Thiem defends Nice title; Wawrinka wins Geneva Open

May 21, 2016

OPEN DE NICE COTE D’AZUR—NICE, FRANCE

Top seed Dominic Thiem won a match up of youngsters on the ATP World Tour on Saturday, defeating good friend Alexander Zverev 6-4, 3-6, 6-0 in Nice, France. Needing one hour and 39 minutes to defend his title, Thiem struck five aces and broke the serve of his opponent on six occasions. Winning his third title of the season, Thiem will now head to Roland Garros, where he is seeded No. 13.

Zverev, who was playing in his maiden Tour final, will face Pierre-Hugues Herbert in his opening match at the French Open. The year’s second Grand Slam gets underway on Sunday in Paris.

*****

BANQUE ERIC STURDZA GENEVA OPEN—GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

Top seed Stan Wawrinka completed his Roland Garros preparation in style on Saturday by defeating Marin Cilic 6-4, 7-6(11) to win the title in Geneva. In a match that featured great shot-making from the back of the court, it was Wawrinka who saved three set points in the second set before prevailing. Notching his 14th career title, Wawrinka will now head to Paris to defend his title. The Swiss star defeated Novak Djokovic to claim the Championship last year.

Murray captures Rome Masters over Djokovic

May 15, 2016

INTERNAZIONALI BNL D’ITALIA—ROME, ITALY

No. 2 seed Andy Murray stunned top seed and defending champion Novak Djokovic 6-3, 6-3 on Sunday to capture his first-ever title in Roma, Italy.

In a match that lasted one hour and 35 minutes, Murray broke serve on three occasions and never lost his own delivery. Winning his 10th match against the Serb in 34 career meetings, Murray hit five aces and won 82 percent of his first serve points. Reaching the final of the Madrid Open last week in a losing effort to Djokovic, Murray had also reached the semifinals of the Monte Carlo Rolex Masters earlier this Spring. The Brit will now head to Roland Garros as the No. 2 seed and the favourite behind Djokovic.

Djokovic, who was aiming to win his 30th career Masters 1000 title and break the 100 million dollar mark in prize money, will now shift his attention to the French Open and completing his Grand Slam collection.

Almagro collects Estoril title; Schwartzman wins maiden title in Istanbul; Kohlschreiber captures third career Munich crown

May 1, 2016

MILLENNIUM ESTORIL OPEN—ESTORIL, PORTUGAL

Spaniard Nicolas Almagro won the 13th title of his career on Sunday in Estoril, Portugal, dispatching countryman Pablo Carreno Busta 6-7(6), 7-6(5), 6-3. Needing two hours and 47 minutes to come away with the victory, Almagro scorched 12 aces and broke the serve of his opponent on five occasions. Currently ranked No. 71 in the world, Almagro won 82,450 euros and 250 ATP World Tour points for his victory.

Carreno Busta, who was playing in his second final in 2016, is currently ranked No. 50 in the world.

*****

TEB BNP Paribas Istanbul Open—Istanbul, Turkey

Diego Schwartzman won his maiden career in Istanbul, Turkey on Sunday, overcoming a set and a break deficit to defeat No. 2 seed Grigor Dimitrov 6-7(5), 7-6(4), 6-0.

After injuring his leg toward the end of the second set, Dimitrov imploded and allowed his diminutive opponent to get back into the match. Not winning a game in the final set, Dimitrov broke two rackets after trailing 5-0 to before being defaulted. The Bulgarian fell to 0-2 in finals in 2016 and has not won a Tour title since Queen’s Club in 2014.

*****

BMW Open by FWU AG—Munich, Germany

No. 4 seed Philipp Kohlschreiber won his third title in Munich, Germany in epic fashion on Sunday, dismissing No. 3 seed Dominic Thiem 7-6(7), 4-6, 7-6(4). In a match that featured nine total breaks of serve, it was Kohlschreiber who used his guile toward the tail-end of the match to prevail. Winning his seventh career title, Kohlschreiber improved to 2-0 against Thiem in lifetime meetings.

Thiem, who has had an excellent year-to-date, fell to 29-8 on the year.

Both Thiem and Kohlschreiber will next see action at the Mutua Madrid Open next week.

Nadal wins ninth Barcelona title over Nishikori

April 24, 2016

BARCELONA OPEN BANCSABADELL—BARCELONA, SPAIN

Top seed Rafael Nadal won his ninth career Barcelona Open title in Spain on Sunday, defeating No. 2 seed Kei Nishikori 6-4, 7-5. In a match that lasted two hours and five minutes, it was Nadal that won 60 percent of his first serve points, while hitting one ace and breaking serve on five occasions. Improving to 9-1 against Nishikori in lifetime meetings, Nadal backed up his victory in Monte Carlo last week and now stands at No. 2 in the Race to London. The Spaniard also took home his 49th career clay-court title and 500 ATP World Tour points. The Spaniard will next see action at the Madrid Masters in Spain.

Nishikori, who was the two-time defending champion at the event, was vying for his 12th title as a professional.

