Jul/19

18

Zverev breaks horrific slump in Newport

Mischa Zverev lost eighteen out of nineteen matches but never lost confidence and his decision to play Newport has resulted in acquiring what he needed most – victories.

Zverev has rolled through to the quarterfinals with two impressive straight set wins against Tim Smyczek and Guido Andreozzi.

“It feels good,” said Zverev. “It hasn’t happened in a while. I always felt like I was going to play well again at some point. I tried to stay positive and I did most of the time.”

Zverev streak of failure was approaching historic proportions – Vince Spadea holds the unofficial record of 24 losses in a row – but it appears the left handed German’s career is back on track. “I always had a rational explanation of why things did not go well so I wasn’t wandering around in the dark. I had a plan and just tried to hang in there.”

Zverev will attempt to execute his plan further in a few moments on center court against Marcel Granollers for a semifinal slot on Saturday.

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79 comments

  • catherine · July 22, 2019 at 4:38 pm

    Vijay – when Lendl lived in Greenwich he had several GSs (we call them Alsatians – not my favourite dog) which he used to breed for police work. He liked frightening people with them as a joke. I think Sascha was asking Ivan to keep his mind on the job but it seemed a bit strange coming from such a young man to an older. Not many players talk about their coaches like that in public.(Except Muguruza of course and that’s over now.)

    And last I read Zverev seems to expect the coaching relationship to continue.

  • Hartt · July 22, 2019 at 4:45 pm

    Zverev does love dogs. His famous dog is Lovik, although I imagine Sascha’s mother ends up looking after him. Sascha also adopted a puppy after the players visited a dog adoption facility in Miami. I don’t think Zverev minded about the dog so much, he just wanted more of Lendl’s attention. I imagine his coach’s talking about golf during a practice was actually more annoying to Zverev.

  • Hartt · July 22, 2019 at 5:03 pm

    Eighteen-year-old Rudolf Molleker won his R1 match in Hamburg today vs Leo Mayer. This was a big win for the youngster because Mayer has won the tourney twice. In fact, Rudi beat Mayer in the Hamburg qualies two years ago, but Leo got the LL spot and went on to win the tournament. Last year Rudi upset David Ferrer at the tourney.

    Molleker has won 1 Challenger – the Heilbronn in Germany last May. He won against Vesely in the final.

    Today’s win moves the youngster up a few spots in the live rankings, from No.150 to No.144. The match was a bit up and down, with both Mayer and Molleker making some terrific shots, but having some poor UFEs as well. Rudi was a bit better in the big moments.

  • catherine · July 22, 2019 at 5:19 pm

    Hartt – I’ve been looking at Molleker for a while and it’s good to see him getting results. I kmow Becker thinks highly of him.

    Germans are desperate to have some promising young players – but nothing much happening on the women’s side. The girls have a habit of disappearing when they reach their mid-twenties.

  • Scoop Malinowski · July 22, 2019 at 5:48 pm

    Molleker seems to do his best results in Germany. This is a significant win again. Let’s see if he can capitalize on it.

  • Scoop Malinowski · July 22, 2019 at 5:48 pm

    In 1992 I did a Biofile with Lendl at Hamlet Cup and I will never forget his answer to the question Future Ambition? “To be a German shepherd.” LOL

  • Hartt · July 22, 2019 at 8:16 pm

    Molleker has been on my secondary youngsters list for some time, and he is so young that he won’t get bumped off because of his age for a few years. Unless he has such good results that he joins players like FAA on the main youngsters list. 🙂

    I’m looking forward to seeing his next match.

  • Vijay · July 22, 2019 at 10:31 pm

    I stand corrected! It seems Sascha Zverev isn’t a puppy hater after all. Indeed, it’s exactly the opposite.

    Catherine, I’m sorry you haven’t had a good experience with German Shepherds. But I can assure you, it’s almost entirely the fault of the human the dog spends most of his or her time with. These are working dogs, and if one doesn’t give them a task adequate to their abilities, they will find one for themselves. And if the human is otherwise neglectful, it will manifest itself in other antisocial behaviour from the dog. Most definitely not the dog’s fault. If you’re ever in North Florida, I’ll introduce you to some that will completely change your perspective.

  • Vijay · July 22, 2019 at 10:38 pm

    Scoop, I don’t get it. You give Larry Stefanki lots of credit for work with Riso and Kafelnikov, and I’m sure lots of it is well deserved.

    Yet, on the other hand, you chastise He-Who-Shall-Not-be-Named for poaching young 14 year olds, as if they were the finished product, while He-Who-Shall-Not-be-Named is just responsible for the final branding.

