Sponsored by IMG Academy

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Twelve Observations from US Open; McHale, Dolehide, Kimbell Features; Hewitt vs. Tomic

Friday I'll wrap up the US Open Junior Championships with the boys slideshow; today my Tennis Recruiting Network entry is not my usual synopsis, but a collection of a dozen observations that didn't find their way into the daily zootennis coverage, or twitter.

With so much time writing, watching tennis and talking last week in Flushing Meadows, I missed a few articles that I would normally post.  Scott Price of Sports Illustrated filed this feature on Christina McHale and her experience of playing Maria Sharapova in a second round night match on Arthur Ashe Stadium.  McHale's thigh was inhibiting her movement, so on doctors' advice, she withdrew from the junior championship, but is expected to be back training soon.

Courtney Dolehide also got a taste of the US Open women's main draw, when she and Kristie Ahn were given a wild card into the doubles.  The Hinsdale, Ill. publication Suburban Life filed this lengthy feature on her experience there and in the juniors, where she qualified and reached the second round.  Dolehide made this comment on how high school tennis prepared her for playing at Flushing Meadows:

“It (the U.S. Open) was a different feeling,” she said. “At high school state, one similar aspect was having a huge crowd cheering. I am glad I played high school tennis for three years because it got me prepared for a big crowd. But what was very different was looking to the court next to you and seeing Maria Sharapova playing or looking around and seeing Arthur Ashe Stadium."

The Clark Co. Washington Columbian recently published this story on another dedicated high school tennis participant, three-time Texas state champion Lilly Kimbell, who unlike Dolehide, has not yet decided on the college she will attend.  Listed in the story as possibilities are Florida State, Texas, Georgia, North Carolina and Illinois.

There has been quite a raft of press about boys junior champion Bernard Tomic in Australia.  Darren Walton talks with Nick Bollettieri on why it didn't quite work out for Tomic in Bradenton and with Todd Woodbridge and Bollettieri on Tomic's professional and Grand Slam prospects.  Bollettieri also advocates more independent practice in this story.

Linda Pearce of The Age also discovered that there is a rift between Tomic and Lleyton Hewitt over the junior's lack of interest in serving as a hitting partner this year at Wimbledon.  In this followup story, swine flu is given as the reason, not the insufficient respect perceived by Hewitt and his manager.  I'm not sure why this would take over two months to surface, but Tennis Australia can not be happy about more drama from both the Tomic and Hewitt camps.


Connie said...

Why is it that almost all of the coverage you link to about the international players like Robson, Tomic and Murray is purely negative? Dont you want them to do well or do you think if you post the bad stuff it'll make the American players look better?

Man in the Moon said...

I have a different point of view, or at least concerning the ATP, when you say and I quote " size is overrated and how hard you hit the ball" in your "Observations".

I posted about 2 years ago (emphasis added) that the complexion of Men's Tennis was about to change and named the prototype players ( Murray, Nole, Del Potro, Tsonga, Monfils, Berydch and Cilic) as the reason why.

Height matched (emphasis added) with mobility, power, agility, and variety were going to be the next generation of Men's Tennis. This is something we never have seen before.

Usually the big man never had the other parts of the equation (emphasis added).

As usual, many on this site called it "rubbish" or some other choice words, much the same as my comments concerning Donald Young 3 or 4 years ago.

That is why I say - it is not so important who one is- but what they say.

I have also said it is going to be a very, very tough road for American Men 3 - 4 few years ago to the chagrin of many American followers of tennis, of which I am one.

A look a the top 30 ATP Men's Ranking listing country, age and height will attest to my thoughts.
ht age
1 Federer, Roger (SUI 6.1 28
2 Nadal, Rafael (ESP) 6.1 23
3 Murray, Andy (GBR) 6.3 22
4 Djokovic, Nole (SRB) 6.2 22
5 Del Potro, Jua (ARG) 6.6 20
6 Roddick, Andy (USA) 6.2 27
7 Tsonga, Jo-W (FRA) 6.2 24
8 Davydenko, Nik(RUS) 5.10 28
9 Verdasco, Nando(ESP) 6.2 25
10 Simon, Gilles FRA 5.11 24
11 Soderling, Ro (SWE) 6.4 25
12 Gonzalez, Nando(CHI) 6.0 29
13 Monfils, Gael (FRA) 6.4 23
14 Nalbandian,Dav (ARG) 5.11 27
15 Cilic, Marin (CRO) 6.6 20
16 Robredo, Tommy (ESP) 5.11 27
17 Stepanek,Radek (CZE) 6.1 30
18 Berdych, Tomas (CZE) 6.5 23
19 Ferrer, David (ESP) 5.9 27
20 Haas, Tommy(GER) 6.2 31
21 Ferrero, Juan (ESP) 6.0 29
22 Wawrinka, Stan(SUI) 6.0 24
23 Kohlschreiber,P(GER) 5.10 25
24 Blake, James (USA) 6.1 29
25 Querrey, Sam (USA) 6.6 21
26 Hewitt, Lley (AUS) 5.11 28
27 Mathieu, Paul (FRA) 6.1 27
28 Hanescu, Vic (ROU) 6.6 28
29 Sela, Dudi (ISR) 5.9 24
30 Almagro, Nic (ESP) 6.0 24
31 Karlovic, Ivo (CRO) 6.10 30

Colette or any of the bloggers on this site can do your own analysis, after looking at the above FACTS- concerning HEIGHT, COUNTRY,AGE and type of game each player possess.

