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Top 13 Signs You're a Tennis Player

If you play tennis, and I mean, really play tennis, then at least one of these will apply to you. Comment below on how many you nodded your head at and tell us what other signs that we might’ve missed.

1. Tan lines

Unless you play indoors 365 days a year, you’ve probably rocked some mean tan lines in your day. For us guys, it’s all about the farmers tan and sock tan. You’ve probably gotten the “why are you still wearing your socks?” line thrown your way before. And for the ladies, if you’re anything like our playtesters, then you’ve had the pleasure of modeling the “I wore 4 different sports bras in 1 weekend” tan line.

Andy Murray proudly supporting his tennis tan.

2. One arm bigger than the other

One handed backhand, two handed backhand, it doesn’t matter. One will look like Arnold Schwartenager from Terminator and the other arm looks like it belongs to Tom Hanks from Castaway.

3. Unusually large amount of tennis clothes and shoes

Take a look in your closet. Do you have only 2 pairs of jeans but 12 pairs of tennis shorts? How about 5 dresses but enough tank/skirt combos and dresses to outfit the entire WTA? And what about shoes? Does this image look familiar?

Shoe collection of a tennis player.

4. You pay per month for the sports package from your cable company but all you really want is the Tennis Channel

Self explanatory. Give me tennis coverage 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. 366 on a leap year.

5. Your backpack has a separate section for tennis racquets

Jansport? Under Armor? Nike? Pssh! Us tennis players, we rock backpacks with Wilson, Head and Babolat on them. You never know when you have to carry a racquet AND be mobile.

6. Tennis balls everywhere

It’s like an infestation of tennis balls. And they are all probably flat too. They go where you go; rolling around in the trunk of your car or underneath your car seats. In your home, they’re scattered about in the garage like the tennis balls are playing the ultimate game of hide and go seek. And don’t tell me if you look in your tennis bag right now, you won’t see anywhere between 3-40 tennis balls.

7. Callouses

These are our battle wounds! A boxer wears a black eye with pride and we tennis players should do the same with our callouses.

These are the hands of a tennis player.

8. Love the smell and sound of a freshly opened can of balls

There are just certain sounds that make your day. A child’s laughter, waves crashing, bacon crisping up, and the sound of a freshly opened can of balls. Same thing goes with the smell. There’s laundry fresh from the dryer, wood burning in a fireplace, bacon crisping up in a pan and the smell of a freshly opened can of balls. Key takeaway: everyone loves opening up a can of balls and bacon.

9. You practice your strokes with or without a racquet

To the untrained eye, and by “untrained eye”, I mean non-tennis player, you look like you escaped from a pysch ward. But we tennis players see you and know that you’re just working on perfecting that forehand or backhand slice. Take “racquet” back -> accelerate -> snap the wrist -> follow through and boom, that imaginary ball just got ripped down the line for a winner!

10. When someone asks how you deal with tension, you think they’re talking about the strings in your racquet

11. Your email address/username has some tennis reference in it

We see that guilty look on your face. Any of these look familiar to you?
10s4ever72@hotmail.com
doublebagel5@gmail.com
Iheart10s@yahoo.com
4hand@aol.com
Six1Six0@gmail.com
dblssux@hotmail.com

12. “Bagels” & “breadsticks” mean more than just doughy little treats.

True tennis players such as yourself know that when someone says they just handed out a bagel and a breadstick, they mean that they just won a match with the utmost of ease, 6-0, 6-1.

13. You shop at TWE

The ultimate equipment website for the players with the ultimate passion for tennis. It’s a match made in heaven.

Any other signs we missed? Comment on Facebook and let us know

Jason, TW

TWE Blog: Customization

What is customization? It’s the art of adjusting a tennis racket to get it to exact specs so you have a racket that helps you play your best tennis. You can do this a variety of ways, for example adding lead tape, replacing pallets, and putting weight inside the handle.

Why do you people do this? Rackets don’t come with exactly the same specs right out of the factory due to variants that arise from the production process and the nature of the substances used. As well as this, a lot of people, especially the pros, are looking for something a little different than the traditional frame can offer them – such as a little more power, a different balance, a higher swingweight. Customization allows them to create the exact weapon they want.

A good comparison is buying a new suit. You can often find a good fit right off the rack, but with a little tailoring the suit will fit even better!

Do you remember early 2012 when Rafa Nadal returned to the tour in Doha and revealed that they added some weight to his racket? He had added three more grams on the top of the racket.

Why did Rafa do this? Well by putting this extra three grams to the head of his racket, he’s looking to add a little more to his game by adjusting it to suit his personal needs and style of tennis. By creating a more head heavy frame the racket will fly through the air a bit faster adding a little more to his serve, and allowing him to hit the ball a little bit longer with less effort. This in turn helps him to play more aggressively and making it easier for him to hit winners.

As a matter of fact, most pros do this. Here is more evidence that you can spot on Novak Djokovic's HEAD YOUTEK IG Speed Pro Racket:

(Courtesy of Cynthia Lum)

Can you spot the silver stripes of lead on the inside of the frame? The most common customizations include modifying the racquet’s weight, balance or swing weight. The pros play tennis for a living, so it’s not surprising that they recognize how important it is to have the right equipment so they can play their very best.

(Courtesy of Cynthia Lum)

Is it possible that racquet customization could elevate your tennis to a new level? The answer to that question is a definite yes. Racket customization probably won’t get most weekend warriors and club level players ready for the pro tour, but it just might give you an edge over your opponent at your next league or tournament match.

So, why not give it a try? We have a great tutorial on customization available for you RIGHT HERE.

We also have almost all the materials you need to start customizing your own rackets, available on our website, just on CLICK HERE and check them out.

Thanks for reading,

Stefan & the TWE Team

How To Choose Your Tennis Shoes: Tennis Warehouse Europe explains how to find the right shoe for you!

In tennis, contact with the ground is a key element in the movements, and also in the energy transmission. For this reason it is really important to choose a pair of shoes that are suitable for the surface on which we play. We will use the four Grand Slam surfaces as reference, including the one that just finished: the US Open.

Which sole is suitable for the US Open?

Hard courts (DecoTurf , resin, Taraflex... ): Australian Open / US Open

Hard surfaces have a very good grip (the more clean they are, the better the grip will be good). While we don’t want to slide on the court, the sole pattern doesn’t need to be streaked or grooved for an intense grip. The sole for hardcourts is smoother with slight ridges so that the player won’t get stuck on the court and risk an ankle sprain – it’s important to protect your ankle during counter-attacks or quick stops.

The shoes for hard court surfaces are often equipped with a cushioning system on the sole (air, gel etc.) to avoid the trauma of the joints and spine from repetitive impacts and the violence shocks.

Here are some of the most used shoes at the U.S. Open during the last week:

The winning shoe among the players competing at the US Open the last week is:

1. adidas Barricade 8
Worn by: Mikhail Youzhny

2. Nike Zoom 9
Worn by: Roger Federer

3. Nike Court Ballistec 4.3
Worn by: Rafa Nadal

On the women’s side:

Nike largely deserves the first place with the:

1. Zoom vapor 9
Worn by: Victoria Azarenka and Roberta Vinci

2. Nike Courtlite 3
Worn by: Serena Williams

3. Nike Zoom Breathe Free II
Worn by: Li Na

Clay courts: French Open

Clay is a soft surface, so it offers only low energy returns on contact with the ground. In addition, the fact that the player can slide, avoids increased violent shocks when running and stopping quickly. If, on one side, these slides are less traumatic in the fast changes of direction, on the other side the shoe should offer a perfect grip to the player.

The sole of the shoe has what we call “herringbone pattern”, which will give the necessary grip expelling the clay without it being caught in the sole.

If you regularly play tennis on clay, a cushioning system will be necessary; but if this is not the case, the flexibility of the surface does not necessarily require this kind of technology.

Grass courts: Wimbledon

Grass requires a sole that can provide plenty of grip, and is a very fragile surface even if very comfortable.

You won’t need a "scratched" effect on this surface, but rather seek a "suction" effect with a flat sole made of small nubs joined together (similar to soccer shoes but smaller).

Hope that helps you understand the different surfaces and the shoes that work best on them. If you have any more questions make sure to contact our customer service line on: +44 844 499 0807 (enter your country's phone number) or email at: (enter email) info@tenniswarehouse-europe.com.

