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Archive for April 12th, 2008

Jose Higueras, Federer’s next coach? If he is, this is the best Federer could find? Give me a freaking break!!!

Posted by tennisplanet on April 12, 2008

José Higueras(born February 28, 1953, in Diezma, Spain) is a tennis coach and former professional tennis player from Spain.

Between 1976 and 1984, Higueras won 16 top-level singles titles. A semi-finalist at the French Open in 1982 and 1983, Higueras reached the World No. 6 singles ranking in 1983. He was also a member of the Spanish team which won the inaugural World Team Cup in 1978.

Higueras retired from the professional tour in 1986. After retiring as a player, he became a successful, world renowned tennis coach. He coached Jim Courier to reaching the World No. 1 singles ranking in 1992 as well as Michael Chang, Pete Sampras, Todd Martin, Carlos Moyà, Sergi Bruguera, Dmitry Tursunov, and Guillermo Coria. He currently coaches Robby Ginepri and Shahar Pe’er and resides in Palm Springs, California where he runs José Higueras Tennis (www.higuerastennis.com).

What is the selection criteria at Federer’s freaking camp for selecting a freaking coach? Tony Roche and now this guy Jose who? Hope this is just a toad he has to kiss to get to the real master. Time is so short now that Federer has lost the liberty of using the laboratory anymore.

With so much better and time tested material on the market, I wonder what swayed Federer’s decision to pick this guy. Of course, his semifinal performance at Roland Garros may have helped, and if it did, I can only assume and hope that this will last only uptil the French Open.

With the way things have shaped up for Federer this season, he needs someone more than just a coach or specialist on clay only. He needs a professional sounding board with proven credentials. There’s too much at stake to let just anyone drive the Rolls Royce now. Not only will the new appointee have to bring the car back on the highway, he has to ensure it stays on course at least till No. 14 is reached. Roland Garros suddenly looks like gravy right now.

If you are where Federer is, for the coach to be a success he has to have a very low key, non confrontational, tactful and an extremely congenial personality. When you are No. 1 for so long with such an awesome portfolio, you are not likely to listen to anyone without the above qualifications irrespective of how imperative it is. It’s the ego.

Who fits that description? Darren Cahill. Don’t you think?

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Estoril draw is out.

Posted by tennisplanet on April 12, 2008

This has to be a walk in the park for Federer. I think he needs this walk to get his pistons used to the jungle that he will be navigating pretty soon.

First up is that delusional ping pong player turned tennis player 5’6″ dwarf Oliver Rochus. Although Federer leads the H2H 5-0, they have not played each other for almost two years AND they have never played each other on clay. Besides, Rochus was able to pull off a miracle in the last two encounters by taking a set off Federer at his peak – last one on grass at Halle. In fact the match was decided by three freaking tie-breaks.

Although Rochus is currently ranked No. 80 in the world and has won just two freaking titles in his nine years on the tour, he cannot be taken lightly not only because of his record against Federer but also due to the surface and the streak Federer is on now.

Rochus is having a miserable year so far. He has gone passed the second round at just one of the eight tournaments he has played this year. But he has lost to some good players like Murray, Ferrer, Karlovic and Monaco.

Considering the overall field at the event, Rochus is not a typical tomato can here. Rochus and Federer go way back and are very familiar with each other’s game, justifying some of the close matches they have had. Can he be equated to Canas at Indian Wells? Should be pretty close, if you take into account all that’s in the air / at stake right now.

Next round will be against the thoroughbred tomato cans followed by Mahut in the quarters.

Mahut is ranked No. 43 with a 0-2 H2H against Federer. Federer just took him out in straight sets 6-1, 6-1 at Indian Wells this year. Mahut is yet to win a title in his eight year stint as a pro. His best result was a finalist at Queens last year. This year is not going too good either, having being eliminated in the second round at most of the ten events he has played so far.

Semifinals should be against Nieminen (M&M), who has a fantastic 0-8 H2H against Federer. Not having won a single set in those eight encounters ices the cake. But Fish and Roddick or even Murray were not too far from that. So who knows what’s in store on the red surface.

Federer should face Davydenko in the finals. This could be Davydenko’s shot at fame by following in the footsteps of Djokovic, Murray, Fish and Roddick. Davydenko has got to be feeling really pumped up after his come from behind, grinding out victory at Miami, after being down match point in his first match there.

Davydenko has an even more beautiful H2H against Federer 0-11. Last time they played each other on clay was at last year’s Roland Garros in the semifinals. Davydenko extended Federer to two tie-breaks and a 7-5 before losing in straight sets. But this is a whole new match from both players. Lot has changed since then.

But if Federer wanted this to be his stepping stone into the red world, his prayers have been answered. The draw is peppered with just the right amount of metal to test him enough to get his engines running for the big game. The progression into the draw, if the seeds hold up AND there are no retirements, is pretty decent, ramping him up comfortably to the top to enable him peak gradually.

With just the No. 4 and No. 18 (Karlovic) among the top players in the world, this is the easiest field of jokers Federer has played against in his almost five years at the helm. With it comes even higher level of expectation from fellow players, media and the fans. This is not the ‘must win’ like at AO or even Indian Wells, this is the mother of all ‘must wins’ or the bottom will give way for good.

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Attempts at ‘big four’ tournaments on clay by top three jokers.

Posted by tennisplanet on April 12, 2008

Attempts: Monte Carlo Federer Nadal Djokovic Attempts: Rome Federer Nadal Djokovic
1st attempt Ist rd 3rd rd 1st rd   1st rd Winner Quarters
2nd   1st rd  Winner  3rd rd    3rd rd  Winner   
3rd  Quarters  Winner      1st rd  Winner   
4th  2nd rd  Winner      Final     
5th  Final        2nd rd     
6th  Final        Final     
7th          3rd rd     
               
               
               
HAMBURG         ROLAND GARROS      
1st  1st rd  3rd rd 2nd rd   1st rd Winner  2nd rd 
2nd  1st rd  Final  Quarters    4th rd  Winner  Quarters 
3rd  Winner        Quarters  Winner  Semis 
4th  3rd rd        1st rd     
5th  Winner        1st rd     
6th  Winner        3rd rd     
7th  Winner        Semis     
8th          Final     
9th         Final     
               
               
               
               
               

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