Feb/20

16

Delray Beach Kicks Off Monday

Mid February is always a favorite part of the season, Rotterdam wraps up, and the US spring swing begins in Delray Beach, if you consider New York a warm up Challenger.

Delray Beach is another hot ticket event, with Nick Kyrgios headlining this year as the top seed after Juan Martin Del Potro pulled out with continued knee issues.

Milos Raonic, who defaulted out of a final here a few years ago to Jack Sock. returns and faces New York finalist Andreas Seppi in the first round.

Kyrgios takes on his pal and American prospect Tommy Paul who is presently ranked 70. The winner could face struggling Frances Tiafoe who plays a qualifier.

Quality first round duels include Yoshihito Nishioka vs John Millman, NY Open champ Kyle Edmund vs Ugo Humbert, Miomir Kecmanovic vs Jordan Thompson, Taylor Fritz vs a qualifier and teen wildcard Brandon Nakashima vs Jiri Vesely.

Adrian Mannarino takes on feisty Korean Soonwoo Kwon. Jack Sock will take on last year’s champ Radu Albot.

Unfortunately Tennys Sandgren withdrew today with a knee injury presumably suffered in his New York loss to Steve Johnson, who is in Delray and plays Henri Laaksonen.

Kyrgios, the headliner, will hold his press conference tomorrow at 1. I will be there and try to count how many times he’s asked about if he’s finally serious about his career and keeping his focus on competing and not stirring controversies.

Bryan Bros are the top seed in doubles and play Kyrgios and Thompson out of the gate.

The most interesting questions about this tournament are how will Kyrgios do as the main ticket seller? Can he carry the tournament like Del Potro has the last few years? Will the men be able to fill the stadium court like local hero Coco Gauff did last night in her 63 63 exhibition against the Miami U. player?

And can Sock finally win a singles match and end his slump which dates back to Nov. 2018? Sock, now coachless, is not in the doubles draw so he’s 100% focused on singles.

How will Albot handle the pressure of trying to defend his only ATP title? The 30 year old is currently ranked 50, 11 spots below his careet best 39 last August.

As always, Delray Beach will be another superb tournament, as it is every year, and I will be there observing and reporting for the first four of five days.

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148 comments

  • Dan Markowitz · February 16, 2020 at 6:49 pm

    This might be Sock’s chance to breakthrough against Albot who is 0-3 on the year, of course the three losses are to Goffin, Dimitrov and Evans. I think it’s a good sign Sock is not playing doubles. Bag that and focus on the singles. Go to the ends of the world or at least places like Tulsa and work your way back up the rankings.

    Geez, Tomic is done. He lost today to Gulbis in last round of qualis, 2 and 0. Nice win by Rubin 7-6 in the third against Istomin. Again, a disappointing draw with only Raonic, Kyrgios, Millman, Nishioka and Edmund being 5 non-American players of stature playing.

  • Scoop Malinowski · February 16, 2020 at 6:55 pm

    What are you talking about Dan, you’re favorite bald lefty is also in the draw. Adrian Mannarino, the Rios loving court mute who never grunts or says a word, he just plays his nice lefty game. I thought you might fly down to Delray just to see Mannarino live again. I’m pleased with the draw, just wish Moutet was playing. Would also like to see Karlovic and Lopez too. They have played here a lot but skipped it this year.

  • Jeff · February 16, 2020 at 8:27 pm

    Tomic is not done. Got in as a lucky loser and has a winnable Round 1 match vs. Stebe. Would be amazing if he played Kyrgios in the final.

    Sandgren pulled out so Tiafoe plays Lopez instead. I wonder if Sandgren’s winless record had anything to do with it.

    Hard to expect Sock to beat a seasoned pro like Albot if Giron took him out. He needs to learn to work the Delray crowd into a frenzy.

    Harrison may upset Dzumhur tomorrow, should be a good one. Also fascinating round 1 between Noah Rubin and Jason Jung. That’s usually a matchup in a Challenger and not in a 250.

