Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Zverev's Struggles and Growing Pains

Hi All,

It's been a while since I signed in and wrote something, but I wanted to plug back in and offer my thoughts. Alexander Zverev is my topic today.

Image result for alexander zverevHe's a huge talent, one of the young guns, a future number 1, and he definitely reached an all time high ranking last year at number 4 accumulating 5 titles in 2017. In fact, he beat Federer and Djokovic last year and won 2 Masters 1000 titles in 2017. He defeated Djokovic (world no. 2) in Rome 6-4, 6-3 and Federer (world no.1) in Montreal 6-3, 6-4 which are both very impressive wins and building block matches for the years to come.

However, I do have to caveat that last year Murray, Nishikori, Wawrinka, Nadal and Raonic were injured the last part of the year and with those guys in play, then the second half of the year would have had a very different equation. But, either way...kuddos to Zverev.

The thing is that I believe he reached the top 10 too early and we can expect to see many growing pains this year. This is no different than Becker, Sampras, Agassi, and Federer when they had just entered the tour and became top 10. Being a young player at the top involves a lot of maturity, calm, poise and resilience, which takes significant time. In the Grand Slam events since Zverev  reached number 4 in the rankings, he has been lackluster losing to Coric in 4 sets (US Open 2017) and Chung (Australian Open 2018) where in the latter confrontation he won only 5 points in the fifth set and had a melt down. Even day before yesterday at the BNP Paribas tournament in Indian Wells he was eliminated in three sets in the first round by Joao Sousa (ranked 85) 5-7, 7-5, 4-6.

The important thing to remember is that while he can beat the top guys, 90% of the other players on the tour are not Federer and Djokovic and to get to the later stages in all these tournaments, he has to beat everyone in his draw. So while the ranking may indicate he can compete with the top guys, he still has a lot to achieve when it comes to beating his peers and the lower ranked players. Think of an iceberg and how the bulk of it is under water and only a little bit hits the surface of the water and is above. The tour is like this as well when it comes to the rankings.

We can be sure that Juan Carlos Ferrero, former world no. 1 and Federer's former rival and peer, is working actively with Zverev to help him become more mentally tough, improve his weaker forehand, deal with the tough match situations and being positive, take things in stride and set more realistic expectations for 2018 in terms of success. Interestingly enough after his loss in Australia, the Maestro Federer saw young Zverev in the locker room after his loss to Chung looking down and dejected and gave him some words of wisdom when it comes to success going forward, setting more reasonable expectations, and then working his way up.

Thought anyone?


Friday, February 3, 2017

Federer's 10 Toughest Losses

Some people don't realize that while Roger Federer is the greatest of all time, has set so many records, and now has won 18 Grand Slam titles (the max), he has also suffered horrible and gut wrenching losses. Seems like being in sports and performing at such a high level also has a price. In fact, sometimes it's a terrible privilege. Luckily, Roger has a short term memory and has been able to successfully shrug these losses off relatively quickly versus other players. This is another reason that he is the greatest of all time!!

Image result for Federer crying

Below is a list of the 10 top losses that Roger Federer has suffered in my opinion. If I have left anything out, feel free to comment and let me know :)

1. Loss to Lleyton Hewitt in Davis Cup - 7-5, 6-2, 6-7, 5-7, 1-6

2. 2005 loss to Marat Safin in Australian Open semifinal - 7-5, 4-6, 7-5, 6-7, 7-9
* Federer has a match point in the 4th set tie breaker

3. Federer loses to Nadal in 2006 Rome final - 7-6(0), 6-7(5), 4-6, 6-2, 6-7(5)
* Federer had 2 match points in the 5th set when Nadal was serving at 5-6. He also led Nadal 5-3 in the 5th set tie breaker.

