Bergamo Challenger Tuesday Report

First time for me at Bergamo Challenger and I have to say that both venues (Bergamo and Alzano) are quite good: tournament has a lot of sponsors and the entrance is free.

The public is very educated, Bergamo has a quite long tradition (10 years) in organizing this tournament, so the umpires never need to ask the public to be quiet or not to use flash cameras.

Before coming here I read about courts being super fast: honestly the bounce is low but they didn’t look super fast as for example in Brescia a few months ago.

I have pics and videos but at the moment my connection is pretty bad and I can’t add, will do it this evening.

Paire def. Mertl 46 75 64

This match has been played on Monday but I add it since I managed to get there on time.

Paire is probably the biggest attraction in Bergamo and the public was looking forward to watch him.

After a few games Paire started complaining about court conditions (I think the complain was about the surface being not plane) and asked the supervisor to come and check, but of course he could not do anything.

Mertl kept serving above 200 kmh with peaks over 220 and Paire at the beginning could not handle these big serves. Then he started hitting chop returns and it worked. I have to say that he looked very prudent moving on court. He delighted the public with some sexy dropshots and stop volleys but from the baseline he could not outpower Mertl and had a lot of self-talk complaining about his own level.

Mertl had a very solid level for two sets and was very close to the win when on break point for 64 *54 Paire hit a shot pretty clearly out but chair umpire overruled the linesman call: Mertl went nuts and lost focus. Paire then just needed to be solid and wait for the chances that a very nervous czech conceded serving to stay in the match on *4-5 third set. Benoit capitalized and Jan destroyed his own racquet.

Surely not the best performance by Paire, but he didn’t give up and tried to stay focused until the end and he managed to stay calm even if an aged woman close to me shouted blatantly “Oh no!” and “Mon Dieu” after every shot missed by Benoit. I would have killed her.

Hernych def. Fucsovics 61 62

Not much to say about this much. The only game won by the hungarian in the first set was a game where he saved 0-40. Hernych has an amazing footwork indoor (huge difference for example compared to Paire) and played a very solid match showing that indoors, even without much power, you can use angles to outplay your opponent.

Fucsovics was truly bad throughout the match, clearly frustrated by Hernych´s level and he didn’t even show any particular emotion like he didn’t care a lot about the tournament.

Won’t be easy to beat Hernych here.

Daniell/Motti def. Skupski/Skupski 76 76

I went to the other venue of the tournament (Alzano) to cheer for one of the kindest guy on tour: Ale Motti.

Daniell was coming from the ATP title in Montpellier so you could even expect his to be a bit empty of mental energies but in fact Daniell/Motti looked the better team from the beginning.They were not able to capitalize good situations during rallies and on 5-5 with Motti on serve they went 15-40: this was the turning point of the match as Motti played 3 super clutch points and in a few minutes they were set and break up. When the match seemed over, Daniell had a little black-out on serve and the match went to another tiebreak which they won pretty easily. Good chemistry between Daniell and Motti that later translated the menu at lunch (with Flavio Cipolla) for his mate. Motti should play Wroclaw Challenger next week. Funny that during second set tiebreak Skupskis had to ask the umpire which of them had to serve because they forgot.

Basic def. Gaio 57 63 64

In the first set Gaio played a great attacking tennis for the joy of his coach Rianna on the stands, going to the net as soon as possible and being pretty solid on serve. There is a reason why Gaio has that ranking, he could not keep the level for the whole match. Basic started serving better and Gaio could not return anymore (won 9 points on return during last 2 sets). Basic had just to wait for Gaio to offer him a chance and he got one per set, that was enough. Gaio fought till the end but Basic didn’t offer any chance to break back.

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Nedovyesov def. Marcora 64 64

I could watch only the first set and I think this was the best match of the day with both players showing attacking tennis and powerful shots. Nedovyesov played a great first set trying to take the initiative as soon as possible, Marcora was often the second best on rallies despite showing good attitude on court and good technique. Nedo looked very motivated here.

Puetz def. Fischer 63 64

I sincerely expected a better performance by the austrian, but Puetz despite framing some shots at the beginning of the match was dominating almost every rally. Both players were playing similar tennis but one of them was way more solid. Both players complained with umpire about line calls: I have to say this happened in every match. Petz and Andy Beck were attending the match.