  • Scoop Malinowski · February 16, 2020 at 8:41 pm

    Tomic in the draw adds another twist. As does the two time champ Gulbis. Rubin should take out Jung. Harrison could desperately use a win over DD.

  • George · February 16, 2020 at 10:13 pm

    Tomic is the greatest enigma in history. He has incredible hand coordination with the most unusual strokes. He does seem a bit slow, but is it lack of effort? What is his potential upside if he had a mind like Nadal? Is his upside the same as Kyrgios with a Nadal brain transplant?

    Have to say these Aussie bad boys are entertaining.

  • Scoop Malinowski · February 16, 2020 at 11:34 pm

    Well said George. Tomic is a million $ supreme talent with a ten cent head. He lost the drive and confidence to be an elite top ten player. He stopped working and improving and as Mats Wilander said, When a top player stops treating each match like life and death, he/she will slide down the rankings. But it is always a pleasure to watch the silky smooth uniquely talented Tomic play tennis. He makes it look easy. If only he had more speed and fire burning.

  • Andrew Miller · February 17, 2020 at 1:19 am

    Edmunds wins NY Open (d. Seppi), RUUD wins Buenos Aires over Sousa, and becomes youngest Buenos Aires champ, only Norway player ever to win an ATP event, and tops his dad Christian Ruud as the best Norway player in history. How about that.

  • Andrew Miller · February 17, 2020 at 1:25 am

    Tomic (…) One of the few players, other than Coric, that makes me believe talent is over-rated in tennis, and that potential isn’t the same as drive. Kid’s dad made him, and the kid’s dad ruined him.

  • Andrew Miller · February 17, 2020 at 1:27 am

    Qualies draws per ATP/WTA event are brutal this week. Worse than slam qualies draws.

  • catherine · February 17, 2020 at 6:08 am

  • Dan Markowitz · February 17, 2020 at 7:24 am

    I had to mention this, watched some of the college tennis match on Tennis Channel last night between USC and Notre Dame and the quality of tennis was very low. I was amazed, I haven’t checked the rankings of these two teams, but I’d imagine they’re both in or around the Top Ten. Now I didn’t see the No. 1 singles players in action , but the no. 4 singles match was highlighted and these two players form was rocky; their serves were pretty much pushes and the all-around play was pretty bleh.

    Now that being said when Notre Dame won, their whole team went wild which was pretty cool, but if that’s the quality of play you need to get a scholarship at a top tennis team in the nation in girl’s tennis, I was not impressed.

  • Scoop Malinowski · February 17, 2020 at 7:30 am

    Dan I saw that too and was very impressed by Jaeger of USC and Lilien of Notre Dame. Jaeger fought back incredibly from 35 down in third saving mps but ultimately lost in the breaker, Lilien somehow stayed positive and kept her composure despite the fierce fight Jaeger and her monster fhs. Excellent tennis drama!

  • catherine · February 17, 2020 at 7:35 am

    Well, thank you both for these comments – but was the tennis good or was it dismal ?

  • Hartt · February 17, 2020 at 7:52 am

    Catherine, thanks for the link. It is a good article, although the Delpo story is somewhat depressing.

  • Scoop Malinowski · February 17, 2020 at 8:14 am

    Looked like WTA tennis to me, heavy hitting from baseline. Lilien’s lefty serve looked a little slightly odd but it went in and was not a liability. Both girls were very vocal, exhorting themselves on pre point, Cmon SC, Cmon ND. Lilien exhorted herself on shouting Cmon Irish. It reminded me of the time watching Isner play Vesely at Miami Open two years ago 1R. Isner had a terrible start of the year, lost almost all of his matches, was entering a third set vs Vesely and looked dead. On grandstand. I was watching with my friend Harry Cicma who played at Rutgers. He started exhorting Isner on, Cmon Bulldog, Let’s go Georgia. Cmon Isner. And Isner heard it and it revived him and sparked him and he won the match! And he then rolled all the way to the final and won the final beating Cilic. Those Cmon Georgia shouts helped Isner. The spirit at college matches is better than pro matches. I asked Isner about it after and he said how much he loved the college tennis energy and he thrived from it. The energy and Spirit is one way college tennis is better than pro.

