My Tuesday US Open Qualies Scoops

Dan’s view of US Open qualies yesterday was a whole lot different than mine as we only connected early in the day by Kozlov vs Gerasimov and Young vs Jung and then we veered apart and never saw each other again.

So let’s get started with the standout moments of the day.

Nao Hibino the 24 year old Japanese girl was down 63 43 to The Little Giant from California Danielle Lao. Lao held for 4-3 and fist-pumped to her team in the bleacher on court 11, and gave them that firm stern facial expression of ‘I got this.’ But she never won another game! Hibino suddenly found her zone and swept the last nine games for 36 64 60. It was an awesome display of lights out tennis.

Next to Hibino was Tommy Robredo vs Go Soeda. The 5-11 Spaniard is 37 now and ranked 184. He lost the coin toss and returned vs Soeda and hit a forehand approach winner on the first point, after which he made a sound of Fyuush! or something similar. He was revved up already for his 17th US Open ( he first played qualies in 2000). Robredo raced to a 3-0 lead over the flat Japanese, double break but then Soeda woke up and next thing you know it was 4-4. That 4-4 battle game reached about eight deuces but eventually Tommy won it and the important edge he found in that game powered him to a hard fought 64 64 win.

The desire and drive are still burning inside Robredo, who once was the fifth best player in the world (2006). He’s won 12 ATP titles. I remember Robredo ever since the early 2000s when he would play a lot on ESPN and Cliff Drysdale would always tell the same story about him, how his father loved the rock opera Pinball Wizard by The Who and gave his son the name Tommy because of it.

The Robredo game is the same as it always was, baseline fighting, a sweet one hander fueled by an eye of the tiger that hasn’t lost an iota of ferocity. He still wears Sergio Tacchini attire, mostly white as always, but instead of the Dunlop racquet he’s now swinging a Wilson.

Speaking of racquets, an insider told me that Yonex is very happy with Nick Kyrgios as one of their top endorsement players, Even when he breaks his racquets, Yonex officals look the other way. However when three time major title winner Stan Wawrinka breaks his Yonex racquets, the bosses have a contradictory reaction and are seriously considering breaking their contract with Stanimal because of it. Hmmmmm.

A new young player who caught my eye is Shilin Xu, the 21 year old from China, ranked 215 now. She was playing American darling Victoria Duval and smoked her 63 62. Xu is slight of frame but plays with a whirlwind intensity and fierce racquet head speed, unlike Kozlov who tends to massage each ball. If only Kozlov could hit like Xu for a week, to add that knockout shot to his arsenal. He can’t seem to ever end a point with a power shot, more relying on counter punches or errors or finesse winners.

The best match I saw was Poland’s Kamil Majchrzak vs Argentina’s wily old veteran Carlos Berlocq, now 36 and ranked 199. The 23 year old Pole ranked 94, won the first set 63, then Berlocq dug down and played like his life and career depended on it, grunting fiercely on every ball, unleashing hard flat serves down the tee and firing baseline assaults all over the court. The old vet won the second set 63 and they were deadlocked at 3-3 in the third. We wondered if Berlocq could continue to serve so well. And if he could sustain the level. He seemed to be using 100% of his best tennis on each point while Majchrzak played in silence and not at his highest gear, maybe only 85% of his capacity.

We were right. the 6-foot, Lotto wearing Majchrzak was holding easier and held for 4-3 at love. Then the Fila adorned Berlocq served and his previous first serve missiles suddenly were missing and lost velocity. He got scared or tight or maybe intimidated by his foe’s cool and easier holds. Kamil broke and served it out. He had saved his best for last.

Watched some of Monfils practice on Armstrong with his crew. Monfils did a volley drill which made him fall down flat on his back after, right in the center of the court. Then his team had some fun. Gael and the three others joined at the net and each rolled a tennis ball to see who got it as close to the baseline as possible. Amazingly, Gael got within a foot, and the three others missed badly. The one guy lined up at the back wall to be targeted for butts up. The one guy fired a shot at him but it went ten feet over and almost hit a fan in the head. Monfils laid on the court laughing in shock/horror (the errant shooter later went over and gave the near victim what appeared to be a wrist band). Then Monfils launched a ball about 100 mph which just missed the poor chap by a foot or two to the left. Monfils and crew then slowly departed after one guy helped him put on a shirt. Monfils signed for all the people waiting in the first row.

