Brad Gilbert Gives Shout Out to South Florida as the Breeding Ground to the Young American Female Force

We all looking for Tiafoe, Fritz, Donaldson, Opelka, Kozlov, Paul, Rubin and Escobedo to drive the young American men to the forefront of men’s tennis, but in the blink of an eye, the real force in American tennis lies with the women, especially the young women, with Coco Gauff, Amanda Anisimova, Sofia Kenin leading a drive toward dominance. Brad Gilbert this morning, while announcing the Opelka-Wawrinka match on ESPN, said that South Florida has been the place where all these girls have flocked and developed their games.

Going all the way back to the Williams sisters who moved to South Florida nearly 20 years ago, Sloane Stephens and Madison Keys also developed their games in South Florida, and Gauff, Anisimova and Kenin all moved to South Florida at young ages. Gilbert mentioned the Evert Academy in Boca Raton. I will be traveling early next week to South Florida with my son, Callum, to train for the boys’ 14’s Clay Court Nationals held in Fort Lauderdale starting on July 14th. Callum is going to train with Evan Hechtman, Venus’s coach, at the Royal Palms Club in south Miami and I’ll try to make my way around to the different training grounds in South Florida while hopefully my son makes some inroads at the Clay Courts.

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  • Dan Markowitz · July 3, 2019 at 9:28 am

    This Opelka-Wawa match is really good. Fifth set 6-7 with Wawa serving and no breakers so far. BG said of all the American young players, he thinks Opelka has the best chance of actually winning a slam. And he would most like to coach Opelka, which with Jay Berger, Opelka’s coach in the stands, is a little bit of a diss to JB.

    Wawa down three match points here, and he dumps a fearhand into the net at 15-40. BG says, “Great physical effort by the big fella winning his first five-set slam match.” He comes back from being down 2 sets to 1. The Americans are doing a complete reversal from their dismal French Open showing.

  • Scoop Malinowski · July 3, 2019 at 10:14 am

    Sandgren alive now too, must face Simon next who he’s 0-2 vs.

  • Scoop Malinowski · July 3, 2019 at 10:17 am

    Osaka developed in South Florida also from the age of about ten to now.

  • catherine · July 3, 2019 at 12:09 pm

    Yastremska bt Kenin. Maybe Sofia should move to the Ukraine ?

  • catherine · July 3, 2019 at 4:21 pm

    Gauff wins 6-3 6-3 and puts a bomb under the moribund WTA. Not a suprising result. Rybarikova doesn’t have great weapons. Can a 15 year old win Wimbledon ? I’m still not a great fan of Corri’s game style but it’s time for someone new.

  • catherine · July 3, 2019 at 4:44 pm

    Is Patrick Mourataglou Cori’s coach ? I’ve heard that but find it hard to believe.

  • Dan Markowitz · July 3, 2019 at 4:56 pm

    Yes he is. Catherine, you might be over-reacting here a little bit. She’s won two rounds. For her to win Wimbledon she’s got to win seven rounds. Is women’s tennis weak? Yes, the French Open was only a few weeks ago and I can’t for the life of me remember who won the French crown, oh yes, it was Barty. But Coco has to beat Hercog who straight-setted Keys, geez, have there ever been two young players since reaching a slam finals who’ve disappointed more than Stephens and Keys? and then in the Rd of 16 she’d have to beat either Azarenka or Halep. That could be a tough ask.

    So far Gauff has beaten the no. 44th-ranked player and the no. 139. Let’s not get carried away. If she wins the next two matches, you can start to get a little crazy.

  • catherine · July 4, 2019 at 1:32 am

    Dan, I’m being a little ironic. Not at all surprised to see Patrick jumping on the bandwagon. Yes, I do think women’s tennis needs a jolt – maybe if Cori had some good competition nearer her own age, the 17 – 20 group which is there but so erratic. As I said I’m not a huge fan of her style, nothing different about it, she’s just doing it fast and accurately and building this reputation, the fear factor, a bit like Chris when she first broke through and before someone else got the tactics right. Can’t see Halep beating her. Simona’s gone soft. Azarenka would be tougher. Andy should have picked Vika for the mixed – she was annoyed about that you could tell. Serena just got in there for the attention once she’s out of the singles.