4. Federer loses to Nalbandian at ATP finals 2005 - 7-6 (7-4), 7-6 (13-11), 2-6, 1-6, 6-7
* Federer served for the match at 6-5, 30-0 in the 5th set

5. Federer loses to Del Potro in US Open 2009 final - 6-3, 6-7, 6-4, 6-7, 2-6

6. Federer loses to Djokovic in US Open semifinals 2010 - 7-5, 1-6, 7-5, 2-6, 5-7
* Federer had 2 match points in the 5th set

7. Federer loses to Djokovic in US Open semifinals 2011 - 7-6 (7), 6-4, 3-6, 2-6, 5-7
* Federer had 2 match points in the 5th set

8. Federer loses to Tsonga in 2011 Wimbledon quarterfinals - 6-3, 7-6 (3), 4-6, 4-6, 4-6
* Federer up 2 sets to love

9. Federer loses to Nadal in 2009 Australian Open final - 5–7, 6–3, 6–7(3–7), 6–3, 2–6

10. Federer loses to Djokovic in 2014 Wimbledon finals - 7-6(7), 4-6, 6-7(4), 7-5, 4-6

Friday, December 30, 2016

Things to Watch Out for in 2017

Hi All,

It's been a while since I've made a post.

I was thinking to myself the other about how excited I am for the 2017 tennis season. 2016 ended on a high note with the World 1 ranking being clinched by Murray over Djokovic in the Barclays ATP World Tour Final. This was the first time that the year end ranking was determined in the final match of the season between the number 1 and 2 players.

Looking ahead to 2017, I think there are a few things to watch out for:

1. Murray as World No. 1 - Andy finished 2016 as year end world number 1 by defeating Novak in the Barclay's ATP World Final in London. Now he will be the first seed in the Australian Open and favorite. Let's see how he deals with the pressure and approaches the new number 1 title. He's always done well in Melbourne, but has never won the tournament.

2. Djokovic as Number 2 and Break Up with Becker - Novak finished 2016 as number 2 to Andy. After winning the career grand slam at the French Open, he had quite the lackluster and sluggish second half of the year. He has also broken u with Boris Becker as coach citing personal and family matters as his main priority. Let's see what he does in the Australian Open where he has won 6 times! Will he have the hunger to retake number one and win more grand slams in 2017...I think so, but we'll have to wait and watch.

3. Roger Federer, The Maestro is Back - The last match Roger played was at the 2016 Wimbledon where he lost to Milos Raonic in five sets in the semifinals. He's has some injuries over the past few years such as the back and the knees this past year, and needed some time to rest his body and mind so he could come back rejuvenated and fresh. looks like from his Twitter and Fcaebook posts, hes been practicing and playing well with players like Lucas Pouille in Dubai. one thing to note is that Roger will now have a lower seed in this year Australian's Open as he slipped out of the top 10 in 2016. So he will have to meet Murray, Djokovic, Raonic or Wawrinka in the round of 16. The latter two aren't an issue as Federer can still beat them regularly, but Murray and Novak do pose the real threats.

4. Vamonos Rafa and Welcome Carlos Moya - Rafael Nadal will also be back in action in 2017. The one big change is that he has lifelong friend, competitor, mentor and countrymen Carlos Moya in his coaching box now. I thin this is a fabulous idea given that Moya just recently split with Raonic, and he has someone helping him whom he has known for ages and id close with on and off the court. The fact that Moya is a former world number 1 and French Open champion does wonders as he understand the pressures, situations, and rigors Rafa faces. I think it also helps to have another voice besides Uncle Tony and Francisco Roig that can offer new insights and a different spin on things.

5. The Young Guns - 2016 was an exciting year with guys such as Lucas Pouille, Alexander Zverev, and Nick Kyrgios making big strides and achieving their highest rankings. Lets see how they deal with the limelight and pressure now as this is really where the hard work starts, and if we look back at tennis history, we observe that there were so many former players that had growing pains and other issues when rising up the rankings. Guys under 21 years old to watch out for include Zverev, Borna Coric, Karen Khachanov, Taylor Fritz, Francis Tiafoe, and others. What is brilliant is that the ATP Tour is creating a new tournament in Milan for the "Next Gen" players that are under 21. Let's see how the next generation fares in 2017 and who makes the biggest strides!

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Best Players Never to Win a Grand Slam

Hi guys, it's been a while...

