Novak Djokovic beats Rafael Nadal in London

Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer will play in final of ATP World Tour Finals

london2015The Djokovic-Nadal semifinal at London was hardly competitive. Too bad for Nadal. He has come a long way, but is still not confident and misses more than previously. It was hard to tell why in this match because Djokovic was in control of virtually every point and Nadal had to press his game to make any impact at all.

In fact, he was totally defensive in the first set and relied only on Djokovic missing to win points. He tried to play more offensively in the second, it was better but Djokovic was still in control of most of the points and Rafa had to press his offense too hard to make a dent on Novak, and, consequently, he missed too much, in addition to not being able to get control anyway.

The excessive topspin Nadal puts on his weapon – his topspin forehand just doesn’t match up well against Djokovic’s flatter strokes. Novak is simply more accurate and hits harder. That’s a bad combo for Rafa, and leaves Djokovic in control and Rafa running all over the court. All he had in today’s match was heart and legs. Admirable, as usual, but it wasn’t enough. To make matters worse, he is still not as confident as before and makes more unusual (for him) mistakes, especially off the forehand. But the problem has certainly gotten better, luckily for him and for me, (a big fan of his heart).

Federer-Wawrinka: great attacking tennis. Federer won, but it was certainly a competitive match and a dangerous one that could have turned in an instant. Federer’s big edge was in his serving and his various volley attacks. Mixing in serve-volleys and serving-staying back is a great play because the good returns in both cases are so different. When the server comes to net behind the serve, the best returns are low and wide. When the server stays back, the best returns are higher and deep. These are two opposite returns and having to decide which one to use as a receiver is a problem that leads to confusion and missed returns. In any case, Federer was magically effective coming to net, which he did whenever he got a chance – which was often.

The other aspect of Federer’s game that held him in good stead against Stan was his backhand topspin. He was very aggressive with it and missed very few. This nullified Stan’s biggest usual advantage, and that was/is his ability to blow through Roger with his topspin backhand crosscourt. I have previously seen Stan bully Roger around in the backcourt. Today this didn’t happen. Roger kept even in the baseline rallys and was often able to get control of the points and attack at net.

All in all, it was a good day for us older people!

Dr. Allen Fox wrote the tennis best sellers, “If I’m the Better Player, Why Can’t I Win?” and “Think to Win,” and most recently, “Tennis: Winning the Mental Match.”  His website is

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Roger Federer Won His Victory vs Novak Djokovic in London

Roger Federer vs Novak Djokovic, ATP World Tour Finals: Swiss maestro won 7-5, 6-2 with clinical display. Federer takes his chance against a strangely off-colour world No 1 and records a comfortable straight-sets win.

Can Ivan Lendl Develop New American Tennis Champions?

Martin Blackman, General Manager of USTA Player Development tries to find new ways to develop strong American tennis players. He hopes that the involvement of Ivan Lendl and former players Mardy Fish and Jill Craybas will help to reach the goal. 

What do you think? Can Ivan Lendl do that? 

Ivan Lendl

The following article Ivan Lendl to coach young players as part of USTA development program was written by Associated Press.

Ivan Lendl is getting back into coaching to try to groom the next American tennis champion.

Lendl, an eight-time Grand Slam title winner and former coach of Andy Murray, is working with about a half-dozen 15- and 16-year-old boys as part of the U.S. Tennis Association’s player-development program.

The 55-year-old Lendl agreed to spend 50 days over the next year with the group, including a training camp that began late last month.

“I enjoy working with younger players. You can form them and help them the most,” Lendl said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press. “It’s just fun watching how they try to learn. They ask a lot of questions. They try different things. They’re just eager to get better.”

The USTA planned to announce Lendl’s involvement Tuesday, along with that of two other former players who will be coaching young American pros: Mardy Fish and Jill Craybas. All three are on retainer with the USTA.

The recently retired Fish, once ranked as high as No. 7, and Craybas, who won an NCAA singles championship and reached the top 50 as a pro, will take part in preseason training camps from late November into December. Fish will work with at least a half-dozen men in California; Craybas will be with at least 10 women in Florida.

“It gives our players a chance to make a connection to, and get training from, other players who have played at the highest level and kind of gives them a perspective for where the bar is in terms of what they can accomplish,” said Martin Blackman, who replaced Patrick McEnroe as head of the player-development program in April.

Lendl was ranked No. 1, reached 19 Grand Slam finals, won 94 ATP tour singles titles and was elected to the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 2001.

As a coach, he helped Murray win the US Open in 2012 and Wimbledon in 2013.

As for whether he might again coach a top-level pro, Lendl said: “I don’t know if it will happen, when it will happen, on what level it will happen. But if something comes along which makes a lot of sense, I am always willing to consider it.”

