Archives for December 2012

The TR Year-End top 50s: The men, Nos. 11-20

Milos is the tour’s most impressive youngster but he still needs more seasoning.

Thus continues our review of the top 50 singles players on the ATP and WTA Tours. We resume with the men ranked Nos. 11 -20.

11. Nicolas Almagro

Despite ending the year in heartbreaking fashion with a loss to Radek Stepanek in the fifth rubber of the Davis Cup final, the enigmatic Spaniard had one of his best years, picking up a couple more small clay court titles, competing much better on outdoor hard courts and not shying away from an important role of the Davis Cup team. He finished the year with a solid 59-24 record and while he has yet to reach a final off of clay, his big first serve and willingness to play further inside the baseline has made him a respectable fast court player. But the 27-year-old does not have a Slam in him unless a slew of elite players become injured at a major.

12. Juan Monaco

Annacone and Luthi combine to win ATP Coach of the Year

It took Annacone two years, but he and Luthi helped Federer to another Slam crown.


Paul Annacone and Severin Luthi, the coaches of 17-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer, have won the ATP 2012 Coach of Year award. Annacone and Luthi, who coached the Swiss to his first Grand Slam title since 2010 when he won Wimbledon, received 584 votes, or 49% of the total, to 37% for Ivan Lendl (442 votes,), who coached Andy Murray to his first Grand Slam title at the US Open, as well as the Olympic gold medal.

Javier Piles, who coached David Ferrer to the world No. 5 ranking as well as his first Masters Series crown, received 6% of the vote, while Franco Davin, the coach of the resurgent Juan Martin Del Potro grabbed 5%, and Marian Vajda, the coach of No. 1 Novak Djokovic received 1%.

Here are the descriptions of the candidates qualifications.



Tennis and the Art of Losing

As great as Hingis was, she was 5-7 in Slam finals.

By Richard Osborn

Baseball is a game of failure. Always has been, always will be. Ted Williams, The Splendid Splinter, the last man to hit .400, once confessed, “Baseball is the only field of endeavor where a man can succeed three times out of 10 and be considered a good performer.”

Fellow slugger Mickey Mantle concurred, asserting, “During my 18 years, I came to bat almost 10,000 times. I struck out about 1,700 times and walked maybe 1,800 times. You figure a ballplayer will average about 500 at bats a season. That means I played seven years without ever hitting the ball.”

Tennis has its failures, too. After all, there are 127 losers in every Grand Slam draw. Only one player can be crowned the champion. But I

TR Year-End Top 50s: The Women, Nos. 21-30

Varvara scored a career win over Schiavone in Paris.

Thus continues our review of the top 50 singles players on the ATP and WTA Tours. We resume with the women ranked Nos. 21 -30.

21. Varvara Lepchenko

If there was a player who improved more than Lepchenko did this season against quality competition, I

Sumyk wins WTA Coach of the Year fan poll

Sumyk gave Azarenka he right tools to succeed

Sam Sumyk, the coach of No. 1 Victoria Azarenka, has won the WTA Coach of Year award, voted on by fans. Sumyk, who coached the Belarussian to her best season ever and her first Grand Slam title at the Australian Open, won 37% of the votes, to 26% for Patrick Mouratoglou, who began to coach Serena Williams after Roland Garros. Pablo Lozano, the coach of Sara Errani, received 15% of the total, while Thomas Hogstedt, the coach of Maria Sharapova received 14%. USTA Player Development coaches received 5% for Varvara Lepchenko

Bright spots, questions marks for US tennis in 2013

Isner was great in Davis Cup but struggled in the majors.

TR Year-End Top 50: The Men, Nos. 21-30

The 34 year old Haas was effective on all surfaces.

Thus continues our review of the top 50 singles players on the ATP and WTA Tours. We resume with the men ranked Nos. 21 -30.

21. Tommy Haas

Imagine if the German played as intelligently as he does now back when he was ranked No. 2 a decade ago? A Slam surely would have been his. Haas must be given huge props for being in the oldest man in the top 25. He actually quailed for Roland Garros on his least favorite surface, stunned Federer in the Halle final on grass, and reached the quarters of Canada and Shanghai on hard courts. It

TR 2012 Year-end top 50: The Women, Nos. 31-40

Ula hasn’t cracked the top 5 yet like her big sisters has, but she had a career year.

Thus continues our review of the top 50 singles players on the ATP and WTA Tours. We resume with the women ranked Nos. 31 -40.

31. Urszula Radwanska


TR 2012 Year end top 50: The men, Nos. 31-40

Marcos was wed to former player Karolina Sprem and also became a father.

We continue a review of the top 50 singles players on the ATP and WTA Tours. Today we look at the men ranked Nos. 31 -40.

31. Radek Stepanek

No the 34-year-old Czech is not the player that he was six years ago when he was a top 10 player, but he

5 ATP Coaches of Year Candidates

Murray had his two biggest victories while under Lendl’s tuteluge.

Ivan Lendl for Andy Murray
The Czech American became the only ex-super elite male player to have ever successfully coached a current player to a Slam title, as he did when Murray won his first Grand Slam crown at the US Open. Throw the Olympic gold medal into the mix and Murray had a career year, arguably because Lendl taught him to hit out more with his forehand and to be more aggressive in key points against the other members of the Big 4. He believed Lendl because the 8-time Grand Slam champion had the resume to back up his advice.

The Question Marks: While Murray did peak at the Olympics (d. Federer) and the US Open (d. Djokovic), he also was stopped short by those two at Wimbledon and the Australian Open and had a marginal year at the Masters Series, falling to win a title. What the world No. 3 lacked was No. 1 Djokovic’s consistency.

Marian Vajda for Novak Djokovic
It is never easy to try and follow up a career year like Djokovic had in 2011 when he won three Slams, but the Serbian did a pretty good job of it, winning the Aussie Open, the ATP World Finals, three other Masters Series and reaching the final of two other Slams. Vajda is somewhat of father figure to Djokovic and knows which buttons to push and when. Novak began the year in outstanding fashion and finished it off with a 2,655 point lead over No. 2 Roger Federer. He is a very deserving No. 1 and Vajda must be given credit for his steady hand.

The Question Marks: He could not convince Djokovic that he needed to get off to fast start against Rafael Nadal in the Roland Garros final, both on Sunday when the match began and on Monday when they completed it. He looked out of sorts against Federer in the Wimbledon semis, looked frustrated in losing the Olympic bronze medal match to Juan Martin Del Potro and played a poor fifth set against Murray in the US Open final. At times, Vajda couldn