Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Latest News from Roland Garros

Andy Roddick became the latest American the crowd of Paris has shown its meanness to, when he retired in the third set of his first-round match against Alberto Martin of Spain at Roland Garros.

He'd sprained ligaments in his left ankle last week and, despite wearing a brace, tweaked it in the eighth game. Early in the third set, the injury began to affect how he landed on his serve. Told he'd have to wait till the end of the set to have his ankle re-taped, he said he couldn't wait that long and retired.

Martin defended Roddick:

I don't like that the crowd boos a player. I wouldn't like it to happen to me. We're professionals here. We come to do our jobs. We try to do our best. It's a bit sad that people boo when you're just doing your job.

Not that Americans (like Roddick, Agassi, and Williams) are the only ones who get it, but the crowd obviously looks for some pretext to do it to an American.

Speaking of which, here's how those accusations of drug use by Lance Armstrong came out.

In decent news:

Venus Williams just defeated Emma Laine of Finland, 7-6 (2), 6-2. Maria Sharapova of Russia defeated Iveta Benesova of the Czech Replublic, 6-4, 6-1. Amelie Mauresmo of France (the #1 seed) defeated Vera Dushevina of Russia, 6-1, 7-6 (5).

In men's play, David Naldandian of Argentina defeated Richard Gasquet of France, 6-2, 3-6, 7-5, 6-0. And Roger Federer of Switzerland defeated Alejandro Falla of Columbia 6-1, 6-4, 6-3.

And this little treat via Pro Tennis Fan and Tennis Buzz:

John McEnroe and Bjorn Borg did some tv ad for a Swedish real estate company called Vasakronan. Funny enough, and in English where it counts. Watch It.
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Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Both-Up Lob Plays

Here's an animated tutorial on
two lob plays you can use in the Both-Up Formation.
Lob Plays for the Both-Up Formation
(347 KB)

The animation will open in a new window.
You can resize it so it doesn't take up extra room on your screen.


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Saturday, May 27, 2006

Bodo on Equal Pay for Equal Work

Peter Bodo writes:

Okay, so Roger Federer had match points against Rafael Nadal in Rome. But whether the match is that close, or one of those occasional love-one-and-love blowouts, it’s obvious that both finalists do an equal amount of work. So, if we assume that tennis is subject to the "equal work deserves equal pay" mantra, why did Nadal earn TK, and TMF a mere?

Just asking. . .

Look out with that there logic, fella.

That's what happens when people grab at straws for an excuse. As Bodo here shows, Wimbledon can't justify paying the women less on the grounds that they do less work.

This isn't labor, paid by the hour. It isn't even a salary. It's prize money.

If you award the women less, you're saying their performance is of less value than the men's. The only way to justify this is to show that the women bring in less money. And that just can't be done.

If Wimbledon ever does prove that, I will bow my head and say, "Right, pay the women less." But the system just isn't set up to guage that. So we have this clutching at straws for an excuse, instead.

On the other hand, if women play fewer rounds than the men, you could justify less prize money in the total purse. But only if each victory -- whether a man's or a woman's victory -- counts as of equal value. But why should the women play fewer rounds than the men? Then you'd have tournaments scaling down the women's draw just to rationalize a smaller purse for them.

Indeed, why should the women play fewer sets? Just to rationalize the old "the-men-do-more-work" line, that's why.

Bottom Line: If you can't prove that the men bring in more money, why not just do the right thing and pay the men and women equally? Why be so loathe to do that?
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Friday, May 26, 2006


I finally figured out how to get this blog to display correctly in Firefox. (It wasn't my code: it was the "float" setting.)
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Thursday, May 25, 2006

TM: Hitting the ball in front - the ego and the inner game approach

By Tomaz Mencinger

Here's a situation from one of my lessons: a player with an extreme western forehand grip wants to improve his forehand.

We've been working around 1 hour per week for the last 2 years. He has made good progress (that's why he still comes back to the lessons I guess :) but his forehand still lacks consistency.

Now we have discussed the inner game approach many times and he is now aware that when is thinking he cannot hit the ball well.

So today I reminded him again that he should hit the ball more in front since his extreme grip needs a much more in-front contact point than a regular forehand.

"Just meet the ball when it's coming to you - don't wait for it - and find your most comfortable contact point." - This is what I told him.

Here's what he understood and tried to achieve:

  • He focused on his body rotation and tried to rotate earlier to get the ball more in front.
  • He focused on his arm to move it more in front so that he'll be able to hit the ball there.
  • He focused on starting his swing earlier so that he would be able to hit the ball more in front.
(He explained this to me after the lesson…)

So he was trying all these things without even me instructing him on that. It was just his (Self 1) idea on how to hit the ball more in front.

Obviously his timing was very off because of all that thinking and he made many mistakes.

I felt somehow that he was trying too much so I stopped playing and mentioned once again that he should just focus on the SPACE in front of him and hit the ball there.

HOW his body will achieve that IS NOT HIS PROBLEM.

