Foot Fault!

Calling all the lines of professional tennis

Category Archives: Other

Bernard Tomic Loses License, Remains An Endless Source Of Entertainment

Everyone’s favourite future greatest player of all time-slash-adrenaline junkie has once again been caught up with the law, this time losing his license after speeding whilst on probation. Not sure which is funnier - that it took him barely over a month after being placed on probation to land himself back in trouble; the fact that he made such a big deal over selling his obnoxiously orange BMW, only to replace it with an even more obnoxious yellow Ferrari with a ‘Sincity’ number plate; or else his tear-stained pleas to a reporter upon the arrival of the media: “I represent you guys. I play for this country. Yet you pick on me.” Keep on keepin’ on, Bernie T.

Quotable Quotes of the day: Dimitrov’s Date With Federer, Petkovic update, Djokovic’s turning point

Grigor Dimitrov on Federer comparisions:

“We recently had lunch together in Australia. We spoke a lot about this issue and straightened it out. The good thing was that we agree.”

David Nalbandian indirectly referencing Delpo’s DC absence

“When you have to represent the country, we must try to be. I played with 20 or more partners, with five captains, and was always available to represent the country, more than anything”

Andrea Petkovic on her knee surgery and (fourth) comeback:

“I was now just one week at Klaus Eder in Regensburg to rehab and have already made ​​great progress. I have hardly any pain and you almost can’t that I had surgery - except for a little swelling. [the swelling] needs to reduce more before I return to the court, but I’m patient. [...] I hope my good progress [will allow a] return in Indian Wells and Miami. If I’m back in shape sooner, I might even play a smaller tournament before on the ITF Pro Circuit!”

Novak Djokovic and Marian Vajda describing the Serb’s 2010 Roland Garros loss to Melzer from two sets and a break up as the turning point in his career:

“Even after he came back to me I wanted to work more and he was sometimes escaping. But then when we came to the court, he was focused, he was winning the important points, basically he was a fighter, he would never give up any ball. And then, after he lost to Melzer from two sets up in 2010, he looked at himself. Since then, he has had the momentum.”

“I lost that match and then from Wimbledon on, in the second part of the year, I started playing much better and being more confident on the court. I felt I got a huge relief mentally rather than anything else. My serve was coming back, and then the Davis Cup title came at the right moment for myself and my country and all of my colleagues, because that’s when I got a strong wind in my back, and it switched momentum.

John Isner on watching the Australian Open whilst injured:

“I haven’t watched any of it. Not one second. I normally don’t watch too much tennis to begin with. But when I’m home during a Slam, I just can’t watch. I know I should be there because I’ve earned my spot. I’ve worked and got my game to a certain level, and sitting home is tough to swallow.”

Video Vault: The Mouratoglou Tennis Academy, Starring Serena Williams

Last week, the Mouratoglou academy’s Mauritius feature premièred on French Eurosport. Finally (as in three days ago now), it has made its way to youtube, and the short documentary makes for interesting and entertaining viewing. A few thoughts:

- The entire video puts into perspective the massive change Serena has undertaken since that fateful French Open match, and it’s truly astonishing. For most top players and champions, once they reach a certain age a stubbornness sets in. It becomes about preserving what is left rather than making changes that could possibly hasten their decline - why would they change a system that has reaped so many past rewards?

Then you think about Serena’s upbringing, the much-discussed “us against the world” mentality Richard instilled in her and Venus from so little. Though both have worked with many coaches in the past, it was always Richard, the family and later the sisters who retained autonomy. Again, for her to cede so much power to this new academy - not to mention one completely alien to the rigours and needs of a top favourite for every slam either tour - was retrospectively such a bold and shocking move. Evidently, it worked out fairly well.

- I should probably learn how to spell ‘Mouratoglou’ sometime soon.

