NEW KICKS TO KICK-START YOUR GAME
IT’S A TENNIS REV
5 STEPS TO BETTER ETTER FOOTWORK OOTWORK OOTWO WHAT HAT COLLEGE COACHES OACHESS WANT WOZNIACKI OZNIACKI GETS TS IN THE RING
JOHN IS N E R
TALENTED SUMMER ’10
PLUS: HOW TO THROW A TENNIS BASH 2/28/11 12:51 PM
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DEPARTMENTS 05 P PHOTO HOTO O OPS PS 06 G AME ON ON GAME 12 G E AR GEAR Brighten Br rig ght hten yyour hten ourr ge ou g getup, etu tup, p, a and nd yyour nd ou o ur ga g game, ame me , with off th these colorful shoes w wi th one one eo thes hese ese co es c olo olo orf r ful u s hoes ho s
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23 4 411 11 What W Wh hatt c college olllle o lege le ge c coa coaches oa ac ch hes es w want an a nt
24 FINAL FINAL CALL C A LL NEW EW KICKSS TO TO KICK KI KICK-START KICCK STARRT YOUR YOUR GAME AME AM ME M
IIT’S T’S A TENNIS T’S ENNI RE REVOLUT EVO VOLUTIO OLUTTI TIION ONN
5 STEPS TO T BETTER ETTER ER FOOOTWORK FOOTWORK OOOTWO OO TW WHAT WH HAT COLLEGE COOACHES COACHES OACH CHES WANT W NT WA WOZNIACKI OOZNIACKI OZNIAC C KI GETS TS IN THE RING
VALERY VVAL ALLER EERY R HA HHACHE/AFP/GETTY ACHE CHH /AF /AAFFP/ PP/G /GGETT E Y IIMAG IMAGES MAGGEESS MA MAG
PLUS: HOW TO THROW A TENNIS BASH
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HEADS OR TAILS? Beauty met the tennis beasts when reality TV star Kim Kardashian handled the coin toss before Roger Federer beat Florent Serra in the third round at the Sony Ericsson Open in Miami.
4/29/10 9:12 PM
Miami Heat’s Dwyane Wade schooled Andy Roddick in a game of H.O.R.S.E. during a tennis and basketball exhibition in Miami.
THIS PAGE: AL BELLO/GETTY IMAGES; RIGHT: GETTY IMAGES
READ EST FANS O T E K I G WE’D L E PROS’ BIG S GULBIS S T E E • T W OES OF TH TH ERNEST NG • THE WESTIONS WI INTO THE RI • 10 QU IACKI STEPS • W O ZN
>>> 4: “Rules of Sporty Chic,” according to Maria Sharapova in the April issue of Glamour: 1. Own a bag that’s “hands-free”; 2. Let your jewelry be bold; 3. Know what works for you; and 4. Don’t spend too much time in front of
4/30/10 11:11 AM
Tennis Is ATwitter
TRUE, BUT BLUE FANS SHARE THEIR SLUMPING PLAYERS’ PAIN
TWEETS WE’D LIKE TO READ
AndyMurray Getting pumped about Davis Cup. Just kidding! Anyone seen @jamiemurray lately? Ha! Gotta go, Kim’s waiting. No PlayStation for me tonight. 44 minutes ago via twitterfeed
IT’S NO SECRET that tennis players have embraced the Twitter revolution. But sometimes we wonder if there’s more than tweets the eye. Here’s what we think the pros really want to say.
anaivanovic fell out of the Top 50. bummer. I could be working on my toss but I’d rather watch golf #FF @adamscott @adidas @yonex @rolex @juiceplus 1 hour ago via twitterfeed
VenusW Counting down the days till @Wimbledon. Just finished “designing” my @Eleven dress. Sorry #justinehenin but I’m going to rule on grass!! 2 hours ago via twitterfeed
MCIvoKarlovic RT @JohnBulldogIsner If one more person comments on my height, I’m going to hit them with an ace, if you know what I mean. 8 hours ago via twitterfeed
GOAT Another match, another fabulous performance by the maestro!!!!! #justsaying #FF @mirka @tigerwoods @gwenstefani @gavinrossdale @annawintour
12 hours ago via twitterfeed
mlarcherdebrito Lost again!!!!! AAAAUUUUGGGGGGHHHHH!!! 1 day ago via twitterfeed
AndreAgassi @Steffi You’re right. I should stop talking for once in my life. ;) 2 days ago via twitterfeed
Rrrrrrafa Just finished press conference. The old “my English not so good” excuse got me out of a jam again! Journalists are so stupid. #FF @Shakira 1 weeks ago via twitterfeed
CaroWozniacki How much longer do I have to keep up this Miss Congeniality persona? I’m soooooo sick of being nice. Sigh. Anyway… #FF @Vika and @Serena 2 weeks ago via twitterfeed
BY THE NUMBERS…
7-6 (4), 6-3, 3-6, 2-6, 6-3 two
NINE HIS RANKING FOR MOST ACES ON THE ATP TOUR, AS OF APRIL 26.