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Michon def. Teixeira 36 63 64

First set was one-way traffic with Teixeira serving very well (8 aces) and being more solid during the long rallies. It was however pretty clear that if Teixeira would have started missing some first serves, Michon could have bounced back into the match. This exactly happened a few games later: Teixeira had no more free points from serve and Michon started believing he could win and trying to be more aggressive. Both players complained about opponent´s serves being out (anche they were out!) but the umpire never overruled. I have to say that Teixeira never gave up and tried to fight until the end, but Michon didn’t allow him to come back especially hitting some nice lobs.

Teixeira had to correct the chair umpire twice: first time when he announced the winner of the coin toss, second time when he announced Michon 2-1 up in the third while in fact the score was Michon 3-2.

Pouille def. Martin 63 64

Pouille’s power was very impressive here, his forehand is really an huge weapon and Martin was not able to handle it. Pouille showed also good defensive skills hitting amazing passing shots when Martin tried to attack him. Martin went a break up in the second set but it was pretty clear that the set wasn’t in danger for the French.

In the end I think that Pouille and Nedovyesov have been the most impressive players today, with Henrych and Puetz slightly below them.

I will attend the tournament also today and then come back home, will be at Wroclaw Challenger from Monday to Friday next week.

How to win an ITF final from 2-6 0-4 down: interview with Mario Vilella Martinez

 

 

 

 

 

Mario Vilella Martinez is one of the few players that have won multiple ITF titles in 2015. He also had an impressive end of 2014 so I am pretty sure that this year we will see him competing on Challenger circuit (currently he is ranked #778).ScreenHunter_28

Describe yourself on tennis court: your best side and your weakness

I play with a lot of character and passion on court, it is good but sometimes it can turn against me in a match.This is the part of my game I’m trying to improve.

What is your favourite surface?

It is clay, I grew up playing on clay and it is the surface that best suits my game.

Do you have a coach?

I have two coaches, I practise in a big group of players so they alternate with us to practise and travel.

Do you have any sponsor?

Yes I have a sponsor, the academy of Juan Carlos Ferrero “Equelite” helps me with my training and trips. I also have national contract with Babolat.

Do you have any pre-match rituals?

I used to have some but I wasn’t very consistent with them. Now before matches I talk with my coach to motivate myself and to be less nervous.

Does cheering from the stands help to get you play better play or not ? Especially in foreign tournaments.

Yes it does, when the public cheers for me it helps me to stay motivated and play better.

Whom you don’t like to play (What style of game)?

I don’t like with players that don’t give me rhythm and play fast.

And whom do you  to play (What style of game)?

I like to play against players that are solid from the baseline.

What was the best match you’ve ever played?

I don’t have a specific match but I choose one match I played last month, the final in the F1 in Tunisia, I was down 6-2 4-0 and I came to win saving match points.

What is your favourite tennis player and why?

Right now I don’t have a favourite player. I always like the way Juan Carlos Ferrero played. Now I have the luck of training at his academy and have a good relationship with him.

Who is the toughest opponent you faced?

In 2013 I had a wild card in the qualies of Valencia Open and play with Pablo Carreño that was having an amazing year. I’ve never felt that small on the court.

You didn’t play from February to October 2014, were you injured?

During these months I had a small injury but that wasn’t the main reason. I had bat attitude and didn’t enjoy my time on court so I decided to take some time to decide about my future.

Which advice would you give to a young player who is starting to play Future tournaments?

Don’t worry about the points or the ranking, the important thing is to have a good attitude and give your best in every match.

Your opinion about anti-doping programme: have you have ever been tested in competition or out of competition?

No, I have never been tested for anti-doping. I thing this is a good system so that everyone has the same physical conditions.

Have you ever been approached (Skype, Facebook etc…) by someone to fix a match?

No, never.

What do you think about the ITF and Challenger Prize money increase announced?

I think the price money have to increase cause usually in futures if you don’t win or get finals it is hard to make even on the trip.

Your opinion about possible changes as no let and no adv.

I don’t like the possible changes on no let and no advantage. I think the way it is now is perfect.

Three things/rules you would change on Pro Circuit if you had the power.

I wouldn’t change many things, just in some tournaments the organization is not good and control more the conditions of the courts and the type of balls.

What is your schedule for beginning of 2015?

I will continue playing futures and if it is going good maybe some challengers.

What is your goal for 2015? Just stay healthy or do you have a ranking goal?

I don’t have a ranking goal just to play many matches and finish the year in a positive direction.

What are your interests? What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

Besides tennis I enjoy doing others sports and when I have free time I try to spend time with my friends and family.

Your favourite movie?

Lords of the rings, I always enjoy this movie

And music?

I like almost all types of music. Depends on the moment I listen to ones or others.

