More uh... wisdom? from Mal [Archive] - MensTennisForums.com

More uh... wisdom? from Mal

Deboogle!.
06-29-2004, 08:33 PM
Uh..... ok Mal
=========
By MaliVai Washington
Special to ESPN.com

WIMBLEDON, England -- After calling matches for both Roger Federer and Lleyton Hewitt, it's apparent that both are playing well enough to win the title. Unfortunately, they're meeting in the quarterfinals, not the final. (thanks captain obvious!)

So far in The Championships, Federer has protected his own serve. Because he has yet to be broken, he's able to be more aggressive and take more chances on his return games.

Meanwhile, Hewitt has done a tremendous job with his return of serve. Against Carlos Moya, Hewitt was getting more than 70 percent of his first serve returns back into play. That made Moya work harder on his own serve.

This match between Federer and Hewitt is reminiscent of the epic Borg vs. McEnroe matches. The best serve-and-volleyer in the game against one of the best returners in the game.

These men have both won this title before. This could go five sets and will likely come down to a handful of points. Each player might at some point have a match point.


Pick: Federer in five

Let's take a look at the other quarterfinal matches.

Florian Mayer, Germany, vs. Sebastien Grosjean (10), France
Mayer finds himself in the quarterfinals of a major for the first time. Germans believe Mayer has a ton of potential, yet this is the first time on a grand stage that we've seen it.

At the Australian Open earlier this year, Mayer lost to David Nalbandian. While you could see flashes of his potential, it was not yet apparent that he had the ability to reach the quarterfinals of a major.

Mayer has the kind of game you don't teach. He has very unorthodox strokes. But as long as the ball goes between the lines, how you get it there doesn't really matter. It's impressive that he was able to beat huge-serving Joachim Johansson in the fourth round. Mayer also played well on his own serve, and that was nice to see.

But Mayer will have to play the best match of the tournament to defeat Sebastien Grosjean. Grosjean has had four relatively comfortable matches so far.

Despite only being 5-foot-9, Grosjean has a surprisingly big serve on grass combined with a huge forehand and speed. It's no accident that he was a semifinalist here last year.

A lot of this match will be played from the baseline. That's a game and style that favors Grosjean.
Pick: Grosjean in four sets


Tim Henman (5), Britain, vs. Mario Ancic, Croatia
Ancic is another guy in his first major quarterfinal, but who would have thought that it was going to come at Wimbledon? Much more likely in Australia, where he reached the fourth round, or even at at Roland Garros. (does he know nothing about Ancic????? Big serve, serve-volleys? HELLO)

A big serve will always be a huge advantage on grass and at 6-5, Ancic has that. His height also provides excellent reach at the net. He's never going to be one of the best movers on the court, but for a big man, he moves adequately.

There won't be an empty seat in the house for this one; the crowd will spill over to pack Henman Hill. Henman has been playing solid behind his second serve. Against Philippoussis, Henman hit 110-mph second serves, which are big for him. Henman closes in behind his serve and volleys better than anyone except Federer. Put all that together and you have a grass-court specialist.

Ancic has the best return of serve Henman has faced so far. That might give Henman a problem. If he's sloppy and gives up a break to Ancic that might be all he needs.

Ancic will be subjected to a Davis Cup-type atmosphere. If he's not ready for that, this occasion will eat him up.

Henman will get to his fifth semifinal in the past seven years.
Pick: Henman in four


Sjeng Schalken (12), Netherlands, vs. Andy Roddick (2), United States
Brad Gilbert will have Andy Roddick ready for this match. He has done a great job this year at coming up with a game plan that Roddick executes well.

Roddick's game ebbs and flows with how his serve is popping. When he's getting a lot of free points, he's as good as anyone in the world; when it's not, he has to work more to get the points. He's done a nice job of mixing in his serve and volley. He'll have to against Schalken, who can stand on the baseline and trade groundstrokes with Roddick. Schalken doesn't have quite as much firepower off the ground, but he has an uncanny ability to handle the power and use the pace of his opponent's shot.

