Mats Merkel is a 28 year old tennis coach who works for the adidas player development program. Within this time he has been working with both WTA and ATP World Tour players such as Ana Ivanovic, Caroline Wozniacki, Maria Kirilenko, Fernando Verdasco, Jo Wilfried Tsonga and Andy Murray.
Sony Open: March 30, 2013
The queen of the Sony Open 2013 is Serena Williams.
By beating Maria Sharapova in an amazing three set match she gained the crown in Miami. Congratulations.
Tomorrow Andy Murray will face David Ferrer in the finals. It's been a rough 10 days for the players but the seem to handle it pretty well. It is going to be a great final.
Who do you think will take the title? Murray or Ferrer?
While these two will be battling each other on hard court tournaments on clay have started the qualification already. The season is full on right now and there are tournaments left and right.
I would like to thank you all for reading my blog and I hope I could give you some interesting insights about tennis. Of course it would be great to get some feedback from you!
Again thanks and hopefully until soon!
Sony Open: March 29, 2013
The mens semifinals are being played today.
Will David Ferrer be able to stop the incredible run that Tommy Haas has had at the Sony Open so far?
David Ferrer who is seen as one of the fittest players on the tour. The way he is playing his matches is so physical and he often wears down his opponents.
He is a hard worker not only on the court but also in the gym. I remember seeing him work out and practice after one of his matches he played in Indian Wells.
After his loss against Kevin Anderson he came out early in the mornings and worked on his serve. He had a bucket of balls besides. No coach. No physio.
No one to pick up the balls either. Currently being ranked No.5 in the world everybody gives him a lot of credit for his achievements.
His coach Javier Piles has definitely been one of the milestones in his career. He always seems to be there for him. The interaction between the two is a very warm and friendly one.
David Ferrer adds a lot of value to the game of tennis. I am sure everybody likes to watch him play.
Richard Gasquet who has been working with the Ricardo Piatti, the former coach of Ivan Ljubicic, also travels some weeks with Sebastien Grosjean. They all seem to get along well with each other. Richard will face Andy Murray today in the other semifinals. A must-watch as the other match as well of course. - photo courtesy of Cynthia Lum
Enjoy the tennis and if you happen not to get out there check it out in www.tennistv.com
Sony Open: March 28, 2013
The long tennis trip in the US is close to coming to an end.
It has been a great couple of weeks here and I am very happy to have been a part of this.
photo courtesy of Cynthia Lum
Maria Sharapova is having an incredible run here at both tournaments and she is a true professional through and through. Her dedication towards the game and the commitment to working hard is very special. She works with different kind of trainers which I think is one of the reasons why she always keeps improving.
photo courtesy of Cynthia Lum
Andy Murray who has been teaming up here in Miami with Ivan Lendl again is going strong. He beat Marin Cilic today and will either face Richard Gasquet or Tomas Berdych. Andy is doing a lot of work with his physical trainer Jez Green who in my eyes is one of the best and most knowledgeable guys on the tour. Andy has been working with Jez for many years already and they do have a great relationship.
Many of the other players are now on their way to either another hard court event in Monterrey or to Charleston which is a clay court tournament.
Enjoy the last days of tennis in Miami.
Sony Open: March 27, 2013
What an amazing performance by Tommy Haas! Tennis is a crazy sport. You never know what will happen. Tomorrow the German will face Frenchman Gilles Simon.
Dieter Kindlmann, a former professional has been traveling with Maria Sharapova and her team for a couple of weeks now. He is doing a great job and is very humble person. He and Thomas Högstedt make sure everything is running smoothly and Maria can focus on what she is doing bet at the moment for sure - playing tennis and winning matches. Recently he started a job with the Bavarian tennis federation but of course the federation released Dieter for this exceptional opportunity.
Talking about the maximization of a player’s potential, I think you all agree that Sara Errani and her team are doing a very good job. She and her coach have been working together for a long time, and they have basically done everything from making adjustment on the technique to a racquet change. Not only is she a great singles player, but she and her partner Roberta Vinci also claim the number 1 position on the doubles tour.
Enjoy the tennis and more to come tomorrow.
Sony Open: March 26, 2013
Congrats to Tommy Haas for beating the number 1 on the ATP World Tour Novak Djokovic 6/2 6/4. What a great effort by him! Congratulations!
What a great spectacle today at the match of Agnieszka Radwanska vs Kirsten Flipkens. Check out this video: http://youtu.be/i8KvrhP1DtE
Radwanska won in three sets - 4/6 6/4 6/2 - it was an amazing match! - photo courtesy of Cynthia Lum
I was hitting today as well with a friend of mine. He used to practice at the IMG academy when he was a junior. Adidas has made shirts for players with their names on the back according to the "all in" campaign. Funny enough they also got me some.
Another practice on the clay courts as well with Caroline Wozniacki. Again we worked in the movement. It's getting better and better! Getting ready for the clay!
Enjoy the Tennis.
Sony Open: March 25, 2013
Today I went off site on the clay courts with Caroline Wozniacki and her team. Since most of the players will start playing clay court tournaments we looked for courts in Key Biscayne.
Caroline was working on getting used to sliding again. My colleague Sven Groeneveld did some exercises with her.
We had two sessions with her. Doing drills, hitting lots of balls, 2 on 1s with Jean-René Liznard and I.
Movement on clay is very important and the better you move the better you get in position to hit a good shot. Therefor it's crucial to work on this important part of your game.
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga beat Jako Nieminen today in straight sets. Tsonga who has been working with Roger Rasheed for a couple of months now looks like he is playing very solid tennis at the moment. - Courtesy of Cynthia Lum
He is getting ready to face the German veteran Tommy Haas. What a great effort by him actually! He is playing Top 20 tennis and has had so many good results over the last months!
Enjoy the tennis!
Sony Open: March 24, 2013
First week of Sony Open 2013 draws to close
Hello tennis fans,
Hard to believe but another week is nearly over again.
Yesterday Caroline Wozniacki lost 4-6, 2-6 to Garbine Muguruza. It was a good match. Muguruza played well and fearless and went for her shots. - photo courtesy of Cynthia Lum
I watched the match of Serena Williams against our player Ayumi Morita. Even though there were some great rallies you could feel that Serena was getting more confidence the longer the match lasted. - photo courtesy of Cynthia Lum
Maria Sharapova has a lot if people around her and even has 4 bodyguards when going to and back from the practice courts.
Just now Sorana Cirstea beat Angelique Kerber. She will after this tournament reach her career high ranking.
Enjoy the tennis!