YOUNGEST IN THE ATP TOUR TOP 50. HE’S FIVE DAYS YOUNGER THAN JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO
180 LBS WEIGHT 6-FOOT-6 HEIGHT
COACHES, AUSTRALIAN BOB BRETT AND FORMER WIMBLEDON CHAMP GORAN IVANISEVIC, CILIC’S BOYHOOD HERO AND FELLOW CROAT
HIS RANKING IN FIRSTSERVE PERCENTAGE
SCORE OF HIS QUARTERFINAL WIN OVER ANDY RODDICK IN THE AUSTRALIAN OPEN. CILIC WAS THE FIRST CROATIAN TO REACH AN AUSSIE SEMIFINAL
COMBINED HEIGHT WITH IVO KARLOVIC. THEY TEAMED UP TO HELP CROATIA DEFEAT ECUADOR IN THE FIRST ROUND OF DAVIS CUP (NEXT UP IS SERBIA IN JULY)
2 WORLD JUNIOR RANKING IN 2005, BEHIND AMERICAN DONALD YOUNG, WHO’S NOW RANKED NO. 155
IT ISN’T EASY these days being a fan of 0 Noble Ana Ivanovic, Juan Martin del Potro, Maria Sharapova or Dinara Safina, what with their slumps and injuries. Ivanovic has had a bad year, but she’s held up pretty well emotionally va po compared to her No. 1 fan, ara h [S Courtney Nguyen of San Francisco. The mild-mannered Ana didn’t flinch in March when the announcer at the Showdown for the Billie Jean King Cup called her a former No. 1 and French Open champion, and a current Sports Illustrated swimsuit model. But Nguyen admits to the armchair equivalent of smashing racquets. “I’ve broken three remotes ] Nguyen and learned to creatively conjugate every cuss word known to man, woman and beast,” she says about Ivanovic’s slump. It hasn’t been a good year for Hannah Wilks of London, either. She’s a del Potro fanatic who watched him upset Roger Federer in the 2009 U.S. Open, only to be sidelined for months with tendinitis in his right wrist. “Injury is worse than a loss of form,” [I she says. “A player van ov can switch coaches, ic change tactics, but I’m pretty sure medical science hasn’t quite advanced to wrist transplants.” Or shoulder replacements. Maria Noble of Los Angeles shared Sharapova’s pain when she lost close to a year with a bum right shoulder. A bone bruise on her heroine’s elbow hasn’t made 2010 any easier. The worst moment for Noble came when she watched Sharapova hit 21 double faults in her U.S. Open loss last year to Melanie Oudin. “I feel like I’m going to have a minor cardiac arrest every time that ball goes up,” she says. “It’s a constant struggle with my health and sanity.” But perhaps no player’s fans have struggled more with their health and sanity than Safina’s. The Russian has imploded in three major finals. Her No. 1 fan, Christina Beck of Alexandria, Va., had to endure her favorite player becoming “an international punching bag [in the media] for the better part of a year.” To make matters worse, the Russian suffered a serious back injury in 2009 that kept her off the tour for months. But all four fans are staying true to their slumping idols. To jump ship now, Beck says, “would be like leaving an injured puppy to drown or something.”—James LaRosa
the mirror. >>> 30: Ranking spots climbed by Argentina’s Juan Ignacio Chela after he won the U.S. Men’s Clay Court Championship in April, his first ATP tour title in three years. >>> 93: Days off for Serena Williams between the
4/30/10 11:11 AM
The Counter-puncher CAROLINE WOZNIACKI MAY LOOK DELICATE IN HER HIGH-FASHION TENNIS DRESSES, BUT SHE TRAINS LIKE MAYWEATHER AFTER A DISAPPOINTING fourth-round exit at Wimbledon in 2009, Caroline Wozniacki decided she’d need to change her fitness regimen to advance beyond the fourth round at a Slam, which she hadn’t done in 10 tries. So she put on the gloves. “I wanted to do something different for fitness, outside of tennis, so I tried boxing,” says the 20-yearold Dane. “The motions, the footwork, it reminds me of tennis. And I like how boxers get in great shape. So I wanted to try it.” She asked a good friend for help, her countryman Mikkel “The Viking Warrior” Kessler, who is the World Boxing Council super-middleweight champion with a record of 43-2, including 32 knockouts. “He found someone for me and it’s working great,” she says. “I started just after Wimbledon doing it almost every day, with a one-day-a-week break.” Wozniacki’s boxing program works her feet, legs, core and hands. “It It always starts on the treadmill where I run for 40 minutes, then I go in the ring and shadowbox,” she says. “We do a lot with the medicine balls, where you throw them and do a lot of work for the core and back as well.” Her favorite part is the punching. “I love being in the ring where
the coach has the pads. I think that’s a lot of fun. I also like hitting the big heavy sandbag.” All that fun Wozniacki is having in the ring seems to be paying off for her on court. Since e taking up boxing, she’s won two tournaments,, reached the U.S. Open and Indian Wells finals,, and improved her ranking from No. 9 to No. 2. “I’ve become faster,” she says. “I see the ball differently because [with boxing] you always need eed to be prepared for what’s coming next. It helps s you concentrate, as well.” She plans to continue boxing, except during tournament ntt weeks. “I prefer to relax the upper body,” she says. ays. The sport may be in Wozniacki’s blood. “My dad [Piotr] is a huge boxing fan. He loves to watch all the fights,” she says. “I went to see [Mike] Tyson when he was s boxing in Copenhagen against Brian Nielsen when I was 10. I remember Tyson won and how exciting it was to see them live and how hard they were actually hitting each ach other. I like the atmosphere, how all the people around nd were totally into it. It was so intimate.” But that doesn’t mean she wants to become me a twosport counter-puncher. “I like to hit on the pads ds and the heavy sandbag. But I don’t like when somebody dy has to hit me.”—MARK MALINOWSKI
10 QUESTIONS QUEST WITH
ERNESTS GULBIS AFTER FIVE Y YEARS of trying, Ernests Gulbis won his first tour event in Delray February, becoming the first Beach in Febr Latvia to win an ATP tour player from La months later, the up-and-down title. Two mon 21-year-old beat be Roger Federer in Monte shares his best and worst Carlo. He shar moments as a pro, laments his lack of toughness, and talks literature. mental toughn
When did you start playing tennis? I was 4, living a lot with my grandmoth grandmother because my father [an investment bu businessman] and mother [a stage actress] were working, and there were tennis co courts a half hour walking distance from her apartment in the Soviet Union. I could immediately hit the net. Some coaches saw me ball over the n and they said, “Oh, this guy doesn’t need courts, he’s too good.” to clean the co
Who wer were your tennis idols growing up? I didn’t have interest in watching ot other people. . . . I like to play. No matte matter how much I went to the courts, every time t [I was] happy.
What’s your proudest moment so far as a pro? Winning my first ATP title [in Delray Beach] and when I made the quarters in Paris, Roland Garros [in 2008]. It’s my best result in a Slam.
What about your most painful moment? There’s a lot. Too much. I lost so many first and second rounds to guys who I shouldn’t lose [to] when I didn’t feel good, when I played bad. Too many.
care about funny. But off court, I have really good relationships with Russian guys. Marat [Safin] left tennis; he was a funny guy. I mean, really nice guy.
What’s the biggest difference between juniors and the ATP? Just some guys tanked against me when I was playing junior tournaments. Nobody’s tanking now, everybody’s tough.
