The Last Word: Dec. 28, 2013

First visit to Brisbane since he was a kid for the Fed.

So he’s doing the things (still needs a trim – badly).

(Photo: Brisbane Twitter)

Coachless Sloane

After a trial period with former Federer coach Paul Annacone during the off-season, Matt Cronin reports that Annacone won’t be coming Down Under with Stephens.

Instead, it seems hitting partner Andrew Fitzpatrick will do the job.

Contemporary Laura Robson is in a similar situation, in that her coach is nominally Nick Saviano, who is committed to being Genie Bouchard’s full-time coach even if he won’t travel with her all the time, and so she’ll be on the road with the man who was supposed to be her hitting partner but has been elevated, American Jesse Witten.

These are crucial periods for these young players; it continues to astonish here that they can’t/won’t/are unable to find (and pay for) the full-time coach that they need to take those next steps.

No Woz in Brisbane

Caroline Wozniacki is out of her first tournament of the season, which was supposed to be Brisbane, with a right shoulder injury.

As with most tune-up events, this could be more preventative than anything. But it is NOT a good way to start the season.


Nadal vs. Rosol – Parts 2 and 3

Now … what are the odds?

Not having faced the prickly Lukas Rosol since that shocker of an upset at Wimbledon a year and a half ago, Rafael Nadal kicks off his season with a first-round singles match against … Rosol. And then a first-round doubles match against … yep, Rosol.

With his associated coach Francisco Roig (currently aged 45) as his partner, no less.

Nadal and coach Roig during the 2009 Rogers Cup. They beat Djokovic in the first round.

Nadal and coach Roig during the 2009 Rogers Cup. They beat Djokovic in the first round.

Personally? I think he should have asked Rosol to play dubs with him. That would have been a great way to reverse a little karma.

Battle of the fashionistas

In an exhibition match that means about as much as Nadal losing to Ferrer in Abu Dhabi, Victoria Azarenka beats Serena Williams 7-5, 6-3 in Thailand.


Raonic needs to brush up on the mixed thing

His contemporary Bernard Tomic had it down pat – the two-cheek kiss for his mixed doubles partner after their victory.

HopmanCup3            HopmanCup4

And he saved a couple for his female opponent, Genie Bouchard. But Milos Raonic took a pass on all the niceties!

HopmanCUp1            HopmanCup2

Just a handshake for Bouchard, another handshake for Samantha Stosur – and a smirk for Tomic, who seriously showed him up in the courtesies department even if he couldn’t do it during their match.

Let’s hope he’s just coming down with a cold and didn’t want to pass along the bad news. 🙂

Radek Stampanek

It seems Czech Davis Cup hero Radek Stepanek had a stamp issued in his honour.

In 2012.


Apparently he’s just getting around to acquiring some now.

(Pic from Stepanek’s Twitter)


Abu Dhabi stories

Reem Abduleil of Sports360 typed a ton during the three days of the Abu Dhabi exhibition.

Here are a few of her efforts:

Nadal blames (un)fitness for Ferrer loss

Money quote:

“I think for the first match, playing against a player who has already practiced for almost a month at 100 per cent and he had a match yesterday, and in very fast conditions – one of the quickest courts that I’ve played on; I’m quite happy with the way that I played.”

Djokovic, on Boris Becker and life

Money quotes:

“I’m learning every day from him. We talk about things. His greatness is obvious in the tennis world. He’s been a member of the Laureus Academy, so he’s been doing a lot of charity activities around the world so it says enough about his personality, he’s trying to keep his link to the sport.

He’s been working on TV and of course listening to him analyze tennis is fantastic so I’m excited to hear more on the court from him to see how he can help me out.

“Unfortunately he’s not able to run, he’s not able to play, I was hoping I could play with him a little bit but he has a problem with his ankle and with his knees, so if anybody can help him, please I would love to play with Boris.”

(Anyone think Boris is playing the “old” card there to avoid getting his butt kicked?)

Murray gets what he needs in AD

Money quote:

“I think I got what I needed from my time here. I played two pretty decent matches and my intensity was pretty good in both of them, and I felt better today than I did yesterday and I hope tomorrow I’ll feel better than I did today. That’s all I can do right now.”


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