  • Scoop Malinowski · February 17, 2020 at 8:18 am

    Sadly we may have seen the last of Delpo as a top player. At his best he could dominate even Federer, Djokovic and Nadal, but we rarely got to see Delpo at his best, as it was so hard for him to reach that level. But when he was there, wow. The most explosive powerful force the game may have ever saw.

  • Jon King · February 17, 2020 at 9:29 am

    Dan is correct, very low quality tennis at the college girls level. We know plenty of 2-3 star recruits that get scholarships to college. Lots and lots of scholarships available for tennis to girls.

    We spent the weekend at the National Tennis Center. It definitely was not WTA tennis, more like a slow motion version of it.

    The shots had maybe 60-70% of the pace and the topspin was silly exaggerated and sitting up like a wounded duck. We have been court side at many WTA matches, watched many a practice, night and day different.

    Sometimes tennis may look good if both players are at the same level. But the level of hitting was nothing more than at a very good junior tournament because the vast majority of well trained girls hit the same at 19 as they do at 14.

    The spirit was great though, very fun, lots of energy.

  • catherine · February 17, 2020 at 9:32 am

    Oddly, I read Naomi, Serena, Gauff and Bianca are ‘confirmed’ for Miami but no word on IW. As IW comes before Miami I’d guess all these ladies are ‘confirmed’ for that as well, since they are both Mandatory tournaments.

    A non-story from TT 🙂

  • catherine · February 17, 2020 at 9:37 am

    Is it a fact that more men than women pros come through the US college route, regardless of their nationalities ?

    I get that impression although I don’t have any knowledge of US college tennis.

  • Harold · February 17, 2020 at 9:39 am

    Saw the 3rd set of the USC/ND..level was 4.5 tennis at best. The girl playing 5 for USC was better than the girl that played 4. USC girl had her knee wrapped, kiniseo tape on her shoulders, but she fought hard. ND girl in 5 had a good lefty kick serve.

    Wonder what kind of Junior careers these girls had. Hope they’re good students, because they don’t have a future in futures

  • Jon King · February 17, 2020 at 9:55 am

    catherine, almost no female pros that go on to make money in tennis come through college. Its very rare.

    Almost all the WTA pros, top 150 level, the ones who make a profit from tennis, come through the junior system directly to the pros.

    Title 9 made lots of scholarships available to girls which is a good thing for girls. Getting a college scholarship is pretty much up to the girl, if she is resourceful, she can get one. A girl we know is not a good player but sent a bunch of emails to a coach and now has a college scholarship for next year.

  • Dan Markowitz · February 17, 2020 at 9:59 am

    Scoop, you gotta be kidding me? You thought that college match was high quality? I’m not touting my son and he’s only #25 in the country in the boys’ 14’s, but he could’ve beaten the Lilien girl you reference from Notre Dame and I don’t even think it’d be close.

    Now I know there was a lot of pressure in this match so these girls could’ve been pushing somewhat, but still as Harold says, these young women do not have a future in pro tennis. The USC #4 or 5 player, was hitting her forehand with her body completely parallel to the net. She was arming it. Even Callum said when it comes to technique these young women do not seem to have much of it.

    Catherine, besides Danielle Collins, I can’t remember a current top female player who played college tennis while there’s Steve Johnson, Isner, Cameron Norrie and others who have played college tennis of the men. I can only think that like what Jon says, getting a college scholarship even to a top American college for women’s tennis is not so hard so maybe these players know they’re going to get one when they’re 13 or 14 and don’t work so hard on their games afterward.

