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Murray, Long Live The (New) King


byMarcoDiNardo

anyone else on Tour.

Monday, November 7, 2016. The day that Andy Murray became the 26th player to

At the beginning of 2009, Murray was

hold the world number one ranking. It is certainly a day that the Brit will never forget. For a decade, he has been near the top of men’s tennis, beating the best players in the world and winning important tournaments, even Slams, but he was never able to overcome that final hurdle and become the top player himself. That is, until now. It all started in the second half of 2008, when a young Andy surprised the tennis world by reaching the quarter-finals at Wimbledon. He did so by beating the likes of Richard Gasquet in the second round, coming back from two sets and a break down to eventually score the most important win of his career up to that point. From that point onwards, Murray has been a consistent presence near the top of the ATP Tour. Within just a few months of Wimbledon he would win his first Masters 1000 title, in Cincinnati, and also reach his first Slam final at the US Open. He also went on to qualify for the Tennis Masters Cup in Shanghai, and defeated Andy Roddick, Gilles Simon and Roger Federer in the round robin stage, qualifying for the semi-finals without losing a match. In the semi-finals, however, exhausted by the exploits of the previous months, he lost to Nikolay Davydenko. But he still ended the year ranked number four in the world, and was on an upward trajectory unmatched by

considered by many to be the favorite to win the Australian Open. At the World Tennis Championship, an exhibition event held before the start of the season, Murray beat Federer in the semi-finals and then Nadal in the final. He followed that by beating Federer again in Doha and winning the title there, overcoming Roddick in the final. All of this added to the narrative that he would win the Australian Open, and as the tournament started it was one of the main storylines of the fortnight. But Murray’s dream of Slam glory would be cut very short at the hands of a Spaniard – and not Rafael Nadal, for a change. Fernando Verdasco, for the first time playing the sort of tennis he would become famous for over the next two years, unleashed one of the most powerful performances ever seen Down Under, soundly defeating the Scot in the fourth round. The year which should have seen him rise to the very top of the sport quickly turned into a nightmare, as Murray did not reach a single Slam final the entire season. Yet despite his poor showing at Slams, and thanks to underperformance by some of his rivals, he reached the number 3 spot in August of 2009. He would soon fall back to 4, but his brief stint in the Top 3 no doubt provided him with confidence and motivation for the rest of the year, as well as the following season.


After not reaching a Slam final in 2009, Murray was determined to right that wrong in

by far the worst. With home crowds rabidly cheering him on and watching his every

2010. Indeed, he did not just want to reach the final, but win the whole event. It was

move, Murray hardly had room to breathe. Yet despite this, he reached the final at

quickly to become an obsession for him, one which would haunt him for quite some time.

SW19 in 2012, where once again he faced off against Roger Federer. Finally, after

Things started well enough, as the Scot

many years of constant failure, Murray won a

raced to the Australian Open final where he would meet his old rival Roger Federer.

set in a Slam final. It was the first set, as well, and the crowd started believing that the

Murray had often bested the Swiss in their contests, and had good reason to believe he

curse had run its course. Unfortunately, nobody had told Federer how the script was

would finally win his first Slam this time. As it turned out, however, Federer was by far the better player on the day, easily squashing Murray’s Slam hopes.

supposed to play out, for the Swiss was brutal over the next three sets, silently and confidently dismantling Murray’s game. He won his seventh title a few hours later.

A year later he was in the same place,

What happened next is a great testament to

against a different opponent (Djokovic), but once again experienced the same results. Worse than having lost three straight Slam finals was that he had not even won a single set in any of those matches. With each failure the pressure and self-doubt built up in the Scot. He was already suffering under the weight of an entire nation’s expectations: the last British tennis player to win a Grand Slam had been Fred Perry in 1936. He did not deal well with the pressure. One need only look at his other results for proof of that: between 2008 and 2011 he won at least two Masters 1000 titles every year, and was one of the most consistent players in that demanding tournament category. Yet when it came to the sport’s biggest stage, he could not beat the same players who he dispatched of in lesser tournaments.

Murray’s mental strength. Obviously devastated by the Wimbledon loss, he returned to SW19 a few weeks later for the summer Olympics. Focused and fierce, it was as if the last month had not happened at

Of all the places where he felt the most pressure to win, of course, Wimbledon was


all. In the semi-finals, Murray beat Novak Djokovic, a player against whom he had

But while the US Open was a nice win, Murray still wanted one prize above all else:

been struggling in recent years. In the final, it was Federer again. But unlike the last time

Wimbledon. Now no longer afraid of the big occasion, he again reached the final in 2013,

they met, Murray would not be beaten back. Federer, exhausted from his marathon semi-

and again played against Djokovic for the trophy. As at Flushing Meadows the previous

final against Juan Martin Del Potro, could

year, it was Murray whose nerves held out

only stand by and watch as a determined Murray seized control of the match and the

the longest.

gold medal.

What was left to do after that? Murray himself seemed to be unsure. He seemed

It was a shot of confidence that would, just a few months later, see Murray back in yet another Slam final. It was the US Open, and he would finally break free of the “eternal loser� image once and for all. Up against Novak Djokovic in the championship round,

listless in the months following Wimbledon, and suffered a surprise loss to Stanislas Wawrinka at the US Open. He admitted his motivation had been low, and soon underwent back surgery, adding physical pain to his mental uncertainty. Murray only

he finally broke through. It took a mammoth five-set encounter, in which both players suffered from leg cramps, but he ultimately came out on top.

returned to the court in 2014, but struggled to regain his former form. He did not reach any Slam finals that year, reaching only one semi-final at Roland Garros and no Masters 1000 finals. He ended the year ranked 6 in the world, qualifying for ATP World Tour Finals but suffering a humiliating 0-6, 1-6 loss to Roger Federer at the event. Able to enjoy a full program of training in the off-season, 2015 started better for the Scot. He reached the Australian Open final, where he lost to Djokovic again. But Murray’s big success of the year would come in a team endeavor rather than an individual one. Returning to Davis Cup play, which Murray had often scorned in favor of his singles career, he led the British team to an incredible victory. And despite not winning any Slams in 2015, he still managed to end the year ranked number two. He was now just one position away from reaching the last


major career goal still to elude him: the world number one ranking.

Slams, and returned to the fold just before Wimbledon. Murray immediately won their

Which brings us to 2016. Djokovic started the

first tournament together at Queen's, and soon found himself in a very favorable

season in a league of his own. He won the Australian Open, as well as the Masters

position at Wimbledon. Djokovic was eliminated in the third round, Nadal was not

1000 events in Indian Wells, Miami and

playing and Federer was on the other side of

Madrid. His lead in the rankings was so large it was palpably absurd to think anyone would

the draw. In fact, Federer was eliminated in the semi-finals. Only Raonic stood between

ever catch up to him.

Murray and a second Wimbledon title, and Raonic could not put up much resistance in

And Murray? He once again lost the final in Melbourne, was eliminated in the third round of the first two Masters 1000 tournaments, and lost the final in Madrid. He managed to reach the final of the French Open, to the surprise of many observers, but once again

the end.

fell short against Djokovic, who appeared absolutely untouchable at that point. Then came Ivan Lendl. The former Grand Slam champion had coached Murray during his first productive period, when he won two

of the year.

