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Wimbledon 2015: Why Wawrinka is no Federer’s understudy

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TENNIS – Stan Wawrinka definitely can win Wimbledon. Why not? Roger Federer’s former understudy appears to be the best player in the current men’s game. James Beck 
Novak Djokovic still wins against almost everyone simply because he plays rope-a-dope better than anyone else. The “Flex Man” also probably moves better than almost anyone on the planet, and not just tennis players. But when Stan The Man is consistently hitting well-guided bombs with his serve and backhand, even Djokovic may not be in Wawrinka’s class. But this is grass? All the better for Wawrinka. 
STAN CONSISTENTLY OVERPOWERS OPPONENTS
Wawrinka plays with a passion. He normally shows very little emotion. He just steps up to the line and consistently  overpowers opponents. Someone with the weapons and awesome power of Marin Cilic might be able to take Wawrinka down on a perfect day such as last year’s U.S. Open triumphs. But Djokovic or Andy Murray would have to be at the top of their games to handle Wawrinka.

 

KYRGIOS MAY BE WAWRINKA’S BIGGEST OBSTACLE
Believe it or not, Nick Kyrgios may be Wawrinka’s biggest obstacle in the next few years as he chases a career Grand Slam. After all, Wawrinka is 30 years old, and a few years are about as long as anyone can expect Wawrinka to maintain his current level of play.
Kyrgios should be a factor in the men’s game for much of the next decade. As long as he maintains his carefree attitude in clutch situations.
But we all know that likely will change once the 20-year-old Australian becomes the Grand Slam champion he appears destined to become in the near future.
Wawrinka is a rare breed, probably because he waited so long to find his current level of success. He appears to be immune to pressure.
EVEN RAFA IS FEELING PRESSURE
Even Rafa Nadal is feeling pressure these days. At times, Rafa looks like the player who has won 14 Grand Slam titles. But the Spanish left-hand continues to flinch on the big point — the open-court forehand that sails long, the deft lob off a drop shot that somehow loses its way or the double doublefault that costs Nadal “on-serve.”
All of those happened in Nadal’s four-set loss to Dustin Brown’s school-yard approach to tennis. For the fourth straight year Nadal fell victim to the luck of the draw. Brown had just the right game to rock Nadal’s nerves and serves. But don’t blame Brown. Nadal did nothing to break Brown’s speed-centered rhythm. Instead, Nadal had no rhythem. He never changed tactics. Never made Brown think.
MAYBE MAC’S RIGHT: NADAL MIGHT NEED A REAL COACH
Perhaps, John McEnroe is right. It’s heartless and thankless, but maybe Rafa does need to find a real coach — a Boris Becker or a Stefan Edberg like. Someone who can really understand what’s happening on the court and what Nadal needs to do to avoid disaster.

And that starts with being aggressive. Nadal has to level out his strokes, go for more winners, and stop leaving serves and groundstrokes so shallow in the box.
The serve is a problem area. Too many second serves.
When Rafa was winning multiple Grand Slams in a year’s time, he could count on his serve in pressure situations. It was money in the bank.
THE BIG LOSSES TO TALL OPPONENTS
Maybe the loss to Dustin Brown was something of a fluke. But in hindsight the 2014 loss to Kyrgios may not be that big a deal, and even the 2012 loss to Lukas Rosol may be reasonable. Both Kyrgios and Rosol were, and still are, tremendously big hitters who like Brown had nothing to lose. All just blasted away with their huge serves, then stepped up inside the court to blast Nadal’s high-kicking groundstrokes for outright winners.
Those are the losses, along with the 2013 Wimbledon loss to Steve Darcis (who?), that have defined the last four years for Nadal. Never mind the fact that Nadal has won four Grand Slam titles in that time — the same number as Djokovic; and as many as Federer, Cilic and Murray combined in the last four years. Three of Nadal’s last four conquerors at Wimbledon also fit the same description as Nadal’s 2009 conqueror, Robin Soderling. Rosol, Kyrgios and Brown are all 6-4 or taller, just like Soderling.
REMEMBER 2010
So, maybe the world is being a little harsh on Rafa Nadal. The skepticism is out of line.
Nadal just turned 29 years old. Washed up? Don’t count on it. He remains as talented as anyone in the men’s game. Remember 2010? The skeptics already had written Nadal’s tennis epitaph when he won the first of three straight Grand Slams in 2010.
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James Beck is the long-time tennis columnist for the Charleston (S.C.) Post and Courier newspaper. He can be reached at Jamesbecktennis@gmail.com