    One thing – the media frenzy over Cori will direct attention away from Osaka which will give Naomi a chance to recover herself.

    I’m bothered about Cori’s age. 15 is a bit young. So many pitfalls. But maybe that’s just because I’m old 🙂

  • Hartt · July 4, 2019 at 5:56 am

    I am not a big fan of Mouratoglou, but Gauff has been working at his academy since she was 10, and one newspaper account said she’d received a scholarship to train there. So he recognized her talent early on.

  • catherine · July 4, 2019 at 7:01 am

    I wonder how much schooling she’s had ?

  • Dan Markowitz · July 4, 2019 at 7:37 am

    These kids are all home-schooled. Even the kids Callum faces, especially at the Nationals, but even here in the East, many are home-schooled. I read that Gauff actually trains at someone’s academy I’ve never heard of in Sarasota. She’s won five matches in a row at the Big W without losing a set if you count the qualis. Pretty impressive for a girl who’s probably played a limited amount on grass.

    I’ll watch her more carefully, but I agree with you, Catherine, that her game looks pretty standard. A baseliner with a big serve. Sloane Stephens who won easily today against Wang said the courts are playing slow which maybe aids Gauff as well since she won the French Open juniors. Look women’s tennis needs a shot in the arm, let Gauff prosper and hopefully Yastremska, Kenin, Anismova, Andreescu also all start playing their A games.

  • catherine · July 4, 2019 at 8:11 am

    Dan – The grass at Wimbledon has been slow for years – I understand the need to make the courts more friendly to the modern game but I think they’ve gone too far.

    All the girls you’ve mentioned play the standard game except Andreescu whose future seems in the balance. The best tennis comes from a contrast in styles and as we are always saying, you don’t see too much of that in the women’s game. Prodigy Gauff will bring in the punters for the time being and maybe her game will develop. Don’t know her draw at W’don without looking it up but it would probably take an older and more experienced player to beat her and I’m not sure how many of those are left.

    One of the few good things the WTA has done is encourage some of the players to sign up for distance learning degrees – Keys has done one, or is in the process. I think it’s a good idea. A recognition that many of the players have had minimal formal education and not all of them are going to end up millionaires.

    (I’m beginning to sound like Danielle Collins – time to
    close my mouth obviously)

  • Scoop Malinowski · July 4, 2019 at 8:31 am

    False. Gauff has trained in Delray beach. Mouratoglou recently poached her. He also recently poached 13 yr old champions clervie ngounoue and Brenda fhruhvirtova. He allegedly pays them to train there in France. He allegedly pays to coach serena.

  • catherine · July 4, 2019 at 9:25 am

    Can’t believe Patrick pays to coach Serena. Have you evidence or is this just gossip ? And I’m not sure how much coaching Patrick would be doing now, with Serena being almost a part time player.

  • Scoop Malinowski · July 4, 2019 at 9:49 am

    Some Florida insiders mentioned it on a discussion on Facebook. All credible insiders. I would not be surprised if Patrick is paying Serena, just imagine how much he benefits by being seen with the GOAT. And what does he really offer her? She angrily denied his supposed coaching was of any value to her at US Open final last year. If Patrick and other coaches give unproven but talented juniors free scholarships to train at their academy, surely it makes sense Patrick would pay Serena to be seen as her “coach.”

  • Scoop Malinowski · July 4, 2019 at 9:50 am

  • Harold · July 4, 2019 at 10:41 am

    Can’t believe he’s paying her to Coach. He is probably paying top Juniors, with scholarships, and per downs for the family.

    Before I saw that comment, I was going to ask. How high would Luthi( Fed’s Coach) be on the players earnings list?

    Catherine, You keep mentioning the lack of diversity in the Women’s game, yet the two players you talk about the most, Kerber, and Halep, play defensive, grinding tennis, which you seem to detest. Kerber, only comes to net to shake hands, I know that’s fairly dramatic sometimes

    For the Fed fans: What is a Visible Fed OCD?..

  • Dan Markowitz · July 4, 2019 at 10:48 am

    Fed looking human against Clarke. Just shanked a forehand and backhand slice into bottom of the net. I love how they say Gauff’s coach is her father, who was a Div 1 basketball player. Besides John Lucas, what basketball do you know of who knew anything about tennis? I’ve never run into any. In fact, in my experiences, tennis players are the worst basketball players only exceeded by hockey players. I haven’t played hoops with Scoop Malinowski, but my guess is he’s pretty lame at hoops.