But even after all of this, Djokovic was still lightyears ahead of Murray in the rankings. It would take a miracle to get anywhere near him, let alone overtake him, before the end

Then came the Olympics. Though players did not receive points for competing, Djokovic lost in the first round while Murray


won gold – it was a psychological shift that determined the rest of the season. Mentally

number one.

wounded and physically ailing (he had a slight wrist injury), Djokovic seemed listless

The Scot won 8 titles in 2016, including Wimbledon, the Olympics, three Masters

and subdued for the rest of the season. He skipped Cincinnati to rest, where Murray

1000 events (Rome, Shanghai and Paris) and the ATP World Tour Finals. In overtaking

reached the final. The US Open could very

Djokovic, Murray has accomplished one of

well have clinched it for Djokovic. Had he won the event, he would almost certainly

the most incredible feats in recent tennis history. Few people would have taken bets

have ended the year as number one. But even though Murray lost early, Djokovic

on Murray entering 2017 as the best player in the world, but they were all proven wrong.

could not make the most of the opportunity. Though he was heavily favored entering the final against Stanislas Wawrinka, he lost.

With three Slams, two gold medals and a world number one ranking under his belt, he has accomplished just about everything a tennis player can hope to. And if he continues playing as well in 2016 as he did this last season, he will accomplish much

Murray went on to win the Shanghai Masters 1000, the ATP 500 event in Vienna and the Masters 1000 in Paris. Djokovic, no longer the same players as before, was nervous on court and never managed to win another event. After Djokovic lost to Marin Cilic in the Paris quarter-finals, Murray became world

more besides.


Andy Murray, the keys of a late success by Gatto Luigi

WithAndyMurraypassingNovakDjokovicin theATPRankings,ParisBercyeventbecomes oneofthemosthistoricalones.At29yearsand 5monthstheScottishplayerbecamejustthe secondoldestplayertobeWorldNo.1forthe firsttimeever,onlyJohnNewcombewas older(hediditat30agein1974).Different Eras,differentgame-styles,Newcombewitha serveandvolleygame,Murrayaborndefender, andeventherearesomeanalogies.

'Thebestisyettocome',thenewWorldNo.1 hadsaidafterWimbledontitle.Hecouldexpect everythingbutthisachievement,thatallows himtoremovethenotorietyofthebestWorld No.2ever,thankstotheabilityoftaking advantageoftheFedererandNadal'sbad seasoninthesameyear.It'seasytorelatethe wrongstotheotherplayers,insteadit'smore interestingandcorrecttoanalyzeMany Murray'simprovements.ThreearetheKeysof whyheplayedasuchsuccessfultennisat29 age,whichisalittlebit"strange"asheisonthe ATPTourformorethanadecade: 1)thepaternity.Itseemedthatthebirthofthe littleand"innocent"Sophiacouldhave influencedMurray.AftertheTwobadlossesin IndianWellsandMiamirespectivelytoDelbonis andDimitrov,youcouldthinkthathisclaycourtsseasonwouldn'thavebeenverygood, andinsteadthefamilycirclehelpedAndy,that saidmanytimeshowmuchhesufferedthe divorcebetweenhisparentswhenwasakid. Sophia'sarrivalhelpedhimtosortthingsout, andnottothinkabouttennisthatisnothis priorityanymore.

2)Theotherreasonwhyhehadasuchbad MarchcouldhavebeenJamieDelgado. OfficiallyhiredafterAustralianOpen,handsup whohadnotdoubtsonwhathecouldhave broughttoanexperiencedplayerlikeMurray, especiallybecausehehadcoachedonlyGilles Mullerpreviously.Andinsteadworkingwitha friend-compatriotweekafterweekmadehim calm.DelgadofollowedMurrayeverywhere,


Focusingbackupfortheagequestion,Murray isnotcertainlythefirstplayertoplayhisbest tennisinthelatepartofhiscareer.Stan Wawrinkastartedthetrend:bothplayers reachedtheirpeakatage29,anagethatwas consideredasthelaststageofcareeruntila fewyearsago.AndinsteadWawrinka,whowill turn32inMarch,isconfirmingthatasthetime goesonthebiggerawarenessinhisweapons beatsthetheoryofthenumberinsteadofwhat happenedinthelastdecades:theyoungest playerstoretire"young"beyondBjornBorg (age26,whichisanexpection),havebeen MarceloRiosandMaratSafin(29age), Kafelnikov,JimCourier,AndyRoddickand StefanEdberg(30yearsold),PeteSampras, KuertenandBorisBecker(32yearsold),but theywerealldecliningforsometime.Apart NovakDjokovicwhoseemsemptymentally, thereisn'tanyplayerwhocouldaimtobe WorldNo.1.ButseeinghowFabFourshavea biggerlongevitythanthepastgivesevenmore valuetoanuniqueErathatnowrewardsafter manyyearstheAndy'spatienceandcontinuity. ThreeyearsagoinNovemberhewashavinga backsurgerythatcouldhaveinfluencedthe restofhiscareer.Nowhepushedawaythe doubts,andhispresentismoregratifyingthan ever.

despiteIvanLendl'scomeback,whowasa littlebitundertheshadowinthislastpartof theseasonashedoesnotsitinthePlayerbox sinceUSOpen.Butitdoesn'tmatter,inthis seasonLendlalreadydidhisjob:hehadtogive Murraysafetyandpositiveenergywhenit matteredthemost,itmeansafterthelossto NovakDjokovicattheRolandGarros.


The Fall Of The Fab Four? by Giorgio Giannaccini AttheATPWorldTourFinals thisyear,wewerealltreated toanunusualsight:the simultaneousabsenceof bothRafaelNadalandRoger Federer,thetwomenwho havedefinedmen’stennis formorethanadecade. Betweenthetwoofthem theyhavere-writtendozens ofrecordsandplayedsome ofthemostextraordinary matchesthetennisworld haseverseen.Theirrivalryis equaledonlybyclashes betweenMcEnroeandBorg.

Theirabsencefromthe Finalscastasombertone overthewholeevent,and alsohadtheeffectof loweringtheoverallquality ofthematches. WithFedererandNadalno longerabletoplayaswell,or asoften,astheyusedto, dominationoftheTourhas moreorlessdefaultedto NovakDjokovicandAndy Murray.Ofcourse,players likeStanislasWawrinkaspoil theirpartyeverynowand then,butatthemomentit’s verymuchatwo-horserace forcontrolofthemen’s circuit. Nadal,thankstohis extremelyphysicalgame,is nostrangertoextended

injurylayoffs.Buthislatest seriesofsetbacksseemto beabridgetoofarevenfor him,andhehasnotbeenthe samesincereturningfroma wristinjurysufferedat RolandGarros.  Federerisevenolderthan Nadal,butthankstohis moreefficientstyleofplay hasnotsufferednearlyas manyinjuries.Thatbeing said,backissuesandthen kneeproblemsputa prematureendtohis2016 season,anditisanyone’s guesshoweffectivehewill bewhenhereturnsnext year.WinningWimbledon willlikelyalwaysbea realisticpossibilityforhim nomatterwhathisage,as longasheishealthy.But


