Talking Tennis with Gigi Fernandez

It’s always nice to bump into a tennis legend on the tennis circuit and recently at an ITF tournament in Tampa, Florida I had the pleasure to chat tennis with Gigi Fernandez, who won 17 Grand Slams (14 with Natasha Zvereva), two Olympic gold medals for USA and reached WTA no. 1 in doubles. As a coach, Gigi coached Sam Stosur to her first US Open title with Lisa Raymond. She coached no. 1 doubles players Renee Stubbs, Raymond and Stosur. She currently coaches in Tampa. Fernandez was inducted into the International Hall of Fame in Newport in 2010.

Question: Monica Seles was more difficult for you to play than Steffi Graf?

Gigi Fernandez: “Yeah because she hits hard on both sides. Like with Steffi, she had the slice backhand so I could serve and volley to her backhand. And I was a serve and volleyer. So, with Monica, not only did she hit hard on both sides, but she stood one or two or sometimes three feet inside the baseline. So when you’re serve and volleying and someone is standing three feet inside the baseline to return, you don’t have enough time to get anywhere for your first volley. They were just going by so fast. So quickly. With Steffi I could just hit it to her backhand – I knew slices were coming back and I could get the volley in and then it was like Okay, who’s gonna win the point? But with Monica I couldn’t even get a racquet on it.

Question: Which of the young players today most impress you?

Gigi: “I think Andreescu. She is pretty impressive. I love her all court game. We’re starting to get away from… we had ten or fifteen years of just pounding the baseline. And now girls are more looking to come forward and looking to finish at the net. She drop shots. Hits high balls. Hits angles. It’s not just pounding from the baseline. So I think it’s the future of tennis.”

Question: What do you think sparked this new change, evolution in the women’s game?

Gigi: “I think it’s been coming. I think because it’s been so one-dimensional. And if you want to stand out, if you’re coming up and you see the pros and you want to be different, then that’s the logical thing to add. And also now girls are more fitter, so they can handle the power. And obviously Bianca has really good hands so she can handle the volleys when she comes in. She’s blessed with good hands and she’s taking advantage of it.”

Question: Do you see Bianca Andreescu having the qualities to become the dominant WTA player?

Gigi: “She’s very mentally prescient. She comes back from a lot of adversity in her matches. She didn’t retire in Indian Wells. I was really impressed by Osaka’s third set win at Australian Open after blowing the second set. I think she was mentally very down. Then she fired her coach which was not the smartest thing in the world to do. To become no. 1 in the world and won two Grand Slams.”

Question: Which players impress you in the ATP?

Gigi: “I think when Zverev figures out what’s going on up there in his head. He has a complete game, he moves well for his height. He has a big serve, good return, good groundies. If Rafa and Roger ever quit [smiles] he could be the heir apparent.”

Question: How about Felix Auger-Aliassime?

Gigi: “Yeah, that’s the next step, Felix and Shapovalov. But they’re a little bit younger, Zverev is 22-23. So he has four or five years of experience on them. So I don’t think Felix or Shapovalov are ready to win a Grand Slam or even Tier 1 events. I don’t think they’re mature enough to withstand a whole tournament like that. But they will be in a couple of years. They’re getting there.”

Question: What is the best you ever felt on court? Your finest matches?

Gigi: “It’s funny. If you look at my whole career, it’s probably three matches that I walked off the court and I felt I played like perfect tennis. Three times in 500, 800, I don’t know how many matches I played. 800 matches singles and doubles. So tennis is not a game of perfection. It’s not about playing great or feeling great. It’s about playing your best when you’re not playing well. And figuring out how to win when nothing’s working. That’s what makes the difference between a champion and the average players. A champion figures out a way to win when they’re playing their worst. Where as some players sort of give in.”

Question: What were those three matches?

Gigi: “I don’t remember [laughs]. I really don’t. But I remember one was a singles match but I can’t tell you exactly the match. But I kind of had a general feeling when I walked off the court, I felt I played great. But there’s always something about it that I could have done better. I did play a lot of doubles matches where I played the whole match and I never missed a volley. And that was sort of like my standard, if I played a match and I missed volleys, then that was a bad day. I just could not miss volleys. I mean, makeable volleys. Anything that I could get my racquet on, I had to get it in the court.”

