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Archive for the ‘Andre Agassi’ Category

We saw Roger Federer lifting the Wimbledon trophy for the fifth consecutive time, and thus the question remains can someone beat him on the grass surface.

After watching the Swiss master in Wimbledon, Tim Henman thought that one man alone could not get the better of Federer. “If you take Roddick’s serve,” Henman said, “and Agassi’s returns and my volleys and Hewitt’s speed and tenacity, then you’ve probably got a good chance against Federer. That’s a lot of people involved in beating one player.”

So, let us try and create an ultimate player, the one who could maybe stand a chance against Federer on Central Court.

Goran Ivanisevic’s first serve

The rest of Ivanisevic’s game may have been prone to falling apart depending on his mood, but he could always rely on his serve. Tall at 6’4” (three inches taller than Federer), and left-handed, the Croat could blast aces to a band playing. Unlike Andy Roddick, who just belts the ball for all he is worth, Ivanisevic could thump it, kick it, spin it and place it – and always it was devastating. When he won Wimbledon in 2001, he racked up a record of 212 aces over the course of the two weeks and when he was facing Tim Henman in that epic semi final spread over three rain-sodden days, he was as nervous as a kitten and yet still managed to serve his way into the final.

Pete Sampras’s second serve

Maybe not the most obvious of the American’s talents, but it was the one that brought him 14 grand slam titles, seven of them in SW19. He beat Jim Courier to win his first Wimbledon title in 1993 and Courier could not believe what he was facing. “I thought I played pretty well but it’s hard to beat a guy who plays two first serves on every point for the entire match,” the runner-up said. In that match, the average speed of his second serve was 110mph yet despite that, he only double faulted four times over four sets. The fans may not have noticed Sampras’s second serve, but his opponents dreaded it.

Andre Agassi’s return

Gifted with perfect vision and lightning reflexes, there was not a serve that Agassi could not read and defuse. He took the ball so early that he virtually picked it off his opponent’s strings and like a master of the martial arts, Agassi would take the force of the serve and turn that power back on the server. Backing up every break with a service game that was never flashy, never overdone but always as solid as a rock, he was a ferociously aggressive counter puncher.

Boris Becker’s intensity

Becker’s winning match face was a scary sight. With those pale blue eyes fixed on a point somewhere in the middle distance during the change overs, he was living in a place of his own making, a place where no one else was allowed to intrude. In his pomp, he would stride onto Centre Court as if he really believed he owned it and the opponent was simply not welcome. Players face Federer with that sinking feeling, hoping that they will not be humiliated by the Swiss, but against Becker, they were made to feel surplus to requirements.

Stefan Edberg’s movement

He was possibly the quietest and most unassuming of champions, but, as the old saying goes, the quiet ones are the worst. No one was ever sure quite how or when Edberg made his move to the net but he did it like greased lightning. In the blink of an eye he went from preparing to start his service action to hanging over the net like a preying mantis. Every part of his game was beautiful to watch and all of it depended on his ability to glide across the grass as if on castors.

John McEnroe’s volley

Maybe it is the effects of age or maybe it is just the old tapes of matches from a bygone era, but McEnroe seemed to move in slow motion at the net. Where others rush to snap their volleys away, Mac the Mouth appeared to have all the time in the world, holding the ball on his racket strings until his opponent had committed himself, leaving McEnroe to put the ball into the space left behind. He made it look so simple. Helped enormously by a left handed serve, his approach to tennis was the same as his approach to life – take it head on and attack.

Jimmy Connors’s fight

Connors was pathologically incapable of giving in, even when the cause seemed lost. In 1987, he came to Wimbledon with a leg injury and, aged 34, he was supposed to be in the twilight of his career. When he slumped to a 6-1, 6-1, 4-1 deficit against Mikael Pernfors in the fourth round, he should have been down and out. But with his pride wounded, Connors began to fight and, running away with 18 of the last 25 games, he cussed, hollered and roared to a five set win and was only beaten in the semi finals. He was not done as in 1991, aged 39, he scrapped his way to the US Open semi finals and only retired the following year.

