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Wimbledon diary





12 July 2016

It was an historic final weekend at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club.

On Saturday, Serena Williams won her 22nd Major title and in the process tied the Open era record set by Steffi Graf. Then, only a few hours later, Serena went on to claim the women’s doubles title with her older sister, Venus.

Serena proved what an all-round champion she really is, and is without a doubt one of the greatest athletes of all time.

In the men’s single final on Sunday, Andy Murray defeated Milos Raonic to claim his first major since 2013 much to the delight of his family, team and the entire United Kingdom.

I was really impressed with the way in which Murray came out and took care of business. (This was actually the first time in 12 Grand Slam final appearances that the Scot didn’t have to face either Roger Federer or Novak Djokovic in the final).

I know from experience that it’s not always easy approaching matches where you are the resounding favourite. There are certain expectations that you place on yourself, and those can become a hindrance to an exceptional performance.

However, outside of one mysterious outburst at the end of the second set, Murray seemed purposeful and determined throughout the match. Murray stuck to his game plan and executed it really well. He was aggressive on his own service games and didn’t allow Raonic to impose himself. Murray only faced two break points the whole match and he saved both.

Murray also put himself in a position to be dangerous in a lot of games on the return. Even though there was only one break of serve in the entire match, he created chances and put plenty of pressure on Raonic. I believe some of this pressure helped Murray win both tie-breakers comfortably.

Despite only losing his service game once in the whole match, Raonic only served eight aces. Statistically, that is a very low number for the Canadian, which illustrates just how well Murray anticipates and moves, especially when returning serve.

Another unusual statistic was that Raonic won a higher percentage of points on his second serve than he did on his first serve. That indicates that the Canadian was doing a very good job of mixing up his second serve, from the higher bouncing kicker to serves in excess of 120mph.

With his latest Wimbledon win, Murray has closed the gap on Djokovic in the race to finish the year ranked as world No 1. It serves to make the US summer hard court tournament swing very interesting.

Raonic, meanwhile, has clearly established himself as the best No 3 player in the world this year and he will look to continue his great form.

Personally, it was a tough grass court season for me, but there were some positives to build upon. The biggest plus is that I finally feel my body is fit again which, as an athlete, is so important.

I have started my preparations for the summer and have been at my home base in Florida training on the hard courts in the heat and humidity. I have a busy summer schedule in the offing, starting in Washington DC next week.

The schedule this year is very different to normal owing to the upcoming Rio Olympics. After DC, I head to Toronto followed by Atlanta and then I have a week off. Following my training week, I will play in the Cincinnati Masters, Winston Salem and finally, of course, the US Open.

I post all my results to my official Facebook page (facebook.com/kevinandersontennis). I hope you will follow along and you can also connect with me on Twitter (@kevinanderson18).

Want to join me in my training camp this summer? Check out the online courses on my website and train along with me and my former coach GD Jones.


 

10 July 2016

The Sunday of the Wimbledon final is arguably the biggest day in professional men’s tennis all year long. Today on SuperSport, you will witness first-time grand slam finalist Milos Raonic take on former Wimbledon champion Andy Murray.

In reaching today’s highly coveted final, Raonic continues a solid upwards career curve. We have witnessed his development as a player over the last few months.

Securing the win over Roger Federer in the semifinals on such a big stage will have boosted his self-belief. The Canadian certainly wants to be on the biggest stage and he will back himself. However, it’s still new ground for the 25-year-old, so I’m sure he will be experiencing some level of nerves. But, if he is able to find his rhythm on serve, we can expect some big serving with his adrenaline flowing.

Scotsman Andy Murray certainly heads into the grand finale as the favourite. In my opinion, Murray is presently playing some of the very best tennis I have seen him play over the course of his career. He is benefiting from an improved mental attitude ever since the beginning of the clay court swing of the season this year.

I believe that getting the proverbial monkey off his back by winning Wimbledon in 2013 will definitely work in his favour. The only expectations Murray will feel will be self-expectations. The 29-year-old has reached three grand slam finals since his maiden Wimbledon triumph, and has lost all three. As a consequence, we can expect Murray to be extremely hungry to seal the deal this time around.

That said, I foresee a very close contest taking place on Centre Court. If I was forced to pick a winner, I would still go with Murray given his elevated level of experience in this scenario. However, Raonic asked for this rematch after losing to Murray in the finals of Queen’s, so I expect him to come out and prove himself.

An interesting narrative accompanying the final is that of the super-coaches perched in the corners of each respective competitor. Raonic has employed both John McEnroe and Carlos Moya as mentors in order to guide him through the grass court swing of the season, while Murray has famously reunited with the man who assisted him in winning his only grand slam titles, Ivan Lendl. Raonic seems to have fully bought into McEnroe’s instructions to play aggressively and to take every opportunity to come forwards. And, thus far it has paid dividends.

