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Friday, January 25, 2013

Murray, Djokovic, Stephens, Li Na, Azarenka Breaking New Ground

The Australian Open again is the starting grounds for a new season. And, just maybe the ground breaking to new heights of performance for Andy Murray, Novak Djokovic, Sloane Stephens, Li Na, and Victoria Azarenka.

This Open was supposed to be the continuation of Serena Williams' charge for the Serena Slam. I guess Sloane Stephens got the memo and choose to rewrite history. Stephens bursted on to the scene this week and made a statement that she is going to be a top 10 player and a threat to win a Slam.

Stephens was supposed to be a road bump for Serena. Stephens instead flipped the script on her way to her first Grand Slam semi final. Serena was not 100%; her serve was significantly slower and less impactful in the quarters. Nonetheless, Stephens was able to bounce back down 3-4 in the third set. I love to see that moment where a player reveals their resiliency and confidence at a higher level.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Ferrer, Almagro and the Mental Game at the Australian Open

David Ferrer's 12-0 record versus Nicolas Almagro may have kept Almagro from having his finest day. Almagro was two points from his first Slam semifinal at the Australian Open. Three times Almagro served for the match in the third and fourth sets, and three times Ferrer broke Almagro. Eventually Ferrer won by two breaks in the fifth set.

Is Ferrer Almagro's worst nightmare? Ferrer now is 13-0 versus his fellow Spaniard, and I think that dominance kept Almagro from his first semifinal in a Slam.

Ferrer Defeats Almagro in Grueling Five-Set Match to make Aussie Open Semis (

Just imagine for a moment that you played tennis against someone often, but when you played a match when it mattered they always beat you. Then, at the most important tournament of your life you played them again and you were beating them. How good would it feel? But, the specter of never beating the person reveals itself as you are about to close them out. How emotional would you be? How hard would it be to focus on just hitting the ball?

Monday, January 21, 2013

Djokovic's Self-Belief Runs Deep after 5-Hour Victory over Wawrinka

The well of Novak Djokovic's self-belief runs deep. For the third time in a year Djokovic has won a five-hour match. This time he had to fight back from almost two sets down to defeat Stanislas Wawrinka.

Next you will see some of the post-match interview with Djokovic. His answers reveal the confidence exuding from him, and how his attributions enable to remain confident in such a tough situation.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Baghdatis Headbanged his Way to Victory over Ramos

The more of this kind of energy the better it is for tennis. The energy, the passion of Marcos Baghdatis. In this video Baghdatis is reacting to his fans' chants. I love the energy and just the full engagement in the moment. He is allowing his fans to push him forward in a long, tough match versus Albert Ramos. While headbanging did not propel Baghdatis to his first Grand Slam it is evident why fans love him.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Australian Open Going to Form; Top Seeds Dominant

The first few days of the 2013 Australian Open seem like a replay of 2012. Serena, Vika, Maria are still at the top of the game. Roger, Novak, and Andy are dominating the field again. What is new?

In my previous post I said some questions would be answered at this Slam. With a resounding "yes" Serena Williams has exhibited her commitment to being the best in the world. Serena dropped just two games in the first two rounds, despite turning her ankle. I believe history is pushing Serena to reach this high level of commitment. She can put her name at the top of the women's game all-time with several more successful seasons of winning slams.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Australian Open Blog Posts begin January 15, Early Season Questions to be Answered

The Australian Open is just a few days away now. It feels like a lifetime since the US Open and a major. I will be posting my thoughts on the Australian Open starting January 15.

There are many questions that will be answered in three weeks. Can Serena continue her dominance of the women's game? If she comes out strong in this Aussie Open the field should be concerned for the 2013 season. A motivated Serena is a dominant Serena.

Victoria Azarenka is the defending champion. Can she reassert the dominance she showed early in the 2012 WTA season? How will she handle the pressure of defending a grand slam title for the first time? It will be interesting to watch to see if she plays aggressive, confident tennis or if the moment affects her.

Andy Murray finally broke through winning his first major of his career at the US Open. Can he follow that up with a run to an Aussie title? How will he handle the increased expectations, especially with Nadal out of the tournament?

Can Roger Federer continue to be a factor in the Slams? History would tell us a resounding yes, but at some point he has to slow down, right? And, can Novak Djokovic defend his title at the Aussie Open? Djokovic, to me, is the favorite. Winning this Australian Open will cement Djokovic as the man to beat again in 2013.

Finally, who will breakthrough and have a career-changing tournament? Australian tennis fans have to be excited after Bernard Tomic's victory over Djokovic, especially after a rough 2012. Can Tomic give Australia a hometown hero and a run in to the second week? It is very possible.

In my opinion, the Aussie Open can be full of surprises because it is the first major of the season and it is played in very hot temperatures. The most prepared, professional players are the ones that do well in January. So, with that in mind, do not be surprised if David Ferrer makes a run at the championship. On the women's side I think Angelique Kerber could beat anyone and win a slam. Also, look out for Sam Stosur at her home slam. If she handles the pressure well her aggressive game could carry through to a second slam title.