Nishikori got caught up in the fun and blew it!

Kei Nishikori has been on the tour for quite some time. Currently ranked at number 9 in the world the former US Open finalist from three years ago still looks a million miles away from winning a major but what does it come down to?

Kei is a talented player who has been hampered by injuries throughout his career but if you take that out of the equation you’d have to question his decision making which at times is bizarre.

I watched Kei earlier in the year against Bellucci in Rio and I remember writing about the match and the word I used in the title was ‘lost’ and in the article ‘panic’. Getting over the finishing line does seem to be an issue and we saw this against Monfils the other day.

Nishikori took the first set 7-6 and led the second and the third by a break but got caught and you’d have to say he can only blame himself. To be a major winner you have to be ruthless and he does play good tennis but it’s not effective when it matters and that isn’t down to the shot selection but the lack of ruthless instinct.

Monfils played a stunning few points at the end to win but Kei was a spectator and should have won the match at 6-3.

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Kei plays a very good shot and does the worst thing in tennis, he admires it. He stops moving like he’s waiting for a bus. Where is the ruthlessness? Never think it’s won until it is. Why not approach the net at this stage to close the rally and hopefully win the match instead he lost 5 points in a row.

If anything Nishikori got caught up in the circus of the tie-break and forgot there was a match to win.

The decision making and strategy just isn’t there right now for me and it is a shame. To think there will be no Stan, Novak and maybe no Andy in New York so you need to bring your A game!

 

ATP A&E

The last major of the year approaches. On the men’s side of the draw it is looking an episode of casualty. The injuries keep on pilling up and speculation grows day by day on who will be taking part at Flushing Meadows.

Novak Djokovic and Stan Wawrinka who both participated in last year’s final will not feature again this season and it is looking unlikely that Andy Murray will be taking part. The Brit has been suffering from a hip issue for quite some time which was evident in his loss at Wimbledon and since then has recently pulled out of Rogers Cup this week and just pulled out of Cincinnati next week.

There are also concerns over Nick Kyrgios who didn’t seem to be moving well in his defeat to Alex Zverev in Montreal last night as well as Cilic and Berdych but all are down to play next week in Cincinnati.

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Stan’s ‘battling hard’ but will he be back to defend his title in New York?

By the time the US Open begins on the 28th of August it would have been 80 days since Stan Wawrinka won a tennis match a wait of almost three months since he defeated Andy Murray in the semi-finals of the French Open.

The defending US Open champion has withdrawn from the two Masters 1000 events in Montreal and Cincinnati that lead up to the final major of the year in New York but it is looking unlikely at the moment that Stan will participate in the tournament.

In a statement he said he is battling hard to be back fit in time for the US Open with this injury bothering him for at least 6 weeks now.

The news opens up the draw even more as there will be no Novak Djokovic in New York in a few weeks time and the race is on for the defending champion to be fit for Flushing Meadows.

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Yes, the tournaments at the CitiOpen are different sizes but just respect both!

The American hard court swing is underway and one of the first stops on the calendar is Washington. As of Monday Washington host’s the CitiOpen once again a tournament which has attracted a few top 20 players however there is an issue and all I’m asking for is a bit of respect.

The men’s tournament in Washington is an ATP 500 event with prize money of $1.75 million where as the women’s event is a smaller international event with prize money of $250,000 but played simultaneously which I don’t think is fair or respectful to the women’s tournament as it doesn’t get the respect it deserves.

The women’s tournament in Washington has only been going for a few years so needs time to grow but there is an obvious bias and would I say it is slightly sexist? Yes.

They make the decision to play the tournament at the same time, they could play them a week apart to give the men and women a share of the main courts.

Let me take you back to 2015 and the main court in Washington is the Stadium Court and over the eight days of play 30 men’s matches were played on the top court, want to guess how many women’s matches? 6…

I remember I was ready to watch Makarova v Pavlyuchenkova in the semi-finals of the women’s singles but at the same time the Bryan Brothers were about to walk on Court 1 for their semi-final in the men’s doubles and the powers that be in Washington decided last minute to swap the courts…

Is that fair? No

Just show respect.

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No Novak in New York?

Former world number Novak Djokovic on Monday will fall outside the top 4 on the rankings for the first time since 2007 and is likely to slip further down the rankings over the coming months.

It is expected that Novak Djokovic will not travel to New York over the coming weeks for the US Open and on a bigger picture I’d be surprised if we will see him again this season meaning he could miss big tournaments in Canada, Paris, Beijing and of course the season ending championships in London.

Novak has been suffering with this elbow injury for quite some time and it is unsure how long it will take to recover with some saying 8-12 weeks which would take us to the end of October where no tournaments get played and preparations for London reach the final step.

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Federer proves he’s the main man once again!

12 months ago Roger Federer fell down on centre court at Wimbledon in defeat to Milos Raonic in the semi-finals unfortunately he then missed the remaining 6 months of the season but what has happened since is quite remarkable.

As you get older you are meant to slow down and the end of your career is getting closer right now he just keeps getting better.

When Roger fell last year and missed 6 months you wouldn’t blame him for potentially calling it a day especially at this point it had been a long four years without a major title but he believed, adapted and won again.

When it matters the most he is the main man on the tour this year. Melbourne, Indian Wells, Miami and now Wimbledon when he plays at these major tournaments he wins and the message he’s sent not only to the other ‘top four’ members but also to the upcoming stars on the tour is that he isn’t done yet.

I don’t think what he has achieved this year has received the credit deserved. Not only did he go and win these titles but the changes to his game. At the age of 35 he seems to be playing quicker than ever before. His service motion has been fast throughout his career but seems to race through games and still plays with elegance and flashy style which works really well though!

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Grigor Dimitrov set for his biggest challenge on grass yet!

Grigor Dimitrov lived with a label for quite some time, that label was ‘Baby Fed’ and I think it is fair to say the Bulgarian has shook it off and it’s been tough and now he faces what I’d call his biggest ever challenge against the main man Roger Federer.

Dimitrov’s game back a few years ago was likened to that of Federer’s with the way he approached many shots and when you are then labelled with the caption of the next big thing as well it can be tough.

At the beginning of the season I think it’s fair to say that Grigor was the form player on the tour winning 15 of his 16 tour matches and winning two titles and his game has definitely improved but during the clay court season it didn’t work out for him as his style of play doesn’t adapt well to some of the slow conditions on the European clay courts but on the grass the speed of the courts allows him to use his full weapons to great extent.

Back in February I wrote about Dimitrov’s game and how he uses a slice serve down the T to help himself, the flicked forehand, backhand slice and of course the one handed backhand but on these fast courts at Wimbledon he has to try and boss rallies from the baseline and the way of beginning that process is with that inside out forehand.

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You can see above Dimitrov playing it against Gasquet in Melbourne. Worst case scenario for Dimitrov going for this shot against Federer is that the former champion might be able to get a slice racket on it to pro-long points and plant that seed of doubt in rallies but also Grigor cannot afford to go to slow with the shot as if Federer times well enough he could fire that backhand down the line.

This will be tough for Grigor but I feel over 5 sets it is do-able, a good start is essential for Grigor as going down an early break could cost him once Federer gets into a rhythm it’s tough to get out of.