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Kontaveit upsets Bianca Andreescu in Eastbourne

Anett Kontaveit knocked Bianca Andreescu out of Eastbourne.

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Anett Kontaveit (@ribella96 - Twitter)

The Estonian beat the Canadian on Center Court in straight sets in an hour and six minutes.

 

Anett Kontaveit only needed 66 minutes on Center Court to dispatch the world number seven and the third seed at the tournament Bianca Andreescu 6-3, 6-3 firing 16 winners while the Canadian hit 28 unforced errors.

“I thought I played a really good match today and I was consistent throughout the whole match and I feel like I kept my level up and played some good tennis”.

It was the world number 27 with the aggressive start earning the first breakpoint of the match in the opening game with a stunning forehand winner and on the following point ripped a forehand return winner to take a 1-0 lead.

The Canadian was keen to bounce back and earned her first breakpoint the following game with a backhand winner up the line and broke right back to go back on serve.

The Talinn, Estonia native once again responded by breaking right back and this time was able to consolidate the break until 3-2 when once again the Toronto native broke again to level the first set at 3-3.

Once again the Estonian broke Andreescu serve to take another lead and at 5-3 had two set points set up by a powerful backhand winner and took the first set 6-3 in 31 minutes.

The second set started with both players holding serve for the first three games until the 25 year old earned three more breakpoints and got the first break of the set.

After that it went back on serve until 4-2 when the Canadian once again had two chances to go back on serve and she broke when the Estonian struggled with her serve.

Again the resiliency and the determination of the Estonian kept her going and she broke right back the following game and served out the match. In her post match press conference she was asked how she was able to keep bouncing back in the face of adveristy.

“I think I am a pretty good returner and she is as well so sometimes it’s difficult when the other person so consistent hitting deep returns off your serve so I just tried to stay with it especially in the second set and she never gives up so I had to keep playing and be ready for it”.

Kontaveit will now face the Swiss player Viktorija Golubic who pulled off another upset beating the number six seed and fellow Swiss player Belinda Bencic.

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PTPA Outline Vision After Appointing Executive Director And Advisory Board

The PTPA has announced a new executive director and advisory board.

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The Professional Tennis Players Association has outlined their vision for the future after appointing an advisory board and an executive director.

 

Vasek Pospisil made the announcement last night as he and Novak Djokovic look to secure a legitimate players voice at the tennis political table.

In the main core of the statement they announced the make-up of the PTPA’s backroom board, “PTPA co-founders Vasek Pospisil and Novak Djokovic have named Adam Larry executive director, enlisted Carrie Gerlach Cecil to lead Brand and Communications and appointed Bill Ackman, Michael Hirshfeld, Rebecca Macdonald, Katarina Pijetlovic and Anton Rabie to its Advisory Board,” the statement read.

“Created by the players for the players, the PTPA is an integrated association for professional tennis players. The PTPA movement is uniting and mobilizing tennis players in order to create transparency and fairness throughout decision-making in professional tennis.”

The move is an interesting one as up until now it was a mystery as to what the PTPA’s strategy was and who was involved so far with there being no idea from the ATP or WTA’s side what the PTPA was trying to achieve.

Now there is an advisory board there may be sharp movement and progress made into how the PTPA can secure more player-related decisions in Tennis and ensure that there is a level playing-field in terms of decisions affecting the players.

