Jan/20

5

ATP Cup: The Lleyton Factor

By Jayita A Belcourt

Lleyton Hewitt is undoubtedly one of Australia’s greatest tennis players of the modern era. As a former world number 1 and with 2 grand slam titles under his belt, Hewitt’s talent and experience is vast. Unsurprisingly, following his retirement in 2016, he was quickly snapped up as an asset for Tennis Australia appointed team captain for the Australian Davis Cup and now the ATP Cup. But Hewitt’s role has not come without controversy.  In recent years, Hewitt has been at the receiving end of a string of allegations from players like Bernard Tomic who accused him of intimidation, favouritism and even blackmail. At the Australian Open in 2019, the headlines splashed throughout the media with such a strong stench like “no one likes him anymore” and suggestions that Hewitt had acted “illegally” and “ruined the system”, that many wondered how Hewitt and Tennis Australia would bounce back.

Yet, as the sky turned red in parts of Australia’s apocalyptic bushfire conditions, in contrast, any reputational tarnish was certainly wiped and forgotten this week for the 38-year old during the ATP Cup in Brisbane. Championing two wins for team Australia over Team Canada and Team Germany, the praises and smiles from Hewitt’s players couldn’t have been brighter.

John Millman, who secured a comfortable win for team Australia against Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime in straight sets 6-4, 6-2 to kickstart the second tie following a last-minute call to replace an injured Nick Kyrios, expressed deep appreciation for his Aussie captain.

“I love having Lleyton in the corner… You won’t find someone that’s more passionate about tennis than Lleyton. And I admired so much his game and his tenacity, and what he showed on the court is exactly how he is off the court.”

Indeed, Hewitt was certainly known for being a feisty, competitive, determined player. Someone who would grind you down and never give up. And that’s exactly the energy that was on display as he sat consistently and patiently courtside throughout his nation’s matchups in Brisbane. It was almost like he too was playing and toying with the world’s best through his players.

Whilst some may see this as negative or even controlling, it’s far from the opinion of his players. As highlighted by Millman “he’s [Lleyton] tenacious and he’s got that never say die attitude that we will have as Australians and he’s someone that, I guess the best way to describe it is, he’s someone that when you go out you look over to the box and you see him giving you a bit of a fist pump, you know he’s in your corner. And that’s what so great about these team competitions is that you can draw upon legends like that and also the support staff. They play every shot with us out there and that’s what makes these team competitions so unique and special”.

Millman’s thoughts were echoed by rising star Alex De Minaur describing his team captain as “awesome”, “supportive” and “encouraging”. The 20-year-old world 18 had a tight 3 set battle with Canada’s world number 15 Dennis Shapovalov in his nation’s second clash at the ATP Cup. After losing a heartbreaking first set tiebreaker and down 2-4 in the second, De Minaur was able to recompose and dig deep to clinch a stunning three set victory 6-7(6), 6-4, 6-2 for team Australia. Throughout the match, Lleyton remained visibly calm and positive, clenching his fists in the pivotal moments and echoing words of encouragement when the youngster was running low on emotional fuel.

Of De Minaur, Hewitt remarked “I’m so proud of the way Alex was able to hang in there. He was going to get an opportunity at some stage and he was able to take that. He had a bit of a flat spot there but after you lose a tight first set, that was always going to happen. He went on with it in the third set.”

Yes, it seems Lleyton’s insights and in-depth psychological knowledge of his players and the game itself is really cementing Australia as a formidable opponent. So, with a string of talent at his disposal with the likes of Nick Kyrios and Alex De Minaur, is Hewitt’s input and energy able to give Australia the edge it needs to take out this year’s inauguration of the ATP Cup?

Up next, Australia will face team Greece on Tuesday 7 January. Should they secure even one win from three matches, they will process to the ATP Cup quarter-finals in Sydney.