Nadal wins ninth Monte Carlo title over Monfils

April 17, 2016

Monte Carlo Rolex Masters—Monaco

No. 5 seed Rafael Nadal captured his ninth title at the Monte Carlo Rolex Masters on Sunday, defeating No. 13 seed Gael Monfils 7-5, 5-7, 6-0. In a match that featured great shot-making from both players, it was Nadal that took the first set after a double fault from his opponent. Not to be outdone, Monfils continued to show the great promise that he’s proven throughout the year by clawing his way back during the second set to force a decider.

With everything to play for in the final set, Nadal displayed his true class by winning six straight games to capture the title. Taking home his 68th career crown, Nadal also tied Novak Djokovic with 28 career Masters 1000 titles. The Spaniard is next set to appear at the Barcelona Open in Spain, which gets underway on Monday.

Monaco wins second Houston crown; Delbonis wins Marrakech title

April 10, 2016

FAYEZ SAROFIM & CO US MEN’S CLAY COURT CHAMPIONSHIP—HOUSTON, TX, U.S.A.

Argentine Juan Monaco won his second career title in Houston, Texas on Sunday, defeating defending champion Jack Sock 3-6, 6-3, 7-5. In a match that featured medical time-outs by both players, it was Monaco who gave up a 4-1 lead in the third set, only to break the American at 6-5 before serving out the title. Winning his first title in three years, Monaco won 67 percent of his first serve points, broke serve on five occasions and hit two aces over his American opponent.

Sock, who suffered from cramps during the third set, fell to 10-7 on the season.

*****

GRAND PRIX HASSAN II—MARRAKECH, MOROCCO

Argentine Federico Delbonis captured the second title of his career on Sunday in Marrakech, Morocco, dismissing Croatian upstart Borna Coric 6-2, 6-4. Capitalizing on his potent, left-handed baseline game, Delbonis won 80 percent of his first serve points, broke serve on three occasions and hit four aces during the championship match.

Coric, who was looking for his maiden ATP World Tour title, fell to 0-2 in Tour 2016 finals after losing to Stan Wawrinka in Chennai to begin the season.

Checking in with the Schüttler Waske Tennis-University

April 6, 2016

by: Nima Naderi

Bridging the gap between team sports and tennis

Walking through the doors of the Schüttler Waske Tennis-University and all you hear is a serious silence. This place breads tennis like no other and there’s no time for anything less than giving 100 percent. Co-founded in 2010 by former German Davis Cup players Rainer Schüttler (formerly ranked No. 5 in the world and 2003 Australian Open finalist) and Alexander Waske (ranked as high as No. 89 in singles and No. 16 in doubles), the Tennis-University is a place where players go to reach their maximum potential but also gain valuable assets for character development throughout life.

Working with the likes of recent Australian Open champion Angelique Kerber, former world No. 2 Tommy Haas, Janko Tipsarevic, Benjamin Becker, Yen-Hsun Lu, Philip Petzschner and Ricarads Berankis, the Tennis-University also focuses on a slew of top-level juniors, led by recent National German Championship winner, Niklas Schell.

Spending two days at the Tennis-University in late November, my initial intrigue toward the visit was created through their excellent on court training videos that popped up on various social media platforms. Being a coach for 19 years, I’ve visited numerous academies around the world, but I could tell right off the bat that the Tennis-University had something different to offer.

After meeting with Co-founder Waske, Head Tennis Coach Jakub Zahlava and Head of Marketing Benedikt Stronk, it was evident that the staff at the Tennis-University had all been carefully chosen with a longterm outlook of success in mind. The Tennis-University team work with the common bond of passion for the game and providing the maximum output for their players. However, I was warned of one crucial point before we moved on to an in-depth look into the philosophy of the company: To never look at the Tennis-University as a traditional “academy”. There’s a reason why they termed it a University.

Boasting a year-round training facility just outside of Frankfurt in Offenbach, Germany, the Tennis-University features indoor hard-court training in the Fall and Winter months, followed by a glorious red clay court environment during the Spring and Summer. Add to the mix a track and field for endurance work to be achieved, a gym for muscles and flexibility to be exhausted, and class rooms for students to engage their minds on daily basis, and The Tennis-University truly encapsulates the perfect blend of what a high-end tennis centre needs to be successful.

With that said, aside from the blistering forehands that were been seen on court or the pool of sweat that was left in the gym after famed trainer Christian Rauscher finished putting his clients through their paces, it was the overall team-building dynamic that separated the Tennis-University from its competition.

Events such as the Christmas Battle that took place during the holidays, saw teams formed from touring players (Petzschner participated this past December) as well as full-time students and staff. Teams participated in building exercises from a modified on court hockey game, followed by a trivia challenge and finally an obstacle course. The Tennis-University prides itself on these specific team-building exercises to create a productive and positive atmosphere that will ultimately keep players engaged longer in the sport and have them playing for a lifetime.

