just coming back from Key Biscayne after yet another heart-breaking loss by Guga (6-1, 3-6, 7-5 to Juan Monaco, from Argentina)... few things to note:
- Guga's movement is very poor, to say the least. He cannot recover his ground quickly if wrong footed and is extremely susceptible to drop shots and cannot chase lobs. Even short sprints seem to be beyond his physical abilities, and he resorts to quick paced large steps instead.
- Guga's strategy hasn't changed much even if the game has so, he still stands way behind the baseline to return weak second serves and dreads the net. Guga was never a net rusher in his career, but before 2002 he was an agressive baseliner who would take charge of the rally with hard hit groundstrokes usually inside the baseline. Guga tonight was very tentative, he was outhit by Monaco in most of the rallies and only relied on his larger experience to make it close.
- What are the real intentions of camp Guga? Guga himself has declared that he does not aim for the top spot anymore and seem rather satisfied in hovering with the top 20 ranking. The whole Brazilian Davis Cup debacle has drawn Guga and Lari Passos even closer together. It is evident that new blood is needed for a change, but Guga is seriously commited to Passos even to the detriment of some of his own relatives and staff, who had a clash earlier with Lari and were relegated to unimportant positions. Guga was seen practicing with Passos in Miami since Wednesday, never with a fellow player, and hitting balls with your coach is not the best way to prepare oneself for a Master Series.
Juan Monaco is another interesting young player, very solid groundstrokes from both sides, unimpressive serve, inexperient volleys but a heart of a true champion. The mostly Brazilian crowd put up an exciting festive display of fervor, pity Guga coundn't deliver it...