A 2014 ATP shot guide: Part 1 (Serve and Forehand) - UBITENNIS
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A 2014 ATP shot guide: Part 1 (Serve and Forehand)

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TENNIS ATP SHOT GUIDE – With Novak Djokovic winning the ATP Finals and Switzerland clinching their first Davis Cup the men’s season is over for 2014. Before the new season starts, at Ubitennis.com we decided to look back and select the best shots and other fundamentals of the 2014 season.

 

With Novak Djokovic winning the ATP Finals and Switzerland clinching their first Davis Cup the men’s season is over for 2014. For the start of the 2015 season tennis fans will have to wait a bit more than a month as the players first rest and then they train for the new year.

Before the new season starts, at Ubitennis.com we decided to look back and select the best shots and other fundamentals of the 2014 season. We will look at the serve, forehand, backhand, slice, volleys, passing shots, footwork, mental toughness, overall aggressiveness, overall defence and all good but no excellence. This week we will start with the serve and the forehand.

(Click here for the WTA shot guide)

Serve

1) Ivo Karlovic: the Croatian giant is the best server on tour. This season he has the record for the most aces (1185 in 64 matches, that is 18.5 aces per match) and he is 6th overall in % of first serves in (67%) and he tops the list for points won with his first serve (84%). The 35 year old is 27th in the ranking mainly thanks to his formidable serve.

John Isner2) John Isner: the american has been one of the best servers on tour for years and it is no surprise given his height (208cm). On our list he is second just behind Karlovic. In 2014 he made 989 aces in 57 matches (17.35 per match), placed 68% of first serves in, winning 79% of points and 57% with his second serve. He isn’t as deadly as others with his first serve, but his second is also a major factor

3) Milos Raonic: the Canadian is another giant who uses his height to produce massive serves. He is the third best server on tour. In 67 matches he scored 1107 aces (16.5 per match) placing him second in the list behind Karlovic. He is also second in % of points won with the first serve (83%) just behind the Croatian veteran. The reason he is behind Isner is that his second serve isn’t as effective as Isner’s.

4) Roger Federer: the Swiss legend is in our top five mainly because of his use of the serve. Unlike the other men in this list he does not go for raw power, but his strategy is based on variety and placement. In the aces list he is 9th (627 in 78 matches, 8 per match), but his strength lies in the points won with the serve, 79% with the first and 58% with his second (the most effective second serve on tour this year).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nSeL_4Wn4dw

5) Marin Cilic: the US Open champion is finally starting to get the best out of his serve. The Croatian is nearly 2m tall, but he wasn’t getting the best out of his opening shot until Goran Ivanisevic became his coach. This year things have improved, he made 744 aces in 72 matches (10.3 aces per match) winning 79% of points with the first serve. His numbers on the second serve need to improve, he is 37th in the second serve points won list with just 50% of success with his reserve serve.

Forehand

1) Rafael Nadal: he hasn’t been able to play for the entire season, but for the first half of the year his forehand was as deadly as ever. The exceptional amount of top spin he manages to give the ball makes it a very difficult shot to control for his opponents. It’s a unique shot, nobody can put as much spin as he does.

2) Roger Federer: it’s one of his best weapons, probably his best. The Swiss’ ability is to be able to vary the spin and the direction of the shots at will. Is it going to be cross-court or down-the-line? Top spin or slice? A deep ball or a drop shot? Federer as so many options that he leaves his opponents guessing.

Tomas Berdych3) Tomas Berdych: if only tennis was based on a single shot, or even two, the Czech would be a regular Major winner. Unfortunately for him it is a far more complex game than just shot making. Nevertheless Berdych has some of the best ground strokes around, particularly his forehand. Most of the winners he makes are thanks to his flat, powerful and precise forehand.

4) Marin Cilic: the US Open champion has improved significantly this year with the help of Goran Ivanisevic. His serve received a major upgrade and so did his forehand. The Croatian player is now able to hit more winners with increased power and precision and he has done so by reducing the spin he puts on the ball just enough to increase the speed without losing precision.