    Callum trains sometimes with the #2 player at Yale and she’s a 10.5 UTR like him and Callum says he can beat her. He also thinks he’ll be able to beat Coco Gauff one day so I take that with a grain of salt.

  • Hartt · February 17, 2020 at 10:19 am

    We sometimes talk about how useful playing doubles is for a young pro, so I found it interesting that Shapovalov, who plays with Bopanna fairly often, has a doubles ranking of 46. He and Bopanna made it to the Rotterdam SFs last week.

  • Andrew Miller · February 17, 2020 at 10:22 am

    Girl I knew was #1 U.S. player and…she went to college. She had an exceptional level. The girl she played also went to college, who was also ranked at some point as the #1 U.S. player. The second one remains one of the most talented players I have ever seen – she was destroyed by injuries, there was no way to make a go at the pro level without some pain.

    Used to hit around with a top 20 ITF junior who knew she could not make it at the pro level – she went to college and slipped down the depth charts. Lost her enthusiasm for the sport.

    You can find plenty of *&^% playing at the women’s pro level. And you can find plenty of pro players whose best days were as juniors.

  • Andrew Miller · February 17, 2020 at 10:27 am

    Here’s an example, Shapo’s girlfriend Bjorklund. She is good – I don’t think she would be a great college player, don’t think she could crack top 100 NCAA. But she is a top 350 WTA player.

  • Jon King · February 17, 2020 at 10:29 am

    Dan, all women pros and top girl ITF juniors only train with male hitters. The level difference of college girls and college guys is huge.

    The dirty secret of female tennis is there is practically no improvement from ages 14 to 19 for the vast majority of girls. Even Richard Ashby, head of girls development for USTA, says this all the time. Girls who start at age 5-6-7-8 reach their full level by age 14.

    We are literally training 3-4 hours a day on strength and conditioning for every tiny percentage increase in ability with girls at age 13-14. Its very, very hard to get much improvement past that age.

    Thats why girls lose motivation. They get to a level at age 13-14 and can cruise to a college scholarship. The rare ones who can keep improving will mostly go pro.

    Boys totally opposite, most of their improvement comes from ages 13-19.

  • jg · February 17, 2020 at 10:31 am

    I saw that usc match also, sounds like Jon King is right when the competition is equal they look better, a friend of mine does ITA umpiring for D1 college
    and says the folks we play with can all hang with most of the women’s D 1 and men D3, I looked up the Notre Dame player and she was a 5 star recruit, and number 35 in the nation when a junior, I totally enjoyed the match but probably against a futures player they get killed. I enjoyed the match more than a WTA

  • Jon King · February 17, 2020 at 10:33 am

    Andrew, only look at the top 150 WTA players, they are the ones who make money in tennis.

    Once you get to 300 and below, its mostly wealthy parents able to buy ranking points. So sure, a college girls might be better.

    Again, male and female totally different. The 970th ranked male is still a scary great player. The 400th ranked WTA player might be utterly mediocre with someone paying the bills to get her into draws and get points.

  • Andrew Miller · February 17, 2020 at 10:35 am

    Agreed. Shapovalov smart choice to play doubles last week. One thing I appreciate about the Canadian men’s players, how thoughtful they are about their games and their choices. Shapovalov by all accounts has played a year in which he hopes his best tournaments are ahead of him. He takes it on the chin again last week and turns around and stays committed to the doubles. Has a nice run there, gets some wins, learns from an outstanding player in Bopanna – gets some of his confidence back and enjoys the camaraderie and cheering on his countryman Felix AA.

    That’s a good move from the kid.

  • Andrew Miller · February 17, 2020 at 10:39 am

    Clijsters: Doesn’t look ready for prime time. She has been described as both a multi slam champ as well as a 36 yo mother of three. Right now, those descriptions appear to be two entirely different players. I cannot in any scenario not believe that Clijsters is doing anything other than playing for her kids to have memories of her as a pro player and to extend her career for her own self-fulfillment. This version of Clijsters isn’t going to last long nor should last long against the Mt. Kilimanjaro climbing, jewelry hawking, grand slam haunting, coach berating Garbine Muguruza.