Sony Open: March 23, 2013
Rain, power outages mean long days at Sony Open 2013
Yesterday was a long day on site for me and certainly for many players and their entourage a well. I got to the site at 9am and left at 12:30am at night. It was crazy yesterday with the humidity and the rain that was coming in the evening.
And then there was a power outage as well! During the night session, the lights went off. That actually happened twice. It also happened on center court it happened.
Maria Sharapova on the way to her practice session after a solid and quick win against Eugenie Bouchard.
Andrea Petkovic is on court right now playing against Tomljanovic. She has been playing really well two days ago when beating Bartoli and also today she hopefully will manage to win.
Her countrywoman Angelique Kerber came out to support her as well. Nice to see that sportsmanship!
Enjoy the tennis!
Sony Open: March 22, 2013
Day 4 at the Sony Open 2013
I’m not sure if you know that besides at the Grand Slams on-court coaching is allowed on the WTA Tour. Once a set or during a restroom break or a medical time-out the player is allowed to call her coach on court to seek for advice and get directions.
- photo courtesy of Cynthia Lum
Sorana Cirstea had Darren Cahill as her coach and actually had him come out three times as well. Cirstea beat Silvia Soler-Espinosa in three exciting sets here today. She will now face Angelique Kerber, who won in three sets against Francesca Schiavone 6-7, 6-3, 6-2.
Caroline Wozniacki had a special guest attending her practice session today. Her boyfriend and and golf professional, Rory McIlroy.
Li Na and or coach Carlos Rodrigues were out there practicing as well on her day off.
Enjoy the Tennis.
Sony Open: March 21, 2013
The action starts for seeded WTA players.
Yesterday there was a monsoon-a-like storm. Matches had to be suspended for hours.
In 7 years I have not experienced anything like this here in Miami.
Today is the first day where a part of the seeded players will be starting there matches.
Caroline Wozniacki is warming up for her match later on against Karolina Plikskova a big server.
Former player Jean-René Liznard who is traveling with Caroline still hits the ball very clean.
Sorana Cirstea and Ana Ivanovic had a session together.
Only one session for them because they both play tomorrow.
Grigor Dimitrov who one of the biggest talents out there has been working with the "Good to Great Academy" in Sweden.
The academy is being led by Magnus Norman, Nicklas Kulti and also Mikael Tilström.
Check it if you are interested in it. http://www.goodtogreatworld.com/en/
Enjoy the Tennis!
Hopefully no more monsoon rains coming this week.
Sony Open: March 20, 2013
Top players coming out early too!
Good morning everybody,
The players are coming out early in the morning because this way they escape the heat and more importantly they most likely secure a non-sharing court.
This makes a big difference of course between being 2 or 4 players on court for one hour.
Depending on how early they start try might even get 1,5h. Yesterday I had a practice with Caroline on Centre Court but today even though coming out at 8:30am she didn't get a show court. They were all still wet from cleaning them.
Also Serena Williams didn't get center court coming out at 8:30am. She was practicing out there on one of the regular practice courts with her hitting partner Sascha Bajin and her coach Patrick Mouratoglou.
When I arrived to the site and walked towards the practice court this morning at around 8:15 Kevin Anderson was already hitting them hard. He must have come it at around 7am. Great effort by all of them.
Today is going to be a hot and humid day.
Enjoy the Tennis
Sony Open: March 19, 2013
Tennis pros adjust to Miami playing conditions for Sony Open 2013.
Hello from Miami!
There is a big challenge besides the jet lag that some of the players do fight after traveling from the West Coast to the East Coast: the different climate!
Miami is much more humid than Indian Wells. The balls seem to stay much longer on your strings maybe even stick to them. The courts are a little slower and the balls are sitting up. The timing has to be adjusted, and mostly for players who have gone deep in the tournament in Indian Wells, there is only a short period of time to get ready. But then again the seeded players get to start later in the first week.
It has been raining, so the humidity really starts kicking in, and the balls are bloating up, and the strings lose tension quickly.
Drinking plenty of fluid here in Miami and replenishing the electrolyte storage is an absolute necessity. So always remember to stay hydrated when playing tennis or doing sports in such a climate.
This morning, before a 9 a.m. practice time, the courts had to be dried with machines because they do not dry fast enough without any help from outside.
Ayumi Morita is playing versus Heather Watson. It’s one set all at the moment. Also Laura Robson is out there practicing with Zeljko Krajan (former ATP Top 80 player), her coach.
Enjoy your day.
Greetings from Miami.
BNP Paribas Open: March 17, 2013
The final days of the tournament have started! It’s an amazing feeling to be here sitting wand watching the women’s final now. While the men were playing their semi finals yesterday the women tried to have and easier day by just having a hit getting a sweat going and getting ready for the final today!
You don’t want to play too much before this important match the next day. Also the Physio does everything in order to have the player a 100% ready for the match! The volunteers here are doing an incredible job and the group of gentlemen in the gym and coaches locker area deserve a special thank you!
Nick one of the wardens is a very nice man always taking good care of the players who are coming in working out in the gym! It is great to have these passionate people around.
Tennis is a tough sport if you re not winning. Today Maria Sharapova played an incredible match! Congratulations to her, the champion of the BNP Paribas Open 2013 and her entire team! Here are the ceremony pictures:
Caroline receiving the runner up trophy.
Maria holding her winner speech.
The men's final is about to start and it will certainly be a great match to watch!
I will head to Miami tonight and i am looking forward to another two weeks of great tennis at the east coast.
Tune in because I am also blogging from there.
Good bye from Indian Wells!
BNP Paribas Open: March 16, 2013
Good morning everybody,
I hope you enjoyed the matches yesterday. Tennis is a game that can be quite demanding. Especially on the level it is being played here at the BNP Paribas Open. Tennis has become more physical – being fit enough to play long three set matches and that only once of course!
The players are constantly working on getting fitter and stronger. The young are trying to build up and the “veterans” are trying to maintain and use their experience. After being on the tour for such a long time they know what is good for their body and what works! Having said that physical trainers and physios are more important to the players than ever before.
Being here at the event in the final weekend is always something very very special! Caroline Wozniacki won the tournament in 2011 and that meant a lot to the entire team of course!
Less and less players are still here. Most of them have actually left already or are on their way to Miami.
In the beginning of the tournament it is always very very crowded of course and lots of distractions for all players. The players have commitments to do photo shoots or or have other obligations to their sponsors. This all happens in the beginning. So a lot of action as you can imagine! Making sure you practice enough, do the physical work, get treatment, recover, get all the obligations done and last but for sure not least have some down time and some alone time to relax.
But now it’s quite and the players here can be more relaxed. Of course they are here to win the tournament but having played that many matches the confidence level goes up and the players now have a lot more time to relax and get ready for the next match!