New Jersey’s Robin Anderson won a physical battle with X Han, a lefty from China 64 36 64 and her legs were so depleted, she needed five minutes of treatment before leaving the court and walking slowly, very slowly back to the locker room. Anderson is an interesting story, she played well in juniors here one year beating Laura Robson and Ann Sophie-Mestach back in 2010 before losing to Daria Gavrilova 64 64 in the QF. She went to UCLA and is 26 now and still grinding it out, now ranked 165 in the world her best was 159.

Anderson is one of those shorter, squat baseline grinders who never misses a ball. Frankly I’m shocked she didn’t pack it in, she deserves an award for perseverance. I don’t think she’s ever played a major main draw. Next round she will face Nicole Gibbs, who she lost to in three sets earlier this year in the Bonita Sprints ITF, 26 64 61 on clay in May.

Another young American pulled off a good upset, Katrina Scott, a 15 year old, beat Katie Swan in straight sets.

There was a near fight after the Peter Polansky vs Dutra Silva match. It got hot out there with some glaring and staring and words on changeover, then Polansky hit an attack shot and before the Brazilian had a play on it, Polansky taunted him by saying, Go get that! More words, more bad blood. But the Canadian prevailed 64 36 64. Then after a young fan and a coach of Dutra Silva almost got into it and had to be separated. A witness who managed to break up the conflict said there may have been a possible assault by the coach of Dutra Silva with the uncalled for contact.

JP Smith lost 76 64 to Victor Galovic of Croatia. Smith is 30 now and ranked 239, well of his best of 108. Smith has to be the most unlikely looking tennis player with his gangly build and lanky limbs. Plus his posture looks like that of an old man but he can play some beautiful lefty tennis. It just was not enough vs Galovic, who is technically perfect.

That’s the thing about almost all these players in qualies, they all play such high level, high speed, fast paced super high quality tennis. They all look capable of becoming superstars yet most of them will probably forever be destined to wear the journeyman label.

My friend and frequent sparring partner Harry Cicma is working as the emcee for the USTA Fan Week initiative, and he does trivia contests on stage with fans, giving away free tickets. One trivia question he asked was which player did Roger Federer exceed when he broke the all time major title total of 20? The fan pondered the challenging question with free tickets at stake and answered, “Jack Sock?” Whoever said New York tennis fans are very knowledgeable?

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  • Andrew Miller · August 21, 2019 at 9:29 am

    Duval had cancer, which ruined her career. She’s fortunate to even be on a court.

    Generally from my experience a pro player on a normal court tends to look like an excellent player…on a normal court! They play the same game we do yet…Pat McEnroe had to hit against a player to really get the sensation of what it was like. He wrote about hitting with Nadal in his book, and like the other player said about hitting with Federer, and like Agassi said in his book, it’s just a different ball. Different ball than any other player hits. Agassi said something like he never understood another player until he hit with them.

    Interesting guys like Berlocq are in qualies, same as guys like DY. They used to square off when DY was fifteen or sixteen and Berlocq I think handed him a double bagel in Miami while pundits were going dizzy and saying DY this and that and the other and he should play qualies and blah blah blah. DY I think got him back, because such is the nature of tennis. Most times players get another crack at other players and remember every win, loss and everything else!

  • Andrew Miller · August 21, 2019 at 9:32 am

    Yes DY got Berlocq back twice, even at Miami where he first lost to Berlocq. That’s what I call the way to prove you belong.

    2014 Basel
    Indoor Hard R32
    Donald Young
    76 64

    2014 ATP Masters 1000 Miami
    FL, U.S.A. Outdoor Hard R128 Donald Young
    62 62

    2006 ATP Masters 1000 Miami
    FL, U.S.A. Outdoor Hard R128 Carlos Berlocq
    60 60

  • Scoop Malinowski · August 21, 2019 at 9:41 am

    I remember that beatdown by Berlocq on DY and that was a fine revenge by DY almost a decade later. Interesting match series, would have been neat if they drew each other here this week.

