We Are Having A Doubles Tournament On May 17th! Sign Up!

On Saturday May 17th, we will be hosting an open doubles tournament here at the tennis center.

It will only be $15 dollars per person, and we will have pizza and other refreshments available free of charge. It definitely will not be single elimination, but the exact format is to be determined.

Right now, we are planning on running the tournament from 3-6 PM, but are open to suggestions and will play it by ear. Staff would be happy to stay later if players would like to hit afterwards.

We are expecting that most players that will be interested in playing will be somewhere in the 3.5-4.5 range, but are not limiting registrants to this range and will accommodate other players by having a separate division if there are enough players for it.

Call in or otherwise contact us if you are interested in playing. Hope to hear from you soon.

History Made! Nishikori Wins In Barcelona (With Video)

Kei Holds The Trophy…Credit to Sky Sports

Kei Nishikori defeated Santiago Giraldo 6-2 6-2 in the finals of the Barcelona Open becoming the first Japanese-born player to win a clay court tournament in ATP history. He is also the first non-Spaniard to win the tournament in 12 years.

Kei has been playing wonderfully and he noted in an interview that it had helped him mentally.

This title and (my run in) Miami helped my confidence, especially this week on clay. There are three big tournaments coming up in Madrid, Rome and Roland Garros so I hope I can do well and increase my (Emirates ATP Rankings) points. My next goal is to get to the Top 10.

Nishikori isn’t all that far away. By winning this tournament, Nishikori improved his ATP ranking to 12th from 17th. Kei, who has been under the tutelage of the famous Michael Chang, is now only one short of his best ranking of 11th and improved to 8-1 in the month of April. I wouldn’t rule him out of making the Semi’s in a grand-slam this year and perhaps sneaking into the finals.

U.S. Open Bus Trip Update

There are only 8 tickets remaining for our annual bus trip to the U.S. Open in Flushing Meadows. If you would like a ticket for yourself or would like to purchase multiple tickets for a friend or a group of friends, please call in as soon as you can. We always end up selling all of the tickets so do not hesitate or you might get left without.

There will be complimentary refreshments before the bus leaves. There might even be some courts available to play on after the fact if watching inspires you.

Rafael Nadal Loses Early On Clay In The Barcelona Open, Ferrer Even Earlier

Credit to Sports Illustrated

Credit to Sports Illustrated

The clay court tournament in Barcelona has provided tennis analysts and enthusiasts with much to talk about.

Right at home and on their best surfaces, both Rafael Nadal and David Ferrer suffered surprisingly early losses.

Ferrer, the two seed, lost to Teymuraz Gabashvili on Wednesday in the 2nd round, 6-4; 6-2. Gabashvili is currently ranked 55th, but has a staggeringly bad career record of 75-136. Ouch.

Nadal didn’t fare all that much better. He squeaked by fellow Spaniard Albert Ramos 7-6;6-4 in the 2nd round, won 3 and 3 in the third round vs. Ivan Dodig, but then lost to Nicholas Almagro in 3 sets. Almagro is a solid player and was seeded 6th, but it is brow-raising to see Nadal lose on clay in his backyard. Not to mention the fact that he had a 41 match win streak at the tournament.

The loss has many wondering if there is something seriously up with Rafa or if it may be the start of his downfall. I think it may be jumping the gun to say that he is on the way down…but I don’t think it is a reach to say that he will not end the season at #1.

Furthermore, I also think that his game may not age as gracefully as Federer’s has. I don’t believe it would be accurate to say that he relies on his athleticism and conditioning to win, but they have been a significant advantage he has had over competitors during his meteoric rise to the top of the sport. It definitely leaves one to wonder how the rest of his  career will play out. I expect him to remain a Top 5 caliber player for a while but it’ll be interesting to see what happens in the latter part of 2015 and in 2016.

Semi-Finals Results

Santiago Giraldo, the 65th ranked Colombian journeyman (also with a career below .500 record) took out Nicholas Almagro, 7-5; 6-3. Not sure if it more or less surprising following Almagro’s defeat of Nadal. Sometimes a big win like that can make a player lose a bit of focus in their next match against a less heralded player. Just goes to show that in tennis, if you are not playing well, there’s a chance that anybody can beat you.

Giraldo will be going up against Kei Nishikori in the finals. Nishikori defeated 9th seeded Ernests Gulbis 6-2 ; 6-4. Nishikori has been playing fantastic thus far this year and should be the overwhelming favorite to win the tournament. Giraldo should be pumped up to play for his first ever tournament victory so you never know, but I would be floored if Nishikori lost, or even if it went 3 sets.


The “Man”te Carlo Open Comes To A Close: Stan beats Roger and Some Reflections

“The Man” of Monte Carlo

Stan Beats Fed

What a victory for Stan Wawrinka. After losing the first set to his friend Roger Federer, Stan battled back for a tiebreak second set victory (7-5 in it) and finished off the match by winning 6-2.