Meanwhile, Murray seems as composed and upbeat as I have ever seen him on court, and many are calling this “The Lendl Effect”. What is undeniable is that all three legends-turned-coaches are having a really positive impact, and it will be fascinating to see whose expertise prevails in helping their player lift the trophy.

Although I wish I was still onsite at SW 19, I will be watching the final at home in Florida. Check back on SuperSport.com where I will offer my review of the final. Let me know who you will be supporting today and why in the comments section below. You can also connect with me on Twitter (@kevinanderson18) or Facebook (facebook.com/kevinandersontennis).


 

July 6, 2016

There are four very interesting quarter-final matches lined up in the gentlemen’s singles draw at SW19 today.

The first sees Roger Federer face Marin Cilic. Federer is well aware that Novak Djokovic is no longer in the men’s draw – the Serb’s untimely departure from the tournament was nothing short of global, front-page news. With the top seed out, many are touting this as Federer’s best opportunity to win an eighth Wimbledon title.

However, Federer came into the tournament with less tennis played this calendar year than any other in his entire career owing to injury. Nevertheless, Federer has improved with each passing match, and is looking sharp. But, he is up against a very tough opponent in Cilic, who has demonstrated adept skill on grass to reach three consecutive Wimbledon quarter-finals.

Cilic will also draw confidence from his victory over Federer in the 2014 US Open semi-final. All things considered, this is set to be the most interesting of the four Wimbledon 2016 quarter-finals. I’ll definitely be tuning in to watch as the action unfolds live on Your World of Champions.

The second man everyone has their focus fixed on is home-crowd favourite Andy Murray. Murray is also cognisant that Djokovic is out of the tournament – cheers for the latter’s loss disturbed Murray during his third round match.

As the number two seed, Murray is now the favourite to win Wimbledon and cannot possibly be unaware of the opportunity that now exists should he reach the final. However, he still has his work cut for him if he expects to continue through the draw.

His opponent, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, is no stranger to grass courts and has previously reached the semi-finals of Wimbledon. Tsonga’s gigantic serve and forehand, coupled with his all-court game definitely have the potential to give Murray trouble. However, with Ivan Lendl back in his box, Murray seems focused and upbeat. Murray is in fine form and, as such, would be my pick to win the event.

The other two quarter-final contests feature some new faces. The first of these is American Sam Querrey, who will play fellow North American Milos Raonic. Querrey is enjoying his best major result to date and what a place to do it. At two sets to love down in his first round match against Lukas Rosol, few punters would have predicted a comeback in that contest, let alone a win against the world number one and defending champion.

Now the possibility of a spot in the semi-final looms large. It’s undeniably difficult to follow-up a huge victory with another successful match. However, Quarrey did just that by dismissing Frenchman Nicholas Mahut in the fourth round.

Raonic on the other hand, continues his run of impressive form this year. He has reached the semi-finals of Wimbledon before, so he will have the upper hand in terms of experience in this setting and will be able to cope with the gravity of the moment. Raonic also has legends of the game in John McEnroe and Carlos Moya sitting in his box and providing council on how to overcome the heavy-hitting American.

What we can certainly expect is a big-serving match between these two protagonists. If I had to pick one of the less-favoured players capable of winning the tournament this year, I would opt for Raonic. He is the dark horse.

In the final quarter-final match-up, veteran Thomas Berdych will face young Frenchman Lucas Pouille. Obviously Berdych will be regarded as the overwhelming favourite to win this encounter. At only 22 years of age, Pouille has raced up the ATP rankings recently and benefited from a semi-final run in Rome as a lucky loser.

Berdych has struggled for form this year by his own high standards, and will be aiming to capitalise on this opportunity. Pouille will have to muster up some top-notch tennis in order to overcome the talented Czech.

It will certainly be an entertaining day of tennis for anyone who tunes on SuperSport later today. I will keep up to date with the progress of the matches in between my training sessions at home here in Florida.

Be sure to check back soon on SuperSport.com, as I will offer my insight as the Championship draws to an exciting climax. And, for top-end tennis instruction and a look at my personal training methods, head on over to my new website.

Post your comments below and follow me on Twitter @kevinanderson18.


 

June 30, 2016

It was obviously very difficult and disappointing to walk away from Wimbledon this year after my first round defeat to Denis Istomin in five sets. To rub salt into the proverbial wounds, I was up two sets to love, and losing from that position is always tough in itself.

I was in good control of the match having won the first two sets, but Istomin began swinging out more in the third set and managed to gain some momentum. I had chances in the fourth set, and even a match point on Istomin’s serve. I also created opportunities in the fifth set. Unfortunately though, I couldn’t quite capitalise on them.