competingatahighlevel throughouttheyearashe alwayshas?Itmightjustnot befeasibleanymore. Nadalwastechnicallyeligible fortheATPWorldTour Finals,butdidnotplaydue tohealthconcerns.Federer, ontheotherhand,not havingplayedforsix months,hadnochanceof qualifying.Henotonlyfailed toappearattheprestigious year-endeventforthefirst timeinaboutadecade,but alsofelloutoftheTop10 after734weeksofalways beingpresentnearthetop oftherankings.302ofthose weekswereasworldnumber one.Hisassaulttoreturnto theTopTenwillrestartin January,andhewillalsoaim tobeatJimmyConnors' recordof819weeksinthe topten. Numbersaside,wemust nowseriouslyconsiderifthe term“FabFour”iseven morereadyforretirement thanFedererandNadal. DjokovicandMurrayasstill playingatveryhighlevels,of course,butFedererand Nadalcancertainlynotstill beconsideredasdominant playersanymore. Thenextgenerationof playersarenotquiteready forthebigstage,itistrue. NickKyrgios,Alexander ZverevandDominicThiem

areallverytalentedandwill likelygoontodogreat things,buttheycannoteven hopetobeconsideredas partofa“Fab”group. StanislasWawrinkahaswon threeSlams,butasbrilliant asheisattimes,hecanalso bewoefullyinconsistent. Evenso,hemightnow defaultintotheFabFour givenhisstatureandoverall results. Sorightnowwecanonly speak,perhaps,ofaFab Three,butinthecoming yearthatmightchange.Juan MartindelPotro,for example,isaprime candidatefortheFabFour shouldhiscomeback

continueonitscurrent course.PlayerslikeMarin CilicandKeiNishikori,ifthey puttogetherastringof impressiveresults,might alsobeconsidered. Onecanhope,ofcourse, thatbothFedererandNadal willreturntoreclaimtheir spotsintheFabFour.Itisa vainhope,perhaps,buta hopenonetheless!Itwould certainlybeglorious.Butno matterwhathappens,we mustallappreciatethese twoplayerseverytimethey stepoutoncourt,forwe cannotknowwhenitwillbe thelasttime.


AndyMurray, ALongTime Coming by Giorgio Giannaccini

Thetennisseasonstarted withonecertainty:the dominationofNovak Djokovic.Itendedwith another,almostunthinkable one:theusurpationofthe thronebyAndyMurray. Itseemsjustlikeyesterday whenAndyMurraylostyet anotherSlamfinaltoNovak DjokovicinMelbourne.Ithas becomeanalmostyearly ritual,thehumiliationof MurrayinAustraliaatthe handsoftheSerb.Thistime around,theblamewas placedbymostpunditsat thefeetofAmelie Mauresmo,thestopgap coachwhowasnotuptothe taskofextractingMurray’s besttennisfromhim. Indeed,afteranotherfailure DownUnder,followed shortlyafterbyMauresmo’s departure,nobodywas payingmuchattentionto Murray.Hehadbeen mediocreforthebetterpart ofthreeyears,winning tournamentshereandthere butalmostalwayslosingto hismainrivals,especiallyon thesport’sbiggerstages. Instead,attentionfocused

onDjokovicintheearlypart of2016,especiallyafterhe waltzedtoSlamvictoriesin bothMelbourneandParis. Thetennisworldwasalive withchatterthatDjokovic woulddosomethingthat onlyoneman,RodLaverin 1969,haseverdoneinthe Openera:winthecalendar GrandSlam.Punditswere fallingovereachotherto predictjustthisoutcome.It washardlyariskyprediction, especiallywithFedererand Nadalrackedbyinjuryand mostlyabsentfromtheTour. Butasthespotlightwas burningthroughDjokovicin anticipationofhishistoric season,Murraywasquietly pluggingaway,improving everyweek.Hisperformance duringtheclayseasonwas particularlyimpressiveand

surprising,withMurray beatingNadalinMonte Carlo,reachingthefinalin Madridandwinningthe tournamentinRome.He evenreachedthefinalatthe FrenchOpen,aconceptthat wouldhavebeenutterly foreignjustafewshortyears ago.Hefollowedthat,of course,withavictoryat Wimbledonandgoldatthe Olympics. AlossatFlushingMeadows inthequarter-finalshardly seemedtomatter.Murray hadenjoyedabrilliant seasonalready,andeven hadhelosteverymatchuntil theendoftheyearitwould hardlyhavestainedhis campaign. Butthatlossturnedoutonly tobeaminorspeedbump,as theScottwentontovictory


inBejing,Shanghai,Vienna andBercy,astringof successesthatlandedhim, incredibly,inthenumber onespotintheworld. Djokovic,playingpoorly,was unabletomountmuchofa challenge. Untilveryrecently,Murray hadverymuchbeenviewed asthelesseroftheso-called FabFour.Thoughhehad wonacoupleofSlams, OlympicgoldandtheDavis Cup,hisaccomplishments paledincomparisontothose ofDjokovic,Nadaland Federer,allofwhomsport double-digitSlamwinsand stintsatthenumberone spotintherankings. Butasthepunditsburied Murray,onemansaw greatnessinhim…someone

whohadtakenMurraynear thetopofthetennisworld oncebefore:IvanLendl. UnderLendl’sstewardship someyearsago,Murrayhad enjoyedthebestresultsof hiscareer,winningtwo Slams,includingWimbledon. Aftertheypartedways, however,theScotfellinto oldpatternsagainand slumpedtothebackofthe FabFourpack. Lendl’sreturncameatthe perfecttime:justbefore Wimbledon.Murray immediatelywentona winningstreak,liftingthe trophyinQueen’sandthen atSW19.TheScotwas helpedbythefactthatallhis would-bechallengers­ Nadal,FedererandDjokovic ­felloutearlyordidn’tplay. Butregardlessofhowhe

wontheevent,theeffecton hisconfidencewas immediateandirrevocable. WithLendlonhisside, Murraywasmorethanthe sumofhisparts. Whichleadsustothemost spectacularofhis achievements:risingto worldnumberone.Solarge wasDjokovic’sleadatthe startoftheseasonthatit wasbeyondanyreasonable person’sdoubtthattheSerb wouldmaintainthetopspot notjustforthisseason,but formanymoretocome.But adeclineofformjustas Murrayhithisstrideslowly ateintothatlead,andatthe ATPWorldTourFinals,inthe championshipround,Murray trouncedtheSerbtoclaim theyear-endnumberone. Heisthe26thplayertohold


thenumberoneranking,and oneoftheoldesttoreachit forthefirsttimeat29. AddingtoMurray’sjoyhas beenhisbrother’ssuccesses thisyear.JamieMurraywon boththeAustralianOpen andUSOpenindoublesand alsorosetoworldnumber one.Ahappytimeforthe

Murrayfamilyindeed. Murrayhasfinallyscaledthe mountainthathasso tauntedhimforhisentire career.Thequestionis:what doeshedonowthatheison top?2017willseethereturn ofbothNadalandFederer, andDjokovicwillbeitching forrevenge.Itwillrequirea

monumentalefforttohold ontohisnewranking,butif thisyearhastaughtus anything,it’stonever underestimateAndyMurray.