It was a true show of graceful grit for him to come back and win. I think that him playing with Federer so often helped him stay in it mentally even more-so than he would have if he had played a Nadal or Djokovic. Sure, he is more than capable of beating them, but with all the practice and familiarity with Fed, it makes sense that it would be far easier for Stan to maintain his composure and not let the pressure of the moment get to him, especially given the fact that Federer was previously 13-1 against Stan. This makes the victory in the first all Swiss final since 2000 (Fed vs. Rosset) all the more impressive.

Some Brief Reflections

  • I don’t know what the deal is with Tsonga, but he needs some sort of mental training. His game is there, but in a big match after a let-down, he just mails in the match. He needs to read some philosophy and do some meditation and yoga. Losing 6-1 in the 3rd after losing 8-6 in the second set tiebreak is pathetic. I think he needs to drop a few pounds and step up his conditioning too. All he needs is more physical and mental endurance and he will start winning Grand Slams.
  • Milos Raonic continued his stellar play. He put up a good effort against Stan and has been reaching at least the quarters pretty consistently. He needs to add a bit more flair to his game and he could take a step up to the next level.
  • Disappointed with Grigor. He has all the potential in the world. Sure, he is still young, but if he elevated his game, he has the star power to elevate the game. By dating Sharapova, they could truly be the power couple of tennis. Then again, his proficiency with the ladies may be holding him back. The world has seen what Wozniacki has done to McIlroy and vice versa. Obviously that’s pure speculation, but the precedent has been set.

Updated Junior Development Stuff and Saturday Monte Carlo Semi-Final Results (4/19/14)

Junior Development

If you have a child that would like to join a session, it is not too late. Just because the session is underway doesn’t mean that they cannot play. You can always pay the “drop-in” rate, which varies depending on the exact program and length thereof that they would be participating in.

Monte Carlo

  • Stan The Man defeated Ferrer in straights. It is quite the surprise to me, as Ferrer is a beast on clay while Stan isn’t all that consistent on it. Furthermore, Stan’s showing in doubles with Fed was borderline embarassing. He is bouncing back like a champion should and beat Ferrer 6-1; 7-6. One has to wonder that Ferrer wasn’t mentally sharp after riding the wave of beating Nadal, or was a bit physically beat up compared to Wawrinka who had advanced to his previous match through walkover.
  • In the other semi’s match, Federer faces off yet again against Djokovic. At the moment it is 4-4 and is anyone’s match. As I wrote in the analysis of their previous showdown, smart money is on a three set match or a match with at least one 7-5 or 7-6 set (or both).

Ferrer Beats Nadal At Monte Carlo (4/18/2014)

Early this morning (as far as the U.S. is concerned), David Ferrer defeated compatriot and heavy favorite Rafael Nadal in straight sets (7-6; 6-4). Ferrer hasn’t had much success against Nadal historically (though he had won their previous meeting) but is also a very good clay court player in his own right and was well deserving of this victory.

I’m going to take credit for motivating him to play at a higher level by picking Grigor Dimitrov…that was the only reason I picked Grigor to win (haha). On a serious note, Grigor had defeated Ferrer in the last match they played together and envisioned a slip-up from Ferrer, but I was completely wrong.

Stan the Man and Federer vs. Tsonga

Wawrinka also advanced by beating Milos Raonic (7-6; 6-2).

Roger is slated to play Jo-Wily today as well. We all know that Jo-Wily at his best is a true force to be reckoned with, but the question is…which version of Jo-Wily will we see? He’s going to need his best to take out Fed.


Don’t Forget Your Make-Up Days

If you reading this and are a junior (or the parent of a junior) that is entitled to a makeup, don’t forget to inquire about when the make up can be had. Generally, it is the week after the JDP session ends.

Also, if you are on a season court and have one or more make-ups, you can make them up whenever a court is available, for the amount of time that your season court plays for.

We should have everything on record, but call us to inquire if you are not sure or want to confirm a date for your make-up.

Not Too Many Surprises In Monte Carlo Thus Far (4/16/14)

The amount of chalk remaining in the tournament reminds me of an old class-room.

Most seeded players have advanced to the third round. Mikhail Youzhny (13th Seed, lost to Andreas Seppi), Kevin Anderson (14th Seed, lost to Gael Monfils), Jerzy Janowicz (16th Seed, lost to Michael Llodra) and fan favorite Alexandr Dolgopolov (17th Seed, lost to Guillermo Garcia Lopez) are the only seeds to have lost.

That means that there are a bunch of marquee match-ups on the horizon. “Baby Fed” Dimitrov vs. David Ferrer, Stan “The Man” Wawrinka vs. Nicholas Almagro, Tommy Robredo vs. Milos Raonic and Jo Wily Tsonga vs. Fabio Fognini all look great and could conceivably go either way. Then you have the giants of Nadal, Federer and Djokovic all slated to play, which is always good T.V.