Thanks!

Mel & the TWE Team

Final days: US Open 2013

It’s finally over! The US Open 2013 has come to an end and Rafa has been crowned king.

(Courtesy of Cynthia Lum)

Did you watch the final?

For a guy out with a knee injury, Rafa sure did come out firing this tournament and the same can be said for the final. After a 3-hour, 21-minute battle, No. 2 Nadal stomped out No. 1 Djokovic 6-2, 3-6, 6-4, 6-1.

(Courtesy of Cynthia Lum)

“Very, very emotional, no?” Nadal said during the trophy presentation. “Probably only my team knows how much (this) means for me.”

(Courtesy of Cynthia Lum)

About Djokovic he said, “Probably nobody brings my game to the limit like Novak.”

Was it worth the trouble for Nadal? Well, the $3.6 million in prize money, including a $1 million bonus for results during the North American hard-court circuit makes the win very sweet indeed!

Earlier in the week Djokovic talked about playing Nadal, saying, “It’s always the biggest challenge that you can have in our sport now. I mean, he’s the ultimate competitor out there. He’s fighting for every ball and he’s playing probably the best tennis that he ever played on hard courts.”

He continued with compliments after his final loss, saying, “He was too good. He definitely deserved to win this match today and this trophy. Obviously disappointing to lose a match like this.”

Some statistics for Nadal:

-22-0 on hard courts in 2013
-60-3 overall in 2013
-9 titles in 2013
Nadal won 22 of 37 matches against Djokovic – These 37 matches are the most played between any two men in the Open Era. – In the last four years, it is their third head-to-head US Open final, with Nadal beating Djokovic in 2010 and Djokovic coming back for the win in 2011.
-13 majors won (3rd, behind Sampras at 14 and Federer at 17)

(Courtesy of Cynthia Lum)

Thanks for reading our US Open blog, and keep an eye out for our continued blogging covering various tennis and product topics of interest!

Over and out!

Siobhan & the TWE Team

US Open 2013: Final days

Women´s final:

Congratulations Serena Williams! On Sunday Serena defeated Victoria Azarenka 7:5, 6:7, 6:1 and captured her fifth US Open title and her 17th Grand Slam title. Serena was on a mission at this year´s US Open because she only had won one Grand Slam in 2013!

"I felt almost disappointed with my year, to be honest. I felt like, yeah, I won the French Open, but I wasn’t happy with my performances in the other two slams, and, you know, not even making it to the quarterfinals of one. So I definitely feel a lot better with at least a second Grand Slam under my belt this year."

(Courtesy of Cynthia Lum)

Men´s final preview: Rafa Nadal vs Novak Djokovic!

Overall statistics:

This will be their 37th meeting and their 17th meeting in a final; 6 of them in Grand Slam finals. Rafa Nadal leads 21-15, but Djokovic has won 3 out of their 5 Grand Slam finals.

What are the players saying?

Maybe that is the reason for Rafa saying: "I prefer to play against another one (smiling), but is what it is. At the end, well, we have to be honest, no? We don’t have to be stupid. (laughter). Talking about a final, I want to play against a player that I have more chances to win. But I play against him."

(Courtesy of Cynthia Lum)

Novak Djokovic, on the other hand, also shows a lot of respect for Rafa: ”[Facing Nadal is] always the biggest challenge that you can have in our sport now. He’s the ultimate competitor out there. He’s fighting for every ball and he’s playing probably the best tennis that he ever played on hard courts.”

(Courtesy of Cynthia Lum)

US Open statistics:

Novak´s first serve percentage is at 69%. 1st serve points 74% and 2nd serve points 61%. Novak lost his serve 10 times. Rafa: First serve percentage of 67%, 1st serve points 80% and 2nd serve points 64%. Rafa lost his service only once throughout the US Open!

Both players have a total of 206 winners, with Nadal committing 130 unforced errors and Djokovic 167. Both players have spent nearly 13 hours on court at this point. (Novak 12:55, Rafa 12:59)

Did you know that the winner of the opening set has won 10 out of their 11 last matches?

Who is your pick? Rafa Nadal or Novak Djokovic?

Enjoy the tennis!

Stefan & the TWE Team!

US Open 2013: Day 11

We're in semi-final season now!!! Let's check out what's been happening:

On the women's side, the match up of Serena Williams vs. Na Li and Flavia Pennetta vs. Azarenka leave two options: an obvious final or an underdog match-up!

While it would be easy to state the obvious with a Williams vs. Azarenka final, part of me is really hoping that I'll see something different. While Na Li has been playing strongly, she's going to have to step it up even more to take out the queen of tennis Serena Williams, and while it would be great to Pennetta stepping up to get into a grand slam final, Azarenka is still a force to be reckoned with.

(Courtesy of Cynthia Lum)

In the men's draw, Nadal vs. Gasquet prompts an obvious result but with the young Frenchman playing some incredible tennis, we can't completely write him off the table.

(Courtesy of Cynthia Lum)

(Courtesy of Cynthia Lum)

On the other side, last night's play saw Djokovic polish off Youzhny in four sets while Murray beat… Wait. Let's just call this the upset of the tournament!

With defending champion Murray on a huge roll, Wawrinka hadn't won more than one match in a tournament since he lost in the finals of an ATP tournament in June. His score against Murray was incredible: 6-4, 6-3, 6-2, removing the Scot from the draw in less than two and a half hours.

What does that tell us? Confidence is all in your head.

After the loss Murray said, “I would have liked to have gone further, but I can't complain. If someone told me before the US Open last year I would have been here as defending champion having won Wimbledon and Olympic gold, I would have taken that 100 percent. So I'm disappointed, but the year as a whole has been a good one.”

(Courtesy of Cynthia Lum)

Djokovic offered some words about Murray's match also, saying "It's never easy, after you win a Grand Slam, to motivate yourself again to play smaller tournaments and then to prepare yourself again to be mentally, physically, emotionally 100 per cent committed to another Grand Slam that is basically just a month and a half after [the] biggest win in his career [Wimbledon]."

"I have been in this particular situation, I know how it feels, but this is tennis. You definitely always learn something new every single year, every single season, and you grow as a person and as a player," said Djokovic.

My pick for the final? Nadal vs Djokovic, who are also fighting it out for the year end ranking of No.1. While it is the obvious pick, my heart of hearts would love to see underdog Wawrinka climb the ladder, bring his confidence to centre court and put some fear in these top guys.

Who are your picks?

Enjoy the weekend of tennis!

Siobhan & the TWE Team

US Open 2013: Day 10!

We're ready to see who makes it into the semi's in the men's draw -- with Nadal and Gasquet through, we want to know who else steps it up!

If you take a look on the doubles side the Bryan Brothers are still dominating! They are always the team to watch in any major, but being on US soil, you know the twins want to add another US Open title to their already amazing career. Let’s take a look at what Mike and Bob are wearing and using during this year’s US Open.

Their apparel: Mike and Bob are the perfect ambassadors for the California grown company, KSwiss. This year at Flushing Meadows, they are flourishing on court in lots of color in a bright crew and they pair this with a basic training short. K-Swiss makes lightweight and comfortable apparel, perfect for hours of training or matches on the court. Under their shorts, they are wearing a compression short from Under Armour that keeps their muscles warm and helps with a quick recovery. They round out their look with the KSwiss BigShot II in the black and yellow colorway. This durable, yet lightweight shoe is more stable, more breathable and more comfortable than its predecessor.

Their equipment: When it comes to finding a racquet that serves the twins aggressive net play, solid returns, and dynamic doubles play, the Bryan Brothers find the Prince EXO3 Rebel 95 to do just that. The tight 18x20 string pattern provides control from all areas of the court with a stable feel. At net, this racquet helps provide precise control with quick access to touch; while on serve, this faster feeling racquet is easy to generate both pace and spin. They keep their hands nice and dry with Tourna Grip Original Overgrip. They string it up with Prince Beast XP 17 ; blended with a natural gut for the perfect feel for this doubles duo.

Thanks for reading and check back tomorrow for an update on the exciting matches being played today!

The TWE Team!

US Open 2013: Gear of the Pros!