  • Andrew Miller · August 21, 2019 at 9:48 am

    Scoop, any idea why players play Winston Salem before the US Open? Does that tournament cover transportation to NYC post tournament or pay more or something, or it’s cheaper for a player to train for a week in NC than NYC?

    I’m not sure whether it affects players – New Haven used to he the ATP pre US Open event, and was a lot closer to the US Open (Blake won in 2005 before his run to the US Open QF)

  • jg · August 21, 2019 at 10:17 am

    Kozlov should have gone to the practice courts to see Bautista Agut hitting with the hungarian player (don’t recall name but tall with big strokes) to see how much pace you need to hit with to stay with these players, these guys were going full out on both sides, with complete accuracy, Kozlov just bunts the backhand, doesn’t appear to swing thru it.

  • catherine · August 21, 2019 at 10:25 am

    Scoop mentioned Kerber practising with Woz before USO. Angie has herself and Caro IGd and comments ‘Intense workout but never too serious’.

    NO NO Angie – NEVER be less than serious before a GS. Consequences will FOLLOW 🙂

    (She will not reach the second week. I don’t see how she can.)

  • Scoop Malinowski · August 21, 2019 at 10:27 am

    jg, Shilin Xu, rips everything with impunity. I think you are right, he should just rip everything like Agut and other heavy hitters, he can train himself to become a heavier striker. I think.

  • Andrew Miller · August 21, 2019 at 10:45 am

    Kozlov. He doesn’t look like he’s enjoying the sport and I have not seen him play decently since his breakout in 2015, the pair of challenger finals in California.

    I appreciate his game of guile and underhand forehands. However clips from 2018 on YouTube suggest he tries much less. He has a certain laziness about him – an apathy. This stands in stark contrast to how he used to approach junior matches – to be the last guy standing.

    His backhand is nifty and his forehand is awful. His serve is soft.

    Kozlov game appeared to work miracles and then suddenly he’s taller and more powerful and his shots are worse! He hardly looked like a pro player in the 2018 Australian qualies match on YouTube – he looked like a taller and older version of himself hoping to get to the locker room as quickly as possible to go home.

    For every player that wants to be number one in the world you have a player destroyed by those expectations. Kozlov looks like he wants out.

  • Andrew Miller · August 21, 2019 at 10:50 am

    We have to appreciate that some players will not adjust their attitude, training, or anything remotely helpful for their games. I am beginning to believe that the Kyrgios “crushed by expectations but pretending otherwise” is more common on the pro tour than it seems.

    Why isn’t Bouchard higher in the rankings? Because this works for her. She has a lot of press, her Instagram account has tons of followers, all the celebrity. Why win? What would it do for her…if you have everything you need including endorsements etc and all you have to do is “play your game” there’s no reason to change.

    If you’re Kozlov, maybe this works for him too. He can say to his team see, I don’t have what it takes. Let’s fold up the rent, you all stole my childhood. I want out.

    For every Kozlov there’s an Escobedo that wins the US Open wildcard challenge by getting the best challenger results of a US player heading into the US Open. You get it on merit and life is good.

  • catherine · August 21, 2019 at 11:05 am

    Andrew – if Bouchard goes on losing she’ll drop out of sight and no one will care one way or the other. Or do you mean she’ll do just enough – tread water until the day comes when retirement seems the better option ?

  • Harold · August 21, 2019 at 11:19 am

    This site needs to stop putting so much importance on reaching Challenger( not even winning it)! It’s a LOWER level of the sport. Winning there doesn’t translate. Hopefully it’s stepping stone to the big boy tour. More often if it is what it’s is. Win a Challenger, you’re the best player that week ranked 90 to 250. On the main tour you’re first round meat, to be eaten by better, more well rounded players, with weapons. It’s not the final tell to relevancy on the Big Boy Tour. You need to win a match on the main tour, then win a second round match, and most important, sustain those points the following year

    I’ve been going to Qualis since the Tennis Center opened. This is the first year, that I am really having a hard time deciding if I want to deal with the heat, and probably crowds, due to the nonstop hype on ESPN, TC , even The NY Times is spelling out all you can do.