  • jg · February 17, 2020 at 10:51 am

    Clijsters looks pretty good to me, took her a few games but she’s looking pretty good out there for first match back

  • catherine · February 17, 2020 at 11:28 am

    Mugs is leading 2nd set.

    Andrew – you’ve got it wrong – Kerber who’s flaunting the jewellery – she should have a go at Mt K. And leave the lipstick at home.

  • Andrew Miller · February 17, 2020 at 11:45 am

    Kerber and a microphone: no!!!

  • Andrew Miller · February 17, 2020 at 11:47 am

    First match back, Clijsters better than I expected. I based too much on the pre-match photo – a ready to go Muguruza and a Clijsters I am not used to seeing. Glad she’s keeping it competitive. Muguruza must feel some pressure to win this!

  • catherine · February 17, 2020 at 11:49 am

    Mugs is nervous ! Kim’s still got it on those pinpoint groundstrokes !

  • Andrew Miller · February 17, 2020 at 12:10 pm

    Muguruza sends Momma Clijsters home. That sigh of relief was probably heard from Dubai to the world over. Clijsters has to be feeling good about this.

  • catherine · February 17, 2020 at 12:26 pm

    It’s like riding a bicycle – you don’t forget the strokes. Crowd definitely for Kim in Dubai.

    Garbine serving better these days.

  • Andrew Miller · February 17, 2020 at 12:29 pm

    Finland’s Ruusuvuori, age 20 (turns 21 in a few months), loses by smallest of margins every week – just lost to Gerasimov but has been LL into the draw to face Pospisil in Provence, France. He’s at #101. Pospisil should beat him handily. I am impressed by this guy’s big game – not much of a net game, but a nice back-court game.

    I’d think he’s the best Finnish player since Jarkko Nieminen. To give a sense of Finnish tennis: Ruususvuori is the ONLY Finnish player in the top 200, followed by Henri Kontinen (should be a name somewhat familiar to T-P) and the next highest ranked player is another young guy in the single 300s ranking.

    Ruusvuori has a nice post about him here that features him alongside a number of other solid Scandinavian next generation of the moment players such as M. Ymer (I like Ymer – his game and his humility) and Caspar Ruud (who can retire if he wants to as Norway’s best player of all time, having toppled his dad’s ranking and results).

    Anyways this young man is “lucky” to get a LL slot in France to face off against the mighty Pospisil. Should be an interesting match, I don’t know how long Ruususvuori can last against a guy that is playing so well! Ruususvuori seems to play every ball, so that will be interesting for Pospisil to face someone with a “only the last ball is the last ball” approach to tennis.

  • catherine · February 17, 2020 at 12:39 pm

    Poor Vondrousova and Sevastova – the whole stadium got up and rushed to the exits after Kim/Mugs 🙂

  • Andrew Miller · February 17, 2020 at 12:40 pm

    Something tells me tennis journalists have completely and thoroughly missed the rise of many, many other young players that go beyond the Tsitsipas Zverev etc players. At least the ATP website is reporting on it, even if the ATP website stats features are working slightly better than the WTA website features (ugh…).

    Two players, Ruud, Ruususvuori, have quietly snuck up on tennis; Humbert is top 50, Moutet is around the corner and right behind him, and playing well, M. Ymer, then all the guys in the challengers who few are aware of (outside of Scoop apparently!) who are playing very well, such as Watanuki, all of 21 years old. He would be less on the radar but based on some good “obscure” indoor challenger results maybe shouldn’t be.

    The big story of course, that a generation is trying to pry open the sport for the top rankings, pushing Thiem to beat them back while those guys beat Thiem back and thank the next gen guys for tiring him out.