Thanks a lot for your time!

16 yo and already ITF Pro Circuit Runner-up: interview with Alexa Graham

Alexa Graham is surely one on the young players to watch on the ITF Pro circuit in 2015.

She made a great debut this year reaching the final at Fort-de-France 10k, beating top 500 (Guarachi) and top 300 (Ramialison) opponents.

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I could never watch you so please describe yourself on tennis court: your best side and your weakness

I enjoy playing in a competive atmosphere and learning from the experience of playing players with high talent.

What is your favourite surface?

I train on Har Tru and Hard Courts, but Hard Courts are definitely my favorite.

I read that you are coached by Anna Bielen-Zarska, is this right? From how long time is she following you?

Yes, Anna has been coaching me for about three years now! We work really well together and I love training with her every day.

Did you travel to Martinique with her or with family?

I traveled to Martinique with one of my hitting coaches, Eric Bratt.

Do you have any sponsor?

I’m on Babolat’s national team and they provide me with equipment.

Do you have any pre-match rituals?

Before my matches I warm up all my strokes and sharpen anything that seems to be off.

Does cheering from the stands help to get you play better play or not ? Especially in foreign tournaments

I always enjoy playing in front of a crowd, no matter where it is.

What was the best match you’ve ever played?

When I was 14 years old playing a 10k in Pennsylvania I won my first wta point. We split sets and then I was down 5-2 and a match point in the third set and came back to win the match.

What is your favourite tennis player and why?

I like Maria Sharapova because she is very competitive on the court. She is always intense and aggressive. She also has the ability to come back from adversity and injury.

You are very young: how can you put together tennis and your education?

I’m an online high school student. It’s a big commitment and takes a lot of coordination and planning.

You played only one ITF junior tournament, why?

I’ve only played one junior ITF tournament because my coach and I thought it was better to invest the resources in playing pro circuit events.

Do you have any relation with other good US junior girls (Bellis, Neel, Kenin, Gordon etc..?)

I’ve made a lot of good friends through tennis including Ingrid Neel, Jessie Aney, and Alexis Nelson. Even though we dont live close to each other, we manage to stay in touch.

Describe the differences between ITF and USTA tournaments (organization, atmosphere, courts etc)

ITF tournaments are run more professionally and you are usually only playing one match a day.

Three things/rules you would change on Pro Circuit if you had the power

Each match should have a definite start time, there should be line judges on all the lines for every match, and to be given the oppurtunity to talk to your coach between split sets.

What is your schedule for beginning of 2015?

I’m going down to Florida next weekend for a national open. I also plan on playing the two 10ks in Florida in March.

What is your goal for 2015? Just stay healthy and improve your game or do you have a ranking goal?

This year I want to compete in as many pro events as possible and keep improving my ranking.

What are your interests? What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

The weekends that I’m home I always like going to the movies and the mall with my friends.

Your favourite movie?

My favorite movie is The Internship. I laugh everytime I watch it!

And music?

I really like Taylor Swift’s new album.

Thanks for the interview and best of luck for your career!

What happened in ITF Pro Circuit Men in January 2015

Multiple Title Winners

Balleret (USA F5, USA F6)

Elgin (Kazakhstan F1, Kazakhstan F2)

Vilella-Martinez (Tunisia F1, Tunisia F3)

Marterer (Germany F2, Germany F3)

Pereira (Turkey F2, Turkey F4)

Best records

Pereira 16-2

Marterer 14-1

Balleret 14-2 (+ 4 titles in doubles –> 16-0)

Elgin 10-0

Vilella-Martinez 10-1

Antonescu 10-3 (+ 1 title in doubles)

Cox 9-1

Musialek 9-2

Majchrzak 8-2 (+ 1 title in doubles)

Oldest final

Kazakhistan F2

Elgin (33) def. Zhyrmont (25)

USA F6

Balleret (32) def. Heras (26)

Youngest Final

Egypt F3

Djere (19) def. Majchrzak (19)

Final with biggest difference in age

USA F5

Balleret (32) def. Tiafoe (17)

Longest Final

Tunisia F3

Vilella-Martinez def. Jaime Pulgar Garcia 67 64 76 (36 games)

Shortest Final

France F1

Thivant def. Sakharov 61 60 (13 games)

Highest ranked Player to win a Title

France F2

Paire (#135) def. Teixeira

Lowest ranked Player to win a Title

France F1

Thivant (unranked) def. Sakharov

ITF Player of the month

Tomas Fabian, 54 yo, played his first ever ITF match in France F2.