Luckily - the word SPACE went through his Self 1 defense and he now focused on hitting THE BALL more in front and he wasn't giving commands to his body anymore.

The results were beautiful - consistent, similar looking shots with good rhythm and pace.

And as soon as he tried to be in control again of what was happening he lost it again.

When I observe these situations I wonder - perhaps this game is "designed" is such a way, that it teaches us to trust our intuition and lose the ego. Perhaps there is much more meaning in playing tennis than just hitting a yellow ball into a big rectangle…

Copyright 2006, Tomaz Mencinger -- all rights reserved worldwide

Tomaz Mencinger is the author of The Mental Manual for Tennis Winners and an athletic consultant who works with nationally ranked juniors at the Benc Sport tennis club in Ljubljana, Slovenia.


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Sunday, May 21, 2006

TM: Those "Easy" Sitters

By Tomaz Mencinger

Just two short questions to question your logic :)

Are sitters easy shots?

Then why do we see so many missed ones?

If they were really easy, we would see one missed sitter in a week. But in reality we see many missed sitters in one match.

Decide for yourself whether sitters are really easy shots.

Enjoy your game!

Copyright 2006, Tomaz Mencinger -- all rights reserved worldwide

Tomaz Mencinger is the author of The Mental Manual for Tennis Winners and an athletic consultant who works with nationally ranked juniors at the Benc Sport tennis club in Ljubljana, Slovenia.

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Friday, May 19, 2006

DW: The Holy Grail of Tennis

You'll love this one. Dave tells me he wrote while hanging upside down in gravity boots. See what a little extra oxygen to the brain can do? --KK

By Dave Winship

It's shamelessly topical to do so, but I must address the issue of the Holy Grail before the trail goes cold. The Grail of which I speak is nothing to do with Mary Magdalene or any other entertaining but ultimately risible hypothesis advanced by the likes of Dan Brown and other descendants of Erich von Daniken (remember Chariots of the Gods?). No, I refer, of course, to the Grand Slam of the four majors - the Australian Open, the French Open, Wimbledon and the US Open - first achieved by Don Budge in 1938. Budge's feat has been replicated by only one man - Rod Laver, in 1962 and again in 1969. Three women have won a Grand Slam - Maureen Connolly in 1953, Margaret Smith Court in 1970 and Steffi Graf in 1988.

An emotional Roger Federer received his Australian Open singles trophy from Laver earlier this year and now only needs to win in Paris to hold all four Grand Slam titles simultaneously. That will be a tremendous achievement, but it will fall short of a Grand Slam in the strictest sense of the term. Federer's name will only appear alongside Budge and Laver in the record books if he wins all four majors within a calendar year.

I don't know if the Merovingian bloodline has found its way into Federer's veins, but his divinity on the tennis court has at any rate been seriously challenged by Rafael Nadal in recent months, especially on clay. The Spanish teenager now boasts a 5-1 lead in their head-to-head series. However, recent scorelines, most notably in the Rome Masters final, suggest that the Swiss has picked up vital clues on his quest. A fifth set tiebreaker was all that separated the pair in their most recent encounter and Federer may well prevail in Paris if they both reach the final, particularly if the conditions are warm and dry.

Close examination of Da Vinci’s "Last Supper" clearly reveals the tentacles of the Flying Spaghetti Monster believed by many to have created the universe. I believe I have empirical evidence that Ilie Nastase is the son of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Bear with me. You will probably be aware that when Nadal takes to the court in the first round of the French Open, he will be attempting to break Guillermo Vilas' record of 53 consecutive wins on clay. What you may not know is that Vilas would have extended that winning streak by another twenty-odd matches but for Nastase's so-called "spaghetti racket". In the final of a tournament in Aix-en-Provence, Vilas stormed off court after being totally bamboozled by the spins produced by Nastase's double-strung racket made of non-intersecting strings on independent planes. The racket had already been outlawed by the tennis authorities but the ban did not come into effect until after the tournament. And so it was that tennis history first became entangled with the great Flying Spaghetti Monster. It only remains for me to wish Noodle, sorry, Nadal, the best of luck.

Copyright 2006, Dave Winship -- all rights reserved worldwide

Dave Winship is an L.T.A. coach at the Caversham Park Tennis Club in Berkshire, England, and the author of magazine at


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Thursday, May 18, 2006

Lob Plays

Switching for lobs in doubles sounds like such a good idea -- till you realize how easily the opposing net player can poach the return of a lob your team switches for. See this animated tutorial on two lob plays you can use to avoid the risk.

Lob Plays for the Up-and-Back Formation
399 KB
The animation will open in a new window. You can resize
it so it doesn't take up extra room on your screen.

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Wednesday, May 17, 2006

The Operation Doubles Connection

See this month's edition of The Opertion Doubles Connection for what's new at

You can sign up to receive this monthly newsletter here.