Question: How about the best matches of near perfect tennis that opponents played against you?

Gigi: “You know, (Gabriela) Sabatini used to beat the crap out of me. Because she always seemed to play well against me. I could never beat her. Especially her second serve was so attackable. But I could never beat her. That’s the one who could always get to me [smiles].”

Question: Why? What did she do that was so effective?

Gigi: “Nothing [laughs]. I just beat myself half the time. I don’t know. She had a really nice backhand, good groundies. But she didn’t have a big serve. It just seemed like I should have a chance to beat her but I never did.”

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  • catherine · August 10, 2019 at 6:28 am

    I know she’s paid to wear it but definitely not a good look for the adidas USO collection. Green is so not Angie’s colour and way too fiddly.

  • catherine · August 10, 2019 at 6:34 am

    Don’t bother with the link – it brings up Angie’s whole twitter not just the adidas shot. Sorry about the error there – I picked up from another site.

  • catherine · August 10, 2019 at 6:45 am

    Serena says she’s studied Naomi’s matches and knew exactly what to do. Actually there haven’t been that many to study over recent months. I’m surprised Serena needed to do that. Naomi doesn’t play a complicated game.

    The dread mantle of No 1 has again descended upon Osaka’s shoulders ๐Ÿ™‚

  • catherine · August 10, 2019 at 7:04 am

    I had a peek at the 1st round Monday in WTA Cinci and predict a slaughter. Riske v Sharapova could interesting.

  • Hartt · August 10, 2019 at 7:55 am

    The first round in Cincy does look interesting. If, by some miracle, Sharapova does get past Riske, she would face Barty in the second round.

    Nice to see they gave Kuznetsova a WC. At 34 years old, how much longer will she play? She will face Sevastova, so not an easy draw.

    Andreescu gets Tsurenko, so not bad, as long as Bianca isn’t totally exhausted. Cincy starts so soon that it is brutal for players who go deep at the Rogers Cup but don’t have first round byes.

  • catherine · August 10, 2019 at 8:10 am

    I’m sort of hoping Kenin wins in Toronto. Otherwise it’ll be, as you say, brutal for Bianca to travel from Toronto to Cinci and play straight away on Monday.

  • Scoop Malinowski · August 10, 2019 at 8:27 am

    Maybe Osaka threw her a bone in the form of a subconscious tank to save her best for NY or she’s just regressed under all the media hype and superstar celebrity status, also her minir league coach isn’t bringing anything special to the table with his mundane advices on changeovers. The Osaka ship is sinking while Serena did look sensational and she clearly wanted it a lot more. Osaka’s desire last night paled in comparison, she deferred to Serena in the who wanted/needed it more category.

  • Andrew Miller · August 10, 2019 at 10:07 am

    re: Osaka, return to the average. She became a champion, then went back to “very good player”. No doubt about it: who’s in the ear makes a difference. It’s the difference between the 6am practice sessions and the 10am first practice – the attitude etc. Her old coach might be arrogant (seems like it) but apparently he did a lot of things so that Osaka could focus on the tennis.

    Example, laundry. Seriously, Bajiin (spelling) took care of laundry, other basic stuff so that Osaka could have a routine that revolved around getting better. He said that for these high talent champions a lot of it is clearing distractions so that a player focuses on a few core things per day.

    Also a cash issue. I like saying it doesn’t mean anything but it’s real – so real that it makes players worse and guts their rankings after they fire a coach and get used to a new one etc. Osaka got some kind of set up after the break where coaching was paid for by Japan or something like that.

  • Andrew Miller · August 10, 2019 at 10:16 am

    But, Osaka’s still a sound player. Just wrong person in ear, wrong ethic, she’s a different player without the right people in her court, and clearly her motivation isn’t the same. Always an interesting cocktail that coach player dynamic. We’ve seen it with so many players.

    But, as Catherine has shown me…write off players at your peril. I think I called Ostapenko right-ish – I thought her French Open title was Halep’s to lose, and I think it was “the one that got away”. So, it was a good opportunity to say: Ostapenko, amazing win, but Halep’s going to win one or more of these slams because she works harder, has better game, coaching, etc. All the intangibles except for the killer instinct during finals.