    Now you’ve got all these tennis players like Izzie, Opelka and Gulbis who all are supposed to be good players and Roddick and Fish played on their high school basketball team, but back in the day, tennis players were mostly feeble on the hoops court.

  • catherine · July 4, 2019 at 11:20 am

    Harold – Kerber plays a rather unorthodox style. She didn’t come out of a coaching factory, which I like. You wouldn’t recommend her type of game to anyone. She does try the odd volley and such stuff from time to time and she has a good round-the-net-post shot. She can be a bit inconsistent for no clear reason except temperament. Also I find something interesting about her personality – it’s not straightforward. There’s a lot hidden. Sometimes comes out (‘drama queen’eg) and then everyone acts so shocked. But there are plenty of clues.

    I don’t think I mention Simona overmuch – it’s just because she’s there in tournaments as a likely winner, although not so much lately. I find her game a bit tedious. I wish she’d try a little more aggression but maybe she’s not physically strong enough. I’d say she hasn’t fulfilled her promise. Cahill could have held her back, in a way.

    Actually the woman player I most like watching when she’s on form is Julia Georges. Her game is so smooth it’s relaxing. But she won’t win W’don. Of course I like Federer – his economy of movement is genius – but everyone else writes about him so I don’t.

    Kvitova served 4 aces in succession v Mladenovic and Kiki just stood there.

  • Jeff · July 4, 2019 at 11:24 am

    It’s definitely plausible that Serena pays him to stick around. Remember he broker her heart when he broke up with her and probably would want to stay away but one would think clearly Serena still has feelings for him despite marrying the Reddit guy.

    Not surprised that Kukushkin would defeat Isner. It’s interesting how that Querrey-Kukushkin match I pointed out that had even-money odds has seen both players go on and post fruitful results this week. Wouldn’t surprise me to see him beat Struff.

    Bertens and Townsend going to a 3rd set. Sandgren crushing Simon 4-0 in a stunner.

  • Harold · July 4, 2019 at 11:30 am

    Fritz and Isner both subconsciously tanked, not to play each other..ha

  • catherine · July 4, 2019 at 11:34 am

  • catherine · July 4, 2019 at 11:53 am

    Nobody’s watching because Nadal and Kyrgios is about to start – but Angelique Kerber, defending champion, is trailing in the 3rd set 1-3 to Lauren Davis. Lauren Davis ?

    If Angie hasn’t a reason this will be a devastating loss.

  • Jeff · July 4, 2019 at 12:07 pm

    Some cryptic Instagram posts from Jack Sock about returning. He is planning something big.

    What a loss for Kerber. She needs to make a coaching change from Schuttler ASAP.

    Here’s the big question no one has asked about Kyrgios. Will they let him and Sock play in Laver Cup? Neither has demonstrated that they deserve to. But Nick is on good terms with Roger. It’s an interesting question.

    The world team should be Nishikori, Anderson, Isner, Felix and Schwartzman with DelPo out.

  • catherine · July 4, 2019 at 12:08 pm

    Angie goes out. A miserable day for her. And in the shadow of Nick and Rafa the match got completely lost.
    Is Angie injured ? I’ll find out.

  • Jeff · July 4, 2019 at 12:11 pm

    Thanks, Cath. Keep us posted.

    Now Genie Bouchard is in Kyrgios’ box? Is he trying to make Anisimova jealous?

  • catherine · July 4, 2019 at 12:35 pm

    As far as I know there was nothing physically wrong with Angie. It was Davis, 5’2″ and lucky loser, who was trussed up like a mummy. Angie disappeared off the court looking like thunder.

    Was she unprepared, over-confident, distracted by other things ? She’ll drop a huge number of points. I do feel sorry for her. And Jeff I agree – Scheuttler should get his marching orders. He’s done nothing for her. It’s been a horrible year – only a couple of good matches.

    Honestly I wonder if she should have stuck with Fisette.

  • Dan Markowitz · July 4, 2019 at 1:01 pm

    Can’t believe they’re showing the Serena match instead of Nick-Nadal when one match is being played at so much of a higher level and so much more drama.

