Tennis Prose



AO Observations

By Scoop Malinowski

Johan Kriek, two time winner in Australia, has been watching Sebi Korda rip through the junior boys draw and likes what he sees. Kriek said 1998 Australian Open champ Petr Korda’s son is a future top ten ATP player.

American junior darling Coco Gauff, who shockingly reached the girls US Open final at 13, lost first round in Melbourne girls singles and doubles. Was it an unfortunate draw or does the Florida phenom now have a gigantic target on her back because of her 2017 success?

Roger Federer is not sure? Yes, Roger Federer is not sure how he will try to solve the Hyeon Chung puzzle in the semifinals. “I’m not sure. I have to look into it. Right now I couldn’t tell you how I need to play him. One thing I know is I’m going to be playing aggressive. I don’t know how I’m going to do that exactly yet. I don’t know exactly how he returns and how he serves exactly. Those are two major aspects to the game. Those start the points. I have to figure that part out a little bit tonight or tomorrow.”

Madison Keys explained her dud performance vs Angelique Kerber: “I think it was just me trying to be consistent, and I just went very far the other direction instead of finding a middle ground of aggressive and consistent. So I think I just was trying to make the ball, make the ball, and that’s not my game.I think I was having a difficult time finding a rhythm in that and then I wasn’t moving, so then when I tried to be more aggressive, I just felt like things weren’t 100% today.”

Former top ten player Bettina Bunge has become a big fan of Chung and Tennys Sandgren: I love Chung! I think the “Professor” just might be my new favorite player. I had no idea about this Tennys guy, and what he has had to put up with already with the lovely press. He’s my kinda dude!!! Amazing how you can’t even have an opinion anymore. Good for you Tennys. He had long hair too, and a cool mustache. Scoop, someone out there please tell Tennys I am new fan of his <3 Respect. He's had a great run, just nothing left in the tank now. Jim Courier announced the US Davis Cup team to face Serbia next week: John Isner, Sam Querrey, Steve Johnson and Ryan Harrison. Curiously absent from the squad is Tennys Sandgren who is by far the hottest of any American male player right now, after his remarkable quarterfinal run in the Australian Open. Did Courier buckle under political correctness pressure to shun the controversial American? Courier explained the logic of excluding Jack Sock after lengthy conversations, because of his fitness and confidence issues, but he did not make on remarks last night on Tennis Channel about the pass on Sandgren. Perhaps it was an issue of team chemistry? Courier knows the group of Isner, Querrey and Johnson are all pretty good friends and Harrison may also be part of the clique. Courier said he likes having all the options for singles and doubles as all four players are accomplished in both singles and doubles. Sandgren hasn't had any notable doubles success. Davis Cup followers will remember how former captain Patrick McEnroe caught fire for benching Vince Spadea from action despite the fact Spadea was dominating Roddick and Fish in practice all week before he tie vs Spain. Spadea was not particularly liked by Fish or Roddick and it's speculated that McEnroe opted to not play Spadea because of how it may have disrupted team chemistry. These are the diverse complexities that a Davis Cup captain and team have to deal with, along with the four players of the enemy opposing nation.

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  • catherine · January 24, 2018 at 12:46 pm

    Who’s Madison’s coach now ? If she had a half decent coach, and hitting partner, she wouldn’t be talking in this way. Did no one do any scouting ? Keys sounds as though she’s never seen Kerber play.

  • catherine · January 25, 2018 at 2:54 am

    Simona 9/7 in the 3rd. Absolutely best result and I forgive Cahill everything 🙂

    Kerber’s had a great run but it’s better for the game if the year doesn’t become a procession.

    Only thing – Simona may be running on empty for Caroline -but both will be battling for their first GS.

  • catherine · January 25, 2018 at 3:07 am

    Was a bit surprised at what I thought was a rather cool exchange at the net after such a match and Angie’s droopy demeanour. She lost two match points – but that’s all in the game isn’t it ?
    She hasn’t changed.

  • Hartt · January 25, 2018 at 7:25 am

    The last 2 sets of Simona vs Angie were terrific. I was glad that Angie finally came to life after those first few games – she was beyond terrible for most of that set.

    Both women fought hard and made some excellent shots. And it was a dramatic match, impossible to know who would win until the very end.

    I am rooting for Simona over Caro, but it will be tough for Halep to win.

  • catherine · January 25, 2018 at 8:06 am

    Hartt – yes, it was a puzzling match in a way – the bad start for Kerber and then finally ending in that nail-biting finish.

    I would guess that Angie felt apprehensive – in her previous press conference she was up-beat and making the usual comments about how happy she was with her game and being in Melbourne etc and then she comes out on court and in zip she’s down 0-5. A bit of flashback might have been going through her mind. Her body language certainly suggested that. ‘Old sins cast long shadows’ as the saying goes, although it’s not so much sins here as fragile self-belief, misdirected energy and bad memories.

    Simona was the first player Angie has met this year who was really capable of upsetting her – so she can’t have felt completely confident underneath the press-speak. As it turned out.

    Halep played the right game – more aggressive than Angie, cutting short more points (Angie should start to do that)and keeping the pace up. She served better too. And she has so much to play for – I want her to win but like you, I think it will be tough. And I think the crowd will be on Caro’s side.

    About the net exchange – I’m sure Angie doesn’t mean to be ungracious, doubt there’s any bad feeling between them, it’s just that she’s preoccupied with her loss and herself and has shut out everything else.

    Oh – and if Simona wins I bet adidas will be back at her door in a flash.

  • Michael in UK · January 25, 2018 at 8:15 am

    I’m interested as always to hear your comments Catherine, and I can’t wait to watch the match highlights later, especially the third set.