    Same thing for Kerber, I wrote her off too saying she lost it. But underestimated her competitive fire and fact that if a coach or something isn’t working Kerber changes it up. If a voice gets stale she changes it up. Again, competitive fire.

    Same thing for (dare I say it?) Muguruza. She was the next Ivanovic until suddenly she wasn’t! Competitive fire.

    Same thing with Serena of course. Off court, seriously one on one? Delightful person. Like folks here I’ve met her, and she’s pretty warm. On court? Killer. Absolutely relentless. She loses today? She’ll be back with a long memory and ready to send you into retirement.

  • Scoop Malinowski · August 10, 2019 at 10:23 am

    Andrew, you missed it, Osaka fired Bajin because he’s dating a young up and coming player Sofya Zhuk and Osaka didn’t like the conflict of interests. Serena is the fiecrest competitor in tennis history, above Rafa, Hewitt, Pancho, Djokovic. Her beast mode is a different level.

  • Andrew Miller · August 10, 2019 at 10:38 am

    Nice Fognini and Nadal match. That’s the way to play! Nadal’s king versus Fognini spoiler, and the king won this battle. Nadal loves playing Montreal – first hardcourt title back in 2005?! Good memories out there for him.

  • Andrew Miller · August 10, 2019 at 10:41 am

    Medvedev: I think he’s the best “tennis” player of the young guys. Reminds of Kafelnikov, somewhat less artistic and less clever but cut from same mold. He plays “frustrating tennis” – anyone that faces him will hate it. Good way to play.

    As for Khachanov and Zverev…again, these guys are less talented Tom Berdychs out there. No offense to Berdych, best player not to win a slam I think!!!

  • catherine · August 10, 2019 at 10:51 am

    Andrew – Kerber finds it and then loses it again. Will she find it this time by the USO ? If she has a new voice she’s not saying. Maybe she feels a little shamefaced in disposing of 2 coaches so quickly. The switch is stuck on entropy – unavailable energy. Fisette was her best coach. He flipped the switch. Now he’s back with Vika and that was a mistake. She hasn’t your ‘competitive fire’.

    Muguruza is still floating coachless. Garbine is truly baffling.

    Naomi – those heartfelt confessions to the media are good for a counselor but not for the public. Osaka just has to grow. She allowed Sascha’s situation to be handled by others and it just blew up. And I believe her split culture, with its different messages, isn’t helping. Give her a couple of years.

    Andreescu’s younger than Naomi but you can see she’s already got a handle on the things you say and the things you don’t. As of now she seems more mature – but who knows ? Catastrophes can happen to anyone down the road. Ask Angie.

  • Andrew Miller · August 10, 2019 at 10:54 am

    Scoop, I’ll leave it as Osaka isn’t the same player without proper coaching. As for Sacha and his issues etc, my larger point is that he focused on taking care of things he knew bothered players like Serena and that he thought also got in the way of Osaka getting better. Judging on her performance with and without him, as well as Osaka’s new fame and plummet in her play, my observation is she’s not the same player that scaled the heights in August – September 2018. And it’s because someone else made a difference for her that allowed her to improve every week or month, or for a good run.

    As for Bajin and his poor judgment, I know these are issues players face. The tour is a community and there are standards of conduct and all sorts of bizarre things going on. Bajin was doing well for himself and obviously has personal issues. Dating your player’s opponents is a red line and if I were Osaka I’d fire him too. But if I were Osaka I’d also hire a coach worth their salt as well as someone to take care of small stuff.

    If anyone doesn’t think it matters remember that Nadal does this. His sister books travel and everything. Someone is always taking care of things so that Nadal has his meals and gets his practice time.

    These players are like small businesses, or family business. The Osaka family made a bad decision to hire Japan for coaching because I guarantee Japan has no clue on any of this. Nishikori probably gets funding too but puts it towards the best coaches he can get. We know this.

  • Andrew Miller · August 10, 2019 at 11:03 am

    Catherine, I didn’t think Kerber would get another slam after her two slams. I was wrong. Three slams is a very fine legacy in this rough and tumble WTA tour where number one doesn’t matter but no one can predict who wins the next slam. The fact Kerber shows no mercy and no problem changing coaches is a good sign she believes she can grab another one, even if she’s wrong in her assessment.