Caroline Wozniacki will face Maria Sharapova in tomorrow’s women’s final and I am very much looking forward to seeing this match. Both are great competitors and love the big stage. I hope they will put on a good match.
Let’s see what will happen with the men’s semifinals today. Nadal won the first set against Berdych. And Djokovic against Del Potro will be an interesting one too!
I met a great friend of mine today who I used to play tournaments with back in Germany. Christoph Müller. He has studied at Houston Rice and has just recently moved to Los Angeles for work. He is here today watching the men’s semifinals. It was great to see him again.
If you can’t come to Indian Wells and watch the matches live tune in on http://www.tennistv.com/, you can follow most of the matches worldwide like this!
Enjoy the tennis!
BNP Paribas Open: March 15, 2013
Today I would like to talk a hit more about how the players are getting ready for their matches on “match day” and what they are doing on a “day off.”
Usually on a day off the player finds another player to hit with to play some points. They warm up and then get a sweat going for about 50-75 minutes. But there are also players like Juan Martin Del Potro who hit with heir coaches or have a hitting partner with them, as Maria Sharapova does, for example. This guarantees they will be able will work on their game without any other player being present.
Del Potro goes out for an easy hit with his coach; he stays relaxed and just makes sure he keeps feeling the ball well and doesn’t lose the timing.
Whereas Sharapova, on her day off, goes to work and has an intense practice with her hitting partner and her coach Thomas Hogstedt.
The job of a hitting partner is basically to be there for the player. Especially on the women’s tour, hitting partners are being hired to travel with the players. It starts with getting organized for the practice (balls, towels, enough liquids) to maybe even booking practice courts or waiting for the schedule to come out for the next day.
When it comes to the hitting, it is quite helpful if the hitting partner can imitate the other players and is able to play all kind of different game styles.
And one of the most important things is to be there FOR the player and help him or her to improve his/her game! If one is there for himself, he might find himself out of a job very quickly.
Caroline Wozniacki has Jean-René Liznard travel with her alongside her father and the adidas player development program (including my colleagues Sven Groeneveld, Darren Cahill and myself).
The communication is also one of the very important parts that need to be taken into consideration when it comes to a team like this. The interaction needs to be smooth and everybody works together in order to help the player achieve the best results possible.
Tomorrow I will reveal some information on the atmosphere and the tension going on in the players area as the tournament end gets closer and closer.
Best and enjoy the tennis!
Consultant to adidas
BNP Paribas Open: March 14, 2013
I guess I was right asking you guys to change plans and come to the Tennis! The Day Session started at 11AM and finished at 9:45PM! If I had to describe it with one word only I would probably use the word: "EPIC"
Whoever was lucky enough to have tickets for the day session also had to make sure to stay hydrated throughout this long day of tennis!
The level of Tennis that was delivered by the players was outstanding!
But before talking about Center court action I would like to focus on an incident that happened on stadium court 2. Andy Murray playing Carlos Berloq was complaining about the grunting of the Argentine after he had been accused of abusing sportsmanship by taking too much time! See the article below:
The grunting topic is more popular on the women's tour.
Murray and Del Potro will far each other in tomorrow night session.
On Center court was "marathon day" :)
Kirilenko vs Kvitova - wooooow! What a Match! Congrats to Maria Kirilenko for her back to back wins against players such as these top players! Maria definitely has the potential to be much higher ranked than she is at the moment! Good luck for the semifinals Maria!
In the meantime Sorana Cirstea did long practice with us and her coach Victor Ionitia joined. He has been working with Sorana for nearly two years. Even though Sorana lost she is doing all the right things to give herself the opportunity to maximize her potential!
Coach of Sorana Cirsta - Victore Ioinita
Roger Federer played a long three-set match against Wawrinka setting up a quarterfinal clash with Rafael Nadal who beat Ernest Gulbis in three sets. It's Ben a long time that these two players have met in the quarters but it is going to be a great match! That's for sure!
Enjoy tomorrow tennis!
BNP Paribas Open: March 13, 2013
Lots of Good Matches going on today!
Novak Djokovic beat Grigor Dimitrov in straight after being down 3/5 in the first set. He won 7/6 6/1.
American Sam Querry beat Marinko Matosevic in three thrilling sets 7/6 6/7 7/5.
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga was strings out there having the edge over Mardy Fish beating him 7/6 7/6.
German last man standing Tommy Haas went all the way to beat Nicolas Almagro 6/3 6/7 7/6. A great result for him! He seems to be on fire!
Then Caroline Wozniacki was getting ready for her match against Nadja Petrova on Center Court.
It was going to be big test for Caroline. But in practice she seemed ready for it!
After he hit she signs some autographs! She is such a nice person as well! Always making sure her fans are happy too!
Caroline won 7/6 6/3. She was down 5/6 and Petrova was serving for the set. Great comeback and a great result!
Andy Murray was on against Yen-Hsun Lu before the match of Caroline. He won in straight sets 6/3 6/3. After his match he was interviewed about his performance.
Tomorrow lots of great matches will be played. Check back soon :)
BNP Paribas Open: March 12, 2013
Congratulations to Andy Murray for winning the Laureus Awards for Breakthrough in 2012! A well deserved title!
Gilles Simon warmed up for his Match against Benoit Paire, he won in three exciting sets.
Roger Federer cruised through his match by beating Ivan Dodig 6/3 6/1.
It was really hot yesterday in the stadium court arena. It felt like the heat was just worse there. Supposedly the temperature is rising day by day. Will be a hot couple of days waiting for us.
Angelique Kerber representing Germany proudly. She won in straight set against Wickmayer but it was a hard fight.
Andy Murray teamed up with his brother Jamie. Unfortunately they lost to Janowicz/Huey. I watched them warm up before their match.
A lot of the players stay here even though they are not in the tournament anymore. One of the reasons is definitely because it is a lot quieter than the upcoming event in Miami. Another reason is that there are so many courts available for the players to practice. Usually once out of the draw the players want to leave but it is a just different here with some of them.
This obviously gives the spectators a chance to see how the players are practicing and why they are working and emphasizing on to prepare for the next event and of course get better!
I had an 8AM practice session with Ayumi Morita and due to the time change two days ago I must admit I really struggled getting out of bed. I usually am an early bird but took me a day to adapt to having an hour less :)
What helped me was that I was not the only early one. Jack Sock was out there again early as well working hard. I am looking forward to seeing him play in Miami next week!
Enjoy the tennis!
BNP Paribas Open: March 11, 2013
Good day tennis fans!
The heat is coming slowly but steadily. Until mid next week it will certainly get close to the 100s.
Most of the morning we spent off site at La Quinta. If the players want to get away from the busy tennis venue they go and have a hit at the courts at La Quinta.
