Djokovic Dispatches Nadal Easily, Joins Federer In History..Plus..Hingis Wins a Title(?!)


Novak had his eyes on the prize during his straight set victory against Rafael Nadal

Novak Djokovic had yet another meeting against Rafael Nadal in the finals of a tournament. While Nadal may have the historical advantage, this 6-3 6-3 victory did fall in line with trends.

Djokovic earned his 4th Sony Open title as he simultaneously halted Nadal’s quest for his first, and in doing so, he joined Roger Federer as the only other player to have won Indians Wells and the Sony Open back to back two different times.

Djokovic simply played better tennis than Nadal. Nothing too tricky, just better overall tennis. He had fewer unforced errors and capitalized on Nadal’s inability to hit the ball as deep in the court as he normally does. Djokovic has the conditioning and mobility to match Nadal’s strengths, and on hard court, Djokovic is now 12-7 vs. Nadal.

The match point rally was long and exciting, but Nadal’s fight during the rally merely was delaying the inevitable. Djokovic just had him beat this time around. It may have helped that he was the beneficiary of two walk-over victories during the tournament, but Nadal also experienced extra rest with his walk-over victory in the semi’s so there is nothing he can complain about besides the fact that he got outplayed.

Hingis and Lisicki

Lost in the shuffle of another Djokovic-Nadal battle was the amazing comeback of Martina Hingis and her doubles title win with her partner Sabine Lisicki. I’m a big fan of Lisicki’s game and believe that if she is able to be healthy, she is easily a Top 10 player. Hingis’ ability goes without saying, and like another Martina, Navratilova, she has proven that she can still play tennis (at least doubles) at a very high level despite her age and diminished amount of training and athleticism. That is the sign of a legendary tennis player. Congratulations to her.

 

Tennis Tips Volume II: Come To The Net!


Stefan Edberg where he flourished the most…the net.

A dying phenomenon in the game of tennis is seeing a player come to the net consistently. Over the past 15 years or so, there has been a marked decline in players coming to the net, especially compared to the “old days”, when players used to come to the net very often.

In the 90’s and early 00’s, you still had players such as Stefan Edberg and Richard Krajicek who would come to the net early and often and would continue to do so pretty much regardless of the results. That was just how they played. (Sampras often serve and volleyed, but it can be argued that it wasn’t the primary focus of his game)

Stefan Edberg and Richard Krajicek both had incredibly successful careers. Edberg won all four grand slams as a junior, and was ranked #1 in the world in both singles and doubles on the ATP tour. He finished with a winning percentage near 75% in singles, won 59 tournaments (singles and doubles combined) including 6 singles grand slam tournaments and 3 doubles grand slam tournaments. He also had 4 Davis Cup victories. He is now Roger Federer’s coach.

Krajicek didn’t quite have the success of Edberg, but he was also a serve and volley master. He got all the way up to #4 in the world rankings, had 17 career singles titles and won Wimbledon in 1996. In that tournament, he defeated former champ Michael Stich and had his landmark victory of Pete Sampras, which was in straight sets. This was Sampras’ only loss in singles at Wimbledon from 1993 until his 2001 loss to Roger Federer.

Nowadays, tennis is essentially a baseline, back court game. Players love to rally with massive top-spin and power and rely on supreme conditioning and consistency. This isn’t the best way to play and win in tennis, unless you are truly elite with these attributes of the sport.

The best way to win in tennis is not only through consistency, but also variety in the game that you play. Switching up the spins, the speed and the style of play that you use during your matches can oftentimes trump talent and athleticism and help you win a match that you may not have otherwise won. One of the most important aspects in tennis is rhythm, and switching your style up helps break your opponent’s rhythm and maybe even get in their head, affecting them for the duration of the match.

Aside from simple variety in strokes, serving and volleying, or at least coming to the net every once in a while can make all the difference in the world. Doing this can be especially effective if your opponent hasn’t demonstrated the ability to hit effective shots down the line or with general precision. If your opponent tends to just rally down the middle of the court and wait for you to make a mistake, a way to counteract it is to rush the net behind a good shot and put the pressure on them to actually beat you.

Another advantage to doing this comes when you are trying to hide your own weaknesses. If you can consistently hit decent volleys, but you may not be consistent from the baseline or have good conditioning, then coming to the net can help you overcome your deficiencies. Sure, it puts pressure on your opponent to hit great shots and keeps them off-balance, but it also can end the point quickly, which helps you save energy. This is a crucial aspect of tennis because some matches can go quite a long time and be devastating on the body. Instead of swinging for the fences to end points from the baseline to save energy, it is the better percentage play to come to the net and take your chances there.