    Kerber I’d say has drunken her own Kool aid. It’s necessary to be a little delusional to win slams.

    Seriously, the WTA chaos is fascinating. One player can win the last week, and that same player gets smashed the next by another opponent who hits their stride. I’d like to think it’s because of the fact that the wta tour top fifty is now (shocking!) younger!

    For the first time in a long time, the average age is significantly younger for the top fifty. This delightful chaos of unpredictable results is because it is now a fully competitive tour.

  • Andrew Miller · August 10, 2019 at 11:17 am

    Medvedev v Khachanov, hopefully the wily Medvedev wins (don’t love the Khachanov game… he’s a pleasant guy though!). Nadal vs Monfils or Bautista-Agut, it’s probably Nadal vs either. Hope Monfils makes the semis – Bautista-Agut has become a Ferrer out there but I’d like Monfils to win because it’s Montreal and I think it would be better to have him in the semis rather than an all Spanish semifinal (Bautista-Agut could care less what Monfils fans want, and good for him!).

    At this point I’d like a Medvedev vs Monfils final with Monfils winning a sentimental victory. What we’re more likely to get is Nadal with another title and talk of a potential US Open victory…

  • Andrew Miller · August 10, 2019 at 11:22 am

    Catherine – on Osaka, it’s a lot of the too much too soon thing again. Players become celebrities overnight. It’s a lot for a player to see their face everywhere and deal with all the stuff that comes with it.

    Then there’s the money. Endorsements everywhere and contract obligations. We have to know that without someone handling all that it gets in the way of playing tennis. It just does. It’s distraction.

  • Hartt · August 10, 2019 at 12:03 pm

    On the Rogers Cup TV coverage they posted the stats for the women with the most hard court wins so far this season.

    They are: Pliskova 23, Andresscu 21, Kvitova 20 and Barty 20. It is interesting that Osaka is not in that group.

  • Hartt · August 10, 2019 at 12:10 pm

    I may be swayed by his charm and good looks, but I am a big Khachanov fan and will be rooting for him today. Last year I saw Karen play on a small outer court where fans were very close, so I got a good sense of just how powerful his shots are. When he keeps the UFEs down he can be a very tough opponent.

  • Hartt · August 10, 2019 at 12:13 pm

    I wonder if Bianca will have anything left for today’s match. The stats for time on court BEFORE the QFs:
    Andreescu – 7 hours, Kenin – 4 hours, Bouzkova – 4 hours, Williams – nearly 3 hours.

  • Scoop Malinowski · August 10, 2019 at 12:46 pm

    Kerber won three major titles after being talked out of quitting the sport by Petkovic, that’s one helluva career. I can think of hundreds of pros who would like to have had Kerber’s career.

  • Scoop Malinowski · August 10, 2019 at 12:50 pm

    Osaka’s biggest problem is she misses Bajin. The numbers don’t lie, he took her from a mediocre 70 in the world with zero titles to no. 1 and three of the biggest titles in the world. Bajin was the key to stimulating the very best tennis out of Osaka.

  • Scoop Malinowski · August 10, 2019 at 12:51 pm

    Andreescu will drama queen her way to victory today ๐Ÿ™‚ This girl has the superhuman tennis, the burning desire AND the mental trickery combination that only few players have.

  • Andrew Miller · August 10, 2019 at 12:58 pm

    Help Wanted Ad: Seeking ATP player, young next generation or down on their luck vet. Must be an to practice and improve in preparation for and during real matches. Need healthy attitude including willingness to learn from mistakes. Must develop and demonstrate relentless approach to play during matches. Must be willing to laugh at yourself and enjoy matches and live for the competition. Must forgive yourself after a loss and stick with the process of getting better and enjoying the sport of a lifetime. Must treat grand slam champs with reverence before and after match, but be like a conquering avenger during match.

    All applicants welcome. Please note that by applying you will sign up for crazy conditioning and possibly experiment with things like doubles to get the additional may play you need to show what you’ve learned and help your fellow competitors.

    Rewards: eternal glory. Significant cash compensation if successful. Something memorable for fans. Sharing is caring.