    I like watching the Qualis matches, but I really enjoyed getting to sit in the front row watching the Fed, Nadal, Djoko practices. Looked at today schedule, I’m sure some of the matches will be great, players are fighting for their life’s work, the money too, but lots of names I never heard. The practice schedule has some good duos, Thiem/Dimi and some others, but it feels like 90 degrees already. Might be first time in over 40 years I blow off Qualis week and make my first appearance the first Thurs, then Sun. and Monday

  • Hartt · August 21, 2019 at 11:21 am

    Genie lost a lot of endorsements when she kept on losing after her big season.

    I have given up trying to figure her out, except to say she never added the necessary variety to her game.

    Every once in a while she will fight hard and play well. She basically carried the Fed Cup team in a tie last year when Abanda was injured right before she was due to play and Bianca had to fill in at the last minute, so Bianca had no proper preparation and ended up cramping so badly that she left the court in a wheelchair.

    Success in singles rested solely on Genie, and despite suffering a hand injury in her first match, she saved the day and won both her singles matches. Bianca, tough player that she is, managed to win the doubles with Gaby Dabrowski. That tourney had way too much drama for a Canadian tennis fan!

  • Scoop Malinowski · August 21, 2019 at 11:25 am

    Harold, aka Hairload, we were looking for you, myself and Richard Pagliaro, Dan too. It’s been hot that’s for sure. But they do have good water filling stations if you don’t want to pay $7.50 for a bottle of water. I feel the qualies are important and a spring board for success and where confidence is built. Tommy Paul launched his current career surge by winning Sarasota and scoring wins in Tally and Savannah. Corentin Moutet got his ball rolling also in Tallahassee. So many players have sparked their careers by getting their engines going with some tough wins in Challengers. If I were you I would come out and just sit in the shake in Armstrong most of the day, it’s actually cool in there, well ventilated. Outside can be too hot, too much sun, you have to strategize and use shade. You’re missing the best week of tennis in America!

  • Andrew Miller · August 21, 2019 at 11:46 am

    Catherine, Bouchard may not need the tour. I’m not sure how she sees it, she always says the right things. It’s hard to trust the player self assessments – their version of “training hard, feeling good” generally translates to “I practice a lot, but I’m not learning any new strategies on the court. I play my game and I feel good about the game I’ve always played and when I say I’m feeling good about my game that’s what I mean – I’m comfortable playing my game and I’m hitting the same shots I’ve always hit at the same pace and to the same place. Everything looks good from where I stand.”

    I look at that as the moment a player declines slowly but surely. It’s as if there’s zero self awareness, that opponents study “their game” and develop strategies that win against “their game” and that “their game” had problems while they were playing well, and those problems don’t go away on their own.

    To my eye Bouchard still is a draw at tournaments. I was wrong to say her game deserted her – it’s the same as it was five years ago. But if it’s identical, hardly a change, I have to think now why hasn’t the player developed a more complete game? Why do they have the same habits as before? Why aren’t they doing whatever they used to do “better” – hitting harder, hitting a sharper angle, reading serves better…

    Part of it is choice. This is how they have always played and it’s just a matter of time before….I trust that way of thinking as a recipe for mediocrity.

    Part of it could be this is an individual sport where a player has to do everything.

    Part of it could be there’s no interest in improving. Improving is hard. Even a simple adjustment takes work. Mess with a service motion too much and that could risk injury. Incorporate a new style lile serve and volley takes a lot of adjustment and sufficient match play. Why not play my game?

    So ths various things work against a player changing whatever they’ve always done. The easiest thing to do is become faster or incorporate more physical fitness, court speed, flexibility. It requires effort but no modification to their games.

    Even doing that is a stretch.

