NEW FREE 3 DVD Package
(Click here to see FREE Doug King video "Fallacy of Racquet Head Speed)
Click here to see Doug King's FREE treatise on racquet head speed and the pitfalls that can occur when club players swing the racquet and thereby sacrificing proper form and solid contact for increased racquet head speed.
The Year That Was — The Best Of Vintage 2011
Who could have predicted a player other than Rafael Nadal or Roger Federer would capture three Grand Slam titles? Or three women, including one from rising tennis power China, would win their first majors? Or for the second US Open in a row, Novak Djokovic would escape two match points to overcome Federer in a five-set semifinal thriller? Or Serena Williams, after coming back so impressively from 11 ½-month injury-illness absence, would repeat her disgraceful 2009 tirades just as her two-year probation was expiring at the US Open?
Novak Djokovic kissed a lot of tropheys last in 2011 — clearly the player of the year.
Let’s look back at this often surprising and memorable year and see if you agree with how I saw the “Bests” and “Worsts” of vintage 2011.
BEST MEN’S PLAYER — Novak Djokovic, the extroverted 24-year-old Serb, won 10 tour-level titles, highlighted by three Grand Slam championships (Australian Open, Wimbledon, US Open) and a record five ATP World Tour Masters 1000 trophies in one season. Djokovic, who had ranked No. 3 for the four previous years, ascended to No. 1 in the South African Airways ATP Rankings following Wimbledon. He opened 2011 with a 41-match winning streak, just shy of John McEnroe’s record 42-0 start in 1984, and finished with a spectacular 70-6 match record. Djokovic’s domination was further underscored by his gigantic 4,035 ranking point lead over No. 2 Rafael Nadal and his $10,995,903 singles prize money, a record for a year.
BEST WOMEN’S PLAYER — Caroline Wozniacki finished No. 1 in the highly flawed WTA rankings. Wozniacki won six tournaments mostly of modest importance but at Grand Slam events reached only the third round, fourth round, and two semis, besides losing in the round-robin stage of the season-ending WTA Championships. The real No. 1, however, is 21-year-old Petra Kvitova, a power-hitting, left-handed Czech who won Wimbledon, the WTA Championships, and four other tournaments. She also went a perfect 6-0 to lead the Czech Republic to the Fed Cup title. “I like big challenges and big crowds,” said the poised Kvitova.
Click photo: Caroline Wozniacki finished the year at No. 1 in the flawed WTA rankings but Petra Kvitova was voted "Player of the Year" by both the WTA and the ITF.
BEST MEN’S DOUBLES TEAM — American twins Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan clinched the year-end No. 1 team ranking for a record seventh time in nine years (2003, 2005−’07, 2009−’11). They claimed eight tour-level titles, including the Australian Open, Wimbledon and two ATP World Tour Masters 1000s (Monte-Carlo and Madrid), to take their team total to an Open Era record 75. They have now won at least five titles in 10 straight seasons. As individuals, they surpassed John McEnroe’s record of 270 weeks at No. 1 in the ATP Doubles Rankings on December 12.
BEST WOMEN'S DOUBLES TEAM — Katarina Srebotnik and Kveta Peschke concluded the season as the No. 1 doubles team. Having played together since the start of 2010, Srebotnik and Peschke won six doubles titles together this year, highlighted by capturing Wimbledon, a first Grand Slam doubles title for both. A close second were Americans Lisa Raymond and Liezel Huber. They captured four titles — the Rogers Cup (Toronto), the US Open, the Toray Pan Pacific Open (Tokyo) and, finally, the TEB BNP Paribas WTA Championships in Istanbul.
BEST WOMEN'S DOUBLES PLAYER — American Liezel Huber finished the 2011 season ranked doubles world No.1 for the fourth time in her career. Huber extended her total number of weeks as doubles No.1 to at least 164, through the week of January 2, 2012, thus passing former partner Cara Black and moving into second place on the all-time list, behind Martina Navratilova (237 weeks). Huber has won 48 career doubles titles, including five this season highlighted by capturing the US Open and the TEB BNP Paribas WTA Championships in Istanbul.
BEST MALE ROLE MODEL — In a new global study of more than 50,000 people in 25 countries conducted by The Reputation Institute, Roger Federer placed second in reputation as a respected, admired and trust personality, behind only former South African president Nelson Mandela.
BEST FEMALE ROLE MODEL — Venus Williams has the highest Nielsen Poll N-Score (169) which measures name and image awareness, appeal and personality attributes such as sincerity, approachability, experience, and influence.