Next to her was American Jack Sock having an extensive practice too. After the practice they took a picture together for the spectators.
Novak Djokovic won in three Sets angainst Fabio Fognini. He dominated the first set 6/0, then lost the second 5/7. The third set was fairly easy again 6/2. The first match for the seeds is not always easy because their opponents have played a round here and are in the competition mode already.
Grigor Dimitrov won in straight sets against Mathew Ebden. Grigor is definitely a player to look out for over the next years! He will be a Grand Slam Contender.
Andy Murray who hasn't played a match since the Australian Open Final in January had a little starting problems but got through!
Then Sorana Cirstea played against Agnieszka Radwanska. She won the first set 7/6 but wasn´t able to maintain that level of tennis.
Radwanska is probably on of the smartest players out there. She is basically playing chess on a tennis court. Always trying to e one or two shots ahead of the opponent.
Can't wait for another day tomorrow!
Better bring some sunscreen and an umbrella tomorrow!
BNP Paribas Open: March 10, 2013
While the players are practicing and getting ready for their next round matches, behind the scenes everyone is getting ready for the expansion of the venue! The work will begin Monday, March 18, right after the finals on Sunday.
A new Stadium 2 court and four additional practice courts will be built, and I think everyone is looking forward to come back next year!
The project is supported by the players of course! For more information click in the link go to the BNP Paribas Open website.
The tournament is great for spectators because you get so close to the athletes like at no other event! You can watch the practices from all kinds of different angles.
Frank Moser, a dear friend from my hometown Baden-Baden, Germany, is here as well. He is actively playing on the doubles tour. A couple of weeks back he won the ATP title in San Jose partnering up with Xavier Malisse. This week his main focus is on Ivo Karlovic, who Franky is helping out from time to time, but he signed up for doubles as an alternate and got in with Victor Hanescu.
Follow him on twitter @frankymoser
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga was practicing. People love him for his personality and the energy he brings on the court!
Andrea Petkovic was out there signing autographs as well. Today she left for San Diego.
By the way if you want to have a very delicious Japanese fusion kind of dinner here around town check out OKURA!
Enjoy the tennis!
BNP Paribas Open: March 9, 2013
Yesterday, it actually turned out to be a sunny day at Indian Wells Tennis Garden. But from 3:30 p.m. on the temperature dropped, and a warm jacket was a good item to have in the bag.
Andy Murray, pictured above, practiced and signed some autographs afterward.
The top 32 seeded players have a later start here because they have a bye here. This means they can practice and prepare a bit longer than the non-seeds. Usually after match day you have a day off. It is a bit like at the Grand Slams.
Maria Kirilenko did warm up on Center Court for her match against Christina McHale that started at 11 a.m. Maria won in close three sets.
The Germans Julia Goerges and Andrea Petkovic practiced together.
Jack Sock lost to the serving monster Ivo Karlovic in three sets. He had two match points in the tie break but unfortunately couldn’t convert.
Roger Federer was practicing again in front of a full house.
Sorana Cirstea had lots of Romanian support during her match against Anabel Medina-Garrigues. She won in three sets.
And then not to forget it was International women’s day yesterday. adidas had prepared something really nice for the girls. The players got a little necklace as a present. Most of them tweeted something about it as well. You can find it on Twitter through @adidaswomen and #mygirls (that is also the writing on the necklace).
And as a funny one Fernando Verdasco jumped in to wish all the women a happy international women’s day, too.
Hope you had a little laugh. Enjoy the day at the tennis.
BNP Paribas Open: March 8, 2013
Movement and Agility
Novak Djokovic definitely has a Master Degree in both. The epic match he had with Stanislas Wawrinka probably was on rod the best matches Tennis has ever seen.
The way these guys are covering the court nowadays and how try are getting from a defensive back into an offensive position is absolutely impressive. Not to even mention the intensity if the game.
Djokovic was practicing with Almagro yesterday and the court was absolutely packed.
Let's hope Rafa will be healthy and will be able to play through until the end of the season.
Tomas Berdych was practicing with Janko Tipsarevic.
Jack Sock and Fernando Verdasco were playing points.
Both players have big forehands and they were moving each other around the court with their heavy topspin shots.
Here you can see Jack with his coach Joakim Nyström.
As you can see the stands were packed. Nobody wanted to miss that session.
They seem to get along quite well and were having a laugh together on the bench after their hit.
Tommy Haas signed some autographs and made lots of fans happy with that.
My colleague Sven Groeneveld and I were watching the match of Daniela Hantuchova. Our good friend Yuri Bettoni joined us. It was freezing out there.
Tomorrow supposedly it shall be very cool so better come prepared and be ready for a windy day in the desert.
BNP Paribas Open: March 7, 2013
Whats the story morning glory is all you can say when entering this paradise! Definitely one of the best tournaments to go to if you want to be at a great venue and if you want to get close to the players.
All the big names have officially arrived now as well.
Tomas Berdych was practicing with his fellow countryman Jan Hajek.
Tomas has a great team around him and he is definitely one of the strongest players on the ATP Tour. The way he uses his legs to get on position is a beauty to watch.
The practice courts are structured in a way that you have an ATP court, then a WTA court, then an ATP court again, and so on in order to have a good variety for the spectators coming to the tennis.
Afterwards her coach Sam Sumyk took her through some drills.
David Ferrer also officially arrived to Indian Wells working hard on court as always.
Jack Sock was on court doing drills with his coach Joakim Nyström from Sweden. The two are getting along very well and i am glad to see Jack doing well. He is definitely one to look out for in the future!
Christina McHale won her night session match against Tsvetana Pironkova in straight sets with a very good performance on Center Court Stadium.
Enjoy your day and tune in again tomorrow
BNP Paribas Open: March 6, 2013
What a stadium!
All players love to be here and love to play in Themis stadium in front of a special crowd here at Indian Wells.
Another early day that began with Sorana Cirstea.
My colleague Sven Groeneveld and I were on court with her together with her full time coach Victor Ionita.
Angelique Kerber came out early again with Torben, her coach.
Torben is a very good player and coach. He always finds a great balance between hitting with Angelique and doing some drills.
Andrea Petkovic was warming up with her coach Petar Popovic getting ready for the match against Monica Puig.
Both players had been to Las Vegas. A bit unfortunate that they had to play against each other that early in the tournament. Monica Puig won the match but it was a very close one!
Ana Ivanovic was hitting as well and seems to be in good shape! Looking forward to seeing here play here. She won't he went in 2008.
She is traveling with Jean-René Liznard a former player.
I am sure it will be another incredible day tomorrow with great matches and players to see practice.