FarewellTo Ferrer?

by Giorgio Giannaccini

Ferrerhasbeendefyingage andconventionaltennis wisdomforyears,butit seemsthattimeisfinally catchingupwithhim. Afterbeingaconstant presenceintheTop10for thebetterpartofadecade, thebestdaysofDavidFerrer maybebehindhim. Currentlyat21inthe rankings,theSpaniardhas enduredaforgettableyear thankstoinjuryand inconsistentform,andone wondersifhewilleverbe abletoplayconsistentlyata

highlevelagain,givenhow physicallydemandinghis styleofplayis. Itisadeclinethatis, perhaps,longoverdue,given theextremephysical demandsofthemodernATP Touranditslongseason. Ferrerhasbeenthevery pictureofcommitmentand perseveranceforthelastten years,andhashadtowork harderthananyofhispeers tomaintainhisposition.The Spaniardistheonlyplayer 1.75morshorterthathas beenintheTop10inthat time(Davydenkoand Nishikoriarethenext shortest,bothat1.78m),and thatisthankspurelytothe factthatheputshimself

throughanalmostinhuman trainingregimen. Evenbeforetheseason started,Ferrerintimatedthat hisagewasanincreasingly difficulthurdletoovercome. Hiswordsseemedtohave beenprophetic,since despitearelativelylight schedule(“only�23 tournamentsandDavisCup duty),hestilldidnotmanage tostayhealthyandinform. Heendedtheseasonwith 36winsand22losses,a trulymiserableoutcome comparedtotheprevious year,whenhewon55 matchesandlostjust16.He alsodidnotwinatitlethis year,comparedtofivein 2015.


surface,whichisofcourse thesurfaceNadalhas dominatedforsolong. Still,hehasachievedsome magnificentresultsinhis career.EvenatWimbledon ongrass,hisleastfavorite surface,Ferrermanagedto reachedthequarter-finals twice(2012and2013),and attheotherSlamshedid muchbetter.

Withsomanygreatplayers nearingtheendoftheir careers,wefearFerrermight beaswell. Ithasbeenaverygoodone, tobeclear,bothonandoff thecourt.Despitenothaving theprototypicalathletic physique,hissuccessand personalitywonhimagreat manyfansinSpain.Even thoughRafaelNadalcasta verylongshadow,Ferrer alwaysmanagedtomaintain astrongfanbase,which continuestosupporthim eveninthetoughtimes. Thatbeingsaid,one wondershowmuchmore illustriousFerrer’scareer wouldhavebeenhadNadal notbeenaround.Afterall, clayisFerrer’sfavorite

Hetwicereachedthe AustralianOpensemi-finals (2011and2013),and repeatedthefeatattheUS Open(2007,2012).Healso reachedthefinalatRoland Garrosin2013,wherehelost toRafaelNadal,andthefinal oftheATPWorldTourFinals in2007,wherehelostto RogerFederer. Hereachedhishighestever rankingof3intheworldon 8July,2013,immediately afterlosingtoNadalatthe FrenchOpen. Theonlymajorarenawhere Ferrerdidnotexcelwasthe Olympics.Thebestheever managedtodowasathird roundappearancein2012, somethingwhichthe patrioticSpaniardnodoubt greatlyregrets. Therewerefewhighlights forFerrerin2016.He managedtoreachthe

quarterfinalsofthe AustralianOpen,butdidnot goasfarinanyoftheother Slams.HelosttoThomas Berdychinthefourthround oftheFrenchOpen,andto NicolasMahutinthesecond roundofWimbledon.He reachedthethirdroundof theUSOpenbeforelosingto aresurgentJuanMartindel Potro. Overall,Ferrerreachedsix semi-finalsin2016andlost themall.Afterwinningfive eventsin2015,hedidn’t evenreachafinalayear later. Ferrermaybenearingthe endofhiscareer,buthis legacyisalreadyan illustriousone.Hehasdone muchbetterthananyone everthoughthewould,and hewillcertainlyserveasan inspirationforshorter playersforyearstocome. Healsoseemskeenon remaininginthetennis worldevenwhenhesteps offthecourt,havingalready becomeinvolvedin tournamentownershipand therunningofhisown tennisacademy.Soeven thoughwemaynotseehim playingformuchlonger,his influenceonthegamewill continuefordecadesto come.


Rafael Nadal struggles with self-confidence so will you! by Adam Blicher

Thebesttennisplayersofoursportlookand actextremelyself-confident,butweforgetthat itmightbecompletelydifferentunderthe

surface.Theyarealsoexperiencinguncertainty anddoubt.Tennisisanoddsport.Somedays, youfeellikeyoucan’tmisstheballevenifyou triedto,andotherdaysyoudoubtifyoucan evenhittheopponent’shalf. 14-timeGrandSlamChampionRafaelNadalhas beenveryoutspokenearlierthisyearabouthis lackofself-confidence.Hehasnotexperienced

thefeelingofself-confidencedespitethefact thathewillgodowninthehistorybooksas oneofthebestplayerstheworldhasever seen. Soifyousometimesgetthethoughtthatyou aretheonlyonestrugglingwithconfidence, rememberthateventhebestplayersinthe worldstruggle.Thedifferenceisinhowyou handleit.Theprofessionalplayersunderstand thatitispossibletowinseveralmatches

beforethefeelingofself-confidencewillcome back. Itisalsoimportanttorememberthathaving highself-confidencedoesn’talwaysleadto goodperformances. Thereisaveryfinelinebetweenhavinghigh self-confidenceandhavingtoobigofanego.If


youarehavingtoobigofanego,itoftenleads tonotpreparingwellenough,oryoumightget alittlebittoocockyinthewaythatyouare goingaboutyourperformance. Therefore,weneedtoredefineour understandingofself-confidence.Itisinthe wayyoupractice.Itisinthewayyouprepare. Itisyourwillingnesstofollowyourgameplan nomatterwhatthoughtsandemotionsyouwill experienceduringamatch.

Weneedtorememberthattheactofselfconfidencecomesbeforethefeeling.The feelingofself-confidenceoftenarrivesaftera goodperformance.Notalways,butoftentimes. Sothefeelingofself-confidenceismorelikea bonus. WhenRafaelNadaltalksabouthislackofselfconfidence,thereisabsolutelynodoubtthat

heistalkingaboutthefeelingofselfconfidence.Rafaknowsthathecan’tcontrol thefeeling,buteverythingthatisinhisown controlinthepreparationbeforematcheswill betakencareofwithanextremeattentionto detail. Theactsofself-confidenceareallthethings thatyoucancontrolinyourpreparationbefore match.Itishowyoueat,howyousleepandthe gameplanthatyouwillmaketogetherwith

yourcoach. Youdonotneedtohavehighself-confidence inordertohavetheopportunitytoperform well.Ithelps,butitisnotanecessity. Rememberthattheimportantthingistoact self-confidently.Theactofself-confidence comesbeforethefeeling.


2017:ayearto remember

seasontorecoverfrominjury.Indeed,Federer tookofftheentiresecondhalfoftheseason. Willitbeenoughforthemtostarttheyear freshandreadyforconquest?Wecertainly hopeso.