So today's topic is best ATP players never to win a grand slam...

1. Marcelo Rios

One of the most talented players ever, but mentally frail and not always there
Reached the number #1 ranking in 1998 for six weeks
Reached the 1998 Australian Open Final, losing badly to Petr Korda

2. Tim Henman

Never the ATP world's #1, but reached six Grand Slam semifinals
Career high ranking of #4

3. Thomas Berdych

One of the biggest under achievers in the current game, but his top competitors include Federer, Djokovic, Nadal and Murray and he hasn't been able to surpass those guys
Reached the 2010 Wimbledon finals losing in straight sets to Nadal
Has reached all four Grand Slam semifinals

4. Mark Philippoussis

Projected to be one of the biggest hopes for Australian and world tennis
Upset Pete Sampras in the 3rd round of the 1996 Australian Open
Reached finals of the 1998 US Open (losing to Rafter in four sets) and the 2003 Wimbledon (losing to Federer in straight sets)
Part of the winning Davis Cup team in 1999 and 2003
Reached career high ranking of #8

5. Alex Corretja

Runner in French Open twice, in 1998 (losing to Moya) and 2001 (losing to Kuerten)
Career world high ranking of #2 in 1999
Won the ATP World Year End Finals in 1998 (defeated Moya after losing the first two sets)
Part of the winning Davis Cup Spanish team in 2000

6. Todd Martin

Career world high ranking of #4
Reach the 1994 Australian Open final (losing to Sampras) and the 1999 US Open (losing to Agassi after being up two sets to one)
Lost to Malavai Washington in the 1996 Wimbledon's semifinals after being up 5 - 1 games in the fifth set

7. Cedric Pioline

Career world high ranking of #5 in 2000
Reached the 1993 US Open and 1997 Wimbledon finals, losing to Sampras in both
Part of the winning French Davis Cup teams in 1996 and 2001

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Greatest of All Time Debate?

Who's the greatest of all time and how do we define the parameters of what is means to be the greatest....it's tough to compare different time periods since the conditions and technologies were different as well...

Does the best ever mean....most grand slam titles (to most people yes), most year end finishes at number 1, the most titles ever (grand slam and other tournies), the ablility to win on all surfaces, having winning records versus your peers/competitors, the highest winning percentage, do you have to have an Olympic gold as well as a Davis cup title....or is it a combination of all of these factors???

Here are the people I think deserve to be in the race of the best male tennis player ever...

Rod Laver ("The Rocket")

Ranked number 1, both as an amateur and as a professional
11 grand slam titles
2 grand slams in 1962 and 1969 - won all 4 majors those years - no one has ever done this!
200 singles titles (amateur and professional), but 52 listed by the ATP Tour
22 titles in a single season (1962) - the most ever
Career winning % (536 - 136 or 80%)
The games first complete tennis player

Bjorn Borg ("Ice Man")

Won 11 grand slam titles (6 French Opens and 5 Wimbledons) out of 16 total finals
Wins the French Open and Wimbledon in same year, back to back in 1978, 1979 and 1980
Member of the winning Swedish Davis Cup team in 1975
Youngest player to win a Davis Cup match at 15 years old (1972)
Former number 1 player
Never won the Australian Open or US Open
Winner of 3 year end championships
Career winning % (609 - 127 or 83%)
141 - 16 record in grand slams, which is the highest winning % in slams ever of 90%
93% winning record at Wimbledon (51 - 4)
64 career titles
One of the first players to use heavy topspin in his game
Performance versus peers - tied head to head with McEnroe and Ashe (both rivalries at 7 - 7); winning record versus Laver (5 - 2), Connors (15 - 8), Vilas (17 - 5), Nastase (10 - 5), and Lendl (6 - 2); losing record versus Newcombe (1 - 3)
Calmness and demeanor on the court was legendary
Retired in 1983 at the age of 26
Had an unsuccessful come back tour in the early 1990s failing to win a single match

Roger Federer ("The Maestro")