He went on court without bag, with just one racquet. When he had to serve, he put the other ball close to his feet. He didn’t even know about the changeover. He ended 0-24 on serve but he managed to win 2 points on return!

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Honourable mention for ITF player of the month

Sado Laribi, 0-24 games in 2015 but I admire his love for the game and for the competition

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Most incredible 1 set all of the month

Stouff – Coco 61 67 ITF France F2

Stouff had 12 bps. Coco 0. Stouff lost 9 points on serve. Coco 44.

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Winners from 0-6 down

Ponwith (USA) def. Nguyen (USA) 0-6 6-4 6-0 in USA F2

Schneider (USA) def. Bakalov (BUL) 0-6 6-3 6-3 in USA F2

Cayre (FRA) def. Bonadio (ITA) 0-6 6-3 6-0 in Tunisia F1

Leite (BRA) def. Marti (SUI) 0-6 6-4 12-10 in Turkey F2

Tiafoe (USA) def. King (BAR) 0-6 7-6 6-3 in USA F3

Na (KOR) def. Partl (SVK) 0-6 7-5 6-4 in Egypt F2

Rousset (FRA) def. Kapas (POL) 0-6 7-6 6-2 in Tunisia F2

Garza (MEX) def. Krainik (CAN) 0-6 6-2 6-3 in USA F5

Galli (ITA) def. Yoshida (JPN) 0-6 6-2 6-2 in Tunisa F2

Halys (FRA) def. Corrie (GBR) 0-6 6-1 6-4 in Great Britain F2

Toledo Bague (SPA) def. Cachin (ARG) 0-6 6-2 6-2 in Spain F1

Some cool stuff that happened in Tennis Week 2 & 3 / 2015

Sam Thompson incredible volley


Legendary ITF story

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Tomas Fabian, 54 yo, played his first ever ITF match in France F2.

He went on court without bag, with just one racquet. When he had to serve, he put the other ball close to his feet. He didn’t even know about the changeover. He ended 0-24 on serve but he managed to win 2 points on return!


Michael Venus wins at home

First Kiwi to beat an overseas player in home tourney since 2002 (Nielsen def Vinciguerra)


How not to smash


Sloane Stephens likes risk


Funny Umpires expressions


Pablo Cuevas highly motivated

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Federer aces Cruz Hewitt (0:50)


Tweets of the Weeks 2-3

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Bryan Bros robbed


Insane rally Muller-Tomic


Lamine Ouahab (the only guy to have beaten Rafael Nadal in a junior match) wins Casablanca Challenger

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Genie is so loved

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Also the ball wants to touch her


Also Bautista has his own Army!


McHale vomits on court…and wins


Kokkinas post Gulbis match amazing video


Marinko Matosevic is the new Matteo Volante (br 217 doubles, current 260)

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(women tennis doesn’t exist)

But Matteo didn’t stick to tennis

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(all women are whores)


Amazing Aus Open Day 1-3 Recap


One of the most ridicolous passing shot ever. On mp. Against Federer


Paire and Brands play ITF events

Paire won France ITF, Brands lost SF in Germany

Winning ITF France F2 (5 matches won) Paire earned 1440$, losing in 1st round quali Aus Open (1 match lost) he earned 4000$


New balls please


ITF Most incredible 1 set all of all times

Stouff – Coco 61 67

Stouff had 12 bps. Coco 0. Stouff lost 9 points on serve. Coco 44.

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Poor Svetlana…ouch

From Futures to Grand Slams: interview with Stefano Travaglia

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First of all, tell us about your recent down under experience.

Australian Open is great: you have a lot of indoor and outdoor courts, big restaurants, three locker rooms with 4 physios, almost one hundred transportations at your full availability. Economic support for the flight (1700$ cash as soon as you arrive) and a daily refund of 220$ for at least 2 days.

I played good tennis in Australia, especially here in Melbourne. I lost a close match against a player that the week before was runner-up in 75k +H challenger and top 130 ATP, so it was a good experience.

Which is your favourite tournament?

Us Open, amazing atmosphere with that great centre court.

Do you have any pre-match ritual?

Listening to music, thinking about what I have to do on court, about what I worked on in training, bringing moxie to my mind and to my body.

Does cheering from the stands help to get you play better play or not ?

It can help on 6-6 third set, as it brings physical strength when I am tired but everything that is off court remains off for me.

Which has been your best match so far?

2014 Rome MS quali when I beat Montanes 76 64.

What is the weirdest thing happened to you on tour?