The only person as confident as Roddick right now is Federer. And a confident Roddick is a scary proposition for most opponents.

This match will come down to how Roddick serves and, if Schalken is able to hold his own from the baseline, how Roddick responds. If Roddick mixes up his shots with a slice backhand and serve and volley, then his chances are good. But if he reverts back to a one-dimensional style of play and gets frustrated, trying to blow his opponent off the court, then he might find himself on the bad end of a match point. Nonetheless, I think he believes this is his tournament to win.
Pick: Roddick in four

(He obviously didn't do his homework on their last meetings, OR how Andy has played on grass in his 9 previous matches this year, eh?)

alfonsojose
06-29-2004, 08:40 PM
Grosjean, Mal cursed u. Be careful :scared:

naiwen
06-29-2004, 09:03 PM
wow.. a 5-setter.

BaselineSmash
06-29-2004, 09:07 PM
Federer is a better serve and volleyer than Tim? Eh, okay... Mal should check his stats, but I guess that's something we can only ask of a sports journalist. Maybe he should start by actually watching tennis matches -Ancic's best chances are at RG? :eek: Just goes to show how ill informed I am. And yes, Roddick probably will be pushed into giving Schalken a game or two, if he plays the sympathy card that is. :rolleyes: If he hadn't become such an icon for ineptitude (at which he excels), I'd waste some energy ranting about why Mal hasn't been unceremoniously sacked (no redundancy pay, fired over the phone etc.) from his esteemed "position".

kartveteran
06-29-2004, 09:20 PM
In the past, you guys often said that Mal's predictions are allways wrong.
So, if he's wrong this time that means the 4 semi-finalists will be like this:
Hewitt - Mayer
Schalken - Ancic
Now that would be funny :)

BaselineSmash
06-29-2004, 09:23 PM
In the past, you guys often said that Mal's predictions are allways wrong.
So, if he's wrong this time that means the 4 semi-finalists will be like this:
Hewitt - Mayer
Schalken - Ancic
Now that would be funny :)

The ultimate winners are fine, it's the glaring errors that pepper the piece that are a hallmark of Mal's articles...and hence the mockery he is deservedly subjected to.

kartveteran
06-29-2004, 09:33 PM
Yeah, I know.
But I just found it funny to think of the possibility that the favourite 4 (Federer/Grosjean/Henman/Roddick) actually got doomed by Mal.

Ballbuster
06-29-2004, 09:58 PM
Fed and Roddick will not lose sets tomorrow. I'm gonna agree with PMac and not give Hewitt a chance

BaselineSmash
06-29-2004, 11:07 PM
Yeah, I know.
But I just found it funny to think of the possibility that the favourite 4 (Federer/Grosjean/Henman/Roddick) actually got doomed by Mal.

Henman, Grosjean and Federer are three of my favourite players, so I hope Mal's inadvertent hexes aren't that powerful. :scared:

Tennis Fool
06-29-2004, 11:28 PM
Fed will steamroll Hewitt and add another to his bagel count.

Lisbeth
06-30-2004, 12:03 AM
I don't think Federer in 5 is a good pick - I have no argument with Federer being the favourite, but if it goes to 5 sets, Hewitt is more likely to win than if it only goes to 3 or 4!

Do they actually pay these people to write this mostly obvious-slightly wrong stuff because I think I might be in the wrong job ;)

Lisbeth
06-30-2004, 12:07 AM
Also, does anyone else get fed up with these commentators giving Brad Gilbert all the credit that's due to Andy? Roddick's the one that weilds the raquet, guys, not Gilbert. At least give him some credit!

CarnivalCarnage
06-30-2004, 12:17 AM
"(does he know nothing about Ancic????? Big serve, serve-volleys? HELLO)

A big serve will always be a huge advantage on grass and at 6-5, Ancic has that."

