Nick Bollettieri: The umpire will strike back if Nalbandian kicks off again
The Wimbledon Files: Tipsarevic likes to go for big forehands and really throw everything into it – bam!
Monday 25 June 2012
Let's not start out on Centre Court, let's begin next door, Court One, because this is a match that is going to attract plenty of attention for plenty of reasons, good and bad. Everybody is going to be looking real close at what's going on out there.
First, the bad. And this is what a lot of people will be looking out for after what David Nalbandian did at Queen's but I don't believe it will be an issue – and it had better not be. This is not your French Open or the US Open with its raw, bebop, "anything goes" atmosphere. No, this is Wimbledon. If there is any of that carry-on which Nalbandian has got up to in the past, like at Queen's, like at the Australian Open when he chucked water over an official, expect the umpires to be very strict – and expect the audience to come down on it as well. They don't like bad behaviour at Wimbledon.
I've been in this game a long time; we have had Connors, we have had McEnroe, Nastase, but those guys were in complete control of themselves at all times. Believe me, that's a big difference. Hey, they were actors and that's why the crowds loved them, got properly on their side. What happened at Queen's with Nalbandian, that's just not breaking down, that's losing it totally – losing control of yourself physically. This will have to teach him something – he's got to learn from it, especially at his age. One foot out of line for this guy at Wimbledon and the umpires will take very, very quick and strict action.
In some ways he is a lucky guy and if I was his coach I would tell him straight – thank the good Lord that you are having another opportunity to compete, and take advantage of that.
So what about the match? What's going to happen on the court? Well, it has the makings of a fine game. It's first on Court One by right; eighth in the world against a guy who has reached the final here.
Janko Tipsarevic is a character. He's a great doubles player and a pretty damn good one at singles too. He moves around the court extremely well and is an aggressive player. He likes to go for big, crashing forehands, really throw everything into it – bam! So he's a guy who's not afraid of going for it, but because of his desire to hit the ball so goddam hard he misses a fair few of those booming forehands. It's a strength, but sometimes a weaknesses. The Serb also likes to play defence on his forehand too.
He's a good server, at times an exceptional one – watch how he looks to serve wide. Then if the return drops short he goes for it, period. In doubles he's certainly not afraid to come in and that wouldn't do him any harm at Wimbledon. He's aggressive and gets into the match emotionally – in short, he's a crowd-pleaser. But sometimes he gets nervous on the big matches and his record in the Slams is not impressive, although there are signs it's going in the right direction. He has lost the last two Wimbledons in round one, but reached the quarter-finals in the US last year and the fourth round in Paris this time around.
Nalbandian may at times be an emotional man but he doesn't make many mistakes on court, he's a good returner and his backhand is better than his forehand. The match pitches somebody who is explosive – we're talking in terms of playing tennis here – against somebody in Nalbandian who doesn't make too many mistakes
This match will be dictated by calmness. Tipsarevic has a "hey, I'm going to get you" approach to the game and when he's on song, great. But the longer this match goes on… if it gets to four or five sets I believe Nalbandian will have an edge. Tipsarevic should win this contest but emotion sometimes sees him give a match away.
Today's big match: David Nalbandian v Janko Tipsarevic
HOW THEY MATCH UP
Argentine Nationality Serbian
30 Age 28
Cordoba Residence Belgrade
Right Plays Right
5ft 11in Height 5ft 11in
40 World ranking 8
11 Career titles 2
$11m Career prize-money $5.4m
19-7 Wimbledon record 9-8
Final (2002) Wimbledon best 4R (2008)
2 Head-to-head 1
5-4 Odds 8-11
Bollettieri's prediction: Tipsarevic
My plan to stop the grunting
Over the next couple of weeks, the issue of grunting in the women's game will come up. It's become a modern tradition of Wimbledon. It irritates an awful lot of people – some more than others – but things are being done to address the issue.
Over the winter I had talks with Stacey Allaster, the head of the women's game. "Can anything be done about it?" she asked. I've had Maria Sharapova and Monica Seles at my academy, and they have been accused of being among the loudest over the years. What I have suggested is that there is not an awful lot you can do about it right now, but the way to deal with it is to start coaching today's youngsters in how to breathe without turning that into a grunt.
ESPN have been down at the IMG Bollettieri Academy in Florida, filming what we are trying to do. They're showing a programme about what went on next Sunday so look out for it.
There have been calls from the likes of Martina Navratilova that players who grunt excessively should be penalised, but I don't see that as the answer right now. Of course, any player can go up to the referee and say "Hey, this is not fair", and the referee can make a decision on whether there should be a penalty. If people have a problem that's what they should do – and I haven't seen too many try it.
You can't just come out with a slam-bang rule: no grunting. It's too ingrained. But we can start to change things through coaching. Players have to breathe. If they don't breathe out properly – that's where the grunting comes from – it can make players tense and cause them to lose flexibility. So now we're looking at ways of releasing that tension without turning it into a grunt. We're starting slowly with the youngsters and, who knows, in five years' time grunting might have gone the way of wooden rackets.
Thoughts for the day
(1) It is great to be back in London and heading to Wimbledon today
The forecast is OK as well but I believe it's not too good for later in the week – my United Kingdom friends tell me weather has been an issue this summer! When it comes to players and Wimbledon they have to be ready to deal with rain breaks – as a pro has got to prepare for anything and be ready to deal with that, and that includes not playing. It was interesting in the French Open when Novak Djokovic was on that run when the rain arrived and Rafa Nadal (above) came out the next morning and turned it around. A lot of matches are won and lost by how you accept adversity, and that includes dealing with the weather.
(2) It took one almighty journey to get here
In all it was 32 hours from Florida to the UK. Our plane had to turn back because of a fault and then the weather – holy cow, we have real bad weather in the US! – saw us have to head up to New York and then come over the Atlantic. But I'm here and looking forward to a special couple of weeks.
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