In an ITF in Germany I had to sleep in the train station because when I arrived there were no taxi or any kind of public transport, the train station was in the middle of the mountains.

Favourite player?

David Ferrer

And a bete noir?

Don’t have any.

In 2014 your prize money income from singles and doubles has been 48.860 $: was this money enough to cover your expenses?

It wasn’t, but incomes were slightly below the expenses (we have a lot of expenses as you can imagine). It was anyway my best year from the economical point of view.

Last year you played Serie A2 (Italian club championship): is it fundamental to play for a club to “survive” on pro tour? How much is this influencing your pro planning and results?

Yes, it is fundamental but if you are smart enough with planning you can play well pro circuit and team championship

What do you think about the announced ITF Prize money increase?

It is really good, free hospitality would make us save a lot of money. Also prize money increase is a good news of course.

ATP obtained a great increase of prize money for Master 1000, in this way I think the difference between top 10 and top 100 will become larger, what do you think?

I think ATP is doing right choices, they are taking care of the bigger tournaments but also of the challengers.

In 2014 you have been one of the very few player to beat Goffin: did you expect him to reach top 20 so quickly?

I didn’t think so, but his results made me believe in myself and gave me self-confidence

Last time I watched you was in Brescia Challenger: you looked very nervous (also because of some bad line calls). I think you have top 100 serve and forehand but you miss something on the backhand and in the shot selection: which are your areas of improvement?

Surely I have to improve the backhand and the rally management, sometimes I am too impulsive and hasty on court

Your best friend on the tennis tour?

We all know each other in the circuit, I don’t have a best friend.

Describe the differences between ITF, ATP, and Challengers.

ATP has excellent organization, excellent transportation, excellent hotels and big structures.

Challengers has decent level for everything above.

ITF has mediocre transportation, for hotels you have to somehow manage by yourself, prize money not sufficient and structures sometimes not appropriate for pro level.

Recently some players started to widely complain about ITF circuit conditions (Buchhass pics from Chile, Sousse training court etc): do you have any experience to share?

In Chile a couple of years ago (in Vila Alemana) players refused to play in the tennis club where the tournament was scheduled and they obtained the right to play in another club.

You had a terrible injury and you reacted with great spirit and willpower: you had to breakthrough a couple of times. Which advice would you give to a young player who is starting to play Future tournaments?

It is not an easy path but with the right motivation and training you can reach your own goals. You have to be determined and believe in yourself, nothing happens by accident.

Your opinion about anti-doping programme: have you have ever been tested in competition or out of competition’

I have been tested at Milan Challenger in 2014

Your opinion about possible changes as no-let and no-adv.

It would be strange, I tested the no-let in 2013 and it would not be easy to adapt to the change.

Three things/rules you would change on Pro Circuit if you had the power?

  • Prize money increase
  • Better conditions in low level tournaments
  • Appropriate Structure

Your scheduling after Australia

  • Training
  • Egypt ITF 15k
  • Training
  • New Delhi Challenger 100k
  • Kolkata Challenger 50k
  • Training
  • Guangzhou Challenger 50k +H
  • Shenzhen Challenger 75k +H

Where and with who are you training?

In Jesi with Sebastian Vasquez.

What is your goal for 2015?

Top 150 and play all Slams (possibly in Main Draw).

If you haven’t been a tennis player, where would you be right now?

I would be on the beach in Hawaii preparing cocktails during the day and being a dj at night.

You have a great record in tiebreaks (43-25 until 2014 based on ATP stats): did you know that?

I didn’t know, thanks for letting me know.

What are your interests? What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

Staying with my girlfriend Maria Paola, listening to music, fishing and staying with family.

Thanks Stefano and best of luck for your 2015! See you on tour!

From NCAA to Top 250 Goal in 2015: Interview with Tom Jomby

Tom Jomby played his first pro tournament at 15 yo and a few years later decided to study in the US: he had a very good NCAA impact at University of Kentucky. Last September he re-started his pro career and in a few months became already top 800.

As Carretennis has a special focus on ITF players and on College players he was the perfect guy for an interview.

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I watched you several times on stream and on Youtube but for those that could not, describe yourself on tennis court: your best side and your weakness.

I am a really tall player 1.98 m, ( 6 foot 6 inches ) so my serve is my biggest weapon. I like to yell and get crazy on the court: I think it’s because of college tennis where the atmosphere is really rowdy. Sometimes it helps me getting motivated but it also can become my weakness when I get angry. 

What is your favourite surface ?

My favorite surface is hard court. 

Do you have a coach?

