Stan overwhelmed Novak in every phase of game - UBITENNIS
Connect with us


Stan overwhelmed Novak in every phase of game



FRENCH OPEN – Stan is just too tough.The shorts. The striped shirt. The bearded look. The court demeanor. The carefree  look. The pure power in every aspect of his game: one-handed backhand, awesome serve, brute-force forehand. He even beat Novak Djokovic at his own game. He smothered Djokovic’s cute drop shots. He “pushed” just like Novak until it came time to win the point. He practically lived at break point against Novak’s serve. James Beck

Stan who? Wawrinka! He’s no longer Roger Federer’s understudy. He’s the man, Stan The Man. He’s the most dangerous player in men’s tennis.  Forget about a calendar Grand Slam for Novak. No career Slam either, at least for now. Even No. 1 may be in danger sooner than expected.

The ATP Tour just got a little less predictable on Sunday with Wawrinka’s 4-6, 6-4, 6-3, 6-4 domination of Djokovic in the French Open final. And that’s not even considering that Rafa Nadal may still have something to say about the immediate future of the men’s game. Don’t rule out Rafa making a difference, even as early as Wimbledon. He might have beaten Djokovic, too, if he hadn’t taken his foot off of the pedal when he fought back to 4-4 in that first set of their French quarterfinal. But Wawrinka showed Djokovic that two can play the rope-a-dope game, better known as pushing until an opening comes along.

Why waste all of those big shots just to see the ball come back from Djokovic? But 50 winners! The TV analysts couldn’t stop talking about Stan’s one-handed backhand. Only 11 of those winners were backhands. This one was almost too easy for Wawrinka. John McEnroe and crew kept saying how quickly Djokovic was going to wear out Stan. But it was the other way around. Stan was just too tough, physically and mentally for Novak.

Perhaps, it really was the one-handed backhand that did Djokovic in. Why do you think Wawrinka never showed any true weariness? The TV guys’ assertion that Djokovic was working on Stan’s legs was just TV chatter. While Djokovic spent so much energy running around backhands, Stan just simply nailed backhands. Forget what the TV odometer registered. It obviously wasn’t programmed for one-handed backhanders. Stan showed frustration only once when a drop shot return failed to carry the net. He banged the net a couple of times. Otherwise, he was all business, except the time he smiled while chatting up close with the chair umpire about a line call that the umpire ruled missed the sideline by a fraction of an inch.

That was Stan The Man, looking so pleasant and smiling within himself after having the point taken away that could have tied the ninth game of the first set at 30-all, but instead gave Djokovic double set point. Djokovic won the set a few points later, while Wawrinka won the match as well as the heart of probably millions of viewers across the globe.

Of course, this didn’t just happen on Sunday. It started at the 2013 U.S. Open when Wawrinka practically hit Djokovic off the court before losing in five sets in the semifinals. Sitting in Arthur Ashe Stadium that day, I was suddenly convinced that Stan was the player no one would want to play in the future. He could win Grand Slams, even maybe challenge for the best player in the game. Before then, I just considered Wawrinka to be wins for the likes of Djokovic, Nadal and Federer. Stan continued to achieve his potential the following January by winning the Australian Open, sending Djokovic packing in a five-set quarterfinal. He crushed Rafa on clay a few weeks ago in Rome, and then Roger Federer in Paris.

Now wearing the always elusive French crown, Wawrinka may soon be contending for a career Grand Slam himself.

James Beck is the long-time tennis columnist for the Charleston (S.C.) Post and Courier newspaper. He can be reached at

See James Beck’s Post and Courier columns at:



Carlos Alcaraz In Doubt For Madrid Open Title Defence



Carlos Alcaraz admits that he is not certain if he will be ready in time to play at next week’s Madrid Masters.

The 20-year-old is yet to play a clay tournament in Europe due to a forearm injury which ruled him out of both Monte Carlo and Barcelona. He hurt his right arm whilst training shortly before the Monte Carlo event began. 

It is the latest in a series of injury issues that has affected Alcaraz throughout his young career. Since the start of 2023, he has also been derailed by issues with his abdominal, hamstring, post-traumatic arthritis in his left hand and muscular discomfort in his spine. 

“My feeling isn’t right, but it is what it is. Now I’m fully focused on recovery and I have a little more time,” Alcaraz told reporters in Barcelona on Monday.
“My goal is to try and go to the Madrid Open, but at the moment nothing is certain. I was given specific recovery times and I’ve respected them, but I haven’t felt good. I don’t want to get ahead of myself.
“I can’t say I’ll be 100% in Madrid, but that’s my intention. We’ll train and do everything we can so that the feelings improve so I can play a match … It’s also a very special tournament for me.”

Alcaraz has won the past two editions of the Madrid Open, which is classed as a Masters 1000 event. In 2022 he defeated Alexander Zverev in the final and then 12 months later he beat Jan-Lennard Struff in the title match.

The setback comes after what has been a steady start to the year for Alcaraz who has reached the quarter-finals or better in four out of five tournaments played. He successfully defended his title in Indian Wells and then reached the semi-finals in Miami. 