One of my unconventional strategies that I use every once in a while is to come to the net directly behind a moon-ball. It is a deep and high bouncing shot that makes it hard for the other player to hit an offensive shot back or even see the court as well as they normally would under regular circumstances. I like to wait until I see them take their eyes off the court completely then rush the net to put the ball away.

Generally speaking though, you want to come to the net after a great serve or approach shot. Not all great shots are great to come to the net to however. Too much topspin may give the opponent enough time to get there and hit a variety of shots back that can give you trouble. Ideally, your approach shot will be hit flat and hard in the deep corner of the court, or sliced to keep the ball very low. Then you have to play the angles and read the ball quickly off their racquet so you can position yourself in the right spot to end the point on your volley. In a perfect world, your first volley should end the point.

It’s not for everyone, but even if you are not the best volleyer it definitely suits you well to come to the net every once in a while to throw your opponent off. It gets them out of their rhythm, forces them to hit better shots, saves you energy, can help hide some of your weaknesses and counter-act match-up problems you may have. With the way tennis is primarily being played, chances are you may automatically put yourself at an advantage by coming to the net just because there are so few others that do it that your opponent will probably be frazzled just at the sight of it.

 

Where We Stand At The 2014 Sony Open: Na vs Serena and A Pair of Walkovers?


Saturday (today) at 1:00

Although I am not quite sure, it seems as if what had happened in the Sony Open was completely unprecedented. The semi-finals wasn’t even played due to two walkovers.

Both Kei Nishikori and Tomas Berdych had to withdraw from the tournament due to injury before their matches even started. Very weird. We’ll get to that.

Wednesday Results

  • Li Na defeated Caroline Wozniacki 7-5; 7-5. It is clear that Wozniacki is playing some of her best tennis in recent memory, but Na is as well. She is a veteran who can out play her opponent but also out think them if her game isn’t completely on. In a big match, in big positions, Na has been proven to be able to come through. Not a surprising result in the least, but props to Wozniacki for improving so much ( she came in as just an 11 seed).
  • Cibulkova beat Radwanska in 3 sets (3-6; 7-6(7-5); 6-3). Yet another fail from Agnieszka in a big match, this time to a player younger than her.
  • I already wrote a feature article about Nishikori defeating Federer. The other match on Wednesday was Andy Murray vs. Novak Djokovic. Novak won in straights 7-5; 6-3. Lendl can only go so far.

Thursday

  • Na defeated Cibulkova in 3 sets. Dominika has to be disappointed as she came back from losing the first set to win the second set 6-2, but came up with a dud in the third in losing 3-6.
  • In a marquee match-up, Serena Williams defeated Maria Sharapova 6-4; 6-3. Serena has held historical dominance over Maria, and Thursday’s match was no different. The scores were decent and respectable, but the result was far from unexpected.
  • Tomas Berdych defeated Alexandr Dolgopolov 6-4; 7-6. Yet another good run from Alexandr, but just didn’t have enough against Berdych. Tomas was hitting shots at incredible angles and was just a bit more consistent than Alexandr, which can be the difference in a 6-4; 7-6 match.
  • Rafael Nadal beat Milos Raonic in 3 sets, wining the second and third after Milos won the first 6-4. Nadal’s forehand was incredible down the stretch and Milos’ play fell off the slightest bit from his first set victory. Can’t have that happen against Nadal and expect a victory.

Friday

  • This brings us to the day of the walkover. Berdych had to withdraw from his match with Nadal due to gastroenteritis. Berdych officially pulled out of the match only an hour before the start time. I don’t think this is a conspiracy or anything, but Nadal has won their last 16 meetings over 7 years.
  • More disappointingly, Nishikori also had to withdraw, but due to a groin injury. He had to retire from a match in Delray Beach last month. He was on a roll and unfortunately couldn’t give it a go against Djokovic. “I tried to warm up and I couldn’t move” Nishikori said. “With anybody on the other side, I don’t think I could win today.” Fair enough.

The Finals

  • Saturday at 1:00 PM: Serena vs. Na. 1 vs 2 seed. Should be a great match. Despite her age, Serena is still the best when playing her best. Na isn’t the best match-up for her though…she can capitalize on errors and is usually a very consistent player.
  • Sunday: Novak vs. Rafa. Rafa has yet to win the Sony Open. No matter the outcome, both players will remain 1 and 2. $787,000 goes to the winner, and if it is Novak, he will be only the second (to Federer) to win Indian Wells and Miami back to back

Nishikori defeats Federer!


