Tag Archive | "Stefanki"

Gonzo Guns For Second Legg Mason Final

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Gonzo Guns For Second Legg Mason Final

lmtc_logo_mediumAt the Legg Mason Tennis Classic, Fernando Gonzalez used his big forehand to harass Tommy Haas giving him a 7-5, 6-4 victory.  Now, Gonzalez is one match away from making his second final appearance at a tournament where he  made his ATP debut a decade ago.   After the match, Gonzalez sat down to answer questions and MiamiTennisNews had a few it wanted addressed.

You were so close to getting to the final of another major in Paris.   Is there any part of your game you feel you need to work on that will help you get there as you did a couple of years ago?
“I don’t think that there’s anything really I have to change about my game which was demonstrated by the fact that I was so close in Paris. For sure I have to keep improving things. I don’t know, perhaps working more on my serve and net play, but all this gives me peace of mind”.

Your most successful year was 2007, in that you reached the Australian Open final with coach Larry Stefanki, why did the two of you part ways?
“[First of all ] Larry is a great coach and I was with him many years . [However], Larry and I had a major problem, he lives in California and I in Chile….So, I am very grateful for all that he thought me and I have a great respect for him.”

Turning to the semifinals where Juan Martin Del Potro will be his opponent, the last time the two met was the 2007 Australian Open.   As far as Gonzalez is concerned, Del Potro is a “different player”. Regardless, there is a level of comfort in knowing “[one] has a winning record” against the other guy.

Commenting on the atmosphere to be expected with his being Chilean and Del Potro Argentinean, would there be any tension?  Gonzalez cited “there may be a rivalry between countries, [but not between us players].  Juan Martin and I are really good friends. It should be a good match and should be fun”.

After Wimbledon, Gonzalez took four weeks off due to tendonitis in his right knee. Gonzalez said that the lesion is not as severe as Rafael Nadal’s. With rest and treatment, he has been lucky that the knee has been responding.  Thus, he hopes his good run will continue through the remainder of season.

Concerning his forehand, Gonzalez was asked the secret to that stroke being “such a weapon”.   Gonzalez answered “I don’t have fear if I miss. If you don’t take a risk, you don’t miss.”  In other words, one has to be willing to gamble.

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Roddick Meets The Press In D.C.

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Roddick Meets The Press In D.C.

img_9890After a prolong absence due to injury, Andy Roddick returns to competitive play at the Legg Mason Classic.  The three time champion at this ATP 500 event held a news conference this afternoon.  As expected, there were a flurry of questions regarding his disappointing lost at Wimbledon.  But the feeling was that Roddick is ready to move to a new chapter and that is his U.S. Open  campaign.

First off, Roddick made it clear that he has recuperated from the hip injury and does not view it as an issue in the upcoming weeks. Roddick cited that with his being off the court for a few weeks that he ” doesn’t expect to pick up where [he] left off a month ago”.  For him, it will be a step by step process with the intention of peaking at the last major of the year.  Regardless, Andy would like to get into the winning column again and to take it from there.

Turning to Wimbledon, for Roddick, it’s difficult to compartmentalize Wimbledon from the rest of year, in part because the media have been fixated on that.  However, Andy iterated that Wimbledon in essence was the reaping of the hard work that he put in all year.   This has been evident with the results he has posted since January. With Wimbledon, “I don’t know if I gained confidence from that [final].. Although it does help”, Andy emphasized that it has been “building all year”.

Contrary to what people might think, Roddick does not focus on the backhand volley that he missed since it was a lot harder than it appeared:  “I thought it was going long, and reacted late.. It wasn’t like I was trying to hit a ball to the ocean from the beach and missed.  To be honest, I have not thought about it that much. . .  [The defeat was]  yep heartbreaking, at the same time, not a lot of people get to play for that title. . . That part is never lost on me.  Ten seconds after the final I still realized that it’s pretty special thing”. Although Andy admits ” it hurts losing after two weeks of hard work, knowing that your defeat came at the hand of a player that will probably go down as the best ever, it does help”.  When asked if he would like to face Federer again, Roddick responded in the affirmative since it would mean that he is deep into the draw. Yet,  Roddick’s approach is not to look too far ahead.

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Keep Plugging Away Andy, You’ll Get There

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Keep Plugging Away Andy, You’ll Get There

img_3407After Roger Federer’s gut wrenching loss in the Wimbledon final last year, I felt obligated to impart on him some words of wisdom. This year, Andy Roddick was the one to draw the short straw in one of the most mesmerizing major matches ever.  Deluded as it may seem, I would like to believe that my advice has contributed in some minute form to the success that Federer has been basking in of late.  Considering that Roddick is a compatriot, I feel bound to take a crack at pushing him in the right direction.


I hope you don’t regard it as disrespectful the liberty that I am taking in referring to you on a first name basis.   After all, I have followed your career for many years and for that reason I feel a kinship on some level. I must confess though that through your nine years on the ATP, our relationship has been tepid.  After making a big splash at U.S. Open in 2003, your results at the majors have been spastic. Disappointments after disappointments have caused me with time to consider you, as the Spanish maxim goes, ‘as a zero to the left’. From my viewpoint, a revolving door of coaches indicated that  you were unwilling to listen to the counsel of others.  As such, this left me doubting as to your capability of ever becoming champion at a major. Your performance a couple of weeks back at Wimbledon demonstrated your desire to succeed is still great and it not only reenergized your fans but gained you some new ones.

Effort has never been one of your faults.   Although in the past, your game has lacked focus.  In hiring Larry Stefanki and heeding his advice, you have retooled your game and developed other weapons to back up your powerful serve. Your forehand has always been solid and your play at net adequate.  However, by strengthening and reinventing your backhand  crosscourt and down the line, some of your strokes were purely sublime, you showed that your game can still evolve.  More importantly, you revealed in the finals that you are a thinker on the court in choosing the most intelligent shots.  You took risks when the situation warranted it, while restraining yourself. In the past panic may have ambushed your decision making.  Federer may have gained his record 15th major, but you gave him a fight to remember.

Complements at this time may appear hollow and shallow since you don’t have the Wimbledon trophy on your mantle. Whilst, it may be healthy to reflect on what could have been, the worse thing you can do is dwell.  For many seasons, you have walked through the draw with others expecting very little from you.  I would like to think that in the long run, this match will leave a positive influence.  As such, perhaps, the sanest approach is to regard this year as one of rehabilitation.  So keep working at it Andy, your major will come.

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