For the seventh time in the last eight years, tour players voted Roger Federer the Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award.
BEST SPORTSMANSHIP — Fellow ATP Tour players voted Roger Federer winner of the Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award for the seventh time. He had earned the award six straight years from 2004-’09 before Rafael Nadal broke the streak last year. Nadal, Djokovic and Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi were also nominated in this category.
BEST SURVIVOR STORY — Samantha Stosur, a 27-year-old Australian who had won only two tournaments previously in her career, outlasted Nadia Petrova in the longest women’s match in US Open history in the US Open third round; she recovered from losing the longest women’s tiebreaker in Grand Slam history in the fourth round; scored a three-set semifinal victory over 93rd-ranked Angelique Kerber who had everything to gain and nothing to lose; and then endured heavily favored Serena Williams’ disgraceful antics to brilliantly win the final 6-2, 6-3.
BEST AWARDS DOMINATOR — Petra Kvitova won an impressive four awards in the year-end WTA Tour voting. The media voted the unassuming, 21-year-old Czech “Player of the Year” and “Most Improved Player.” The players voted to give her the Karen Krantzcke Sportsmanship award. And the fans voted to give Kvitova the Fan Favorite Breakthrough Player award.
BEST NEWCOMER — Irina-Camelia Begu, a 5'11" Romanian who started playing tennis at age 3, won the WTA Tour "Newcomer Of The Year" award after a breakthrough season that saw her rise from No. 214 to No. 38, finishing at No. 40. Begu reached her first two WTA finals at clay court events in Marbella and Budapest.
BEST DAVIS CUP PERFORMER — Led by superstar Rafael Nadal, Spain defeated Argentina 3-1 to win the 2011 Davis Cup by BNP Paribas World Group Final in Seville on December 2-4. This is Spain’s fifth Davis Cup title, having previously been champions in 2000, 2004 and 2008−’09. Nadal, who racked up a 6-0 Davis Cup singles record in 2011, routed Juan Monaco 6-1, 6-1, 6-2 in his first match and then clinched Spain’s Cup title by beating Juan Martin del Potro 1-6, 6-4, 6-1, 7-6 (7-0). “We gave everything, it was a very emotional victory at the end of a tough year,” Nadal told the host television broadcaster. “Winning in this way, we are very grateful to all the people of Spain. It was the best atmosphere I have experienced in my career.”
BEST LATE-SEASON SURGE — Roger Federer finished 2011 with a flourish by defeating Jo-Wilfried Tsonga to clinch a record sixth title at the season-ending Barclays ATP World Tour Finals. Federer’s 6-3, 6-7 (6-8), 6-3 victory extended his record since the US Open to 17-0 during a hot-streak that produced indoor titles in Basle, Paris and London’s O2 Arena. The 30-year-old Federer called it “the strongest finish I’ve ever had in my career.”
BEST SHOT — Down 5-3, 40-15 in the fifth set of his US Open semifinal against five-time champion Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic staved off match point by belting a spectacular forehand winner just inside the sideline off Federer’s first serve. Djokovic won 17 of the last 21 points to prevail 6-7, 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, 7-5. CBS analyst John McEnroe raved: “It’s one of the best returns ever struck. Talk about remembering a shot for the rest of his life. The crowd really erupted.”
"I’m lucky I’m alive,” said Serena Williams
WORST BRUSH WITH DEATH — “I could have died. I’m lucky I’m alive,” said Serena Williams, who arrived at the hospital in critical condition after she suffered a pulmonary embolism, a potentially fatal blood clot that had traveled to her lungs, in People magazine. On March 2, Serena underwent successful surgery.
BEST SERENA RETORT — “One of my doctors said, ‘If I were you, I wouldn’t play again.’ I said, ‘You’re not me.’ ”—Serena Williams, telling People magazine about her near-death blood clot, which requires her for at least three months to take a blood thinner, which could cause dangerous bleeding if she falls.
BEST CHINESE ACCOLADE — A Chinese newspaper editorial called Li Na’s French Open triumph, the first major singles title won by a Chinese player, “The most glorious achievement of 30-plus years of Chinese sports.”
BEST “HOW TIMES HAVE CHANGED” I — In the first women’s tournament staged in China back in 1994, future Hall of Famer Pam Shriver was supposed to play on the first day. But she didn’t play because not one ticket was sold! When Li Na defeated Francesca Schiavone in the 2011 French Open final, an estimated 116 million Chinese watched on TV.
