Murray Tackles Tomic In Brisbane; It’s All French After Federer, Nadal Exit Doha
by Staff | January 6th, 2012, 11:07 pm
  • 72 Comments

And then there was just Andy Murray. The stars of tennis came out for the opening week of the new season and the only big name to reach the weekend was Andy Murray.

Serena Williams slipped and sprained her ankle. Kim Clijsters injured her hip. And today in Doha Roger Federer withdrew and then Rafael Nadal was upset. Leaving Murray as the lone Top 5 player on either tour still competiting.

In a few short hours, Murray will meet Australian phenom Bernard Tomic in the Brisbane semifinals.

The match will also be the courtside debut of Murray’s new coach Ivan Lendl who is expected to be in Andy’s box for this first time contest.

“He’s very unorthodox, very intelligent on court, got a good tennis IQ,” Murray said of sizing up Tomic who in many ways plays like the Scot.

The 19-year-old Tomic, who is appearing in his first career ATP semifinal, is ready for the challenge.

“I have played the other players Roger, Rafa and Novak but I haven’t played him – it is a good opportunity,” Tomic said.

“I am ready. I know I can take sets off these [world top four] guys,” he added. “In a best-of-three match like this … maybe I can pull off a win.”

In the earlier semifinal, another unorthodox player Alexandr Dolgopolov faces No. 2 seed Gilles Simon.

A year ago Simon defeated The Dog in the Sydney quarterfinals.

“He’s a really solid player, I’ll have to be really concentrated and probably have to go a bit to the net because he’s really good at the baseline and doesn’t make mistakes,” said Dolgopolov.

The nighttime Brisbane women’s final features Daniela Hantuchova against Kaia Kanepi.

In Doha, a French champion will be crowned as Gael Monfils and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga square off in the title match Saturday.

Tsonga leads the series 2-1 winning their first two meetings easily at 09 Tokyo and 08 Bangkok, then dropping a three-setter at ’10 Montpellier.

“It’s always really tough to play against Jo because he has a powerful game, the kind of game where it’s tough to manipulate him from the baseline,” Monfils said. “It’s also always tougher to be in a final against a friend. You want to show you’re the best, but sometimes you’re going too fast and sometimes you’re a bit shaky. You have to find a balance.”

Tsonga advanced when Roger Federer withdrew due to a back injury while Monfils scored his second career win over Nadal (both in Doha) today beating the Spaniard 6-3, 6-4.

“I don’t think the match was bad for me,” Nadal said who remains without a title since the French Open. “The second set, I started doing well, doing what I have to do to win a match against him… I didn’t play well at the end the match. I was a little bit unlucky in a few decisive movements. He did better than me and I congratulate him. He’s playing really well.”

The Chennai semifinals tomorrow pit top seed Janko Tipsarevic against surprising Go Soeda. In the second it’s Milos Raonic vs. Nicolas Almagro.


Also Check Out:
Near Perfect Davydenko Foils Federer-Nadal Final in Doha
Murray Eyes Brisbane Repeat Against Baby Federer Dimitrov; Gasquet Opens Season With Doha Title
Murray Needs Three In Debut At Brisbane, Serena Stomps Stephens, Gets Azarenka Tonight; Tomic In Tune
Federer v Nadal in Doha; Brisbane, Chennai, ATP Previews
For The Second Straight Year Victoria Azarenka Withdraws From Dubai

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72 Comments for Murray Tackles Tomic In Brisbane; It’s All French After Federer, Nadal Exit Doha

Michael Says:

I think Federer took the right decision to withdraw. Hope to find him in the best of fitness level at the Australian Open. It is about eight years since Federer last withdrew from a match. That shows the physical fitness of this man all these years. Perhaps age is taking a toll on him. But Federer does know the secret of fitness.