BNP Paribas Open: March 5, 2013
The BNP Paribas Open have unofficially started yesterday. The qualifying matches were going in all day.
The men's main draw event starts Friday an the women's main draw event in Wednesday.
Most of the main draw players do come here nearly a week before they start. Not only because it is so beautiful but also because the facility has a lot to offer. Every year it is improving and people start calling it the 5th Slam.
My first day here started early at 7:30AM with a practice of Ayumi Morita and Sorana Cirstea. I hadn't seen Ayumi and her coach Junichi since the Australian Open. So it was really nice to catch up with them. Ayumi has a new racket that certainly will help her to improve her game further.
(Ayumi on the stretch)
(Sorana setting up her forehand)
Andy Murray had a hit with Richard Gasquet. These two exceptional players attracted a lot if audience.
Angelique Kerber was practicing with her coach Torben Beltz.
Here you can see them on their way to the second practice of the day.
Andrea Petkovic who was in Las Vegas played her first round match of qualies. She beat Yulia Putintseva 6/0 6/3 and was really relieved to have won we first match in 2013!
I am very happy for her! She is a great person and a great tennis player. Hopefully she will be injury free and can get her ranking up to where it should be.
At 5PM I had a hit at La Quinta, a hotel that has courts with the same surface as the Indian Wells Tennis Garden. Lots of players stay there and practice there.
Andy Murray came at 6:30PM with Dani Vallverdu and physical trainer Jez Green doing some movement drills.
All in all the first day was great and I am looking forward to the next day.
January 27, 2013
Victoria Azarenka vs Li Na. Ups and Downs and many breaks during the women's final. What a crazy match with a lucky ending for Vicka! Li Na had a better start into the match winning the first set 6/4. Lots of long rallies and Li Na was up in the second but Azarenka managed to turn it around and take the lead. Li Na went into the corner and rolled her ankle. A very dull moment for everyone out there. Se had to get taped up newly and Alex Stober was watching all that with quite a worried look on his face. Medical time out #1! After 4 minutes the match was continued but with a hesitantly moving Na Li. Azarenka took the second set with 6 games to 3! Then at 2/1 there had to be a 10 minute break due to the fireworks because of Australia Day! The very first rally after that break had a bad end to it again! Going into the backhand corner and landing after a shot Na Li twisted her ankle again and when landing on her back she hit her head on the ground! Medical time out #2 - she had to get her head checked as well! Victoria Azarenka moved her around the court and again won the trophy of the Australian Open! Well done and congratulations to the performance over the past two weeks here in Melbourne!
Now lets move forward to the men's final: Novak Djokovic vs Andy Murray. Congratulations to Novak Djokovic the reigning Australian Open Champion 2013. He has won the tournament now 3 times in a row and has won 21 consecutive matches! Andy Murray had the better start winning he first set 7/6. The second set was very even but in the tie-break Novak had the better end and won the second set 7/6. Then Andy had to get treatment on his right foot. It looked like he had a big blisters. But the way these players move nowadays it is certainly not a surprise that they push themselves to the limits even physically no matter what happens. After that it looked like Novak was able to lift his level and pushing Andy a lot more and making him move around the court. He simply went for a lot more and also took more risk. But he got rewarded for it by winning the third 6/3 and fourth set 6/2! Andre Agassi was handing over the trophies to the two extraordinary players. Novak has been working with the same team for a long time! Marian Vajda has probably been traveling and working with him the longest. He has the coaching position and is a very humble person always there for Novak! Gerhard Gritsch an Austrian is the Physical trainer of Novak. He is helping him to be fit and strong at the same time. Gerhard apparently has a very strict regime. And the Physio who is in charge for the preparation and recovery is called Milan Avanovic, a former basketball player. He is making sure that Novak is able to lunge and stretch into the corner and retrieve balls nobody besides him can! Well done Djoker and well done to the team! I hope you enjoyed reading my daily updates and blogs about what is happening here in Down Under! The next time I will blog I going to be from Indian Wells starting in the beginning of march! Thank you for reading and showing interest! If you want to contact me please do that through Tennis Warehouse Europe! Take care! Mats Merkel
January 26, 2013
That is why I love Tennis! Watching matches like these make my heart laugh! What an epic fight between Roger Federer and Andy Murray! Would you have thought that after serving for the match in the fourth set and not being able to close it out that Andy would still be able to win? It shows how mentally tough you have to was a player! It is not about hitting forehands and backhands! A lot of players can do that! But that show that Andy and Roger put on last night was outstanding! Getting broken at 6/5 in the fourth, loosing the set would have mentally broken a lot of players. You would think that tennis is at its best but then these top guys come out and take it gain to another level! Congratulations to Andy and good luck for the finals! Andy Murray in my eyes is one of the best return players on the tour! When I worked with him through the adidas player development program he would make me serve from the service line in order to train his reflexes! I served as hard as I could at him and he always got his racket at the ball! Even more! He placed the returns as I was serving from the baseline using the speed of my serve to his advantage! From 10 serves I would maybe ace him twice. Absolutely amazing how good his hand eye coordination is! That was back in the beginning of 2011 also here at the Australian Open! Today the women's final will be played and I am very much looking forward to it. I want to see if Victoria Azarenka will be able to defend her title or if Li Na with her experienced new coach will come up with a good strategy! What are you thoughts? Azarenka or Li Na? I hope you are as excited as I am for two great Grad Slam Finals coming up within the next two days! Mats Merkel
January 25, 2013
Only one singles match today at night session: Roger Federer vs Andy Murray. This will for sure be another amazing tennis match at the Australian Open 2013! Roger who has fought off the French thread Jo Wilfried Tsonga in five sets will certainly be alert from the first point. Andy Murray hasn't lost a set so far and is very keen on beating Roger in a Grand Slam finally. Great tennis awaiting us tonight! Yesterday Li Na swept Maria Sharapova off the court with an outstanding performance showing all her qualities! She kept her composure at any time even when being down 00:40. Alex Stober, her physio and physical trainer told me that he believes that Carlos Rodriguez has had a big impact on Na Li's development over the last couple of months leading up to Melbourne. Victoria Azarenka beat Sloane Stephens but the press has been very negative with what Victoria has done during the second set. She was up 6/1 5/3 serving for the match having points and got broken. During changeover she called for a medical timeout getting treatment because of breathing problems. The press has been insinuating that the break was only taken because of anxiety and nervousness. The tournament though apparently has spoken to the doctor who treated her and has confirmed that Azarenka really received treatment when she left the court. The rule for a medical timeout before the opponent serves after the changeover will now be looked at. Sloane Stephens has said in the post match press conference that the medical timeout of Azarenka did not bother her. Anyway lets look ahead and hope for a great women's final on Saturday! Will Azarenka defend her crown or will Chinese tennis star Na Li take the title!? Na Li had an 11am easy gym session at we hotel and will have a practice with her husband (and hitting partner) and coach at 6pm. The juniors semifinals are on today and there are two Australian players in the draw. One already made it to the finals tomorrow. So there is hope for the Australian Grand Slam nation to hopefully have several successful players in the near future and maybe even a Grand Slam contender! Lets see how it will go tonight! Another match I am very much looking forward to! Mats Merkel
January 24, 2013
"I am Fed Up" - that was a slogan a couple had as a print on their shirts. Red shirt with white letters! It is tough to really describe what happened in the match last night between Roger Federer and Jo Tsonga! All I can say is that it was an incredible match! The atmosphere on Rod Laver Arena was unbelievable!
