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!

 

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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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All noise points towards a wildcard for Maria Sharapova at the US Open

The race to New York is on. At the end of the month Flushing Meadows will be ready for the final major of the year and one lady you can expect to be there is Maria Sharapova.

No official decision has been announced yet however all noise is pointing towards a wildcard in New York.

Sharapova was denied a wildcard to the main draw of qualifying at Roland Garros but at Wimbledon was giving one for qualifying but had to withdraw to due injury. A former champion at the US Open back in 2006 we can expect to see Maria compete.

Maria is currently taking part in the Bank of the West Classic down in Stanford this week and the US Open twitter account was very vocal about the Russian during her first round victory in Stanford.

After the match Sharapova said how she wanted to hug everyone at the match for making her return to the US one to remember which was then prompted with a reply from the US Open Twitter account which said…

“It seems like the feeling is mutual. Sharapova got a great reaction from the crowd after her match tonight”

I would be surprised if discussions haven’t been going on for a while and this would be (surely) communicated within all levels of the USTA/USOpen whether it’s directors or someone who runs the social media account.Β 

It would be a bit odd to be vocal and discussing support for Sharapova if she wasn’t to appear at Flushing Meadows.

Early signs suggest she will but we will have to wait and see.

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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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Why this former finalist might be favourite to make her mark in New York

Everyone wants to win. Many have, many still dream. Recent champions include Angie Kerber, Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova and of course Flavia Pennetta. One lady who has made the final before could be about to make her mark again and is no stranger to pleasing crowds in New York.

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This iconic picture from 2014 is Caroline Wozniacki in a nutshell. The passion, determination and fight she shows on court is second to none. Her performance against Sharapova at Flushing Meadows three years is probably my favourite performance of all time.

Wozniacki is a player who has been on the tour for so long. She has seen so much and achieved so much but what is missing from her trophy cabinet is a Grand Slam title. She’s come close in New York twice before making the final on two previous occasions and with no Serena or potentially Maria as we don’t know what will happen there it is up for grabs and the only previous champions taking part potentially this year are Angie Kerber who has been in poor form this year, Venus Williams who has made two grand slam finals this year and surprise winner from 2011 Sam Stosur.

It’s a possibility but the coming weeks are important for Wozniacki as preparations as necessary and the decision to play in Sweden this week is one I think is a great decision as she bids to find confidence and consistency going into the final major of the year.

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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