BEST “HOW TIMES HAVE CHANGED” II — The countries represented in the season-ending Women’s Tennis Association top 5 singles rankings in 1991 were Yugoslavia, Germany, Argentina, the United States and Spain. The countries represented in the season-ending Women’s Tennis Association top 5 singles rankings in 2011 were Denmark, Czech Republic, Belarus, Russia and China.
BEST RISING TENNIS POWER — Romania boasts a steadily improving, young female sextet that keep climbing in the rankings: No. 30 Monica Niculescu (age 24), No. 40 Irina-Camelia Begu (age 21), No. 47 Simona Halep (age 20), No. 60 Sorana Cirstea (age 21), No. 66 Alexandra Dulgheru (age 22), and No. 106 Alexandra Cadantu (age 21)
.BEST INTERNATIONAL DIVERSITY — On January 31, for the first time since the inception of the WTA rankings in 1975, the top 10 players hailed from 10 different countries.
Justine Henin mourn's the end of her career, and
so do we.
BEST HENIN CONFIDENTIAL — After a persistent elbow injury forced seven-time Grand Slam winner Justine Henin to retire from tennis (for the second time) in January, the 29-year-old Belgian confided: “I regard ending my career more like a sentence that’s been handed down than a decision I’ve made. The will is there, but physically I can’t [carry on]. Now I have to mourn the end of my career.”
BEST MATCH COMEBACKS — Defending champion Francesca Schiavone trailed No. 14 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-1, 4-1 but displayed her typical never-say-die spirit and came back to win a 1-6, 7-5, 7-5 French Open quarterfinal thriller. Svetlana Kuznetsova led 7-6, 4-1 in her US Open fourth round match against top-seeded Caroline Wozniacki before the tenacious No. 1-ranked Dane defeated her in three sets. At that crucial point, ESPN analyst Chris Evert said, “Kuznetsova is playing about as good a match as I’ve ever seen her play if you take away the first two games. She’s used her head and played great strategy.”
BEST STREAK BREAKER — Jo-Wilfried Tsonga rallied to overcome six-time champion Roger Federer 3-6, 6-7, 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 in the Wimbledon quarterfinals to break Federer’s 178-match winning streak after leading opponents two sets to love.
BEST HEAD-TO-HEAD DOMINATION — Against the two greatest players of the 21st century (and some argue in history), Novak Djokovic went a perfect 6-0 against Rafael Nadal, including wins in the Wimbledon and US Open finals (plus two on clay), and 4-1 against Roger Federer.
BEST TEENAGER — Bernard Tomic, an 18-year-old Australian, has a beguiling style reminiscent of Slovakia’s Miloslav Mecir. Tomic upset No. 29 seeded Nicolay Davydenko, Igor Andreev, No. 5 seeded Robin Soderling and Xavier Malisse to reach the Wimbledon quarterfinals where eventual champion Novak Djokovic stopped him in four sets. The 6’5” qualifier thus became the first 18-year-old to make the Wimbledon quarterfinals since Boris Becker in 1986. Longtime ESPN analyst Cliff Drysdale praised Tomic, as “a tennis player’s tennis player because when you watch him you don’t quite understand his genius.”
BEST UNCOMMON MATURITY — “You have to focus on getting better and not listen to the hype.” — Madison Keys, a precocious 16-year-old wild card ranked No. 455 who lost 3-6, 7-5, 6-4 to No. 27 seed Lucie Safarova in the US Open second round, on being called “the future of American tennis” by former superstar Chris Evert.
16-year-old Madison Keys, called "the future of American tennis" by all-time great
BEST SURPRISING FACT I — In the July 4 singles rankings, there were no teenagers in either the ATP or the WTA top 50.
BEST SURPRISING FACT II — Before capturing the French Open, Li Na had not won a pro clay court tournament.
BEST MEN’S CAREER COMEBACK — Juan Martin del Potro, the 2009 US Open champion and former World No. 4, re-established himself as one of the top players on the ATP World Tour in 2011. He fell to a low of No. 485 in the South African Airways ATP Rankings this past February, after a wrist injury and surgery limited him to six matches in 2010, but climbed to No. 11 by November. The 23-year-old Argentine compiled a 48-16 match record and won two ATP World Tour titles (Estoril, Delray Beach).