- There will never come a time when I don’t get a kick out of seeing a WTA player owning an ATP player, as Serena did during her hit with Jeremy Chardy. Sorry. Suddenly, Chardy’s quote on their time training together makes sense:

- I see you Nastia, Dasha and Yulia

- Serena and Martina reminiscing together on the golden years. Is there anything on the entire planet more perfect? I think not.


Foot Fault of The Week: Davis Cup, Paris, Pattaya, Eliat, Burnie, and Futures

Davis Cup
World Group:
Canada v Spain
Italy v Croatia
Belgium v Serbia
USA v Brazil
France v Israel
Argentina v Germany
Kazakhstan v Austria
Switzerland v Czech Republic

Group I
Group II

WTA Paris

Category: Premier
Prize Money: $680k
Draws: Main, Doubles, Qualies, OOP
Notable Players: Petra Kvitova, Sara Errani, Marion Bartoli, Dominika Cibulkova, Lucie Safarova, Julia Goerges, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.

WTA Pattaya City

Category: International
Prize Money: $220k
Draws: Main, Doubles, Qualies, OOP
Notable Players: Ana Ivanovic, Maria Kirilenko, Sorana Cirstea, Sabine Lisicki, Daniela Hantuchova


Eilat Challenger

Category: ITF Women’s $75k Challenger
Draws: ITF, TF
Notable Players: Yulia Putintseva, Elina Svotlina, Michelle Larcher De Brito, Alla Kudryavtseva

Burnie Challenger

Category: Mixed ATP and ITF Women’s Challenger
Prize Money: $50k Men, $25k Women
Men’s Draws: Main, Doubles, Qualies, OOP, MTF
Women’s Draws: Main, Doubles, Qualies, OOP, TF
Notable Players: James Duckworth, James Ward, Olivia Rogowska, Anett Kontaveit

Futures and Satellites

Tijuana, Mexico $15k
Category: Mexico F2 Futures
Draws: ATP, ITF, MTF
Notable Players:

Germany, Nussloch $15k
Category: Germany F4 Futures
Draws: ATP, ITF, MTF
Notable Players:

Palm Coast, FL, USA
Category: USA F4 Futures
Draws: ATP, ITF, MTF
Notable Players:

Feucherolles, France $10k+H
Category: France F3 Futures
Draws: ATP, ITF, MTF,
Notable Players:

Sheffield, England $10k
Category: Great Britain F3 Futures
Draws: ATP, ITF, MTF
Notable Players:

Eilat, Israel $10k
Category: Israel F3 Futures
Draws: ATP, ITF, MTF
Notable Players:

Antalya, Turkey $10k
Category: Turkey F4 Futures
Draws: ATP, ITF, MTF
Notable Players:

Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt
Category: Women’s $10k
Draws: ITF, TF
Notable Players:

Antalya, Turkey
Category: Women’s $10k
Draws: ITF, TF
Notable Players:

Quotable Quotes: Three Ankle Sprains Too Many For Serena

Over the past week, it has been stressed so often that the only thing standing in the path of Serena and her sixth Australian Open is herself and injury. So, in a way it should come as no surprise that injury is exactly what has struck. And not just any old injury, but an eerily similar ankle sprain to the one that wrecked her entire Australian season last year. Though she eventually continued and hilariously managed to inflict a double-bagel on Edina Gallovits-Hall despite the injury, it is still certainly still a large concern, as she later stressed.

Q. The fact you came in with no crutches on is a good start for us. How is the leg?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I haven’t had enough time to assess it yet. Saw the doctor again. We’re just gonna see how it is in a few hours from now.

Q. So Thursday is too early to call, whether you can play Thursday?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Oh, I’ll be out there. I mean, unless something fatal happens to me, there’s no way I’m not going to be competing.

I’m alive. My heart’s beating. I’ll be fine.

Q. When you went over, did it remind you of Brisbane last year?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Absolutely. It reminded me a lot of Brisbane. I thought, Oh, not again. But, you know, I’ve had such a good year that I don’t think it’s anything negative. I just think that I was definitely a little bit in shock and I was thinking, I hope it’s not as serious, because it was really serious last year.

