Doug King "Double Helix Kick/Slice Serve" Course
(Enrollment Closing Soon. Click here).
Big News in the Big Apple: The US Open 2012
It’s been a wild, windy couple of weeks. While many have mused on the virtues of a good roof, the weather did not cloud the spectacle. The world’s best met and fought, laughed and cried, and between them etched their own indelible chapter on the history of the US Open. Today, we’ll look over the biggest stories of the tournament.
Farewell to Old Friends
There comes a time in every professional tennis player’s career when the strenuous demands of training and travel become too much for mind and body. In Kim Clijsters’ case, there have been two such moments. The first time she left, in 2007, there was some sense of a job left unfinished, of a player out before her time. This time was different. The Belgian had made her historic comeback in 2009, she’d risen to the top again and done what she always knew she could do. Thus, although Clijsters might have hoped for a Sampras-style, fairytale ending to her career, it didn’t matter ultimately that she didn’t get far in the draw. What she got was the chance to say goodbye at the site of her greatest triumphs, to finish her career without regrets and with the well-wishes of the tennis public. This Agassi-style ending was fairytale enough.
Andy Roddick and Kim Clijsters, two of the greats wave goodbye for the last time.
More surprising, but equally poignant, was the announcement by Andy Roddick, on his birthday, that this too would be his last event. Buoyed by the immense support of the New York crowd, and pumped up with last-chance bravado, Roddick made an improbable run to the fourth round, where his career was finally finished by Juan-Martin Del Potro. He went out fighting and swinging freely, playing as well as he has in years, and enjoying it. In his own words he felt like he was ‘12 years old playing in a park’. It was a fitting end to a career built as much on heart as on aces.
A Face for the Future
Since winning the 2008 girl’s title at Wimbledon, Britain’s Laura Robson has felt the invasive pressure of high expectations, at least at home. Somehow, it wasn’t enough that she was the youngest player in the top 100 and had won an Olympic silver medal –when was she going to make her mark? Robson answered that question emphatically this Open.
After her run in New York, Britain's Laura Robson emerged as a future top 5 star and possible major winner.
She may have only reached the fourth round, but in her remarkable run she took out Clijsters and then Li Na, who was a favorite coming into the tournament, before falling in a well-fought contest to last year’s winner Sam Stosur. Throughout, Robson handled expectation and pressure like a champion. It’s a rare sign for such a young player, and very encouraging for her future. Many now tip her as a future top 5 star and possible major winner.
No Federer, No Nadal?
For the first time since the French Open in 2004, neither Federer nor Nadal reached the semis of a major. Some would see this as the beginning of the end for their era, but even the most remarkable run has to end sometime. Nadal was absent from the tournament through injury, and Federer was stopped by an excellent Tomas Berdych in the quarters (after having reached the semis or better for eight straight years), but both have otherwise been playing very well this year. I wouldn’t get used to their absence quite yet.
For the first time in more than eight years, neither Federer nor Nadal reached the semis of a major.
Wind, rain, evacuation
The weather was fine for a week and a half. There was some rain, sufficient to push the schedule back, but nothing too dramatic. Until, that is, the men’s semi-finals. Whipping gusts lashed the court all day, sending debris flying overhead, interfering with the microphones and even knocking over chairs, mid-point. On that last, particular occasion, everyone was able to laugh about it, but Tomas Berdych wasn’t laughing by the time he lost his semi-final against Andy Murray. The Czech had been playing consistently well all fortnight, up to and including his clean defeat over an at-times erratic Federer. Throw in a bit of wind, however, and his game began to unravel. Ironically, it was Murray’s ability to play a canny, slightly passive style – which everyone usually criticizes –that enabled him to get the better of Berdych in four sets, but the Czech will long rue the day when the wind ruined his chances.
It nearly did the same to defending champion Djokovic. The Serbian, who at his best has an odds-defying ability to scorch the baseline time and time again without spraying balls long, lost his considerable rhythm to the gusts, and David Ferrer was able to exploit it, going up 5-2 in the first set. Bad weather though, can be a fickle friend. Reports of a massive storm heading towards New York City caused the stadium to be evacuated. The next day, when they resumed, the wind had subsided. Djokovic returned to form, and won comfortably in four to progress to the final.
Serena Williams looked unstoppable in every round leading up to the final. It was rare for her to drop more than a game or two per set, so you’d have expected her to come in with extreme confidence against world number one Victoria Azarenka. Instead, however, Williams played hit-and-miss tennis, with thunderous winners being followed by cataclysmic errors. Against a brilliant defender and point constructor like Vika, this was always going to cause problems. Williams was able to take the first set comfortably, before Azarenka began to wear her down, returning the favor in the second. The third saw high drama, as the pendulum swung first to Azarenka, then back to Serena, then back again to Azarenka.