5) David Ferrer: for the fifth place in this list it was a tussle. Ideally I would put Del Potro, but the Argentine hasn’t played at all in 2014 so the choice was down to Djokovic, Tsonga or Ferrer. I opted for the Spaniard because it’s his main, probably only, weapon to demolish his opponents defence and it has improved significantly over time. Ferrer is able to stay at the top levels of tennis with his work ethic and his forehand, an underestimated but very effective weapon.

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Playing Clay Events After Wimbledon Was A Mistake, Says Diego Schwartzman

The former French Open semi-finalist is seeking to win his first title since March 2021 at the Tel Aviv Open this week.

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Diego Schwartzman (Roberto Dell'Olivo)

Diego Schwartzman will likely reevaluate his schedule for next year after admitting that part of his plans for this summer backfired. 

 

The world No.17 enters into the final quarter of the season with 31 wins against 22 losses on the Tour but is yet to win a title. Although he did reach back-to-back finals back in February in Argentina and Brazil. He has won two out of eight matches against top 10 opposition, defeating Stefanos Tsitsipas at the ATP Cup and Felix Auger-Aliassime in Barcelona. 

Reflecting on his performance, Schwartzman admits that his decision to return to European clay after playing at Wimbledon was a mistake. He lost his second match in Gstaad to Pablo Carreno Busta and then his first in Hamburg to Emil Ruusuvori. 

“It’s difficult to play at the same level every tournament, I’ve made a bad decision playing clay tournaments after Wimbledon, I didn’t have time to rest,” he said during his pre-tournament press conference at the Tel Aviv Open. “I paid the price and had some bad losses. But I started to feel much better in USA hard court season, lost to Stefanos Tsitsipas who reached the final in Cincinnati and to Frances Tiafoe at the US Open. Now I am feeling very good, I really love playing indoor tournaments.”

The 30-year-old has headed straight to Tel Aviv from the Laver Cup where Roger Federer played the last match of his career. Despite Schwartzman’s Team World winning the title for the first time, his only contribution to the tie saw him lose 6-1, 6-2, to Tsitsipas. 

Retirement was very much the topic of conversation during the Laver Cup with others such as Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic questioned by reporters about their plans in the sport. As for Schwartzman, he stayed coy about how much longer he would continue playing after saying in the past he might stop at the age of 33. 

“33 — is a good age to retire, isn’t it? South Americans are in different situations compared to European players. We travel too much, and sometimes we are not coming back home for 2-3 months, while Europeans can fly home every week. It’s tough,” he said. 
“As for Roger — he’s a special player, I think he is just the greatest in our sport.”

The Argentine is seeded third this week in Israel and will begin his campaign against Arthur Rinderknech who defeated qualifier Marius Copil in his opening match. 

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Laver Cup Daily Preview: Team Europe Goes for a Fifth Straight Laver Cup

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The lineup for Day 3 (twitter.com/lavercup)

Heading into Day 3, the 2022 Laver Cup is feeling extremely familiar.  Team Europe has an 8-4 advantage, and only needs two wins on Sunday to secure their fifth consecutive Laver Cup.  Team World needs to win three matches to pull off the upset and obtain their first. 

 

Sunday’s play gets underway in London at 12:00pm local time.  And each match on Sunday is worth three points.


Matteo Berrettini and Andy Murray (Team Europe) vs. Felix Auger-Aliassime and Jack Sock (Team World) – 12:00pm

Berrettini was victorious in both singles and doubles on Saturday, defeating Auger-Aliassime in singles, and teaming with Djokovic to overcome Sock and de Minaur in doubles.  So Matteo gained victories over both of his Sunday opponents on Saturday.  Murray lost to de Minaur in singles on Friday.  Andy and Jack are the most accomplished doubles players in this match, as Sock is pretty much Team World’s doubles specialist.  If he and Felix cannot pull of the victory on Sunday, it could be a pretty short day.


Novak Djokovic (Team Europe) vs. Felix Auger-Aliassime (Team World)

Like Berrettini, Djokovic won in singles and doubles on Saturday, comfortably dispatching of Tiafoe in singles.  While it was his first match in over two months, Novak showed no rust whatsoever.  Auger-Aliassime’s loss to Berrettini on Saturday will not help his confidence against the 21-time Major champion.

