Sarasota Open Day Two

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Stefan Kozlov was ipressive again with a second route win in the Sarasota Open qualies taking down the eighteen year old Axel Geller of Argentina 61 62. Late entry into qualies Kozlov faced a break point in his first service game but managed to save it and then just steamrolled his bigger stronger opponent with pinpoint accuracy and delicate ball control. It was a masterpiece of matador tennis dominating a baseline bull. Kozlov is a wizard with a racquet. He can pump the power when needed but he’s more dangerous when he has the extra time to play with the ball adding his spins and drop shots and mixing up speeds. I was sitting in the front row next to his coach (Denis a Russian ex pro) and a family friend and it’s fascinating how Kozlov can change speeds and spins with his backhand and also forehand. And he can do it off power as well. Kozlov also played a lot of short points too because he was so accurate moving the ball around Geller had no chance and just watched a lot of not exactly laser beam winners sail by to the part of the court he just could not get too. It was a brilliant display by Kozlov who will face Blaz Rola today at ten o’clock in the morning in the final round of qualies.

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After the win Kozlov hit the practice court to do drills with his coach like this one with his waist hooked up to a band and then serving and running with resistance to the first ball. Later Kozlov was taking no pace feeds from across the court and then hitting winners alternating off each wing. While Kozlov worked on the adjacent court was Leonard Mayer and Jurgen Melzer doing battle in practice sets. Those two veterans are both ranked around 125 now  Jurgen is 35 and Leonardo is 29  Of course Leonardo is most famous for his six hour battle in Davis Cup a few years ago. Jurgen was No 8 in the world in 2011. Jurgen won both of their two ATP clashes in 2008 and 2009 in straight sets but yesterday it was Leonardo who appeared to be the stronger player. Leonardo is quite a specimen at six foot three with the long arms and elegant yet powerful one hander. He also has a beautiful service motion. Jurgen lost the last point and then sat with his coach Fred Rosengren at his chair for a good ten minutes after talking. Then we did a little Facing Andy interview and Jurgen said he never beat Andy but did have a two set lead at US Open.

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  • Scoop Malinowski · April 17, 2017 at 9:32 am

    Actually it was six hours and 42 minutes Leonardo vs Joao Souza 76 76 57 57 15-13 in 2015 – Leonardo was no 21 in the world two years ago and he won his one title in Hamburg on clay vs Ferrer 67 61 76 in 2014 – right now he is no 132

  • jg · April 17, 2017 at 10:03 am

    I saw some video of Ancic hitting with the Columbia U team when he was in law school there, would be interested in his views on the caliber of play, etc. I assume he still hits a big ball even though his body must be beaten up (which I believe is why he retired early).

  • Dan Markowitz · April 17, 2017 at 10:57 am

    No way the Koz will beat a Mayer in Sarasota. Did you ask this Denis why Koz doesn’t have much power or spin on his forehand?

  • catherine bell · April 17, 2017 at 1:19 pm

    Other news –

    Schiavone fails to get a wc into Rome, her home tournament in the year of her retirement and despite winning in Bogota, but Sharapova does.

  • Hartt · April 17, 2017 at 2:31 pm

    Regarding Schiavone, not only did Sharapova get a WC but Errani as well. It is unbelievable that Rome did not give Frannie a WC. In fact, they should have a special ceremony for a past Slam champion who also has contributed to the Italian Fed Cup team. The director said he wanted to give WCs to younger players, but Errani is hardly an up-and-coming youngster and I won’t even comment on Sharapova.

  • Dan Markowitz · April 17, 2017 at 2:39 pm

    We’ve just been talking about how some tournaments are having trouble selling tickets. Why is it a shame if a tournament decides to give Sharapova a wc over Schiavone when it feels doing so will drive up its ticket sales. I’ve always liked watching the Italian’s one hander and pluck, but its not like we’re talking about her like she’s the Italian Steffi Graf.

    Talking about Steffi Graf, I’m hitting with my son yesterday on public courts in Scarsdale and this woman walks up, tall, good posture, and says to my wife who’s watching us hit, “Is he a tennis pro?” She had seen my son hit from afar and was taken with his strokes so she thought I must be his tennis pro giving him a lesson (even though I didn’t have a hopper of balls with me).

    My wife told her I sometimes teach lessons, but I used to be a pro and the kid she was impressed with was our son. So I started talking to her and it turns out this woman did beat Steffi Graf at the US Open. She also reached the quarterfinals of the French Open and had been at Bollettieri’s with Agassi and Courier and had a 10-year pro career.