I don’t have a coach that follows me on the tour but I am still in contact with Cedric Kauffmann and my home based coach is Sebastien Louis that used to coach Enzo Couacaud before. 

Do you have any sponsor?

I don’t have any sponsor. 

Do you have any pre-match rituals?

My ritual before my match is listening to music with my beats, and gripping my rackets.

Does cheering from the stands help to get you play better play or not ? Especially in foreign tournaments.

I feel like when I have someone to look at in the stand helps me when I play in a foreign tournament. Not someone who will cheer for me but someone I can share the moment with. Cheering doesn’t really help me but knowing that people are watching help me a lot. 

Whom you don’t like to play (What style of game)?

I don’t like to play tall guys that serve big and go for winners all the time. 

And whom do you like to play (What style of game)?

I like to play short guys that will try to grind and never miss a ball and don’t hurt you. 

What was the best match you’ve ever played?

The best match I’ve ever play was in college in 2012 during the South Eastern Conference regular season and University of Georgia. We were both schools undefeated and the winner was most likely going to win the conference. In a dual match in college it’s the best out of 4 points, (doubles point count for one and then 6 singles) it was 3/3 overall during the dual match and was the only match remaining on court, in front of more than 1000 people. It was at the University of Georgia and was down 4/2 in the third and ended up winning 7/6 . It’s by far the best memory of my life. 

What is the weirdest thing happened to you on tour?

Nothing “crazy” happened to me on the tour but I thought weird that one tournament tried to sell me a WC to get into doubles because I wasn’t sure to get in with my partner. 

What is your favourite tennis player and why?

Favorite tennis player is Gael Monfils. I love his style and the way he plays! His serve and forehand are just amazing! 

Who is the toughest opponent you faced?

The toughest guy I played was Jaroslav Pospisil. I played him in Egypt in november and was up 5/2 in the first playing amazing but as soon as I started playing a little shorter during the rallies and serving less first serves I had no chance to win a point. I lost 11 games in a row and lost 7/5 6/0 

You had a good NCAA career: how did University improve you as person and as tennis player?

I believe my coaches did a great job improving my game but also myself as a person. They are not only your coach but they become apart of your family. They actually care about you which is a different relationship that you have with a coach in general in tennis. The fact that you belong to a team is also something different that makes things work different in NCAA. They made me work on every aspect of the game. My last 2 seasons not only I had a big role as a player, having to be the leader on the court but also off the court. You have to show the new guys coming into the team how it works. How you practice and show them the team values, the team traditions and everything. College made me become not only a better tennis player but a better person, educated with a degree and ready to go achieve my dream with a security to find a job if tennis doesn’t work. I can play free in my mind and that’s what is so great. If tennis work I’m happy and if it doesn’t work I know I will still find something to do with my life and that is a situation I could never have without college. 

Which advice would you give to a young player who is starting to play Future tournaments?

The advice I would tell a young guy is to not focus on the points but focus on the level you are playing. If your level is getting better then the rest should come with it.

Your best friend on the tennis tour?

My best friend is Mick Lescure I play doubles with Him and we are sharing a coach, Sebastien Louis. 

Describe the differences between ITF and NCAA tournaments (organization, atmosphere, courts etc)

Well I only played 11 futures and 2 challengers but the differences in term of organisation are huge. 

First of all when you play in college the coach is taking care of booking your trips, hotel, where you are going to eat and when you are going to practice. All you have to do is sit on the plane, sit on the shuttle, warm up, eat , sleep, wake up, play and go back home. 

When you start the tour you have to do everything on your own, not only doing it on your own but pay it on your own which is the biggest difference! You have to have a lot of confidence in yourself. 

In terms of atmosphere, the difference is huge too. I played some semi finals of future where there was probably 10 people watching where in college there was at least 300 people cheering for you, of for the other team when you are on the road. Therefore the atmosphere during the match is totally different, and more quiet ! 

Your opinion about anti-doping programme: have you have ever been tested in competition or out of competition?

I haven’t been tested yet in the pro circuit but in college yes. 

Have you ever been approached (Skype, Facebook etc…) by someone to fix a match?

I have never been approached by someone to fix a match.

What do you think about the ITF and Challenger Prize money increase announced?

I am happy and really looking forward to the  Challenger and futures  Prize money increase. 

Your opinion about possible changes as no-let and no-adv.

I don’t think the no-adv and no-let should be put in the pro circuit. 

Three things/rules you would change on Pro Circuit if you had the power.

#1, I would put Housing in every tournament of the Pro Circuit, starting 10k. You cannot consider yourself a pro if you have to pay for your hotel.