17 grand slam titles
Number 2 in the world at the age of 34
World number 1 for over 300 weeks (237 in a row)
Captured the career grand slam (not in one year)
Won titles on all surfaces (indoor, hard court, grass, clay)
One of the greatest grass, hard court and indoor players of all time
7 Wimbledon titles (2003 - 2007, 2009, and 2012) and 10 Wimbledon finals
5 US Open titles (2004 - 2008)
24 Masters 1000 titles (formerly Super 9)
Played in final of all Masters 1000 Series tournies
64 consecutive grand slam tournies through 2015 US Open
46 grand slam quarterfinals and 38 semis
27 overall grand slam finals
87 career titles
Won end of the year ATP world final 6 times
Member of Swiss 2014 Davis cup winning team
2008 Olympic gold medal in doubles with Stan
2012 Olympics silver medal in singles losing to Murray
Reached 1,000 career win in 2015
Losing record against fellow peer and competitor Nadal though (10 - 23 as of September 2015) - that's a dent in the armor and the one thing tarnishing his record
Career winning % (1,047 - 235 or 82%)
Most popular tennis player ever

Rafael Nadal ("Rafa")

14 grand slams (tied with Sampras)
Greatest clay court player ever
Winning record versus Federer
9 French Opens (most of any player and single grand slam title ever), 2 Wimbledons, 2 US Opens, 1 Australian Open
2014 - became first player to win grand slam title for 10 years in a row
Winning record versus Federer, Djokovic, and Murray
Won grand slams on all surfaces like Federer and Agassi
2008 Olympics gold medalist
27 Masters 1000 titles (formerly known as Super 9)
4 Davis cup wins - 2004, 2008, 2009 and 2011
67 career titles
Played in final of all Masters 1000 Series tournies
Possesses career golden slam (but not all 4 in one year)
Perhaps the greatest competitor and humblest tennis player in history
Career has been plagued with knee injuries
Currently ranked 8 in the world and 2015 was the first year in 11 years that Rafa didn't win a single major
Career winning % (750 - 155 or 83%)

Pete Sampras ("Pistol")

Winner of 14 grand slam titles (including 7 Wimbledons and 5 US Opens)
Dominated his peer and major competitor Andre Agassi unlike Roger with Nadal
Never won the French Open and was poor player on clay
Broke Roy Emerson's record of 12 grand slam singles titles
5 end of the year ATP World Tour Finals
Record for finishing the year ranked 1 (6 times from 1993 to 1998)
64 career titles
Career winning % (762 - 222 or 77%)
Lost only 4 grand slam finals (Hewitt, Safin, Agassi, Edberg)
Best server in tennis ever

Novak Djokovic ("Nole")

10 grand slam titles (will tie Borg with the next win)
Won 3 grand slam titles in a year twice (2011 and 2015)
Yet to win French Open - lost to Nadal and Wawrinka
Been the dominant number 1 and player to beat since 2011
Only 10 - 8 in grand slam finals versus Federer and Nadal's records
Has held the number 1 ranking for 165 weeks
24 Masters 10000 series titles (yet to win Cincinnati)
Played in final of all Masters 1000 Series tournies
2008 Olympics Bronze medal winner
Youngest player to reach semis of all grand slam tournies
Only player to win 5 Australian Opens (he owns that place)
55 career titles
Career winning % (667 - 145 or 82%)
The most athletic player ever, the best returner and the fast mover on the court
If Novak were to add in his opinion and read this, he'd say a lot remains to be determined and don't count your chickens yet....I def think he'll reach 14 grand slam wins and tie Pete...the rest is in his hands...

So based on all these facts, who would you vote for? Also, what about Emerson...he's not mentioned here, but he won 12 grand slam titles...

Let me know what do you guys think and if there are other items to consider...??

Signing Out,

Monday, September 21, 2015

The New Young Guns...Who's the Next Champion?

It's not doubt that Federer, Novak, and Rafa have been dominating the game for God knows how long...but who in the next generation of youngsters will emerge victorious to challenge the status quo....I'm not talking about Nishikori, Raonic or Dimitrov, but the teenie boppers....all of whom are insanely talented...

