Robbie Koenig

a tennis commentator. Robbie Koenig was a US Open doubles semifinalist who won five career ATP doubles titles in his career. He played in one year-end Tennis Masters Cup and represented South Africa in Davis Cup in 2002 and 2003. He now commentates on the world feed at all the ATP Masters Series events around the world. During his career, he played Roger Federer twice and Rafael Nadal once.

Robbie Koenig Blogs From Montreal

Welcome to the U.S. hard court season! Things are spicing up very nicely as the top dogs continue to dominate here in Montreal. For the first time ever in a men’s tournament, the top eight-ranked players in the world have reached the quarterfinals. History was made in Montreal and it was good to be part of it!

Not much to report on thus far, Jason Goodall (co-commentator) and myself very much looking forward to the weekend ahead. I like Andy Murray this week for the win. He’s impressed me the most out of the top eight guys. I thought Rafa and Novak have been below par. JW’s match with Roger should be highly entertaining and beware of Davy! When the Russian is on, he can be devastating and he’s playing with renewed confidence of late!

Still no sign of the Federer twins on site this week. They are probably just chilling with Mirka back at the hotel

The tournament’s atmosphere has been ridiculously good, especially the evening sessions which have all been sold out! If you enjoy your tennis, this is a must visit event! The city is also fantastic so its a double whammy!

We’ll chat again tomorrow.

Wimbledon: The Finals

I’m sure all Monday’s headline’s will be about Federer’s historic exploits. There is no question the man is a genius and deserves his rewards, but for me so much about Yesterday’s final was about Andy Roddick, The Player AND more importantly, the Person.

I, for one, was sceptical of Andy ever making another Major final, but the effort he put in prior to the start of this season to get him self physically and mentally prepared says a lot about the guy. A Wimbledon final was just reward, and the quality of tennis he displayed on both Friday and yesterday was world class and for me, deserving of a better result!

But for me his first answer to Sue Barker (on court interviewer) after he lost, was profound. When asked if tennis can be a cruel sport, Andy’s response was ” No, i’m one of the lucky ones who has all you guys cheering for me…..” Instead of feeling sorry for himself and behaving like a broken man ( which he had every right to, given what had unfolded in the match!!!) Andy chose to count his blessings at what was undoubtably the toughest time perhaps in his career….. To have that attitude, that character, speaks volumes about Andy Roddick as a person, and for that i salute you A-Rod….

For anyone who has has played sport at a high level, they will have a good idea of what Roddick is feeling like tonight, but to have the humility to realise how fortunate you have been in your life/career/sport whatever, at such a raw moment, for me….that is CLASS! If you have class, you don’t need much of anything else in life. If you don’t have it, no matter what else you have, it doesn’t make much difference…..

Hope you all enjoyed The Championships as much as i did!!!

The Robbie Koenig Blog: Can Anyone Beat Rafa In Paris?

Anyway, the clay court season thus far, one word….” NADAL”….the kid is from another planet!!! Mentally and physically, on this surface, he’s the greatest I’ve ever seen, and probably the best of all time…and he’s only just 23 (in a few days)!!!

For me, what makes him so good are a few things. Firstly, his ability to “compartmentalize” his thoughts. He NEVER gets ahead of himself. He only focuses on the present. He only ever talks about his next opponent, never who he might meet later in the draw and potential match-ups down the line, thereby giving respect to each guy he faces and taking nothing for granted. And on the match court, its more of the same. He rarely lets the previous point affect the next one and he has this ability to play each point like there was none before, or none to follow.
Secondly, he loves the battle more than anyone! It’s the “process” of winning that seems to consume all his effort and he constantly rewards himself with a “Vamos,” sometimes as early as the second or third game, if he’s had a tough hold. And coupled with the joy he takes out of each victory, again often early on in a tournament, is so refreshing and just goes to show how much he enjoys the “small” victories. Let’s face it, anyone can enjoy the big or classic wins!

From a physical point of view, his movement is “two days on horseback” ahead of his peers.(Must be said, Djokovic has been impressive with his challenge). I’m sure good genes help, given the athletic ability of his uncles, it obviously runs in the family. His footwork is the key to his shot-making, both in attacking and defending. It’s so easy to get a little slow with your feet when attacking because you generally got time on the ball, but Rafa never lets his intensity wane, and always makes sure he’s perfectly setup to pull the trigger!!!

Can anyone beat him in Paris? Not unless they cut off his left arm…and even then, he’s pretty damn good with the right one as we all know! The problem for the chasing pack is doing it over five sets. The semifinal against Djokovic in Madrid was an epic, but remember that was at altitude, quick clay courts and best-of-three sets and the Serb still couldn’t get the W!!! I can’t see him hanging with Rafa over five sets. I think Murray can hang with him over five sets, but he doesn’t move well enough on this stuff. Firstly, he’s gotta get far enough to meet Nadal, and secondly, I can’t see him handle the Spaniard, because Rafa will out-maneuver him over the distance. Hard court, different story, it just shows how important movement is at the highest level, and clay is unique in that regard!