    I think the umpire for the nick-nadal match is way out of line to tell Nick that he will warn Nadal for taking too much time when he wants to. Nick had every right in my eyes to mock him for pulling a power play. Nobody wants to hear umpires give players the old, “Im in charge here.” They’re not in charge. They should just be arbiters and not judges.

  • Scoop Malinowski · July 4, 2019 at 1:05 pm

    Gauff dad is the main ciach but he gets help from other coaches. My hoops game was good, cyo all star in high school, had several 20 plus point games. Guard.

  • Scoop Malinowski · July 4, 2019 at 1:06 pm

    Kukushkin made you Jeffstrodamus.

  • Scoop Malinowski · July 4, 2019 at 1:07 pm

    Harold i doubt that but would embrace your theory if it was a 500 or 250.

  • Scoop Malinowski · July 4, 2019 at 1:09 pm

    Sock looking for attention? Kyrgios playing Muhammad Ali tennis today. These two despise each other.

  • Scoop Malinowski · July 4, 2019 at 1:10 pm

    I hear Bouchard was romantically involved with both Rafa and Nick. Among many others

  • Scoop Malinowski · July 4, 2019 at 1:11 pm

    I think Gauff can win this title.

  • catherine · July 4, 2019 at 1:29 pm

    Scoop – something in tennis like boxing: once you lose you’re nobody.

    Gauff win ? Possibly. Doesn’t say much for the rest of them does it ?

  • Jeff · July 4, 2019 at 1:38 pm

    Anyone think the Tomic fine was outlandish? I know I do. Every player who tanks a set should be fined part of their match fee too. Wimbledon has too much power to decide these things.

    This is a great match but for one player it is a career highlight and for the other, it is maybe the 200th-most important of his career. Nothing I am watching indicates that Kyrgios is a future Slam champion, unlike a Felix.

  • Harold · July 4, 2019 at 2:01 pm

    Gauff on Center Court against Hercog? Will all her matches for the rest of her career be on Center courts?

    Think the Tomic punishments might have to do with Gambling, as well as lack of effort.

    Bouchard and Nadal? Wouldn’t that have been a big scandal? Nadal has been with his GF 4 Ever. I still think she’s a beard😀😀

  • Scoop Malinowski · July 4, 2019 at 2:29 pm

    Catherine, Gauff is one in a billion, once every decade type phenom. She and Anisimova are the Next Ones.

  • Scoop Malinowski · July 4, 2019 at 2:30 pm

    Tomic paying the price for that embarrassing press conference at Wimbledon a year or two ago, he has no leverage. He’s already under scrutiny, he can’t afford to dog it.

  • Scoop Malinowski · July 4, 2019 at 2:31 pm

    Bouchard and Djokovic too, and a slew of others too. Hingis and Evert would be proud.

  • catherine · July 4, 2019 at 2:47 pm

    Scoop – Anisimova didn’t look much of a Next One losing to Magda Linette who is ranked well below her.

  • catherine · July 4, 2019 at 2:49 pm

    When on earth did Bouchard ever get time to play tennis ?

  • Scoop Malinowski · July 4, 2019 at 3:18 pm

    Catherine, Anisimova is a next one level talent, bad losses are par for the course for most teens now. How about Sandgren beating Simon in five, he had lost both prior meetings to Simon 61 64 and 61 75 last week at Queens. Big reversal by Sandgren who picks up some big ranking points and now almost $150,000. Huge win for Tennys.

  • Scoop Malinowski · July 4, 2019 at 3:23 pm

    Her off court training is taken very seriously.

  • Hartt · July 4, 2019 at 3:56 pm

    I had predicted that Rafa would win the match in 4 sets, so I was thrilled with the result. With all the chatter prior to today’s match I was surprised that no one mentioned the recent match between Nick and FAA. Nick tried in that one, until the end, when it was clear he would lose, and then he tanked the last couple of points. Immediately afterwards he tossed his racquet over a barrier onto a path where people were walking, to the boos of the crowd.

    Shortly after that match FAA had a lengthy interview with Stephanie Myles. Nick’s antics had been over the top, even more than usual, and Felix talked about how hard it had been to keep his concentration. He said that Nick was a very skilled player, but he could never be friends with someone like that.