Do you think it was a lack of mental toughness? All the time something’s [going on in my] brain. I’m trying to keep my brain stable [because] sometimes it’s like a fight between myself—I do want to be on court, I don’t want to be on court. I want to win, I want to lose and go home.
Who are you close friends with on the tour? I don’t know if you call it friends. Maybe you can call it your, I don’t know, partners. I don’t have a good name in English for it. Russian guys, like [Igor] Kunitsyn, [Dmitry] Tursunov.
What are your favorite tour stops? I like all the Grand Slams. [And] all the Masters because, you know, they’re a different feeling. I like tournaments which are in a nice city where there’s a lot to do, like Paris, New York, London. I like St. Petersburg, Moscow. Yeah, in nice cities.
Who are the funniest players on the tour? I don’t know. Nowadays, they’re not funny anymore [smiles]. I think everybody’s into winning. They don’t
What do you do when you’re not playing tennis? I like to think [smiles]. No, I mean, just to read books, watch movies, go out with my friends. Every normal thing for a young guy my age. I really liked—there’s a book, it’s like the Bible to Russians. It’s called The Master and Margarita [a satire about greed and corruption in 1930s Soviet Union]. They made a TV series about that. That’s what I like. Tennis is a profession, it’s like a job. —M.M.
Australian Open and her next scheduled event in Rome in May. >>> 30: Minutes between Fed Cup singles and doubles matches for Bethanie Mattek-Sands in April, during which she took hot and cold showers and iced down her
4/30/10 11:12 AM
SMASH 15 OUR TAKE ON TENNIS AND THE WORLD AROUND IT– BUT DON’T TAKE OUR WORD FOR IT Want to know who’s dating who and other juicy off-court gossip? Check out The Daily Spin at TENNIS.com.
Pop quiz: Who is the WTA tour’s most popular and prolific tweeter?
1 Answer: Serena Williams, with 1.6 million followers. She used the site to ask fans how many Grand Slams she had won (12) because she couldn’t remember. Or so she said. Congrats to 2009 U.S. Open champ Kim Clijsters, who beat bea out Lance Armstrong and Brett Favre for “Comeback of the Year” at the 2010 Laureus World “Comeba Sports Awards. A Star sea search: Former British No. 1 Tim Henman was saddled with identifying 75 British tennis stars of future for his soft-drink sponsor. Meanwhile, the futu country only has one star of the present. the coun 0 That one star, Andy Murray, was flickering in the spring. He dropped to fli No. 5 after back-to-back second-round No losses at Miami and Monte Carlo. lo
From USTA Boys to Men
LEFT: GETTY IMAGES; THIS PAGE: DOMIJAN: SUSAN MULLANE/CAMERAWORK USA; FRED MULLANE/ CAMERAWORK USA; SMASH 15: GETTY IMAGES; MANUELA DAVIES/DOUBLEXPOSURE; MIC SMITH/AP PHOTO
ALEX DOMIJAN AIMS FOR ANOTHER STELLAR WTT SEASON How would you like a shot to face John McEnroe or play doubles with Martina Hingis? That’s what 18-year-old amateur Alex Domijan gets to do this summer as a member of the Albany-based New York Buzz of World TeamTennis. “He embodies what we’re looking for,” says Buzz owner Nitty Singh, “a great role model for the kids, a very hard-working and strong team player who has had tremendous success as a junior and understands what it takes to be a champion.” For the 6-foot-7 Floridian, who was ranked No. 1 in the USTA boys’ 18s in 2009, the Buzz assignment is a reunion of sorts. He played on a team of top junior prospects for the Buzz last year. Although he didn’t play against any marquee players, Alex did pick off pros like Mike Russell, who’s ranked No. 73, and No. 160 Robert Kendrick. This year, the only amateur in WTT is scheduled to compete against the legendary McEnroe of the New York Sportimes. “It’s definitely an honor to play against [him],” Domijan says. “I’ve watched him on TV. He’s one of my favorite players.” Domijan may also run into Venus and Serena Williams of the Washington Kastles when he partners with former No. 1 Hingis in mixed doubles. Domijan is banking on his big serve and even bigger forehand to help him hold his own. “[Hingis has] won some Grand Slams at doubles,” he says. “Hopefully I don’t drag the team down.” Domijan also WTT’s five-game lso hopes playing the WTT s format of five game sets and loud crowds will help quiet his s nerves as he travels to Futures events to improve his ATP tour ranking, which was No. o. 585 in April. For now, the giant from Gainesville knows his biggest ggest matches this summer will be his two against McEnroe. “I think I can get him,” Domijan says. s. And if he does, tennis fans will see for themselves selves why it was this his kid who got the call. —Jennifer Johnson nson
Domijan (far right) with his Buzzz teammates and 9. coach in 2009.
Sibling rivalry, the sequel: Patrick McEnroe, who’s in charge of developing the next American tennis champ for the USTA, vs. his older brother, who has the same mission as owner of the new John McEnroe Tennis Academy in New York. Smarter or smart-mouthed? No. 66 Regina Kulikova on why Russia dominates the Top 200: “We are really much stronger mentally.” 1 Splitsville: Novak Djokovic dropped coach Todd Martin in April, saying, “Todd Todd found it difficult to understand how I like to work.” who I am, ho A number of o favorites for the USTA National Campus pus Championship were upset early this year. The University Champions California, Berkeley, won the coed college team of Cal extravaganza, which was held, fittingly, in Surprise, Ariz. extr 0 Brooklyn Decker better watch her modeling jobs. Her husband, Andy Roddick, has replaced actor Hayden Christensen as the face of Lacoste’s Challenge fragrance. Melanie Oudin, 18, dismissed Jill Craybas, 35, 6-3, 6-1 in the opening round of the Family Circle Cup. Have a heart, Mel, she’s twice your age. Sam Querrey was the third American in a row to lose in the final of America’s only ATP tour event on clay, Houston. The last U.S. winner was Mardy Fish in 2006. Test your string tension on the cheap with the racquetTune app for iPhone and iPod touch. $1, appmaker.se/racquettune 1 It took Samantha Stosur just 52 minutes to beat Vera Zvonareva in the Charleston final, a tournament record. It would’ve been more like 40 iff not for Zvonareva’s racquet-smashing tantrum.
weary legs. She won both matches to lead the U.S. to a 3-2 win over Russia. >>> 20: Retirement age for Nicole Vaidisova. She was fed up with tennis, but not tennis players—she plans to marry Radek Stepanek this summer. <<<
4/30/10 11:18 AM
LONGINES JUNIOR TENNIS CHALLENGE Have you ever dreamed of playing on the famed red clay of Roland Garros? 20 girls, 11 and 12-years old, recently had that extraordinary opportunity as they competed for a chance to play in Paris courtesy of the Swiss watchmaker, Longines.