    She lived nearby and has a court in her backyard, but her kids, 8 and 10, wouldn’t hit with her so she was looking for a pro to teach them. I laughed at how bizarre this situation was: here’s a woman who beat Steffi Graf and her kids won’t hit with her. And my son will sometimes say to me when I try to coach him now, “Why should I listen to you? You never played pro tennis.”

    The woman’s name is Melissa Brown (I’d heard of her, but never saw her play). Does anyone remember her. She said she was top 30 in the world. She said about Callum, “You can’t teach what he has. The only way to be a pro player is to have natural talent and a tremendous drive for the game. If you don’t have both, there’s no chance to become a pro.”

    She didn’t say it in a braggadocio way; she just said you can take a million lessons as a kid, but unless you have oodles of natural talent and drive, you don’t have a chance.

  • catherine bell · April 17, 2017 at 3:20 pm

    Dan –
    It’s a shame because Francesca has been a stalwart of Italian tennis for years, is a French Open champion and a very popular player in her last year on the circuit.

    OK – grovel to Sharapova to sell tickets but why Errani over Schiavone ? As Hartt says, she’s hardly up-and- coming.

  • catherine bell · April 17, 2017 at 3:34 pm

    Oh – and looks like Kvitova could be back for Wimbledon.
    Very good news.

  • jg · April 17, 2017 at 3:55 pm

    great story Dan–there is an old article about her in the NYT about her playing HS tennis at Scarsdale High. I never heard of her but the article mentions Andy Kohlberg who played at Mamaroneck High (back in the day).

  • Hartt · April 17, 2017 at 5:51 pm

    Kvitova has her name in for RG. She is not sure if she will be ready by then but at least wanted to be on the list in case she is able to play. Whether it is RG or Wimbledon, can’t wait to have her back!

  • Scoop Malinowski · April 17, 2017 at 8:42 pm

    jg; I think Ancic went back to NYC because he wasn’t there today and Melzer and Rosengren were there all day. I did talk with Gambill a bit about tennis today and his era and he thinks there are some easy outs and maybe a few more easy outs in the top hundred today than before in the 90s era. He thinks the athletes are better today. He talked about playing Karsten Braasch who he beat in four sets at US Open. JMG said Braasch actually was smoking a cigarette on a changeover and sometimes he would drink a beer on changeover!

  • Scoop Malinowski · April 17, 2017 at 8:43 pm

    Wow. Schiavone should get into Rome. Maybe WC into qualies? Maybe the Fed is mad at her?

  • Scoop Malinowski · April 17, 2017 at 8:46 pm

    Incredible story Dan. I was talking with a friend about her actually. I had never heard of Melissa Brown but he told me about her how she was a great junior and was even with Graf as a teen for a while. I need to interview her for Facing Steffi.

  • Dan Markowitz · April 17, 2017 at 8:50 pm

    Yes, Jon, I saw those articles in the Times today when I googled her. Funny you mentioned Andy Kohlberg. He played in only one US Open Main Draw I believe, but I think he’s by far the highest ranked male to ever come out of Westchester County, a suburban area outside of NYC. Which is humbling because there’s been a lot of very fine players from this area, but nothing like the one’s who’ve come out of Long Island, another suburban area outside NYC.

    I remember a Teri Phelps from Mamaroneck who was also a top 50 player in the 90’s I want to say. But as far as I know, there’s never been a single male player from Westchester to ever crack the top 100. That’s why a coach Cal has worked with a little bit sent me this email about Cal:

    “Wouldn’t it be something if you had the next Noah Rubin from NY? We haven’t had a top 100 player from We‎stchester for men in a long time.

    Louisa Chirico broke top 100 for women, but no men that I can recall

    He needs to understand that he has a gift, but with that gift comes responsibility if he really wants to be a pro.

    If he just wants to be a good junior and play college, he can do that and dog it all the way through.”

    When he plays with me the only way I can get him not to dog it is to play points with him.

  • Krzysztof · April 18, 2017 at 3:22 am

    According to Wikipedia, Melissa Brown was maximum at No.45 in 1984. Yes, he beat Steffi, but in qualies when when they were 15 years old.

  • catherine bell · April 18, 2017 at 8:20 am

    I’m breaking the No Politics rule on T-P to announce a General Election in the UK this summer.
    (Yes my real name is Theresa May)

    Fortunately it’s on June 8th, at date no doubt chosen so politicians of all parties will be free to show themselves off during Wimbledon :)

    British players before that date will be required to reveal their voting intentions at post match press conferences.