#2 I would give new balls for practice in futures.

#3 I would create a website where you take 5 minutes where you can note your referee because in futures it’s a scandal how bad some refs are! 

What is your schedule for beginning of 2015?

My schedule for 2015 is to play 4 futures in january, then 2 weeks of training and 2 weeks of futures end of february then I will practice for 3/4 weeks and will start playing tournaments again in march. 

What is your goal for 2015? Just stay healthy or do you have a ranking goal?

My goal for 2015 is to end up top 250 so I can play the qualies of the Australian Open 2016. 

What are your interests? What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

I like to be on twitter, play PS4, hangout with my friends, have a good time in general.

Your favourite movie?

My favorite movies are blood diamond, flight, and intouchables. 

And music?

I listen to house music/ electro / deep house / rap / hip hop. 

Thanks for your courtesy and best of luck for your pro career!

Some cool stuff that happened in Week 1 / 2015

 Sam Stosur lost from 5-1 third set up, at least not vs an -Ova


Shot of the week


Former top 100 players coming back on tour

Mischa Zverev played ITF USA F1 (lost in 2nd round)

Ryan Sweeting will make his Challenger Tour comeback in Maui Challenger


Genie Surfing…


…And Ana Jumping

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Wuhuuu 🔝💨🙊 #skyjump

A post shared by Ana Konjuh (@anakonjuh) on


Funny stats of the week

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More money in the Challenger Circuit Events

The ATP announced significant efforts to enhance the ATP Challenger Tour, including further increases in prize money. The increases will take place at the lowest category of tournaments, with minimum prize money levels increasing from $40,000 + Hospitality (paid hotel accommodation for main draw players) to $50,000 + Hospitality by 2017. In addition, and with immediate effect, the ATP is offering all current minimum prize money tournaments a subsidy to move up to $50,000 + H from 2015.

ITF players still waiting for more money

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ITF Antalya Claycourts

Outdoor tournament with 0°C  outside.

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The most serious linesman in the world


Flavia and Fabio off court


Flavia and Fabio with some doubles hot shots and a funny post match interview


Poor Camila

A few days ago an italian newspaper published an interview with Sergio Giorgi .

Camila at 5 yo wanted to try playing tennis.

Sergio: if you wanna be a pro tennis you need winning mentality and strong body!

No Racquet, just push-ups with the face on clay. For 4-5 months. With his wife that wanted to kill him.


The King of Retirements did it again

First tournament of the year: A. Hiltzik def. Garza 4-1 ret.

54th time!


Pics of the week

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Coffee please

Serena orders a coffee and wins 10 games in a row from 06 23* down vs Pennetta

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Australian heat? Diatchenko could not care less


Spelling war

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Weirdest match point ever?


NCAA Doubles Final in Noumea Challenger

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Good catch, Layhani


How not to smash…


…and how not to serve


Aga’s reaction to “Replay the point”


Cornet aces Murray


Gasquet so lonely

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The best ball boys in the world


Not a back backhand


Calm down Horacio, it’s just the first tournament!


In case you missed the cool stuff 2014, here it is.

Tennis players crowdfunding: spot the difference

Conny Perrin Crowdfunding

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Pics from Off Season 

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Jules Marie Crowdfunding

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Pic from Off Season 

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Some people found a big contradiction between money request and that pic posted with emoticons of sun relax swimming in a very expensive location 10.000 km far from France so Jules had to post that he didn’t have to pay to go to Mauritius (apparently another French tennis player, Enzo Couacaud, paid everything because he is stinking rich).

It’s however very strange to ask “normal” people for money when you know someone that can donate you a holiday that probably costs between 5.000 and 10.000 euros.

I am pretty confident Jules will post a pic of himself “training hard” in a Mauritius tennis court.

Conny Perrin and Jules Marie are curiously both ranked 275 this week and I don’t know who will reach the top 100, for sure I would say that who funded or is funding Conny Perrin knows that she is really getting her ass kicked during the off season while who funded Jules Marie is now wondering if he just paid Jules a cocktail or a snorkeling trip.

ATP and ITF News about prize money changes

Last week ATP announced prize money increases

The ATP has announced significant increases over the next four years that will see overall player compensation on the ATP World Tour reach US$135 million by 2018.
The biggest increases in player compensation come at the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 category, with tournaments providing annual increases of 11%, and with the ATP contributing a further 3% increase, resulting in a 14% annual increase in that category through to 2018. Player compensation at the ATP World Tour 250s is set to increase at an average of 3.5% per year during the same period.