Left to right: G. Pollner, J. Cruz, J. Livianu, L. Fishbein, M. Herrmann, A. Graham
Lauren Fishbein (left) and Gaby Pollner (right) shake ke hands after the championship match
he Longines he Lon o gin g es es contest co tes con testt asked aske ked d the the he 20 0 girls girrls l to to write wr essays on the importance of giving back to the their community and helping of panelists, including tennis legend he eir commun ccom ommun m ity mu ya an nd d help h elp ping ng others. other ot h s. s. A team te Stefanie the best eight. Those girls were awarded Stefan Ste t fan faniie e Graf, Gra G ra af, f, evaluated e lua eva luated te the ted th he essays essa s ys and d picked p piick c ck the h opportunity oppor op por o tun unity itty y to t compete com co mpete mpe pete te in a tournament tourrnam men entt at e a the t Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, home th of New Jersey, rocked the tournament o the he US h S Open, Op pen, en on n April Aprill 17th. A 1 th. 17 t Lauren La Laure ur n Fishbein ure Fis ish ssh hb bei e n of of Livingston, L and Paris Garros against 7 other girls from Poland, d will wi willl be e going going g to oP Par arris is in n June Jun un ne to to ccompete o pete omp et att Roland R China, C na, Chi n Hong Hong ng Kong, Ko Kon o g, g Russia, R ssia Rus ia a,, Germany, Germ ma Singapore and Taiwan. Pretty cool, huh? Longines to giving back to the community, so after Lon L o g gin ine ess iss a company co omp om m mpany a dedicated de d dic dica the nals he Roland Ro ollan nd Garros Garr ar os ar os ﬁ ﬁnals ﬁn nal a s they th he will be donating $100,000 to support the Agassi Foundation and Children for Tomorrow, charities of Ag Aga gassi ssi Fo F ound nd dati att o on n for o Education E u Ed brand brand n amb aambassadors am mb m ass sssado adorss Andre And dr Agassi and Stefanie Graf.
Back Row Lef t to Eastern), A. Milneright: Z. Sampson (Longines), M. r (TENNIS Magazin Blake-Wilson (US L Fishbein L. TA e) e), JJ. JJudkin i , J. Liv G. Pollner, A. Sa ianu; Middle Row: M. Herrmann s (Longines), Luke Jensen , be, S. Barisano, , A. Graham; Front Ro J. Cruz w:
Check out the pics from the day at the National Tennis Center and parts of gir wrote in their essays. Perhaps they will inspire you to get what some girls h involved and help others!
Lauren Laure Fishbein (Champion) “This “Th T is fa Th fal fall,l,l I w was asked by a family friend to come to her school help and d he elp lp tea tteach kids with autism to play tennis. I was afraid this be something I would be good at… would wou ld d not no b
I decided to overcome my fears and try to help the kids in need. These kids had no experience tennis, and had difficulty learning the with ten of the sport. I worked with other volunteers, basics o together we broke down some tasks such as serving a d to and an oge e a ball ball alllll into in intt small components… Although I was afraid at ﬁrrst, ﬁrst, st, t this t, tthis was a great way for me to become exposed to the e experience of helping my peers while teaching a skill ski ssk k ll that th I posses and a sport that I love. When I attend tha high I hope to volunteer for an organization that high hig gh school, sch h teaches teache tea che ches hes various sports skills to children and teenagers with Autism is an illness that could be overcome witth autism. a with patience and love.” with understanding, u
Gaby Pollner (Finalist) “In the past year, I have had much experience in community service. With the Lord’s Pantry, I delivered dinner to people with AIDS that live in my community. I was nervous to deliver food to a complete stranger but as I walked up to these people’s homes, I only thought about the good, and only good came…”
Jessica Livianu (Consolation Draw Winner) “Together with my brother Jacob who is 9… we joined the UNICEF organization which supports needy children. We tell everyone how easy and important it is to help, whether you volunteer or give a little bit of money… I am grateful for the things I have today; many children hope to get another game station while others pray for their next meal.”
4/30/10 9:17 AM
Elegance is an attitude “It’s time to give a little bit of your time to others.”
Longines supports the Andre Agassi Foundation and Children For Tomorrow.