Michael Says:

That mauling by Djokovic in seven important finals have had a huge deleterious effect on Nadal’s confidence level. This has given a huge confidence boost to second line players who never harboured a hope to beat Nadal. Now they know what it takes to beat him and that aura of invincibility that surrounded Nadal has evaporated. Nadal will definitely find the going tough henceforth. Ofcourse he can overcome any crisis but this one is quite serious and may be will have a telling effect on his career achievements in the end.


jane Says:

After Tomic, Murray will me Dolgopolov, who just beat Simon to reach the final.


jane Says:

meet instead of me…


jane Says:

Assuming Murray wins, and I do think he will. But it might be close. Hard to say.


racquet Says:

I hope having Lendl in the box for the 1st time doesn’t affect him in terms of nerves. This match is a very intriguing one.


skeezerweezer Says:

@MIchael,

Well I agree that this year is a test of fortitude for Rafa. Some Rafa fans are hoping its just a slump and he’ll be back. He may. Me thinks most of his issues are in is head. Confidence is a huge weapon, just ask Fed and Djoker. When its on your side your almost unbeatable at this level. But when its not, you can be vulnerable to # 299.

He is playing more close matches with lessor players ( remember Isner at FO? ) who he would have dominated prior, so in Imo its not just Djoker. Rafa cannot come up with a plan B game, so IF players start figuring him out and develop THE game plan to beat him, ala Djoker, well, you all tell me. Its not ALL about what Rafa can do, remember, there is another player across the net and he can determine the outcome also.


jane Says:

Dimitrov just retired in qualifications in Sydney, which is not for the AO (right!?). Hopefully it is nothing serious.


racquet Says:

Murray breaks! 5-3.


Ajet Says:

Talking of the young guys, my favourite is dimitrov by quite a few miles, considering the marvellously brilliant and silky smooth game he plays, but I am not sure of him winning a slam. But I’m sure of Tomic winning slams, the guy has got game, balls and attitude as well as age on his side. Tomic will be the first one to win slams among the most-talked about youngest ones.


jane Says:

And holds to love.


racquet Says:

Andy takes the 1st set 6-3. Serving like a dream at the moment.


jane Says:

The final could be great; however, Dolgo had treatment at one point versus Simon, in which case, if he is injured, he won’t be able to hang with Andy I don’t think.


racquet Says:

Andy breaks 1s game. I hope Dolgo isn’t too injured. Would be such a huge disappointment.


racquet Says:

Okay, thanks. Now Tomic has the trainer out for some foot issue. At this rate the AO will need to set up a casualty ward.


jane Says:

^ Funny. :D But also not, due to its truth element.


Kimmi Says:

Muzza :)


racquet Says:

Double break. Andy to serve for the match 5-2.


jane Says:

Double break, Murray to serve for the match! Not too difficult at all. Something tells me it will be similar versus Dolgo. :)


racquet Says:

Murray wins 6-3 6-2. A very commanding performance. Ivan looks pleased. Tomic is undoubtedly going to be a force though.


Kimmi Says:

Looks like muzza is starting to find his range, after tough first few rounds he is on a roll now. Good luck in the final.


racquet Says:

I think Dolgo is going to be much trickier. Saw his match with Simon and he was very impressive, not making as many wild errors these days.


Colin Says:

Another efficient performance by Andy, who looks in good shape for the AO. Tomic, though, impresses me as having tremendous potential.
Now for some beautiful s-l-e-e-p….zzzzzzz


jane Says:

I didn’t know about this exo, but it could be fun to watch:

“Realising that he needs to play more matches before the year’s first Grand Slam starting on January 16, Murray asked for – and was granted – a one-off appearance at the Kooyong Classic next week. He will play Argentine David Nalbandian in an exhibition match.”


Michael Says:

Skeezer, Rafa won just one tournament last year and ie. French Open. He was in a string of finals in the Masters as well as Majors all lost to a man named Novak. He was lucky in a sense that if Federer had not got the better of Djokovic at French playing his peerless Tennis then I can claim with damning evidence that Novak would have defeated Nadal at the finals. Even for that matter, Federer floundered a good chance in the first set with a missed drop shot. I just felt that Novak was the better player at Madrid and Rome by a mile. And we are now in 2012 and already in Doha, Rafa is showing worrying decline. I do not fancy his chances at the Australian where normally be performs much below par except for 2009 where Federer gifted away the finals to Nadal – a match he should have won. Apart from that he has only a semi-final to show where he was decimated by Tsonga. Therefore, I will be surprised to see a Novak/Federer/Murray-Rafa final at the Australian Open. His best chance once again comes at the French but I think this time Nadal will not be so lucky as Novak is hungry to win that tournament.


jane Says:

Holy crow! The Ref had to step in and break up Fish and Dimitrov during their Hopman match?