  • Harold · August 21, 2019 at 11:46 am

    Always fun to see you, Dan, RP. One of the other great things about Qualis week, you might run into people you played in some USTA league 20 years ago, or from some Club or Courts you used to play at. Sort of like a Convention for tennis players.

    Should have added this. I think there are some great players in the “ next gen”, but honestly watching them practice doesn’t really excite me. Do I need to sit in 90 degree heat to watch NK play the clown.

    Medvedev and Goffin are practicing together today. They played a final of a Masters 3 days ago. That match was hard to watch, why do I need to see them practice. Tsitsipas, great player, does he light a spark in me? No..

  • Scoop Malinowski · August 21, 2019 at 12:13 pm

    Harold, aka Hairload, I agree, the best part of qualies may be catching up with old friends and just talking and sharing stories and old stories, and the tennis is the bonus. Tennis brings people together better than religion and politics, maybe tennis is a religion. Hope to see you out there, Sunday is a good day to go too.

  • Scoop Malinowski · August 21, 2019 at 12:18 pm

    Andrew, hitting a tennis ball is a way to earn a living for many or even most players, Bouchard seems at that point now, just make a living and all hopes and dreams of being the best or a major champion are a thing of the past. Great way to live life, stay healthy, enjoy a game, social life. The ones at the top are just too tough to evict. Bouchard would need to turn herself into a raving psycho ruthless beast to win a major, screaming Cmon or Vamos after every point won, why bother, just be happy and satisfied with what she’s got. Not such a bad mindset.

  • catherine · August 21, 2019 at 12:39 pm

    Andrew – there’s a simple answer to a lot of the points you make and I’m a great believer in simplicity. Bouchard, and players A B C etc are just not good enough. Genie isn’t as good a player as Serena Williams and nothing in the world can change that. Several players can be together on a plateau and then it’s a toss-up who wins, but mostly the difference in ability is clear.

    Players themselves don’t often admit it, obviously, but 99% of the time it’s true. They don’t develop ‘complete games’ because they can’t. You know how much I wish Angie could tweak her style a little and I’m sure she wishes it too but I’m afraid it won’t happen, coach or no coach. Something in the mind – people don’t change that much in their lives, hardly at all, and that’s so on the tennis court as well as off it.

  • Andrew Miller · August 21, 2019 at 1:06 pm

    Isn’t Kerber an example of someone that has done exactly that? Her fitness, up a level. Her return of serve, up a level. These are things that she improved with a good time. Otherwise she’d be Kerber, nice player but…

  • Andrew Miller · August 21, 2019 at 1:17 pm

    Scoop, I see where you’re going here.
    Bouchard is welcome to do whatever works for her. Players have different reasons for being on tour, and if their heart isn’t in it but they maintain skills at some very high level, they are like anyone else clocking in and out and fortunate to be paid for it and travel the world. Their practices are still hard and they still compete fiercely. Even Bouchard plays hard. Her game is virtually identical to before, so no surprise her ranking slides.

    Bouchard didn’t enjoy being in the hunt before? Maybe this fun loving Bouchard is who she wants to be. This is how she wants to play. That’s her right. She gets paid at market value so who cares, right?

    And sure, at some point it’s better to say, you know, Kozlov and Bouchard had limits as players and one of their limits is they decided to play a game that works for them and that opponents easily decode.

    For the ATP players we comment on, that’s usually the kiss of death and they can generally call it a career after that. Bouchard is lucky she can hit the comments booth for Canadian tennis and possibly at a higher level given her slam runs of 2014. She’s photogenic and is spirited and knows the game we’ll enough. No need to lace it up.

    I’d prefer players apply themselves – you see that flash of brilliance and would like to see it again. But if a player has decided they want something different fine. I remember the stories of other players that took office jobs and pro tennis and hated it – it motivates them to return to the tour or the sport. Jarmere Jenkins returned after an office job – he wasn’t able to pay bills anymore as a player, went corporate, hated it, and his brother got him a job as Serena’s hitting partner and he loves it.

    But Bouchard is different because she scaled the heights and is still very young. I’m sorry if she isn’t interested, but that’s her right.