Q. Is there any pain or swelling there now?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Obviously there’s pain. Obviously there’s swelling. So it’s going to be really important to see how the next few hours unfold.

It reminded me a lot of Brisbane. I thought, Oh, not again. But, you know, I’ve had such a good year that I don’t think it’s anything negative. I just think that I was definitely

It’s easy to forget that Serena also sprained her ankle during doubles at the US Open last year which also threw that title campaign into doubt. That’s three sprained ankles in essentially one year. If there is ever a time for Serena’s team to ensure that her own footwork or movement isn’t heightening the likelihood of these ankle sprains, now is probably it.

However, if one thing is certain, it’s that without the extensive taping on Serena’s ankle, the injury would have been dramatically worse. Why don’t more players protect themselves by protecting their ankles?

Shot of The Day: Steve Johnson’s Little Improv

As the draw previews were pumped out earlier this week, a couple of Americans suggested that Steve Johnson could pose a considerable threat to Nicolas Almagro. I laughed. Though he eventually qualified handily, it was only a handful of days ago that he pitifully choked at least three times before barely scraping past 758-ranked 16 year old Thanasi “The Kid” Kokkinakis 6-4 6-7(4) 17-15 in the first round of qualies. In what world could he ever rise from that level to challenging the 10th seed within a week?

Well, apparently on planet Earth, as he pushed the Spaniard all the way to five entertaining sets, producing some quite spectacular shotmaking throughout. None, however, were more outrageous than this exhibition of rapid reflexes and deft touch as he turned an unlucky net cord into a winning shot on game point. Stellar.

Quotable Quotes: Tokyo Fights For Survival

After weeks of rumours and rumblings, yesterday the WTA officially announced that a new Premier 5 event in Wuhan, China would replace the Tokyo Pan Pacific Open as the tour continues its obsession with everything Chinese. Tokyo was conspicuously absent from the calendar in any form and it sparked rumours that Tokyo would certainly be axed, but according to the AFP, PPO officials have claimed this isn’t the case:

“The 2014 calendar is still at a draft level,” an official from the Pan Pacific Open secretariat told AFP. [...] “We will aim for the same level of prize money (after 2013) as we think the Pan Pacific deserves it,” the official said. He added, however, that a reduction in prize money was a “possibility”.

If one thing is certain, it’s that the organizers have their work cut out unless they manage to involve the players. Remember, the WTA had absolutely no qualms about mercilessly slicing and dicing almost the entire European indoor season out of the calendar, despite its popularity and seemingly core role it played in the tennis season. So it’s difficult to imagine they’ll be too interested in retaining Tokyo as a sizeable tournament, and particularly not if it detracts in any way from the more lucrative Chinese events.

But, hey, as evidenced by the WTA’s final update of the 2013 calendar also yesterday, plenty can change in a year. We’ll see.

Grigor Dimitrov - When Style Is Mistaken For Substance

Fact. Regardless of the channel, country or tournament in question, Grigor Dimitrov’s tennis receives more love than most seasoned pros. Commentators bow to his image, comparing the Bulgarian to the greatest player of all time, essentially professing their undying love for his game whilst seemingly wanting nothing more than to take his forehand, backhand or serve out on a lavish date. This was certainly the case during last week’s Brisbane final, in which the Aussie commentators spent much of the contest adoringly narrating his every move - their eyes probably assuming the shape of hearts. During the final, one of the commentators even went as far as to say: “He’s a good looking player, and I say that because he does look good.” Well, nice to know.

I mention this because the hype, predictions and expectations placed upon him are essentially based on just that - his style and the superficial similarities to Federer’s game. It certainly isn’t his negative tour win-loss record or the fact that he is yet to grace even the third round of Grand Slam or win a title. One would expect the career of Richard Gasquet to serve as a cautionary tale towards those quick to launch the “Baby Federer” hype machine, but apparently those covering Grigor Dimitrov missed the memo. Instead, people are quick to falsely equate the style that Dimitrov’s tennis exudes with the actual substance and level required to reach the top echelons of the game.

