Tuesday Mailbag! Li Na, @PseudoFed, Halep

Posted by Brodie under: Mailbag

18 Feb 2014

Every Monday… or Tuesday… I take some of the best questions and give some answers in hope of creating further discussion. If you would like to send in a question, Tweet me (@MindTheRacket) or e-mail me at brodie@mindtheracket.

I think Li Na may end up being a bigger favourite for Roland Garros than we put her out to be. Serena will be there, of course, and as will Sharapova, but clay is not either player’s best surface, and if Li Na is seeded second, she’ll have an excellent chance of never having to play either of them, or at the very least, not having to play Serena before the final. The ball slows down and sits up for her, which she loves, and will give her plenty of time to continue killing that excellent backhand of hers.

She’s never going to win Wimbledon, where she has to spend far too much time digging things out to be able to get on top of the ball and rallies. The US Open? Who knows. Again, if she is seeded in one of the top two places come August, she might be able to get Serena and Azarenka to land in the same half of the draw, which is a huge coup for her. In the meantime, keep a close eye on her draw for Roland Garros.

Who do you think is the real @PseudoFed? (My guess is someone in Andy Murray’s camp, but it sure seems to be someone in the UK.)
Amy C.

Ha, great question! It’s certainly someone in the UK, as all of the times he has seen Fed for “the courtside tweetings”, they’ve been UK events (he also uses English turns of phrases, etc.)

I don’t hear everything, but am decently connected, and have never heard any whispers of him being someone actually involved with a player – my assumption is that he’s just a fan that’s good at what he does. He more or less follows the 3 rules of “winning at the internet”, 1) Post good, original content, 2) Post regularly and at peak times, 3) Interact with your audience. The third one is what really puts the cherry on the cake, with his #humble hashtag, reference to himself as “Me”, and referring to everyone as “fan”. Who doesn’t love getting a “thank you Amy fan”? Some of his blog posts have been absolutely hysterical, as well. @PseudoFed is the Man, and we could all learn at thing or two from him. #humble

I actually don’t think Simona getting a coach makes a massive difference in how she’ll play. Her instincts on court go above and beyond – they’re not something you can teach, at least not in a short period of time. I think getting Wim helps her in a couple of ways. It gets her another pair of eyeballs to help her with technical things in practice – “you’re opening up too quickly on the backhand”, these sorts of things. All humans need this to keep from developing bad habits. From what I’ve ever seen of him, he seems like a pretty cool headed guy, too, which should fit well with Simona. Sometimes, like a boxer, it’s just good for a player to have someone in their box urging them onward.

Good question. The nice thing about Stan’s slam win was that it wasn’t particularly out of nowhere. As tennis fans, we hate irregular results, and Stan was on fire last year, nearly beating Djokovic at the 2013 Australian Open, so when he did it this year, it wasn’t a huge surprise.

It’s certainly a difficult task to jump from, say, number 18 up to the top 8, or in this case the top 5, but if I had to put my money on a player making a solid jump up the rankings, I’d probably go with Kei Nishikori. It feels like Kei has been around forever, but 24 is no longer that old on the tour, and he continues to improve, slowly but surely. Ranked number 15 right now, he has players like Haas, Isner and Fognini above him – players he could certainly pass. Kei is known for his speed and defence, but the more I see of him, the more I love seeing his pure shot making ability. He likes to hit into space and open things up, and is a wildly different player than someone like David Ferrer, for example. That’s not to say that he’ll go on to win a slam next year, or necessarily ever, but I could see him finishing in the top 10 this year, and making a push for the WTFs next year.

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