    Surely, Rios and Kafelnikov were closer to the finished product than He-Who-Shall-Not-be-Named.

    I suspect there’s some truth to your belief that He-Who-Shall-Not-be-Named poaches young talent rather blatantly, in ways that haven’t been seen before. But surely he can’t do this forever. If he has nothing to offer, he will be found out, or someone else will do the poaching.

    The fundamental problem, however, remains. How much credit do you give to a coach? How much is technique versus tactics versus mental and physical conditioning? What does the coach bring in any of these areas? Different coaches might help a player, at different stages of their careers, in different ways, so it’s not fair to discount the work of earlier coaches, at pretty much any stage, unless the player leaves the coach after a few months.

  • Jeff · July 22, 2019 at 11:37 pm

    All eyes will be on Jack Sock on Tuesday. Atlanta organizers relegated him to the grandstand. Maybe that will light a fire under him.

    Tommy Paul and Kyrgios lose in the doubles. Kyrgios has the rest of the week to play basketball

  • catherine · July 23, 2019 at 1:24 am

    Vijay – you’re right about GSs, I’m not blaming the dog, and actually the one in my past did his job very well – he was guarding a country post office when his mistress was out for a while. I was perfectly safe as long as I kept perfectly still 🙂 Everything was ok in the end. Unfortunately I don’t live in the US so won’t be in Florida but I’m sure your dogs are the best of the breed.

    Re coaches – I agree with your general points. Difficult to identify what exactly a coach brings at different times. As far as Kerber goes, she’s had 3 coaches in 3 years with Schuettler lasting 8 months and at 31 she won’t be around for more than another couple of years I’d guess. So a good experienced coach who can absorb a bit of temperament and have empathy for a player winding down their career. Angie’s Wimbledon exit was maybe some kind of turning point for her – a dreadful loss from every perspective.

  • Vijay · July 23, 2019 at 7:15 am

    Catherine, it’s clear what Angie (who I adore) needs. She needs to take 6 months off (like Fed), and work on her game. The way she plays leaves no margin for error. If she’s off by even a little, she is in trouble. Her game gives her no free points at all.

    She needs to work on her serve, develop a kick serve, and get the ability to hit topspin on her groundstrokes, if only to get her out of trouble. People have figured her out, and they know that if they can stay in the point, and she’s not at her best, she will inevitably present them with opportunities.

  • catherine · July 23, 2019 at 8:39 am

    Vijay – everything you say is true but what we have to bear in mind is that Angie is 31, will be 32 in February and, unlike Fed,simply does not have the physical resources to take lengthy time off at this stage to work on her game. Those things you mention one of her coaches should have developed with her long ago. But I suspect Angie might be a bit obstinate, I don’t know. Or she simply can’t hit a kick serve or topspin. She’s been trying, the last couple of years, to push through with the weapons she already has and, apart from Wimbledon 2018, that’s not working. And yes – she has to finish points sooner.

    I’m interested to see who she picks next as a coach. Things didn’t end well with Fisette but I think he understood her more or less, didn’t want her to bother about Paris, where she has little hope, but couldn’t get her to agree on what she called ‘the next steps’.

    She’s had a good career in terms of GSs and I hate to see her, or any player at that level, losing so miserably.

    PS- a while ago I saw this online – Fan 1 (after a good start to the year): ‘It looks like we’re seeing the new Angie’. Fan 2: ‘Don’t worry, the old one will be back soon.’

  • Scoop Malinowski · July 23, 2019 at 8:59 am

    Vijay, a coach will always remain popular and relevant if he can attach himself to top elite players, even if he’s paying them or offering them free housing and training at his academy. That’s what Bollettieri did in the beginning, he offered Arias and about ten other top American teens to train for free at The Colony in Longboat Key. They all went for free. While most thought it was the opposite.

  • Scoop Malinowski · July 23, 2019 at 9:02 am

    Sock is talking a big game on IG about if everyone is ready for this stage of his career as if he’s going to come in and just blow people off the court. Excited to see if Sock is finally 100% serious about his career, which he has not been for years, as evidenced by all the unprofessional practices with music playing and doing trick shots. Curious that Nick and Sock are not playing doubles and are not as close as they were before.

  • Harold · July 23, 2019 at 10:46 am

    You think Kerber can develop a serve at 31? Some women just don’t have the athleticism to serve. Evert, Hingis, and Kerber could spend a year trying to improver their serves, not going to happen. But, a 5’5 inch athlete like Henin, or Halep,can serve 110. Weird that one can develop the motion, pronation, and more power from their legs, while the 3, I mentioned are stuck basically starting points almost at neutral

  • Scoop Malinowski · July 23, 2019 at 11:06 am

    Want a better serve…Hire Jeff Salzenstein.