Novak and Felix have only played once before, and that occurred four months ago in Rome on clay.  It was a pretty tight affair, but Djokovic prevailed 7-5, 7-6(1).  And there’s not much evidence to support a different outcome on Sunday.  Novak is surely eager to re-assert his authority after missing so much of this season due to his vaccination status.


Stefanos Tsitsipas (Team Europe) vs. Frances Tiafoe (Team World) – If Necessary

Tsitsipas easily beat Diego Schwartzman on Friday, dropping just three games.  He is 3-2 against Tiafoe, and 3-1 on hard courts.  However, Frances claimed their most recent encounter, last fall in Vienna, which was also on an indoor hard court.


Casper Ruud (Team Europe) vs. Taylor Fritz (Team World) – If Necessary

Ruud defeated Sock on Friday, while Fritz defeated Norrie on Saturday.  If this match takes place, it will be their first career meeting.


The full Laver Cup schedule is here.

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Laver Cup Daily Preview: Novak Djokovic to Play Singles and Doubles on Saturday

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The lineup for Day 2 (twitter.com/lavercup)

In the wake of Roger Federer’s incredibly emotional retirement on Day 1, the focus of this event shifts to the rest of the competitors on Day 2.  And for the first time in the five-year history of the Laver Cup, Team World goes into Day 2 without a deficit.  With both Federer and Rafael Nadal replaced by alternates for Day 2 and Day 3, is this Team World’s opportunity to capture their first Laver Cup? 

 

Each day, this preview will look at all four scheduled matches, while taking an extended look at the most notable match of the day.  Saturday’s day session gets underway in London at 1:00pm local time, and the night session at 7:00pm.  And each match on Saturday is worth two points.


Matteo Berrettini (Team Europe) vs. Felix Auger-Aliassime (Team World) – 1:00pm

These two good friends have played four times, with Berrettini winning on three of those occasions.  Matteo’s wins came three years ago in the final of Stuttgart on grass, in the quarterfinals of last year’s Wimbledon, and a year ago in this event.  Auger-Aliassime’s only win occurred last summer in Cincinnati.  Matteo is coming off a quarterfinal run in New York, as well as three victories last week in Davis Cup.  Felix was upset in the second round of the US Open by Jack Draper, and went 2-1 in Davis Cup.


Cameron Norrie (Team Europe) vs. Taylor Fritz (Team World) – Second in the Day Session

Norrie was also an alternate in last year’s Laver Cup, but did not play.  Fritz was a part of Team World in 2019, when he went 1-1 in singles, defeating Dominic Thiem during Sunday’s play in a must-win match to keep his team alive.  Cam is now 45-22 on the year, while Fritz is 36-17.  Both men achieved their best-ever Major performances two months ago at Wimbledon.  They played each other just last week in Davis Cup, with Norrie prevailing after three tight sets.  Overall they have split 10 previous meetings.


Novak Djokovic (Team Europe) vs. Frances Tiafoe (Team World) – 7:00pm

Is Tiafoe ready to upset another member of “The Big Three” on Saturday?  He earned the biggest win of his career by taking out Rafael Nadal at the US Open, and defeated Nadal and Federer in doubles on Day 1 alongside Jack Sock.  Meanwhile, this will be the first match for Djokovic in over two months, since he won the Wimbledon final over Nick Kyrgios.  The unvaccinated Novak was unable to travel to North America for the hard court summer season.

Djokovic has only played seven tournaments this year, amassing a record of 23-5.  Tiafoe is 26-19, and is coming off his exciting semifinal run in New York.  Their only previous matchup was at the 2021 Australian Open, when Novak defeated Frances in four sets.  Frances is certainly the much more match-tough player on this day.  But despite his recent inactivity, Djokovic should still be considered the favorite.


Matteo Berrettini and Novak Djokovic (Team Europe) vs. Alex de Minaur and Jack Sock (Team World) – Second in the Night Session

Novak will have only a few minutes of rest ahead of this doubles match, so the length of his match with Tiafoe could impact the result here.  This will be Novak’s first time playing doubles since last year’s Davis Cup finals.  Berrettini played three doubles matches this past January at the ATP Cup, going 1-2.  De Minaur overcame Andy Murray in singles on Friday in what was a grueling contest, while Sock was defeated in singles and victorious in doubles.


The full Laver Cup schedule is here.

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