19 Responses

  1. Deborah Taylor
    Deborah Taylor February 25, 2013 at 4:38 pm |

    Really enjoyed this. Good luck with the column. I was especially taken with your comments about the coaching of new American players. He’s struggling a bit right now, but I watched Goffin at the last US Open and thoroughly enjoyed the variety in his game and wondered why more Americans didin’t play like that.

  2. Ilija
    Ilija February 25, 2013 at 4:46 pm |

    As someone who has trained primarily on astro-turf for around 6 years, I can say that it isn’t really similar to grass at all in terms of how it plays. It depends on the hardness of the surface, but it can range from playing like a deader/more skidding hard court to pseudo-carpet. If it’s wet it plays ridiculously fast though. And it’s definitely much easier on your legs than hard. By a long way.

  3. Wendy Anderson
    Wendy Anderson February 25, 2013 at 4:58 pm |

    I played on astro turf at Lexmark of all places. (Lexmark is in Lexington, KY). Anyway, I played on astro turf as a way to get ready for the National Grass Courts in Philly. I am old so this was a long time ago: 1987. Also, Lexington, Kentucky does not have grass courts. The three things I remembered was 1) It smelled like mildew. It was disgusting. Yuck. 2) There was sand everywhere. I am not sure why. Of course there were some hard courts with a little sand in Lexington which was not a good thing. 3) As far as the way they played, it was different from grass. It bounced much higher than on grass. It was fast, but I cannot remember if it skidded like grass. I want to say it did not. But I really do not remember.
    I remembered it was not a good way to prepare for grass. I do not know whether it would be safer than hard courts. I guess the fact there may be some cushion but it also had that sand. And I am sure it was concrete under the astro turf. It may be a little safer but not a lot. Today may be a better time to look at it since things may have improved but I have no idea.
    Bottom line. The smell. Whenever I smell mildew, I am reminded of the Lexmark courts. And it was not a good memory.

  4. RZ
    RZ February 25, 2013 at 4:58 pm |

    I played on astroturf once a few years ago, on a court in Washington, DC. I remember enjoying the experience. The court played fast, but you got a better/higher bounce than you would on a grass court. The downside is that I got a lot of sand in my shoes. I don’t know if this particular astroturf court was sanded down to prevent sliding, or all astroturf courts have that, but my lasting memory was of the sand in my shoes.

  5. Ophelia
    Ophelia February 25, 2013 at 6:39 pm |

    I (rather shamefully) keep on forgetting about Nishikori because he always seems to be on injury leave. But you’re right; if he can stay injury-free for a significant amount of time, he has real Top 10 potential.

    Radwanska reminds me a lot of David Ferrer, especially in how Ferrer was similarly helpless against an on-fire Davydenko in their Doha match. Of course, Ferrer has better movement than Radwanska and he’s proven quite adept at dealing with big hitters like del Potro and Berdych, but he suffers from a similar lack of offensive power. In a way, Radwanska has it even worse than Ferrer does as “Big Babe” tennis is so prevalent amongst her peers whereas many of the “Big Men” Ferrer plays are more “little men” in their tactics and execution, a game he’s better at than they are.

  6. proton
    proton February 25, 2013 at 6:57 pm |

    Nice sum-up on Nishikori. I’ve also noticed that some think of him older than he actually is. Apparently even Lopez was surprised to find out Nishikori is still 23. As you wrote, it could be because of his 2008 title…but, it also seems that it’s because people simply don’t know about him well.
    I think he’s very funny generally, but he is very passionate about success in his tennis career more than many realize. I wish many more people can read and understand his blog :)

  7. Matt Zemek
    Matt Zemek February 25, 2013 at 8:32 pm |

    Fascinating point about field turf, Juan Jose.

    I’ve never played tennis on the surface, but you’ve penetrated my consciousness on the topic.

    The versions of field turf I’ve seen (soccer/lacrosse fields) are fluffy, with the rubberized/synthetic bed underneath the green fake-grass giving rise to small bursts of black granules when a ball is hit or kicked. I’m not sure the field turf seen on a wide level is currently able to sustain a normal tennis bounce.

    You’ve penetrated my consciousness, though, because one would surely think that a better, more tennis-specific version of field turf can be created for tennis. The technology clearly exists, and this is something which could, in due time, replace hardcourt events with field turf events, which would prolong careers.

    As for Indian Wells, I couldn’t agree with you more for all the reasons you stated.

  8. tennisnakama
    tennisnakama February 26, 2013 at 12:40 pm |

    Thank you for posting a great article about Kei Nishikori. Did you watch the Memphis final? Nishikori played almost perfect and won the title. He was so fast that he did not give F. Lopez any opportunities to be aggressive and attack.

    However, as you pointed out, his issue is health. If he can sustain injury free, he might achieve his goal top 10.

  9. SA
    SA February 27, 2013 at 12:41 am |

    “if i told you that a flowered bloomed in a dark room would you trust it?”

    not gonna lie, that song is my jam right now. part of it is janet’s backing vocals from “anytime, anyplace” because, yeah, huge janet jackson fan here. and a bigger part is kendrick lamar. i only heard about him because of you when you first mentioned him last year. so thanks for that. (i even like drake in that song!)

    the american tennis question is interesting, only in that living here in the us we’re bombarded with the “when will the next great american player come along” bs every time a tennis tournament gets aired. something isn’t working. i remember seeing some mini doc on a player working with the usta and how p-mac was trying to get the players to play more on clay after he had realized just how successful spain has been churning out players and how it was better to develop on clay than on hard court or something to that affect (it was one of those nyt stories that had a vid feature with it). he even talked about bringing on non-american coaches and…i dunno. it’s nice that the usta realizes that something isn’t working, but can training on clay with non-american coaches (which i take to mean coaches that realize that there’s more to tennis than a big serve and a big forehand) enough to raise the next insert great player here? special players have it in them from the get go, and coaching them up isn’t just the answer (can’t believe i just dropped a coaching them up in a tennis discussion. i’ve been in sec country too damn long.)

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