    But the other story is of members of that same next generation that are less well known, way lower in the rankings than stars such as Shapovalov and Felix AA, that are re-writing all the challenger results today. They are ousting the dominating players in the challengers and showing how much ambition and skill they have.

    This to me is the story behind the story. Yes, maybe in 2025 the big three will retire and give way to Tsitsipas go he can win his one slam maybe 🙂 But beyond this there are the hungry players that are doing to equivalent of ripping titles away from guys that used to be knocking on the door of the top 40 not that long ago. Those guys will be the next top 100 and some of them may go even higher.

  • Hartt · February 17, 2020 at 12:53 pm

    I am never sure what to expect from Pospisil. I hope he has finally learned how to be more consistent.

  • Hartt · February 17, 2020 at 1:06 pm

    I like Ymer the Younger as well, and see from the score that he just broke Gasquet at 6-5 in the decider to win the match. You have to wonder if Gasquet’s playing days are coming to an end.

  • Hartt · February 17, 2020 at 1:24 pm

    Andrew, I agree that there are many exciting young ATP players who aren’t getting a lot of attention outside of forums like the ATP website.

    Since Nov., 2016 I’ve kept a list of young players who look promising. I have 4 on the main list, and 12 on the secondary list, and they can’t be older than 21. I generally have no more than 2 players from any one country. Some of them, like Ruud and Kecmanovic, have pretty well graduated from the Challengers, and others are still playing on that circuit. When they reach 22 they are removed from the youngsters list, although a few graduate to another category.

    My point is that there is no lack of terrific youngsters on the men’s tour, and they keep coming and coming! Several of them will be future stars, and it’s fun watching their development.

  • Hartt · February 17, 2020 at 2:00 pm

    I knew that Tiafoe has been in a slump, but was shocked to see he is now No.84 in the rankings.

  • Jeff · February 17, 2020 at 2:14 pm

    Not surprised at Kim. Once a champion, always a champ. But the problem for people like her is the grind of performing week in and week out on the tour. That she won’t be used to.

    Tiafoe playing poorly. He should have lost in Dallas to Nakajima, who outplayed him.

    Kyrgios and Sock practicing together at Delway today. Chances are both will get knocked out in round one since I expect plenty of hi-jinks.

    College women’s tennis is very poor. The girls have no strategy and just whale away from the baseline. Doubles is particularly embarrassing as they are scared to approach the net.

  • Jeff · February 17, 2020 at 2:18 pm

    As I predicted, Harrison beats Dzumhur as he crushes him 3 and 2. Good job by him to justify his wild card. He faces Mannarino or Kwon in the next round. This could be the start of a big turnaround for Harrison, now ranked No. 433.

  • Andrew Miller · February 17, 2020 at 2:40 pm

    Tiafoe is at least competing well. I get worried when the scorelines start looking like flat lines. The ATP tour has become a lot more competitive a la WTA tour within the last few years (it was always competitive).

    On my end, I am so surprised to see so many young players with complete games. It shocks me because when I see some high level juniors I am usually surprised in the other direction – that their playing have no discernible strategy and they seem to be playing on autopilot (which I do NOT recommend for any player from Djokovic on down to #1565T).

    I also worry about the “junior to pro” transition, which Canada appears to have mastered. I wonder if they have a similar kind of approach for the challengers and if Drummondville is some kind of test given its draw has many Canadians (as well as a strong group of seeds). I took a look at a few of the names and watched some clip, like Benjamin Sigouin, who appears to have a solid all-around game as a former junior star. I was much less impressed with another former junior now college player named Alexis Galarneau. Liam Draxl, also in the NCAAs has a fine looking game, but his results are poor at the futures level.

    The best thing I can say is their ground strokes with the exception of Galarneau are very sound – they hit a good hard ball and have good technique. Galarneau probably just competes fiercely…the stuff coming off his racquet is not beautiful.

