Sander Groen

Roberta Vinci Becomes Oldest Top 10 Debutant – Passing Shots with Kevin Craig

by Kevin Craig

@KCraig_Tennis

 

  • The WTA event in Dubai this week was the first time that all eight seeds of a WTA or ATP event lost in their first matches.
  • The final in Rio de Janeiro between Guido Pella and Pablo Cuevas had the highest combined ranking of the two finalists in the history of ATP 500 level events. The final was also the first all-unseeded final since Valencia in 2011.
  • Roberta Vinci became the oldest player on the WTA to reach the Top 10 for the first time in their career. At 33 years and 4 days, Vinci leaps previous record holder Betty Stove who was 31 years and 100 days old when she cracked the Top 10 for the first time.
  • In Nick Kyrgios’ title run in Marseille, he became the first player aged 20 years old or younger to win consecutive matches against Top 10 players (Gasquet and Berdych) since Juan Martin Del Potro did so in the semifinals and finals of the 2009 US Open (Nadal and Federer).
  • Thiago Monteiro, a 21 year old Brazilian, made his ATP World Tour debut as a wild card in Rio de Janeiro, and became the first player ranked outside the Top 300 to beat a Top 10 player in his ATP debut since Corrado Borroni beat Yevgeny Kafelnikov in Rome in 1995.
  • In Rajeev Ram’s run to the final in Delray Beach, he beat Grigor Dimitrov along the way, increasing his unexpected head-to-head record against the Bulgarian to 4-0.
  • In John Isner’s loss to Pella in Rio de Janeiro, Isner hit the most aces in a best-of-three set match on clay that he has ever hit in his career, 31.
  • Oliver Marach and Fabrice Martin won the doubles title in Delray Beach, beating Bob and Mike Bryan in the final. Marach and Martin saved six match points in the final, including coming back from 5-9 down in the match tiebreak.
  • Sander Groen played in the doubles event in Delray Beach this week. Groen has been in the ATP rankings for 27 consecutive years now, and helped Roger Federer win his first professional title, winning the doubles title in Segovia in 1999. Groen also holds the record for most partners played with throughout his career, as he has played with 172 different partners on the challenger circuit and World Tour level.
  • Marco Chiudinelli won the Wroclaw challenger this week, his first challenger title since 2009. In doing so, he won his 10th consecutive tiebreak.

The Journeyman: In The Thick of the Summer

Mark Keil, director/producer of “The Journeymen” along with Geoff Grant and tennis coach at Shrewsbury Health and Racquet Club writes about his experiences in the heat of the summer worldwide tour.

The tour event in Kitzbuhel, Austria is in a beautiful setting in a ski resort town.  It’s a great place to practice your serve due to the altitude.  If you can get it in consistently there, you will have an easy time at sea level to increase your serving percentage.

I played with the Netherland’s Sander Groen one year, and we beat Bjorn Borg’s conquerer in his comeback attempt in Monte Carlo, the Spaniard Jordi Arrese.  He played with his fellow countryman Alex Lopez-Moron. We went down to the tough Espana combo of Jordi Burillo and Tomas Carbonell 6-1, 7-5. The event held in Stuttgart at TC Weisenhoff, close to Zuffenhausen where the Porsche factory is located, is a calm tournament. The player’s restaurant overlooks the city, and is a nice view to take in before your match.

I played with the All-American out of Tennessee and US Open mixed doubles champion Shelby Cannon there once. Shelby has very unorthodox lefty strokes, but his return was awesome.  He turned me onto the band Pearl Jam, and they became my favorite of all time. He was known that if his partner is not playing well to yell out, “Just win it yourself!” after he would hit a nice shot. We went down to the tall skinny Joern Renzenbrink, who reminded me of Colonel Klink, and his German partner David Prinosil.

In 1997, I teamed up with Jaime Oncins of Brazil and we lost first round to Alberto Berasategui and Alberto Martin. On yet my last visit, Fernando Meligeni and I had a win over Sebastien Fitz and Martin Sinner in a close battle, before succumbing to David Adams and Pavel Vizner. I blame my losses there to the winding road leading up to the venue, that could make you a bit car sick.

Back on the hardcourts, the tourney that is held this week is the RCA event in Indianapolis.  Back in the day, it was voted the tournament of the year by the players. The tournament director was Mark Miles, who went on to become the innovative CEO of the ATP Tour. The player gifts were great, the player’s lounge was full of games, and it provided much welcome relief to the intense heat of the midwest of the US. I played with my favorite partner of all time, Peter Nyborg, currently a national coach of Kuwait, was an affable Swede who hailed from Trollhatten, home of the Saab.  He liked the player’s lounge so much he slept there one night. We played well and locked up wins over Nicklas Kulti and Brett Steven, Dan Kronauge and Chris Woodruff, Brian MacPhie and Sandon Stolle, before losing in the semis to Todd Martin and Scott Davis. Davis is the funniest tennis player I ever met, and he use to have a tattoo of his girlfriend’s name on his bicep.  Martin was no nonsense. Davis would make fun of your strokes. Back on the clay in Umag, Croatia, the scene was serene.

The slow clay courts really helped your overall game, and playing with Marcos-Aurelio Gorriz was solid. A private in the Spanish tennis armada, the lefty never missed.  We took out Daniel Orsanic and Aki Rahunen 6-2, 6-3. Rahnasto, a Fin, once learned German in a few weeks during a junior tour. We lost to Belgium’s finest Filip DeWulf and his weird but nice partner Tom Van Houdt.

[ad#co-1]