With everything I have endured this year, from injuries to surgeries, it has felt like such an uphill battle. I have worked so hard to build momentum and get back to the results I want.

Suffering a first round loss at an event like Wimbledon is crushing and very difficult to deal with. However, on the plus side, my body has definitely turned the corner and I’m feeling much better physically than I had been throughout the earlier part of 2016.

I’m looking forward to being able to build on the plus points as I move forward with my team into the summer swing of tournaments taking place in the States.

In other news this week, I was re-elected to the ATP player council. I was nominated and voted into this position by my peers to serve as a representative of the players on tour. As part of the player council, we deliver advisory decisions to the board of directors for the ATP World Tour and make decisions that shape the way professional tennis is played and operates around the globe.

This will be my third two-year term serving on the council. I know from my continued involvement that there will be some very important matters coming up for discussion over the next couple of years, and I’m really excited to play a part. I really enjoy spending time behind the scenes of tennis and working with my fellow players to make tennis a more attractive and supported sport for all involved.

As for the rest of week one at Wimbledon, the weather forecast looks rather grim. Players are undoubtedly going to have to endure more than a few rain delays, and patience will be critical in such difficult conditions.

We have already had a few exciting narratives stem from the early rounds, most notably the man who beat all the odds, Briton Marcus Willis. If you somehow still haven’t heard of Willis that is probably because his world ranking is a lowly 772.

In what can only be described as a fairytale run, Willis made it through a pre-qualifying tournament, the official qualifying event, and won his first round match-up against Ricardas Berankis, a formidable player himself.

Practically straight from the lowest rungs of professional tennis, Willis found himself up against grass court legend and all-time great Roger Federer on Centre Court yesterday. I can only imagine the sense of accomplishment, joy, and wonderful memories Willis will take with him from his magical week at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club.

Willis’s story is one of the reasons I love this game. Each tournament presents a new opportunity, a fresh start, and (in this instance) seemingly boundless potential for success. The sky really is the limit if you are willing to work hard and chase your dreams.

Losses can be tough to handle, but are part and parcel of the sport. You have to take the good with the bad, keep your head held high and give it your best fight again tomorrow.

Check back regularly on SuperSport.com as I will offer my insight as the Championship progresses. And, for many more updates from Wimbledon in the days ahead and a look at my personal training methods, head on over to my new website.


 

June 27, 2016

Today one of the most special fortnights of the tennis season begins in earnest.

Wimbledon 2016 boasts a full field of hopefuls looking to perform well on tennis's biggest stage. As tour professionals, we train and practice all year long for such weeks, and the excitement and opportunity is palpable.

My own Wimbledon preparations have been slightly different this year. Instead of taking a week off before the tournament, I chose to play in the Nottingham Open. Still working my way back from injury this year, I felt that playing matches was very important in terms of my preparations. Naturally, the opportunity to play a tournament is also valuable to improve my ranking.

In Nottingham, I was able to get in some really good matches on the grass court surface. I feel as though I am playing better and better tennis every day, and it was morale-boosting to achieve some good wins over talented players.

Playing another tournament so close to the start of Wimbledon does present challenges because of the quick turnaround time between events. However, practice courts at Wimbledon can prove very difficult to come by, so there were also benefits to being able to practice and prepare in Nottingham.

We returned to London almost immediately following my loss to American Steve Johnson in the quarterfinal, and I have spent the last few days preparing in the capital. Over the weekend, I had light hit-outs on both the main Wimbledon courts and the practice courts at Aorangi. I feel it’s unnecessary to push myself too much over these days as the work has already been done.

I’m really looking forward to kicking off my tournament against Uzbek Denis Istomin. It has been a really tough year for me thus far, but my body is finally feeling much better. I finally feel I’m physically fit and ready for competition.

This year, Novak Djokovic is the man to beat in the men’s side of the draw. The 29-year-old Serb is still on track to complete a calendar year slam, and is playing some of the best tennis that the world has ever seen. By winning the Australian Open and Roland Garros, he became the first man to claim both titles in the same year since Australian Rod Laver, which is no mean feat.

Many are also speculating as to how Roger Federer – seven-time Wimbledon winner – will fare having endured a fair few injury setbacks this year, and whether the Swiss master can return to greatness on tennis's largest stage.

Finally, there are a number of new young guns to look out for, who are what I would describe as the ATP’s "next gen". The question is can they make a run?

Be sure to check back regularly on SuperSport.com over the course of Wimbledon. I will keep you updated as the Championship progresses.

Head over to my new website for more. There you will find top-end tennis instruction and a behind-the-scenes look at life on the pro tennis tour.


 


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Kevin Anderson
Wimbledon diary
July 12 - It was an historic final weekend at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club.