I found that pretty funny. Yes, it does appear he knows of Ancic's serve.

Also, to criticize an introduction for being "obvious" is ridiculous. Of course it's obvious! That's what introductions are for! They state the basis of the rest of the article.

More like more uh .... wisdom from you.

Deboogle!.
06-30-2004, 12:20 AM
I don't get paid to write things that are supposed to be predictive and insightful. He does. :)

:wavey:

CarnivalCarnage
06-30-2004, 12:24 AM
I don't get paid to write things that are supposed to be predictive and insightful. He does. :)

:wavey:

There's a reason you don't get paid to write such things.

And if your criticisms were wrong, then how is his article flawed?

Tennis Fool
06-30-2004, 12:45 AM
Also, does anyone else get fed up

No, Fed is great :yeah:


Roddick's the one that weilds the raquet, guys, not Gilbert. At least give him some credit!

Don't tell that to the New York Times Magazine with its 6 page feature on the Gil :o

Lisbeth
06-30-2004, 01:13 AM
No, Fed is great :yeah:

:) I clearly need more sleep because that amused me. Fed is indeed great even though tonight I'll be cheering just a little louder for Hewitt.


Don't tell that to the New York Times Magazine with its 6 page feature on the Gil :o


:eek: Next Brad will be expecting to participate in any presentation ceremonies which come Andy's way. Talk about attention seeking!

WF4EVER
06-30-2004, 01:16 AM
Number1,

If you see the way Gilbert sits up and gazes around pompously when Roddick is winning, you'd also be thinking that Roddick is a mere puppet with Brad's hand stuck up his ass.

SaFed2005
06-30-2004, 01:23 AM
Number1,

If you see the way Gilbert sits up and gazes around pompously when Roddick is winning, you'd also be thinking that Roddick is a mere puppet with Brad's hand stuck up his ass.

:haha: :haha: :haha: :haha: :haha:


L-M-A-O

Lisbeth
06-30-2004, 01:26 AM
:haha: ;)

Tennis Fool
06-30-2004, 02:00 AM
Number1Kim...just for you. Page 1 of the article :D
================================================== ============
Brad Gilbert Talks a Great Game
By BENOIT DENIZET-LEWIS

Published: June 27, 2004


It's a splendid April afternoon at the U.S. Clay Court Championships in Houston, and Brad Gilbert won't shut up. All former President George Bush and his wife, Barbara, seem to want to do is watch a little tennis. But someone (probably a Democrat) had the bright idea to sit the couple next to Gilbert, a man who has never met a silence he couldn't fill.

And with his star pupil -- 21-year-old Andy Roddick, currently ranked fourth in the world and one of the pre-tournament favorites to win Wimbledon -- facing an overmatched and fashion-challenged Robert Kendrick (orange shorts and a camouflage cap), Gilbert is even chattier than usual. ''Kendrick should be penalized one game just for those shorts,'' Gilbert says after the first point. After an overpowering forehand by Roddick, Gilbert turns to Bush and says, ''Oh, that's a nasty shot,'' to which the former president nods his head in agreement. ''Yes, yes it was,'' Bush says.

Gilbert then turns to me and admits that he just might be a little more talkative than usual because he's nervous. ''It's kind of trippy to be sitting next to a president,'' Gilbert says, his trademark wraparound sunglasses and black baseball hat covering the top half of his unshaven face. It's a face that has become as synonymous with American tennis as the two high-profile players he has coached to No. 1 rankings -- Andre Agassi and Roddick. In 1994, Gilbert helped a struggling Agassi skyrocket from No. 32 to No. 1 in the world within one year; the pair stayed together for eight years and six Grand Slam victories before splitting amicably. After taking a year-and-a-half leave from full-time coaching (he worked with several players on a consulting basis), Gilbert returned in 2003 to lead Roddick to the U.S. Open championship last September and the No. 1 ranking.