Available at shop.us.longines.com
4/30/10 10:36 AM
X PRINCE REBEL LS/POISE LS
GAME-DAY GLOW THIS SUMMER’S COLORFUL SHOES WILL KICK-START YOUR GAME WITH THE LATEST TECHNOLOGIES. BY BILL GRAY
The menacing yellow of the men’s Rebel LS screams “performance” for aggressive movers. Not only is the shoe light, it also has a low-tothe-ground ride that keeps your center of gravity closer to the court and your feet moving when you’re wrong-footed by an opponent. Its marquee feature is a heel-to-midfoot thermoplastic frame, dubbed the “Propulsion Plate” by Prince, that’s designed to propel your foot forward. The white and pink women’s version, the Poise LS, is equipped with the same high-performance features as the Rebel. Six-month outsole guarantee; $110 for the Rebel, $105 for the Poise; princesports.com
W NEW BALANCE MC900WT/WC900SL With its touches of neon trim (lime green on the men’s MC900WT and hot pink on the women’s WC900SL), the 900 doesn’t just look like it’s built for speed—it is. It’s nearly as light as a running shoe without compromising on the stability that you need for quick side-to-side movements. As for comfort, the 900 has ample shock absorption from the toe box to heel, and both the men’s and women’s versions are available in variable width options. The best parts? It’s the least expensive of the shoes reviewed here, and it comes with a 12-month outsole guarantee, which is double the length of most other brands’ warranties. $95, newbalance.com
PHOTOGRAPH BY RAINER BEHRENS
4/29/10 8:56 PM
V WILSON TOUR VISION The Tour Vision comes in cool color combinations, like white, blue and silver, but the flashy red, black and white of the guys’ version best reflects the bold moves you can make in this low-platform lightweight shoe. The Reactive Gel inserts in the heel and forefoot deliver good cushioning, and stability is outstanding thanks to the soft-yet-sturdy thermoplastic that wraps across the upper, and the arch bridge that runs from the outsole to the midsole. Toe-draggers and serve-and-volleyers will appreciate the reinforced toe and the extra traction of the outsole, which performs well on clay and hard courts. Six-month outsole guarantee, $110, wilson.com
U NIKE AIR MAX COURTBALLISTEC 2.3 Are your playing style and fashion sense as aggressive as Rafael Nadal’s? Then you’ll dig the Air Max Courballistec 2.3, which comes in versions for both women and men (men’s pictured here). It has a reinforced midsole and a big, cushy Max Air bag in the heel. While the shoe is heavy, it at least weighs less than last year’s 1.3. Nike says it reduced the weight by replacing some of the hard synthetic leather of the upper with a more breathable, porous framework. The tongue is attached to the sock liner, which provides a snug fit and makes your foot feel like a driver in the cockpit of a racecar. Once you’re in, you’re ready to roll. Six-month outsole guarantee, $120, nike.com
W YONEX POWER CUSHION 307/POWER CUSHION 307L If you want the quick-step benefits of an ultra-lightweight shoe that also has comfort features for sore and blistered feet, check out the Power Cushion 307 (the men’s version is pictured above). Yonex added extra padding from heel to toe, but kept the weight in check with a light and pliable upper. The tradeoff is a slight lack of stability, so if you have knee or ankle problems, look elsewhere. Yonex also makes a women’s version, the 307L, but here’s something to keep in mind: SMASH shoe adviser Dr. David G. Sharnoff says it’s too wide in the back for the typical female foot, which tends to be narrower at the heel. One-year warranty, $130, yonexusa.com S SM MA AS SH H
0 10 3
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T HE S M A S H IN T ER V IE W
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JOHN ISNER IS AMERICA’S
UNLIKELY NEW HOPE. BY PETER BODO
JOHN ISNER, WHO was voted Most Improved Player of 2009 by his ATP tour peers, is poised to have a big year. He won his first tour-level title at Auckland in January, made the second week at the Australian Open, and lost to his buddy Sam Querrey in the final of Memphis. Plus, since mononucleosis kept him out of Roland Garros and Wimbledon last year, he has no ranking points to defend for the next two Slams due to the tour’s 12-month ranking system. “I’m playing with house money until the start of the hard-court season,” Isner says. We caught up with Isner shortly before the 25-year-old former University of Georgia Bulldog left for the European clay circuit in April. Given that you’re known for your big serve and high-risk game, is this trip to Europe just to stretch the legs and meet your ATP obligations? Not at all. I don’t mind playing on clay. If you look at my record, a lot of the matches I’ve lost on clay have been close. For some reason, I haven’t been able to pull out the kinds of matches I win on hard courts. But with my serve, I feel I can, or should be able to, hold serve every time, even on clay. So that’s going to keep me in matches. I think I can do well on clay.
FROM LEFT: HANNAH JOHNSTON/GETTY IMAGES; GETTY IMAGES
You’ve officially been in the Top 20 now. How do you feel about that? I feel like I deserve to be where I am now. I feel I put the work in, but a lot of it is still new to me, for example, this whole spring clay thing in Europe. But I know that I’m better than ever before because I’ve definitely gotten stronger and fitter. Given your game, it’s hard to imagine that Wimbledon isn’t in the back of your mind. It is, but not right now. I missed the grass-court season last year, but if I can get a good run leading up to Wimbledon I can position myself pretty well. And with C.B. [Craig Boynton, Isner’s coach since the beginning of 2009] in my corner, I’ll know how to play on the grass. Guys like me—big guys with big serves— usually do well there. Some would think a four-year college man like you couldn’t make it on today’s tour. Are you surprised by your success? I am—very surprised. I had no aspirations to become a pro until I was 21. I wanted to finish school and get my degree in any event, and I knew that whatever else happened that was my ticket to having a career of some kind or other. Also, growing up in North Carolina, I only practiced three, four times a week, and maybe an hour to 90 minutes max. I did pretty well in the juniors, but I stayed mostly close to home. I played for my high school team, all four years. Within this little tennis
bubble at school I was well known and popular, but that’s as far as it went. Are you a Georgia Bulldog or a University of North Carolina Tar Heel? Tar Heel? No way, I was never a Tar Heel. My dad and my two uncles went to North Carolina State, the forgotten school in North Carolina. I grew up not liking the Tar Heels. I really enjoyed it when they didn’t do well. I loved it at the University of Georgia. Tennis is big at Georgia, so we always drew a lot of fans to our matches. I would have gone back for another year if I could, I really didn’t want to leave, but my four years were up and I had to go. Were there any advantages in going to school and not rushing out on the tour? Sure. A lot of guys were turning pro at 17 and 18, and let’s face it, you aren’t real mature at 17, and you’re not as physically or mentally strong. The way you build confidence is through winning, and the way you get better is by spending a lot of time on the court playing competitive matches. I had all I wanted of that at Georgia. People often say you have a great temperament; rol, but tough. Is you’re in control, that innate or learned? Some ate, but I think of it may be innate, rned. For me, a lot of it is learned. toughness was something ege. I think I needed in college. rience makes that team experience ou’re in you that way. You’re ns where the match situations whole match is riding on you. You’ve got guys on the heir hopes bench pinning their on you, and you don’t want wn. But I to let them down. d in close think my record tty good. I matches is pretty w what it is, don’t really know
but I seem to find a little higher level sometimes in the nitty-gritty part of a match.
You come from an upper-middle-class family. Were you spoiled? I never got a lot material-wise. But I guess my mom spoiled me by cooking me three great meals every day. My dad [a builder] never bought anything for himself, he just provided for us. That rubbed off on me a little. Up until five months ago, I was still driving the car I got when I was 16, a Chevy Tahoe. I sold out and got a new car. But it wasn’t some $80,000 car. It’s another Tahoe. I’m not going to lie, it’s a really nice car.