BEST WOMEN’S CAREER COMEBACK — First prize goes to Germany’s unlucky Sabine Lisicki who seriously injured her ankle at the 2009 US Open and had to be carried off in a wheelchair. The injury was not correctly diagnosed, which delayed her return. Then she hurt her ankle again at Indian Wells in March 2010. Happily, smiling Sabine regained her health and playing form, and at the 2011 Wimbledon she fought off two match points with sensational serves to upset French Open champion Li Na and gain the semis. Lisicki started the year ranked No. 179 and finished it at No. 15.
BEST AGELESS MARVEL — “Physically it’s a little bit [difficult]. Young people have advantage because always I have problem for the recovery. But when I was on the court, I don’t think about the age. I just try my best. I don’t excuse my age. So, of course, I have more advantage mentally compared to other young player.” — Kimiko Date-Krumm, the oldest player on the WTA Tour at 40 years old. Date-Krumm finished the year ranked No. 100 and scored good wins over Maria Kirilenko and Gisela Dulko.
BEST NON-GRAND SLAM MATCH — Calling it “one of the best finals I ever played in my life,” Novak Djokovic outlasted Rafael Nadal 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 in brutal heat at the Sony Ericsson Open. Both competitors played terrific tennis in the deciding set to the immense pleasure of the raucous crowd that especially loved the climactic 7-4 tiebreaker.
WORST U.S. SHOWINGS — On April 4, no American appeared in the top 10 ATP singles rankings for the first time in history. On April 17 when Germany crushed the U.S. 5-0, it marked the first time in history the U.S. was knocked out of the Fed Cup top tier. No Americans reached the men’s singles and women’s singles quarterfinals at the 2011 Australian Open. None of the 18 American men and women in the French Open main singles draws advanced beyond the third round. No American woman under age 30 finished 2011 ranked among the world top 40 singles players.
BEST EUROPEAN DOMINATION — For the first time since 1913, all the ladies’ singles quarterfinalists at Wimbledon came from Europe. Fourteen European players reached the last 16, in both the men’s and women’s singles draws at the French Open.
WORST BEHAVIOR — In the last days of her two-year probation for verbally threatening a lineswoman at the 2009 US Open, Serena Williams suffered a similar mental meltdown in this year’s final. This time the combustible 13-time Grand Slam singles champion verbally abused the chair umpire who had penalized her a point for yelling “Come on!”—which violated the hindrance rule—as Samantha Stosur was about to hit the ball. To compound her misconduct, Serena was neither contrite nor apologetic afterward.
BEST AZARENKA CONTRADICTION — Victoria Azarenka, notorious for her ear-splittingly loud and prolonged shrieks, was asked about boisterous spectators in suites talking during her first-round US Open match. “As a player we would all like to have a bit of respect and quiet,” suddenly sedate Azarenka told The New York Times.
WORST SCREAM OF THE YEAR — The decibel level of Maria Sharapova’s loudest scream during her Wimbledon final against Petra Kvitova was 116, which is louder than a jackhammer.
BEST LOCKER ROOM CONFIDENTIAL — “These top players have their own physios and somewhere else that they change and eat. They’re very private. They like to preserve their aura.” —Elena Baltacha, Britain’s No. 1 player, told The Daily Telegraph that the regular players in the women’s locker room rarely see Maria Sharapova and Venus and Serena Williams except on court.
BEST ANALYSIS OF AGASSI’S APPEAL — “He was probably the most relatable superstar we’ve had more because of his pitfalls than his successes. But the kind of guy he ended up being at the end is an overall success story.” —Andy Roddick, assessing Andre Agassi, an eight-time Grand Slam champion and Olympic gold medalist who recovered from a nearly career-ending slump in 1997 and admitted he took drugs and suffered from depression in his brutally honest autobiography, OPEN.
"Monfils may be the greatest athletic specimen the game has ever seen which makes you wonder why the guy hasn't achieved more," commented 1980's superstar John McEnroe, another terrific athlete.
BEST MCENROE QUESTION ABOUT MONFILS — “Monfils may be the greatest athletic specimen the game has ever seen which makes you wonder why the guy hasn’t achieved more,” commented John McEnroe, on Gael Monfils, a mercurial 24-year-old Frenchman who was featured in a French magazine doing a one-handed headstand.