We're getting into the final rounds of the Open and the playing field is thinning to those who really have what it takes! We've taken a selection of player gear from the remaining competitors to highlight what's hot out on tour right now at the US Open 2013.

Read on...

Djokovic: adidas Barricade 7.0 Novak Red / White Men's Shoes

The traditional and much loved Barricade shoe, this shoe continues to offer excellent support and durability. In an exclusive Novak colourway, the Barricade 7.0 is lighter and more comfortable due to a quicker break-in period than previous versions!

Youzhny: adidas Men's Barricade Murray US Open Crew

Youzhny wearing the Murray crew? Yup, because the Barricade line from adidas right now is legit. Aside from it's great aesthetic design, it features ForMotion technology for comfort in a better fit, as well as ClimaCool technology to keep you cool (particularly useful in the humid conditions at the Open).

Murray: Head Murray MonsterCombi Bag

Murray knows what's up - this bag holds 10-12 rackets, but locks in a more traditional and styled design. Climate Control Technology keeps your rackets protected from the heat, as well as compartments designed to organize the "stuff" that we all magically manage to collect in our tennis bags.

Wawrinka: Yonex VCORE Tour 97 (330g)

Designed as a power stick for the strong intermediate or advanced level player, Wawrinka wields it like a fiend on court! Can you keep up with 348.7 grams of strung weight, a swingweight of 332 and a stiffness of 66? Then this frame is worth your time, particularly the Isometric headshape providing a large sweet spot for that spin and extra oomph.

Gasquet: Head YOUTEK IG Extreme Pro 2.0 Racket

Offering a solid response and plush feel, this racket is also the frame of Youzhny. Should tell you something right?! You'll enjoy the large sweet spot that makes swinging fast for big shots extremely enjoyable and while it's the heaviest of the YOUTEK IG 2.0 Extremes, it doesn't feel like it. And, right now if you buy two, you'll get a FREE Special Edition Monstercombi Bag! It doesn't get any better than that!

Ferrer: Lotto Men's Ferrer Day Matrix Tech Crew

Ferrer rocks the Lotto apparel and it'll be tough to find a look that's fresher than this right now. With hints of fluoro lime to contrast with the navy, white and black, Lotto brought the heat. Check out the rest of the Matrix Tech line from Lotto, because it's all up to scratch!

Robredo: Asics Gel Resolution 5 Black Orange Men's Shoe

If you've played in the Gel Res 5, you'll know what I'm talking about. Robredo is onto something here. One of the most popular and colourful shoes on the tour, the Res 5 is comfortable and flexible, while still providing the support and durability. If haven't tried it already, then you're missing out. That's all I'll say.

Nadal: Babolat AeroPro Drive 2013

The latest version of our most popular racket, the AeroPro Drive doesn't disappoint. With Active Cortex in the handle for increased feel and a closer response with the ball, as well as maneuverability, power, stability and spin… This frame gives the beginner to the pro everything they want and more.

Williams: Nike Women's US Open Serena Heathered Day Dress

Nike didn't want Serena to be missed on court in this dress at the Open! Bright and fashionable with plenty of support and coverage, you'll love how easy it is to stay focused on court while looking 10/10. There is also a night dress, so check out Serena on court and find it on our site here.

Li: Babolat Pure Drive 2012

Popular, versatile and with the most incredible power and spin, Na Li is crushing balls with this racket. Like the Aero, this racket is popular with all levels of players, due to it's ability to blend power and spin into a crisp, clean and aggressive response no matter your style of play.

Vinci: Nike Zoom Vapor 9 Tour Atomic Pink / Grey Women's Shoe

Vinci managed to get her feet into a great shoe! While not designed to be a durability shoe, you won't find anything else offering this combo of support, comfort, speed and stability. Style isn't amiss either and this colourway will keep you looking both sporty and feminine.

Pennetta: Wilson Steam 99 Racket

This 16x18 version of the Steam offers a controlled, powerful and maneuverable response. Great for player who want a little extra spin, the Steam 99 will show you how great it feels when precision and pace can be combined into all your shots. Pennetta clearly knows what she's doing with it this tournament!

Hantuchova: adidas adizero Women's US Open Dress

A bold and colorful design make this dress the perfect outfit for the fashionable Hantuchova. With it's cute mesh inserts to show the contrast coloured bra, this dress will be one of the most lightweight you have ever worn and the hottest outfit of the summer.

Azarenka: Wilson Juice BLX Racket

Juice up your game -- see what I did there?! with this power generating and spin friendly frame from Wilson. Get aggressive like Azarenka and enjoy the stability and crisp feel, while using the 100 square inch headsize and 320.4 gram weight to crush your groundstrokes.

Make sure to check all this gear out on our site and to keep cheering for your favorite players! Not long now until the winner is crowned.. Let's see who manages to step up with what it takes to be a Grand Slam Champion!

Siobhan & the TWE Team

US Open 2013: Weekend Wrap-Up!

While rain stopped matches again, the fans were ready this time!

(Courtesy of Cynthia Lum)

Federer is out! With his first straight-set loss since 2002, this is the first big upset of the tournament as we come into the quarterfinals!

(Courtesy of Cynthia Lum)

For the first time since 2002, Federer has failed to reach the final of a major tournament this year and losing to Robredo voids the excitement of a Nadal/Federer quarter-final. These two have never played each other in the US Open and time will tell if this ever happens.

Nadal actually admitted that the chance of them meeting was slimmer as each year passed, saying, "We are getting older, so the chances are less today than five years ago." Lets keep our fingers crossed.

While it's never great to revel in another's misfortune, Federer's precarious ranking of No.7 will benefit from Juan Martin Del Potro’s early exit last week. Federer will now climb one place to No. 6 in the world rankings.

Fed was not happy with himself, saying, "I kind of self destructed, which is very disappointing. I kind of feel like I beat myself, you know, without taking any credit away from Tommy. Clearly he was making sure he was making many balls. It was up to me to make the difference and I couldn't.”

(Courtesy of Cynthia Lum)

Defending champion and No.3 seed Andy Murray knocked out Germany's Florian Mayer in straight sets, afterwards commenting on the humidity of the conditions in New York. While he started slowly with a tiebreak in the first set, he finished Mayer off quickly in the last two sets.

(Courtesy of Cynthia Lum)

Nadal also took care of business by beating Kohlschreiber in just over 3 hours. Although he dropped his first set of the tournament, Nadal is serving like a fiend, with his own response being that his "serve is working just amazing. Four matches without losing serve is great." He also thought the weather was difficult, saying, "It was very, very tough conditions, very humid. I'm lucky to be through, [I] fought a lot to come back into this match."

(Courtesy of Cynthia Lum)

Nadal now faces Robredo and holds a 6-0 win-loss against Robredo with the last match being in 2009.

The women took care of their business as well, with an exciting all Italian standoff next round between Flavia Pennetta and Roberta Vinci. The interesting fact here being that five of the eight players in the quarter finals are 30 years of age or older.

(Courtesy of Cynthia Lum)

What does this say about women's tennis? Are age and depth of the field positive characteristics or do they signify a lack in up-and-coming players? Personally, I love that the women are competing through their late 20s into their 30s. That they can physically compete this long is admirable and shows that with age comes the maturity and experience needed to reach a Grand Slam quarter final!

Happy reading, enjoying watching the next round of tennis!

Siobhan & the TWE Team

US Open 2013: Weekend Wrap-Up!

Welcome to week two of the US Open 2013. We’ve seen some big losses (Juan Martin Del Potro is out by Lleyton Hewitt, nursing a wrist injury forcing him to hit slice backhands) as well as some more convincing wins!

(Courtesy of Cynthia Lum)

Bad times for U.S. men´s tennis!

Tennis Warehouse Blogger Tim Smyczek lost on Sunday in five sets to Spain’s Marcel Granollers. This means that no American men reached the 4th round at the US Open, (which hasn’t happened since the tournament started in 1881!)

Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal are both just one match away from their possible quarterfinal match. Rafa plays against No.22 Philipp Kohlschreiber, and Roger against No. 19 Tommy Robredo. Both matches are scheduled on Arthur Ashe today. Who’s excited to see Rafa-Roger on Wednesday?