Geoff Burke- USA TODAY Sports

Boy oh boy, do I feel pretty good about my prognostication skills.

Kei Nishikori defeated Roger Federer last night, despite losing the first set and being down a break in the second. The final score was 3-6; 7-5; 6-4.

Okay, granted, I didn’t quite pick Nishikori, but I said it’d be far more likely for him to win than Murray, and that I wouldn’t necessarily be surprised if Nishikori won.

Federer ended up with 39 unforced errors and was surprisingly inefficient. Nishikori was able to hit the ball well and fight through rallies. The win actually improves Nishikori to 2-1 all time against Federer.

“Yeah, it was second time to beat him,” a low-key Nishikori said afterward. “I was hitting balls deep and striking well. And I was fighting.”

Unfortunately for Kei, it was a finals matchup. He has Novak Djokovic to play next in the semi-finals.

 

 

Junior Open Court Rates


One of our most utilized open court times is via the Junior Open Court Rate. The following is a breakdown of how it works:

  • $25/hr for members.
  • Available from Monday through Friday, all day until 5:30 PM.
  • Available Saturday and Sunday 12:00PM to Close (based on availability).
  • If you have a junior who is a member of one of our JDP programs, they are automatically members of the club and you can utilize this rate. You cannot utilize this rate if you have a junior who is a member and you are not, and they are not with you to play at the time that you come in. If you are playing with them then that is fine.

Call in for more information if you want clarification on anything.

Updates from the 2014 Sony Open in Miami (Sunday-Tuesday)


Here are results from Sunday, Monday and Tuesday as well as what is slated for today:

Sunday

Women

  • Perhaps the most interesting match result was Caroline Wozniacki defeating Sloane Stephens in the manner that she did. 6-1;6-0. Shocking really. I was expecting a tough battle resulting in a close Sloane victory, but that was far from the case. She was in her home territory but dropped to 6-4 on the season.
  • 2,3, and 10 seeds Na, Radwanska and Cibulkova all advanced in straight sets.
  • 29th seeded Venus Williams also won, albeit barely, in her match against the Australian Casey Dellacqua. The final score was 6-4;5-7;6-4. It was good to see Venus pull out the victory, but the close result shouldn’t necessarily be a surprise. Though she is a relatively unheralded player, Dellacqua took Venus to a second set tie-break in the 2010 Australian Open, when Venus was a far better player than she is now.

Men

  • Jo-Willy ended up prevailing over Marcos Baghdatis in a wild 3 set match. He ended up winning 4-6; 7-6(8-6); 7-5. Definitely a gritty victory for Tsonga against a crafty veteran player.
  • Ferrer, Murray and Federer all advanced easily in straights.
  • “Little Fed”, Grigor Dimitrov lost 6-7, 5-7 to Kei Nishikori. Obviously a tough match. I plan on doing a write-up on Dimitrov in the future. I think it could be argued that he has the most potential of any young player on tour.

Monday

Women

  • Na, Radwanska, Cibulkova and Wozniacki all advanced again. Cibulkova defeated Venus in 3 sets, with Venus winning the second set 7-5 after losing 6-1 in the first. She was vanquished 6-3 in the third.
  • Sharapova, Kvitova and Kerber all won in three set matches.
  • Sharapova lost the first set but won the next two against Kirsten Flipkens of Belgium.
  • Kvitova beat the famous Ana Ivanovic with a double bagel in sets 2 and 3 despite losing the first set 6-3. Needless to say, that is a bit of a weird score.
  • Kerber beat Makarova in an up and down match 6-4;1-6; 6-3.
  • Serena Williams won in an easy fashion, beating fellow American Coco Vandeweghe 6-3;6-1. Serena looked very strong.

Men

  • 1st seeded Nadal and 3rd seeded Wawrinka won their matches in straights. While Nadal only lost one game against the Uzbeki Istomin, Wawrinka won a tight one 7-5;6-4.
  • The day went by “the chalk” as all players with the higher seed earned passage to the next round. The list included: Berdych, Becker, Isner, Raonic, Fognini and Dolgopolov. Dolgopolov had the toughest match, winning 7-5 in a third set tiebreak.

Tuesday

Women

  • Maria Sharapova defeated Petra Kvitova 7-5; 6-1 and Serena Williams beat Kerber 6-2; 6-2. Serena has been playing some of her best tennis in recent history this tournament.