Tsonga, whose warm up I watched yesterday with his coach Roger Rasheed at around 5pm, had a lot if supporters that were shouting to the top of their lungs, cheering for him.
They were battling each other and at 7/6 4/6 7/6 3/6 the fifth set had to decide would be the winner! Roger was able to break Jo early in the fifth set and converted that break through to the end to win the fifth set 6/3!
Well done to Roger and congrats to Jo for a great start into the season 2013! Jo Tsonga and his coach Roger Rasheed will continue to work with each other which I think is great news!
Watch the highlights here: http://www.australianopen.com/en_AU/video/index.html#ooid=tsc2luODrJ8u-wPqP0jK7dYqbNWxNNar
Today the women's semis will be played.
Maria Sharapova facing Li Na and Victoria Azarenka facing Sloane Stephens. I am very much looking forward to seeing how the results will look like at those two matches! I am sure the coaches have done their homework and looked at the statistics a little in order to come up with a strategy or a game plan.
In the meantime I am watching the next generation that is already out there! Now that it slows down the juniors get to play on the big show courts. That is of course an incredible experience for them!
As it is a very hot day today I am also trying to stay cool here :)
The wheelchair players have also started yesterday and there are some exceptional athletes! I admire them for how they are covering the court!
The flexibility and the power they have to have to get to the ball is inexplicable!
Follow them on their website: http://www.itftennis.com/wheelchair/home.aspx
January 23, 2013
As the draw is getting smaller and smaller there are 4 matches today. Two quarterfinals for the women and two for the men. First on Victoria Azarenka vs Svetlana Kuznetsova. A tight first set between the two where Kuznetsova was leading 4/1 but Azarenka came back winning the set 7/5. Then an unexpected result occurred when Serena Williams lost to Sloane Stephens in three sets 6/3 5/7 4/6. A great result for the young and upcoming American tennis talent! Congratulations and best of luck for the next round! Andy Murray cruised into the semis with a win over Jeremy Chardy. Come on Andy! I watched a lot of junior matches today! There are some good players out there but it will take them some time to really appear on the TV screen and play the big tournaments. The average age in the ATP Top 100 is around 27 years which shows how strong the field is and how tough the competition is! After having played the junior events they have to start playing futures and challengers to earn points and get a chance to play qualifications at the smaller tour events. Experience and the years of training are definitely an advantage for the "older" players and give them an edge! So still a long way to go or the juniors who are participating at the junior gran Slams. Some of them will turn pro and others of them will use their tennis to finance their studies and go play college tennis. No matter what they will decide to do - GOOD LUCK!!!!! I had a very nice meeting today with a family that I know from my home town in Germany (Baden-Baden). One of the sons now lives in melbourne and has opened up a business here in Melbourne organising tours around the city. Check it out - http://www.lanternghosttours.com/. Maybe one day you might be in Melbourne and want to do such a tour. Just a couple of moments ago the match between Roger Federer and Jo Wilfried Tsonga has started! I watched Tsonga's warm up earlier today. I am very much looking forward to it especially because I got tickets to the match!Jo has his own fan group here. I am sure it will be an exciting match! Enjoy the tennis! Here the order of play for Day 11 http://www.australianopen.com/en_AU/scores/schedule/schedule16.html Mats Merkel
January 22, 2013
Another great day of tennis today! First, Li Na beat Agnieszka Radwanska in a high level match. A lot of long rallies with the better end for Li Na with a score of 7/5 6/3. The former coach of Justine Henin seems to really have a positive impact on her! Li's husband has been doing a lot of roadwork in the past years especially since Na's former coach Thomas Hogsted switched to work with Maria Sharapova. Carlos Rodriguez, Li Na's current coach, has been with her since shortly before the US OPEN 2012. You can really see that he has certain things he wants his players to do during a match. Li Na is definitely playing more offensive meaning she is going to the net or at least playing a couple of swing volleys after the opponent has been pushed into the corner. Another 5 set match was played by the two Spanish players, Nicolas Almagro and David Ferrer. They were battling each other out there for hours. Almagro was up two sets to love serving for the math at 5/4 in the third but couldn't serve it out. Ferrer grinded his way back into the match to win in five sets 4/6 4/6 7/5 7/6 6/2. Another win for Maria Sharapova against Makarova to move into the semis on Thursday! She won 6/2 6/2. Her hitting partner Vladimir Volthckov was forced to fly home because of an ankle injury. He needs to get treatment on it. Best wishes to him on a fast recovery! Before Ayumi Morita left for the tournament next week in Pattaya we had our last practice session indoors again. We worked on the change of direction. We started this in a cross court ralley first and then switched to a down the line ralley where Ayumi had to change direction. Good luck for Pattaya, Ayumi! It is always important to have a purpose at every practice otherwise better done practice at all because it is a waste of time. Just giving yourself a little but if direction makes a big difference for your practice! At tonight's nightsession Novak Djokovic will face Tomas Berdych. This will for sure be another very interesting match up! Enjoy the tennis and there will be some interesting matches again tomorrow! Here is the link to the schedule of play for day 10: http://bit.ly/8qhMhb Mats Merkel
January 21, 2013
Forget what I wrote yesterday about the Monfils-Simon match! Novak Djokovic and Stanislas Wawrinka Official took it to another level last night! The match lasted 5:02h and they were pushing each other until the very end! A new highlight of the Australian Open 2013 and for sure a great victory for Djokovic but an outstanding performance! Tough day today for Caroline Wozniacki who lost in the third set to Svetlana Kuznetsova. The match took nearly three hours. We actually had a good warm up this morning. But the match started already during the warm up when Kuznetsova came about 20min earlier to warm up behind our court during Caroline's warm up. Victoria Azarenka has cruised into the next round taking out Elena Vesnina 6/1 6/1. Well done! Victoria Azarenka always has some variety in her team! Her coach Sam Sumyk is everywhere with her but she has different fitness coaches and physios depending on where in the world she is. That way she always gets new input an can pick what she likes the most and what is best for her. Happy Birthday to Laura Robson! She turns 19 today! We had a piece of cake together which tasted delicious! Jo Tsonga just went on court facing fellow countryman Richard Gasquet. Lots of French players still in the draw! 11 French players in the top 100 of the ATP. I just had a chat with tennis legend and multiple grand slam champion Mats Wilander. It is always great to see him and catch up with him. Not only because we are namesakes. He is so knowledgable about the game and I truly enjoy speaking to him. I'm watching Sloane Stephens right now play Bojana Jovanovski. Both young up and coming players. Tonight Serena Williams will face Maria Kirilenko (official) at 7pm on Rod Laver Arena. Afterwards Milos Raonic is to play Roger Federer! It will be an exciting night session! Looking forward to it! Hopefully so do you! Mats Merkel