    You get the feeling that FAA and Rafa have the same view of Nick. He has great talent, but he does not respect the fans, his opponent, or in Rafa’s words, himself.

    Rafa’s celebrations a couple of times during the match were bigger than normal. I suspect that this victory was especially sweet.

  • Harold · July 4, 2019 at 4:07 pm

    Nadal couldn’t wait to get away from Kyrgios, he broke protocol, and shook the umpires hand first. Kyrgios actually gives him a look

  • Scoop Malinowski · July 4, 2019 at 4:33 pm

    It’s clear Rafa and Nick absolutely despise each other. Super match to watch, hopefully this will inspire more grudge matches. It almost felt like Ali vs Frazier. Nice to see Nick try so hard.

  • Jeff · July 4, 2019 at 7:53 pm

    I’ll say this about Kyrgios – he gets a lot of credit for middling results. He lost in 4 to Nadal in the second round. yes, it was a good match but who would expect Nadal to beat him 2, 2 and 2 on grass? This is Nick’s best surface and Rafa’s worst and it was fairly straightforward for the French Open champ.

    I mean last year, Kyrgios was supposed to topple Roger at the U.S. Open. He didn’t and John Millman did. But we still act like Nick playing one of these guys fairly close is some kind of achievement. I didn’t see such plaudits for Lloyd Harris to win one set against Federer.

    The Kyrgios phenomenon is basically that he has fooled people into thinking he has major talent by hitting a few tweeners and serving big. His footwork is substandard all the time – as anyone saw on that overhand he netted in the 4th-set tiebreaker.

    If you want to see talent, check out Felix. His movement, his strokes, Nick only has a better serve but I will take Felix’s talent in every other category. As Hartt notes, Felix has the same champion’s mentality as Rafa too.

    No one is saying you can’t be the class clown but Kyrgios is really the next Mansour Bahrami more than he is some kind of major talent. And if he fails to take care of his body and put in the hard yards, he will be hitting trick shots with Bahrami sooner than later.

  • Scoop Malinowski · July 4, 2019 at 8:32 pm

    Jeff, usually agree with you but you are wrong this time. Kyrgios beat Rafa Roger and Djokovic the first time he played each. He has major talent when he wants to use it. When he’s inspired. Today he was inspired, he played very well but he just fell short. He said he stopped using the successful underhand serve which worked both times, citing the crowd displeasure after the second. Shows he is sensitive to fans and media criticism.

  • Jeff · July 4, 2019 at 11:01 pm

    No Scoop, you are wrong. Kyrgios simply got lucky in those matches he won. He is 0-4 against Nishikori, 0-2 against Anderson, 0-2 against Paire, 206 against Richard Gasquet. So we can assume he just “didn’t show up” 6 times against Gasquet and all 4 times against Nishikori? Why does this guy get a pass every time he loses he didn’t try? It is outrageous. I guess Nishikori and Gasquet are just lucky, huh?

    Look closer at his big wins and he beat Roger on clay, Rafa in Wimbledon and Novak twice during Novak’s worst spell of his post 2011 career right after he was listless in a loss to Istomin in the Aussie Open.

    If you analyze his game, he is just a big serve, that’s all. He doesn’t have the stamina to work points and his footwork is among the worst on the tour. Not to mention he is uncoachable. Just like you can’t be a writer if you have a small vocabulary, you can’t be a tennis champion without footwork and stamina. But if your vocab is small, you can still type some words together and make it work once in awhile. That’s what Nick is.

    The media rips Saszha, yet he has reached a Slam QF and took Rafa to 5 at the Aussie Open. Thiem has been in two straight finals and has beaten Djokovic in a Slam. All Nick has done is one Wimbledon win over Rafa, where Rafa has also lost to Rosol, Darcis and Dustin Brown. That’s a more accurate placement for where Kyrgios is in the tennis hierarchy.

    The guy has proven nothing in a best of 5 match against the top guys, really. Yet the media thinks he can contend for a Slam. He has been to two Slam quarters and the last was 4 years ago. What has happened since is a host of players have passed him by. Nick is simply a media creation. It is a media creation that he has this major talent because he talks about the NBA all the time. He has the whole world fooled. He lost today and last I checked there is no prize for that.

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