“PERTH (Reuters) – American Mardy Fish and Bulgaria’s Grigor Dimitrov had to be separated by the match referee when they squared up to each other during a changeover in a bad-tempered Hopman Cup encounter on Friday.

The pair traded insults throughout their singles match and the mixed doubles before the tie between the two bottom teams in Group A ended with a 2-1 win for Bulgaria over the defending champions.”

http://ca.reuters.com/article/sportsNews/idCATRE80515B20120106


margot Says:

Wog boy: u were right about Andy, cheers. He didn’t defeat himself today. Serving like a dream, 71% :) And no nerves with ITT in the box either. Looks like he’s recaptured the form he had b4 injury last year.
Let the good times roll :)


steve-o Says:

Watching Murray and Tomic I got the sense that I was watching Murray play a younger, less experienced version of himself. Same tricky mix of slices and drop shots, and the backhand down the line seems to be the favorite shot of both men.

Tomic has a better forehand, though–can flatten it out considerably more than Murray. And he doesn’t rely quite as much on counterpunching.


alison hodge Says:

micheal as a fan of rafa im not about to right him of just yet,i keep on hearing how lucky he was at rg last year,lucky to face roger not nole,nole would have beaten rafa, if rafa had faced nole in the final and not roger,nole would have won the calendar grand slam ,is that a gaurantee no,rafa was lucky roger put the ball wide on set point,in that first set,if roger had won that first set the momentum of the game would have been so very different for roger,again no gaurantees these games are played over five sets not just one,whos to say even if roger had won that first set,that rafa would still not have won the final anyway,at the end of the day when alls said and done thats a lot of ifs,buts,would haves, could haves should haves,that dont amount to doodle squat in the real world,are nole and roger to be given credit for something that never even happened,or rafa to be given less credit for something that did happen,sorry end of rant.


Ajet Says:

Best thing to happen for me this year tennis-wise would be a slam each for federer, djokovic, murray and delpotro!

djoko for french in particular and murray for at least one slam, if it happens, would be this year’s highlights!!

murray, i m hopeful of doing it this year. what can be better than murray and djoko aus open final with murray victory!!! :D

may murray win the AO and set the stage for my fanatic rooting for djoko at french, federer at wimb & delpotro at uso!

I won’t mind nadal winning his 1st WTF though! ;)

however, this tsonga is perectly capable of spoiling other’s party at slams and stealing one if things fall his way, as he on his day is too good even for federer! and i like tsonga game very very much!


Ajet Says:

FANTASTIC POST by alison @6.49 am.

Moreover, last year, Rafa wasn’t playing his best tennis ever, while novak was! If Rafa were playing as incredible as Wimbledon 08 or FO 08, then the Wimbledon win wuldn’t come so easily for Nole in just four sets! Believe me, Rafa can play better against Nole than he did last year on clay or on grass, but somehow he didn’t! However, if the fresh hungry determined and absolutely on form Rafa 08 showed at FO 11, then even Nole would have run for cover!
That said, I am not discrediting Nole’s wins over Rafa in anyway, but at the same time I feel it’s pointless to bring up things like what’d have happened if Nole had reached the RG 11 final to take on Nadal; Roger didn’t allow it to happen and Novak couldn’t stop Roger, that’s why calender GS denied to Nole, end of story! If ‘ifs and buts’ are brought in between, then things may get messy and drifted away from reality as the privilege of ‘ifs and buts’ doesn’t lie solely with djokovic, but it extends also to the undisputed duo of federer and nadal, and can be used from even their side! For ex- what if Roger got back to 2006 form, what if Rafa got back to RG 08 form at philippe chatrier, etc. etc..