Men

This was, perhaps, one of the best days of tennis in a long time. Marquee match-ups across the board. I wish I could’ve attended.

  • The Ukrainian Dolgopolov upset Stan Wawrinka in three sets, winning the third 6-1. As mentioned in an article earlier, it seems as if Dolgopolov is playing some of his most motivated tennis ever and is successfully riding the wave of emotion and keeping the momentum going. His decisive victory over Stan definitely looks good on his resume.
  • Milos Raonic beat Benjamin Becker 6-3; 6-4. Although Raonic was seeded 12th to Becker’s 8th, I wouldn’t go as far as to say that it was an upset.
  • Tomas Berdych defeated John Isner 6-3; 7-5. More of the same for Isner. He has a tough time against a player with a consistent serve and a good return game, particularly veterans who don’t get down on themselves if they don’t have success early against him.
  • Kei Nishikori eliminated David Ferrer in one of the closest matches possible. He won 7-6 (9-7); 3-6; 7-6 (11-9). Wow. I feel a bit bad for Ferrer, who actually won more game than Nishikori and lost in tight tiebreaks..but I am also impressed with Nishikori to earn a victory in this manner against one of the toughest players on tour.
  • Nadal, Federer and Djokovic all won in straight sets. Nadal and Federer both had an easy time Fognini and Gasquet, but Djokovic beat Tommy Robredo in a fairly well contested 6-3; 7-5 victory.
  • Maybe the biggest surprise outside of the Dolgopolov upset was the way Murray dispatched Tsonga. 6-4; 6-1. The Frenchman played terribly in the second set.

Wednesday Matches

  • Radwanska and Cibulkova are currently battling it out early in the third set. Radwanska won the first set 6-3 and lost the second 7-5.
  • Li Na vs. Wozniacki is also on the docket. I’d be shocked if Na lost, but, on the other hand, Wozniacki has been playing very well in Miami.
  • Andy Murray is to face Novak Djokovic and Kei Nishikori is going up against Roger Federer. I’d expect Djokovic and Federer to advance obviously…but for some reason, if I had to pick an upset, I’d take Nishikori instead of Murray to win. Nishikori is coming off of two very tough matches, but is only 24 and has the legs to bounce back quick. He is having a great year, with one tournament victory and a sparkling overall record. One of the few blemishes is a loss to Nadal at the Australian, but it took everything it could out of Nadal. The final score of that match was 7-6 (7-3); 7-5; 6-5 (ret).

Sony Open Tournament in Miami 2014


Although this tournament is a bit less heralded than Indian Wells, it is yet and still another big one with prize money totaling near $5,000,000 while being a part of the Masters Series.

Pretty much all of the top guys are playing in the tournament. Nadal, Djokovic, Federer, Murray, Ferrer, Berdych, Isner and Wawrinka (as well as others).

In the “others” category, Jo Willy Tsonga is battling on the court with Marcos Baghdatis. Baghdatis won the first set 6-4. The second went to a tiebreaker in which Tsonga double faulted at 6-5 and set point, but pulled it out 8-6. Tsonga is 4-0 career against Marcos, so the loss would be disappointing, especially with Marcos being ranked in the mid 100’s.

Robredo vs Benneteau is also slated to play soon. They are currently in warm-ups. Should be a nice, quality match to watch. Benneteau has momentum, but it is always entertaining to watch a Spaniard and Frenchmen to go at it on the tennis court.

Federer, Ferrer and Murray are also scheduled to play today (Sunday).

Yesterday, Nadal beat Hewitt, Raonic beat Sock (4 and 6), Wawrinka won in 3 tough sets, Isner beat Donald Young after losing a first set tiebreak to him and Dolgopolov advanced by beating the ancient Jarkko Nieminen. Jarkko is 32 but it seems like he has been around forever. Monfils and Cilic were eliminated.

On the women’s side, Serena survived a tough match against Caroline Garcia of France (6-4;4-6;6-4). Sam Stosur lost (7-5;5-7;5-7) to 22 year old American Coco Vendeweghe. Sharapova and Ivanovic advanced while Sabine Lisicki had to default.

I’ll update the results later tonight or tomorrow.

Good Luck To All The High School Teams


Beginning in October, we have had a variety of special group lessons set up for high school tennis programs, including Newington High School, Plainville High School, Wethersfield High School, Watkinson High School, Southington High School and Conard High School.

We sincerely appreciate the effort the players have put forth throughout the course of the lessons and each of the instructors involved have taken much pleasure in seeing such improvement in all facets of the game in such a short period of time.

