Archive for the ‘Australian Open’ Category

1 Feb 2016

Brodie and Juan Jose discuss the amazing Kerber upset and what she did well to win her first slam. They also discuss the impressive changes in Raonic’s game, Andy Murray’s endless self babbling and Djokovic’s continuing excellent form.

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29 Jan 2016

milos raonic ao

He could have won. Maybe, he even should have won. And those are the losses that sting the most.

Regardless of the tough loss in five sets to Andy Murray at the Australian Open, the positives from Raonic’s start to the season are overwhelming. Even some of his biggest detractors, those who have perhaps fairly called him boring in the past, have been impressed and enjoyed his run. The improvements aren’t just buzz words like “movement” and “confidence”, they’re noticeable and measurable.

After a horrible 2015, Canadian tennis needed this. But more importantly, the ATP needed this.

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28 Jan 2016

Their 45th meeting. Melbourne. Semifinals. The stage doesn’t get much bigger. Those of us in North America (who were crazy enough) stayed up late or crawled out of bed. Before we could barely get the coffee finished brewing or the tea finished steeping, the first set was over. Still scratching our eyes from what we had seen, and only half way through our coffee, the second set was over.

Federer did well to take out some of the pace in the rallies to give himself more time on the ball, changing the rhythm of the match, forcing some errors out of Djokovic and stealing away the third set. But after a long delay for roof closing, Djokovic got back on course, pushed the pressure back on to Federer, used some insane defence to hit some fantastic shots and was safely through to the final.

The first set really stands out, but at 3:40am, I was barely awake. Let’s go back and explore what the heck Djokovic was doing to dominate the first set in a speedy 22 minutes, 6-1.
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27 Jan 2016

raonic banner

It’s 2016, and Milos Raonic still hasn’t lost.

When Rafael Nadal lost in the first round, Milos Raonic’s section mildly imploded. He’s done wonderfully to build on his title in Brisbane to advance to the semifinals at the Australian Open, defeating Gael Monfils Wednesday night, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4. He’ll join Andy Murray, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic as the final four players in the men’s draw. It’s fitting, because he’s looked like the fourth best player in the world to start 2016.
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26 Jan 2016

djokovic ao nishikori

The Bakery is your one stop shop for quick hitting match reports. Bagels and breadsticks may or may not be included.

Juan Jose and I talked about the crazy, bizarre yet fascinating Djokovic/Simon match at length on the latest podcast. Simon played the perfect match – junk balling, keeping things central, lengthening points and coming up with some crazy backhand winners. Djokovic’s inability to create pace and break down Simon looked troubling, nevermind the fact that he hit 100 unforced errors. Novak was clear that he wouldn’t be tired and had experience being pushed in long matches and being forced the very next day, nevermind two days later.

Nishikori would be a very different proposition. Kei would hit with pace, hit with angles, open up the court and bring the madness. From the get go, Djokovic looked back in his comfort zone.
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24 Jan 2016

Brodie and Juan Jose convene for a Week 1 of the Australian Open megasode. They focus in on the crazy Djokovic/Simon marathon, the ATP drama around Federer and Tomic and the WTA’s intriguing young players and subsequent draw implosion. Finally, Juan Jose shares what he learned from his interview of Boris Becker for his piece at Rolling Stone.

Like the podcast? You can help support the podcast and the blog by contributing to the Patreon campaign. Subscribe on iTunes and Stitcher. Soundcloud link coming, too!

22 Jan 2016



1. Serena’s Health

I was skeptical of Serena’s health and interest going into Melbourne. She seemed grumpy before play had even began, and we’ve seen her bow out of big tournaments early when she gets frustrated and things just aren’t going her way. She was even 3/1 by many odds makers to win the tournament. That seems laughable now, particularly with her draw, and is without a doubt the favourite to win it again.

2. Tsonga/Nishikori

Jo is confident, healthy, and playing well. So healthy that he’s even trying crazy crap like this (on set point, none the less):


Likewise, Nishikori looks healthy and has been going for some big shots on these quick courts. This should be the toast of Sunday (or Saturday night if you’re in North America) and is much watch tennis. The match up is great, too.
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22 Jan 2016


The Bakery is your one stop shop for quick hitting match reports. Bagels and breadsticks may or may not be included.

Grigor Dimitrov is turning into the high draft pick that never quite worked out. Every night you can see flashes of brilliance, signs of what he could be, but unfortunately just can’t quite seem to have everything work out to be a top player.

That was the story of Dimitrov’s Friday night encounter with Federer. We all know there is a bit of a master and padawan relationship between these two. Dimitrov’s shot execution looks eerily similar to Federer’s other than the fact that he’s not Roger Federer. Unfortunately for him, their recent matches have been one way traffic with the final destination being Fedtown.

This time, he came prepared to play. The second set was brilliant. Running around forehands, playing excellent defence, going down the line, mixing in some good net play. It was a recipe to keep Federer guessing and off of his rhythm, and it worked. Roger became irritated with himself late in the set, both after a missed shot coming into net as well as after a poor return decision. He was in a big hole and lost the set. Dimitrov was pumping his fist, pumping the “c’mon!”s and we had ourselves a match.

I hate the word momentum (in sports, I guess it works in a scientific sense). Momentum is often a figment of a fan’s imagination and impossible to quantify. But there is no doubt Dimitrov had the momentum going into the third set.

And then he didn’t.
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20 Jan 2016


2015 was a difficult year for Eugenie Bouchard in a lot of ways, but perhaps the most confusing part was just how awful she could look on court. Depth, power, serve, everything was a mess.

In retrospect, her split with childhood coach Nick Saviano in November of 2014 looks even more confusing. Working her way through a couple of different teams (and Jimmy Connors) in 2015, there was serious discontent in her camp through out the year. The year ended even more horribly with her awful injury at the US Open.

Enter Thomas Hogstedt.

He’s worked with big names including Tommy Haas, Li Na and most famously a three year stint with Maria Sharapova. Would his positive, energetic style be able to get the best out of Eugenie Bouchard? Despite a tough second round loss at the Australian Open to Agnieszka Radwanska, the early signs from 2016 are positive.
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19 Jan 2016


We’ve heard it a million times. When he was a young boy, Uncle Toni switched the right handed Rafael Nadal to play with his left hand to give him an advantage over his typically right handed opponents, not used to playing against left handers. The rest is history.

And so in a rematch of one of the greatest matches in recent memory, Rafael Nadal ran into that very problem himself. A lefty who demolished his patterns of play which normally work so well against right handers.

This match was close. It was very close. Nadal was two points away from winning, and ran out of steam in the final set. This match was really lost for him in the first and fourth sets where he was unable to take control and finish off the set and ultimately the match.

There are a couple of issues with Nadal’s game right now, but for me the most glaring one is his forehand. His inability to really flatten it out consistently and take control of points early in the rally is a problem, and it was an even bigger problem against big hitting Verdasco on quick, hot, Australian courts.
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Mind The Racket Podcast:

Episode 7 – US Open Week 2 Wrap-Up