And the most interesting if case would be: what if djoker faced nadal in RG 11 and lost the first set in a tiebreak UNLUCKILY by a whisker!! ;)


Ajet Says:

And if you guys really ask me, have no faith o these superstitious things like psychic pedictions or luck or destiny, even though I come from India. I had it before, but after what happened to me, I have lost i forever. Now I clearly know that either you do it for yourself and earn it, or you lose it!


Ajet Says:

And if you guys really ask me, I have no faith in these superstitious things like psychic predictions or luck or destiny, even though I come from India. I had it before, but after what happened to me, I have lost it forever. Now I clearly know that either you do it for yourself and earn it, or you lose it! there is no place for ifs and buts in the realms of reality.


alison hodge Says:

thanks ajet i agree its not as if im some fan fanatic airhead,or that i also dont give djokovic the credit he so richly deserves,dont get me wrong i do realize rafa has a problem with nole as does every other player for that matter,and if rafas not the player he was fare enough,you cannot sustain that level forever its impossible,though a realist will see though that something can go either way,not just one way,or the predictable way,thanks again have a good day.


Stella Says:

Rafa’s trouble now seems to be his movement and the fact that his game is pretty one dimensional. The idea with this heavier racquet according to Nadal is not to give him a faster serve but rather to give his serve more depth therefore ( and here I’m surnmising and probably being too simplistic)giving him a longer time to set up for a ROS and avoid the running.
He is aging and has slowed down a bit. He really can’t change much of his game and I’m sure that his team is trying desperately to find a way to keep him in the top 3 for a few more years. If this doesn’t work and it didn’t against Monfils as Gael killed him on those wide shots to his FH and his serve didn’t do any real damage, then he is virtually screwed as far as winning any more GSs except maybe for the FO.
I’m all for wanting this guy to stay around for awhile so let’s hope this tactic works!


grendel Says:

@steve-o 5:04

I too was struck by certain similarities. Agree Tomic has the bettr fh, but not the better running fh. And, as of yet, he lacks that inspired ability Murray has to turn a match around out of nowhere – just when it seems to have been plodding along even-stevens – with some quite outrageous shot. Two things then tend to happen: Murray comes alive and his game picks up sharply, whilst his opponent becomes just a little disconsolate or resigned. I think, too, Murray has better hands at the net. And of course he is much faster.


Wog boy Says:

Third final tomorrow is:

Tipsarevic : Raonic


Kimmi Says:

Milos in the final. he is BACK! hope he wins the title. go milosh


grendel Says:

Monfils breaks in the first game – loses the first point of his own serve, declining to run and attempt to reach the ball – and the players go off. Both seem to have complained about the slipperyness of the white lines.


Ajet Says:

Stella:

Calling Rafa one-dimensional is going a bit too far!


skeezerweezer Says:

@Stella

The heavier weight is suppose to help him also hit his groundtrokes deeper……He recognizes this is a issue. Amd you’re right somewhat, Rafa can change strategies and court position but changing his technique ain’t gonna happen.


Lulu Iberica Says:

Since he took out Rafa in such a spectacular fashion, I hope La Monf wins this title. It’s great to see him playing up to his ability.


Lulu Iberica Says:

Tsonga coming on strong. C’mon Monfils!


margot Says:

Ah shame, Monfils didn’t come out to play today. Much better match yesterday. Tsonga looking very impressive, you gotta say.


Lulu Iberica Says:

Well, congrats to Tsonga on his first Doha title. He played a fantastic few points there at the end to serve it out. It’s gonna be an interesting AO!


jane Says:

Congrats to Tsonga.

Two very interesting finals set up now, between Murray and Dolgo, and between Raonic and Tipsy. I think the older felllas will win both. Tipsy can return quite well, so if he gets a good read on Milos’s serve then I think he will win another title. But who knows? Andy will win over Dolgo.

Does no one think it is strange that Fish got so mad at Dimitrov? and it all remains somewhat of a mystery as to why. It happened during the singles match but is carried into mixed doubles as Fish felt Dimitrov was trying to hit him with the ball or something. There is video of it on you tube. Weird. And then Dimitrov retired at Sydney. Understandable as he must’ve been exhuasted.