Tennis Tips Volume III: Playing Tennis Outdoors

You won’t be playing here..but you will be outdoors eventually (if not already)

Sure, one can say that “tennis is tennis”, but that isn’t a very accurate axiom as playing outdoors can be far different than playing indoors (especially in the comfortable confines of our wonderful tennis center).

It is even more important in outdoor settings to pace your energy and stay hydrated, as fatigue can become even more of a factor than it normally would. As the temperature rises, so does the importance of mastering the art of energy reservation and hydration. Even if you do not feel thirsty, get something to drink every opportunity that you have. You do not want to get caught in the middle of a long game (or pair of games) before a turnover being thirsty because it could end up costing you.

Bring all of them

Another essential part of playing outdoors is simply knowing your environment. The court can get hot and there is less uniformity to outdoor courts than there is for indoor courts. Some are going to play far faster than other and some are going to be affected by wind more than others. Be cognizant of this and prepare accordingly. In strong winds you should tailor your game a bit differently in general and especially depending on which direction of the wind you are facing. This could be the difference between victory and defeat in a close match.


More Accolades For Our Junior Teams

Our 10 and under and 14 and under junior teams have reached the districts!

It goes without saying that they have played great tennis. Hopefully it will continue and they will be successful during the high level of competition in districts and beyond.

Stay focused and don’t just be happy to be there. Play to win!


Tomas Berdych on Different Surfaces, Rain Delays and Other Pros

Found this short but interesting interview with Tomas Berdych that I thought would be helpful for people to read as the outdoor season is nearby and different surfaces will be played on much more than the past six months or so, and he also provides opinions on fellow ATP Tour players.

When you change surfaces, are there parts of your body that feel it more and which need protecting?
Yes, of course. It’s different for the movement, especially for me because I’m a tall guy and it’s more difficult. Especially the change from clay to grass, that’s the biggest change that you can feel in your body because on the grass you have to really move different and be really low, especially for me even more. That means that you feel it more in your hamstrings and lower back as well.

You have to do different exercises to be ready for this and be prepared. It goes hand in hand that as I’m tall, and you need to bend very low and bend the knees, that you use your legs more.

During a rain delay, or in instances where you’re not sure exactly when your match is going to start, how do you stay warm and match ready?
It really depends on the forecast. It’s hard to always find out how it’s going to be, but if it looks like it’s going to be a long time, you go for a complete change: stay dry, take the ankle tape off as though the match were over.

Then, when the time comes, you go through the same preparation again. If the rain is on and off, or you expect that it’s going to be much faster, I just try to stay warm, change my t-shirt, and my shorts if I’ve got really sweaty.

If it’s cold, it’s different. Like if you play in the States, it’s a lot more humid and you might get a thunderstorm. So you just really need to stay dry and warm, nothing special. Just sit there, try and find some quiet spot.

Which player on tour do you think…
Has the best footwork? Novak Djokovic
Has the greatest muscular endurance? Rafael Nadal
Is the quickest? Gael Monfils
Is the most flexible? Gael Monfils
Has the strongest core? Rafael Nadal
Has the best balance? Andy Murray

Credits to Form And Fitness Presented By COMPEED® and Kate Flory.

U.S. Open Bus Trip with the Newington Tennis Center

Every summer, we offer a bus trip to the U.S. Open from the Newington Tennis Center. A bunch of people do it every summer and it is always a great time. First, everyone meets at the tennis center for “breakfast type” refreshments then they board the bus and travel together to the U.S. Open.

Depending on availability, you can buy as many tickets as you want, so it is great for your office, family and friends. The tickets are general admission and you can choose to travel with others from the Newington Tennis Center from match to match or just wander off as long as you are in contact and don’t miss the bus (unless you have other return or NY plans).

Call the center (860-667-2261) or e-mail us at ntcstaff@sbcglobal.net and we will let you know about anything you would like to find out about. The tournament is in August, but tickets through the center often sell fairly early so if you are interested and want to reserve, contact us ASAP.


Junior Team Tennis End Of The Season Results

I just want to congratulate everyone for an outstanding season. Here’s how we did:
10’s: Ranked first and ahead by 105 games of Farmington Farms
12’s: Due to insufficient number of players we withdrew.
14’s: Ranked first ahead of Manchester by 18 games. That could change…as some teams have not yet entered all their scores yet.
18’s: Ranked second behind Farmington Valley by 30 games.
Again, let me congratulate the players and the parents for your dedication and hard work! We’ve come a long way together as a team and we will become even better in the future. Team practice will be running at the same time: Saturday 9:30 a.m. and 10 a.m. I encourage you to attend, especially high school players. The goal is to play year round, if possible.
Thank you and see you on the court!
-Byram Tamri and The Newington Tennis Center