You struggled in 2008. Do you think it was sophomore blues? That early success was a curse in some ways, because after playing in four pro events I was able to skip Futures and Challengers. I was offered wild cards, too, but I wasn’t really ready for that. I wasn’t good enough to compete on the tour, day in, day out. After the U.S. Open of 2007 [where Isner reached the third round in his first major], I went as far as [No. 144]. Basically, I jumped way out ahead of my learning curve. What have you and Boynton improved the most? C.B. has helped me get to the point where I can play a match on my own terms as much as possible. The way I want to win or lose a point is by going for a high-percentage shot, especially with my forehand. And when my opponent is serving, if I get a good return, I want to look to the forehand. If I miss it by this much [he holds his fingers about an inch apart] or make it by that much, no problem. I know I hit the right shot the right way and played a good point. That’s kind of my goal. I don’t want to get caught playing passively or defensively. Qu You’re friends with Sam Querrey, r who can also be seen as a rival. Does No and that create a strain? No, remember we’re comm committed to toget playing doubles together. One of our joint goals is qual qualifying for champ the ATP tour championships in London. Sam and I text each other every day. We played mat two pretty big matches so far this year, the M Memphis final, which he wo won, and at whe I won. Indian Wells, where Both times, we w went out to th same dinner together that p night. The winner picked up the check.
4/29/10 8:57 PM
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5/4/10 12:41 PM
5/4/10 12:41 PM
The opening points may not seem terribly important. Nothing will be decided by them, so you can take a moment to ease into the match, right? Well, yes and no. While you won’t win or lose anything in the first game, you can still set a tone for the rest of the day. It’s not a tone that exists between you and your opponent, but in your own head. How many times have you walked off the court after a loss and said, “It just wasn’t my day.” That attitude, which is an excuse like any other, can begin to form during the early stages. You miss an easy ball here, blow a break point there, and suddenly you’re wondering if fate is against you today. The key is to find a middle gear right away— don’t take it too easy or think of the match as a sprint—and get all of your shots working as soon as you can. “You’re starting from a dead stop,” says Allen Fox, Ph.D., former coach of the Pepperdine University men’s tennis team, who now writes on his website, allenfoxtennis.net, “so you should be thinking about getting each part of your game functioning to start.” Fox recommends that you mix in different service spins and placements, and take a little off of your first delivery so you have some success with it early. If one stroke doesn’t feel good, don’t avoid it. Try to put a few into the court. “With the right attitude at the start,” Fox says, “you can prevent an off day before it begins.”
Feeling good? Not so fast. We hate to remind you of this right now, but the time when you’re most likely to lose serve is right after you’ve broken your opponent. All of us are prone to unconsciously relaxing once we’ve gotten through the tension of a break. “Stress is unpleasant, and we want to avoid it,” Fox says. “Once we come through a tense situation, we try to minimize that stress and go on a kind of mental vacation, which takes us out of our competitive mindset. We feel like the hard work is done. It happens
without us thinking about it.” You can’t stop it. What you can do is understand that this unconscious vacation is going to happen, and that you should do what you can to guard against it. Give yourself a new competitive goal by telling yourself that you haven’t really broken serve until you’ve held in the next game. This will keep you working, instead of taking the holiday your brain thinks you deserve.
It isn’t just the person who has broken who will run from the stress of the last game. The player who has lost serve is affected mentally, as well, and that reaction has the potential to be much more damaging. “When you’ve had your serve broken,” Fox says, “one psychological tendency is to escape by becoming discouraged.” Getting down on yourself is another way of relieving pressure. You don’t have to fight as hard if you don’t believe you’ve got a chance, or that fate is against you, or that your opponent is just too good. “Getting discouraged is natural, but you need to realize that it’s an escape, too, and that it can be countered,” Fox says. “The best way to do that is to remember that your opponent is likely to relax after he’s broken your serve.” Instead of looking at a break as a negative sign, look at it as an opportunity, one that may lead to a complete emotional turnaround in the match, with you on top. “When a player breaks back, he feels like he’s ahead, not just even,” Fox says. “The player who breaks and then gets broken tends to feel like his good play may have been a mirage, and that he can’t hold you off.”
If you think you can leave stress behind as you build a lead, think again. Tennis doesn’t work that way. Typically, the tension you feel will only grow as you get further ahead and the thought of winning, rather than competing, enters your head. “Now the stress changes,” Fox says. “You’ve left
your opponent behind, so you’re not fighting him for each game. Uncertainty comes into your mind as you get close to your goal about whether you’ll be able to reach it or not.” The thought of choking away a big lead may be the most stressful aspect of tennis. There’s no clock in this sport; you must continue to win points, including the final one. But the natural reaction is to play like there is a clock, and that you’re running it out. “When you’re ahead, you tend to come off the accelerator,” Fox says. “You tend to get conservative and hope you make it across the finish line.” Fox says that many coaches will tell you that you need to “have the nerve” to go for your shots in these situations, that you need to stay aggressive to counter the tendency toward conservatism. “That’s iffy advice,” he says. “You have to know what you can do at that moment. If you’re feeling good, swing freely. If you’re nervous, you’re not going to be able to make your shots the way you would when you’re looser. You need to gauge your shot selection by what you think you’re capable of doing.”
“This is a tricky one,” Fox says. “There’s no perfect solution. You can’t make your nerves go away. All you can do is make the situation a little better.” As you get closer to winning, you may get more conservative, but that can flip completely when you reach match point. The tendency is to try to end it quickly. You’re so close to celebrating and relaxing that you may rush to get there, which will take you out of your normal, most effective, game. You’ll experience more hope, nerves and stress when you reach match point than at any other time in a match. That means you must narrow your focus as much as you can. “You can’t pretend that it’s not match point,” Fox says. But you can push it as far back in your head as possible. “Go through all of your normal rituals, whether you’re serving or returning, and take a little extra time so you counter that feeling of wanting to rush to win the point and end the match.”
ILLUSTRATION BY JUDE BUFFUM
4/30/10 9:20 AM
4/30/10 9:20 AM
1. THE TO-DO LIST Planning a party takes, well, planning. Here’s what to do before the big day. FOUR WEEKS Send invitations. Anyone can go the Evite or Facebook route. Why not go old-school and mail tennis-themed stationery? Check out bloomdesigns.com and boatmangeller.com for options. Tell guests to RSVP by two weeks before the party and to come dressed in their best tennis ensembles.
responded about the RSVP deadline. Make your party playlist.