The following lists the players and their strengths/weaknesses from what I've seen and observed of them so far...

Borna Coric
Maturity for his age versus the others
Tall and physically strong
Fighter and never gives up
Has defeated Nadal, Murray, Robredo
Currently ranked 33
Coach is Thomas Johansson former Australian Open champion

Nick Kyrgios
Tall and huge serve and crushing forehand
Beaten Nadal (Wimbledon), Federer (clay), and Gasquet (Wimbledon)
Ranked 37 in the world
Punk and can easily go astray in the matches
Mentally all over the place...but entertaining
Should be known for his play, skill and talent not his mouth
Fiasco with Stan Wawrinka and what he said about Stan's gf


Thanasi Kokkinakis
Height of 6 ft 5 and can use this to his advantage
Huge win at French versus Tomic this year and saved match points
Elegant/stylish player
Ranked around 70 and made all the grand slams in 2015
Defeated players Juan Monaco and Julien Benneteau
Good coach in former player Jason Stolternberg
Needs to work on fitness as he cramped in the 2015 US Open
Funky hair do haha jk jk

Mischa Zverev
He's tall and his height will be a huge advantage
Once he grows more muscular and gets more physical, his serve will start to pop and be a huge weapon
Great backhand down the line - big strength
Temperamental and I've seen him crack his racquet a few times, but he's young
Needs to attack more given his size
Opportunity to be more aggressive in crunch times

Lucas Pouille
Has defeated Fabio Fognini and Ivo Karlovic
Made all 4 grand slam main draws in 2015
Tough five setter vs Monfils in the Australian Open after winning first two sets
Love his style and two handed backhand
Haven't seen as much of him versus the other players, but a huge potential...

Hyeon Chung
Played a great match vs Stan Wawrinka in the 2015 US Open...three breakers
From that match, he can hang with the big guys in rallies
Fast and can slide really well
Love the prescription sports glasses
Flashy forehand, but can improve serve
Strong physically and solid legs
Made US Open and Wimbledon main draws in 2015
Great for Asian tennis and popularity

Who will be the next Sampras, Federer, Nadal, Djokovic...I guess we'll have to wait and watch...

Let me know your thoughts peeps!


2009 Article: When Federer Won the French Open

Another old article I wrote guys...was a great day when Federer finally conquered the French...

Federer Finally Wins Elusive French Open Capturing Career Grand Slam
by Surya Krishnan

Sunday, June 7, 2009, a blazing red letter day when the history of the present composes that "other" history of monuments and records.  The Baryshnikov of tennis sinks to his knees, for the fourteenth time to be precise, but this time, the champion’s knees make contact with red clay, the legendary terre bateau of Roland Garros.  Roger Federer joins the elite team of Fred Perry, Don Budge, Rod Laver, Roy Emerson, and Andre Agassi, who by the way is there in person to witness that spectacular moment that is both in and out of time.  Federer is now only the sixth player ever to complete tennis' career Grand Slam.  He has just defeated Robin Soderling 6-1, 7-6 (1), 6-4 in Sunday's 2009 French Open Final.  Today's victory in Paris marks tennis history on several levels: it represents Federer's first victory at Roland Garros, after three heart-rending losses to Rafael Nadal in three consecutive finals since 2006.  It also heralds his tying of Pete Sampras' 14 Grand Slam titles record.  Federer, like Ivan Lendl, has now reached 19 Grand Slam finals during his career, not to mention his record of reaching 20 consecutive semifinals as well as 15 of the past 16 Grand Slam Finals.  Perhaps, the time has come to declare that Roger has undoubtedly earned the title, "Greatest Player Ever?"