(Courtesy of Cynthia Lum)

More suprises on n the women’s side! All the women from Germany are now out (sorry Deutschland!) and No. 24 Russian Ekaterina Makarova pulled off a big upset, defeating No. 3 seed Agnieszka Radwanska 6-4, 6-4 to reach her first US Open quarterfinal.

Camilla Giorgi from Italy won against Caroline Wozniacki in three sets on Saturday.

Camilla who? Quite well known in our italian department, as she already made it into the quarters in Wimbledon last year. She is 21 years old, currently ranked at 173 on the WTA and had to win three qualifying matches to get into the main draw. Her next match will be against fellow italian and No.10 Roberta Vinci.

(Courtesy of Cynthia Lum)

We have a blog from Tim Smyczek, (who, like we mentioned, lost to Marcel Granollers), but read on to hear about playing in the US Open first hand:

Hey everyone,

I have had a couple of incredible days in New York. Friday was an amazing experience!

The morning flew by and before I knew it, it was time for my match. I had a bit of a shaky start. Bogey (Alex Bogomolov Jr.) came out playing great. Very aggressive and he didn’t give me much opportunity to get into the match. At 1-1 in the second set, I finally got my teeth into the match a bit and was able to break him. I got broken back a few games later, but I did feel like I was settling in. We both held out until a tiebreaker, and although I didn’t convert my first three set points, I finally took the second set 8-6 in the breaker.

Bogey jumped out to an early lead in the third and I went down 6-2. I battled back and won the fourth 6-4. I broke early in the fifth, but was broken back at 3-2. Finally at 4-4 I was able to break again. Before I served out the match and I was walking up to the line, the crowd started chanting, “USA, USA” It was an incredible feeling. I got goosebumps.

I’m third match up on grandstand tomorrow and I can’t wait to do it all over again!

Tim

We will have to check with our italian colleagues for the reason of this great italian success! Either way, this week will be a pasta & pizza week at Tennis Warehouse Europe!

Enjoy the Tennis,

Siobhan & Stefan and your Tennis Warehouse Europe Team

US Open 2013: Day 4

Day 4 at this year’s US Open was like a regular day in the office: no rain, no real surprises. Great for the players... Slow for the fans!

(Courtesy of Cynthia Lum)

Rafa Nadal steam-rolled Rogerio Dutra da Silva from Brazil 6-2, 6-1, 6-0 and played very aggressively throughout the entire match. He later revealed in his press conference that playing more aggressively is one of his goals at the moment. With his knee issues, shorter rallies put less stress on his joints, which really makes sense!

Rafa’s take on his match? “I think I play well, as the match was going on I played better and better,” Nadal said. “I am trying to play more aggressive…that’s something that we were trying to improve on, and that’s a more mental thing than a practice thing.”

(Courtesy of Cynthia Lum)

Roger Federer also won in straight sets 6-3, 6-2, 6-1 against Carlos Berlocq and it seems like Roger is starting to hit the ball better again. As far as tough match-ups go, Roger and Rafa could possibly meet in the quarters and it would be the first time they´ll meet that early in the US Open. Rather than being his usual king of finesse, Federer stated, “I am happy with my performance today. I am results-orientated now. I don’t mind how I play, as long as I win.” Interesting! Let’s see how scrappy he can get then!

John Isner won in four sets 7-5, 6-2, 4-6, 7-6 against Gael Monfils. This match had it all: big serves and baseline winners from both players, great passing shots by Monfils and drop-volley winners from Isner. When Isner was up two sets to love, the New York crowd actually started to cheer against for Monfils because they were looking for more drama and possibly five sets. Rumors report that there was liquor involved in making the crowd so rowdy... Well, it was a US Open Night match, after all, right?

Most seeded players saw their way through to the next round, including No. 4 David Ferrer, No. 8 Richard Gasquet, No.10 Milos Raonic, and No.18 Janko Tipsarevic.

(Courtesy of Cynthia Lum)

On the women´s side No.1 Serena Williams won 6-3, 6-0 without any real problems. Victoria Azarenka, the No. 2 seed, showed fine form in her match against Aleksandra Wozniak and won 6-3, 6-1. Caroline Wozniacki seems to get back into her groove, too. She really looked sharp in her 6-1, 6-2 match against Chanelle Scheepers.

(Courtesy of Cynthia Lum)

Also into the third round are No. 14 Maria Kirilenko, No. 16 Sabine Lisicki and No. 13 Ana Ivanovic, who said about her match, "“My tennis is there, I strike the ball really well. I think I can strike it as well as anybody in the world. It’s just putting it together in the big matches, and doing that over and over again”. Think she's got what it takes mentally? We’ll be waiting excitedly to see if she can step things up and keep them interesting!

Despite being taken out in three sets by Angelique Kerber, Eugenie Bouchard ended up rocking the Maria dress! Think it looks good? (Courtesy of Cynthia Lum)

Highlights to look forward to this Friday: Laura Robson vs. Na Li, Novak Djokovic vs. Benjamin Becker, and former No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt vs. Juan Martin Del Potro. Who are you looking forward to watch?

Thanks for reading!
Stefan & the TWE Team

US Open 2013: Which brands have the biggest market shares within the ATP top 100?

"What was the new black racquet that Roger Federer used in Hamburg and Gstaad?"

This question has been asked all over the world in the last few weeks, hasn’t it? Why? Because every tennis player following the results of professional players and the ATP tournaments is interested in the equipment used by the pros. Is this also the case for you? Then read on..

Wilson, Head, Babolat, Prince, Yonex, Tecnifibre ... all these brands compete to find the most creative solutions to attract professional players in their fold, including of’ course a financial compensation most of the time.

Why do companies want this?

To offer them good visibility and allow them to showcase their products. The best example of this is perhaps Head, that combines key players and families of key rackets: Berdych (Head Instinct), Murray (Head Radical), Haas (Head Prestige), Gasquet (Head Extreme) Djokovic (Head Speed). Five families of rackets, five key players.

What is the relevance of these brands in the ATP top 100?

We can start with Head that counts 26 players in the ATP top 100:

1 Novak Djokovic / Speed
3 Andy Murray / Radical
5 Tomas Berdych / Instinct
9 Richard Gasquet / Extreme
13 Tommy Haas / Prestige

90 Sergiy Stakhovsky / Prestige
91 Tobias Kamke + 99 Thiemo De Bakker / Prestige

Is it surprising that the most played Head racket family on the tour is the Youtek IG Prestige series (12 of 26 rackets)? Not really, as this racket is typically good for advanced players due to it being heavy and demanding. Once customized (extending the racquet length, adding lead on the frame...) those rackets can weight 350-360 grams.

Head exploited a very good marketing opportunity with professional players. The five top-ranked Head pros each play with a racket of each range, making themselves and their racket the most seen on television or in the magazines! This therefore provides great visibility of all the ranges of the brand.

On the Wilson side, we can find less players among the very best (Del Potro is playing with K-Factor rackets that are no longer for sale). There is also Roger Federer but he is apparently changing his racket. All in all, 32 players from the Wilson Team are in the top 100. Regarding Babolat, the French brand has 22 players in the ATP top 100 in its pocket (mainly Aeroprodrive).

For other brands, here you can see a summary of rackets brands used by the ATP top 100 players:

Wilson: 32% Head: 26 % Babolat: 22% Prince: 8% Yonex: 4%

Dunlop: 3% Tecnifibre: 2% Pro Kennex: 1% Others (masked brands): 2%

Another note on the equipment used: Did you know that 73 of the top 100 players in the ATP ranking use Luxilon strings? Impressive statistic, isn’t it? This shows that this brand of Belgian strings distributed by Wilson is the leader in this segment of players competing.

We can see that three brands dominate in terms of visibility towards the top 100, with the three of them totaling 80% of the players. On apparel and shoes, adidas, Lacoste and Nike occupy the top three spots in the top 100 at the U.S. Open in 2013:

adidas: 22%
Lacoste: 17%
Nike: 10%
Asics: 8%
Lotto: 8%
Fila: 5%
Wilson: 4%
Joma: 4%
Erke: 2%
Uniqlo: 2%
Li-Ning: 2%
H & M: 1%
New Balance: 1%
Solfire: 1%
KSwiss: 1%
Diadora: 1%
Alea: 1%
Athletic DNA: 1%
Sergio Tacchini: 1%
Under Armour: 1%
Yonex 1%
Solfire: 1%
Australian: 1%
Babolat: 1%
Other: 3% (different brands carried by a single player, non-commercial brands).