  • Andrew Miller · August 10, 2019 at 1:04 pm

    Scoop, no predictions from me. If Andreescu wins Toronto she gets bragging rights even Bouchard can’t claim. For what it’s worth, I hope Bouchard gets some motivation from Andreescu example, and Raonic from getting shoved around by his fellow Canadians.

    Motivation is a funny thing. Federer gets it from Nadal, Djokovic going after his title count. Tsitsipas from the tantalizing possibility of taking out all generations for a slam. When a player is lower on the totem poll we never know. My theory is always peer pressure and bragging rights somewhere.

    For Andreescu a notch in the belt would be a second Masters title and the Canada Masters title to get a boost from home crowds before burning her way into a bigger legacy on some other stage.

    I could care less that she’s an injury away plus a victory after the injury from her opponent being angry at her. Djokovic used to be a wimp during matches too, coming down with all sorts of ailments. Magically all those injuries have evaporated as he cleared the physical and mental handicaps.

  • Andrew Miller · August 10, 2019 at 1:11 pm

    Kerber has a lot to be proud of. Technical #4 in slams behind Serena, Venus Williams, Sharpie as an active player (had to look it up), ahead of a slew of excellent players in Kvitova, Muguruza, Osaka, Azarenka, Halep, Kuznetsova etc, and far ahead of all one slam wonders (even one slam wonders with lovely games a la Barty).

    Fine, fine legacy – she’s first vote hall of fame only behind Serena and Venus Williams and Sharapova. Single handedly revived German women’s tennis. One up on to my eye the better peer Sabine Lisicki.

    Outstanding. Kerber showed a player can push way, way beyond their original limits and become a nearly unrecognizable force on tour.

  • Andrew Miller · August 10, 2019 at 1:14 pm

    Fritz – glad he believes in his game. He should. His movement still stinks – he’d be world class formidable if he had the footwork etc of Tsitsipas and De Minaur. Needs a good footwork coach or ballet or something.

    At least his desire is right there. Helps. Just a lot more to the sport than desire. He’s got to go from being wrong footing to be the guy that makes opponents break their ankles.

  • Andrew Miller · August 10, 2019 at 1:18 pm

    Mary Pierce could fix Fritz footwork, or Capriati. Both Pierce and Capriati legendary great footwork, helped them win slams, their power games plus being in the right place at the right time. Is Fritz aware enough of this flaw to reach out to footwork gurus? A player can fix footwork, but they don’t if they think they just play their game blah blah blah

    I wrote off Fritz but he’s shown he has a special competitive nature and that helps big time in a sport where talent and ruthlessness make a big difference in the arena. But champions also are really great at the little stuff.

  • Scoop Malinowski · August 10, 2019 at 1:30 pm

    Andrew, how does a young 19 year old chip on his shoulder, ultimate rebel, Cmon roaring, no fear, no over-respect for elders Lleyton Hewitt do in the ATP right now?

  • Hartt · August 10, 2019 at 1:33 pm

    Andrew, I like your job description for an ATP player.

  • Scoop Malinowski · August 10, 2019 at 1:34 pm

    The problem for Fritz is he’s not a naturally efficient mover. Kozlov has the same issue. Can it be be fixed? I heard a story about Dan Reeves, the former Dallas Cowboys running back who was at one time slow but worked on it and became quick enough to have a successful NFL career as a running back. Bernard Tomic is SLOW footed. Gimelstob was slow footed. But they carved out respectable careers in tennis. Fritz has to totally zero in on his feet and footwork.

  • Scoop Malinowski · August 10, 2019 at 1:41 pm

    Fritz has the desire and also the confidence. To even dare say, in a humble, serious way, that he thinks he can be the best player in the world is rare in itself.

  • catherine · August 10, 2019 at 1:48 pm

    Andrew – welcome to the Kerber fan club – but remember what you have to go through if you are a true fan ๐Ÿ™‚

    Angie’s been good for German tennis in setting an example but unfortunately there are virtually no young players coming through after her generation. They seem promising for a while then just seem to disappear – Carina Withoeft is an example. I think she’s stopped playing, having won Luxembourg a couple of years ago. So whether Angie will leave a legacy I don’t know.

  • Scoop Malinowski · August 10, 2019 at 2:05 pm

    Poland is producing better girl players than Germany now, Swiatek is the frontrunner but also behind her is Maya Chwalinska, a lefty artist who reminds of Rios and Nishioka. Germany is struggling to produce young talented female players.