Kimmi Says:

missed the final. first match was suspended due to rain..i come back and the match was over.

Congrats to tsonga. I see he is ready now.


Kimmi Says:

jane – that dimitrov/fish incident sounds weird indeed. i would definitely like to know more about it.

I know dimitrov had incident on court before, with umpire i think. Maybe he is a trouble maker kid?


jane Says:

Kimmi, by most accounts, though, in this case it sounds as though Mardy Fish was the angrier, perhaps guiltier, party. Here is one account:

AMERICAN Mardy Fish became the bad boy of the Hopman Cup yesterday after spitting in the direction of Bulgaria’s fans and exchanging heated words with his opponent during a shock straight sets loss to little known world No.76 Grigor Dimitrov, and received an on-court violation for the spitting incident. He then exchanged heated words with Dimitrov at the end of the match. But it didn’t stop there. Fish’s frustrations grew during the mixed doubles, with the American aiming an overhead winner at Dimitrov’s direction before giving the Bulgarian an icy stare. And tempers threatened to boil over later in the match when Fish and Dimitrov again exchanged heated words, with tournament referee Soren Friemel forced to step between the pair to calm them down.

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/sport/fish–goes-off–as-fans-get-under-americans-skin-20120107-1ppbv.html#ixzz1infKGdps


carlo Says:

OH. I didn’t see your post, Jane. Sorry for doubling up on that link.


jane Says:

This account has a little bit more background/context. Sounds like it will just blow over, but odd.

http://blogs.montrealgazette.com/2012/01/06/fish-vs-dimitrov-sharing-the-hopman-love/


carlo Says:

Congratulations to Tsonga! He is looking strong going into AO.


carlo Says:

“…little known world No. 76 Grigor Dimitrov…”

What? I guess they don’t read Tennis-X. Dimitrov is well-known here. Future world No. 1 and Wimbledon Champion, Grigor Dimitrov.


grendel Says:

After Tsonga broke back, Monfils was rarely in the match. I suppose he could have been flat after beating Nadal – but if so, that doesn’t bode well for his AO hopes where, after all, to win you must expect to beat at least two of the very top players.

My impression was this – whereas Monfils can often win using aggression judiciously, this was inadequate against a rampant Tsonga. So eventually, Monfils tried to up the aggression level and it clearly went against the grain – at any rate, he missed again and again with the big shots. Tsonga, on the other hand, is quite capable of putting all his considerable beef behind a shot again and again, till he just wears his opponent down. Sounds simple, put like that – but actually it is demonstrative of very high order skill, particularly since he tends to be pasting the lines.

Tsonga’s defence is also pretty good. He’s got grand slam winner written all over him. His bh is unique, in the sense that when he opts for the one hander, it can be a genuinely aggressive shot, it’s not just a sort of hopeful poke. And in my book, nobody does the delicate half volley close to the net off a very hard ball as well as him, not even Federer.

Fish has form, doesn’t he, on the getting into a barney front. He got very angry with – I think, but wouldn’t swear to – Djokovic in the US Open several years ago, fairly early in the tourney.


jane Says:

“Fish has form, doesn’t he, on the getting into a barney front.”

Pat Cash said sort of the opposite: it’s is precisely because Fish doesn’t have form that caused the tussle, i.e., damaged pride over being routed.

Don’t remember that Fish/Djoko altercation; they are quite friendly now. Pre-beginning of 2007 I wasn’t following Nole though.


grendel Says:

Are we using the word “form” in the same way? I was not talking about tennis form but “form” in the sense that he’s done it before. Like we talk about a person suspected of burglary having form. Definitely Fish got absolutely livid with a player a few years ago, and I think it was Djokovic. Why shouldn’t they be good buddies now? It’s quite natural to blow your top in some circumstances, and in some ways not a bad thing. Clears the air. Whilst put on the smoothie smile, and the hostility has a way of lingering. Of course, Dimitrov too has form, quite a fiery fellow – had a go at an umpire once, didn’t he, off court after the match.