This small study of the ATP top 100 at the U.S. Open in 2013 teaches us several things:

- Head, Babolat and Wilson are trying to penetrate the textile market and are no longer limited only to rackets and equipment. Wilson is currently the brand among these three to have more visibility in the ATP top 100.
- There are much more brands in the textile/shoes categories (27 brands for 100 players) compared to the rackets category (8 brands for 100 players). Is indeed easier to launch a textile brand then to obtain a technological legitimacy in the rackets field.
- Some brands that aren’t coming from the world of tennis appeared this year on the ATP Tour (Uniqlo, H & M). This shows that tennis courts are an interest in terms of communication for consumer brands.
- Nike is worn by only 10 of the top 100 players. Are you surprised, aren’t you? The important budgets conceded to Nadal and Federer (they have both players), which certainly explains the difference with adidas who has two times more players in the ATP top 100.
- Lacoste is worn by 17 players! Bravo!... Babolat by 1.

That's what I can tell you regarding the brands that are present in the ATP top 100 at the U.S. Open, which began this week. So take a look at the equipment used by your favorite professional players during these two weeks. Will you have a keen eye for logos and brands, and will you be more attentive to this after reading this article? In any case, I hope you found the article interesting.

Enjoy the tennis and see you soon!
JC Schaffo, Tennis Warehouse Europe

Day 2 at the US Open 2013

Despite rain delays hampering Federer's match, there was plenty of action in the first rounds at the 2013 US Open! Some interesting news is that the USTA announced this month that after five years of rain delays, it will be putting a roof on Arthur Ashe Stadium, as well as Louis Armstrong Stadium. Finally!

(Courtesy of Cynthia Lum)

Some victories and losses that we saw:

- No. 2 Rafael Nadal now has 16 hardcourt wins under his belt this season with a 6-4, 6-2, 6-2 victory over Ryan Harrison. Easy!
- Seeds out! 23-year-old Brit Daniel Evans knocked out No. 11 Kei Nishikori in straight sets. Evans won the first two sets 6-4 and finished the match with a 6-2 win in the third set. 15th Seed Almagro lost in 4 sets to Denis Istomin, while 14th seed Jerzy Janowicz lost in 3 sets to 30-year-old Máximo González.
- Dimitrov couldn't find his groove in his five set loss to world No. 95, Portuguese Joao Sousa. Poor Dimitrov, in 13 majors, he has reached the third round only once. Do you think he'll ever step it up to the next level?

On the women's side:

Check out Kvitova decked out in her Nike gear: find our Nike Women's line here. (Courtesy of Cynthia Lum)

- Venus and Serena Williams both dominated the women's side. Serena only gave up one game when she crushed Francesca Schiavone so badly that Schiavone ended up getting a hug from a ball boy! Venus beat No.12 Flipkins 6-1 6-2, making it the 15th time she's won her first round match at the US Open. Let's see if she can keep it up!
- 17-year-old American Victoria Duval knocked out No. 11 Sam Stosur 5-7, 6-4, 6-4 in a match that took 2 hours, 39 minutes. Duval faces grand slam veteran Hantuchova next round, so we'll be watching closely to see if she can continue knocking out giants!

We have have an update from our guest blogger and pro player Tim Smyczek:

Hey everybody!

Day 1 of the matches was quite eventful. I had a bit of a snafu with transportation, but I was able to make it to the courts in time for my practice. Usually, you call and book your car through the transportation office the night before, and your car is waiting for you outside the hotel. This morning, my car was nowhere to be found! Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to do my normal pre-practice routine, but luckily I didn’t miss my practice court.

Early in the week at the Open, the practice courts are a busy place. Almost everyone shares courts and there are only 45 minute slots. So, as you can imagine, it’s a hectic place. I got a good practice in with Steve Johnson even though we were pressed for time.

Afterwards, I headed to the player cafe for a little lunch. During tournament weeks, my diet is pretty strict. I make sure to have really balanced meals with plenty of lean protein, good carbs, and about as many veggies as I can fit in. They put in a new coffee bar in the lounge this year as well, so I topped it all off with a little iced coffee!

For my afternoon practice, my coach, Billy Heiser, and I went to a secret spot which I can’t reveal right now…we got in some feeding drills and worked on some specifics. I always like to have a couple practices a week like this. Billy has a great eye for the fine tuning what I need and I always feel better after we can get some of that work done.

After practice I got some treatment and a massage and headed back to the hotel. Just takeout for dinner after an exhausting day!

Tim

Thanks for reading and check in tomorrow for another interesting update! If you have any feedback or comments, feel free to message us on Facebook!

Siobhan & the TWE Crew

The Particularities of the US Open

The tennis season comes into its final stretch and showdown time will come soon.

The last major step in the points race for the rankings ATP and WTA, the US Open will offer us two weeks of tennis that promise to be interesting.

Beyond the results of the tournament, I will share my experience at the US Open as a visitor, and a little about the history of this fabulous tournament with some specificities that you can’t perhaps imagine...

The US Open has been played since 1881! Impressive, don’t you think so? It is one of the only tournaments in the world to have been played on grass (1881 - 1975), on green clay (1975 - 1977), and on hard courts since 1978, when the tournament began to be played in Flushing Meadow (New York City). Three different surfaces for a grand slam: what could be better than that?

The US Open is the only Grand Slam tournament that was not been interrupted by WWI or WWII, even after the United States entered the war. At this time, the tournament was played in Forest Hills (New York), and I had the chance to visit this location and step into the grass courts in September 2008. Beautiful club, recalling the splendid clubhouse, and English clubs and player pictures in black and white on both sides of the alleys, (very "British", although it is in NYC).

The first US Open open to professionals was won by Arthur Ashe in 1968, winning 14-12, 5-7, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 (you will notice the absence of tie-break games at that time!). Another specificity of the US Open is that is the only Grand Slam tournament to adopt the tiebreak in the final set on men’s matches.

The U.S. Open is a very special tournament compared to Wimbledon or Roland Garros where I also have been. Everything is very “American”, the show on the court, the music at each side changes, the hots dogs around the court...

You can especially feel it during the "Super Saturday", the day when the men’s semi-finals and the women’s final are played on the same day (on the other Grand Slams slams the two events are split). This characteristic is due to the possibility for TV broadcasters to make very high viewings during this day since three major matches take place this Saturday. Is it business? Do not forget that we are in the country of the Super Bowl, where the second TV advertising spot during the final of this event is sold at $125,000!

Speaking about dollars, another specificity of the US Open are the ball boys. It is the only Grand Slam tournament where the ball boys are paid. On the contrary, at Wimbledon, Australian Open, and Roland Garros they are volunteers. This may explain why referees at the US Open are paid less than at the others slams. Evidence of this fact occurred in 2011, when the US Open referees protested over too small remuneration for their liking (about $150 less per day and per referee).

You can be sure that even if the US Open was the first Grand Slam tournament to have HAWK EYE (video assistance to arbitrate), the referees are always needed for the tournament and there is no doubt that they will be heard.

The last unique point about the New York tournament is the date of the final. For the first time (although the final has been already played several times a Monday, even if the official date was Sunday), the official date of the men's final will be Monday. Amazing, isn’t it? ATP players protested but they haven’t been heard.

Opposite to Roland Garros, where you can feel that the alleys are over-crowded with spectators and you can wait a long time before to reach an annexe court, the U.S. Open offers a different perspective. Roland Garros has the feel of a large tournament, and while the US Open actually has more spectators, you notice them less (for instance in 2012 there were more than 710 000 spectators at the US Open, while 440,000 at Roland Garros).

As we have seen the US Open seems to have so many characteristics that are unique even for a Grand Slam tournament.

Considering all this information, it only remains for us to try to watch some games on television or on the internet waiting to find out who will win the men’s and women’s titles and will pocket the $1.9million in prizes and the 2,000 ATP and WTA points.

I hope these few lines have draw your attention and I'll see you back here for more reading and further information as soon as I begin again with my pen, or rather my keyboard.

JC Schaffo
Tennis Warehouse Europe

The US Open 2013 is upon us!

