Dan M

Apr/15

20

It’s Called Charisma, Dah-ling!

I loved the Djoko-Nadal match up on Saturday because even though Djoko won and he’s the dominant player in the world, Nadal has that charisma that most of the players on the ATP Tour do not have today. Watching the Djoko-Berdych finals on Sunday, I found myself not as captivated even though the match was a finals11070260_926583784061140_7229436411336171210_n and went three sets. As good as Djoko and Berdych are, they don’t have that X factor, charisma, dah-ling. Their matches are like museum art, beautiful, inspiring, but lacking real animus and gravitas. They’re both such pretty boys, but the camera doesn’t lie. Maybe that’s why there are so many slides off the players and onto their model-thin wife/fiancee looking tortured in the stands or onto Boris Becker, a player who had real presence and still does. It almost feels sometimes like Boris wants to just jump out of the stands and his tired and racked forty-something and grab a racquet to show Djoko and Berdych what real impassioned tennis playing looks like.

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Apr/15

2

I Apologize to Justin Gimelstob

10422074_934634776548692_9028433410728218268_nOnce in a while I have to apologize on Tennis-Prose.com for some of the things I say in previous blogs. Today is one of those days. I apologize for saying Vince Spadea was as good as Michael Chang and I apologize for ridiculing Izzie, John Isner, for choosing Gimel, Justin Gimelstob, as his coach. Even when I saw recently a picture of Gimel, dressed in his Tennis Channel announcing garb, conducting a practice with Izzie, I was obviously wrong in criticizing the New Jersey flash for being a faux coach.

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Mar/15

15

A Big Serve Isn’t All It’s Cracked Up To Be

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So here we are in third round matches today and a list of the Top 20 Serve Speed Tournament Leaders shows that only four of these big servers are still alive. Sam Groth hit the biggest serve at 145 mph, but he lost in the first round. Jerzy Janowicz clocked in next at 144, Harry and Sock at 141 and Izzie at 140. But of the Top 20, only Sock, Izzie, Kevin Anderson, and Nick Kyrgios are still smacking their serves.

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Mar/15

13

The Americans Are Looking Good

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How many sunny dry pure blue skies can you take at one tennis tourney? Apparently a lot if you’re out here in Indian Wells as the good days keep on coming. I’m in the press box above the main stadium here on Sam Query is having a rather easy time with one of my favorite players on tour, Sergiy Stakhovsky. He’s up 6-2, 3-1. I just came from watching Donald Young beat Carreno-Busta and DY was showing a lot of emotion out there. His forehand is showing beautiful shape and he did something I haven’t seen done since the days of Johnny mac, taking a backhand at the baseline, chipping it down the line, racing to the net, and knifing a down the line volley for a winner. It was really nice to see.

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Mar/15

12

Fish v. Harrison–Men Start Their Engines

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The weather is hot. I don’t know about this dry/wet heat. I hit this afternoon before coming out here for 30 minutes and I was sweating bullets. They’re expecting 460,000 fans out here for IW this year, up around 30,000 from last year. I’m winded just getting my press credentials, driving all the way around the complex to park in media parking and just walking up to the media center.

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Feb/15

23

Gulbis, Dubai & The Rise of Harry

Ernests_Gulbis_02Yes, Ernie dropped No. 5 in a row losing today to Istomin in Dubai. What is happening to Ernie? He said he’s got no feel for his shots and he’s playing worse in practice now than he is in matches. Ernie hasn’t won a match in 2015 after winning 41 in 2014. He should be in the prime of his career. He’s 26. He broke into the Top 10 last year. Tennis is a funny sport.

How about Djoko saying he thinks Dubai should be a Masters Event. But I turn on the tube today watching Gasquet-Seppi and there’s like 50 people in the stands. I’ve got a feeling when I get out to Indy Wells in a couple of weeks for the first day there’s going to be like 10,000 people there if not much more.

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Feb/15

16

Rick Macci Has His Next Prodigy

index It’s been 27 years since Rick Macci took on the 10-year-old Jennifer Capriati and helped her construct one of the most lethal games in women’s tennis. At only 12, Capriati won the USTA National Girls’ Junior 18’s tournament, making her the youngest player ever to win the event, a record that still stands. Five years later, Richard Williams chose Macci over Nick Bollettieri to train his daughters, Venus and Serena, and Macci, by many people’s account, took two unpolished girls and put them on the road to superstardom.

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safe_image.phpScoop, you dooped us! You told us at D.C. last year that Kozlov, though a year younger than Donaldson, was the better player. It appears this isn’t so as JD took out SK 6-0 in their second set of the opening round in Memphis. Donaldson is on fire these days after winning the Maui Challenger recently and now upending Kozlov.

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Feb/15

3

Why Is Ryan Sweeting Playing Pro Tennis?

527356_262618610515548_702133873_nSince Sweeting, the 27-year-old who reached a career-high of No. 64 in 2011, has returned to the pro tour this year, he’s won a total of five games in two matches. Yesterday he got blitzed in the Dallas Challenger, 0 and 2 to an Italian I’ve never heard of. Sweeting, who married the actress Kaley Cuoco from the popular TV show, “The Big Bang Theory,” has not played pro tennis in almost one year when he suffered a back injury. He’s still only 27…

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10615639_10204837410920250_3766632787340078753_nI’ve said this before on Tennis-Prose.com, Jeff Salzenstein, the lefty out of Denver and Stanford University, was one of my favorite players when he played on the tour. He was only the second player after Dick Norman to crack the Top 100 after the age of 30 and he played the game with an explosiveness and a smile. He looked like he was having a good time out there and he was capable of some startlingly good tennis. What also attracted me to his game and journey was that I met the guy for the first time at Bikram Yoga headquarters (the old demolished one now on La Cienega Blvd.) taking a class. I know other pro tennis players practice yoga, but Jeff’s the first and only player I ever met taking a class at a studio. This was in 2002 when I was getting trained to become a Bikram Yoga teacher, and I think I startled Jeff when I came up to him before class and said, “You’re Jeff Salzenstein, right?”

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