Afterasleepy2106,markedmostlybythe absenceofRogerFedererandRafaelNadal, nextseasonpromisestobemuchmore exciting.

THEFIGHTFORNUMBERONETherehasn’t beenthismuchuncertaintysurroundingthe numberonerankinginmorethanadecade. Murraysnuckoverthefinishlineinthelast matchoftheyear,andwillenjoyChristmasas thebestplayerintheworld,buthecan’trest onhislaurelsforlong.Djokovicwillbeaching torecoverthetopspot,eventhoughitmaybe difficultinthefirsthalfoftheseason.Heis defending in2017,buttheyounggunsarecertainlygoing toamassiveamountofpoints,andhewillhave tohopeMurraystumblesifheistowrestlethe numberonerankingfromhim.Mostlikelyhe willhavetomakeapushinthesecondhalf, whereheisdefendingfewpoints,andMurray isdefendingalot.

byFedericoMariani

Ifonewerefeelingcharitable,2016mightbe describedasa“transitionyear.”Djokovic startedtheyearhotwhileMurrayendedhot, withthein-betweenholdingnothingmuchof extremeinterest.Whatarewetransitioningto then?Amoreexcitingseason,hopefully,with thereturnandlastgaspofFedererandNadal, Djokovic’squestforredemption,Murrays attempttoholdontogainedgroundanda pushfromfreshyoungfaces. ONELASTTIME?Federer&Nadal,Nadal& Federer.Somehowitallstillcomesbackto them.Solargeistheirshadowthatevenwhen theyaren’tplaying,thewholetennisworldis stilldefinedbytheirabsence.Perhapsthe biggeststorylineofthecomingseasonwill revolvearoundhowthesetwolegendstryand recapturesomeoftheiroldmagic.Willtheybe abletomakeabigimpressionontheTourthey sothoroughlyoncedominated?Bothmen certainlybelievethattheywillbeableto. FedererwillalwaysclingtoWimbledonlikea pieceofdriftwoodintheopenocean.He knowshecanwinitnomatterhowoldheis, andwilllikelystructurehiswholeseason aroundthatevent.Nadal,similarly,willlookto theEuropeanclayingeneral,andRoland Garrosinparticular,asawayofkick-starting hisflailingform.Hetoowillfirmlybelievethat hecanwintheFrenchOpenregardlessofhis age,aslongasheishealthy.Bothmentook extendedtimeofftowardstheendofthe2016


THETOWERRETURNSPotentiallythebiggest storyof2017maybeJuanMartinDelPotro. ThetowerOfTandilhasmanagedtostay healthyforanumberofmonthsnow, somethinghehasnotbeenabletodosincehe wontheUSOpenin2009.Hequietlyplayed someexcellenttennisin2016,goingfrom1045 intheworldtotheTop40inamatterof months.Thatstatisticshouldgreatlyalarmthe restoftheTour,whoarewellawarethatwhen heisplayinghisbesttennishecanbeatanyone onanysurface. YOUNGGUNSItseemsthateveryyearwe predictthefollowingseasontobetheone wheretheyoungstersfinallystepupandtake overtheTour.Andeveryyearweareproven wrong.Thatbeingsaid,2017couldseequitea fewyoungstersstartmakingmajorstrides.The twomostobviouscandidatesareAlexander ZverevandNickKyrgios.TheGermanhasbeen nothingshortofasensation,usinghispowerful gametoupsetmoreexperiencedopponents

throughoutthewholeyear.Andwhilemost peoplewerefocusedonKyrgios’personality andtantrums,heactuallyplayedverywellin 2016.Ifhecanremaincalmandfocused,he mayverywellbethefirstoftheyounggunsto winaSlam.Behindthesetwoarethelikesof DominicThiemandLucasPouille.Thiemis alreadyestablishedintheupperechelonsof thegame,havingqualifiedfortheATPWorld TourFinalsin2016,whilePouillerecordeda numberofbigwins­includingoneoverNadal attheUSOpen­tomakehismarkontheTour. Pouilleinparticularseemslikeatremendous talent,perhapsalreadybetterthantheother FrenchmanontheTour,andthat’shighpraise indeed.ItremainstobeseenifNishikori, Raonic,Dimitrov,TsongaandBerdychwillallow theseyoungsterstostealtheirthunder,butthe newcomersarecertainlygoingtotry. Timewilltellif2017canredeemtherelative snoozefestthatwas2016.Butatleast,aswe haveseenheretoday,thereissomereasonto believethatnextseasonmaydojustthat.


WTA:anew low? byFedericoMariani

DominikaCibulkovawinsthe WTAFinalsintheabsence ofSerenaWilliams,Maria SharapovaandVictoria Azarenka,whileAngelique Kerberendstheyearas numberone.Isthisanew lowfortheWTATour? Itseemedlikeanappropriate endingtoacrazyseason. DominikaCibulkova,after losingherfirsttwomatches intheroundrobinphaseof theWTAFinals,managedto sneakintothesemi-finals thankstosomehelpfrom othermembersinhergroup. Shethenwentontowinthe title,thesecondyearina rowthewinneroftheWTA Finalshadclinchedthe trophyafterlosingtwoof herthreeroundrobin matches. Thewaytheseasonended haspromptedalotofdebate overtheoverallhealthof women’stennis.Some,like tenniswriterGianniClerici, havingbeenscathingintheir comments.“Ihavenever seenaworsenumberone thanKerber,”hesaid recently.Harshthoughhis wordsmayseem,heisnot aloneinhissentiments. Itis,however,unfairtopick ontheGermaninarguingfor

thepoorstateoftheWTA. Shedeservestheranking givenherexcellentplayover thepastyear.Shewonthe AustralianandUSOpens whilealsoreachingthefinal atWimbledon.Shealsowon silverattheOlympicsand anothertitleinStuttgart.She mayhaveconqueredaweak fieldofopponents,butshe conqueredthem nonetheless.Onecanonly playthepeoplethatappear acrossthenet­whothose peopleareisoutofKerber’s control. SerenaWilliamscertainlydid notappearacrossthenet fromKerberveryoftenin

2016.TheAmericanwas rackedwithinjury throughouttheyear,playing inonlyseventournaments. Yet,despitethefactthatshe barelyparticipatedinthe Tour,shestillendedtheyear rankednumbertwointhe world.Kerberisnoteven thatfaraheadofherin termsofpoints.Kerberalso hasalowerwinning percentagefor2016 comparedtoWilliams(71.4% versus84.2%forWilliams), thoughshedidplaymany morematches,makinga lowerpercentagesomewhat expected.Butstill,a13% differenceismassive,and notworthyofanumberone


rankedplayer.Ifonedida like-for-likecomparisonto theATPTour­notanexact sciencemindyou,butstilla goodindicationof performance­Kerberis equivalenttoplayerslike NishikoriandRaonic.Good players,butnotthebestin theworld. TheabsenceofWilliamsisa majorblowfortheWTA,but thereareotherfactorsthat aremakingpeoplelament thepoorstateoftheTour. Sharapova’sbanfordoping robbedthecircuitofoneof itsbiggeststars,further deepeningthetalentcrisis.If thatwasn’tbadenough,