Throughout my own experiences in the coaching world, I’ve always felt that tennis has played catch-up when trying to compete with team sports such as football, basketball, hockey and baseball. It makes sense in the way that kids in general want to be part of a “team” setting and not be alone with a coach grinding away week-in and week-out. The comradery and memories that can be obtained throughout the dynamic of a team sport, simply can not be duplicated between the lines of a tennis court. For that reason, tennis has historically suffered in terms of its appeal to youngsters and parents who want their children to have the full experience of character and athletic growth.

Keeping these notions and stereotypes in mind, the Tennis-University has uniquely built a model that supports a need for character growth on a daily basis. Even though the meat and potatoes of their training regiment focusses on a two player to one coach ratio on court, there is more than enough time set aside to allow players and coaches to interact and feel that they are working toward a common and not singular goal. Throughout many years of experience, analysis and evaluation of their athletes, the Tennis-University coaches have found the right balance between on court and off court training, which has unquestionably become the trademark moto of the company and what has taken them out of the traditional academy mold.

To conclude, tennis certainly does have some ground to cover as it attempts to challenge the popularity of sport giants such as football, basketball and hockey. But when looking at the track record that the Tennis-University has achieved since its inception in 2010, not only is the game of tennis in a much better place, but so to is the landscape of how tennis development should be as we look to build a great foundation for youngsters playing this great game for a lifetime. Most importantly, we are looking to build great people.

*****

Nima Naderi is the Editor in Chief of TennisConnected.com. He is also an award winning coach and a PTR Professional rated coach in four categories with over 19 years of coaching experience. You can listen weekly to Nima on the No. 1 rated tennis PodCast on iTunes for @TennisConnected.

Djokovic wins 6th Miami Open title over Nishikori

April 3, 2016

Miami Open—Key Biscayne, Florida

Top seed and world No. 1 Novak Djokovic capped off a sensational month of tennis action as he captured his sixth Miami Open title over Kei Nishikori on Sunday. Winning by a score of 6-3, 6-3, Djokovic needed one hour and 27 minutes to take home the fourth title of his season. Improving to 7-2 against Nishikori in lifetime meetings, Djokovic became the Masters 1000 leader after his recent triumph. The Serb now stands with 28 titles at the prestigious level, passing Spaniard Rafa Nadal, who owns 27 Masters 1000 titles.

Djokovic and Azarenka win respective BNP Paribas Open titles

March 20, 2016

BNP Paribas Open—Indian Wells, California

Top seed Novak Djokovic and No. 13 ranked Vika Azarenka scored title victories at the BNP Paribas Open on Sunday. For Djokovic, his fifth title at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden came in quick fashion as he dispatched Milos Raonic 6-2, 6-0 in one hour and 18 minutes. Allowing the Canadian to win only 10 percent of his second serve points, Djokovic broke serve on five occasions, while never providing his opponent with a break point opportunity. Winning his 27th career Masters 1000 title, Djokovic is now tied with Rafael Nadal at the top of that category.

On the women’s side, Azarenka was in peak form as she dismissed top seed and favourite Serena Williams 6-4, 6-4. Trailing in the pair’s head-to-head 17-3 prior to today’s encounter, Azarenka broke serve to begin each set and used that momentum to win in straight sets. Winning 86 percent of her first serve points, Azarenka used bold play from the baseline to upend the best player on the planet. Serena, who was looking to capture the 70th title of her career, fell to 0-2 in title matches in 2016 after losing in the Australian Open final earlier this year.

Kyrgios wins maiden title in Marseille; Querrey takes Delray Beach crown; Cuevas claims Rio title

February 21, 2016

OPEN 13 PROVENCE—MARSEILLE, FRANCE

Australian Nick Kyrgios capped off a dominant week of tennis at the Open 13 Provence in Marseille, France, defeating No. 4 seed Marin Cilic 6-2, 7-6(3) to win his first-career title.

Winning 94 percent of his first serve points, Kyrgios continued his stellar serving throughout the week, which saw him defeat Richard Gasquet, Tomas Berdych and Cilic in succession without losing a set or his serve. Gaining 250 ATP World Tour points for his victory, Kyrgios will likely hit No. 32 in the rankings on Monday. The Aussie is next set to see action at the Dubai Open.

*****

DELRAY BEACH OPEN—DELRAY BEACH, FL, U.S.A.

American Sam Querrey notched his eighth career title in Delray Beach, Florida on Sunday, dismissing countryman Rajeev Ram 6-4, 7-6(6). Needing one hour and 26 minutes to claim the title, Querrey slammed 10 aces and broke serve on three occasions to improve to 4-1 against Ram in lifetime meetings.

Ram, who was aiming to win his third career title, defeated Bernard Tomic and Grigor Dimitrov en route to the finals.

*****

RIO OPEN PRESENTED BY CLARO—RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL

Pablo Cuevas claimed the biggest title of his career early Monday morning in Rio, de Janeiro, defeating Argentine Guido Pella 6-4, 6-7(5), 6-4. In a match that featured two unseeded players, it was Cuevas who survived the slow, wet conditions to prevail after two hours and 17 minutes on court. Hitting an impressive 14 aces during the encounter, Cuevas won the match on his first match point after Cuevas hit a backhand into the net. The win marks the fourth title for the 30-year-old from Uruguay.

Next Page »