We would like to wish all of those who came in good luck in the upcoming season.There was a very high level of skill displayed and we hope that it will continue and translate into victories during the season. We have confidence that there were conference tournament champions and potentially a state tournament champion at our club during these group lessons. We’re rooting for you.

Special mention goes out to the Plainville Boys Team, which will be participating in tennis for the first time since 2003. You guys are making history and have the chance to begin a legacy at your school. No matter what happens, stick with it and hang in there.

Tennis Tip Volume I: Visualization


Every now then, the Tennis Center will put up some tennis tips that could be able to help your mental and physical performance on the courts. Consider this the first installment.

Visualization

Mark McGwire leads the major leagues in home runs, and in blank stares. Visualization, he calls it. Before each at-bat McGwire will imagine the pitcher throwing the baseball. He will imagine how the pitch will move, maybe a fastball or a curveball, and he will imagine smashing the ball with his Paul Bunyan swing.

New York Times, 1998

  • It is more than just a buzz word spoken by motivational speakers across the globe. If done correctly, visualization can help you in pre-match prep as well as before or during any set, game, or point in a match (depending on how much you decide to employ this).
  • Envisioning yourself doing something on the court, while in deep focus for a sustained amount of time before you step foot on the court, helps you to stay calm and feel confident as well as assist the physical aspect of the sport by performing a bit of a reverse direction in the muscle memory phenomenon and help you execute the strategies, tactics and shots that you previously envisioned executing in specific situations.
  • It is also important to keep in mind that you are not playing against yourself, so visualizing some of your opponent’s play beforehand to the degree that you know them as a player will truly make this endeavor successful.
  • Lastly, the key to making this all work is to do this with a clear, stable, mind and emotional state. I’m sure most everybody goes into a match with a base strategy, optimistically seeing every game as a potential a hold of serve or a break, and perhaps every point with some sort of pre-determined general strategy. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t…but I can guarantee you that it is more likely to contribute positively to your play if it is well thought out in a peaceful mental state. Going into a point upset about previous happenings and saying to yourself, “I’m going to go for a huge winner down the line off the serve” may work, but thinking the same thing while remaining calm is much more likely to be fruitful because you are likely to not rush the return when the serve comes around. This means you will have better footwork, better technique and are more likely to connect on the sweet spot rather than potentially just reaching for the ball and swinging for the fences out of frustration.
  • Of course, it is easier said than done, but I have had some success over time through the use of visualization, and have also seen a good deal of success of others through visualization. It also translates to many (if not all) sports, and perhaps other facets of your life as well.

Finals Results of Indian Wells 2014: An Italian Surprise and a Predictably Tight Djokovic Victory


One of the premier tennis tournaments of the year finished with some superb play, at least by 3 of the final 4.

Pennetta Beats Radwanska

Image

(Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

On the Women’s side of things, the 20th seeded Flavia Pennetta upended 2nd seeded Agnieszka Radwanska in a surprisingly easy 6-2;6-1 victory.

The 32 year old had a simply magnificent tournament, beating Sloan Stephens, Li Na and Radwanska in consecutive matches to claim her tenth career title and first of the new year. “At this tournament last year, I was thinking I could not play anymore,” Pennetta said. “After so many years working hard this is the best. Didn’t expect it the beginning of the week being in the final, and here I am holding the trophy.”

Radwanska was battling injuries but was simply outplayed. The injuries aren’t a valid excuse for her loss, though it is fair to say it would have probably been a bit more competitive had she had been completely healthy. In any event, Radwanska failed to earn her 14th career title.

Djokovic vs. Federer

Image

(Photo: Jayne Kamin-Oncea, USA TODAY Sports)

On the Men’s side, Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer battled in yet another tight and extremely polished match.

As written in the preview article, all signs seemed to indicate a tough fight between the two was on the way, and that it indeed was what happened. Like many of their recent matches, there was a split set victory (with Roger winning the first set 6-3), as well as a tiebreak third set which culminated in a 7-3 finish in favor of Novak.

In classic Djokovic fashion, he rebounded from early slip-ups to rally and earn himself his third title at Indian Wells. Again, as was mentioned earlier on the site, he cannot really be counted out of a match until he loses the last point. He proved that analysis to be absolutely true. No matter how the early parts of the match goes, nine out of ten times he will recover and drastically improve his game before the end of the match.

His victory over Federer brought him one more victory away from tying up the historical record between the two by bringing his victory total to 16 compared to Fed’s 17.