With the final challenge of the year on hardcourts, us tennis fans at Tennis Warehouse Europe are excited to see our favorite players get back out on court. With several countries represented in our office, we're all cheering for different people and are curious to see who's going to come out on top.

Game changers at US Open 2013:

- Sharapova withdrawal

Struggling with a shoulder injury (she really can't seem to shake the injuries can she!?), Sharapova had to pull out last week. She explained by saying, "[..] withdrawing from the US Open has been a really tough decision to make. I have done everything I could since Wimbledon to get myself ready, but it just wasn't enough time." Well, we wish her the best and hope it heals quickly. Maria out of the draw pushes Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland to the No. 3 seed and Sara Errani of Italy to No. 4. Who's going to step it up and take on Serena Williams and Victoria Azarenka?

(Courtesy of Cynthia Lum)

- Federer ranked 7th seed

What? What. This is Federer's first time outside the top three at any Grand Slam tournament in 10 years. 10 YEARS. After a decade of dominating the rankings, let's see if he can still step it up and play like the Fed we know.

(Courtesy of Cynthia Lum)

To start it all off right, we have a guest blog from Tim Smyczek, an Athletic DNA pro ranked 109 in the world:

(Courtesy of ATP website)

Today was Arthur Ashe Kids Day at the US Open. The whole place was a zoo! Security was so high at the courts, I felt like I was at the airport. I started my day off like I usually do on the training table, having a little work done. After I finished there, I had a great practice with Brian Baker. We grooved up the middle for 15-20 minutes and then played some points. I always love practicing with Baker because he hits such a clean ball so it's usually really easy to get a good rhythm.

After a little lunch, I had a good practice with Colin Altamarino. He's coming off a great win at the US National Junior Championships at Kalamazoo and he's a fellow Athletic DNA athlete. Right now I am stuck in traffic by the midtown tunnel. I can't think of too many things more frustrating than sitting in traffic. However we just saw a cab driver turn around and try to drive the wrong way on the shoulder of the bridge. Only in New York...

Talk soon!

Who do you think will win this year’s US Open? Message us on Facebook and while you're at it, don't forget to check out all of the latest gear from the players on our website: Find ATP gear here and WTA gear here! If you haven't seen the draws, check them out: http://www.usopen.org/en_US/scores/draws/ and make sure to keep looking at our blog - we'll have something new for you every day.

Yours, all the way from Germany,
Siobhan & the TWE Crew

My 2013 Wimbledon Ladies Doubles Semi-final by Kveta Peschke

Hello everybody from Wimbledon!

Anna-Lena Grönefeld and I had a wonderful day even we lost the Semi-Final today. My day started with a very nice “welcome“ at Wimbledon when I arrived this morning on site.

The security people at the players entrance are quite strict but very friendly.

She is the Fed Cup Capitan of Germany. We know each other for so many years! (We actually played together many years ago) Wow... where has the time gone? Anyway, this was a wonderful start in the day.

Torsten, my husband and coach, brought some rackets to the stringer in the meantime so that they would be ready on time for our match. Quote from Torsten: "We went up with tension for that match because of the different weather conditions. Kveta had three different tensions available on court to chose from! She strings with Luxilon 110/natural Gut, four knots, and the tension varies from low 25/24kg to high 27.5/26.5 depending on location, weather, balls. Racket weight is currently 335gramm."

The grass was, considering that we are in the end of the second week, in great shape! The ground people obviously know there business very well…heads up! After the 45 min warm up we briefly discussed the strategy for the semi final match again. Just to make sure we know what we should do. And than it was almost time to go out and compete again, today on court 1.

Well, what can I say! We certainly had a slow start 0:3 no doubt but we kept fighting and were able to come back strong.

We actually had a great chance to bring home the first set leading 5:4 30:0 on serve.

Not quite sure what happened than but we will review the tape and discuss what happened and why. But not now!!! :) To be honest in the second set Casey and Ashleigh took the momentum and used our disappointment to win in straight sets. Well deserved they played really well. So now Wimby is over for me…it´s a little sad… but I am going home strong and proud this was a very good tournament for Anna and me. Thanks Tennis Warehouse for sending me the nice beautiful outfits…loved it ;)

Also, thanks to our followers and the support we are getting from friends, family and fans all over the world!

Bye bye, Kveta Peschke

Bartoli wins Wimbledon / Andy Murray by Mats Merkel

Wow! Who would have thought before the tournament that Marion Bartoli was going to win Wimbledon.

With all the respect, I did not.

But a big congrats to her and her team! What a great achievement for her and for French tennis!

Marion had gotten some external advise. She had been working with Thomas Drouet the former training partner of Bernard Tomic. Unfortunately Sabine Lisicki wasn't able to play at her best today. But it is always very difficult when you're in the finals of a grand slam for the first time.

Well done great tournament for both.

Andy Murray who has done a documentary about himself before Wimbledon, which was broad casted on BBC in the UK, definitely gained a lot of supporters.

The team of Andy Murray is a team of great people!

Dani Valverdu who Andy met at the Sanchez Casal tennis academy in Barcelona is not only one of his best friends but also helps Andy both on and off the court.

Jez Green the physical trainer with all the knowledge about movement and how to get someone in great shape is a humble person. He knows Andy for a long time already and also knows exactly what Andy needs. Matt Little another strength and conditioning coach who is helping Andy and bringing variety to the table. He is a funky character and a lovely person. Ivan Lendl. Tennis legend and now advisor and coach to Andy. Interesting to see how Andy and him interact both on and off the court.

They respect each other and get along well. A great team that Andy has around himself.

Enjoy the tennis

Mats
@matsmerkel

Mens Semifinals by Mats Merkel

Hello all,

after some amazing tennis yesterday with a great comeback and win from Sabine Lisicki, there is a promise of much more amazing tennis to be played.

Novak Djokovic, who has his spot in the men’s final against Andy Murray, has been traveling with a quite a big team around him throughout the past years. His tennis coach, Marian Vajda, is an experienced coach that always has been there for Novak when he needed him. Miljan Amanovic is Novak’s physio. He used to work in basketball and football before teaming up with Nole. He has been working with Novak for many years and I believe he is a great person to have around with his great sense of humor and the perfect mentality when it comes to getting work done. The physical trainer of Nole is Gebhard Phil-Gritsch. He used to work with Thomas Muster a former French Open champion. He is very experienced and knows exactly what he is doing. He always says how little improvements can have a huge impact. I guess he has been spot on. When he started working with Novak in the end of 2010 he worked a lot on the flexibility which was clearly to see in 2011.

Mats
@matsmerkel

The German hope Sabine Lisicki by Mats Merkel

Hello all,

Many people have been speaking about German tennis lately. But since Stefanie Graf, Michael Stich and Boris Becker, no other German player has really been able to follow in their footsteps. However, being a German coach and player myself, in my eyes this is not the case. There are good German players out there, but tennis has become so much more physical than ever and now there is a big difference between “good” and “very good” players, and good doesn’t always correlate to winning a grand slam.

Take a look at the top German tennis players right now.

German men’s top 100:

German women’s top 100:

The last German woman standing in the Wimbledon draw is Sabine Lisicki.

Sabine Lisicki bases her training out of the IMG academy in Bradenton, Florida and has a good team around her. Her father, Richard, has been traveling with her for years and supported her wherever he could. Barbara Rittner, the German fed cup captain, is always supporting her German players, whenever she gets a chance she is there for them in every single way. Wim Fissette, who used to travel with Kim Clijsters, has now been with Sabine for quite some time. Wim knows how to make a player feel good and prepare him/her for a big match and especially for a big tournament.

Sabine’s win over Serena Williams from Monday obviously has created a lot of press. Luckily, she was able to follow it up with another good performance today against Kaia Kanepi. And this means she is through to the semifinals of Wimbledon.

Let’s see how far Sabine will make it in the end — with her game and the way she has been playing at the All England Club, she will be tough to beat but has a hard semi-final match against Aggie Radwanska.

What do you guys think? Who’s your pick to win it all?

Mats
@matsmerkel

64 in 4 by Mats Merkel

64 in 4 is how I would like to introduce the Polish up-and-coming super star, Jerzy Janowicz.

What could these number possibly stand for?

Take a good guess....