Should he not play in Madrid, it is likely that the Spaniard will lose his No.2 spot to Jannik Sinner who is just over 100 points behind him in the standings. He will still have the chance to play a clay-court event before the French Open with Rome taking place early next month. 

Continue Reading


Olympic Qualification Is Not the Only Goal For French Veteran Gael Monfils



Gael Monfils (image via

Gael Monfils admits he doesn’t have too many years left on the Tour but this doesn’t mean his targets are any less ambitious. 

The 37-year-old has enjoyed a rapid rise up the rankings over the past 12 months following battles with injury. At his lowest, he was ranked 394th last May but is now in 40th position. As a result, he is closing on securing a place in the Olympic Games which is being held in his home country of France for the first time since 1924. The tennis event will be staged at Roland Garros. 

“When I was 400, I was thinking the Olympics would be great, but it’s going to be tough,” Monfils told reporters on Tuesday. 
“There are younger players playing well. If I don’t qualify, I don’t mind. It will just mean I’m very close to the ranking I want to be. That ranking will allow me to find another goal.”

Monfils is already a three-time Olympian but has never won a medal at the event. He reached the quarter-finals of the singles tournament twice in 2008 and 2016. 

Another goal of Frenchmen is the Wimbledon championships which concludes just three weeks before the Olympics begin. The proximity of these tournaments will be a challenge to all players who will be going from playing on clay to grass and then back to clay again. 

“I really want to go and play Wimbledon. I don’t have so many Wimbledons to play in the future. The Olympics is one goal, not the only goal.” Monfils states.
“My dream is of course to be part of the Olympics. I played three times at the Olympics. I’d like to be there again. But I also really want to do well in Wimbledon this year. To reach my goal, it has to be including Wimbledon.” He added. 

Monfils is currently playing at the Monte Carlo Masters where he beat Aleksandar Vukic in his opening match. In the next round, he will take on Daniil Medvedev in what will be their first meeting since 2022. He leads their head-to-head 2-1. 

Medvedev has openly spoken about his roller-coaster relationship with playing on the clay. He admits it is not his favourite surface but how much of a factor could this be in his upcoming clash with Monfils?

“Of course, it’s not his favourite one, but he’s still Daniil Medvedev, and whatever the surface, it’s always very complicated to play him,” Monfils concludes. 

Continue Reading


Matteo Berrettini wins in Marrakech displaying quality tennis



Matteo Berrettini - Marrakech 2024 (photo X @ATPTour_ES)

Matteo Berrettini defeats Roberto Carballes Baena in straight sets, 75 62, and proves that his comeback is well grounded  

If life is often considered a continuous narrative, it may be no coincidence that today Matteo Berrettini’s comeback journey intersescted Carballes Baena, a player he had faced twice in straight tournaments, Florence and Naples in October 2022, shortly before plunging into his annus horribilis, an injury-plagued 2023.

Just like resuming the story from where it was left.

Carballes Baena, the defending champion, got off to a sharper start, holding serve with ease and earning a first break point in the second game. Berrettini averted the threat by hammering down three serves but lost his service two games later.

Doubts on the Italian’s recovery from his energy-draining semifinal may have been starting to come afloat. However Berrettini broke back immediately, unsettling the Spaniard’s consistency with changes of pace and alternating lifted and sliced backhands.

The next six games neatly followed serve. Figures witness how close the match was. After 45 minutes the scoreboard read 5 games all, and stats reported 27 points apiece.

The eleventh game was to be crucial. Carballes Baena netted two forehands, while trying to hit through the Italian’s skidding spins and conceded a break point. Berrettini followed up two massive forehands with a delicate, unreachable drop shot and secured the break.

Carballes Baena was far from discouraged, and fired two forehand winners dashing to 0 40  with the Italian serving for the set.

Berrettini was lucky to save the first break point with a forehand that pinched the top of the net, and trickled over. Then he hit two winning first serves to draw even. Then again two first serves paired with their loyal forehand winner: Berrettini’s copyright gamepattern sealed a 59 minute first set.

The match seemed about to swing round at the very start of the second set when Carballes Baena had three break points and was winning all the longer rallies. Once more Berrettini got out of trouble thanks to his serve. Carballes Baena’s disappointment turned into frustration after he failed to put away two quite comfortable smashes and lost his service immediately after.  

Unforced errors were seeping into the Spaniard’s game and when Berrettini won a 16-shot rally with a stunning crosscourt forehand on the stretch and went on to grab a two-break lead, the match appeared to have taken its final twist.

Berrettini did not falter when serving for the match at 5 2, despite an unforced error on the first point. Three first serves chauffeured him to two match points.

Carballes Baena only succeeded in bravely saving the first, well steering the rally. But the 2021 Wimbledon finalist produced a massive serve out wide and joyfully lifted his arms to the sky, for a most emotional victory. It means so much to a player whose talent and career have been incessantly diminished by injuries.

It’s been a tough last couple of years” Matteo Berrettini said, holding the trophy. “Thanks to my team I was able to overcome all the tough moments my body didn’t allow me to play. I thank you and all the people that made my comeback possible: all my friends and my family, the people that were with me all the time when I was sad, injured and I didn’t think I could make it.”

Continue Reading