Gilbert never reached that pinnacle during his own 14-year singles career, but he made a name for himself by doing better than anyone thought he should. He overcame a weak backhand, a laughable second serve, an average net game and an occasionally annoying on-court demeanor -- if John McEnroe was famous for loudly berating chair umpires, Gilbert was famous for loudly berating himself -- to win 20 singles titles and more than $5 million. What Gilbert lacked in natural ability (''and he lacked a lot in natural ability,'' Roddick says), those who played against him say, he made up for in preparation, doggedness and an ability to engage in ''mental warfare'' on the court. Dubbed a ''pusher'' (returns everything, waits for his opponent to make a mistake), Gilbert was respected for his tenacity and his ability to turn his opponents' games against them by understanding their games better than they did.

Agassi, who lost four of the eight matches he played against Gilbert professionally, remembers the frustration of struggling against someone who didn't seem to be any good. ''Every shot Brad hit, you were like, 'Are you kidding me?''' recalls Agassi. ''His shots aren't pretty. The first time we played, I was convinced the guy couldn't play tennis.''

Losing to Gilbert had a way of sending people over the edge. When Gilbert beat John McEnroe in the 1986 Masters Cup, McEnroe was so aghast that he didn't pick up a racket again for six months. ''Gilbert, you don't deserve to be on the same court with me,'' McEnroe hissed during the match, according to Gilbert. ''You are the worst. The [expletive] worst!''


No one is saying that about Gilbert now. While Nick Bollettieri still may be the biggest coaching name in tennis, Gilbert, 42, is arguably the most successful coach of the last decade. How has he done it? Gilbert doesn't profess to have any complex motivational techniques. He's not one for screaming pep talks or inspirational speeches -- he says his best coaching happens casually over dinner, when he might squeeze in a strategy session between self-deprecating jokes and long-winded asides about the Oakland Raiders or why golf really isn't a sport (''Anything where you can enhance your performance by drinking alcohol and smoking is not a sport''). His practices tend to be laid-back and fun, with onlookers sometime unsure if they've stumbled upon a tennis practice or a comedy show. There's no yelling, no negativity -- only a lot of kidding around and Gilbert's relentless positive reinforcement, all designed, Gilbert says, to help the player relax and build his confidence.

''Brad's style is really pretty simple,'' Roddick told me. ''We make fun of each other constantly. We talk sports. We go to dinner. We have a lot of fun. We talk some strategy about the other player's weaknesses and how to take advantage of them. Then we go to business and work really hard.''

Tennis Fool
06-30-2004, 02:05 AM
http://graphics7.nytimes.com/images/2004/06/25/magazine/gilbert.184.jpg
Excerpt from I've Got Your Back

'I've Got Your Back'
By Brad Gilbert

Published: June 27, 2004

1. Tennis Lessons, Life Lessons

A coach shouldn't be just a boss, or a teacher, but a protector.

"John Wooden had so much love for talking about the team, and the foundation of the team, that he would never discuss a single player. He inspired every one of his players to put aside his ego in pursuit of excellence. How did he do it? By putting aside his own ego first."
—B.G.

Some people call me a great coach. After all, they say, I've taken two tennis players—one of them, Andre Agassi, slightly stuck in neutral and not playing the way he should; the other, Andy Roddick, a hot-tempered kid with genius but less than great discipline—to the very pinnacle of the game, at the very point when the world was starting to think about counting them out. There must be a magic wand in my tennis bag! There is no wand. To those who call me great, I say thanks for the compliment, which I respectfully decline. This isn't fake modesty. I love what I do, and I think I'm very good at it. But I am by no means infallible. And if I have any special skill—besides knowing as much as almost anybody out there about what goes on inside the 27 by 78 feet of a tennis court—it's that I'm pretty darn good at paying attention. And I've had the amazing fortune to have had at least two great teachers in my life to pay attention to.

