It’s the Grass Court Season and Nicolas Mahut is At It Again
by Jeremy Davis | June 11th, 2015, 4:35 pm
  • 13 Comments

Nicolas Mahut is in the news again — not for playing an 11-hour match at Wimbledon, and certainly not for his 2-4 tour win-loss record entering this week.


Mahut qualified this week at the grass court Topshelf Open in ‘s-Hertogenbosch, and today beat defending champion and No. 3 seed Roberto Bautista Agut 6-2, 6-4 to reach the quarters.

The Frenchman has accomplished virtually nothing at the tour level this year prior to this week, getting out of the first round at a tour-level event for only the first time weeks ago at the French Open.

Is it the better-than-solid serve? The sweet volley? What is it with the 33 year old and grass?

“I’m really happy with how I played, because last year I lost to him in the quarterfinals,” Mahut said. “I played really good tennis and today I played much better than last year.”

Mahut was the title winner at this tournament in 2013. Two years later he is so desperate for rankings points he has to play Challenger-level events just to get into tour-level qualifying at the upper-tier events.

Barely in the Top 100 right now, the Frenchman will have a golden chance at Wimbledon to climb back to a ranking that will regularly get him into tour events, since he has no points to defend from last year, losing first round at the All England Club.

Mahut’s claim to fame is the three-day, 11-hour Wimbledon match in 2010 against John Isner that the American won 6-4, 3-6, 6-7(7), 7-6(3), 70-68. Next month that match will come to life (sort of) on HBO in the form of the comedy-mockumentary “7 Days in Hell” starring former Saturday Night Live alumnus and tennis fan Andy Samberg, and Kit Harington of Game of Thrones.


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13 Comments for It’s the Grass Court Season and Nicolas Mahut is At It Again

Rich Says:

Mahut’s occasional serve-and-volleying and intermittent groundstroking and charging look great on grass, and always have.

This in spite of the fact that the grass is considered to be slower than the US hard courts, plus the Luxilon-ization of the strings, the “heavying” of the balls and the Kalashnikov firepower inherent in today’s graphite/kryptonite racquets.

I think Mahut proves that volleying can still work, because it is the best way to put pressure on one’s opponents, and rob them of time.

Mahut does have great hands, terrific feel and beautiful volleying technique, all of which help him tremendously, but I think Federer, Stepanek, Chardy and even Nadal could emulate Mahut more and become far more effective on grass or hard courts, and stand better chances against the dominating 2-handed backhander baseliners.


chris ford1 Says:

For a brief moment, I thought it was a strange picture of Rafa.


roy Says:

it’s because grass with modern equipment is a surface that often rewards one dimensional tennis players with big serves. the difficulty in breaking levels out the field. if there is one surface that needs 5 sets, it’s grass.


skeezer Says:

“it’s because grass with modern equipment is a surface that often rewards one dimensional tennis players with big serves.”

ROFL.

You need to be an accomplished volleyer, and have skills at the transition game. These are things you don’t need for the simpler game on Clay, which all you need is to learn how to slide.


RZ Says:

Mahut must be getting close to retirement. It’d be nice if he has some good results before then. He seems like a good guy.


M Says:

Love Mahut.

Just wish he’d go all the way and actually win something.


Humble Rafa Says:

Just for the record..real tennis is not played on grass. Grass is for cows. Real men like clay.

Sometimes, universal truths need to be repeated.


skeezer Says:

^so you’re a cow. Your playing on it more than any other time in your career. Strange that now your soooo infactuated on playing a surface that is not “real tennis”.

If its bad comedy, you can count on HR.


roy Says:

”You need to be an accomplished volleyer, and have skills at the transition game. These are things you don’t need for the simpler game on Clay, which all you need is to learn how to slide.”

an accomplished volleyer like roddick? a transition game like novak’s?

you USED to have to have good volleys … before modern racquets.

you might want to explain why the australians want their juniors growing up on clay now, and are phasing out grass, saying clay develops the whole game far more.

finally, even top players admit that grass matches far more often hinge on a handful of points in sets and this proves it levels the field more than other surfaces.

now continue making a fool of yourself in smug fashion.


skeezer Says:

Smug, now that is something I always thought about your posts, so touche.
Roddick’s skillset has won Wimbledon? Roddick hit his big served and …..stepped backwards, hardly ever moving in.
You want to credit racket tech, but the court has changed since 2001, and its not just “racket tech”, as you say. Its basic knowledge, an aggressive game works on a speedy surface, a defensive game on Clay works. When they slowed down the courts, we got pong. At least we are seeing more of a balance now.


Snowbird Says:

Mahut is a natural for grass. It’s a shame he’s not been able to win more on grass, but he’s been very unfortunate to play in the tournaments when the top players were playing for grass tune-up.


KatH Says:

@ Snowbird

Congrats to Mahut he has won !


RZ Says:

Nice win for Mahut!

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