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241 comments

  • Scoop Malinowski · January 5, 2020 at 4:17 pm

    Nice work on the scene Jayita. The Australian team is thriving in this format. All the players are on the same page and competing like a prime Hewitt. Millman was sensational beating Felix, but de Minaur looks like a major champion to my eyes. He is really playing top tennis and using emotional adrenaline like a young Hewitt. It’s a little in your face and intimidating but it seems Hewitt has coached de Minaur to summon his emotional adrenaline now more than ever before and it’s inspiring his best play ever. He crushed Shap yesterday, and SHap was fired up almost as much, up a set and break but deMinaur fights back from any deficit, it’s never over with him. He’s a complete nightmare to play. He broke down Shap’s will and crushed him. Shap was even shaking his head, shocked that the kid took over the match from him. de Minaur can do this to anyone. Felix, Shap, he’s gonna take down the big boys too this year. He has that Hewitt fighting spirit and the game now, nothing is going to stop him, just like nothing was going to stop young Hewitt. de Minaur is the real deal people, trust me. Nothing stops a kid with the desire and fight de Minaur has. Nothing.

  • Scoop Malinowski · January 5, 2020 at 4:46 pm

    What I really like about De Minaur this week is he is screaming and roaring his CMONS like young Hewtt did. Like a man possessed to be the best. Like he just does not care if it offends the opponent, it’s to pump himself up but also to intimidate the opponent and irritate him. Hewitt always said he did it to pump himself up but he also did it to rub it in the face of the opponent. The Spaniards and Argentines absolutely hated Hewitt but they did not complain much, they just dug deep and fought him on court. Moya, Corretja, Nalbandian, Chela, Coria all hated Hewitt. De Minaur is showing the same young Hewitt intensity now and that’s a good thing for him and viewers because it’s a great show and it pumps up the opponent to fight back. Shap was also very intense today but de Minaur was just too tough, too good. Nobody has the desire of de Minaur. He is a man possessed to win a major for Australia, Hewitt, himself.

  • Andrew Miller · January 5, 2020 at 5:31 pm

    De Minaur the game hasn’t caught up to De Minaur the ambition. At this point he should be strongly considering the next piece of his coaching team. He has enough clout now to command another pro player to help him (and that tennis mind isn’t Hewitt).

    The best thing he has done is maintain his level since November. Fantastic – it means as other caught their breath he kept his regime in place.

    Hiring a guy like Pat Cash or Pat Rafter might be too big and would also stress everyone out because they have an enormous profile in Australia. He still needs someone to guide him, maybe someone like Masur. Masur was a smart player.

    Todd Woodbridge was excellent, also found ways to win as a small guy. Jason Stoltenberg was very good. As De Minaur is also a Spaniard, he could also find someone like Jose Higueras, which would be a GREAT move in my opinion given Higueras is a good tennis mind and might find something for De Minaur for a short period.

  • Hartt · January 5, 2020 at 5:54 pm

    A Spanish coach for de Minaur could be Galo Blanco.

  • Scoop Malinowski · January 5, 2020 at 5:56 pm

    Andrew, Higueras is working for USTA still. No reason for de Minaur to make any changes now. Isner got scalped by Medvedev 6361. Isner looks a step slow this year.

  • Scoop Malinowski · January 5, 2020 at 7:01 pm

    Hartt, I saw Galo Blanco at US Open last year, he was coaching a junior girl, a French girl I think. Can’t remember her name. She was plaing a Russian girl coached by Igor Kunitsyn.

  • Andrew Miller · January 5, 2020 at 9:09 pm

    De Minaur hasn’t added dimensions to his game and to me he doesn’t get Brad Gilbert saying, which is “know how your opponent sees your game”. He is however taking after Nadal in how he runs after balls and has won tournaments based on his serving so he has some great things going for him. His attitude is excellent.

    I don’t think he can get the additional dimensions of his game without adding to his coaching staff, and I don’t think he can get it from say Hewitt either, who never coached himself.

    Shapovalov in comparison has begun to expand his game, but I think he has to aim bigger and hope that Youznhny is trying to add to Shapovalov and get him to understand his weak points from the perspective of another player.

    Agassi in his book said that Gilbert helped him see what his game felt like to opponents and that knowledge helped him. He then did the same for Andrei Medvedev who proceeded to have Agassi on the ropes at the French Open in 1999 with Agassi distressed he had turned a competitor into a fire breathing dragon.

    It’s important to know how your game feels to opponents. I believe De Minaur needs to get stronger, hit more serving spots, guess right more often. He sometimes is a sitting duck because he plays points intensely without thinking through his options. I don’t think he used his speed very well either, he has more time than he knows what to do with.

    Nishikori cleaned up the same issue in his early 20s. These are things that if a player doesn’t sharpen up will hurt them in the future.

