Countdown: One Week to the Oz Open

  • Murray wins Brisbane:  In a highly anticipated but lackluster final, Muzz beat Dolgopolov 6-2 6-4 to win Brisbane.  Dolgo was hampered by a leg injury that he hopes will clear up before the Oz Open.  Muzz has more pop on his serves now.  This is the one area of his game that’s perhaps held him back in the past.  Even Rafa, who has a slower serve for his top status, manages higher consistency/percentages.  Whether it was due to the pressure of playing under Ivan Lendl’s eye, Muzz stepped up the variety and placement on his 1st serves.  During the trophy ceremony, he thanked “Mr. Lendl,” which led Darren Cahill to question Muzz about his own Muzz-given moniker of “Dazzler.”  Apparently, Muzz is always polite to elders over the age of 50.

Muzz & Lendl during his SF win over Bernie Tomic (Photo: Getty Images)

  • Can Murray win a major?: The Oz Open is traditionally where Muzz plays his best tennis.  Fed is still troubled by back problems, which saw him withdraw for only the 2nd time in his career from Doha.  Could Lendl help Muzz adjust his game enough to trouble Djokovic or Rafa at the Oz Open?  Among players who’ve never won a Grand Slam, Muzz has probably spent the most money on coaches/trainers.  I don’t mean that as a way to undercut his obvious talent/skill, but more to highlight his commitment to improving and his fortune (both financial and general) in being able to procure skilled advisors.  If anything, Muzz’s history of partnerships with coaches and former legends provides an interesting study in how his game has improved over the years.  Despite Brisbane’s 250-status, the Lendl-Muzz pairing is off to a great start.
  • Tsonga defeats Monfils to Win Doha: Monfils’ SF upset over Rafa saw him enter the Doha final — though Rafa faltered at the match’s end, his improved FH and BH tactics evidenced some of the changes he plans to bring to his game.  Given how Gael spent his off-season flying from exho to exho, his SF win over Rafa was especially surprising.  However, he seemed due for a comedown and it happened during the final against Tsonga.  After the match, Gael apparently consoled himself by playing the piano in the hotel lobby at 1 AM.
  • DelPo to play Sydney: DelPo is the top seed at the APIA Sydney Int’l.   After a bye, his R2 opponent will be the winner of Ivan Dodig-Lukasz Kubot.  He’s in the same section of the draw as Marcel Granollers, who defeated him in the Valencia SF last yr.  DelPo gave an interview in Sydney, where he said “Djokovic has a target on his back,” and that “Roger and Rafa will be going after Novak because they don’t want him to repeat the year he just had.”  As for his own goals, DelPo says “I have many goals this year. I want to play like I did all those years ago.”  DelPo’s words have the air of a veteran, which is surprising when you consider that Dolgopolov is the same age as DelPo.  At 23, he’s still on the young side of the tennis age spectrum though.  When asked if he considered himself a genuine contender for the Oz Open, DelPo replied he was not a favorite.  His performance in Sydney will reveal more about what to expect.

About mariposaxprs

I play favorites with Juan Martin Del Potro, Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, David Ferrer, Feliciano Lopez, Gilles Simon and the long line of mercurial talent that drives me to despair in front of the screen at odd hours during the week.
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8 Responses to Countdown: One Week to the Oz Open

  1. I just saw one of the interviews that Del Po gave. He sounds pretty good, and he sounds pleased with his game and his progress. Vamos Del Po! Good to see him back in the mix. 🙂

    Is Nole playing in Sydney? Haven’t heard of him playing since Abu Dahbi.

    • mariposaxprs says:

      DelPo sounds like he has many goals for 2012 and I like that he states upfront that he wants to rise up even farther up the rankings, maybe do better at Wimbledon as well. I’d really like it if he stayed healthy and played well!

      Novak’s not playing in Sydney or Auckland. I think I saw a Tweet of him practicing in Melbourne, so I guess he’s planning to just enter the Oz Open w/o a warm-up tourny. I guess it’s worked for him in the past, so it’s not a problem…

      • ariennalee says:

        I think he might be able to rock Wimby (and the Olympics) this season. He got so much better on grass just last year!

        • mariposaxprs says:

          I’ll be happy if he maintains his R4 ranking points from last year! I hope last year wasn’t a one-off though. It seems if he puts his mind to approaching the net, or more rather, stepping inside the baseline, good things can happen. I’d like to see more of that 🙂

  2. queridorafa says:

    That is hilarious, re: “Mr. Lendl.” Just saw Alex’s post-match tweets–love that he apologized for the “boaring match”–keepin’ it real!
    Definitely a little concerning re: Roger’s back–I’m doubtful he’ll be 100% or even close to it by Australia.
    Gael at the piano in the middle of the night in the hotel lobby–wow. What a great little tidbit!

    • mariposaxprs says:

      In the past when I’ve watched a Muzz match, I have to close the stream at some point b/c he’s too emotionally volatile. With Mr. Lendl, I might be able to stay tuned more consistently. It’s a frightening prospect.

      It was really out of the blue when Roger withdrew! Of all the players in the world… Given all the injuries that have already popped up, I’m hoping all the big players are close to 100%!

      I wonder what Gael was playing on the piano 🙂

      • ariennalee says:

        Me too! I’m imagining something sophisticated and slow. Maybe even sad? Can Gael get sad?

        I realize Gael was playing ’round 1am, but Thelonious Monk’s ‘Round Midnight would have been just about perfect:

        • mariposaxprs says:

          Ohhh nice catch, ariennalee! That would be the perfect song for Gael to unveil in an empty hotel lobby. It’s so…French (?) or jazz (?) of him to play the piano in the hotel lobby after losing in the final.

          I didn’t recognize the Thelonius Monk song at first, but then I remembered Ella Fitzgerald did a cover of it! During college, I somehow ended up watching a good movie called “‘Round Midnight,” which featured a jazz-y soundtrack. From that movie, a song called “How Long Has This Been Going On?” also seems apt for Gael — although perhaps the song title would only frustrate him more? 😦

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