In my above post, I mentioned Tsonga’s superb half-volley off hard hit balls close to the net. That doesn’t really make sense, and is typical of an armchair spectator’s comment. I think to do the half-volley, he must be quite a few feet from the net. Very few players, surely, can really whack the ball tremendously hard(from pretty far back) so that it lands just over the net. The top spin would have to be prodigious, and then some. Anyway. Tsonga also, of course can do the deftest of drop volleys, this time really being close to the net. He’s got a wonderful way of stunning the ball. Monfils looked quite ordinary at the net.

This is the thing about Tsonga – he does everything incredibly well, even his bh, whilst not be compared with the awesome fh, is pretty good these days. Rusedski thinks he’s not quite ready for the final step of winning a slam. One is tempted to retort that Tsonga is a damn sight better than the Rusedski who got to the US Open final. Anyway, Rusedski thinks that to cross that final hurdle, he’ll need a coach. Hope he’s wrong about that.


grendel Says:

Incidentally, if Fish had a go at Dimitrov simply because he, Fish, was playing poorly, then clearly that is not acceptable, and is tantamount to an attempt to pull rank. But the incident a few years ago was quite different, in that Fish believed he was the injured party. Surely someone remembers? Help?


jane Says:

grendel, I knew the form/form thing. I guess I should’ve been clearer. Added irony or something.

I searched for the Fish/Djoko thing and couldn’t find anything. Are you sure it was Nole?


Tennis Vagabond Says:

Fish can be a total dick on court. Remember last year, swearing at the umpire against Tsonga? Again, a case of Tsonga’s fans getting to his head.
The Fish/Roddick friendship seems built on solid ground.
Still, I love his S/V game and enjoy the stoner facade.


jane Says:

I found Fish mad at Rafa for taking a bathroom break, Fish mad at Tsonga/his box during the 5th set USO.

Nole/FIsh did play the USO in 2006, the only match of theirs I haven’t seen. The next was the final of IW 2008 & they hugged at net. Can’t find any dirt on that 06 match but I am curious now.

Weird, because I always thought of Fish as mild mannered and mellow, whereas Roddick was the keyed up one. And now all this stuff about Fish getting angry on court. He must be slipperier about it.


mat4 Says:

@Grendel:

I was expecting more from Tsonga for years. He has a big serve, big forehand, and he has the mentality of a champ.

But, when you look closer at matches he lost, you will notice that his movement is not good enough, and he is vulnerable to a right left strategy.

Usually, his big serve is hiding this weakness, but when he meat a player with a good return, or when he doesn’t serve the way he usually does, it becomes obvious. I can’t remember a good example right now, but some of his matches against Murray could reveal it clearly.

Generally, his game depends very much of his serve, and there could be (I don’t remember well, because I haven’t anywhere near one of his two last matches against Roger, who could remind me on this particular point) a certain lack of strategic variety in his game.


grendel Says:

jane, are you saying that you were drawing attention to Cash’s quite different use of the word “form” – thus Fish (ho,ho) both did and did not have form? Because it didn’t read that way, though maybe I just missed the nuance.

Yes, 2006 sounds right, and, looking it up, I see the score was 7-6 (5), 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 – a tight tussle,clearly, and it was too. My memory these days is about as trustworthy as Sharapova’s smile, even so I’d definitely lay a few bob on Fish’s opponent being Djokovic. The bad feeling was confined to verbals, I believe, expectoration being held in reserve only.

Actually, considering how heated emotions can get, it’s surprising fisticuffs have never been resorted to. (Or have they?) Of course, especially for amateurs(park players), tennis can be a stupendously frustrating game mainly because it’s so damn difficult. Shots which you can perform with ease in your visual imagination,sleek slender drives of cool sophistication which sail low over the net, go floating up in the air as if you were flying a kite. You find it impossible to put away the fat booby you have kindly agreed to give a few tips to, in fact it begins to look as if he might beat you. Certain homicidal feelings come to the fore, and you begin to wonder whether a strategic injury might not be in order.