  • Scoop Malinowski · April 18, 2017 at 8:40 am

    Regarding politics: I had a long conversation yesterday with a player at Sarasota Open as we share nearly identical positions which was apparent by his twitter account – he said quite a few of the players feel similar but don’t parade it – very interesting conversation and reassuring to know a lot of people are awake -

  • catherine bell · April 18, 2017 at 8:55 am

    Scoop –
    Yes politics is the great Unmentionable in sport and tennis is no exception.
    Most sportspeople across a wide range are fairly conservative but I’m not sure why this should be.

    My post was a joke of course (and I’m not Theresa May) but I’m also pretty sure that no UK general elections, which are very short, would ever take place over Wimbledon.

  • Scoop Malinowski · April 18, 2017 at 9:05 am

    I remember my dear friend Leroy Neiman had a rule in his studio – never talk politics or religion which was told to me by one of the guys from his gallery though we did talk about it a few times but very rarely -

  • catherine bell · April 18, 2017 at 9:25 am

    Yes – that’s a very good rule. I was brought up to keep to that during mealtimes so family (and visitors) didn’t end up throwing plates at each other or perishing from indigestion :)

  • Scoop Malinowski · April 18, 2017 at 9:37 am

    Wow I saw Fognini lost again to Carrena Busta – now 0-5 vs the unsung top 20 Spaniard -

  • catherine bell · April 18, 2017 at 9:43 am

    I thought Fabio was recovering from injuries – and maybe also his mind’s elsewhere.

    Wouldn’t count him out for later clay courts though.

  • Dan Markowitz · April 18, 2017 at 11:22 am

    Alright, no politics because Trump is not only being exposed as a disaster (populist president when all of his cabinet are white billionaires and Wall Street executives–I think not) and he won’t even release his taxes when there’s a major investigation ongoing about the Russians did in the past elections and what are Trump’s ties to them).

    I could go on and on, but I won’t because I said I wouldn’t talk politics (although, Catherine, in the 1980’s I spent a semester in London working for the British Shadow Secretary of State for the Labour Party when good old Michael Foote was the Labour Party head), and I don’t like to get an ulcer discussing Trump.

    Regarding Melissa Brown, like I said I didn’t know of her career, but no. 45 sounds pretty good to me and it’s like when Chris Mayotte tells me he was a career-high no 81, if you look at the ATP web site, it says he was like no. 129 and that’s because they only list the best year-ending career ranking.

    As for Carrena Busta I did watch some of his Fognini match, and boy is the Spaniard fast. He’s lightning.

  • jg · April 18, 2017 at 11:51 am

    I read Melissa Brown was coached by Renee Richards when she beat Graf. The article said Richards scouted Graf and didnt think much of her forehand so told Brown to hit it to the forehand. After the match Graf went back to Germany and perfected her forehand and the rest is history.

  • Hartt · April 18, 2017 at 12:23 pm

    Carreno Busta is not unsung in some places. A few of us have been following him for some time, even when he was in something of a slump. It’s great to see him playing so well.(I have to admit that his good looks and that amazing profile are part of his appeal!)

  • catherine bell · April 18, 2017 at 12:54 pm

    I’m not sure I believe that about Steffi and her forehand. Steffi’s forehand was always her best shot. And Renee Richards wasn’t much of a coach as I recall.

  • catherine bell · April 18, 2017 at 1:13 pm

    Dan –
    How amazing to think in the 80s you were probably working just down the road from our magazine offices in London :) You could’ve dropped by.

    Michael Foot was a nice old intellectual buffer well known for his duffel coats but no match for The Leaderene. Shadowed today by Jeremy Corbyn and Theresa May.

    Enough politics- but oh for the 80s :)
    Good tennis then too.

  • Dan Markowitz · April 18, 2017 at 4:35 pm

    I’ll have to ask Brown about Graf’s forehand. What year did she play Graf? How much should I charge her for a lesson for her son? Last year, a boy lost 1 and 0 to my son and the mother came up to me and asked me for a lesson. I feel a little like Walter Mattau in Bad News Bears where he uses his kids for his own baseball glory.

  • Hartt · April 18, 2017 at 8:18 pm

    Catherine, you were right about an election coming up and they did manage to avoid Wimbledon. Good planning!

  • Scoop Malinowski · April 18, 2017 at 8:45 pm

    Trump has the deep state and media manipulators in a tizzy because they cant totally control him to destroy America.