    Jon King has spoken about things such as the grip for C.Gauff and how it’s a ticking time bomb. Well in a similar way I think the same for young players that assume the rest of the field will disappear while they will inherit the top rungs. Even though they don’t believe that, their games need some work.

    We always comment on the big guys how they talk nonstop about improving etc, how the Nadal serve at its best is excellent, how Federer upped his beautiful backhand and Djokovic hired experts for his volleys.

    I see zero of this in the new guys. Tsitsipas is blessed with a fine all around game and a sick ability to learn from his losses (nice asset) and Medvedev from his world class acting or whatever you call it.

    It’s a little sad. I hope they look at players like Raonic and emulate his desire to work on his game. I don’t see roses without that, but they may get lucky and the big guys may break down soon so that they don’t have to put in the work. Heck they could learn from AK or Andreescu. They could do worse than watch wta matches for the top twenty women and get inspired about things like strategy.

    See ball hit ball hasn’t worked for a long time.

  • Louise Angela Belcourt · January 5, 2020 at 9:13 pm

    Australia with the help of Hewitt and the great team spirit is the first country to qualify for the knock out rounds of the ATP cup with 6 wins for 6 matches. Having watched all their matches I can see the real team camaraderie they all have. Each player and coach is up on their feet most of the match. The most vocal and animated being Nick.
    The Aussies will play the winner of the weaker pool C, most probably Bulgaria.

  • Jeff · January 5, 2020 at 10:36 pm

    Australia is thriving in the home conditions. Just like Spain did in Davis Cup. They are going to have to fix this because it is too big an advantage.

    Anyway good article on Zverev and his new girlfriend in The Guardian. His old chick, a Russian model, dumped him and left him in the dumps. Now he is with some German supermodel instead – so skinny you have to be concerned, you know how that works. But she is with him in Australia so all is good in his camp for now – except the tennis.

  • Andrew Miller · January 6, 2020 at 4:29 pm

    Auckland: Bouchard d. Flipkens. Nice to see Bouchard back on the board, and nothing against Flipkens. Now at #262, quote: “Bouchard’s first victory above a 125K event (the lowest level on the WTA Tour) since last February in Dubai”.

    Petkovic w/d from Australia.

    Shenzen: Wang d(estroys) Jabeur; Pliskova VERSUS Sabalenka (Sabalenka always plays well in China so…). All have the Brisbane results.

  • Andrew Miller · January 6, 2020 at 4:33 pm

    Caspar Ruud: defying his ranking by beating Isner, Fognini at ATP Cup

  • Scoop Malinowski · January 6, 2020 at 4:48 pm

    Ruud’s father said two years ago he was struggling with hard court results, his wins were coming all on clay. Looks like Ruud has evolved into a hard court machine now. Two major wins vs top 15ers.

  • Andrew Miller · January 6, 2020 at 6:11 pm

    Caspar Ruud – never too early to beat top players. If anyone were to tell Tiafoe, Shapovalov, others guys anything, it would be “don’t wait your turn – that’s not how you get where you need to go on tour.” No one told Nishikori to “just wait your turn” or Serena Williams when she had the chance in 1999. Same thing holds today. Tell your juniors, “it’s not to early to go ahead and take this match to your opponent, you don’t need permission to give them the match of their life”.

    I take all of this from Scoop’s “Will to Lose” piece. That isn’t entirely about fear but some deep seated belief that players have to “wait until they’re ready” etc. A special thing about some players, very few, is that even when they are down and out, they still play every point. That defiance isn’t the will to win but the THREAT to win. That’s enough.

  • Scoop Malinowski · January 6, 2020 at 6:32 pm

    Something has clicked with Ruud, he couldn’t win a match on HC now he’s plowing through top 15 stalwarts. De Minaur has no will to lose. His will to win may be greater than Nadal’s but his game and ability are not at that high level. Take a good look at De Minaur play, he looks like nothing. He looks like a junior playing 18s or 16s. But he has some desire to be the best. Just some.

  • Hartt · January 6, 2020 at 10:13 pm

    Shapo played some great tennis to beat Zverev 6-2, 6-2. Sascha played badly, but Denis was “on” so Sascha did not have much of a chance in any case.

  • Andrew Miller · January 6, 2020 at 10:30 pm

    Zverev is plagued by his sulking ways. Only way he’s going to advance may be if his sponsors drop him and he has to appreciate every match.