  • Scoop Malinowski · August 21, 2019 at 1:37 pm

    Andrew, look at it as a meter, you have Nadal as the ultimate, hard worker, frenzied intensity, burning desire to win win win more majors, then on the other end of the meter, you have Tomic, slow, lazy, no confidence, practicing with untied shoe laces, no belief he can win big titles, just going through the motions. Nadal and Tomic are the two extreme ends. Bouchard leans toward the Tomic end of the meter and each loss and flop she gets closer to Tomic.

  • Andrew Miller · August 21, 2019 at 1:49 pm

    Scoop, Bouchard works much harder than Tomic, I don’t think she tanks matches – she works hard, cares about the game. Just no longer interested in the champion side of things or being there.

    I’d guess a decent compare would be Safina, someone that scales the heights, decides it isn’t worth it, stays in the game.

  • Dan Markowitz · August 21, 2019 at 2:03 pm

    Geez, Harold, do you want me to send a chauffeur out to pick you up? Get your butt down to the Quails my friend. You’re not a true fan unless you go to the Qualis and don’t watch big name players practice. Get down with average folk on the side courts and go watch Mahut play or somebody like that. Come on, Harold, you’re losing your fastball.

    I’ll tell you what, dude. It’s supposed to be only 75 on Friday. Come on down to the Open. We’ll hang and make fun of all the Challenger players.

  • Harold · August 21, 2019 at 2:05 pm

    Wasn’t it a back injury that ended Safina? Not everyone fails from their highest result for the same reason.

    I’ll weigh in on this Bouchard analysis.

    Bouchard to me is more like Hingis without the 5 Majors. The power game just destroyed them mentally. They realized that they could face some big bomber even in early rounds and have no answer. They couldn’t figure it out. Run into a girl that could just hit them off the court. Could train forever, but not going to add 15 mph on your serve. Get a better second serve. Get a bigger ground game. Hingis was a much craftier player. Wasn’t gonna happen. Hingis turned to Coke, Bouchard went to Instagram

  • catherine · August 21, 2019 at 2:09 pm

    Andrew – I meant Kerber has to up her game some more if she wants to win anything now. She’s had a dreadful year overall- with injuries etc and bad losses in all GSs. This part of the season is her last chance to retrieve something. I’m sure she knows that but I’m dubious about how much she can do on her own, without a coach ie.

    Can’t say that Bouchard ‘scaled the heights’ really. She’s just kept herself going. No harm in that.

  • Scoop Malinowski · August 21, 2019 at 2:13 pm

    Andrew, the numbers don’t lie: Tomic’s current ranking is 86. Bouchard’s is 119. The numbers don’t lie. Maybe she just disguises it better.

  • Scoop Malinowski · August 21, 2019 at 2:14 pm

    Harold we can bring one of our intern staff to fan you while you want the matches or hold an umbrella over you to block the sun. 🙂

  • jg · August 21, 2019 at 2:16 pm

    Who is this guy Brooksby, he’s playing lights out tennis in the first set, I have no idea if he’s going to win his match against Sugita, but the guy is impressive, I googled him and he is a freshman at Baylor and won Kalamazoo last year, so not his first open, he kind of reminds me of Querry but a better mover, not a better serve

  • Harold · August 21, 2019 at 2:25 pm

    Scoop, de Minaur practicing with Kyrgios would have been interesting, if Hewitt was on the court. Anyone see it?

  • Andrew Miller · August 21, 2019 at 2:28 pm

    Harold’s probably right here. Maybe it is some pro forma way of giving up – subtle but happening. Pulling back from the game while saying I’m training as hard as ever. Keep the fans and dump the rest.

    I hold out for another memorable run from players whose tennis careers are now on the slow track, if not yet the off ramp. You never know what clicks, maybe they find another gear or someone pizzes them off. So few players have done this – Isner probably, Querrey (both with slam semis to their names), Kerber with her resurgence (epic), Wawrinka and his amazing run to three slams. Capriati comeback. Even Mardy Fish.

    Like Lloyd Carroll, who Scoop and Dan mentioned. He should be in the hall of fame for single handedly reviving the career of Mardy Fish and U.S. tennis.