  • Dan Markowitz · April 19, 2017 at 2:31 am

    I ran more while I was in London and played basketball at the American school in St. John’s Wood, I think it’s called. I lived in a flat in Earl’s Court and there were tennis courts in that neighborhood, but I wondered how Brits who wanted to excel in tennis played because there just weren’t many public courts at all compared to NYC, which at least when I attended Columbia there were courts on campus (all since removed) and close by in Central and Riverside Parks. But I guess then–and maybe still now–tennis in England was a private club sport.

  • catherine bell · April 19, 2017 at 3:12 am

    There were and are quite a lot of public park courts in London but outside of the summer months and around Wimbledon you don’t see them used very much.
    It’s a continuing debate over here, why people don’t play more.

  • catherine bell · April 19, 2017 at 3:38 am

    Hartt –

    I’m sure Theresa May wants to get all that tiresome election stuff out of the way so she can relax in the Royal Box at Wimbledon as Prime Minister in her own right :)


  • Scoop Malinowski · April 19, 2017 at 8:34 am

    I stayed in London near where that big ferris wheel is and found a couple of very nice public courts in a little park nearby. So nice. Was surprised to see them.

  • Hartt · April 19, 2017 at 12:02 pm

    Big news: Serena has announced she is 20 weeks pregnant, so it looks like we won’t be seeing her on a tennis court in the near future.

  • catherine bell · April 19, 2017 at 12:18 pm

    No – and I can’t honestly see her coming back to the game after having a baby and coping with all that goes along with motherhood.

    I’m a bit surprised I confess – although obviously it’s Serena’s choice and her life – I expected her to see this year through and then retire. On the other hand I had a feeling that she was perhaps not altogether committed to getting ready for the FO. She’s been doing a lot of things and very active on social media.

    So Angie stays No 1 ? WTA rankings will be topsy turvey I predict.

  • catherine bell · April 19, 2017 at 12:43 pm

    Well – is this true or isn’t it ? Can’t believe anything these days.

  • Hartt · April 19, 2017 at 12:44 pm

    Serena has accomplished so much that she end her tennis career without regret. It still comes as a surprise, but if she wanted a family now is probably the time, risky to wait too long. But with the WTA these days one feels what will happen next?

  • Hartt · April 19, 2017 at 12:46 pm

    Serena posted a pic and announcement. She definitely has a baby bump!

  • catherine bell · April 19, 2017 at 12:51 pm

    I saw a comment which said she had deleted the pic – I had a look at it again and for a woman 5 months pregnant – well, I don’t know.
    But I expect we’ll get a genuine confirmation at some point.

  • Hartt · April 19, 2017 at 12:55 pm

    Serena has deleted the Snapchat info, but unless she has a big tummy she does look pregnant in the pic.

  • catherine bell · April 19, 2017 at 1:03 pm

    I think it’s the way she’s standing.

    Not sure why she’d put up that pic and then delete it unless she’s planning a different announcement.

  • Hartt · April 19, 2017 at 3:26 pm

    I thought about the way she is standing as well. But she may have taken it down just because she did not want a lot of comments. But don’t see why she would make up something like this. If Serena wants attention there are lots of other ways she can get it!

  • Scoop Malinowski · April 19, 2017 at 8:49 pm

    Serena should just pay the $60 000 and have a surrogate birth the baby – not sure I buy everything Serena says though – some of her episodes and dramas have looked possibly choreographed -

  • Chazz · April 19, 2017 at 9:15 pm

    Apparently she was 9 weeks pregnant when she won the Australian Open!

  • Scoop Malinowski · April 19, 2017 at 9:28 pm

    Does not look pregnant in that photo with yellow bathing suit – looks like she just ate a pizza pie and is pushing out her belly -

  • catherine bell · April 20, 2017 at 2:30 am

    Have to see this as the close of her career, but a good way to go :)

    BTW Margaret Court was pregnant, although she didn’t know it, when she lost the 1971 W’don final to Evonne Goolagong.

  • catherine bell · April 20, 2017 at 2:57 am

    Serena wants to come back in 2018 – but in her 37th year with no cartilage to speak of in her knees and a baby in tow I find that unlikely.

    The women’s circuit is beginning to resemble a mothers’ club :)

  • catherine bell · April 20, 2017 at 3:21 am

    Scoop –
    Going back to your comment about the courts you found in London, there are little pockets of public courts in unexpected places in London – some in a park near me. I suspect people who complain about the lack of public courts in London probably just don’t know where they are. The LTA could help there but can’t see that happening. Also down to local boroughs and local funding priorities.

  • scoopmalinowski · April 20, 2017 at 7:34 am

    Catherine; really nice park with two or three courts. Wish i remember name of park. Have you seen these courts ever? Probably five minute walj from Waterloo station.

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