What about Roger? I can’t see it happen. I don’t read much into the Madrid win for the obvious reasons already discussed. Wimby and the US Open are his best bets to bag another major, but even those are gonna be a lot tougher than previous years.

Djokovic is the main challenger, no question – the results don’t lie! Hopefully he and Nadal are in separate sections of the draw. That would be my preferred final.

Watchout for: Stan Wawrinka, Juan Monaco, Fernando Gonzalez, Fernando Verdasco and Marin Cilic

Hope you all looking foward to Rafa being challenged at Rolland Garros as much as I am.

Robbie Koenig Blog: Murray Camp Quietly Confident As Oz Awaits

Well, what can I say other than that Andy Murray was too good in the Doha final against Andy Roddick last weekend. He was in a different class. Never at one stage in the match did it look like Roddick had a chance – that’s how good Murray played, and the scary thing is, he didn’t even get out of third gear!!!

I had a chat with Miles Maclagen (Andy’s coach) after the match and they are quietly confident about Melbourne and the year ahead (No surprises there!!! BUT the key here is – it’s all very understated and they realize there’s plenty still to be done.) Murray’s back strain is nothing serious, just the courts are a bit “grippy” and it takes some getting used to.

As for Roddick, I’ve enjoyed watching his attacking play this week. He came in a lot, but still needs to refine his tactics around the net. We’ll see if Larry Stefanki (his new coach) can highlight the adjustments or not….If not, I’m available! I always knew my way around the net!!

Hope you all enjoy the OZ Open.

PS: For any tennis fans out there who want a great “Player’s Experience” at a tournament, my fellow commentator Jason Goodall and myself are doing an excellent clinic, only 10 people max, at most of the Masters Series 1000 events on the Finals weekend (Sat & Sun morning). After the clinic, you can go watch the semis and finals match. We put on a great gig (we know the tournaments inside out!), and people love it, they want to bring their friends etc…. but we keep it small, so the experience is a special one! It’s a blast if you can make it!!! Post a note to me here if you are interested in joining us!

– Robbie

Murray The Man To Beat, Despite Column To The Contrary

Well, its all happening here in the desert – first Rafael Nadal going out to Gael Monfils, then Andy Murray comfortably disposing of Roger Federer. I was reading some  column by a guy from a prominent tennis website who says Murray only has a 25% chance of winning the Oz Open, and he couldn’t understand what all the talk was about Murray!

He said all of Murray’s off season training was just hype, and whats more, he’d only ever made it to the semis of a major ( now, there’s some accurate journalism….PS The US Open was the last major that was played! How does this guy think we can take his comments seriously!!!) and couldn’t be seen as the guy to beat.

Well hear it from me…Murray is the guy to beat at The Australian Open, he’s beaten all the top boys plenty now, and has learned a lot from That US Open FINAL. I know his “team” well and the off-season training was brutal….the kid is in good shape, and bar any injury, will be able to go the distance with anyone!

It is good to see Andy Roddick back in the mix again and I especially enjoyed his exploits at the net!

Enjoy….I certainly have enjoyed this week. These guys really know how to put on an event !!


Robbie Koenig: Checking in from Doha

Hi tennis fans, I’m in Doha this week doing the commentating for the world TV feed. This tournament is insane!!! They have Nadal, Federer, Murray and Roddick (some serious cash been handed out right there for appearance fees!!!) All these guys are on the schedule Wednesday. Today we ONLY had three of those four – Nadal, Fed and Murray!

The way the treat everyone is top-draw stuff. We’re with the players at The Ritz- Carlton here in Doha, and the hotel is the best I have ever been in….and I have been to some pretty spectacular ones around the world!

Food is great, the quality of tennis from the top three seeds was phenomenal today and we’ll see what they bring to the court.

I’ll keep you all posted.


Robbie Koenig: The New Mr. October

Well, it has all been happening here in Paris! Andy Murray was finally defeated by an impressive David Nalbandian, but I had a chat with Murray’s coach, Miles Maclagen, after the match and he tells me Andy’s fatigued. But credit to Nalbandian – he was outstanding today. Maybe his new nickname should be “Mr. October” since he’s played so well in this month the last two seasons! (Remember last year he beat seven of the eight players in the Masters Cup in this very month!)