    August 29, 2007
    “You sound like you’re content to be a journeyman than a contender.”

  • Scoop Malinowski · August 21, 2019 at 2:34 pm

    jg, Brooksby played main draw last year (lost to Millman 64 62 60) and I saw him totally crush Polmans in Sarasota, then he almost beat Polansky too but lost 76 in the third. He trains out of Sacramento, the kid has something and is definitely a hot prospect who has developed outside the USTA. I spoke with his coach Joe Gilbert during the Polansky match. Never forget how he blitzed Polmans easily 60 63. Lately, Brooksby lost in Aptos to Escobedo 2 and 2.

  • Scoop Malinowski · August 21, 2019 at 2:36 pm

    Harold, have not seen Hewitt around US Open at all, he also was absent at Citi Open when deMinaur won. Also has not been around Kyrgios lately. I would not be surprised if the young Aussies have begun to keep a distance from Hewitt. The Aussie crew of Matt Reid, Jaymon Crabb are in NY now but still no sign of Hewitt.

  • Andrew Miller · August 21, 2019 at 2:38 pm

    Scoop, you’re probably right. Sometimes rhe numbers don’t say all, see Escobedo. But as a rule you’re right: the numbers betray the player. They may say hey my game is great. But the ranking says: don’t believe the player. So you’re right. Rarely is it otherwise.

    For a guy like Klahn, sure. That’s a good result for him to get back in top 200. He has the same limited game as previously with an awful backhand. But this is a good result to go from challengers to Oblivion to challengers again.

  • Harold · August 21, 2019 at 2:40 pm

    On Twitter someone just posted NK was having his knee looked at on the practice court

    I have 15 years on you guys, if it’s 80 degrees, I’m there( maybe Sunday) if it’s 90 sunny and humid.. Enjoy the day

  • catherine · August 21, 2019 at 4:24 pm

    Coaching news: Sloane Stephens back with Kamau M. This whirligig has me dumbfounded – what a waste of time and money bringing Groeneveld on board and then showing him the door after just a few months. Can Sven speak German ?
    I think Kerber’s free.

  • Hartt · August 21, 2019 at 5:17 pm

    What a terrible way to treat an experienced coach like Groeneveld! Why did she leave Kamau in the first place, when she was having success with him? These WTA players are acting like spoiled children.

  • catherine · August 22, 2019 at 1:30 am

    Hartt – apparently Kamaus’ move back to Sloane came as a total surprise to Monica Puig, who initially learned of the move from Sloane’s twitter. So in this case the coach doesn’t seem to have behaved any better than Sloane. What unpleasant underhand behaviour – and what trust can players have in their coaches if this becomes the norm ? Luckily Monica has sorted out someone for the Open but it’s certainly not the way to approach a GS.

    Maybe the WTA should introduce a Professional Code of Conduct for players (and coaches).

  • Hartt · August 22, 2019 at 6:20 am

    That is terrible behaviour by Kamau, am sorry to hear he did that.

  • Scoop Malinowski · August 22, 2019 at 6:47 am

    Kamal following the money?

  • Hartt · August 22, 2019 at 9:13 am has a long piece on the Stephens coaching carousel. It ends with:

    “The only thing that would complete this saga is … Stephens drawing Puig in the first round of the US Open.

    For the US Open, Puig has taken on former ATP Tour player Dusan Vemic, who is a coach for Serbia’s Davis Cup team and has worked with Andrea Petkovic among others.”

  • Andrew Miller · August 22, 2019 at 9:14 am

    “Cash speaks loudly”. I forget this. If the guy asked Monica for more $$ and she said we’ll do wait and see…of course he will trade up to coach a former charge that gives him a raise.

    This is the kind of move Puig can use as Raonic did to motivate herself, find someone that wants her to get better rather than raid the bank.

    Tennis is so funny. What’s it like to square off against your old coaches, knowing they’ve told your opponent how to beat you?

    This is increasingly the norm on both tours. It’s hard for me to untangle all this.