In the statement Vasek Pospisil, Novak Djokovic and new executive director Adam Larry all gave strong hints about the PTPA’s future vision as they look to challenge the establishment in providing change for tennis.

“With the establishment of our advisory board, our branding and communications team and the appointment of Adam Larry as executive director, we have taken one step closer to toward our goal of facilitating a fair and sustainable competitive environment for tennis players today, and for generations to come,” Pospisil said.

“We are working toward growth to help all players, not just the top 100, to make sustainable livelihoods and have their rights protected on and off the court. From top to bottom, we must use our collective voices to help players today and tomorrow,” stated world number one Novak Djokovic.

“The PTPA wants to work with all of the tennis governing bodies to inspire collective reform to better the sport,” new executive director Adam Larry claimed.

What comes next for the PTPA nobody knows but this new board means that business is expected to pick up very quickly in the latest twist in the political tennis game.

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Novak Djokovic Confirmed For Olympics But Del Potro Pulls Out After Medical Advice

The Serbian will be bidding to win gold in Tokyo later this year for the first time in his career.

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This year’s Olympic tennis tournament has been given a boost after officials confirmed world No.1 Novak Djokovic will be playing at the Games.

 

The 19-time Grand Slam champion had been contemplating whether to play at the event or not amid ongoing COVID-19 conditions. Djokovic previously said he would reconsider travelling to Tokyo if fans weren’t allowed to attend. Since that comment, organisers have given the green light for up to 10,000 domestic fans to attend Olympic venues. Although foreign fans are banned from attending this year due to the pandemic.

Amid questions over Djokovic’s participation, the Serbian Tennis Federation has told Sportski Zurnal that he has pledged to play. It will be the fourth time the 34-year-old has represented his country in the Olympics. So far in his career, Djokovic has only won one medal which was bronze back in 2008. He also finished fourth in 2012.

“Novak has confirmed his desire to participate in the Olympic Games and we have already sent a list with his name on it to the Olympic Committee of Serbia. It will be forwarded from there,” the Tennis federation told Sportski Zurnal.

As it currently stands Djokovic is on course to achieve the calendar ‘golden slam.’ A rare achievement where a player wins all four Grand Slam titles, as well as the Olympics, within the same year. In singles competition the only person to have ever achieved this was Stefi Graf back in 1988.

“Everything is possible, and I did put myself in a good position to go for the Golden Slam,” Djokovic said after winning the French Open
“But, you know, I was in this position in 2016 as well. It ended up in a third-round loss in Wimbledon. This year we have only two weeks between the first round of Wimbledon and the finals here, which is not ideal because you go from really two completely different surfaces, trying to make that transition as smooth as possible, as quickly and efficiently as possible.
“So obviously I will enjoy this win and then think about Wimbledon in a few days’ time. I don’t have an issue to say that I’m going for the title in Wimbledon. Of course, I am.”

Del Potro’s comeback delayed again

There is less positive news for Juan Martin del Potro, who was the player who beat Djokovic to win a bronze medal back in 2012. The Argentine hasn’t played a competitive match on the Tour since June 2019 due to a troublesome knee injury. Back in March the former US Open champion said playing at the Olympics again was motivating him during his rehabilitation.

However, since then progress has been slower than what Del Potro would have liked. As a result, he has been advised not to play in the event and continue his recovery.

Delpo won’t be able to play the Olympics Games. The knee rehab is going well according to the doctor’s plan but he suggested Juan Martin to go on with his rehab process and training, and skip Tokyo 2020,” a statement from Del Potro’s communication team reads.

Since 2010, the former world No.3 and two-time Olympic medallist has undergone eight surgeries.One on his right wrist, three on his left wrist and four on his knee. He has won a total of 22 ATP titles so far in his career.

The Olympic Tennis event will start on July 24th at the Ariake Coliseum.

RELATED STORY: Why Are So Many Tennis Players Skipping The Olympics?

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