Apr/19

21

Paul Wins Sarasota Open, with coaching triangle?


By Scoop Malinowski

Tommy Paul looked like the best young American prospect today with a sensational and dominant 63 63 triumph in today’s final against Tennys Sandgren. Paul saved all fifteen break points he faced to subdue the relentless pressure Sandgren imposed on him.

As interesting and hard fought as this high quality final was, the most intriguing aspect about Paul is the apparent coaching triangles he is involved in with coach Diego Moyano and friend Ann Grossman, the former WTA top 40 pro in the 90s who was with Paul here all week.

Grossman was coy about why she was here, early in the week she was reluctant to reveal her purpose when asked by TV personality Dave Kozlowski. She smiled and walked away, without answering. Hmmmm.

Grossman was at all of Tommy’s matches but not sitting with Moyano. I asked Paul after his quarterfinals win what Grossman’s role was with his team is and he replied, “she watches my matches and gives me tips.”

During today’s final Ann sat on the other side of the court and on the opposite baseline, as far away as possible from Moyano. After the win by Paul, Ann did not celebrate with Tommy and Moyano, she waited about 20 yards away to congratulate Paul when he approached her.

Again, no interaction with Moyano.

I asked Grossman how she connected with Paul. “We met un Newport Beach. I was there coaching Francesca Dilorenzo. We had the same housing. We all went out to dinner one night. I was just myself and said some things and Tommy told me, You should be my coach.”

She also added that she thinks Paul is the best prospect with the most potential of the young Americans. And she understands where he is mentally because she also was once a highly touted young American.

I asked Paul if his sudden revival of winning the Sarasota Open has any correlation to Grossman’s involvdment in his career, he put his head down and and said, “no comment.”

So the questions remain. Is Grossman seeing an opening and opportunity to help coach Paul who has struggled to progress under Moyano who is widely considered to be more of a buddy figure for Tommy than a tactical and discipline guru?

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20 comments

  • Dan Markowitz · April 23, 2019 at 8:57 am

    Big win for Paul. He had that great run at the Open two years ago I think and then he’s been pretty invisible for the last year or so. He’s definitely got the foot speed and agility. Big wins versus Galan, Lorenzi and Sandgren. I don’t believe he’s a better prospect than Tiafoe certainly or Fritz, but maybe he’s edging up to Opelka now. What happened to Mmoh?

  • Scoop Malinowski · April 23, 2019 at 8:52 pm

    Mmoh is hurt. Galan hurt his wrist vs paul. Zane Khan retired today vs Martin Cuevas 36 02. He hurt his shoulder in practice yesterday, couldn’t serve. I got Zane the wildcard into main draw. Korda saved 6 mps today but lost to polmans 67 75 46.

  • catherine · April 24, 2019 at 4:25 am

    https://www.wtatennis.com/news/kasatkina-putting-disaster-start-behind-her-im-not-panicking

    Kasatkina on losing matches, coaching and loving clay and Europe. Like to see Daria get back on track, improve her game and go far in some tournaments.

  • Hartt · April 24, 2019 at 7:48 am

    As a Kasatkina fan I was glad to see that Dasha got the win over Mertens. I hope that she can turn her season around now that she is back on her beloved clay.

  • Hartt · April 24, 2019 at 7:49 am

    FAA won a close match against Jaziri, taking the 2nd set TB 9-7. He faces Kei next, so that is a tough assignment.

  • catherine · April 24, 2019 at 10:03 am

    https://www.wtatennis.com/news/petkovic-kerber-i-always-knew-she-was-going-win-wimbledon

    The inimitable Petko on the lower-key but also inimitable Angelique Kerber. What are we going to do for interview fun when Andrea retires ? I think she has a very good sense of how she can talk about her colleagues – truthful,tactful,respectful.

    Hartt – I think Felix has a decent chance against Kei.

  • Hartt · April 24, 2019 at 10:57 am

    Catherine, thanks for the link. Petko, as usual, was so much fun.
    “She (Kerber) has a great sense of humor. I just think the way she expresses herself in front of press, she just like to keep things to herself. But I think her personality is much more than what you only see of her.

    “I shouldn’t talk her too much up, I do have to play her in two days.”

  • Hartt · April 24, 2019 at 10:59 am

    Catherine, I hope you are right about FAA. He still does not have a lot of experience on the main tour, so I try to keep my expectations in check when he faces a top player. But obviously I would be thrilled if he beat Kei.

  • catherine · April 24, 2019 at 1:00 pm

    Hartt – Kei’s a much more experienced player obviously but I saw some of Felix’s match and he was making really good shots – he seems to have so much confidence in those moments. Sets him apart from his contemporaries, that quality.

    I was pleased to see Petko’s comment on Angie and the press because it’s something I’ve often felt – her response is quite calculated. She tells you just what she wants you to know and her limited English serves this purpose well. Of course on the court and during matches you maybe can understand a little more because she’s not wholly in charge – in the conflict you get glimpses of a very different person. I find that aspect of tennis interesting.

  • Hartt · April 24, 2019 at 2:42 pm

    I guess I’m used to seeing Félix play at that level, but like so many youngsters he isn’t super consistent yet. But I hope he bring his best tennis tomorrow.