For now, though, he will spend time with the teens. They’re also getting assistance from fitness trainer Jez Green, who worked with Murray, too.

“You ask them how they think they will be playing in the future, what kind of style, and who their heroes are. You evaluate and establish what the weaknesses are. And then you design a program to work on those weaknesses,” Lendl said. “I really enjoy helping them conform to the way they think they should be playing. Unless, of course, we totally disagree about how they should play.”

He added with a chuckle: “If a guy who is going to be 6-foot-8 tells me he wants to play like Rafa [Nadal], we will have more discussions.”

No U.S. man has reached a major quarterfinal since 2011; none has won a major singles title since Andy Roddick at the 2003 US Open. No American woman other than the Williams sisters has participated in a Grand Slam final since 2005.

“What has gone wrong? I’m not qualified to say,” Lendl said. “But I have had a lot of discussions with Martin … on how I would like to see a young group develop.”

This week, there is only one U.S. man in the ATP’s top 20, No. 11 John Isner. There are four in the top 50, seven in the top 100.

The U.S. women have Serena Williams at No. 1, Venus Williams at No. 7 — and a total of seven in the top 50, 13 in the top 100.

Blackman said “a successful tennis federation model” seen in other countries, including Spain, France and Australia, blends “professional career coaches” with a “kind of organic retention of former players.”

“We had a little break in that connection with the last generation of American champions,” Blackman said. “What we’re trying to do now is be a little more systematic and strategic about getting all of our past champions involved and re-engaged.”

Things Every Athlete Can Expect on their Journey

Thirteen things every athlete can expect on their journey:


1. You will face numerous crushing setbacks.
2. You will wish you didn’t get down on yourself as much.
3. You will not always play or perform the way you want to.
4. Every body will want to give you advice and then try take credit for your successes.
5. You will be misunderstood a lot due to your choice of lifestyle.
6. You will have to miss a lot of social and family events.
7. You will be sore a lot of the time.
8. You will realize that the best coaches were the toughest at times, but they always cared.
9. You will realize that the small details actually do make the biggest differences.
10. You won’t like your trainers or coaches at times.
11. You will visit and meet many interesting places and people along the way.
12. After your athletic career is done, you will discover who your true friends really were.
13. At the end of your journey, you will wish you had enjoyed it all more.

Enjoy everyday like it’s your last.

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The Injured Athlete: Why a Setback Can Be a Great Opportunity

The injured athlete: Why a setback can be a great opportunity for an even bigger comeback!

INJURED ATHLETEThis is the way I see it, maybe because I’m a total optimist, but I only see injuries as a great opportunity to re-assess and improve.

Any experienced athlete will tell you that injuries are all part of sport and the athletic journey. And one thing we do know is that fortune favors those who are better prepared and take care of their bodies.

I strongly believe that the injured athlete who is optimistic and hungry to get better, takes the initiative and goes to work on other areas of their body or mindset. He or she understands that there are always area’s that can be improved and worked on.

You see, It’s not all doom and gloom when an injury happens. In fact, it’s what I call ‘opportunity time’. I even like to joke with athletes that it’s just God’s way of saying “ Dear Athlete, you need to work on other things”.

So If an athlete has an injury to the lower limbs for example, then the core and upper could be worked on and vice versa (injury to the upper body, then legs and movement could be trained).

An injury always tells me how hungry and how determined an athlete is. The champion athletes are not locking themselves away in a room drowning in their misfortune, they are instead pounding on their trainers door to get a program to work on!

If you have attended one of my seminars or workshops you probably would’ve heard me speak about ‘the want to’.

Simply explained, ‘the want to’ (and not ‘need to’ because the coach or parent said so) is when the athlete is so determined and hungry to get better, and they will do anything. They ‘want it’ badly.

And here’s the funny thing, in a lot of cases I’ve actually seen athletes come back from an injury even stronger, faster or better. The forced time out from playing and competing has made them work on areas that needed serious attention, but weren’t putting enough time into.

On top of that, the time away from playing or competing has given them a renewed freshness (mindset/body). I always say that a fresh and hungry athlete is a dangerous athlete. Like all other things in life, we have a choice in how we see things. When an injury happens, you can either be absorbed in your self-pity, or get to work and improve on other things.

So next time you get injured (or maybe you are now), see it in the most positive light possible. Together with your coach, sit down and devise a training plan and program. Address the area’s you know need more work on.

In my opinion, there are no ‘off days’ for the athlete who wants it more. There is always things to work on and improve, be it flexibility, balance, etc.

Don’t waste your energy mopping around the house or the mall, rather get your butt into the gym, or out on the field and get to work!

Remember injuries are only great opportunities to get better, and that a setback is a great opportunity for an even bigger comeback!

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