THREE WEEKS Round up supplies, including decorations, prizes and your outfit.
30 MINUTES Make sure you have everything in place and heat up the food. Take a few minutes to chill out before your guests arrive.
TWO WEEKS Remind friends who haven’t
TWO DAYS Purchase and cook food that can be prepared ahead of time and refrigerated overnight. THREE HOURS Decorate and set up activities. Rearrange furniture, if necessary.
THE SMASH BASH
BY SARAH THURMOND PHOTOGRAPHS BY JOYCE LEE
2. THE ACTIVITIES Keep guests entertained with games and reward winners with prizes like wristbands, tennis balls and vibration dampeners. BACKYARD TENNIS You don’t need a court to play matches during the party. The Street Tennis Recreational Plus Kit ($170, tennisderue.com) comes with four racquets, three balls and a net that can be set up on a lawn or driveway.
match or two to pass the time during rain delays.
TRIVIA During changeovers, throw out tennis trivia. For material, download the official rulebook, Friend at Court (you can find it at usta.com), or try The Bud Collins History of Tennis ($36, amazon.com).
MATCH POOL Have your friends pick a winner, score and match length for the final you’re watching. In the case of a tie, use the length of the match as a tiebreaker.
WII TENNIS Set aside a station for Wii tennis or Grand Slam Tennis with Wii MotionPlus. Guests can play a
PIN THE BALL ON THE SWEET SPOT Instead of pinning a tail on a donkey, have guests try to stick tennis balls made of felt in the center of a racquet.
COSTUME AWARDS Give out trophies (inexpensive ones can be found at crownawards.com) for best and worst costume and best pro look-alike outfit.
PROP STYLIST: SCOTT HORNE; FASHION, FROM LEFT: BAND OF OUTSIDERS THIS IS NOT A POLO SHIRT, $140; SOPHOMORE CREW NECK SWEATSHIRT, $62; LACOSTE EXCLUSIVELY FOR JEFFREY PLEATED TENNIS SHORTS, $125; NOOKA ZUB ZEN V 38 FOR W HOTEL WATCH, $150; ADIDAS COMPETITION TRADITIONAL POLO, $58; POLO RALPH LAUREN PERFORMANCE SHORTS, $75; FRED PERRY SLEEVELESS LONGLINE EMBELLISHED JUMPER, $200; J. CREW SUNSHINE PEONY COCCINELLE DRESS, $138; A.P.C. ORANGE MULTI PLAID BUTTON DOWN, $140; LOUP DRESS WITH GATHERED SKIRT, $95; FRED PERRY PETERSTOW LEATHER SHOES, $88; TRETORN RODLERA MESH SHOES, $95; POLO RALPH LAUREN LISLE STRIPE POLO, $85.
There are plenty of Grand Slam finals coming up. You don’t want to watch them all by yourself. Instead, invite your friends over for a tennis theme party. Our guide has tips to help make your summer shindig a success.
4/30/10 11:14 AM
$88; TRETORN RODLERA MESH SHOES, $95; POLO RALPH LAUREN LISLE STRIPE POLO, $85.
3. THE PLAYLIST No party is complete without some background music.
4. THE MENU For food to nosh on,
Our sample playlist contains tunes by bands from the Grand Slam hosts.
choose treats you might find at the Slams.
Men at Work “Down Under”
Charlotte Gainsbourg “Trick Pony”
The Beatles “Revolution”
Velvet Underground “I’m Waiting for the Man”
INXS “The One Thing” Kylie Minogue “I Should Be So Lucky” Jet “Rip it Up” Crayon Fields “You Could Wind Up Anywhere”
Telephone “Juste un Autre Genre” Daft Punk “Digital Love” Phoenix “Lisztomania” Plastiscines “Loser” Air “La Femme d’Argent”
The Rolling Stones “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” The Kinks “Picture Book” The Smiths “Panic” The Libertines “Boys In the Band”
The Ramones “Beat on the Brat” Blondie “Sunday Girl”
strawberries and cream ● Crepes
à la Roland
Garros ● New
tennis-themed cookies (elenis.com)
The Strokes “Soma” TV on the Radio “Wolf Like Me”
4/30/10 11:14 AM
NE IN THE ZO
Feet First YOU PRACTICE YOUR STROKES. NOW IT’S TIME TO WORK ON YOUR MOVEMENT. BY KEN DEHART IN TENNIS, PERFECT technique means nothing if you can’t get to the ball. Yet players usually spend more time learning how to swing than learning how to move. That’s the wrong approach. You’re only as good as your footwork; without it, you won’t be able to balance yourself before you swing or hit the ball at the ideal contact point, out in front, consistently. The good news? You can practice footwork just like you can practice serves and forehands. Here are five ways to get your feet in shape.
Jump-start. Do 20 jumping jacks, clapping your hands over your head each time. Rest and repeat. This is a great warm-up that stretches most of the key muscles used on the court and gets your heart pumping.
Alley shuffle. Stand in the middle of the doubles alley and shuffle to the left until you cross the alley sideline. Change direction and shuffle right. Keep
going until you have crossed 20 lines. This will build stamina, improve coordination, and make you realize how difficult and important it is to keep your feet moving and take small steps over the course of a match. Try this drill before every practice, and before practice matches, too.
Cone drill. Place six cones around the court at various distances from the baseline, spaced about 3 feet apart. Start at one corner of the baseline and run to the first cone. Shuffle step around it twice with small steps while facing the net. Return to the baseline, run to the second cone, and circle it twice. Continue this until you have circled all the cones. Repeat, starting at the opposite corner of the baseline and circling the cones in the other direction. This will build stamina, help you change directions quickly, and improve your coordination. Like the alley shuffle, this drill should be a consistent part of your practices.
Catch and hit. This drill helps you move to the ball with proper spacing so you don’t stop short of the ball or crowd it. Toss a ball about 4 feet in the air with your non-hitting hand. Get into position to hit the ball with a forehand, but instead of swinging, extend your off arm and catch the ball before it bounces. This is your ideal contact point. Practice dropping it and hitting it to get a feel for the distance. Count them up. The pros average 10 to 12 steps between each shot they hit. How many do you take? Start counting and find out. Once you begin to add more small steps as you move to the ball, you’ll develop better balance and timing. Plus, it’ll be easier to make small adjustments so you can find the perfect contact point. Ken DeHart, a USPTA and PTR Master Professional, is the tennis director of the San Jose Swim & Racquet Club in California.