  • Andrew Miller · January 6, 2020 at 10:32 pm

    If Berdych had the De Minaur desire for every ball he’d have been a HOF player. If De Minaur had Berdych’s power he’d be a HOF player.

  • Hartt · January 6, 2020 at 10:37 pm

    But Andrew, as Rafa so wisely said: “If, if, if . . . doesn’t exist.”

  • Hartt · January 6, 2020 at 10:40 pm

    I have no idea what the solution is for Zverev. My commies wondered if he needs to acknowledge he is not as great a player as he thought he was, and go from there.

  • Andrew Miller · January 6, 2020 at 10:57 pm

    “If Nadal played right handed, he’d be Pouille” 🙂

  • Andrew Miller · January 6, 2020 at 11:06 pm

    Zverev is good. I don’t think he has the same talent as the other guys, but he may not need to have that – just a good draw and get over the nerves. The on court outbursts are not working too well 🙂 Maybe he needs some help from his brother – he responded well to “brother like” goading from Federer, Nadal breathing down his neck and then went on a pretty nice run from there.

    If Raonic had that coaching before his final games against Zverev at Laver Cup rather than Zverev I think he would have won that match, too. But without Federer and Nadal pushing Zverev, I think Raonic wins that match going away. Just like he did last year at the Aussie.

  • Jeff · January 6, 2020 at 11:47 pm

    Certainly the problem for Zverev isn’t the gf, they are madly in love according to the Guardian.

    I wouldn’t be concerned if he starts off slow. He will be there in the end like last year. I don’t think he can handle the Aussie conditions with his frame and size, anyway. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him lose to some middle of the pack guy like Tiafoe or Londero.

  • Hartt · January 6, 2020 at 11:51 pm

    Milos pulled out of the tourneys following Laver Cup, and so he likely was injured during that Laver Cup match. (And what else is new?) So coaching probably wouldn’t have made any difference in any case.

  • Hartt · January 7, 2020 at 12:48 am

    Shapo continued to play great in the doubles, and FAA was much better than he’d been in the singles, so they pulled off the win against an accomplished German doubles team. They have a shot at making thee QFs, but all the ins and outs are too complicated for me to understand.

    Denis has had a wonderful start to the season. if he continues to play at this level he will make a jump in the rankings.

  • catherine · January 7, 2020 at 1:11 am

    Could be Petko’s last year on tour. Whole generation of German women could be waving auf W’sehen at the same time which will leave the women’s game there looking a bit thin. Spectral in fact.

    Sloane loses again. Keys wins. Vekic loses. But I’m not sure how significant some of these results are, or will turn out to be.

  • catherine · January 7, 2020 at 1:39 am

    Bencic loses to Blinkova in China and Sabalenka is on the brink v Kr Pliskova. Aryna losing in China ? Someone here forecast Tursunov’s exit this year. Could be.

  • catherine · January 7, 2020 at 2:06 am

    Kristina hammered down 15 aces and out went Sabalenka 4-6 4-6. Pretty bad loss there – some poor serving and worse returns. Of course Aryna suffered the death of her father not so long ago and who knows how much this has affected her. But the draw in Shenzhen now wide open.

    Osaka bt Sakkari in Brisbane SS and looked in decent form.
    I wonder how many players’ boxes Wim Fisette has sat in over the years ? Must be hard to keep track. Who am I coaching today ?

  • catherine · January 7, 2020 at 2:25 am

    Collins is playing with Babolat now for all the racquet experts here. Possibly just trying out but certainly didn’t detract from her game.

    Courts in Brisbane fast, I’m told.

    I hate the way Fisette pushes himself – so smug. When you know he’s already thinking about his next contract. And he’s not so great at coping with emotional ups and downs – which was AK and can be Osaka. So we’ll see.

  • catherine · January 7, 2020 at 3:37 am

    Correction – Osaka bt Sakkari in 3 sets, with 16 aces in all, so her shoulder seems to be fine. Kenin next.

  • Harold · January 7, 2020 at 7:42 am

    if your hero Agassi had deMinaur’s heart and fight he’d have won 15 Majors. Comparing him to Berd is a little odd. Absolute different players. I’m not so sure deMinaur wouldn’t sign up for Berds career 7/8 years in top ten, Major finals, and extremely hot wife

  • Hartt · January 7, 2020 at 8:14 am

    A terrific match between Kyrgios and Tsitsipas. Nick won the third set TB in a match that had 3 TBs. Both guys playing great tennis and playing their hearts out.