  • Andrew Miller · August 10, 2019 at 2:38 pm

    Hartt, sounds like I have to rework the Help Wanted ad! Maybe take another crack at it. It could be more of a standard as, maybe like you may be saying it’s an ad for a run of the mill player!

  • Hartt · August 10, 2019 at 2:39 pm

    Pliskova was interviewed on the Rogers Cup podcast and was asked why there are so many good women tennis players from the Czech Republic. She said there are many good tennis clubs and coaches, plus many competitors for young players. And tennis is hugely popular there. So it sounds like those fine Czech players will just keep on coming and coming!

  • Andrew Miller · August 10, 2019 at 2:47 pm

    Scoop, Hewitt wins a slam on today’s tour in my book – or comes close. He outworks everyone, has sick anticipation along with a “you’ll have to destroy me to win this match” approach, plus the ability to return every player’s serve.

    Hewitt’s glory years could handle and did handle the likes of Sampras and Agassi, Safin, even ran up the score on Federer before Federer leveled up.

    Hewitt says he likes what he sees from De Minaur. So do I for what it’s worth. But was Hewitt better than De Minaur?

    Absolutely. To my eye, yes. Hewitt didn’t care that he was disliked or despised, and only very late in his career soaked up the crowd love as a veteran past his best tennis (same guy, but affected).

    Hewitt is a very old school player. More importantly he had some kind of otherworldly drive to be the last guy standing. It’s the right way to play when champions don’t let others borrow their slams…a player must rip titles away from other players.

    After playing fine, be charitable. Credit the opponent. Say anyone could have won today. Be generous. During the match?

    No. No way. Roddick knew Hewitt had something crazy inside of him. Hewitt also benefitted from excellent footwork and a desperate need to prove himself.

    Today’s sport doesn’t reward power alone – if it did then we’d be talking about Zverev’s fifth slam.

  • Andrew Miller · August 10, 2019 at 2:55 pm

    Catherine, Kerber surprised me by getting a slam – at all! I thought Lisicki was going to be the one to break Germany’s “Huber was our last chance for a slam” ethos with her booming Becker-like, stadium shaking serve.


    Always important to put credit where due. Kerber became super Kerber. Someone told me before she won to keep an eye on her and I was like what about Lisicki? They laughed. They were German so knew their tennis, obviously saw things I didn’t. Maybe the movement. Maybe the desire. Maybe the fact Kerber has gone pretty deep at slams before and was closer than anyone realized.

    Kerber is a first ballot hall of fame champ. She knew she could do it!

  • Hartt · August 10, 2019 at 2:58 pm

    Andrew, I did not mean to put down your ad. I think it sounds like a formula for a very good ATP player. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Andrew Miller · August 10, 2019 at 2:58 pm

    Hartt, something in the water in Czech Republic for sure. They sound like France with the popularity for tennis and a real system for talent, but they have an edge – maybe because it’s a venue where women can do well as athletes. Dunno.

    The UK has some great juniors on women’s side…most that fall apart completely on tour. Konta broke out of it.

    Konta, sheesh I root for her too

  • Andrew Miller · August 10, 2019 at 3:11 pm

    Hartt, I think you’re right, my ad is more like a recipe for Brad Klahn!

  • Hartt · August 10, 2019 at 3:32 pm

    Bianca has joked about making things anxious for her fans, and she put us through the wringer again. Over 2 hours of tension, and I think it was 5 MPs. But she pulled it off in the end. She said she was inspired in 2015 by seeing an 18-year-old Bencic win against Serena in Toronto and then later winning the title. She hopes she will get to play Serena in the final, one of her dreams.

  • Scoop Malinowski · August 10, 2019 at 3:35 pm

    Agree Andrew, the Hewitt get the f out of my way Mentality is the only way to win a major now. This nice guy pc age is failing miserably. Need to have fire and acid and fu edge, which of course Hewitt had. To be the best you gotta be willing to get some blood on your hands. A Hewitt spitfire attitude is the only way to slay the Fedalkovic dragon.