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Saturday, May 13, 2006

Free Operation Doubles Strategy Guide Update

If you have purchased the OD Strategy Guide, you should receive an email message offering you a free update. The update allows high resolution printing (above 150 dpi). You can select either the regular edition (laid out for printing on 8.5 x 11 inch paper commonly used in the United States) or the International Edition (laid out for printing on the A4 size paper used outside the United States). So, this update is also a good opportunity for those living outside the United States to switch to the International Edition.

If you use the Strategy Guide only on your computer and don't print it, you don't need the update. Nor do you need it if you print at low resolution and already have the edition you want. However, if you purchased in 2004 or early 2005, you may wish to download the update anyway, because there have been a few other improvements since then.

This update replaces only the Strategy Guide itself (the book), not any worksheets or animated demos you may also have received in special offers. The download is about 2.5 MB.

To avoid problems due to too many people downloading at once, these email messages will be sent out in batches between Saturday May 13 and June 15. The download link you receive is TEMPORARY, so don't delay.

If you purchased the book and do not receive this offer by June 15, you can email me for the update. Be sure to supply your purchase information. The order number would be great. But if you don't have it, give the approximate date of purchase and your name and address at the time of purchase. Allow 2-3 weeks for delivery.

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Friday, May 12, 2006

TM: Two handed backhand tips

By Tomaz Mencinger

I've recently had a lesson with a club player who had some problems with his two-handed backhand. Let me explain his problems:

  1. He was gripping the racquet too tightly, his arms were too tense.

  2. Most of the power for his backhand came from his right hand – instead of his left hand and left side of the body.

  3. He didn't follow through-long enough in the direction of his shot. Instead he moved across his body and away from the ball with the racquet, finishing above his opposite shoulder.

  4. His shots landed short as a consequence of his problems, and he also used a lot of energy to play his backhand.
Here's what we worked on:
  1. First he needed to become aware of his tension. When he was, he relaxed a little.

  2. He became aware that his left arm was leading the shot and that it should follow the direction of the ball longer.

  3. He exhaled while hitting the ball to help him become more relaxed and hit more fluidly.

  4. He focused on the word "fast" instead of "hard". Thinking about hitting the ball hard tenses your muscles. Not good.

  5. He adjusted his level of trying: he said that in his opinion his backhand was a level 6 if he rated it from 1 to 10. So he focused on playing his backhand as a level 6 and 7.
After 20 minutes he felt that he could hit a long ball with a lot less effort and a lot more control. And remember – this is not the end. We'll be working on his backhand at least 3 -5 more hours before it will become a little more automatic.

Copyright 2006, Tomaz Mencinger -- all rights reserved worldwide

Tomaz Mencinger is the author of The Mental Manual for Tennis Winners and an athletic consultant who works with nationally ranked juniors at the Benc Sport tennis club in Ljubljana, Slovenia.

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Sunday, May 07, 2006

The Latest Tennis News Roundup

Andre Agassi is planning to play at Queens Club (the Stella Artois Championships) = the Wimbledon warm-up event.

Somebody got their hands on some of Martina Navratilova's Wimbledon tropies and sold them in an online auction last week. Pro Tennis Fan has the story.

Venus Williams defeats Martina Hingis on Clay in Warsaw. Dave over at No Man's Land reports:

What is this 1999 all over again? Definitely not. Although, I bet both Martina and Venus wish it were.

Playing for the first time since 2002 (Hingis leads the series 10-9), these two former World #1s returned to the battlezone this past Wednesday in the second round of the J&S Cup in Warsaw, Poland. Venus and Martina in the second round? Yup!

Dave Winship at On the Line has the following stories:
  • Kim Clijsters wins the J & R Cup in Warsaw
  • Jie Zheng and David Nalbandian win the Estoril Open in Portugal.
  • Olivier Rochus wins the Munich Open.
World number two Kim Clijsters secured her first title of 2006 with a 7-5 6-2 victory over Svetlana Kuznetsova in the final of the J&S Cup in Warsaw. The Belgian, who has had an injury-disrupted start to the season, broke serve four times in the second set.

Parlez-vous francais? If you do, visit the excellent blog Tennis Buzz for some timely posts on the Foro Italico and the Rome Open as well as other interesting posts. If your French is a bit rusty, this Google translation should do the trick.
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Monday, May 01, 2006

In the Tennis Blogoshpere

In Vamos Rafa!, Sean Randall over at The X-Blog writes:

Is there anyone who can beat Rafael Nadal on clay? After last week in Monte Carlo the kid follows up by winning in Barcelona today to up his current clay win streak to 47 straight.

More importantly, he’s placed himself head and shoulders above anyone else on the surface, Sir Roger Federer included.

The Ohio State Buckeyes win the Big 10 Championship in Minneapolis. Collette Lewis gives a brief wrap-up and links to full coverage at Zoo Tennis.

Mr. Topspin has an informative post on How to Call Footfualts over at the FrameShot.

And don't miss Pat Davis' delightful little What-If piece -- an imaginary interview with Roger Federer at Tennis Diary.
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