With Azarenka serving for the match, Serena found a new wind. A series of colossal strikes off the Williams racquet rattled Azarenka and snatched the momentum firmly back for the American.
Serving at 5-3, the match seemed to be hers, until Serena found a new wind. A series of colossal strikes off the Williams racquet rattled Azarenka and snatched the momentum firmly back for the American. She easily held the next game, twice denied Azarenka the chance to take it into a tie-break on the Belarussian’s serve, and claimed the championship for the fourth time on her third match point. It wasn’t the cleanest performance by any stretch, but it was a great win for a true champion.
It happened. Finally. After four years of speculation and criticism, of coming close but not close enough so many times, Andy Murray has finally won a grand slam. But, true to form, it was anything but easy. The first two sets saw both players struggling to find their best tennis, as the renewed winds threw off their games. Errors far exceeded winners for both players, but neither seemed able to pull away from the other. Nowhere was this more evident than in the desperately tense, 20 minute tie-breaker. Time and again, Murray found himself with a set point, only to throw it away, or watch Djokovic save it. The longer it went on, the more it seemed Djokovic would eventually make Murray pay for his missed opportunities, but the Scot held firm, and finally claimed it on his sixth set point.
The Big 3—Federer, Djokovic and Nadal—has clearly become the Big 4.
The Djokovic fight-back everyone expected did not happen in the second set. Instead, Murray began to cut out his errors, and stormed to an early lead. Despite a brief swing of momentum back to the Serb, Murray was able to close it out, 7-5, to go two sets to love up. Could it really be a straight sets win, over a sub-par Djokovic? Of course not. Novak may have left it late, but he was never going to go out without a fight. As the winds died down, he began to hit the lines again. For a set a half, Murray looked lost, dazed and dazzled by the ominous intensity of the Serb, and despite his best efforts was unable to prevent Djokovic from leveling the match.
At the start of the 5th set, it was Djokovic who was now the favorite, and Murray seemed on the verge of what would have surely been his most heart-breaking loss. But Djokovic had begun to tire, and Murray found a new fight. Playing some of his best tennis all tournament, Murray was able to hold off the brilliance of his opponent, and wrestle the set, the match and the championship from him, 7-6, 7-5, 2-6, 3-6, 6-2.
This tournament will surely be remembered for the feast of dramatic matches it provided, not least the men’s and women’s finals. What it will mean to the future of tennis is less certain. Was Serena’s victory the last gasp of a dying era, or is her time at the top far from over? Is Murray now the man to beat, or was his triumph merely a blip, an aberration that changes nothing in the order of men’s tennis? Speculation will be rife in the tennis world, but the questions will only be answered by the players themselves, when they return to the courts for the indoor season, and especially in 2013.
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.
Improving Your Volley
At the pro level, we don't see players attacking the net like we did when players like John McEnroe and Patrick Rafter roamed the hard courts. But at the club level, where doubles is the predominant game, a sound, consistent, and effective volley is essential. Tom Avery talks about the number one mistake players make when trying to volley, they get too wristy. From there, he helps you construct a solid volley, relying on the feet and the shoulder.
Absorb and Rip
At TennisOne, a lot of the questions we get are about good ways to workout on the court without involving a coach or a teaching pro. "Absorb and Rip," is one such example of how you can get a good workout and improve your game at the same time. This is both an offensive and defensive drill and all you need is a racquet and a hitting partner. Jorge Capestany shows you how it's done.
ProStrokes 2.0 — Janko Tipsarevic, Backhand
Janko Tipsarevic turned pro at 17 and got into his first Grand Slam event two years later in 2003 at the U.S. Open as a qualifier. Right-handed, Tipsarevic plays an aggressive counter-punching baseline game, preferring slower hard and clay courts. His two-handed backhand is both a weapon and a consistent 'go-to' shot under pressure. At 28, and somewhat of a late bloomer, Janko has been a rising player with a top-10 world ranking now for almost a full year and posted wins against Djokovic and Tomas Berdych in 2012. Overall, Tipsarevic has 3 ATP titles and 11 final appearances, New this issue, Tipsarevic'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):
- "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 send an email to email@example.com and leave the subject line blank. A confirmation email will be sent to you, and you will be removed from our newsletter list once you reply to that confirmation. If trouble unsubscribing, simply email us with a request to unsubscribe at: firstname.lastname@example.org