Yes, Jerzy has served 64 aces in only 4 matches, to be precise, in 13 sets only. This means he has won 16 of his service games with aces. Truly impressive! But there is a lot more to tell about Jerzy Janowicz.

The first time I saw him play was during the Junior French Open in 2008. He lost in the finals but back then I already knew this guy was going to be good. He doesn’t only serve well, but he returns well and for a guy of his height, he moves well. Jerry’s coach, Kimi Tillikainenem, works with him and they make a great team, I must say.

In the beginning of the 2013, adidas signed him and it is great to have him as part of the adi family!

It will be very interesting to see him play the polish showdown quarter finals against Lukas Kubot. Both are serving big. What do you guys think? Who will win the match?

Have a great day.

Mats
@matsmerkel

The Mystery Around Tommy Haas / by Mats Merkel

In my eyes, Tommy Haas is definitely what other people would call an “underachiever.” The talent and feel he has for the game is truly impressive. Unfortunately, until 2012 he was always forced to take time off due to injuries. Besides Christian Groh (who travels a lot with him Tommy) he has also taken Ulf Fischer on board to complete his team. And in 2012 he has hired a physio (Carlos Costa) who travels with him and is following him like his own shadow.

The physical demands that a professional tennis players face in a year traveling full-time are amazing. Switching surfaces, adapting to different conditions, different balls, traveling, 3-set matches, 5-set matches. All these things play a big role on your physical state. The better you take care of your body the easier it is to be able to give your best every single time you step in the court.

There are a couple different attributes that need to be looked at when talking about fitness:

  • Strength
  • Endurance
  • Speed
  • Agility
  • Flexibility

All the above can be trained and improved with the right plan.

  • a good warm up before
  • a good stretching session afterwards
  • Rehab: to work on areas where you were injured in the past
  • Prehab: looking at ways to avoid getting injured

Physically Tommy Haas has done an unbelievable job! Well done. He has all my respect!

Have a good day

Mats
@matsmerkel

THE WEIRDEST IN WIMBLEDON HISTORY? June, 26th.

I am not sure what to talk about first! The walkovers and the withdrawals or the upsets of today?

Wimbledon describes it well on their website with:

"THE WEIRDEST IN WIMBLEDON HISTORY? THE BEST OF DAY THREE"
http://www.wimbledon.com/mobile/en_GB/news/articles/2013-06-26/201306261372278629083.html

I can only agree with that! What a day! I am so overwhelmed, surprised and shocked at the same time!

Dustin Brown beat former champion Lleyton Hewitt in four sets. The absolutely unpredictable German/Jamaican (who used to travel around in a caravan in Germany and Europe at the beginning of his career a couple of years back) has definitely made a name for himself with today's performance! Impressive!

One of the fastest arms on the Tour and great touch at the same time!

Victoria Azarenka, Yaroslava Shvedova, Marin Cilic and Steve Darcis (who beat Rafael Nadal in the first round) all withdrew from the event because of injuries.

Not sure what happened, but it seems that some serious injuries were forcing these players to not play. Rumours were going around that the grass courts could be the reason but Richard Lewis, CEO of the All England Club, published a statement regarding this subject:

“The court preparation has been to exactly the same meticulous standard as in previous years, and it is well known that grass surfaces tend to be more lush at the start of an event. The factual evidence, which is independently checked, is that the courts are almost identical to last year, as dry and firm as they should be, and we expect them to continue to play to their usual high quality.”

Unfortunately several players got injured and were either forced to stop their matches or lost partly due to the injury. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga was troubled with knee pain, Caroline Wozniacki slipped and got injured, Maria Sharapova also slipped, John Isner got injured and Radek Stepanek injured his leg.

Now you can ask several questions:

  • Are the two grand slams too close to each other?
  • Is the grass too slippery? Is the grass too wet or too long?
  • Are the players having physical problems?

At this point I really think it is just a year where these kind of things happen! But certainly a deeper investigation needs to be done. How can it be possible that so many players are slipping on the same court? Is there any correlation between last years Wimbledon and the Olympic Games?

However, it is of' course tough to see so many injuries and I am sure the tournament organization will do everything to find out more. At the same time it is true to say that both Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer did not exit earlier because of injury.

Roger Federer actually suffered the earliest Grand Slam exit since 2003 loosing to Stakhovsky in four sets. A crazy result to terminate the day with. I don't have any words for that. But credit to Stakhovsky who had to beat Roger.

A lot more to come over the next days! It will be very interesting!

Have a good evening,

Mats
@matsmerkel

The Next Generation is Knocking at the Door / June 25, 2013

The next generation is knocking at the door!

I would like to take the chance and speak about one of these up and coming players.

Monica Puig, a young up and comer has had a couple of good results over the past months is just one of the younger players starting to make her mark. She has been with adidas since she was a junior. I remember watching her during one of her matches during the Junior Roland Garros. Back then, her first and second serve were about the same speed and she obviously lost a lot of points with the risky serve. But over the years her and her coach, Alain de Vos, have worked incredibly hard to get where Monica is and where she might get to.

Two years ago Monica came to train in Las Vegas with the adidas player development program (Darren Cahill, Gil Ryes, Sven Groeneveld and myself) prior to the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells. A lot of adidas players come there prior to this tournament because it is also higher altitude and the training facilities offered there are very good. The additional input and advice they get from the four of us and even sometimes from Stefanie Graf (who stops by and hits a few balls with the players) is of incredible value.

Monica has become such a great and charming personality and I am very happy for her and her team. A lot of good moments to look forward to such as the one today when she beat Sara Errani in straight sets. A gutsy tennis player who will stir up the WTA Tour over the next couple of years.

There is also some positive news for German tennis! Andrea Petkovic has been playing very well over the past couple of weeks. After the French Open she won a Challenger and went to the finals at a new women’s tennis event in Nuremberg, Germany. Today she won her first round pretty easily! She looks to be in great shape and I am looking forward to seeing her play in the next round!

Best regards,

Mats
@matsmerkel

Some Pictures from Wimbledon (June 23)

Wanted to share some pictures of action going on around the All England Club grounds before the tournament gets underway!

Andrea Petkovic and her coach are having a session in the sun.

I was on court with Thiemo de Bakker. Yesterday he played a show match against fellow country man Robin Haase.

Andy Murray on his way to the practice courts. He just got his freshly rackets from the stringers of P1.

Fernando Verdasco had a hit with the French Open 2013 champion Rafael Nadal.

Next to them Ana Ivanovic and Sorana Cirstea were hitting with each other as well. They are very good friends and do a lot together outside of the tennis courts. It is great to see these, hopefully, long-lasting friendships evolve over the years.

Today the action begins and “Henman Hill” or “Murray Mount” will be crowded!

Best regards,

Mats
@matsmerkel

Wimbledon the Day Before Main Draw Starts

Hello from the holy grass courts at SW19!

I have been here since Wednesday helping at the adidas house here in the Wimbledon village to set up the distribution. Five times a year the adidas contracted players do receive new products. One of the occasions is here at Wimbledon. The players receive a big bag with the Wimbledon gear and a complete new range of products with new color-ways for in between Wimbledon and the US Open where they then get new products again.

In total we moved 4.000kgs in two days, getting the boxes of the pallets and arranging the products inside the house. Both the professionals and the juniors who are playing in Roehampton during the first week of Wimbledon and then junior Wimbledon are being equipped.

This is how it looks like:

The products are being stored in boxes. Then the bags will be packed. The house is branded and it is a great atmosphere. The players are enjoying the time here at the house because it is so familiar.

Greetings,

Mats
@matsmerkel

Mats blog / Roland Garros 2013, June 7th, 2013

What a great 2 semifinals are awaiting us!

Nadal vs Djokovic

Last years final between Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic will be the semis of this year!

Rafa has been absolutely dominating the clay court season besides his loss in Monte Carlo against Novak Djokovic after having won there eight consecutive times before! He will be on fire and ready to play Novak for the spot in the RG finals. But at the same he has a lot of respect for how Novak has been playing. It will be a brutal match with long exhausting rallies and great points!

Tsonga vs Ferrer

The first semifinal for both at the French Open and one of them will go through to the finals. Jo who hasn't lost a set yet so far even when playing Roger is definitely on a roll! His on court performance has impressed me a lot and i am very much looking forward to seeing him play today.