January 20, 2013
Wow! There is one certainty! At every Grand Slam there is at least one match that stays in your mind. So far it is the match between Gael Monfils Tennis and Gilles Simon last night at Hisense Arena. It looked like they were both running out of steam in the second set already. They had such long rallies. The average rally count in their match was 11,5 shots which is very high! The longest rally was 71 shots, believe it or not. At one stage they were both cramping. Monfils couldn't hit forehands anymore and started slicing for a couple of games. In the end Gilles Simon won the match in five sets 6/4 6/4 4/6 1/6 8/6. Simon will now face Andy Murray. 17-Grand Slam titleist Roger Federer beat Bernard Tomic last night in straight sets. He stopped Bernard's winning streak and again showed his class to tennisworld.Caroline Wozniacki had her day off today. We had a practice session at 11am. Since the pre season for 2013 Caroline has hired a fitness trainer who was decathlonist and apparently the second best in Poland. He does a lot of agility work on court and always ones up with new exercises. See below two pictures.We practiced for about 1,5 hours and to finish up Caroline and her dad had a little competition who would be able to throw a tennis ball into the basket. Of course Caroline won ;)Afterwards I caught up with one of my best friends on tour. Alex Stober who I the physical trainer of Li Na.In the beginning of his career he had worked for the ATP World Tour for about 15 years traveling the entire world. Then he worked with Tommy Haas and since 5 years now he has been working with Li Na. I think he has the strongest hands in the world. He sometimes treats me as well and he is one of few people who bring tears into my eyes ;) but he always helped me and he is a well recognised person on the tennis tour. He definitely earned his stripes.He does the warm ups with Li Na and the physical training on tour but also treats her after her matches. These treatments can last up to 2,5 hours. Li Na is playing Julia Goerges at the moment and is leading 7/6 2/0.Tonight Serbian Ana Ivanovic will face Agnieszka Radwanska on Rod Laver Arena. Ana who has a lot of family here in Melbourne can for sure count on plenty of support by her fellow country people. One year my colleague Sven Groeneveld and I were in invited by her family for a traditional lamb BBQ. We enjoyed that meal a lot and we still talk about it nowadays. The juniors have started. That is also one of the things I am doing looking at the next generation. A couple of interesting young players out there. But since tennis is becoming more and more physical it will take these young kids a couple of years until they will show up in the main draw of the Grand Slams. Good luck to them all! Enjoy the tennis. Mats Merkel
January 19, 2013
Day 6 at the Australian Open - time is flying. Before talking about Day 6 I would like to mention the outstanding performance of Maria Sharapova last night against Venus Williams. The way she started the match and also how she handled the pressure when Venus was trying get into the match in the middle of the second set. Maria's hitting partner Vladimir Volthckov actually rolled his ankle earlier this week. So someone had to replace him or at least the hitting. Him and Thomas Hogstedt always travel together with Maria and there is a phyiso/physical trainer (Juan Reque) who is very good. Apparently Maria got him to move for her to Los Angeles. His origin is Spain. Juan does a lot of work with power bands, resistance tubings and also agility bands. Especially in the warm ups. I am looking toward to seeing her play again tomorrow. At 11am I watched Jo Wilfried Tsonga warm up for his match against Kavcic on Margaret Court later on. He was trying rackets with different tensions. It is sunny but not very hot but that can always change. When I was working with Jo he always had 12 rackets newly strung up. Six at a higher tension and six at a lower tension in order to be on the safe side. The match preparation with Caroline Wozniacki was at 12:30 indoors. We were sticking to our routine. That's what players like to do. Yet create routines that they can hold onto. Once the warm up with Caroline was finished it was actually already time to go to the match of Ayumi against Serena Williams at Rod Laver Arena. Ayumi lost 1/6 3/6 but the result does not reflect how the match went at all. Ayumi was leading 3/0 in the second set but then was overwhelmed by Serena who served a 207km/h serve during the match. Jérémy Chardy beat Juan Martin Del Potro in a thrilling 5-set match. He was leading 2 sets to 0 until Delpo started a comeback! At 4/3 in the 5th set Chardy managed to break Del Potro and go up 5/3. He served it out and he deserves a lot of credit for winning this match! Bien fait! Further Tsonga beat Kavcic who was probably still recovering from his 4:45h match against Duckworth. Canadian serving wonder Milos Raonic is 2 sets to 0 up against the German Philipp Kohlschreiber. Gael Monfils and Simon just started their battle on Hisense Arena. I will kick back now and watch Roger Federer vs Tomic. That will be a hell of a match! Looking forward to it! Take care Mats Merkel
January 18, 2013
Hello again everybody! Today it is very cloudy and a lot cooler than yesterday. It is crazy how the temperature drops here in Melbourne. Because the forecast for today was rain many of the players went indoors this morning. So did I with the players I work with here. From 9am to 11am I had a session with Caroline Wozniacki. Her father is her full time coach traveling with her 52 weeks a year. After having warmed up properly we did some work on the serve and return. Most of the players who are still in the tournament don't work too much on their game on their days off. They usually play points with each other. But some of them do work on their game by practicing "Serve and First Shot". The player serve and either the coach feeds them a ball from the other side of the court or tosses a ball being in the player's side of the court. Next to us at 9am Agnieszka Radwanska was warming up for her match on Hisense Arena. She was actually hitting with her sister Ursula. There could be a couple of reasons why she did not warm up on Hisense Arena. Maybe because that specific time slot age wanted had been taken already and she did not want to share the court. Or simply because she wanted to be by herself indoors where no press had access to. Then at 10am number 1 in the world Victoria Azarenka came also indoors making sure to get a hit in without being influenced by the possible forecasted rain. She and her coach Sam Sumyk had organised a hitting partner but in between exercises Sam would always do some drills with her. Also "Serve and First Shot". Tomorrow Ayumi Morita will face Serena Williams. So we spoke a bit about tactics. Serena is a player that many other players are scared off to play. Very powerful game and a good mover for her