And what a disaster for the tournament to loose both Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer on the same day!!! But as they they say, what goes around comes around. The tournament has done away with one of its practice courts this year so that it could have more space for it’s VIP village to entertain. Practicing on site has been a nightmare, almost impossible, and a lot of players have been pissed off that the tournament director seems to be paying more attention to the VIP village than the players needs!

It’s a pity the two guys got injured, but I’ve got no sympathy for the tournament. They’ve only got self interest.

J-W Tsonga will hopefully keep the flag flying as far as they are concerned, but I wouldn’t count on it because Andy Roddick has been impressive this week. He’s been aggressive from the back of the court, and his serve has been RODDICKULOUS!!!

Let see what the next 48hrs brings?

Robbie Koenig: Bercy Beckons!

It’s already the final Masters Series event of the regular season – can you believe it. I guess the talking point at this time of the year is “who is going to make the final spots in Shanghai?”

I’m still sticking by Gilles Simon to sneak in – I think David Ferrer is going to be the 9th guy (unfortunately, because he’s a class act!) and miss out this year. We’ll wait and see.

Andy Murray is looking good – VERY good! Winning three tournaments in a row is definitely a possibility after a convincing win in St Petersburg on Sunday. Rafael Nadal  had a week off, a bit of golf this week with his mate Sergio Garcia, so he should be well rested and ready for this week. And of course Roger Federer’s gonna be in the mix. The question is I guess, how motivated will the “Quad Squad” (Nadal, Fed, Novak Djokovic, Murray) be this week?” They might be just picking up their “bonus pool” checks before heading back home for a little more rest before Shanghai.

Before I finish, condolences must go out to the family of Federico Luzzi, who died so tradgically Saturday of leukemia. The 28-year-old player from Italy was a real character, and his death was so unexpected. He will be sorely missed by the tennis community.

I’ll keep you posted as the week unfolds…Enjoy!

Robbie Koenig: The Blog From Madrid

Apologies first of all for missing my post on Thursday, but the commentating has been full-on this week in Madrid!!! Two matches after 8pm is such bad scheduling, no one stays to watch the second match, irrespective of who’s playing! Its crazy to start a match at 10:30/11pm at night, a few players were pissed off this week playing at that time, and i totally understand!!

Anyway…how about Saturday – ridiculous quality tennis!!! I’ve been talking a fair bit about Andy Murray, and he proved he’s the real deal – sick athlete and great tactition! He served as good as I’ve ever seen, and he’s gonna take the title Sunday cause Gilles Simon has got to be outta gas…..?
What a Hercleun effort yesterday from the Frenchman, to beat Rafa Nadal in that fashion in his own backyard. He deserves a serious amount of respect!!! I tell you the stadium was rocking, we could hardly hear ourselves in the booth, and both Jason (Goodall- co commentator) and myself rate that as one of the best matches we’ve ever called.

Novak Djokovic seems to have lost his edge a bit, some of the boys tell me he’s been partying pretty hard and enjoying himself….Fair enough, he’s had a great year and is entitled to enjoy his success! As long as it doesn’t affect his game too much, he’s young, he’ll learn.

There was a big a party last night with all the “Hugo Boss” ball-girls and hostesses (a lot are local models), but I was just too tired to make a guest appearance, but I’m sure it was fun. Tiriac (Ion Tiriac- tournament owner, the guy with the big moustache) only does things to the max. He’s a genius businessman!

Gotta run and go prep for the finals, If Simon pulls this one off, it will be the eighth wonder!!!

Robbie Koenig – Live From Madrid

It’s good to be back on the road, albeit with a few connection problems getting here, but  these next four weeks are gonna be highly entertaining, to say the least! Rafa in Spain, Murray staking his claim as part of the “Quad Squad” (that’s what i call the top four guys, Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray) and is David Nalbandian gonna pull another rabbit outta the hat during the season end? Tell you what, if he defends both Madrid and Paris titles, that would be a phenominal accomplishment!!! And beware because he’s playing well indoors – he’s just captured the title in Stockholm, plus he’s got the added insentive of the Davis Cup Final at the end of the season, so he’s going to want to be playing well for that!


Also up for grabs are the last few spots in Shanghai and with two TMS events still to be played, its gonna be intersting to see who handles the pressure best….

I’m a little surprised Roger is playing this week, the word from his camp is that he’s gonna take it week by week, and should he feel any fatigue whatsoever, he’ll take a week or two off!!! Conditions here suit him best and I think he’s the man to beat, together with Murray.Rafa, playing in Spain for the first time as the world No. 1will be a big deal, and perhaps a little added pressure. Let’s keep an eye on how he handles the extra burden. I’ll fill you in with more of my thoughts on Thursday.I’ll also throw in a couple of pictures and some “behind the scenes” info. I just need a few more days here in Madrid to get my teeth stuck-in.