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.
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.
2) 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).
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.
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.
3) 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.
French Open Crowd Crossed The Line, Says Frustrated Alex de Minaur
The Australian explains why he wasn’t entirely happy with the atmosphere in the French capital.
Alex de Minaur didn’t hide his irritation with fans at Roland Garros following his shock exit from the tournament on Tuesday.
The 19th seed fell to home player Hugo Gaston in a five-set epic that lasted more than four hours. De Minaur had a 3-0 lead in the decisive set but ended up losing 4-6, 6-2, 6-3, 0-6, 7-6(10-4) to the world No.74. He has now lost in the first round of the French Open in four out of six appearances.
During the match De Minaur had to contend with a boisterous crowd who were cheering on Gaston. He faced some booing and jeering from those in the stands which the world No.20 was not happy about.
“I think there is a difference between a great atmosphere and supporting your fellow countrymen, which is completely fine and it’s great. I’m sure for him was an amazing atmosphere, he enjoyed every second of it.” De Minaur said afterwards.
“But there is a line that, when I’m getting told things by people in the crowd, making eye contact with me after I hit a double fault, I think there is a certain line that needs to be kind of looked at.”
“Good on him (Gaston) for playing a great match in front of his home crowd and being able to feed off that, and you know, having a moment that I’m sure he won’t forget.”
De Minaur refused to go into what exactly was being said to him from certain members of the crowd but insisted that he was not being intimidated by what was occurring on the court. Towards the end of the match a series of unforced errors, including double faults, costed him dearly.
“I’m pretty sure I dealt with it pretty well, all things considering,” he said. “I was in the moment. I was in the heat of the moment battling out there. It felt like kind of an away Davis Cup match, and I thrive on that. It was a lot sometimes and sometimes you do your best to focus on playing a tennis match. There are outside factors that you do your best to control.“
Heading into Paris, De Minaur had shown encouraging results on the clay with semi-final runs to tournaments in Barcelona and Lyon. He also reached the third round in Rome and took a set off Andrey Rublev when they clashed in Monte Carlo.
Given those recent results on the Tour, it is clear that the latest defeat is one that will sit with him for a while.
“Ideally, I will sleep tonight and I will forget all about it, but I have a feeling that won’t be the case,” de Minaur admits.
“It’s disappointing, as everything is, it is what it is. It’s a sport that we are playing. You have your good days, your bad days. You win absolute battles; you lose absolute battles.”
As for Garon, he will face Argentine qualifier Pedro Cachin in the second round. This year’s draw is a golden opportunity for the Frenchman with him guaranteed to not play a seeded player until at least the last 16 if he makes it that far.
Novak Djokovic Opens Up About Wimbledon Points Removal
The world No.1 states that he will always support the views of his peers.
By Kingsley Elliot Kaye
In his press conference following his win over Yoshihito Nishioka at the French Open, Novak Djokovic expressed his views about the ATP decision to remove points from Wimbledon.
Negatively affected by such a decision – he will drop 2000 points – the world No.1 praised the ATP’s stance and called for players’ unity.
“I think collectively I’m glad that players got together with ATP, the governing body of the men’s tennis, and showed to the Grand Slam that when there is a mistake happening, and there was from the Wimbledon side, then we have to show that there are going to be some consequences. So I support the players, unification always. I have always done that. I will always do that.” He said.
Djokovic criticized the lack of communication between the parties involved, in particular with regard to a document of recommendation by the English Government which contained diverse options. Had it been discussed by the All England Club with ATP and players, a compromise may have been reached.
“I think it was a wrong decision. I don’t support that at all. But, you know, during these times, it’s a super sensitive subject, and anything that you decide, it’s unfortunately going to create a lot of conflict, a lot of separation instead of unification.” He continued.
Djokovic also mentioned other suggestions coming from WTA and ATP, that possibly men’s and women’s players from Belarus, Ukraine, and Russia could play together at some exhibition event during the slam or something like this and prize money could go to the victims in Ukraine. There were different ideas, but there was never really a strong communication coming from Wimbledon.
He stressed that removing the points from Wimbledon, therefore not allowing players to earn or to defend points, is a decision that affects everyone, a lose-lose situation for everyone, as he called it.
Nonetheless, the charm and prestige of Wimbledon shall rest unaltered and its meaningfulness extends far beyond: “A Grand Slam is still a Grand Slam. Wimbledon for me was always my dream tournament when I was a child. You know, I don’t look at it through the lens of points or prize money. For me, it’s something else.”
Injury-Hit Borna Coric Reacts To First Grand Slam Win In 16 Months
The Croat admits he was unsure how his shoulder would hold up in his opening match at Roland Garros.
Borna Coric said he is relieved that his body managed to hold up during his opening win at the French Open on Sunday.
The former world No.12 spent almost three hours on the court before defeating Spain’s Carlos Taberner 3-6, 6-2, 6-3, 6-1, in what was his first Grand Slam match of any kind since the 2021 Australian Open. Paris is only the seventh tournament Coric has played in since returning to the Tour following a year-long absence due to shoulder surgery. The 25-year-old is yet to win back-to-back matches this season.
“It does feel great. I didn’t know what to expect in terms of my shoulder because I’ve never been in the fourth set, fifth set (of a match) for one-and-a-half years,” said Coric.
“So it was also kind of worrying for me, I didn’t know what to expect, I didn’t know how I’m going to feel and how my whole body is going to behave in those later sets. Obviously I’ve been practicing it, but it’s really never the same.”
Impressively the Croat produced a total of 54 winners against 39 unforced errors in his latest match in the French capital. Furthermore, he won 76% of his first service points and 53% of his second.
“The last few weeks haven’t been very easy, I lost many tight matches. I mean, I was also quite happy with my tennis, but I was just losing,” he reflected.
Coric was once tipped to be the future of men’s tennis after rising quickly up the ranks at a young age. In 2014 he was the youngest player to end the season in the top 100 and a year last he was the youngest to do so in the top 50. He has recorded a total of nine wins over top five players, including Roger Federer, as well as winning two Tour titles.
In the second round at Roland Garros Coric will take on the formidable Grigor Dimitrov who has been ranked as high as third in the world. He will enter the clash as the underdog given his ongoing comeback from injury. At present Coric’s principal focus is on his body but that will change in the coming weeks.
“Until Wimbledon my health needs to come first and after Wimbledon I can kind of try to switch in my mind so I can start playing more and more tournaments. I can train more and I can focus more on the tennis rather than on my shoulder,” he explains.
Coric has reached the third round of the French Open on four previous occasions.
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