    Stef was the one who got in trouble from an outburst and even got a point penalty. Nick was pretty composed.

  • catherine · January 7, 2020 at 8:33 am

    It’s not very clever organisation to have the ATP Cup and the WTA event at the same time in Brisbane so no women’s matches get on the Stadium court until the men have all departed. Shouldn’t happen again. Sloane Stephens has complained about it but none of the others have had the guts to do so. WTA cowed by the ATP of course.

    I’m with Denis on the Cups – combine them. Who needs two team competitions ?

  • Hartt · January 7, 2020 at 8:50 am

    Several players, including Novak and Rafa, have called for the 2 Cups to be combined, but the ITF and the ATP (and Tennis Australia) have big commitments to these tourneys. I worry if the two were combined that it would be the Davis Cup that gets the short end of the stick. The ATP Cup, although an “ersatz” competition as some fans call it, likely would prevail, because players won’t want to give up those lovely ranking points.

  • Scoop Malinowski · January 7, 2020 at 9:05 am

    Maybe no one cares to watch Slaone play Samsonova, that’s a match for court 9 anyway. The fans prefer to see the men battle it out in ATP Cup not a WTA zombie battle with zero passion and energy. If BJK wants to complain about inequality, maybe she should go start a WTA Cup. The ATP Cup has been a resounding success. Anyone notice the extra emotions from Djokovic, de Minaur, Tsitsipas? Seems like the ATP is greenlighting more emotions in the heat of battle.

  • Scoop Malinowski · January 7, 2020 at 9:06 am

    Hate to say it but Raonic is irrelevant now, Felix and Shap have passed him by.

  • Scoop Malinowski · January 7, 2020 at 9:07 am

    Andrew, Pouille has about 1/100th of Nadal’s mental strength, passion and burning desire. Pouille is Gasquet level intensity and hunger to be the best.

  • Scoop Malinowski · January 7, 2020 at 9:08 am

    Berdych was a great player but an android type, de Minaur is also a great player who uses emotional adrenaline better than 98% of the ATP and WTA.

  • Jon King · January 7, 2020 at 9:21 am

    Zombie battle, amazing description Scoop. This is my rant on WTA and junior girls play. Never changes from age 10.

    So Sloane calls out her coach. Sits there while he talks and ignores him. He tells Sloane 3 things.

    1. Hit 3 balls in a row to her backhand.
    2. Hit down the line earlier in the rally to open court, then hit cross court.
    3. Fight

    The announcers then gushed on how “great” a coaching visit it was. I am cracking up because that is the EXACT advice every coach from every academy, every private coach, every parent coach, gives every girl from age 9-10. Heck, its pretty much what I said to my kid before she played her first tournament match at age 8.

    The boys develop variety along the way. The girls start competing and feel the need to win at such an early age. You watch a girl play at age 10, maybe 12 at the latest, see her again in college or pros….same dang game.

    Of course there are exceptions, very rarely though.

  • catherine · January 7, 2020 at 9:39 am

    Scoop – if Serena, Gauff, Bianca, Halep were all playing in Brisbane do you think they’d be on Court 9 ?

    If you hate women’s tennis so much why do you write about it ? Why don’t you call T-P ATP only ? BJK, who seems to be your bete noire, has nothing to do with scheduling.

    The ATP Cup may be the biggest success story in the history of tennis but there was no need to run it at the same venue as the Brisbane WTA event which has been held there for years.

    Really, I think we’ve gone beyond the men/women competitive thing. Do you want women just pushed away on the back courts and left out of the game ? Like they used to be ?

    Jon – why do you coach girls if they are so boring ?
    Just asking.

  • catherine · January 7, 2020 at 9:44 am

    And Scoop – is everything you’ve ever written about Serena and Venus for eg and their passion etc just not true ? Is there any woman player you truly admire ? I guess not. And why can’t there be room in the game for men and women ? My point about Brisbane is that it really wasn’t neccessary for the clash. No one thought about it.

  • Harold · January 7, 2020 at 9:50 am

    Berd is 6’5 220, if he wasted his strength trying to be a rah rah guy, his career would have been 5 years shorter. Not a big Berd fan, but you can’t compare grinders to big guys to grinders. I think Hewitt cost himself matches in 5 setters by going nuts from the first point. Late in matches his serve would suck, and rally balls would sit.