Bjorn Borg’s ice-cold reserve

The man with a resting heart rate that was only marginally above unconscious, Borg could not be rattled on a tennis court. If they had dropped the bomb beside him during a match, he would have finished match point before looking up to see what all the fuss was about. His cold reserve was catching, too, and not even the volatile McEnroe would dare disturb the calm with an outburst when he was playing the Swede. Refraining from sex and shaving (an odd combo) during Wimbledon, he allowed nothing to disturb his focus on winning the title. The effort was exhausting, though, and he retired at the age of 26, mentally spent.

Now, the only thing that remains is to name this player.

(source: scotsman)

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Here are some interesting things that the top tennis players and coaches in the
world said:

“I would so like to be Lenny Kravitz.”
– Roger Federer.-

“Sometimes, actually, I see myself a little bit in him sometimes, you know,
talking to his coach, you know, yelling a couple of negative words towards the box,
which it’s good to see I’m not the only one.”
– Tommy Haas on Andy Murray.-

“I would honestly rather lose to the same guy twice than lose to two different guys.
I think if I lost to two different players I would think I wasn’t playing well, but with one
guy I can think ‘OK, this guy is on a roll’. It’s just easier to digest.”
-Roger Federer on his losses to Guillermo Canas this year at
Indian Wells and Miami.-

“For me it’s something that doesn’t quite fit into the schedule. It’s going to be
real tough to go from Houston all the way over to Monte Carlo, then come
back just for a week or two to train for Rome. For the Americans, that tournament
has never been exactly the easiest one in the schedule. I’m not going to be able
to make it to that one.”
– James Blake on skipping the Masters Series Monte Carlo.-

I wore that to a sixth-grade dance.”
-Robby Ginepri on Vince Spadea’s outfit in Miami.-

“I hope guys don’t go into it already beaten. That happened when Pete was around.
Guys definitely in the locker room felt like, a match against Pete Sampras,
it was time to book your flight for the next day.”
– James Blake on the intimidation factor against players facing Roger Federer.-

“The good thing about him is that he doesn’t do anything special but he wins
most of his matches easily. That means that he’s good.
– Carlos Moya on Andy Murray.-

“It’s like a book. It’s the first chapter. You don’t know what’s in the middle and
you don’t know what’s in the end. That’s what the coolest thing is. Andy has an
opportunity to make an incredible book.”
– Brad Gilbert on coaching Andy Murray after coaching Andre Agassi and
Andy Roddick.-

“The Argentineans practice on the court for two hours a day, then they must
practice in front of a mirror for two more hour saying ‘I’m not guilty.'”
– Vince Spadea on the Argentines on the men’s tour and drug testing.-

“A great coach can lead you to a place where you don’t need him any more.”
– Andre Agassi on Brad Gilbert.-

(via thetennischannel)

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Greg Rusedski believes Andy Murray’s time will come in three years.

The 33-year-old thinks there is still plenty more to come from 20-year-old Murray.

The Scot is doubtful for Wimbledon with a wrist problem but Rusedski thinks it is too soon to expect the youngster to regularly challenge for grand slam events.

Rusedski, who reached the final of the US Open 10 years ago and was once ranked No 4 in the world, said that it is important for Andy to stay healthy and he is probably right. Murray is already up to a career high of nine in the world and it’s a question of staying healthy because he’s had some freak accidents.

Rusedki emphasized that Andy’s game plan can be used on any surface, and also that he has a grat coach in Brad Gilbert who already took Andre Agassi and Andy Roddick to number one in the world.

Rusedski thinks British tennis is now in much better shape than when he first came on the scene in the mid-1990s, especially with Andy Murray doing well, but also seeing Alex Bogdanovic and Jame Barker doing well in Queens and that they are improving.

(source: scotsman)

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