MensTennisForums.com - View Single Post - Santoro candidate...

View Single Post

Old 01-22-2006, 09:18 PM   #14
country flag delsa
Registered User
 
delsa's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 5,963
delsa has a reputation beyond reputedelsa has a reputation beyond reputedelsa has a reputation beyond reputedelsa has a reputation beyond reputedelsa has a reputation beyond reputedelsa has a reputation beyond reputedelsa has a reputation beyond reputedelsa has a reputation beyond reputedelsa has a reputation beyond reputedelsa has a reputation beyond reputedelsa has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Santoro candidate...

I didn't know where to put this: a nice article about Fabrice.

Quote:
Santoro wears his art on his sleeve
By Jake Niall
January 21, 2006
In The Age

IF YOU’RE actually interested in tennis, as opposed to ogling Russian babes or their on-court ensembles, then as Molly Meldrum used to say, do yourself a favour and check out Fabrice Santoro today.

French Fabrice is more character actor than one of the tour’s leading men. The part he plays is of the quirky, independent artist. Pete Sampras and Bjorn Borg were machines. Roger Federer is both artist and machine. But Santoro is solely an artist and, as such, has never seriously challenged — much less raged against — the machines in the matches that count.

In 54 grand slam appearances, Santoro has never been beyond the fourth round — a yield that is somewhat disappointing considering he has been ranked as high as No.17, has been on the tour longer than anyone bar Andre Agassi (since 1988) and has a repertoire of shots that are entirely his own.

He is much admired by the tennis cognoscenti because, in a game that grows ever more uniform, Santoro dares to play his own risky way and to defy the bland bash and crash, backcourt orthodoxy.

He plays two-handed on both sides, hits a strange slice forehand and, most eccentric of all, he hits the ball softly, relying on placement, control and surprise instead of ruthless power. His zen style infuriates the temperamental Marat Safin, who has a negative win-loss record against Santoro.

On Friday, when he outlasted eighth seed Gaston Gaudio, Santoro used a different racquet at each end — employing “very loose” strings into the wind, and a tightly-strung racquet with the wind. He often hits drop shots on return of serve, the very definition of low-percentage tennis.

While there is no one remotely like him on the circuit and little prospect of imitators, Santoro’s slomo groundstrokes recall the Czech aesthete, Miloslav Mecir, who was fortunate to play at a time when power was less absolute and managed to make a couple of grand slam finals.

Santoro is often asked why he’s still playing — the assumption being that one needs a good, non-financial reason to be playing tennis at 33. “I play tennis now, it’s because I like to be on the court, I like to work, I like the fight, and I know that I’m still a pretty good player,’’ he says. Tennis is his art — and craft.

But he’s also hanging around in the hope that the dusk of his career can deliver a grand finale, that he can surpass that unflattering record and make the quarter-finals of those four-times-a-year tournaments that define players.

“I want to play to try to do something better than I did in grand slams, and this Australian Open I have a good chance. I’ve never been better than the fourth round,” he told The Sunday Age. “If I could go to the quarter-finals for the first time in my career, it would be wonderful.”

Standing between Santoro and the grandest achievement of his career is one of those ubiquitous clay-loving Spanish baseliners. David Ferrer, the tournament’s 11th seed, was a quarter-finalist at Roland Garros last year and, should he match that effort here, might sneak into the top 10.

Ferrer clearly likes the combination of searing heat and sticky rubber courts, because his third round, straight-sets dismissal of Mario Ancic ranks as one of the most authoritative performances of the tournament to date.

Ancic, remember, won Croatia the Davis Cup and has that most novel distinction of being the last man to defeat Roger Federer at Wimbledon (in his 2002 debut).

So, Ferrer has serious form. Santoro, who lost their one close encounter in Montreal last year, describes his opponent thus: “He’s a great player ... he’s strong on both sides, you know, he makes you run. Backcourt, not a huge serve, but good enough to be ready for the second shot. He will be one more tough opponent for me.”

Santoro welcomes the prospect of a closed roof in today’s diabolical heat, having endured four hours in nearly-but-not-quite-extreme heat on Friday, when he unexpectedly surged after dropping the third and fourth sets and losing his serve early in the fifth.

It was a canny victory that owed much to Santoro’s decision to, in effect, give up on the fourth set and conserve energy for the fifth. During the breaks he covered his head in plastic bags filled with ice. “Normally I put them on my neck, but today I feel like my head was too hot,” he explained.

Santoro intends to keep playing this year and in 2007, having just hired a new coach. He says he owes his unconventional style to his father, Marcel, an ex-soccer goalie. And like many artistes, Santoro takes pride in his non-conformity.

“I’m very happy he teached me this because it gives me this peculiarity, my difference with the other players. “I’m very happy to play a different game. Most of the guys are playing the same tennis today. So when I’m on the court, people like it, or they hate it, but they have an opinion about my game.”

“I want to play to try to do something better than I did in grand slams, and this Australian Open I have a good chance. I’ve never been better than the fourth round,” he told The Sunday Age. “If I could go to the quarter-finals for the first time in my career, it would be wonderful.”

Standing between Santoro and the grandest achievement of his career is one of those ubiquitous clay-loving Spanish baseliners. David Ferrer, the tournament’s 11th seed, was a quarter-finalist at Roland Garros last year and, should he match that effort here, might sneak into the top 10.

Ferrer clearly likes the combination of searing heat and sticky rubber courts, because his third round, straight-sets dismissal of Mario Ancic ranks as one of the most authoritative performances of the tournament to date.

Ancic, remember, won Croatia the Davis Cup and has that most novel distinction of being the last man to defeat Roger Federer at Wimbledon (in his 2002 debut).

So, Ferrer has serious form. Santoro, who lost their one close encounter in Montreal last year, describes his opponent thus: “He’s a great player ... he’s strong on both sides, you know, he makes you run. Backcourt, not a huge serve, but good enough to be ready for the second shot. He will be one more tough opponent for me.”

Santoro welcomes the prospect of a closed roof in today’s diabolical heat, having endured four hours in nearly-but-not-quite-extreme heat on Friday, when he unexpectedly surged after dropping the third and fourth sets and losing his serve early in the fifth.

It was a canny victory that owed much to Santoro’s decision to, in effect, give up on the fourth set and conserve energy for the fifth. During the breaks he covered his head in plastic bags filled with ice. “Normally I put them on my neck, but today I feel like my head was too hot,” he explained.

Santoro intends to keep playing this year and in 2007, having just hired a new coach. He says he owes his unconventional style to his father, Marcel, an ex-soccer goalie. And like many artistes, Santoro takes pride in his non-conformity.

“I’m very happy he teached me this because it gives me this peculiarity, my difference with the other players. “I’m very happy to play a different game. Most of the guys are playing the same tennis today. So when I’m on the court, people like it, or they hate it, but they have an opinion about my game.”
delsa is offline View My Blog!   Reply With Quote