How many sets has David lost so far? Take a guess. Correct, none! They both seem to have conserved a lot of energy out there and this will be another great match to look forward to!

Enjoy that day of great Tennis!

Mats
@matsmerkel

Mats blog / Roland Garros 2013, June 4th, 2013

Check out Serena Williams about to hit a forehand during her warm up. She will face Svetlana Kuznetsova today. That could be a tricky one. I think 3 sets.

What an incredible run by Tommy Haas. An outstanding performance so far throughout the entire tournament. Tomorrow he will face Novak Djokovic and I am sure it will be a great match to watch!

Enjoy the Tennis,

Mats
@matsmerkel

Mats blog / Roland Garros 2013, June 1st, 2013

The sun is out…or should I say, it is not raining today but is partly cloudy!

Anyway, it is a great day for tennis and a great day for the spectators to finally see some matches in a row!

Maria Sharapova is on Court Philippe Chatrier right now playing Jie Zheng. A great schedule today for the spectators with access to centre court. They will get to see Nadal vs Fognini and Djokovic vs Dimitrov later on.

High level tennis all day!

Have fun!

Mats
@matsmerkel

Mats blog / Roland Garros 2013, May 30th, 2013

What a crazy day here at Roland Garros today. Rain and showers. The players have been on and off the court.

It is very tough for the players to handle these kind of situations because they have to stay warm and be ready to go back on court at any time. Injury prevention is a very important issue, especially with the wet and cold weather. The courts are heavy and slippery at the same time which certainly increases the chances of getting injured if not properly warmed up before going back on!

Rain delays are also tough mentally because you have to be to switch the game face on when needed. That is not an easy part either!

The players usually go back into the locker rooms to change into dry clothes and makes sure to keep their muscles warm. They get to see their coach/team and speak about the match or strategies. If the break is not too long and the forecast is quite accurate certain players go to the gym. They sit on the bike or do easy movements to keep the heart rate up and the system going.

Sometimes rain delays can totally throw off one player who was in control of the match before the rain delay. The momentum can change easily and therefore it is even more important that the players won’t be distracted when waiting to continue their matches.

Fingers crossed the rain will stop later on and a couple of the matches can still be finished and played.

Rainy regards,

Mats
@matsmerkel

Mats blog / Roland Garros 2013, Day 1. May 25th, 2013

Today at annexe - an off site facility very close to the Roland Garros venue. Its approximately 7 minutes walking distance away.

Grigor Dimitrov and Tommy Haas having a good practice. And having some fun as well.

I am there for a hit with Thiemo de Bakker who will face Stan Wawrinka tomorrow in his first round match at the French open 2013.

Best and enjoy the Tennis!

Mats
@matsmerkel

Mats Blog / Pre-RG Day 1: May 24, 2013

Hello from Paris!

I got here yesterday and it is a very cold and partly cloudy today.

We have been at a club offsite (approximately 15 minutes walking distance from Roland Garros). Due to the qualification matches on site, the players go to other clubs in order to get some practice hours in on court.

Thiemo De Bakker practiced with Grigor Dimitrov this morning. Other players such as Laura Robson, Ashley Barty, Caroline Wozniacki, Marin Cilic and many others are here as well.

There are several clubs where players go and train on their days off during the tournament and I will give you some more information over the coming two weeks.

It’s not an easy day for the players with all the rain. But dealing with it is part of the job!

Mats Merkel
@matsmerkel

TRANSITION TO CLAY COURT: May 24, 2013

Hello all,

The clay court season has started and I am sure for many of you it is not easy to find the right transition from either playing indoors or playing on a different surface to switching to the famous red clay.

Tennis is a game played on many different surfaces not only depending on the weather but also where you grow up.

Many Tennis players do find it difficult indeed to switch surfaces. The solution is adaption and being open to the change. The more open your approach is the better and easier it will be for you.

It is very important to especially work on the movement. Sliding is a way to get to a ball but also to stop or terminate a movement before changing direction. Specific exercises help you to get more confidence in your movement.

One of the most important aspects for clay is “being balanced”. Yes, it is not always easy to keep your balance when sliding towards or even into a shot. Having recognized this difficulty it is up to you to do something about it.

Start slowly by implementing the sliding into your warm up routines with a small range of movement first.

Do some movement exercises where you actually have to move around the baseline. Do it without a racket first, simply sliding into the corners.

- Then someone else can roll a ball and you have to slide so that the ball goes between your legs
- If you feel more comfortable do the same exercise including shadow strokes
- The next step is then to have somebody toss the balls and you have to slide to the ball or even into the shot

See below a video that explains the exercise above step by step.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HivAFmRWHKw

When doing these exercises it is also about injury prevention. Learning how to control your body will not only help you to play better clay court Tennis but also keep you away from getting injuries.

In general when sliding you should pay attention to the following:

- Keep your centre of gravity low

- Don’t bend over to the front when sliding – otherwise you will not be able to keep your balance – especially when sliding forward, i.e. to a drop shot

- Repetition always helps to get up the confidence in the sliding movement
- Expect gradual improvement and be patient. It is important to have sliding become a natural movement for you
- Please note that sliding does not replace getting in position by running up to the ball (especially for children/kids)

Looking at the professional players it appears to be the easiest thing in the world for them to slide around the courts. But in real it is nothing else but hard work and a lot of hours they put in.

Upsides of sliding?

- Sliding has less of an impact on the joints

- With sliding you can actually retrieve balls that you wouldn’t be able to without

Downsides of sliding?

- Dangerous if using the wrong technique

All in all improving your sliding skills on clay will improve your overall body awareness as well. Your game will improve and you will be able to get more balls back.

Feel free to add me on Twitter and ask me questions at any time.

Good luck with practice and have a great clay court season!

Mats Merkel
@matsmerkel

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!

Mats
@matsmerkel

Sony Open: March 29, 2013

Hello all,

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

Mats
@matsmerkel

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.

Mats
@matsmerkel

Sony Open: March 27, 2013

Dieter Kindlmann

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.

Sara Errani lost today to Maria Sharapova 5/7 5/7.

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.

Mats
@matsmerkel

Sony Open: March 26, 2013

Hello all,

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.

Mats
@matsmerkel

Sony Open: March 25, 2013

Hello all,

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

Novak Djokovic was talking to his team before leaving the site.

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!

Mats
@matsmerkel

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.

I had a hit this morning with Maria Kirilenko.

Just now Sorana Cirstea beat Angelique Kerber. She will after this tournament reach her career high ranking.

Enjoy the tennis!

Mats
@matsmerkel

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!

Mats
@matsmerkel

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.

Alexander Dolgopolov was signing autographs after his hit with Janko Tipsarevic.

Li Na and or coach Carlos Rodrigues were out there practicing as well on her day off.

Enjoy the Tennis.

Mats
@matsmerkel

Sony Open: March 21, 2013

The action starts for seeded WTA players.

Hello all,

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.

Mats
@matsmerkel

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

Mats
@matsmerkel

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.

Mats
@matsmerkel

BNP Paribas Open: March 17, 2013

Hello all,

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!

Mats
@matsmerkel

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!

Mats
@matsmerkel

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!
Mats Merkel
Consultant to adidas

BNP Paribas Open: March 14, 2013

Hello all,

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:

http://m.bbc.co.uk/sport/tennis/21782218

The grunting topic is more popular on the women's tour.

Martin Del Potro eliminated Tommy the last man standing from Germany in two sets.

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!

Mats
@matsmerkel

BNP Paribas Open: March 13, 2013

Hello all,

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 :)

Best,

Mats
@matsmerkel

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.

My colleague Sven Groeneveld and I watched the match of Caroline Wozniacki versus Elena Vesnina. Caroline won 6/2 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.

Ernest Gulbis has had quite a run so far. He beat Andreas Seppi in three sets and will face Rafael Nadal who had a walkover.

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!

Speak tomorrow.
Enjoy the tennis!

Mats
@matsmerkel

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.

Caroline Wozniacki was on court for two hours.

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!

Take care!

Mats
@matsmerkel

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.

Juan Martin Del Potro had a hit with Yen-Hsun Lu. Martin is definitely also attracting lots of spectators.

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

Marian Cilic signed autographs and taking pictures.

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!
Best!

Mats
@matsmerkel

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