A New Appreciation of Women’s Tennis

While at the Orlando Lake Nona USTA National campus two weeks ago, I wandered over to the Player Development section and caught a practice session between Grace Min and Caroline Dolehide. They were being drilled by Stephen Huss, the former ATP doubles player and now Dolehide’s coach who must’ve been assigned her by the USTA. They were doing a drill where Min and Dolehide set up cross-court from one another while Huss fed the ball to one player. That player had to go back cross-court with her baseline drive and then at any time after the feed and the first strike, either player could change directions and go up the line to try and win the point.

Dolehide is 19, 5-10 and big and she hits the absolute crap out of the ball; I mean bludgeons it. You can watch her play tonight if you’re in Washington D.C. as she takes on Donna Vekic at 7:30 pm EST. From Hinsdale, Ill. she’s at her career-high ranking of no. 102, but she’s a player who looks to have oodles of talent. Min is older, 24 and lower-ranked, no. 172, and she’s shorter, 5-4, but she has a pair of Michael Chang legs and also just creams the ball. I had never seen two female players hit this hard or move this quick on the court. It helped that I was sitting five feet from the court.

Another bystander, a tennis coach from Chicago, watching the practice said he goes to the academy in Chicago run by Sloane Stephens coach, Kamau Murray, and watches Sloane practice from time to time and she doesn’t hit nearly as hard as Dolehide or Min in her practices. As I was watching the practice, MacKenzie McDonald walked by and I congratulated him on his Wimbledon success. McDonald, now ranked no. 80, plays Andy Murray tonight at 7 pm in DC, walks with the very erect posture of Novak Djokovic and he did a cool drill with the coach working with him where the players on opposite sides of the net, started out a foot inside baseline and hit volleys right at each other as they moved forward only to have the drill end when one of them at short-range couldn’t get the volley back. They marched back to just inside the baseline and did this drill over and over again in the hot sun.

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  • Scoop Malinowski · August 1, 2018 at 11:10 am

    Tennis at any level is hard enough when you’re perfectly fit. It’s impossible to play well with like two 20 pound dumbells hanging off your waist. The fact that Serena made a Wimbledon final in the shape she’s in is incredible really. Her body does not even look ready for doubles let alone singles.

  • Duke Carnoustie · August 1, 2018 at 11:43 am

    What is an OBJ hair do?

    Interesting that Wawrinka has to play quallies in Toronto. He may draw DY again in that!

    Nice wins for Marterer and Jarry. Perhaps they are better than the American youngsters.

    In a surprising H2H, Denis Istomin is now 5-2 vs. Kohli after knocking off the No. 2 seed in Austria.

  • Chazz · August 1, 2018 at 12:47 pm

    Groundhog Day again: Kyrgios withdraws

  • Scoop Malinowski · August 1, 2018 at 1:07 pm

    DY dyed his hair yellow on top like Odell Beckham Jr. the famous New York Giants star wide receiver.

  • Duke Carnoustie · August 1, 2018 at 1:21 pm

    Got it Scoop. I stopped watching the NFL once those players began kneeling during the anthem. Ridiculous.

    That noon start was never going to work for Kyrgios. Told you he would bail. Nice to see the Kubler elf in the second round.

  • Scoop Malinowski · August 1, 2018 at 1:31 pm

    Kyrgios seems to treat all 500 and 250s as playground training to get ready for the following 1000 or major. The fact his brother was promoting that gambling site on his shirt a few years ago in the player box no less, is also highly suspect.

  • Duke Carnoustie · August 1, 2018 at 2:36 pm

    Another crazy H2H is Klizan improving to 3-0 against Thiem my knocking off the home favorite 7-5 in the third set.

    At least Domi can fly to North America and spend some quality time with Kiki now. That’s what I would do if I were him.

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