Reactions were not exactly enthusiastic

ScreenHunter_15because we are all happy if top players will gain more and more but the prize money problem of modern tennis was surely not that top 50 players were not earning enough!

However, you can read different points of view about the ATP announce (pro and against).

In my opinion prize money incomes are going in the wrong way: the difference between top players and “the others” is increasing year after year and this is a specific problem of tennis as the WSJ showed a few days ago.

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I calculated the ratio between top 3 players and top 50/100/200 players average income in last 15 years.

For top 3 I considered the top 3 average income.

For top 50 I considered the average income from 47th  to 53rd ranked players.

For top 100 I considered the average income from 97th  to 103rd ranked players.

For top 200 I considered the average income from 197th  to 203rd ranked players.

Top 3 / Top 50 Top 3 / Top 100 Top 3 / Top 200
1999 8,0 20,7 72,1
2004 10,8 23,1 139,1
2009 15,5 28,4 137,4
2014 18,5 43,0 243,7

It is more than evident that the distance is becoming bigger and bigger.

Maybe it’s just Rafa/Nole/Roger being too good? So if you enlarged the comparison from top 3 (the ones too good) to top 10 the data would be completely different and we wouldn’t see this distance increasing

Top 10 / Top 50 Top 10 / Top 100 Top 10 / Top 200
1999 5,0 12,9 45,0
2004 6,2 13,2 79,8
2009 9,4 17,1 82,8
2014 10,8 25,2 91,3

Well, nothing changes.

Even if the priority has been given to top players, fortunately we know that ATP is working on the Challengers prize money increase and we hope we will be able to see soon something “real”, not just good intentions for 20XX.

I discussed a lot also on the necessity of restructuring prize money at ITF level and finally we can see something moving on.

I am glad to read that ITF is going to meet the first need I underlined

ITF/ATP should assure players that ITF/Challenger hospitality will be free of charge.

as they proposed

Men’s Pro Circuit: Initial two levels rise to 15K+H* and 25K +H*

By the way, I read the players survey conducted by ITF and I found the female answer pretty surprising

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However, below we have the survey conclusions

Taken together, the data show significant similarity in the perceptions of
the male and female players. The vast majority of players responding to the
survey are not able to cover their expenses. They are finding ways to cut their
costs, often to a level they consider unacceptable. Alternatively, or in addition,
they are often finding financial support from family, or paid work. Most would
like to see a substantial increase in prize money. Travel, and the associated
cost of accommodation is the greatest expense for players, and this appears
to influence choice and location of tournament played; sometimes meaning
players must play a less preferred event. Despite these responses, players
understand that prize money cannot support all players: whilst the male
players were somewhat undecided, female players perceive that they should
be able to earn a living once they reach a top 300 ranking. Tournaments in
one’s own country are clearly valued by players, for several reasons,
particularly the opportunity to progress, and this is understandable given the
responses provided regarding their expenses.
Players perceive that the best opportunity to raise funds for increased prize
money is from sponsorship. If prize money were to be distributed differently,
they would prefer that lower prize money was paid to those most successful in
the tournaments, with more paid to those successful in early rounds. They
would not want doubles events to be eliminated, and whilst none of the
options to reduce tournament operating costs were popular, reducing the
length of tournaments was most preferred. Reductions in the budget for
site/court maintenance and savings made on tennis balls would not be
welcomed.

I would like to underline the last sentence, as something similar was said by Conny Perrin during my interview with her:

Few tournaments shouldn’t be on the calendar due to their conditions courts, organisation, the good of the player, cause if you organise a tournament that should be the main things you should really care to give the players the best chances to compete in good conditions

Players want to compete in good professional conditions, not the ones we saw in Sousse earlier this year.

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I really hope that in March 2015 ITF will approve some significant changes and we will never read again stories similar to the Oliver Golding one, rising junior that gave up with tennis:

“It’s a hell of a tough life. The rewards are very limited. I can understand that the LTA want to have targets but I think it’s tough enough as it is. When you look at the conditions at a Futures, it’s below the minimum wage. I entered one 128-player draw, qualified and won a round, and reached the semis of the doubles. I was there from Thursday to Thursday and after tax my pay packet was 88 Euros. Considering how much money there is at the top level, more should filter down.

This is something that Eric Butorac, the president of the ATP Player Council, should be aware of, as he said

 We don’t want a guy going to Futures and Challengers for 15 months and then quitting due to lack of finances, when they were actually moving up and getting closer to the ATP Tour.