Archive for March 2016

Mar/16

31

All in a day at Miami Open

gugaAs a journalist covering tennis you can encounter and observe and hear about a ton of noteworthy things in a single day at a special event like the Miami Open. First let’s begin at the media cafeteria where there are some quirky characters – like the Serbian veteran scribe who is known for complaining about anything. Last year it was the tea water wasn’t warm enough and this year the paper tea cups aren’t big enough. And also this character was caught stealing extra sugar packets and Grey tea bags. There is another Chinese photographer who eats two Puntino pizzas and four cans of Coke/Pepsi a day every day for the entire tournament. And now he’s not a pound overweight either.

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Mar/16

30

Miami Open Best Quotes

miamiopenNick Kyrgios: “The Big Four are still there. Still playing at an unbelievable level so it’s hard to say there’s a changing of the guard yet. But all the young guys are capable of breakthroughs. To see (Alexander) Zverev go deep an Indian Wells woke me up and motivated me. You almost feed off of that. The guys are watching my run here and they’ll come back stronger.”

David Goffin: “The Big Four made us practice harder and raise our level, when you lose ten times in a row to top ten players it’s tough. But when you finally beat one it’s so good for your mentality and le leads to more surprises.”

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Mar/16

29

Kyrgiosmania at Miami Open

miamiopenNick Kyrgios is playing Miami Open and it’s been a special experience for the rising Aussie. Kyrgios defeated Andrey Kuznetsov in straight sets on grandstand to reach his very first Masters Series quarterfinal. But most impressive today for Kyrgios was the surprisingly animated and colorful crowd support he received. Through the second set changeovers a group of young kids continually sang/chanted “Let’s go Nick lets go” over and over and over through entire changeovers and also AFTER the match was completed. I have never seen a foreign player attract and inspire such vocal loyalty and support.

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Mar/16

28

Andy Murray Unsure if Dimitrov Can Win First Major

130707125357-andy-murray-novak-djokovc-wimbledon-single-image-cutAfter Andy Murray lost in three sets 67 64 63 to Grigor Dimitrov today at Miami Open I asked Andy the following question: “Dimitrov is kind of in the position you were at earlier in your career – hasn’t been able to win a major – Do you think he has the qualities to break through to eventually win that first major?”

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Mar/16

27

Super Sunday Scoops

mesonGilles Simon is now 5-1 vs Ciic adding the latest win on grandstand tonight – a three set 6-3 in the third thriller. A huge Gillou fan was sitting next to me and he said Simon has had tough luck in majors – losing in five to Cilic (only loss to the Croatian) the year Cilic won the US Open. Also Simon lost in five to Del Potro the year Juan won the US Open. I wouldn’t have thought Gilles was superior to Cilic as he’s not as big and strong but the super fan said Gillou is “smarter.”

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Mar/16

26

The Berdych vs Thiem Practice in Miami Saturday

thiemThe first thing that arrested my attention today at 10:30 am was the Tomas Berdych and Dominic Thiem practice. They were hitting from the baseline and Berdych seemed to be getting the better of it enough so that Thiem started to grunt as if to boost his level to keep up with Big Berd. Berdych coach Daniel Valverdu seemed to anoint himself to the role as the conductor of the session by being the one to authoritatively bark out “One more minute” or “Water break.”

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federerLeander Paes is actually here and he was practicing till 7:30 on a far outside court with his friend Sanjay. Paes ranking has dropped so he’s here as an ALT still hopeful of getting an entry if any player drops out. Word is Rajeev Ram is ill. Paes was extremely gracious with all the fans who came by to chat and ask for photos and autographs. His friend Sanjay told me that Leander’s all time favorite partner in doubles was Radek Stepanek… Taylor Fritz played a sensation first set vs David Ferrer on stadium court. The eighteen year old was down 2-4 but fought back to earn two set points – one at 6-5 which ended with a missed forehand crosscourt wide by inches after a very long rally.

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Mar/16

25

A Flurry of Observations and Scoops in Miami

dbo-del-potro-miniI was at the Brian Baker vs Mikhail Kukushkin match – the only journo there as it could have been Baker’s last ATP Match (he got in luckily as a PE) – and Kukushin just played out of his mind. He doesn’t miss and he’s silky smooth and super consistent. And some guy kept yelling “Mischa Kukushkin” all match. Baker fought back to get it to 4-4 and then he joked after the match about how during his long injury layoff he was tired of being on the couch and then he felt so tired and fatigued to have fought so hard to get it to 4-4 that he felt like he wanted to lay down on a coach again. Kukushkin is a great player – remember he just extended Djokovic to five sets in Davis Cup a few weeks ago.

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Mar/16

23

Miami Open Wednesday

gulbsonyTaylor Fritz continued his meteoric rise up the ATP rankings with his first masters series win a dominant 64 62 masterpiece on grandstand under the lights over Italian stallion Simone Bolelli. Fritz just had too much guile and power for Bolelli who was rope a doped by tactical tennis and lightning winners from dangerous positions. After the match I was able to do a Biofile with Fritz who interestingly said he only lost one high school match and he also met Agassi when he was four at the US Open as his dad worked briefly with the young Andre.

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Mar/16

22

Fritz Paul Shine at Miami Open qualies

miamiopenTaylor Fritz had a sluggish start today vs veteran Alex Kuznetsov. With Fish and Jay Berger in his corner Fritz was up 1-0 then blew a break point he had total control of by casually blasting an overhead but not expecting Kuznetsov to get it back but he did for a forehand winner. Fritz funked after that and was down 4-1 and lost the set 64. But then Fritz stepped into a new gear and routed Kuznetsov 63 62 with another display of his patented brilliant tennis blasting winners on the full run and just making a variety of shots that wows the crowd. Fritz is still in his coltish stage but you just know when this kid becomes a thoroughbred he will be something very very special.

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