VictoriaAzarenkafell pregnantinthemiddleof theyear,forcinghertoforgo therestoftheseason.A wonderfulblessingforher, tobesure,butabiglossfor theWTA. Noneofthiswouldhave mattered,ofcourse,ifother playerssteppeduptofillthe shoesoftheseabsentstars. Unfortunately,however,that hasnotbeenthecase. Playerswhowouldbestbe abletotakeadvantageof theabsenceofSerenaand Sharapovawerenotableto doso.PetraKvitova,for example,struggledmightily withinjuriesofherownin

2016,andthoughsheended theyearstrong­winning16 ofherlast18matches­it provedtoolittletoolateto rescuetheTourfromalack ofstars. Intermsofyoungsters,well, theresimplyarenone.No wunderkindstooktothe stagein2016towowthe world,andtherearenoneon theimmediatehorizonwho couldinjectsomeenergy backintotheTour.Potential saviorsofrecentyears,such asEugenieBouchard, HeatherWatsonandSloane Stephenshaveallregressed inabigway,fadingbackto themiddleofthepackwith noresurgenceinsight. Itisunclearwhat2017holds instorefortheWTATour. OnehopesthatWilliamsis healthyandthatSharapova canrecapturesomeofher formermagic,becauseif thesetwodon’tmanageto comebackstrong,next seasonmayprovetobe evenworsethan2016.


US Open is the most unpredictable Slam! Wimbledon? Too much granted by Gatto Luigi Isthegrassthemostunpredictablesurface? Notatall!LookingatthestatsatGrandSlam Levelinthelastyearsthemostunpredictable tournamentistheoneplayedonthehardcourtsattheUSOpen. AlegendlikeRafaelNadalenteredtheHallof Fameoftheeventonlyafterwinningeight GrandSlamtitlesonthreedifferentsurfaces (oneAustralianOpen,fiveRolandGarrosand twoWimbledon)whileforFedererand DjokovicthetriumphinFlushingMeadowshas beenthethirddifferentGrandSlamtitlein termsofsurface,itmeansbeforeRolandGarros butonlyafterWimbledonandAustralianOpen (twotitlesinLondonandoneinMelbournefor theSwissplayer,twoinAustraliaandonein U.K.fortheSerbian). ThethingsgodifferentforAndyMurraywho gothisfirstGrandSlamtitleintheUnited Statesbutdifferentlythanwhathistwo colleaguespreviouslymentioned,theBritish playerstilldidnotwintheAustralianOpenand RolandGarrosevents,whichtakeplaceontwo differentsurfaces. THETURNINGPOINTAFTERFEDERER'S DOMINANCE RogerFedererhassurelyaspecial "relationship"withtheeventashewonitfor fiveyearsinarowfrom2004to2009.The Swissplayerisstillthelatestonewhowasable towinatleasttwoyearsinarowinNewYork. DelPotro'swinonRogerhasbeenhistorical, fromthatdayFederernevenwoninNewYork

Anymore,reachingthefinalonlyin2015,but that'snotall.Noonehasbeenabletodefend histitle,andamongtheactiveplayersonly NadalandDjokovicwonUSOpentwice(in 2010and2013theSpaniard,in2011and2015 theSerbian). InsteadinWimbledontherehasbeenaFab Fourdominance.Inthemosthistorictennis eventever,noonereallyputthosechampions introubleinthefinal,onlyAndyRoddickwas closertowinthetitlein2009losingby16-14 inthefifthset. AttheRolandGarrossince2005onlythree winnerswhowerenotcalledRafaelNadalwon: theyareRogerFederer,StanWawrinkaand


NovakDjokovic.AlsoinAustraliathe"usual' namesappear:DjokovicreplacedFederer's dominanceastheCurrentWorldNo.1wonfive times. SINCE20YEARSWIMBLEDONISMORE GRANTEDWHILEFLUSHINGMEADOWS DENIESTHEPREDICTIONS Evenifitcanseemincredible,wecandescribe WimbledonasthemostpredictableGrandSlam tournament.Inthelasttwentyyears,itmeans from1996included,onlyeightplayerswonthe titleinLondon(Krajicek,IvanisevicandHewitt onceandSampras,Federer,Nadal,Djokovic, Murraytwotimesormore). InAustraliaandintheFrenchOpen,alwaysby

1996,11differentplayerswon:Becker,Sampras, Korda,Kafelnikov,Agassi,Johansson,Federer, Safin,Djokovic,NadalandWawrinkatriumphed, whileinParisthesuccessesofKafelnikov, Kuerten,Moya,Agassi,AlbertCosta,Ferrero, Gaudio,Nadal,Federer,WawrinkaandDjokovic came. AttheUSOpen13tennisplayerswonbutthe mostinterestingthingisthatit'stheonly tournamentwheretherehavebeenupsets(Del PotroandCilicproveit). Bettinglovers,it'syourtime!Ifyouwantto takerisksandplaceyourmoneyonanoutsider doitduringUSOpen.


A Fateful Flight byCristianoChesi

On21December,1988,aPanAmflighttookoff fromHeathrowtoNewYork. Onboardtherewere259people,buttwo passengerswhoweresupposedtobeonthe flightcancelledatthelastminute. OnewasMatsWilander,theotherhiswife Sonja. Anhourlater,theplaneexplodedmid-air, courtesyofasuitcasefilledwithabomb insteadofmismatchedsocksandsouvenirs.It wasplantedbyaLibyanintelligenceofficer, wholaterjailedforthecrimebeforebeing releasedshortlyprecedinghisdeathonmedical grounds. Wilanderlearnedthetragicnewsinhishotel room.WinnerofsevenGrandSlamtitlesand worldnumberone,hewasattheveryheightof hispowersasatennisplayer.Everypunditin theworld,alongwithallofhispeers,believed hewouldbeamajorforceinthesportforyears tocome. Yetsomeeventschangeoneforever.Forallhis success,forallofhisfame,Wilandercouldvery wellhavebeenonthatflightandhadhis career,andhislife,cutshort.Hehadstared deathintheface,anditforcedhimtolookat hislife.Yes,hehadaccomplishedsomuch,but therewasonlyonethinginhislife:tennis. At24yearsoldhehadseenalloftheworld, andyetnoneofit.Airports,hotelroomsand tenniscourts­thesearetheonlythingsthat filleduphisdays. Notonlyhadhecomesoclosetolosinghislife, buthisfather,helearned,wasbattlingtostay alive.Hehadbeendiagnosedwithcancer. Wilander’swife,whohadalsoescapedthe

bombing,wasthinkingofleavinghim. Twoyearsafterthatfatefulnight,Wilander wouldbe81intheworld.Ayearafterthat,he was232. WhenhereachedtheagethatNovakDjokovic isnow,hewas575. Atage24,Djokovicwasalsoworldnumberone withseveralSlamstohisname. Twosimilarcareers,albeitatdifferenttimes, withtwomenattheverytopoftheirgameat 24. CananyonetodayimagineDjokovicatnumber 575intheATPrankings? No,becausehewasnotsupposedtobeona flightthatkilledhundredsofpeople.Hedidnot staredeathinthefaceandreceiveashockthat shookhimtothecore.


