Federer and Kyrgios Dazzle at BNP Paribas

BNP Paribas OpenRoger Federer has never played better tennis than he did last night in totally destroying an in-form Rafael Nadal 62 63. For the first time in his magical career Federer’s backhand actually beat up the Nadal forehand. Federer was whistling winners all over the court with his backhand – up the line and cross court and even the match point was a jaw-dropping backhand return cross court winner that landed on the baseline/sideline corner. Last night’s masterpiece by Federer might have been his finest performance of all. I wish I was there to ask Rafa after the match if this Roger performance was as “perfect” as the one he witnessed up close from Djokovic last year in Dubai.

Nick Kyrgios has taken the next step and apparently has matured his incredible physical skillset arsenals into a perfect symphony with his mind. For the second week in a row Kyrgios has outclassed a very driven and striving Djokovic who is desperate to regain his A plus game which has been curiously absent for the past year. Kyrgios looks a class above Djokovic now and best of all his mind game is on point. Kyrgios is using positive emotional adrenaline now. He is roaring and fighting like Serena and prime Hewitt while also showing Muhammad Ali like trickery and showmanship with his “hotdog” shots. Kyrgios is making tennis look easy and playful like Ali did with his world-captivating boxing talent.

Yoshihito Nishioka also dazzled us this week with his Marcelo Rios-like magical tennis. Nishioka extended Stan Wawrinka to a third set tiebreaker (having failed to serve out the win twice in the third set). Nishioka has a court sense and extraordinary ball control that very much resembles the game of Rios however he has a better demeanor and the positive qualities of a champion which could propel Nishioka to even greater heights than Rios.

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  • Andrew Miller · March 18, 2017 at 10:23 am

    Decent comparison: Courier and Sock. Courier was also famous for running around the backhand, though his backhand had more versatility. Both had great wheels. Courier better movement.

  • catherine bell · March 18, 2017 at 10:27 am

    Angie is becoming an enigma. Or else she’s Kerberized herself – reached a peak above her normal ability and can’t now carry that level on.

    Everything was a ‘dream come true’ to Angie last year. And we know what happens to dreams.

    I want her to find a way out of the dumps – for her sake and for the game’s.
    New coach ? Or a good mental coach. She isn’t enjoying tennis. Her egos are in conflict :)

  • catherine bell · March 18, 2017 at 10:30 am

    I hope Simona was watching Vesnina v Mladenovic.

  • Chazz · March 18, 2017 at 10:31 am

    Andrew – did Courier ever come up to the net? My memory fails me. I always thought of Jim as a great baseliner that almost never came up to the net but admittedly I was more of a casual fan back then.

  • catherine bell · March 18, 2017 at 10:37 am

    Chazz –

    I watched Courier a bit and I don’t recall many net approaches but then I only saw him in Europe and I may have blinked.

    He was a very good player but he didn’t actually light up the court with personality. A great mover though as Andrew says.

  • Andrew Miller · March 18, 2017 at 11:38 am

    Courier was a bulldog. Yes he came to net with whatever technique he had including a funny way of hitting overheads. For some time he outworked his peers from the USA tribe. Over time players found a way of going after his backhand, I caught a match down in Miami where he barely escaped Jeff Tarango, who went after the Courier backhand mercilessly. Courier won, but it was clear Courier’s speed and huge forehand and tactics for protecting the backhand couldn’t compensate for its weaknesses or the overexposure on the forehand side that opponents could exploit. Example, if courier had to retreat to the dubs alley on the backhand wing to run around and bit a forehand, there was an awful lot of court open for the skilled opponent to use.

    Courier’s slide came in part from this, maybe burnout.

    If Sock hammers out a few Courier like achievements Sock will be an easy vote for hall of fame. To be clear both Roddick and Courier both had much better backhands in the prime of their career, but maybe Sock can improve the stroke so that it’s at least a passable rally shot. It looks like a rally shot of sorts.