  • catherine · April 25, 2019 at 1:55 am

    Sascha Zverev after his latest defeat: ‘I’m in a hole and I can’t get out of it.’

    Coach please ? Maybe Agassi should have a go – he seems to be doing the rounds of players in slumps.

  • catherine · April 25, 2019 at 6:55 am

    Didn’t see Felix’s match but it looked straightforward for Kai. I’m a little surprised. Felix seems to play well then he comes up against the next level.

    Hartt – what did you think ?

  • Hartt · April 25, 2019 at 4:36 pm

    Catherine, I thought that Kei would win that match, but was not expecting how incredibly well he played in the first set – it was Kei at his very best, taking the ball very early and hitting clean shots, plus using his speed to get to tough shots. FAA started to look frustrated, there did not seem to be anything he could do.

    Then in the set the youngster started to hit some loopy balls and that tactic did work to a degree, so that set was closer. But Kei showed why he is a top 10 player, and Barcelona winner twice.

  • catherine · April 26, 2019 at 2:09 am

    In Stuttgart Azarenka bt Pliskova in 3 sets – Vika’s having a good run considering her long flight from Aust to even reach the tournament. Bertens bt Bencic and hit 20 aces in the process – she’s overtaking Julia G as the WTA Ace machine – Julia retired earlier with a neck problem. I suspect Julia’s body is giving up on her at last. She’s athletic but not strongly built. A shame. She’s been a lovely player to watch.

    Bertens plays Kerber next – Angie drifted past Petko and they both indulged in a hugathon at the net – no Drama Queens in sight. Angie has lost a bit of weight – recovering from a virus she picked up in Monterrey – she might think twice before going back. Bertens/Kerber could be an interesting match. Both Angie’s ex-coaches are on site in Stuttgart if Schuettler needs any help.

    Naomi has been talking about the depression and stress which she has been going through the past few months. Maybe her split from Sascha involved mutual misunderstanding about her emotional state and his inability to be the person she needed at the time. So they had to part. Anyway, it’s good to hear a player being honest about these things – Naomi doesn’t hide her feelings and for her that’s better than bottling them up and then going into a decline on the court. Her game looks good on clay as far as I could see.

    Kiki M doing quite well in Istanbul. If Sascha is with her then that’s a tactful country or two away from Stuttgart.

  • catherine · April 26, 2019 at 1:26 pm

    Azarenka on fame and social media: ‘being a public person, being an athlete, you always get judged, so although we don’t read comments – we say we don’t but we all do – it still leaves a mark and over years it can really kind of haunt you, bring you down as well.’

    Some of the comments I’ve seen, I don’t how anyone can go out and play, all the time thinking what’s going to be on their tweets and IGs before they’re back in the dressing room.

  • catherine · April 26, 2019 at 2:08 pm

    Don’t know why they bother with Istanbul. Martic and Kiki M play the longest match of the year, Martic winning, and there was literally almost no one there. Poor attendance all the week.

  • catherine · April 27, 2019 at 2:17 am

    For anyone following the tournaments in Europe – one of the interesting differences this year is the lack of noise about Serena W – she’s hardly been mentioned. We’re definitely in the post-Williams era. Not the same with Federer – somehow he’s still around although selective about where he plays.

    Nadal will probably win Barcelona and I favour Osaka in Stuttgart, although she was saved in her match v Vekic by V’s choke leading 5-1 in 3rd. Bertens was impressive disposing of Kerber – power off the ground and a strong serve. Kiki says she worked on her serve in the off season and it’s showing. Angie looked a bit below par, maybe her virus, but she’ll have to improve a few things if she’s going to do anything on clay. Paris is a chimera.

  • catherine · April 27, 2019 at 9:34 am

    Naomi withdraws from her Stuttgart s/f with an abdominal injury – disappointment for the fans and for Porsche and a worry for Naomi. Kontaveit goes through.

    Vondrousova bts Strykova in Istanbul – again in an empty stadium. This is really disgraceful and the WTA should move the event as soon as possible. Turkey is not the best place for a tennis tournament at present. Whoever sponsors the event must be taking a thumping loss.

    Vondrousova is 19 and a promising prospect for the Czechs.

  • Scoop Malinowski · April 27, 2019 at 9:50 am

    Mari Osaka update: She continues to win a round in ITFs but can’t sustain any kind of win streak. Her coach told me she is feeling under enormous pressure because her younger sister is the no. 1 ranked player in the world. Tough shoes to fill for big sister. Paul vs Sandgren rematch today in Tallahassee, Moutet vs Emilio Gomez in the other semi. Moutet is a player I have reported about here in the past, talented lefty with two wins over Karlovic in ATP events but has stalled recently. Trained with Federer in Dubai this off season for three weeks.

  • catherine · April 27, 2019 at 12:01 pm

    Apparently the stadium in Turkey is 2 hrs drive from Istanbul and no public transport so no wonder it’s empty. Not the same place used in WTA events a few years ago. There are 16 million people in Istanbul so I imagine a few tennis fans there somewhere. Maybe they could be bussed out.

    If were a player I’d refuse to play in such a ghastly spooky place. Vondrousova went out to wave to the crowds after she won, realised there were no crowds, and beat an embarrassed retreat 🙂

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