Brisbane/Doha/Chennai Notes: Youth movement, Ljubičić, etc.

Federer looked pretty solid fighting-off his opponent, #233 Kamke, and a little cold. He’ll have a better test vs. Dimitrov who survived a three-setter vs. Troiki. More interesting is the Cilic v Thiem match to determine Federer’s SF opponent (granted, if Dimitrov doesn’t shock Brisbane). Thiem has game and this would be terrific progress if he can up-end Cilic. Tomic v Nishikori in the other half seems also awfully good. Can the 24 year-old make a move here? To shake-up this ATP mediocrity we need the truth to emerge on the potential of these Cilic/Nishikori types. Guys like Thiem and Tomic should understand this opportunity.

Granted, not sure how invested Murray is in his Hopman Cup tennis, but Kyrgios beat him in straights there and the Scot now needs to save face against a young but talented Alexander Zverev, also 19. Murray should advance, but damage done. Look around at the youth at least showing-up here in very early 2016.

Nadal struggled again, needing three sets to beat a young Russian, Kuznetsov. What will be more surprising: that Nadal gets upset in one of these early matches or that he pushes Djokovic in the final? I am not buying stock in Nadal like a lot of folks. I do realize that he is probably more vulnerable in these best of three matches; but, still, his tennis is not that same quality that ate top 10 players for years. This Marchenko is having a nice little tournament, beating Chardy in straights to set-up his showdown with the Spaniard 🙂

Djokovic looked human, needing 7-5 to win a set 😉 Berdych next should make the Serb breath a little harder, drink some stronger tea, perhaps. Nice draw, Nadal.

Wawrinka seems to be purring right along in India. If he raises the trophy there, despite the lack of tourney depth, doesn’t that still work nicely for his AO confidence? He needs to find whatever Stanimal needs because we have seen some pretty oddball tennis from him recently; granted the exhibition last week was just an exhibition, but still.

Let me reiterate my appreciation for the hiring of Ljubičić. Nothing new to add really since Roger has played only one match. But I think the “closer” mentality, the means-to-an-end tennis I think we get from this pairing, along with Ljubičić’s knowledge of the game and the current players Roger will face, will work, sometimes brilliantly. We’ll see. Roger’s farewell tour is still en route, but he hired a lieutenant with whom he may be able to grab a little more loot as he leaves the proverbial building.

4 comments

  1. Tomic Vs Milos, Thiem Vs Roger (got your wish)….interesting match-ups for SF…..Looks like stage set for repeat of last year Finals, unless someone surprises.

    1. Pretty good chance for the repeat though Roger looks fatigued, uninspired, sick, etc. Great to see Thiem beat Cilic and Tomic the same to Kei. Bring on the new kids. Sneaky win there by Pouille over Goffin. I didn’t see the match, but thought Goffin would do better here.

      A Tomic v Thiem match would be nuts: 23 y/o v 22 y/o.
      Roger probably repeats but he’ll have to play better, feel better. . .

  2. It seems that a A-minus form from Djokovic is enough to beat almost anyone these days. I admit that Berdych tried but he just misses the weapons/tactical plan to hurt him. I consider the final with Nadal on this surface a typicality. I wonder what the result of a Berdych-Nadal match would be on this surface. Your thoughts Matt?
    Federer is clearly in B form (ill? tired?) even for his age (C form for his prime) and Dimitrov let us down again: in a match where Federer’s mobility, stamina and backhand were questionable he couldn’t play consistently/smart enough to win it. If Federer wins this, it’s not because he is clearly the best player in the tournament at the moment, but because his experience will help him come through.
    On a Ljubicic side-note, I noticed some aggressive midcourt BHDL and an effort to hit some backhands from the baseline with a slightly different motion. None have worked so far (the slower surface of AO should give more room for these changes), but hopefully those can help Federer towards his goals by completing the basic aggressive gameplan formed with Edberg. Of course we wont see the results before the second part of the season (I suspect they try things and collect data at the moment and will practice and apply the changes before the FO).

    It is interesting how the younger generation is beating the old one in these early tourneys (Thiem, Coric, Tomic, Kyrgios ). Maybe the “lost boys” generation is being pushed away by hungrier athletes. Don’t let the Djokovic domination fool you; the turn of the big four will come in two-three years, if not sooner.

    1. If Berdych is playing well, I’ll take him over Nadal in this format, this surface. And I’m not a fan of Berdych’s tennis. Nadal hasn’t played anyone. I should think Djokovic would want to breadstick Rafa here. I see routine straights at least.

      The youth is making a case early. Bedene v Coric, Tomic, Thiem. . . we’ll take it.

      Federer looks ill, yes. Those have been the reports. Dimitrov didn’t do much to prevent Roger from advancing. I thought there was a mix of good strategy from Roger and just terrible form from Dimitrov that sealed it. The SABR seemed to fluster the Bulgarian, who really is a talented player. Just falls apart.

      Liked the handshake between Roger’s coaches at the end. Good day at the office. Next.

What say you?