Saturday’s High School Round Robin A Success!


We would just like to thank all of those who participated in the Doubles Round Robin on Saturday.

There was a great turnout of both boys and girls teams with great competition and sportsmanship shown by all. Around 30 players came by the tennis center, which was great to see.

No matter the outcomes, it was a great warm-up for the upcoming high school tennis season for everyone that played. It’s one thing to always play against the same people, but it is a completely different experience to play against people that you may not have seen before, especially right before a new season.

There was unanimously positive feedback from the players and parents who attended…and we’re sure that the complimentary pizza and refreshments didn’t hurt. The salad provided was eaten pretty thoroughly too, which was a good sign for the nutritional awareness of the region’s young and rising athletes.

Again, thank you to all that came by. We hope to see you soon in the future and good luck during the season!

Familiar Foes…Djokovic And Federer To Meet In Finals At Indian Wells


Back at it for the 33rd time..

To the surprise of few, Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer both advanced through their semifinal matches to set up the 33rd meeting between the two.

As of now, Federer has won 17 times while Djokovic has won 15 times, in one of the more even head to head match-ups between elite players in the history of pro tennis.

Roger defeated Novak in their only match thus far in 2014 3-6; 6-3; 6-2. This was in the tournament in Dubai which was played on hard court, the surface in which the upcoming finals showdown will be held on.

Going back since 2012, Djokovic is 5-3 vs. Federer with his previous 3 victories all being on hard court. Despite this, and the fact that Djokovic is 26 years old, compared to Federer’s 32, recent history indicates that the ongoing rivalry is as close as ever.

In the matches from 2012 on, 4 of their 8 matches have been decided in straight sets but all 4 have also featured set victories of 7-5 or a tiebreaker at 7-6, with one of those matches having both (Djokovic’s 2012 victory at the Barclays 7-6 (8-6); 7-5. Needless to say, it is fair to expect another tight one in Sunday’s final.

Djokovic had a bit of a tougher Semi’s match by beating John Isner 7-5; 6-7 (2-7); 6-1, while Federer dispatched the motivated Alexandr Dolgopolov in a relative breeze, winning 6-3; 6-1.

It has to be disappointing for Isner to fight so hard in the first two sets, especially after claiming a tiebreak victory in the second, to go down 1-6 in the third. What would have been a great victory for him turned into a disappointing outing in just a set. While I’m sure he feels fairly content with his performance, it still has to be tough to go into a third set against a guy like Djokovic in a Semi just to get beat 6-1. Sometimes that is how the cookie crumbles in tennis.

Dolgopolov also must be disappointed but for a different reason. He had such a great run this tournament and ended up losing pretty badly. Sure, it was against one of the all time greats and he has nothing to be ashamed about, but you’d have to imagine that Dolgopolov came into the match truly believing a victory may have been in store. It almost seemed destined that this was his tournament to win, even with all the odds stacked against him. For him to go out 3 and 1 must be heart wrenching for him, but at least he earned himself some confidence for the rest of 2014, and hopefully he continues to ride that wave of overall solid play.

Indian Wells Results and the Upcoming Matches


A great  set of matches await tennis fans

Thursday and Friday Results

  • Alexandr Dolgopolov kept his momentum rolling by earning a huge victory over Milos Raonic by winning 6-3;6-4. His run at Indian Wells has been quite impressive, and though it may still be a longshot, I wouldn’t put it past him to win the whole thing.
  • Roger Federer also kept his tournament hopes alive by beating Kevin Anderson. Anderson also had some good momentum and put up a good fight in the first set losing 7-5, but he went down in the second 6-1.
  • On Friday, Djokovic defeated Benneteau easily, 6-1;6-3.
  • Isner, in his regular fashion, barely squeaked by in two break sets against Gulbis.

Upcoming Matches

  • Novak Djokovic is set to face John Isner in the first semifinals match. Isner defeated Novak in the semis in 2012 at Indian Wells. I wouldn’t bet that history will repeat itself, but at least the precedent has been set for a potential Isner victory.
  • In the other semifinal, Federer is going up against Dolgopolov. Should be a quite interesting matchup, particularly with both playing so well at the moment. If Alexandr is to win, he is going to need all he has in his repertoire to win. Federer could win in straights easily, while if Dolgopolov is to win, it will, in all likelihood, take three sets or at least a tiebreak.

Wednesday’s Results at Indian Wells: Joker Needs 3, Federer beats Haas, Wawrinka and Murray Eliminated


What an interesting day at Indian Wells.