One of them is named Andre Agassi. What's this? Isn't the player supposed to learn from the coach, rather than the other way around? Well, sure—sometimes. But show me a coach (or a boss) who doesn't listen—really listen—and I'll show you a probable loser. Show me a coach (or a boss) who domineers and demeans, who manages through fear, and I'll show you an accident waiting to happen. Show me a coach or a boss who doesn't think it's just as important to empower the lowliest scrub on the team as it is to cater to the star, and I'll show you a real short timer.

A true story, about a coach who's become an inspiration to me, Dick Vermeil, of the Kansas City Chiefs: Last summer, Dick gave a barbecue at his house for the entire team, not just the stars. Dick did all the cooking and every bit of the cleaning up, all by himself. No caterers, no maids, no hired help. And he was happy to do it. How do you think the Chiefs' third-string defensive tackle felt after that barbecue?

Like he was ready to move heaven and earth for Dick Vermeil, that's how.

Likewise, going to get Andy Roddick his morning coffee and egg sandwich when we're traveling together is one of my favorite things in life. It makes Andy feel totally taken care of; it makes me feel like a powerful guardian. It makes us feel like a team.

In fact, you might say I'm a team player in an individual sport. One of my coaching idols is UCLA's great former basketball coach, John Wooden. The man is ninety-three years old now, but he's still an inspiration. I saw Jamal Wilkes interviewed on TV a little while ago—here was a guy in his fifties, his face full of joy as he talked about his coach. (That's what he still calls him.) The interviewer asked Jamal if he still finds himself doing things in life that Coach Wooden taught him, and Jamal just beamed.

"Every day," he said.

John Wooden has so much love for talking about the team, and the foundation of the team, that he will never discuss a single player. He inspired every one of his players to put aside his ego in pursuit of excellence. How did he do it? By putting aside his own ego first.

An expression I've used with both Andre and Andy is, "I've got your back." That says it all about me, in a nutshell. I've got your back. If it was four in the morning, and my guy called me up and said, "I need you to come over," I wouldn't ask what it was about. I wouldn't think twice. I would think once, and this is what my thought would be:If it's important enough for him to call on me at that hour, it's important enough for me to go. And whatever the situation was, we would figure it out. That's just the way I am. Or, I should say, the way I learned to be.

It all started with Chiv—Tom Chivington, the tennis coach of Foothill College in Los Altos Hills, California. Foothill is a community college, a two-year institution, a stop along the way for kids who, for whatever reason—emotional, financial, academic—need a little boost before they can make it in a four-year school.

I was a bit different. True, I was never much of a student (to put it mildly): Graduating from college wasn't my dream. No, I had this nutty idea that I could become a professional tennis player.

How nutty? In 1979 I was the number 35 junior player in the country. Which sounds pretty good—until you realize that at most only six or seven of the top ten juniors ever make it to the pros. I was a scrawny little runt who'd done amazingly well for a guy who didn't have much of a serve, volley, or backhand. My success, such as it was, was pretty much based on the fact that I was, first of all, fast on my feet and second, one tough little scrapper. It didn't matter if the other guy was bigger, stronger, better—I just kept coming. Never gave up. Took no prisoners. You'd be surprised how many matches that'll win you.

I was originally recruited to Arizona State, a good tennis school, but as soon as I reported to Tempe that fall, the coach who'd signed me got fired. The new coach brought in his own players, and I was told I could take a backseat. I decided to relocate. Foothill was close to my home in Piedmont, California, and for a junior college, it had a very strong tennis reputation, thanks to its coach, Tom Chivington.

Lisbeth
06-30-2004, 02:15 AM
Thank you so much! I am just overwhelmed by all that Brad! LOL at the first sentence :lol:

BaselineSmash
07-02-2004, 04:27 PM
An opening sentence can make or break you with an impatient, dumb bell reader.