  • catherine · July 23, 2019 at 11:44 am

    Harold – yes, Angie is 5’8″ and has very strong legs but her serve is basically stuck. And although she’s taller than Helep I would call her build ‘stocky’ whereas Simona’s overall build is slimmer. But I think her serve could be more reliable. On bad days there can be a pile of dfs. I’ve never seen her practising serves – just to and fro groundstrokes. So maybe she should call Salzenstein 🙂

  • catherine · July 23, 2019 at 12:05 pm

    On coaching changes – we always tend to assume it’s the player who does the defenestration but that may not always be the case. Of course we wouldn’t necessarily hear about the coach walking. Although Cahill came close.

  • Vijay · July 23, 2019 at 1:04 pm

    Harold, she’s a great athlete with super strong legs and core. There’s no reason she can’t develop a good serve. She may have to start from scratch, but at some point she has to realize that she’s too good to be losing in the first two rounds of Grand Slams to players ranked in the 50-100s.

  • Scoop Malinowski · July 23, 2019 at 1:14 pm

    Kerber is really not much shorter than Serena who of course has the GSOAT. Serena throws a football like an NFL quarterback, perfect form and spiral. The arm motion and wrist snap are perfect cross training for Kerber to refine her serve. Free coaching here http://www.tennis-prose.com!

  • Harold · July 23, 2019 at 2:10 pm

    Kerber has good lower core for power, her upper body and motion barely get her to 100 mph. Yes, she can work on not double faulting. But she’s not finding 10 mph now in her career

  • Vijay · July 23, 2019 at 9:20 pm

    Angie’s second serve drops down into the 60s. Surely she can get 10 mph there. Her first serve isn’t that great either.

    But this talk of speed misses the point. Suppose she adds 10 mph. Is that good enough? Speed is irrelevant unless we’re talking 120 mph or greater. Everyone can hit back, with pace, a straight ball. What she desperately needs is some weight on the ball, with spin and late movement. Even a serve (especially 2nd serve) like Andy Murray’s would do wonders for Angie.

    That’s why she needs to go back to the drawing board and start afresh to salvage the last stage of her career. I think it’s totally worth it, although it will require her to unlearn lots of things.

    I don’t think this sort of retooling is impossible. Golfers putter around with their swings all the time. Nadal’s backhand, serves, and net game have changed so much (for the better) over the last 15 years. Why can’t Angie do any of these thing?

  • catherine · July 24, 2019 at 1:09 am

    Because she hasn’t had the right advice from her coaches or there is something in her mind that simply will not accept change. She is what she is and so that one step from being great. Possibly, in the end, she’s more comfortable with that.

  • Scoop Malinowski · July 24, 2019 at 8:26 am

    Kerber is great. But not perfect player.

  • catherine · July 24, 2019 at 8:55 am

    Scoop – I was thinking of players who are serial Major tournament winners. To me, they are elevated above others who are exceptionally good but don’t have the tenacity to do it over and over again. For Kerber, becoming No 1, winning USO and AO and then Wimbledon resulted in enormous pressure, on and off the court, so maybe it’s actually been a solid achievement for her to go on playing and wanting to be better, in spite of bitter losses, when there’s a temptation towards the end of a career to accept the achievements and rest on the laurels.
    So yes I’d give her ‘great’ for that, even lacking a killer serve.

  • Scoop Malinowski · July 24, 2019 at 9:10 am

    Lacking a great serve makes her an even greater player to accomplish what she has, the serve is the most important shot in tennis, followed by return of serve. Kerber at her best is a great player and we have seen her at this level many times. And that’s what we judge her by, her best, not her worst or mediocre level.

  • Harold · July 24, 2019 at 10:05 am

    Kerber has had a great career without a serve. Hingis would have doubled her Slams count if she had a serve. Chrissie would have won more if she had a serve.
    As great as they were, they could not fix that problem. They were not going to rebuild their serves, either by taking 6 months off, or by risking losing matches working on a new serve.

    Serve is the most important shot, should be as natural as throwing a football, yet I’m always amazed that Pros have so much going on with their motion..hitches, ball toss, knee bend, pronation..

  • Scoop Malinowski · July 24, 2019 at 10:16 am

    Harold, as Pancho and many other greats said about tennis, it’s a sport that we never master, we all are always still trying to figure it out. I included these quotes in the intro of my book Facing Andy Murray.

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