  • Novak Djokovic needed 3 sets to beat Marin Cilic. Cilic actually won the first set 6-1, but then lost 2 and 3 in the 2nd and 3rd sets. Joker decided to stop joking around apparently (cheesy pun). Cilic is still fairly young at 26 and had a sparkling 18-4 2014 record with 2 titles coming into Indian Wells, but he needs to truly take it to the next level and win a grand slam. He beat Tsonga and Murray in consecutive matches at a tournament in the Netherlands, but lost quite easily to Berdych in the finals. To win a grand slam, you’re often going to need 3 quality victories like that to hoist up the title. On the other hand, Djokovic cannot be counted out until he literally loses the last point of the match. Even if he looks terrible in a set, he has the ability to quickly turn it around and get a victory. All the credit in the world should go to his mental toughness and craftiness, not just his skills and conditioning.
  • In an interesting match-up of veterans, Roger Federer beat Tommy Haas 6-4, 6-4. Haas is 3 years older than Roger at 35, and somehow is ranked 12th in the world despite being only 8-7 this year, with 0 victories being against a seeded opponent in a tournament. He has been one of the biggest disappointments in recent tennis history. Granted, he has had a lot of injuries, but there was so much hype in his early career that his strokes were lauded as picture perfect with tennis coaches across the country using him as an example and trying to teach his strokes to young players. Bolletieri took him in for free at age 11 and touted his ability for years. He ended up only been an above average/pretty good tennis professional throughout his career and is near the end of the road. On the other hand, Federer’s demise may have been greatly overstated as he improved to 16-2 in the new year and already has earned about a third of his 2013 prize money. He has had a specially designed racquet added to his repertoire and has been working with slightly different grips at times, and it seems to be paying off.
  • Kevin Anderson and Milos Raonic upended Stan “The Man” Wawrinka and Andy Murray, each in tough, 3 set matches. The 17th seeded South African Anderson beat Stan 7-6 (7-1), 4-6, 6-1. Anderson is barely above .500 in win-loss throughout his career, but is 11-4 this year. The ever-talented Raonic, who turned pro in 2008 yet is only 23 years old, came back after losing the first season 4-6 to Murray by winning the 2nd and 3rd sets 7-5 and 6-3. Raonic has a huge game and is ranked 11th in the world. The only other tournament he has played in this year was the Australian, in which he ended up losing to another up and coming potential star Grigor Dimitrov 10-12 in a 4th set tiebreak. Raonic is now 4-1 this year, and could be on the verge of breaking through and winning a few big tournaments if he plays up to his potential (unlike Haas).

Other Results

  • John Isner advanced by beating Verdasco in 3.
  • Previously featured Alexandr Dolgopolov didn’t have the let-down match after beating Rafa by taking out 13th seeded Fabio Fognini in 2 fairly smooth sets. He will have to beat Raonic in order to advance, and is the lowest seeded player left in the tournament aside from Julien Benneteau.

Alexandr Dolgopolov defeats Rafa Nadal at Indian Wells


Alexandr celebrates after knocking out #1 seed Nadal

Despite losing in February in a tournament final to Rafa Nadal, Alexandr Dolgopolov prevailed in Indian Wells against Nadal after winning a third set tiebreak 7-5.

The 25 year old Ukrainian went into the meeting 0-5 against Nadal but played extremely well this time around, particularly in big moments, and earned one of his most impressive victories of his career.

Dolgopolov won the first set 6-3 and lost 3-6 in the second. He got up 5-2 in the third but it seemed as if Nadal was going to end up pulling it out after he rattled off 3 straight games to tie it up at 5-5. The 31st ranked player in the world responded to the pressure and fought off Nadal’s momentum to get to and win the third set tiebreaker 7-5.

His previous match against Nadal clearly helped his confidence going into this match. Dolgopolov played Nadal close, losing in straights, but after a 2nd set tiebreak. In addition, that match was Nadal’s to lose the whole time with it being on clay.

Dolgopolov historically is better on hard courts than clay and is also undefeated this season after winning the first set. It’s important for a young player like him to get confidence early in a match against a proven veteran and to not waver when things start to get away from him.

It is also important to prepare at an elite level, something Dolgopolov is improving at doing. He has switched back to being coached by his father, who knows his semi-unorthodox game best and practiced against a lefty thoroughly before this match with Nadal.