eight too. It will be a great challenge for Ayumi tomorrow on Rod Laver Arena. Having started into the new season not only with new racket as clothing sponsors (Wilson and Asics) but also a tournament victory in Auckland Gael Monfils has played some high level tennis here so far! Last night he beat Lu in 5 sets. At 7:6 40:15 in the fifth sets he actually served to double faults but still managed to keep his composure an serve it out. He is here without a coach but with a good friend and is in great spirits. Tomorrow he will face fellow countryman Gilles Simon. This will be a battle of total different game styles. Monfils with his powerful sometimes also risky game-style and Simon the typical patient counter puncher. Both are great movers so we can expect some long rallies. Fernando Verdasco, who is going for the Wolverine look, just won the first set 6/4 against South African Kevin Anderson. Fernando probably has one of the biggest forehands on the tour and if he is in good form he is definitely a tough one to stop. Julia Goerges beat Jie Zheng (who had beaten Samantha Stosur here ) in three sets! What a great win for her. She has hired a new physio/physical trainer his name is Damian Prasad, a very knowledgable and professional person. He had worked with german Nicolas Kiefer in the past. Since Sascha Nensel who was Kiefer's coach back then is now with Goerges, Damian's work style was already well known before starting the pre season with Goerges. Well done mate :) Enjoy the tennis and until tomorrow! Here the schedule for Day 6: http://www.australianopen.com/en_AU/scores/schedule/schedule11.html Mats Merkel
January 17, 2013
Rise and Shine to you all on a hot day here at the Australian Open! Supposedly up to 39 degrees today here. So far it's overcast. THE HEAT: Your opponent is not the only problem out there! The sun and the heat are not to be underestimated! If its not match day players try to stay out of the sun as much a possible and try to avoid practicing in the mid day sun/heat. Therefore they try to practice early between 8:30am and 11am. Enjoy day 4 of the Aussie Open and as the Australians say "Good on Ya, mate" ! Order of Play for Day 5 below http://www.australianopen.com/en_AU/scores/schedule/schedule10.html / Mats Merkel
January 16, 2013
Hello all, Today I would also like to speak a little about how the players do get there rackets strung up and who does it for them. There are many different options that the players have: THE OFFICIAL STRINGERS on site done by a big team of approximately 18 stringers. They all use stringing machines from Wilson Tennis. RPNY stringers: They are based in NY as the name says. Their clients are Maria Sharapova and Tomas Berdych and some others. They also do customization of rackets. Link to their website: http://www.rpnytennis.com/ RACKET BRAND stringers: Yonex offers that service to their players but at the Grand Slams only. They sometimes have to string 50 rackets over night for their contracted players. And as a little goodie for the players they also string the coaches rackets - not bad, no? In the end it really comes up to the players what they want. Some of them prefer to be treated special and have the same stringer at ever event. Therefore the companies such P1 or RPNY do have their staff/people travel around the world as well following the tour. In a possibly late starting match American Ryan Harrison will face Novak Djokovic during night session after Venus Williams and Alize Cornet will have finished their match. A very warm and sunny day here today in Melbourne and the heat is coming. For tomorrow the forecast is 39 degrees. Not easy for the players to keep their cool if it is that hot. Better bring some sunscreen! The heat is on! Enjoy the tennis and follow me on twitter for more info - @matsmerkel Mats Merkel / order of play for day for day 4 http://www.australianopen.com/en_AU/scores/schedule/schedule9.html
January 15, 2013
Hello all, Another day here in Melbourne. Yesterday a lot of the Aussies played. They usually get show courts for broadcasting reason and because a lot of fans are showing up for their matches. Upcoming Australian Millman lost to Ito in a five seter. Ebden who recently started working with the tennis legend Peter McNamara lost to Youzhny in five sets as well. Lleyton Hewitt lost to the 8th seed Janko Tipsarevic in a great match on Rod Laver Arena. Ashley Barty (16 years young) lost to Cibulkova in 3 sets - she´s one to watch over the next years! Some tough losses but that's tennis! Today the australian story continues today with young australian hope Bernard Tomic playing during night session at 7pm versus Mayer. As you might now Andy Murray has a very funny entourage. They always have bets going on or pull jokes on each other. This time Physical trainer Jez Green called out Ivan Lendl for a challenge on who would be able to climb more feet on a step master. The loser would have to interrupt Andy's pre tournament press conference and read a short piece that the other had created. See the result below: http://youtu.be/tBQzk4LaGjw ! Someone even created a drawing of Andy as Crocodile Dundee that certainly is worth a laugh. Today Jo Wilfried Tsonga, who I worked with a lot during the last 24 months, has his first round match as well facing fellow countryman Michael Llodra on Hisense Arena. Jo started working with the Australian tennis coach Roger Rasheed in the offseason last year. Looking forward to seeing him play here. Further Top Seeds such as Serena Williams and Roger Federer will be playing their first round matches today as well. Enjoy Day 2 of the Australian Open! For more unfit from Down Under follow me on twitter - @matsmerkel and also have a look at @tenniswarehouse - I send updates there as well. Until tomorrow, Take care mate (as the Aussies say) Mats Merkel I PS order of play for Day 3: http://www.australianopen.com/en_AU/scores/schedule/schedule8.html
January 14, 2013
Today is the first day of the Australian Open, the first Grand Slam of the year. All players participating had some time to get ready for the "hottest" Slam of the year. The temperatures here in Melbourne are actually always varying. It can be hot and sunny up to 30 degrees at 11am when match play begins but it can also be freezing with a cold breeze at around 17 degrees. So the players have to be ready for everything. This morning at 9am Maria Sharapova, last years women's. finalist was warming up at Rod Laver Arena getting ready for her match at 11am which she won impressively against Pouchkova 6/0 6/0. The stadium was empty as you can see. The gates officially open at 10am so spectators have enough time to find a good seat and put on some sunscreen. The Australian Open fans have a very special reputation because they dress up like it is carnival, using different colours of sunscreen for their face. They can be very loud supporters as well. A lot of young and upcoming players are to be watched out for here as the new year starts. The absolute highlight of the day was to see the Australian Open Trophy at Rod Laver Arena. Very special to see it that up close. The link for the order of play is attached below. http://www.australianopen.com/en_AU/scores/schedule/index.html Enjoy the first Day of the Australian and I hope there will be a lot of good matches on TV. Follow me on twitter to get some more information during the entire day: @matsmerkel Have a great day, Mats