This last title did not come easy.  It was by no means a foregone conclusion.  Roger came perilously close to defeat on more than one occasion over the fortnight, but continued to "problem solve" his way round after round as each opponent presented him a different scenario and a different challenge.  To wax poetic, the seven matches that won him the elusive French Open trophy comprised a fascinating continuum: from the intense and economic sonnet to the expansive passionate lyric, from the undulating grace of the ode to the ever changing ups and downs of the fraught epic.  In the second round, Federer was nearly down 2 sets to 1 to Jose Acasuso and saved a set point in the third set.  In the round of 16, Federer trailed Tommy Hass 2 sets to 1, 3-4 break point in the fourth set before ripping a lethal inside out forehand to get back to Deuce and finally win the game.  In the semifinals against Juan Martin Del Potro, Federer was on his heels and found himself once again with his back to the wall to a younger opponent who played aggressively and fearlessly almost pulling off an upset.  Federer survived all these tests using his greater experience and wits, raised his game to the necessary level, played percentage tennis, made all the adjustments opportunistically even when he was out of rhythm, demonstrating the thesis that a champion is after all what a champion does, time and again under pressure.  Federer stormed out of the gates of the locker room today with his typical blistering game, took charge of the situation right away and treated Soderling to an exemplary tennis clinic, as Soderling himself conceded during the presentation ceremony.  It was only appropriate that Federer had saved his very best form for the finals.

The great Andre Agassi was there to present the trophy to Federer, and one didn’t have to be an expert lip reader to decode Andre’s happy whisper to Roger,  "I'm so happy for you man."  Exactly ten years ago in 1999, Agassi achieved the career Grand Slam as well by defeating Andrei Medvedev in a noteworthy five set come back final.  In addition, Pete Sampras had also been sending Federer text messages this week, supporting and urging him on the win the title.  When was the last time that other great and contemporary champions of a game reached beyond the provincialism of their individual egos to salute, admire, and exhort a fellow champion?  Pete, Andre, and John McEnroe, who made it a point of calling him the greatest during the post match interview, have recognized the profound reality that Roger Federer is the most complete avatar of tennis so far.

Being a huge Feder fan and loyalist, I can't even begin to capture how ecstatic I am for the guy.  Not only is he an amazing player, but he is also a rigorous student of the game with a deep and abiding respect for the history of the game.  I'd like to point out that over the past year Federer was sadly being dismissed and criticized after his more than usual losses and this was extremely disappointing.  Commentators, writers, and fans, who were once hero-worshipping and deifying Federer sensed this and started to become Federer doubters.  Every new loss would turn into an issue of calamitous proportions.  There was even a lot of pop psychology going around with nudge-nudge wink-wink references to his growing diffidence and lessening confidence.  Federer is stubborn and needs to change, Federer needs a coach, Federer is no longer number 1, Federer has lost his game, Federer is in a funk, Federer will never win the French Open were all un-nerving statements I have heard.

Of course no one is God and immortal and invulnerable.  We saw him breaking into tears at this year's Australian Open and his loss to Nadal at the 2008 Wimbledon was gut wrenching.  His losses to Murray, and his uncharacteristic smashing of the raquet and remark in Miami earlier this year after losing to Djokovic, "thank God the hard court season is over": well, what were we to make of all these untoward and anomalous occurrences in Roger’s narrative of dominance?  The truth of the matter is that we all live during times of myth making: we need infallible heroes who will defy immaculately the laws of reality in the name of the miraculous and the supernatural.  We need to cling on to automatic winners who make winning seem so effortless: it is as though we become vicarious winners and surely we resent it when our heroes lose.  But that is OUR problem.  Today's win by Roger has exposed the poor judgment of these critics, their seeming omniscience in the face of Roger’s so-called fall from grace.  I surely wish that the entire bandwagon of writers who changed blithely from Federer gnostics to Federer atheists understand now that Roger’s fame is guaranteed duration in real time and not in the virtual time that they keep constructing and deconstructing capriciously.  Roger Federer is real and not a mystique or a random aura that comes and goes.  I hope his win will now put this last year into perspective and make everyone realize that despite their harsh comments, Federer is really the "Greatest Player Ever."  I am no poet or novelist, but I recall the poem, If by Rudyard Kipling where he comments that:

"If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too,
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,"

and this is precisely what Federer has accomplished.  He has bounced back ferociously from this so called slump in the face of adversity and has ensured his place in tennis history.  And may I add, it is the emergence from adversity that makes history even more historic?

Surya Krishnan