you cannot give more’

hug

The hug between these two was incredible, the respect these top guys have for each other is outstanding. I cannot fault it!

These two pushed each other to their limits.

4 hours and 48 minutes they battled it out on centre court playing 341 points in total but the way they went about it was sublime and it is a shame that in tennis someone has to go home at the end of a match.

The forehands of both players are completely different but also equally brilliant. The power that Juan hits that inside out forehand was incredible to watch he hits with no regret in mind likewise with Rafa and his forehand which is one of the most aesthetically pleasing shots in tennis to watch but his backhand has also been sharp to.

The match will live on in memory for a long time and celebrates the progress these two have made after difficult times showing they are still the best on the tour and we all look forward to more of these sensational meetings!

 

 

Wimbledon Day 9 – Federer stunned 😲 Rafa reigns πŸ’ͺπŸ»πŸ‘‘Isner’s first πŸ₯‡ Novak favourite? πŸ†

Wow.

What a day that was! So, where else to begin…

Federer stunned by Anderson!

Roger Federer does not lose many matches from two sets to love up but Kevin Anderson from South Africa put on a performance of a lifetime as he took out the man who has won it eight times winning 2-6 6-7 7-5 6-4 13-11 against one of the best the sport has ever seen.

The talk will be on Roger being out but lets not forget the fearless performance Kevin put on. I said in my preview he needed to stick close early on and he didn’t but didn’t get himself down he just fought hard and the way he went toe to toe in rallies with deep returns was excellent!

Novak now favourite?

Novak Djokovic got his match done against Kei Nishikori without any major hiccup baring a set to the former US Open finalist. With Roger now out and Del Potro showing that you can push Nadal we know that Novak is a tough animal on the grass court as he is on any court on his day and over five sets for me he is favourite right now.

Rafa reigns!

A Wimbledon semi-final for Rafa. Rafa has played five semi-finals at SW19 in the past but has never lost one and it did look like being a tricky path as Del Potro took a two set to one lead before the Spaniard took a very close fourth set 6-4 followed by an even closer set 6-4 to claim the win. Commiserations for Del Potro but you feel he is at such a good level right now he can contend in Flushing Meadows in a couple of months time.

Isner creates history!

Wimbledon 2018 is John Isner’s 41st Grand Slam singles appearance. John made his first at the 2007 US Open at the age of 22 coming through college tennis now at 33 years old he has made his first semi-final appearance in a four match win against Milos Raonic who can take plenty of positives from the tournament but a match that came too soon for him.

Friday’s semi-finals will see Nadal take on Djokovic and Anderson take on Isner. Who will be in Sunday’s final? One thing we can guarantee a new finalist will be there!

Tomorrow is ladies semi-finals day as Serena Williams takes on Julia Georges and Jelena Ostapenko takes on Angelique Kerber for a place in Saturday afternoon’s final.

Wimbledon 🎾 Day 7 – Business as usual on Manic Monday! πŸ‘πŸ»

It may have been Manic Monday at Wimbledon today but it was pretty much plain sailing for the majority of players out there.

Juan Martin Del Potro up two sets to one against Gilles Simon however did not get his match over the line in time so will have to return tomorrow afternoon to do so.

Karolina Pliskova was the only surprise of the day as Kiki Bertens of the Netherlands put on a stunning performance to down the highest seed left in the competition 6-3 7-6.

That was pretty much where the manic stopped!

Serena, Roger, Rafa, Novak and Kei got through unscathed.

Kasatkina and Anderson had big fights on their hands and the runs of Donna Vekic and Ekaterina Makarova who both beat top ten seeds earlier on in the week had come to an end.

The drama of the day was around lunch time on Court 18 after a bad piece of sportsmanship by Dominika Cibulkova.

Cibulkova hit a shot which was called out, Hsieh however hit the ball which was close to the line and kept it in. Hawkeye showed that the ball was in and at 4-5 0-30 the point was wrongly given to Cibulkova giving her three set points.

Hsieh was rightly fuming as she got a play on the ball and kept the rally going which in the rules means the point should be replayed but the umpire admitted she couldn’t remember Hsieh playing the ball. Hsieh called on the referee but she couldn’t help, the referee then went to speak to Cibulkova who said she won the point and should be 0-40 and after ten minutes or so the umpire made the decision to replay the point.

With the QF’s almost set tomorrow is ladies day!

Daria Kasatkina v Angelique Kerber

Big match. Two of the top seeds left in this tournament. Angie is the highest ranked left and she has looked really impressive. Having won a couple of majors before she knows what it takes but has the ability to take it one game at a time and not get ahead of herself.

Kasatkina is an interesting one, she can at times go for broke and her weapons are her forehand and backhand but sometimes too much time is her enemy as she just lets loose but at times with less accuracy so keeping some speed and momentum will help.

Serena Williams v Camila Giorgi

Serena in a Wimbledon QF for a 13th time against Giorgi. Camila is a player who likes to go big from the baseline and dominate. Consistency has always been a big issues for her on the tour and she can be hard on herself and I just feel she will come into this fearless and will want to go toe to toe with Serena that is in her character but we all know how good Serena is in these situations.

Kiki Bertens v Julia Georges

The smile on her face said it all. Relief from Kiki after getting over the line v Karolina and she deserved it her game was beautiful to watch the way she painted those lines was exceptional.

I haven’t seen much of Julia throughout the tournament. I did see her in Birmingham and I think I described her as flat but on highlights she has looked sharp and at home.

A tough one to call…

Dominika Cibulkova v Jelena Ostapenko

This has the potential to kick off big time. Dominika is the pocket rocket who usually does find form at this time of the year when she is confident and has that spring in her footwork the flatness of the backhand and the accuracy of the forehand is undefendable as she works her way up the court.

Jelena is a character on the tour. I don’t doubt she will be at the top 10 for years to come but I still feel like something else is missing. She can have these periods where she dominates and plays faultless tennis but then those performances full of faults creep in.

Another tough one to call!

If I had to predict the semi-finals…

I’d go with;

Kerber v Cibulkova

Serena v Bertens

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Wimbledon’s show court share; a great start which petered out! πŸ‘ŽπŸ»

One of the main talking points coming into Wimbledon was equality and equal opportunities with pressure on the All England Club to have more ladies matches on the main show courts, so how did it do?

The first seven/eight days are the only ones you can pick data from, picking data from the second week once you hit the quarter finals is pointless as there are less matches which would obviously more on the show courts.

Let’s have a look…

Wimbledon share

Court 2 is there as an extra example but isn’t a major court the two top ones are centre and court 1. You can see over the first three days of the tournament that on centre and court one combined the men had 8 matches on these two courts compared to the ladies 13 matches which is amazing but don’t let it deceive you…

As the draw has got smaller as days go on less ladies matches are being put on the show courts with just 7 in three days compared to the men’s 11 matches.

However what stands out to me is Middle Monday which is also known as Manic Monday.

On Manic Monday all round four matches take place. 8 men’s and 8 women’s with all looking to book their way into the quarter finals so to have three ladies matches on the main three courts compared to six men’s is bad.

The ladies draw may have taken a hit over the course of the first week with 9 of the top 10 seeds losing but that should not discredit the women’s game at all, if anything it makes it more exciting and those ladies who are hear in the fourth round deserve it and they may not be the ‘big name’ but that doesn’t matter they deserve the big stage.

Should you praise Wimbledon for their court share? I don’t think so. Despite 24 men’s matches and 22 women’s matches on the top two courts over the first seven days there is still an obvious bias and a disrespect to the ladies draw.