    What do coaches provide these days? Bajiim suggested her took care of small things so that Osaka could focus on tennis. I would have thought he did more than that, maybe he doesn’t want to give away the house here in public.

    For what it’s worth Bajiin is a character. I’m not used to a coach describing himself as a player’s companion as he does with Mladenovic. In effect he says Thiem is Mladenovic boyfriend and I also go on vacation with Mladenovic and we go jet skiing etc.

    I think BG got a beer with Agassi but I don’t recall this wackiness! Some player coach relationships are toxic and I’m not saying this one is, but that Bajiin throws this in so casually I’m like, dude, I thought you said you focus on the little things so that players focus on the tennis…

  • Andrew Miller · August 22, 2019 at 9:16 am

    Puig made a good choice! Isn’t Dusan a TP favorite?!

  • Dan Markowitz · August 22, 2019 at 10:10 am

    Dusan is definitely a TP favorite. I remember seeing him play Spadea I think in the semis of the Newport event where Vince lost to Rusedski in the finals. Dusan has spent time with Djoko too.

    I don’t follow women’s tennis too closely, but Puig hasn’t been doing very well of late. Why wouldn’t a switch for both Puig and Stephens be a good idea?

    How about the match from Winston-Salem last night between Gauff and Barty that the 15 year old won in a third set Super Breaker. She was real impressive. Her US Open might equal her Wimbledon.

  • catherine · August 22, 2019 at 10:19 am

    Sascha went on vacation with Serena one year when I think she was upset over the break with Patrick – they went to Croatia. He also said he’d insist on taking a few weeks in the year when he went off and had no contact with her at all – had some private time.

    I understand Sascha knew Kiki and her family earlier – maybe they come from the same place or thereabouts – so he probably thinks of himself as a family friend and that’s why he took the coaching gig.

  • Jeff · August 22, 2019 at 10:21 am

    Bouchard clearly has come under the influence of Beatrice, who is a professional model and much hotter. Plus hanging out with Kyrgios. She clearly tanks but Scoop is right in saying this is how she copes.

    As for Murray, come on guys. Coaches are hired to be fired and you have to do what is best for you. Besides Puig has floundered ever since getting together with that MLB player so the partnership wasn’t working anyway. With Puig you can tell she has that starry eyed look of a damsel in love so why work with a player like that?

    Coaching is tough business and the only way to get job security is to be Patrick and have that kind of relationship with your client. I wish someone would ask Serena directly what effect she thinks Patrick has on her game these days; we all know she keeps him around as a boy toy, it’s the worst kept secret on tour.

  • Andrew Miller · August 22, 2019 at 10:22 am

    If Gauff does well at US Open, it would be big. It would really heat up the competition behind Keys and Stephens, both have done well in this free for all WTA grab a slam while you can or rack up some Masters titles era.

  • catherine · August 22, 2019 at 10:26 am

    Barty has lost something. I predict she won’t make waves at the USO.

    Gauff shouldn’t be playing exhos. Just my opinion. I bet she plays every match on the Stadium court in NY.

    It’s not the coaching switch that was the problem with Puig/Stephens – it’s how it was done.

  • catherine · August 22, 2019 at 10:32 am

    Jeff – Patrick is now married to his second wife who I doubt would tolerate his hanging around Serena as a boy toy. Not sure Alexis is a complaisant husband either.

  • Andrew Miller · August 22, 2019 at 10:34 am

    I appreciate Jeff’s innuendo and nose for scandal as it makes me utterly sick to my stomach. Anyone that has that effect has my attention. With all this I feel like we’re back in the odd yet true stories of Patty Snyder and Meghan Shaunnessy, if not the index of the book “Ladies of the Court” from Michael Mewshaw, where if you’re not about to toss cookies after reading you’re probably a sadistic person.

  • Andrew Miller · August 22, 2019 at 10:40 am

    Ah Beatrice and her spells…I don’t think it matters. Players are welcome to pick their poison. If I ever get to a Kyrgios match I hope his heart is in it. Because if his tennis career craters he’s not going to get an announcing job and he’s not good enough to play pro basketball…

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