ILLUSTRATION BY CHRIS WHETZEL
4/29/10 7:42 AM
FACTS,S TATS AND CHAT ON THE JUNIOR GAME
Want to win an NCAA championship one day? Better get in good with a college coach.
FROM TOP: JAY L. CLENDENIN/NCAA PHOTOS/AP IMAGES; DARREN CARROLL/NCAA PHOTOS/AP IMAGES
WHAT DO COLLEGE COACHES WANT? BY SARAH UNKE THE RECRUITMENT PROCESS for college athletics can be complicated and long. How long? Some young tennis players start to get in touch with college coaches as early as their freshman year of high school. But be warned, NCAA recruitment regulations add plenty of twists in the labyrinth leading to a position on a college team. For example, players can contact coaches an unlimited number of times, but, according to NCAA rules, the coaches can’t call back until after the players’ junior years. So if you want to play college tennis, download the NCAA’s Guide for the College-Bound Student-Athlete at ncaastudent.org and study up. “It changes year to year, so you’ve just got to be prepared for anything,” says Claire Pollard, the women’s coach at Northwestern University, a Division I school. “You need to be patient and ride the ups and downs of the process. If you’re not sure where you stand [with a coach], you should ask. You might not get the response you want, but at least you’ll know.” We talked to coaches to shed some light on what they’re looking for.
ACADEMICS First and foremost, coaches need to verify that you’ll fit in at a school academically. “We want to make sure that they’re serious students and are willing to take on the responsibility necessary in the classroom,” says Brian Boland, men’s coach at the No. 1-ranked, 1 ranked, D-I D I University of Virginia. So research colleges and know what you need to shoot for at school and on your SATs, then study hard so you’re not ruled out on an academic basis.
LOVE OF THE GAME We know you love to play, but you better show that to the college coaches who are scouting you. The first question Pollard asks herself about a recruit is, Does she genuinely love playing tennis? ? “It’s It s really hard to figure out,” she says. “But it’s really important at the volume we play.”
weaknesses. And don’t worry about your playing style; just play your game. “When there are a variety of styles on a team, you have the opportunity to practice with players with lots of different styles,” Pollard says. “That can be advantageous.” adv
MATURITY MA EXPERIENCE A proven track record in competition is essential in a recruit. Coaches will look at tournament results and USTA rankings. Pollard tries to find out if players’ best tennis is ahead of them or behind them. “I look at their experience, their results and their progress over the years,” she says. “Are they on the up and up or are they just hanging on?” As far as your tennis, coaches are looking for solid players who have no glaring
Whe you’re being recruited, you better believe When that coaches are doing background checks on you, so m make sure you conduct yourself with class on and off the court. “I talk to private coaches, high school coaches, dig around and find out as much sch possible about the player,” says Jackie Bagwell, as p coach of the top-ranked D-III Amherst College coa women. “I’m looking to get an idea of their wom temperament.” tem You should also be responsive and mature during Y the recruitment process. Act like it’s one big job interview. In other words, be ready to answer tough inte questions when you meet coaches. One definite que no-no: Getting crazy when you visit the team. “If no-n a re recruit acts inappropriately, I’ll hear about it,” Bagwell says. Bag
HARD WORK HA Pos Possibly more than anything, coaches want tenacious players. “I would like someone who loves tena to c compete and is not afraid to challenge himself on a daily basis,” Boland says. “Someone who really can battle through the ups and downs on real court.” The coaches you have worked with will be cou able to tell the recruiters what your work ethic is ab like, li but you can also show it on court by fighting hard h in matches. College coaches also like players who are independent. inde “I want them to stick to their guns,” Bagwell Bag says. “I don’t want them to look to me to tell them everything to do.”
4/28/10 2:25 PM
LAST ISSUE’S WINNER: “Being full of hot air does have its advantages!” —Robin Powell, Hamden, Conn.
“COMING THIS SUMMER: KIM CLIJSTERS IN THE BLOCKBUSTER ALFRED HITCHCOCK THRILLER, THE BIRDS II— THIS TIME IT’S PERSONAL.”
Think you can beat that caption? Take a look at this photo and write your best one-liner. The winner will receive some Fila gear. E-mail email@example.com.
“SMASH” (ISSN 1930-2592) is published 4 times a year (Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter). Vol. 5, No. 2. Copyright © 2010 Miller Publishing LLC. Reproduction without permission is prohibited. Printed in the U.S.A. MANUSCRIPTS AND ART: The Publisher assumes no responsibility for return of unsolicited manuscripts, art, photos, or negatives. SUBSCRIPTIONS: USTA Members (800) 990-8782 or firstname.lastname@example.org. All other subscribers: U.S. and Canada (800) 666-8336, Foreign (515) 247-7569 or email@example.com. SUBSCRIPTION RATES: U.S.A. and Possessions: 6 issues for $9.97. Canada: 6 issues for $15 (includes GST). Foreign: 6 issues for $15. Back issues available for purchase at www.tennis.com. CHANGE OF ADDRESS: Send your magazine label along with your new address to SMASH P.O. Box 5693, Harlan, IA 51593-1193. Please allow eight to twelve weeks for the address change to affect delivery. SUBSCRIPTION PROBLEMS: Write to SMASH P.O. Box 5693, Harlan, IA 51593-1193 and include a label from your latest issue, if available. Address all non-subscription correspondence to SMASH, 1918 Main Street, 3rd Floor, Santa Monica, CA 90405. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to SMASH, P.O. Box 5693, Harlan, IA 51593-1193. Periodical postage paid at New York, NY, and at additional mailing offices.
ART SEITZ; INSET: WILLIAM WEST/AFP/GETTY IMAGES
L L A C L A FIN
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BabolatFPSMsum10.indd 1 Caroline Wozniacki (DEN) - Aeropro Drive racquet - Revenge & VS hybrid strings / Rafael Nadal (SPA) - Aeropro Drive racquet Pro Hurricane Tour string / Dinara SaďŹ na (RUS) - Aero Storm racquet - Pro Hurricane & VS hybrid strings - January 2010.
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