All in all, I’d say the players on tour wre pretty restrained. Incidentally, Fish and Djokovic hugging at the net is quite in keeping with two players wanting to indicate that any hostility between them is long over. Also, I don’t know about mellow, don’t you think Fish has a sort of anxious, nervy look about him sometimes, on court anyway. I bet he’s smooth as you please on the dance floor when it’s talent hunting time, but a tennis court’s a little different. Just an impression.


jane Says:

Yeah, that’s what I meant. Two different uses of form. But I didn’t point it out clearly enough. I knew what you meant and I knew what Cash meant, thought it kind of funny (not haha funny, but strange funny) that you both used the same word. Sucked at conveying that I guess.

I don’t know why, but I just always took Fish for easy-going. Happy to be under the radar, not one to draw attention, etc. So I am a little surprised about all this. Roddick, yeah, he’s always been a firecracker.

You could be right re: that 2006 match. I didn’t follow Nole until IW/Miami 2007, when he lost to Rafa in the finals (or semis?) at IW and then won Miami, beating Rafa and then Canas (who’d beaten Fed twice in a row!!??). That’s when I started to watch Djokovic’s matches and by the USO that year, I was quite hooked.


grendel Says:

mat4

“you will notice that his movement is not good enough, and he is vulnerable to a right left strategy.”

It’s funny, I didn’t notice today about his movement – though such a heavy man must be restricted. But Monfils, who is pretty good at changing direction (is that what you mean by a”right left strategy”?), found it very difficult to hit through Tsonga. Either Tsonga anticipated really well or perhaps he is just familiar with his friend’s game. But in general, I am impressed with Tsonga’s defence, not something normally highlighted.

“a certain lack of strategic variety in his game.” You’re probably right, but I suspect if Tsonga is on, that doesn’t really matter – he just pounds his way through with his serve and that hammer of a forehand, and not much anybody can do about it. This lack of variety would mean, though, that he has to be near his best – whilst players like the top 4 can win even when playing – by their lights – poorly. Perhaps that is his achilles heel?


mat4 Says:

@Grendel:

When Tsonga is on… we should ask Rafa, shouldn’t we?

Yes, of course, you’re right. When he serves well, earning enough free points, he has enough “confidence” to hit his forehand big, and then it is difficult to keep him at bay. But you don’t serve always well, and sometimes the ball keeps coming back.

A left right strategy – I meant moving the ball around with a lot of change of direction.

I just watch some highlights from the Fed-JWT match at the USO. Highlights are a set of chosen sequences and it doesn’t have to mean much, but even there you can notice how often Jo is not on the ball, or how many times Roger has wrong footed him.

I didn’t watch the match today, and if Tsonga has indeed improved his footwork (and perhaps lost some weight), it would be good news for him.


Tennis Vagabond Says:

Tsonga’s success and promise has never been due to his defense, but having such strong and varied offense without his defense being a liability. Compared to the other big hitters on tour- DelPotro, Soderling, Berdych- Tsonga moves like a panther. (I think we’ll soon be adding Milos to that list by the way).


skeezerweezer Says:

It will be interesting to see where Tsonga lands in the draw at the AO. Top 4 have to be concerned at the very least.


Kimmi Says:

tsonga is landed on federer qtr at last wimbledon and USO. cant remember where he landed at the french..but it looks like federer cant avoid him.


grendel Says:

“Tsonga’s success and promise has never been due to his defense, but having such strong and varied offense without his defense being a liability”

So it’s a matter of emphasis. Everyone knows about Tsonga’s offense, which b.t.w. has been getting dramatically more consistent. But I have been struck over the last few months how difficult it is to pass Tsonga at the base line. To me, this makes his defence a key weapon. He doesn’t use it as some players do, patiently waiting for the error. His defence is actually rather aggressive. Like Nadal, he has the capability of getting awkward shots back with a little oomf on them. Then he can turn defence into offence.

So I would argue that a good defence is an integral part of Tsonga’s equipment – and in fact why he is now so dangerous. If you look at the top 4, they all have superb defences, and that includes Federer though it is unfashionable to say so for some reason.

The defence is the launching pad.

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