  • Andrew Miller · February 17, 2020 at 2:47 pm

    Nakashima outplayed Tiafoe? Since when? Tiafoe did the right thing that match, saw that the longer he kept Nakashima out there the better it would go and Tiafoe was right. When he tried the same thing against Kudla he (as Scoop said) had a little bit of the will to lose/younger brother can’t beat big brother syndrome and folded after going up 6-1 in the second set tiebreak, which he needed to win to push the match open.

    Kudla did the version of a magic trick in that tiebreak, as if he had hypnotized Tiafoe into believing: “even if you are up 6-1 in this tiebreak, you shall hand the match to me and go home my friend”. It was unbelievable.

    No, Nakashima should not have won that match and didn’t. He looked tired and was misfiring, and Tiafoe did the right thing to turn that into a war of attrition – the Nakashima errors piled up, some nerves took over, and Tiafoe nailed down the win. It was nervy and good.

    As for Nakashima, depending on what kind of coach he gets and his work ethic he could do very well. He’s the kind of player that someone probably would have given a one-hander to give him some more freedom on his back-hand wing. He has excellent competitive instincts. He has poor physio. Anyone that watched the Tiafoe match as a coach should learn a lot about what he doesn’t like and how to rope him into errors. Because Tiafoe did it and Tiafoe isn’t the steadiest player!

  • Andrew Miller · February 17, 2020 at 2:59 pm

    Rarely see a match where “so and so should have won”. I saw a match with Blake and Agassi where, based on the winners, Blake looked like he won, but based on the strategy (e.g. making Blake run hard for those winners) Agassi made Blake pretty tired – tired enough to cough up the match in a final set (much as he did at the US Open when they’d meet a few years later). I had caught the second time they played – the first time Blake won and then won his first ATP title, and the second time Blake looked well on his way to winning his second title (which Agassi blew up). This was before Blake had his terrible accident chasing down a drop shot during a practice with Ginepri in Rome. I saw Blake again a year after his accident and he wasn’t quite himself. Then of course his outstanding comeback and his run of a few good years as the second best U.S. player to Roddick.

    Say it until I am blue in the face. The score doesn’t care about your winners. The only thing that matters is who wins the final point. You can win ugly a la Brad Gilbert or with a lot of vamos a la Nadal or in a quite lovely way a la Tsitsipas, but they all win because they win the final point, even if up to that moment everything was a tiebreak or the opponent won a set 6-0 – doesn’t matter.

    To repeat another story from Agassi’s book “Open”, Blake and reporters repeated a line about how after their QF match, which Agassi won in a fifth set tiebreak, a lot of the narrative was about tennis having won that evening. Agassi corrected the record on that in book. He said he won and relished winning, and took pride in everything he did to seal that win being down two sets to none. He noticed how Blake was having a little more problems with his movement and was “sitting” a little bit e.g. not able to explode as he had been able to do the previous sets. Agassi began painting the lines then moving Blake, and as we know three sets later Agassi won off a big forehand.

    To me only a few matches shouldn’t be won and those are the ones where the opponent dopes and wins, because if they are pumping steroids that means those wins and even losses are un-earned – they should simply be off the court and those matches all forfeited. I am against cheating in whatever forms. Those are the matches that so and so should have won.

  • Hartt · February 17, 2020 at 3:21 pm

    Not all promising Canadian juniors went on to have successful pro careers. Filip Peliwo is a classic example. I expect only 1 or 2 of the Canadian kids now playing college tennis will make it on the pro tour.

    Brayden Schnur, who went the college route, has had some success as a pro, briefly making the top 100, and getting to the final of last year’s NY Open. Unfortunately, he was out of that tourney early this year and dropped a lot of spots in the rankings when those finalist points came off. But he seems like a fairly solid player, and should move back up.

    There are a few Challenger tourneys in Canada and they usually have a ton of young Canadian players. I think there could be a few more Challenger tourneys in this country, they are important for developing young players, and the distances even within the country are a big problem. I’ve read that this is what Italy is doing, having many tourneys so young players can gain experience without having to do a lot of travelling.

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