The dynamic of the volatile situation in his home country is also interesting to take note of. Dolgopolov put out a video with other pros Djokovic, Nadal, Monfils and Murray addressing the situation while calling for peace there. It’s speculative of course, and professional athletes are generally so focused in the moment, but it’s hard to imagine that it didn’t weigh on his mind at some point and perhaps provide a bit of extra energy and motivation. He has been playing very well in the past few tournaments he has played in.

Hopefully he can use this victory to propel himself to a very successful season. He needs to make sure that he doesn’t get too happy about this victory or he may falter against the 13th seeded Fabio Fognini, who is himself coming off a three set victory against Gael Monfils. He may also have to get through a combination of Andy Murray, Stan Wawrinka and Roger Federer just to get to the finals where Novak Djokovic may be awaiting him.

Strings and Grips


You know, a lot of players begin to over-think technique and racquet selection at times, but the case could be made that the strings and the grips you use during play just as, or more important.

Strings and Stringing

There are so many different types of strings out there, but oftentimes players just go with what others around them are getting, what is the newest fad, or just what is available and/or recommended at the local pro shop.

Sometimes trial and error is what’s necessary. It can get expensive, but first consider what the company that produced your racquet suggests to use in that racquet, and get it strung based on your playing ability.

If you have already tried that, then take your time and sift through some of the hundreds of reviews out there at your disposal and find a string that would be both good for your racquet and your playing style and then decided what tension would be best to get it strung at.

Tension is also very important…if you can generate your own power consistently, then get it strung very tight and because the racquet naturally will lose a few pounds of tension over time.

Grips

The grips you use on your strokes also have a great deal of impact on your play. Even the slightest modification could mean everything in the world and provide with more power and/or consistency.

Working with this is tricky though, especially if you are playing a lot of matches. Not only is it hard to switch grips pretty much on the fly, but even if you do and get some good results, you may find yourself reverting back to the grip that you used to use out of habit, leading to some in-match problems and inconsistency.

Work hard and take a ton of reps when you are switching the grips used on your swings, and do it in other ways than simply getting balls fed to you and using the new grip all the time. Make sure you practice alternating between forehand and backhand grip so you get used to switching your grip mid-point so you can integrate your new grip usage as best you can in match play.

A different aspect to this is over-gripping. This is not a common problem amongst the more advanced players, but some players may find improvement if they simply built up or reduced the size of the grip on their racquet. If you aren’t sure if you are using the proper size of grip, contact a person in the know or consult with the professionals at Google and maybe you will find some information that you previously weren’t aware of.

Or you can check out the images below:

High School Doubles Round Robin


This Saturday (3/15/14), we will be hosting a High School Doubles Round Robin.

The Round Robin will be open to all interested doubles teams (boys, girls and co-ed), and will be held from 4:00-6:00 PM.

Pizza and refreshments will be provided and included in your registration fee.

There are teams signed up already so sign up as soon as possible!

Call in, e-mail or register in person at the desk to ensure your team has a spot.

 

Welcome To The Newington Tennis Center!


**News as of 9/27/14**: We are set up at the Connecticut Convention Center today and tomorrow for the NBC Connecticut Health Festival. We expect to see thousands of people throughout the two days during the festival and are excited to introduce some of them to the game of tennis and to our wonderful tennis center. Come check us out and find out more information about NTC!

Also, there will now be a year-end tournament for After 8 players based on their rankings throughout the year with prizes. Call in and start playing…secure that top spot!

 

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It is with much appreciation that we welcome you to our website!

The Newington Tennis Center is a tennis center that is located right on the Newington/Wethersfield line off of the Berlin Turnpike on Prospect Street in Newington, Connecticut.

We pride ourselves on providing a home like environment for the wonderful tennis players, their families and friends, and for general tennis fans and supporters that come through our doors. We have been a staple in the community for decades and passionately serve those of all ages and abilities from throughout the state and region with friendly and personable staff off the court as well as engaging and skilled professionals on the court.

This website will not only offer its visitors with general information about the facility and its staff, but also have tennis related articles, match reviews and tips for all those interested, no matter where you live.

With the wonder of the digital age and the internet, anyone interested in sports, and tennis specifically, should keep tabs on our site for help on their game, reviews of some tournaments and big matches, as well as each player, and other entertaining tidbits and articles that may suit your fancy. We encourage any and everyone to comment on what we put up and we will be sure to respond and carry on the conversation. It could get pretty interesting when more advice and match/player reviews get posted. Again, we would love to have a back and forth with you.

And of course, if you are interested in or already are frequenting our facility, some of the information on here will be more relevant to you on a day-to-day basis.

We appreciate you for checking us out and hope to hear from and see you soon!