  • catherine · August 10, 2019 at 3:40 pm

    Bianca had a MTO when about to serve for the match so I expect she’ll get a lot of abuse for that – but the thing I would worry about most is that she’s pushing her body beyond what it will stand. Young people feel they can do anything. I hope Bianca turns out to be better than Bencic who really hasn’t done much title wise although she’s a nice player.

  • Hartt · August 10, 2019 at 4:41 pm

    Catherine, it was Kenin who had the MTO just before she was due to serve to stay in the match. She came back with her thigh heavily taped. Then they played what seemed like a never-ending game, lasting over 12 minutes, where Bianca had MPs, but Kenin ultimately held and it went to a TB.

    Despite have one thigh strapped and tape on the other, Bianca said in the on-court interview that her body had held up OK. But I agree that there has to be concern about her playing so many matches, especially if she plays Cincy.

  • Hartt · August 10, 2019 at 5:07 pm

    Tracy Austin, who does the commentary for the Sportsnet coverage of the Rogers Cup (and has done so for years), was asked which player Andreescu reminded her of. She said that was a tough question, but she thought that the closest was Justine Henin, although she thought that Bianca actually has more power.

  • jg · August 10, 2019 at 5:37 pm

    Not sure about more power than Henin, Henin hit a heavy ball. I just watched a few games of the national girls 16โ€™s, a 14 year old from Wisconsin beat the number 1 seed, this girl had a beautiful all court powerful game, at 14 her game seemed pretty much baked in like in another year could hang with most WTA players, she gets a wildcard into the US Open junior tourney, but I think Billie Jean King ( who was doing the trophy presentation) thought they said the main womenโ€™s Open, and she didnโ€™t seem surprised, I actually think she could qualify.

  • Andrew Miller · August 10, 2019 at 5:58 pm

    Scoop, re: Hewitt, had the competitive fire. He wasn’t going to beat himself. Someone had to take the game to him, around him, and over him.

    We know the story here already. Safin was hungry in that 2005 Aussie final, playing like it was the 2000 US Open. Safin was getting his hat handed to him, but fortunately he had the memory of the 2002 and 2004 losses in the Australian final and wasn’t going to let one horrible set keep him away from his second slam title.

    All of this just underscores what these players were like at the time. Merciless. Even Safin had some newfound burning desire. Technically they were so solid off the ground, and Safin was ridiculously great – we rarely saw this glimpse of Safin’s greatness again.

    Anyhows, it’s that attitude that gets players where they wouldn’t otherwise be. It’s not enough to wait your turn on tour – that’s the formula for getting pasted by players that have more desire, more talent, etc.

    Gotta push it every second in those big matches. Deflate the opponent. Make them believe that, no matter what side the crowd on, every shot is contested and this isn’t child’s play.

    It’s how Nadal, seemingly on the ropes against Kyrgios, hits through Kyrgios and matches every glorious Kyrgios shot with five unreturnable winners, or even just one more unreturnable winner when it’s needed.

    Merciless in big matches. Like Seles. Wertheim wrote something to the effect that Seles was bubbly and wonderful. During a match? No one liked playing her. Not because of the grunts. Because of the balls that kept flying past them left, right and center, every angle, ones that others didn’t know existed.

    Must have been terrible to be on the other side of the net.

  • Andrew Miller · August 10, 2019 at 6:17 pm

    Andreescu is a fine player. I hope more players realize this style, of power plus disguise, is a winner! Seriously, drop shot your way to titles as needed. Opponent’s frustrated? They should be upset with themselves and their coaching, which emphasized certain ways of playing at the expense of the amazing array of styles and shots that are part of the game’s history.

    Barty and Andreescu both play a wonderful style of tennis and we’re lucky to see it. As for fragility etc players have to get used to the rigors of the tour and make conditioning part of their practice, and the tour has to figure out the injuries side of things so that their draws are healthy rather than ruined by withdrawals.

  • Andrew Miller · August 10, 2019 at 6:24 pm

    More on Hewitt etc – I’m all for off court civility, and good conduct on court.

    What I don’t like is when players don’t learn from getting decked by the top guys. It’s not enough to say they are too good. If they’re not getting closer every time and bringing a fresh look to their next matches…it’s not good and it’s not going to go well.

    I’ve been against “playing your game” attitude where the player says well I’m just going to play my game. If that game includes a predictable or non existent backhand then playing that game is good to be a big huge loss.

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