And the age in particular is why we Americans (especially on the Men's ) side have a long way to go and btw this bothers me also - however I am a realist.

Rod said...

Isn't almost all coverage of Tomic negative?

I'm hoping the success of Heather Watson will take some pressure off Robson but I doubt it. I think the people who manage Robson have the same philosophy as the people who manage Lindsay Lohan.

Too bad tennis can't do more to protect these young players. Maybe tennis needs to implement a rule where you can only be at a gulag (tennis academy) for X number of years.

Austin said...

Dudi Sela is 5'7" AT MOST. He seriously looks like a tall jockey in person, hes just so fraile. Serena could TKO him in Round 1.

Man in the Moon said...


The heights of the players were taken directly from their profiles.

Frankly, I have stood less than 1 foot from Roddick, many times and he is at least 6.3 or better and he is listed at 6.2.

The same could be said for many pro athletes - sometimes they add or sometimes they subtract.

Sela in the big scheme of things was not the main part of the story anyway.

There is a great deal more to chew on than Sela's lack of height.

BTW Austin you were one of the biggest naysayers about my thoughts concerning Donald Young 3 or 4 years ago.

BTW part 2, gloating is not what it is cracked up to be!!!

statistician said...

To Man on the Moon:

I do not think it is different from any sport then, if you are tall and quick and strong you will do well (well, your odds are better). The better comparison perhaps would be to analyze the ranking/height/age data from year to year going backwards, I suppose we'd find that the younger high ranked players were usually taller - which is the case today; so how did the complexity change?

Do not see the connection though to why Americans have a long way to go.

John said...

Man in the moon.

First, you are breaking Roddick’s bubble standing that close……the guy’s married now so give him some breathing room.

Also, do you really remember who said what 3-4 years ago – wow?!

Finally, your beating your chest about “how right you were” about DY is getting a little old……give yourself a medal but move on…….

Man in the Moon said...

John - I stand corrected I meant 1 yard not one foot -you are right about DY- I will move on

I do remember what I said 3-4 years ago-and Austin and I have been going around on many different points -- I still respect his thoughts, even though we disagree on some things.

Statistician - Johnny Mac, Borg, Edberg, Connors, Andre, Sampras, Courier, Cash were all basically 5.10 -- 6.1 and the big guys back then 6.3 and up did not have the other qualities i.e. Todd Martin(mobile, agile, variety,etc) although he did get better.

and NO, the top players in the past, were all about the same size as everybody else. Even Boris Becker was only 6.2.

Now the big boys have the same type of movement that the smaller players had and are unequivocally much taller.

Mr. Stats - I really wanted you do the analyzing instead of me. I already did my homework.

The reason why USA is in trouble for an extended period of time - the youth of the players in the top 30 are extremely young - especially in the top 10 - 7 of the top 10 are 25 and younger.

And 6 are 24 and under. These top players by nature will continue to get better and already have the experience of being in the top 10 and competing in the grandest and biggest events -while going deep, very deep in the tournament.

Our players (USA) who are that age aren't even close to top 5 or 10 and let's face it -- American's in general don't even know players who are ranked above 5.

Todd Martin, who was as high as 3-5 in the world and nobody (except die hard tennis fans) knew who he was. By Die Hard fans I mean zootennis followers.

So, the current crop of American players on the ATP tour have a very long way to go -- people who are younger like Harrison, etc have many, many miles to go because the top player (under 24) will be in the young Americans way -- meaning in addition to the physical skills - EXPERIENCE TAKES TYPICALLY 2- 3 YEARS for a pro to get his feet wet AT THE HIGHEST LEVEL -- not just playing on the TOUR but breaking the top 5 takes a fair amount of experience.

The point I am trying to make is, players who have ALREADY ACHIEVED TOP 20 RANKING are very young.

If you want to go back and check the ages of players in preceding generations to make comparisons -- go ahead---

But these times are much, much different than before.

come on Mr. Stats -- have a little vision!!!!

Man in the Moon said...


didn't respond to one of your comments--

the word I used was COMPLEXION -- as in " .... that the complexion of Men's Tennis was about to change ......."

not the word COMPLEXITY that you used -as in --"... so how did the complexity change?"

Two different words - two different meaning!!!

please said...

Man in the Moon, Please go on vacation again.

Statistician said...

To MitM:
I did my analysis (see my name), indeed it shows that younger players are taller, and I treat Karlovic as an outlier since he biases the oldest group severely.
But your point is...what? that you were right 3 years ago? that taller guys with mobility and power will do well (duh)? that USA is in trouble (tell me something I do not know...)? that...tennis in US is a marginal sport (see Todd Martin)?
And re: vision...what is yours and what is it a vision of?

Man in the Moon said...

no one is putting a gun to your head to read what I write -- so if you don't like what I write -don't read it-

as far as the vacation goes -- how about I won't tell you when and what to do -

Why don't you just worry about you and not me

enjoy the day!!!

Man in the Moon said...

Mr Stats

(1) in the past young ranked players were not taller than the rest of the players
(2) you were the one who did not see and I quote " the connection why Americans have a long way to go"

put down your numbers - and try to see the trees -- because you can't seem to see the "forest from the trees"

The trick as far as vision goes -- is to see it before it happens -- everybody is a big shot after it happens --

now, everyone says America is in the tank - not so a few years ago-

now everyone says big, quick agile works -- that was not the case in tennis in the preceding generations

you are very typical of math guys

- great looking backwards via numbers -- not so great looking into the future and when the future is here -- you say (duh) -everybody knows that!!!

enjoy this wonderful fall day!!!