Match Points – Feb. 23, 2015

News from around the game.

Nadal has doubts

Rafael Nadal said he’s fine physically, even though the cramping he felt during his semi-final loss to Fabio Fognini in Rio was due to tiring far too early in the match, in his estimation.

But he doesn’t know if he can get back to his previous level. Nadal will, however, #try his best.

“I hope to be able to keep on improving in Buenos Aires. I’m motivated by the day to day,” he told reporters in Buenos Aires, as reported by the English arm of Marca.

He’s already practicing in Buenos Aires, and will play doubles with amigo Juan Monaco Tuesday evening and singles on Wednesday.

Big crowd for his press conference (a few females sprinkled in there, here and there).

See you on Sunday at the trophy ceremony, Rafa.

(Pic from Nadal’s Facebook page).

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Kyrgios and Hewitt, idle since Oz, named to Davis Cup squad

Tennis Australia has named Lleyton Hewitt, Bernard Tomic, Nick Kyrgios and Sam Groth (let’s nickname them the “Bad Boys”) to the squad that will face the Czech Republic in Ostrava March 6-8, in the first round of the World Group.

Hewitt, whom you’d have to call semi-retired at this point and about to drop out of the top 100 and Kyrgios, who hasn’t played since the Australian Open as he nursed a back injury, and withdrew from Dubai this week, aren’t exactly in match form.

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Quick coaching casualty

It seemed a good fit when French player Kristina Mladenovic picked up former Ana Ivanovic coach Nemara Kontic at the end of last season, just before the IPTL.

Kristina Mladenovic_new

There was a commonality of heritage between the Serbian Kontic and Mladenovic, born in France of Serbian parents. But it’s already over, which shows you that even if things seem to fit well on paper, it all comes down to individual chemistry.

“We weren’t on the same wavelength; he thought I practiced too much,” Mladenovic told Rémi Bourrières in a brief posted on the French Tennis magazine’s website.

Mladenovic has been through a few coaches in the last few years. And she’s a puzzling case. Loaded with talent and blessed with a serve, she should be up there in the conversation with the other tall ones, Muguruza, Pliskova and the like. And with her Grand Slam mixed doubles wins with Daniel Nestor (and the way she handles the big boys’ serves), you know she loves the big occasions.

It always seemed that perhaps she wasn’t as focused for the day-to-day grind when the lights weren’t as bright; but clearly she doesn’t seem to think so. She said in this story that she knows where to go, and she thinks she knows how to get there. But she needs help because she can’t get there alone. And she doesn’t know what the solution is; maybe a friend or a hitting partner, not a coach.

She also said that she doesn’t think the coaches have the same level of perfectionism she has. Not lacking on confidence, that one.

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Feli has French spies

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