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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Kim Clijsters Retires, Becomes Model of Mental Toughness

Kim Clijsters' great career ended today at the 2012 US Open. British 18-year-old, Laura Robson, played an aggressive style to pull off the upset. Too bad it was in front of a small crowd in Arthur Ashe Stadium. More importantly, Clijsters will be remembered as a champion and a great person - and maybe not in that order. So, you can be a great person and competitor. There is no need to be cold or unfriendly to try and intimidate your opponents.

Clijsters' attitude was not always embraced as positively as it is today. Before winning her first Slam many thought Kim was not mentally tough enough. In my opinion that statement does not give credit to the great Justine Henin who often stood in Clijsters' way for a Slam. Kim did get nervous in some early Grand Slam opportunities but she has more than overcome any issues with nerves. And, that is not a knock on Clijsters. The great Roger Federer has admitted dealing with nerves especially early in his career.

Three US Open championships later and Clijsters is now held in high regard as a competitor. It is hard to believe this but the last time Kim lost at the Open was 2003 against Henin. Twenty-two straight matches. Amazing, especially over a nine year span.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Jack Sock Dominant on Day 1 of US Open

On Day 1 of the 2012 US Open the most impressive player on the day had to be Jack Sock of Nebraska. He dominated Florian Mayer the #22 seed and won in straight sets. Sock locked confident and composed throughout the match.

I think my serve was definitely pretty reliable when I was down.  I was down Love‑30 once or twice, down Love‑40 once.  Came up with some good serves, first‑ball combos.  I think that was definitely some turning points, not letting him get a break and not letting him get some momentum back. (from
There has been talk that maybe Sock is not in the greatest shape. John McEnroe talked about it during the telecast. The interesting thing on Monday was that Sock outlasted Mayer who had to retire in the third set. Sock was convincing in the win, and looked the superior player throughout. Could that be due to the injury or fatigue of a long summer for Mayer? Quite possibly. Still, it is difficult to dominate at the professional level. A player has to have weapons to be able to beat seeded players and beat them handily. Sock has a huge serve, can back it up from the baseline and also threw in some serve and volley. His serve helped him keep the momentum on his serve and allowed Mayer very few looks at a break.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Isner Talks About Parental Support in Deuce Magazine

John Isner is the highest-ranked American male tennis player on the ATP tour. He is known for being laid back and a very good sport, and yet, he has a fiery competitive side. This is nice temperament to have for a professional tennis player. Isner competes with the best of the tour, but he also is down-to-earth, good person. John credits his family for helping him become a mature competitor.

In the ATP's Deuce magazine John talked about how his mother supported him during his junior years living in Greensboro, North Carolina.

"My mom was the perfect tennis parent," says Isner. "She was not too demanding, but always supportive. She encouraged me to practise tennis and basketball but she never forced me into any sport." (from John Isner: The Fire Within, Deuce)

Friday, August 24, 2012

10 Reasons the US Open is Must Watch TV

The 2012 US Open is nearly here, but will you be watching? In my opinion there are a multitude of reasons to be watching the Open. Here are 10 reasons why the US Open is "must-watch" TV.

1. Can Serena continue to roll this summer? After winning Wimbledon and the Olympic gold medal, Williams is positioned to pull off one of the most impressive runs in recent history. Serena has been dominant, but she is a fiery competitor and must maintain control better than she did in the last two Opens. Can Serena control her anger and emotions if things are not going her way? Should be interesting to watch.

2. The Top 3 players in the Open draw are battling for supremacy over the 2012 season. With Nadal out, both Djokovic and Federer are posed to win two majors in 2012. If one of these champions is able to win seven matches he will likely secure the #1 ranking for the year as well. Meanwhile, it would be possible for Andy Murray to make a claim for having the best 2012 if he were to win his first Slam at Flushing Meadows. It will make for high drama on the final weekend.

Monday, August 13, 2012

2012 US Open blog starts August 25, Novikov Wins Kalamazoo

On August 25th I will begin blogging about the 2012 US Open the premier tennis event in the United States and the most attended sporting event in the world. Come back to the Tennis Mental Edge blog for match analyses, quotes, and mental game lessons from the world's best as they compete for the last Grand Slam of the year.

Congratulations to 18-year-old Dennis Novikov who won USTA Hard Court Nationals at Kalamazoo by defeating Alexios Halebian 7-6(3), 2-6, 6-3, 6-4 in the final. Novikov receives entry in to the main draw of the US Open and hopefully not in to the waiting arms of one of the top four men!

Serena Williams would seem to be the overwhelming favorite to win the Women's title. In the Men's draw it will be the top four again vying for another Slam. Check back here read about the mental game happening at Flushing Meadows.