Djokovic’slifeisastennis-filledasWilander’s, buthecouldbefinewiththat.Perhapshehas takenalonglook,asWilanderdid,athislife andfoundeverythingtohisliking.Perhapsnot. Itiscertainlynotabadlife.Heearnsallthe moneyintheworld,iswidelyadoredandevery dayexperiencesthekindexcitingthingsthat mostofuscanonlydreamof.Hehasmany houses,beautifulchildrenandalovingwife. However,inlifethereisalwaysa“but.”Inallof us,includingNovak,thereisalwaysaMats Wilanderreadytoemerge. Lifeisnotperfectforanybody.Itisdifficultand fullofseeminglyimpossiblechallenges, whetheryouareamillionairetennisplayerora factoryworkerwhohasjustbeenlaidoff.But atsomepoint,formostofus,thereisa momentwithafatalflightthatwewere supposedtobeon.Amomentofrealization thatchangesusforever.

HasDjokovichadthatmoment?Hashe decidedhe’sseentoomanytennisballsand toolittleofhisfamily?Heflatlyimpliedat Wimbledonthathislosswaspartlytoblameon personalproblems.Rumorscontinuetofly regardingwhattheproblemcouldhavebeen andwhetheritstillexists. Perhapshesawacrackinthecourtoneday, andwasremindedofthecracksofthecourts fromhisyouth,inwar-tornSerbia.Perhapshe wasremindedofthebombsthathewasspared from,butkilledsomanyothers. Itdoesnotmatter. Wilanderchangedhislifebecauseofabombin asuitcase.ForNole,itmightbesomethingelse. Thepointisthatlifeismorethanjusttennis, whichissomethingthatplayersandfansalike shouldberemindedoffromtimetotime.


Expectations And Reality by Federico Coppini

Inmymanyyearsofcoaching,Ihavealways worriedaboutthetechniquesandtacticsofmy students,betheyadultsorchildren.Indeed,it doesn’tmatterwhatageorleveltheyare,the basicconceptsremainthesameforeveryone. AbigproblemIfindisthatplayers’ expectationsdon’talwaysmatchreality. Haveyoueverwonderedwhywhenyouarein acoachingsession,youalwaysseemtorally verywellwiththeinstructor,butduringa

matchralliesrarelylastmorethanafewshots? Let'stakeaclassicexample:thecross-court rallydrill.Howmanymistakesdoyoumake duringcoachingsessions?Alot?Doesitseem thatyouhitthoseballsbetterinpracticethan duringmatches? Herearesomereasonsforthat:

-Thecoachcaneasilyadjustwhenyouhita badshotandstillgetitbacktoyou. -Thecoachcanplayandhandleallkindsof differentshotseasily,keepingtherallygoing. -Thecoachhelpsyoustayfocusedduring practicesessions. -Inmatches,thecoachisnottheretohelpyou stayfocused,andtheconditions,emotionaland environmental,canbeverydifferentfromthe practicecourts. -Duringmatches,therearemanymore variablethanduringpracticesessions. Youmustrememberthattheexpectationsof thepracticecourtandtherealityofthematch courtcanbeverydifferent.Buttherearethings youcandoonthepracticecourttomore closelyreflectactualmatches.

WhenIamtrainingwithmystudents, specificallywhenweareworkingoncrosscourtrallies,Iamconsciousofmakingthem practicetransitionplay.Duringeachpractice session,youshouldbeaskingyourself: -HowmanytransitionballshaveIplayed? -HowmanytransitionballsdidIplayduringan extendedrally? -HowmanytransitionballsdidIplayfromthe


baseline? Whetheryouarenineyearsoldorfiftyyears old,youmustalwaysconsiderthetactical implicationsofyourshots.Thatisespecially trueofthecross-courtshot.Willitalwaysbea winner?Absolutelynot.Butyouneedtouse thisshotasatransitioneithertothenetorto anothermorefavorableposition. JustlookatplayerslikeRogerFedererand MariaSharapova.Theyhitagreatmanycrosscourtshots,buttheyarenotallwinners. Instead,theyusethoseshotstosetuptherally totheirfavor. Don’tjusthittheballwithoutthinkingaboutit. Everyshothasatacticalmeaningbehindit,and

ifyoucanfullyembracethat,youwillmake fewermistakesbecauseyouknowwhereyou aregoingwiththerally.


TheImportance OfTheCrossover StepDuring Recovery byFedericoCoppini

Oneofthebiggest differencesbetweenaclublevelplayeranda professionalisdefinitely footwork. Asaprofessional,hittingas manyballsaspossiblewhile inafullybalancedstateis oftenthedifference betweenwinningandlosing. Becauseofthis,manyofthe mostprestigioustennis academiesallovertheworld haveentireprogramsthat focussolelyonfootwork. Theypayparticularattention toautomatingcertain sequencesofsteps,which allowsplayerstomore quicklyandeffectivelymove toaballduringarally,and thenmovebackintoa neutralpositionafterhitting eachshot. Asamateurs,wecanof coursenothopetoever reproducethekindof footworkthatthepros employ.However,wecan takeatiportwofromtheir book,andusingsuchsmall elementsinourowngames canmakeahugedifference onthecourt.

Today,wewilllookatsome ofthisfootwork.In particular,weareexamining thestepsrequiredafter returningadeepshotfrom anopponent.Onceyouhave returnedadeepballfrom youropponent,itis importantthatyouquickly getbackintoaneutral position.Thisissothatyou cancoverthecourtyouhave leftopenafterchasingdown thedeepball. Wewilllookmainlyatthe forehandsideofthe equation,butitisimportant torememberthatthesame appliesequallytothe backhandaswell. Thestepinquestionsare oftenreferredtoasthe “crossoverstep,”andtohelp usdemonstratewillbenone otherthanRogerFederer!

Let’slookatthisslowmotionvideoofFederer.Pay closeattentionofwhat happensafterhehitsthe forehand. Asyoucansee,afterhehits theshot,Federertakesa stepwithhisbackfoot.This helpshimgetinaposition wherehecanquicklyrecover fromtheshothehasjusthit. Atthispoint,hetakesa cross-step(hisbackfoot nowcrossesinfrontofthe otherfoot),andisableto quicklymovesidewaysand towardsthecentreofthe court,wherehecanmore easilyprepareforhisnext shot. Thismovement,if sufficientlytrainedand automated,isexceptionally effectivewhenrecovering


fromwideanddeepshots.Itwillhelpyoutostayindifficultrallieswhereyoumighthavethought youropponentwouldhavetheupperhand. Itisimportanttopracticethismovementoften.Onceyoudoso,itwillbecomealmostautomatic, makingyourlifemucheasieronthecourt.