  • Andrew Miller · March 18, 2017 at 11:52 am

    Lloyd Carroll should praise Fritz for scaring the living daylights out of Sock at last year’s Australian Open. While Wawrinka’s 2014 Australian Open defeat of Djokovic changed the sport on the men’s side globally, Fritz’ five setter against Sock with Sock eeking out the victory pushed Sock into turbo mode in early 2016 as well as the entire USA men’s contingent. The IW semifinals for a USA men’s player isn’t what’s so surprising – Isner made the IW final and Fish too, and Isner made the Miami 2015 final. What’s shocking is how the Fritz challenge in 2016 and the Memphis final sent shockwaves to Sock, Johnson, Querrey, Donald Young, that unless they stepped up to the plate and stepped up fast Fritz and his cohort would steal their girlfriends, houses cars and endorsements and overall relevance.
    Hence the 2016 Delray title from Querrey. Even Ram’s run to the final there. Querrey Wimbledon quarterfinal. Johnson grass court title. Socks us open fourth round run. Querreys Acapulco title. Socks two titles this year and astonishing IW semifinal run.
    Basically, having Fritz, Donaldson, etc breathing down these veterans necks has shoved them to get better or become irrelevant.
    So it follows that only one thing will shove Fritz and Donaldson and Tiafoe and Mmoh and others up the ladder. Hint: It wont be competitiveness with Sock. It has to be (a) competition with each other and (b) whatever USA men’s generation is behind them!
    I guarantee. Guarantee it. That Kyrgios’ recent form is due in some way to fear around the rise of Alex de Minaur, who Hewitt likes.
    No jealousy, no career best achievements.

  • Scoop Malinowski · March 18, 2017 at 4:18 pm

    Andrew: Now USA tennis needs the 15-16-17 yr olds to step it up and put the extra pressure on the Fritz Kozlov Donaldson Tiafoe Opelka brigade – and those players are Patrick Kypson – Sebi Korda – Gianni Ross -

  • Scoop Malinowski · March 18, 2017 at 4:20 pm

    Courier worked like a beast and he had his era of dominance but once he lost his confidence and lost his edge he never could get it back unlike Fed and Djokovic and Rafa who all have lost their mojos but they all got it back – Who had the better backhand – Courier or Sock?

  • Scoop Malinowski · March 18, 2017 at 4:22 pm

    Yes Courier did go to net when the opportunity presented itself but mostly he liked to camp out at the baseline slightly to his left so he could wallop his patented inside out forehands -

  • Scoop Malinowski · March 18, 2017 at 4:24 pm

    Chazz; It’s hard to feel comfortable on the court with the biggest forehand in the business constantly barraging you – Kei was like a boxer who was bewildered by getting pummeled by too many Sock socks to the head :)

  • Scoop Malinowski · March 18, 2017 at 4:26 pm

    Larry Ellison has been noticeably absent for a lot of the woman’s matches – I think Ellison has an obligation to come out and support the woman’s matches as much as the men’s – Equality right?

  • Scoop Malinowski · March 18, 2017 at 4:29 pm

    Well Hartt that is a very big win for Felix because I know how highly Alex D is regarded by both Hewitt and Kyrgios – They are viewing Alex D as a future superstar according to tweets I have snooped – Very valuable win for Felix over a guy who has several ATP level wins this year -

  • catherine bell · March 18, 2017 at 4:56 pm

    Who’s Larry Ellison ?
    Does he run IW ?

    I forget :)

  • Hartt · March 18, 2017 at 5:59 pm

    Larry Ellison owns Indian Wells. He is a billionaire, so he can pour money into the tournament.

  • Hartt · March 18, 2017 at 6:22 pm

    Denis won over Felix in today’s SF. I was sort of expecting that result because I thought Denis played a bit better in his last match than did Felix. Regarding De Minaur, Denis beat him for the Wimbledon boys’ title last year. The young Aussie may have had his fill of these Canucks!

    Denis will face Ruben Bemelmans in tomorrow’s final. That will be a tough ask – Bemelmans is currently No. 154 and of course has tons of experience. If Denis does get the win it will be his first Challenger title (he now has 4 Futures titles).

  • Scoop Malinowski · March 18, 2017 at 6:23 pm

    Yes Larry Ellison owns Oracle and owns the Indian Wells tourney – Fifth richest guy in the world -

  • Andrew Miller · March 18, 2017 at 7:17 pm

    Those next next next genners better get cracking and do like boxers do, “Fritz I’m coming for you! Tommy Paul you are next! Big Foe I’m going to make you pay by slowing the game down with moonballs! Escobedo I will make you wish you were in challengers!!!”. That should do the trick! They will win slams in no time. It will be like sheesh I better get through this Alex Zverev match quick because if I don’t I’ll face this Ross kid next Monday in Carson etc, so after I win this that gives me more space between me and those young guys coming for me!

  • catherine bell · March 18, 2017 at 8:42 pm

    Oh well that explains it. Why should he waste time watching women’s tennis ?

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