  • Hartt · January 7, 2020 at 9:50 am

    Scoop, as you know, I like both Shapo and FAA a lot, but shouldn’t Milos at least get to play a few matches in 2020 before being written off?

  • Jon King · January 7, 2020 at 9:51 am

    catherine, we are trying to break the mold. A lot more time spent on strength and conditioning. A lot more time spent on attacking the ball on the rise, going to the net, varying the spins.

    It is what it is, if you go to a large tournament with boys and girls, the boys are slicing, dicing, trying to get to the net. The girls are 6 feet behind the baseline, back up on every high ball, never sniff the net, never slice, hit to the backhand or corner to corner. Its boring, if one of our girls is not playing, we watch the boys play….and that includes the girls. Even girls would rather watch the boys play.

    Now the pros can be different. I love watching Barty. Love watching Giorgi try to attack on the rise. Loved Halep, Clijsters.

    But most the junior girls and most of the rank and file women pros play a very boring game to watch.

  • Scoop Malinowski · January 7, 2020 at 9:51 am

    Jon, which TV announcer gushed over that basic coaching? I know guys at the park who could give better coaching advice than that. Was that really Sloane playing last night or clone or a drone? Only watched a few points, which was enough.

  • Hartt · January 7, 2020 at 9:53 am

    They have managed to have Barty’s first match on Thursday, so she will play on the main court. What would be the scenario if they couldn’t do that?

  • Harold · January 7, 2020 at 9:54 am

    Sorry for Stephens if she can’t muster the strength to play on outer courts anymore

    The women should bite the bullet every once in a while, they have glommed on to so many mens events. Take one for the team. Play Brisbane this year, and rework the schedule next year.

  • Scoop Malinowski · January 7, 2020 at 10:02 am

    Catherine, not sure why the women are even in Brisbane, the ATP Cup is the main event. I dont’ think the WTA event belongs in Brisbane playing second banana to the ATP Cup like a third wheel. They should have their own separate week. Seems like someone is being thrown a bone here. Sloane vs Samsonova was flat out dull, Kerber is perpetually dull now, I’ve seen more exciting practice sets and mini tennis games. Something is off with the WTA right now, the web site is a disaster, the majority of matches are dull, there are few exciting rivalries to look forward to. After the headline players – Andreescu, Osaka, Serena, Halep, Hsieh, Bencic, Svitolina, Gauff, Barty, etc, the WTA product is lacking compared to what Fed, Djokovic, Rafa, Tsip, de Minaur, Kyrgios, Zverev, Felix, Shap, Nishioka, Fognini, Opelka, Fritz, Sinner, Ruud are bringing. I don’t hate women’s tennis. But honestly see it struggling mightily at the moment. Hopefully the coming major will feature an abundance of thrilling WTA matches which will lift the WTA back up standing. Because the WTA is in a down period right now IMO.

  • Scoop Malinowski · January 7, 2020 at 10:07 am

    Catherine, you very well know who my WTA favorites are. One of the best rivalries in the history of tennis was Seles vs Graf. Unfortunately for the WTA, there has not been a rivalry even close to that since. Hopefully BJK can create a WTA Cup or King Cup to copy the ATP Cup. If there is true equality in tennis, we will see a WTA Cup type event soon. If not, then maybe equality is a pipe dream?

  • Hartt · January 7, 2020 at 10:08 am

    One of the sad things about Brisbane is that the ATP component doesn’t even exist any longer, and it was a terrific tourney.

  • catherine · January 7, 2020 at 10:13 am

    Sloane has many faults, and she’s far from my favourite player, but being a toady is not her style, she says what she thinks. She’s in a rut at the moment but that’s irrelevant. She had every right to complain.

    Jon -you know I’ve often criticized the way girls and lot of women play and that’s why we should value those that are the exception. I’ve watched a ton of women’s matches in my life and got stick from WTA, among others, for not being totally worshipful of some quite big names.
    So I’m not a biased observer. I just don’t think the Brisbane scheduling was a good idea, no one consulted the women players, and I hope it doesn’t happen again. Doesn’t take much to start a pretty unpleasant row.

    And good luck with your daughter – I think you are going about her training in the right way. Girls are not as athletic as boys, it’s a struggle. And it’s not like ballet where both have defined roles.

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