Training And Rest by Federico Coppini

Trainingis,ofcourse,anincrediblyimportant partofbecomingasuccessfulathlete. However,someindividualswilltakeitupon themselvestogoaboveandbeyondthecallof dutyandtrainextensivelyontheirown,in additiontotrainingwithacoachortrainer. Manyofthemwillimprovisetrainingsessions, usingadhoctechniquesthathavenorealplace inanathlete’strainingregimen. Whenthishappens,theseathletesarevery susceptibletowhatisknownasovertraining.In ordertoavoidtaxingyourbodybeyondits capacity,itisimportanttoalwayshavea trainingplaninmindnotjustforthecurrent session,butfortheentireweekahead.These plansmusttakeintoaccountthenecessary timeforproperrecovery. Anannualplanisjustasimportant.Itis possibleandnecessarytoenvisiontheentire seasonahead(7-8months)andplan accordingly.Someperiodsoftheyeararemore importantthanothers,andmightrequiremore strenuousworkoutsandtrainingsessions. Duringsuchtimesyoumustensurethatyour trainingregimenisalwayspositiveandallows youtogetthemaximumamountof effectivenessoutofyourtrainingwithout overtaxingyourself. Itisagoodideatobreakdownyoursessions intovariablessuchasload,fatigueand recovery.Theloaddependsonthetypeof exercisesyouaredoingandhowintensethey are.Fatigueissimplythereductionand depletionofenergyreservesusedtoperform eachexercise,andrecoveryisnecessaryto allowyourbodyandmindtorecuperateafter intenseexercise.Recoverytimeindicatesthe timeneededbythebody,asawhole,toreturn toitsidealstate.

Therearedifferenttypesofrecovery,suchas restingperiodsduringatrainingsessionand extendeddowntimeandrestingin-between sessions.Wecanalsoidentifytwoloadtypes: external,whichrepresentsanobviousworkout parameter,andinternal,whichisasubjective responsetotheexternalload.Balanceis essentialduringtraining.Ifyourworkoutis excessivelystrenuous,youwillovertaxyourself andriskinjury.Ifthesessionistoolight,you willnotgainanythingfromtheworkout.You needtofindoutwhatworksbestforyouand adjustaccordingly.Eachperson’sperfect balanceforatrainingsessionisdifferent,and youneedtodiscoveryours. Butifitiseasytoseewhenyouarenot exercisingenough,itisdifficulttoknowwhen youareoverdoingit.Whilepsychological parametersshouldalsobeconsideredwhen diagnosingovertraining,physicalmarkersare


easiertomonitorandunderstand.Youshould keepatrainingdiarythatrecordsyourblood pressure,heartrate,andthenumberof kilometerscoveredduringeachsession.You shouldalsomakesomenotesabouthowyou arefeelingandwhatyourphysicalconditionis. THETENRULESOFRECUPERATION 1.Recoveryandtrainingareindividual endeavors.Eachpersonrequiresdifferent amountsofeach. 2.Establishanannualworkplanwithgoalsand objectives. 3.Conductresearchofwhatkindofexercises youshouldbedoingandhowlongtherecovery timeassociatedwitheachis. 4.Itisimportanttoknow,atleastingeneral terms,thetheoreticalmodelofsportscienceas itrelatestoyoursport.Inthatway,youcan focustrainingonthenecessarypartsofyour bodyinordertobestsupportyouron-court

endeavors. 5.Itisnotgooddotoomuchinasingle session.Youwillmoretiredthanusualthenext dayinwillnotbeabletotrainproperly. 6.Beawareoftheworkthatistakingplace. 7.Use,wheneverpossible,psychological regenerationtechniques,physiotherapyanda makesureyouhaveagooddiet. 8.Getenoughsleepeverynight(about7-8 hours). 9.Performregularbloodchecks(every4 months). 10.Donotbeafraidtorest.Itwillalwaysmake youfeelbetterbothphysicallyand psychologically.Wheneveryoufeeltiredwhen youshouldn’tbe,restisalmostalwaysthe answer.


The Power Of Positive Thinking

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

by Federico Coppini

During a tennis match you can often see players talking to and berating themselves on the court, shaking their heads and abusing their rackets. This negative emotional state can lead to a vicious cycle where the player’s concentration is affected, leading to even poorer play and morenegativereactions.Suchscenesoccur less frequently among professional players because they have been trained to effectively handle stressful competitive

moments. They are, however, common among young people, especially those who aretechnicallygiftedbutdonotunderstand that tennis is about more than physical abilities. Toplaygoodtennis,atwhateverlevel,you needtoknowhowandwhattothink,and thisbecomesverydifficultifyouarevery

angryornegative.Yousimplydon’tknow wheretodirectyourattentionwhenyou areinsuchastate.Everybodywantstowin, whethertheprizeisamilliondollarsora drinkattheclub,andfromtheveryfirst pointemotionaltensioncanstarttogrow. Thecourtputsastrainonone'sbeliefs:you cannotdrawamatch,likeinsoccer,and youcannotpasstheballtoother teammatestoalleviatethepressureon yourself.Youmusttakeresponsibilityfor howyou'replayingandbeabletotake controlofyouremotionsfromthestart. Thisiseasiersaidthandone,however,as watchingsomeoneplayisacompletely differentthingtoactuallyplayingand

feelingthoseemotionsyourself.Thefirst stepissimplytobecomeyourownbiggest fan,insteadofyourbiggestcritic.Onceyou makeamistake,youmustalways encourageyourselfinordertoregainfocus onthematch.Atennismatchislikeabattle inwhich,tooverwhelmyouropponent,you needtohaveconfidenceinyour commanderwho,inthiscase,isyourself.


Thereareexceptionstothiscourseof positivereinforcement,buttheyarerare. Encouragementisthebesttoolwehavein ordertomaintainourconcentrationand controlofouremotionsonthecourt. Ifyoudonothavethisattitude,youwillbe likeaboatwithoutacaptainonthecourt. Toaidyour“self-coaching�onthecourt,it

isalwaysgoodtohaveachecklistofthings youcansaytoyourselfindifferent situations. Thosesituationsinclude,butarenotlimited to,thefollowing: 1.Whattodowhenyoustrugglewithyour

firstserve. 2.Whattodowhenyouwantthematchto finish. 3.Whattodotoreduceyourangeror disappointmentafterapoint. 4.Whattosaytoyourselfaswordsof encouragement. 5.Whattosaytoyourselfintermsof technicaladviceduringimportant


GreatnewsfromBabolat.ThestoriedFrench racketcompanyhascreatedanewPureStrike racketthatistheperfectfitforplayersfroman intermediatetoadvancedlevel. Therearesomesignificantdifferences betweenthenewframeandthosefrom previousyears,thoughallofitspredecessors’ strongestcharacteristicsarestillpresent.The framehasbeenstrengthenedinvariouskey points,makingitmorestableandsolidthan ever. Duringcourttests,oneimmediatelynotices theracket’seasyhandling.It’snotdifficultto producespeedwithoutsacrificingaccuracy, andwithits16x19stringconfiguration,

The New Pure Strike: Combining Power And Control

by Carlo Cazzaniga

generatinglotsoftopspiniseasy. Theracketalsosportsgoodprecisionand touchatthenet.Serving,too,isapleasure, withpowerandaccuracythetwomainfactors duringthatfirststroke. Withregardtonewfeatures,theracketmakes useofBabolat’sHybridFrametechnology, whichusesaslightlysquaredellipticalshape fortheracket.Furthermore,thenewPure StrikealsoincorporatesBabolatFSIPower technology,whichintroduceswiderspacing betweencrossstringstoimprovepowerand control.


TECHNICALFEATURES: Composition:Graphite Length:685mm/27in Weight:305g/10.8oz Headsize:630cm2/98sq.in. Balance:320mm Stiffness:70 Strings:16x19


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