  • Joe Blow · January 25, 2018 at 8:16 am

    Didn’t see last nights match, so I can’t comment on the handshake at the end.

    The handshake at the end of the Halep/Davis match had to be the least gracious of any I’ve ever seen,especially coming off a 15-13 final set

  • Hartt · January 25, 2018 at 8:18 am

    Good point about Adidas. Gives me another reason to root for her. I have to wonder if they would have given up a top male player so easily.

    I didn’t think the net exchange was a problem. They both went through the motions, which is the most we can expect. The players who are truly gracious after a loss are rare, that must be incredibly difficult. It is one of the things I like about young Shapovalov, he seems to want a real exchange at the net – the usual pats along with a few words, whether he wins or loses. Not all of his victims feel the same way!

  • Chazz · January 25, 2018 at 8:38 am

    Really happy to see a Halep Woz final. The best players without major titles. I called Halep before the tournament so I’ll go with her.

    Hartt – a couple other players who are extremely gracious after losses: Del Potro and Donaldson.

  • Joe Blow · January 25, 2018 at 8:39 am

    Cornet misses 3 drug tests. Going to be put on the shelf for some time. Replaced on Fed Cup.
    She went after Sharapova on multiple occasions, just recently making a fuss about Sharapova being the female rep at the AO draw. These athletes are so freaking self absorbed they can’t see 2 feet in front of themselves. You’re skipping drug tests, and calling out another player?

    Stitch and Sukova into the HOF. Sukova deserved for sure. Good career in the MN, CE,and SG era.
    Stitch ahead of Kafelnikov? They have to have something on YK. His resume is better than Stich. Stich still around the game, maybe that helps

  • Scoop Malinowski · January 25, 2018 at 8:52 am

    Well Halep vs Kerber delivered what we knew would be a very special match between two players who survived epcis vs Hsieh and Davis. Both are playing their career best tennis and they put on a show. Halep is in the zone though Kerber easily could have won too. Can’t see Wozniacki beating this version of Halep who has about 99 lives this tournament. But who the heck knows. Really REALLY looking forward to this final, will no doubt be another special classic between two desperate players to eager to win their first majors. Finally. I mean this could be the best final of the decade or half century. Get yo popcorn ready!

  • Andrew Miller · January 25, 2018 at 8:57 am

    First time slam winner guaranteed again on the wta tour. Prediction: One former number one player will win the title.

  • catherine · January 25, 2018 at 9:28 am

    Hartt – Angie’s net exchanges are usually warmest when she wins ! That’s more to do with her feeling free from stress I think. When she beat Anna-Lena Friedsam, who is German, Kerber gave her a continental kiss plus a pat on the back – like saying, I’m sorry 🙂

    Simona’s people probably asked for too much money from adidas, who have spent it all on Angie and Woz – so serve the company right if Halep wins. And no, they wouldn’t treat a man like that, I bet.

  • Scoop Malinowski · January 25, 2018 at 9:45 am

    What Halep is going through with adidas is what Courier went through with Bollettieri/Agassi. Even Sampras went through nickle and diming with Nike at the end of his career, remember the one year in Australia Pete covered up the nike logo on his clothes and shoes? the poetic justice would be Halep winning the title. Hopefully adidas snubbing Halep is not based on her looks compared to other adidas players or her religious gestures.

  • catherine · January 25, 2018 at 10:02 am

    Scoop – I’m sure Simona’s religious beliefs have nothing to do with the decision, many players are Catholics and sign themselves, you’ve mentioned one or two. Angie does occasionally.

    However, the economics of marketability undoubtably come into it. Simóna is perfectly nice looking, quite attractive in her own way, but she can’t be made glamorous like Kerber and Wozniaki eg (and I don’t like Angie all made-up myself) so she isn’t used for that kind of advertising. Shouldn’t be so but that’s the way of the commercial world.

    I hope Simona wins and signs a fat contract with a decent company.

  • catherine · January 25, 2018 at 10:03 am

    Córnet missing 3 drug tests ? Couldn’t happen to a nicer player 🙂

  • Scoop Malinowski · January 25, 2018 at 10:08 am

    Catherine, it’s an injustice and an outrage that the best player in the world with a wonderful friendly positive spirit is being mistreated like this by adidas. I do wonder if adidas paid Halep a bonus for becoming no. 1. I know for a fact Marcelo Rios earned a $2.5 m bonus each from both Nike and Yonex when he beat Agassi in Miami to become ATP no. 1. I hope Halep was justly rewarded also by adidas. I will certainly try to ask her agent Virginia Ruzici in Miami if I see her.

  • Scoop Malinowski · January 25, 2018 at 10:10 am

    Three missed tests by Cornet is a suspicious mistake or dodge. Serena dodged her test and did not get suspended.

  • Duke Carnoustie · January 25, 2018 at 3:17 pm

    Who to root for between Simona and Caroline. Crazy that one will finally achieve glory. I am on Simona’s side so Cahill can jump in the YArra River

  • catherine · January 25, 2018 at 3:38 pm

    What if Simona can’t swim ? Can she have waterwings ?

    I want Simóna to win but I fear Caro will be more rested and will have the crowd behind her.

    The crowd was behind Angie in the sf but I don’t expect Simona will let those things bother her.

  • catherine · January 26, 2018 at 3:46 am

    Great German joy over Kerber’s revival. She deserves it all. I’ve sounded a bit hesitant on this, as though I’m doubtful about it but I believe she learned a lot over the last year and will deal with losses a lot better.

    Jana Novotna said something which could apply to Angie, as well as other players who find themselves in her position, about never giving in to what the world thought of her: ‘ It comes down to this, you have to know who you are, how good you are. I don’t let those things bother me anymore.’

    Peace of mind, win or lose.



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