Having said that, there was much to be impressed about from Dimitrov against Murray. The match itself was both engrossing and disappointing. On one hand, it featured entertaining, rapid all-court tennis. However, it was also frustrating in its utterly predictable mental collapse from the Bulgarian. He arrived on fire and looked to have the better of Murray until serving for the first set. Then, after a nervy collapse whilst leading 5-4 with a break, he briefly recovered only to fall apart in even more dramatic style in the tiebreak. The second set saw Murray’s level fall off the face of the earth, but once again Dimitrov squandered yet more chances and hammered the final nail to his coffin. It had the potential to be an entertaining and tight contest, but instead closer resembled a damp squib.

What impressed was the brand of tennis the 21 year-old exhibited. In the past, his athletic gifts and raw all-court style have shone brighter than any other aspect of his game, but Sunday made for completely different viewing as it was the finer aspects of his game that demanded attention. Most notable was his notoriously weak backhand. Murray unsurprisingly focused most of his attention to that wing early on, but rather than the backhand breaking down easily as usual and offering mostly ineffective slices and a weak spot for Murray to smother, Dimitrov responded by showcasing such impressive and improved variety on his backhand wing. He infused his driven backhand with powerful and flatter blows, weightier topspin, some loopier balls and the occasional angle. His slice too appeared a completely new stoke as he combined a variety of different types of slice - deep floating slices, more penetrating slices, and short and low slices with no pace. Rarely did the Bulgarian execute the same shot twice and this elaborate variety caught Murray off-balance, with the Scot unable to settle into any rhythm and forced to find solutions himself.

He also impressed with his instincts around the court. Court sense is generally an innate, natural talent and certainly an area in which Dimitrov has previously left much to be desired. But against Murray he approached the net at the correct moments and made sensible, logical decisions around the court. He also appeared especially observant of how Murray dealt with different aspects of his game. An example being in the first set when Murray began to struggle with short and low slices to his forehand. Dimitrov wasted no time in mercilessly exploiting that weakness with a slew of dropshots and no-pace low slices to Murray’s forehand side. In other words, he looks like he’s growing up and maturing before our eyes.

The question remains just what this maturity is and how far it will take him. Just a couple of days later he arrived in Sydney and shamelessly tanked the match away, quickly reminding us of exactly what we’re dealing with. Hype won’t reveal his true potential, but time will, and 2013 promises to be the year that tells us all we need to know about Grigor Dimitrov.

Way Back Wednesday: 10 Nostalgic Pictures. Just Because.

A while ago I stumbled across my old photobucket account, and with it many amusing, sad and iconic pictures I had long since forgotten about. I suddenly felt the burning and unshakeable urge to share these pictures (well, mostly this picture), and here we are.

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Video Vault: How to play a Match Point - by Novak Djokovic, Ana Ivanovic, Bernard Tomic and Ashleigh Barty


It’s safe to say that not everyone is a fan of mixed doubles, but when executed correctly it can be just as entertaining as either of the other two disciplines. Look no further than today’s Hopman Cup deciding rubber which saw prolific Serbs Novak Djokovic and Ana Ivanovic scrape past Aussie youngsters Bernard Tomic and Ashleigh Barty in an epic 3 (more like 2 and a quarter) set match.

For better or worse, crazy things happen when the ATP and WTA collide. But even so, I can’t think of too many more surreal sights in any sport than watching the 5-time Grand Slam winning current ATP world number one and greatest returner on the planet gravely struggling to read and return the serve of a 5ft4, 16 year old girl ranked 175 on the women’s tour. Oh, and there’s also the small matter of the above jaw-droppingly outrageous 29-stroke stroke rally between the four on Serbia’s first match point. (Mixed) Doubles? Love it.


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