BEST PETKOVIC STRATEGY TO BEAT WOZNIACKI — “Most of the players think they can overpower Caroline. I think that’s the wrong approach, because that’s where she’s most comfortable, when she can run and bring most balls back. If you try to hit every single shot with full power, she just gets more comfortable and eventually you’re going to miss. She’s not going to miss the last one. What I tried to do: Just be patient and wait for the short ball.” —Andrea Petkovic, a 23-year-old German, revealing the strategy that helped her upset No. 1-ranked Caroline Wozniacki 7-5, 3-6, 6-3 in the Sony Ericsson Open fourth round.
BEST CLIJSTERS CONFIDENTIAL — “They’re all emotional. I think what overwhelms me is that it’s so intense up until that last shot, and then all of a sudden it’s finished. Then it’s just like a big relief. The disbelief maybe a little bit that it’s over, and that I was able to turn it around is what makes it all so special.” —Kim Clijsters, explaining her tears after she came back to beat Li Na 3-6, 6-3, 6-3 to capture her first Australian Open title and fourth Grand Slam title.
As always, we would love to hear from you! Questions, comments, personal experiences all create helpful dialogue for everyone! Please click here to send us your email.
Andy Roddick's Backhand
Christophe Delavaut takes a closer look at what many consider Andy Roddick's Achilles Heal, his two-handed backhand. Christophe breaks down the Roddick backhand and points out four flaws in his technique. He then compares Roddick's technique with some of the greatest backhands in the game. No one is more dedicated or works harder than Andy Roddick but if he is ever to get that allusive second slam, he is going to have to address this deficiency in his game.
Reaching New Plateaus — The 1 Percent Solution
For the last couple of years, Novak Djokovic fit comfortably into the number 3 or 4 slot in the ATP rankings. Then suddenly, he vaults to the top of the pile, putting together one of the greatest years in tennis history. Surprisingly enough, the changes he made to accomplish this were relatively small. Obviously we can't all play like Djokovic but we can all learn from the way he went about this transformation. Dave Smith explains how you can be like Novak and break through your own plateau.
ProStrokes 2.0 — Andrea Petkovic, Backhand
Andrea Petkovic is a Bosnian born German who has risen the #9 spot on the WTA tour this year. Andrea didn’t join the tour until 2006, the year she graduated from high school. She loves her forehand and uses it to set up points with depth, pace, and angles. She does not hit her two-handed backhand with as much authority but consistently keeps the ball deep waiting for opportunities to attack with her forehand. Her serve can be a weapon, not so much for pace but for her ability to keep serves deep and placed well. Not afraid to attack, Petkovic will follow shots to the net and she covers it well. New this issue, Petkovic's backhand.
TennisOne Writers Store
One of your many new benefits as a TennisOne membership is your ability to purchase selected instructional DVDs at 20% off ($7.50 off each) in our new TennisOne Writers Store (login in first to access members links):
- "All-Court Game and the Volley: Keys to Modern Tennis Technique," by Doug King Public – Members
- "TennisOne's Stroke Secrets: Keys to Better Groundstrokes," Public–Members
- "Building Your Serve from the Ground Up," Jim McLennan Members – Public
- "Building Your Ground Game," Jim McLennan Members – Public
- "Building a Kick Serve," Jim McLennan Members – Public
- "Underspin Backhand - Weapon," Jim McLennan Members Public
- "Achieving Peak Performance the Wholistic Way: The Mental Game," Happy Bhalla Members – Public
- "Building a World Class Serve," Phil Dent Members – Public
- "Building a World-class Volley," Dave Smith Members – Public
- "Keys to Modern Tennis Technique: One-Handed Topspin," Doug King Members Public
- "Best of Ken DeHart," Ken DeHart Members – Public
- "Corrective Techniques & Myths," Ken DeHart Members – Public
- "Defeating the Monsters in Your Mind," Ken DeHart Members – Public
- "Skills, Drills, and Games for Beginning Players," Ken DeHart Members – Public.
- "Drills for Intermediate Players," Ken DeHart Members – Public
- "Drills for Advanced Players," Ken DeHart Members – Public.
- Click here to see all the benefits of a TennisOne Membership.
- Click here to sign up for a risk-free, TennisOne 30 day free trial membership.
Copyright Notice: The contents of the TennisONE web site and contents forwarded to you by TennisONE are intended for your personal, noncommercial use. Republishing of TennisONE content in any way, including framing or posting of these materials on other Web sites, is strictly prohibited. See our full copyright statement
If you wish to be removed from our newsletter list, please click "reply" to the newsletter email, and for the subject line, write "unsubscribe." Or you can email us directly at: firstname.lastname@example.org