Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Dossier: Troicki has power but not enough tricks
Exclusive briefing from the man who has coached players from Agassi to Sharapova and the Williams sisters
Saturday 27 June 2009
Mr Murray provided us with a quite magnificent show to beat Ernests Gulbis in the second round and I expect him to win again today but don't look forward to the same fluidity. The kid is capable of it but just because he does it on a Thursday won't make it easy to do on a Saturday. In any case, the only way you can improve on being virtually flawless is being actually flawless, which is impossible.
I doubt there's ever been a match played at Wimbledon with no unforced errors by a player and Murray's mere five on Thursday was truly, exceptionally low. In the first and third sets he made none at all! Outstanding. That's tennis of the very highest level.
What Murray did against Gulbis shows us what he can do against Viktor Troicki. His serve was excellent: first-serve points won, 88 per cent. His groundstrokes were superb, his passing shots lethal at times. But the key ingredient was the variety to his play. He doesn't just hit big, but medium and even slow when he needs. Murray can pop it. He can play it soft, with drops and slices. Gulbis just did not know how to cope with that constant change of pace. Murray tied him up in knots and then stamped all over him. Job well done, Andy.
Yet even above his technical excellence, I was impressed by how Murray is handling the pressure. I know a little bit about mixing with big names but even I've never had a letter from the Queen of England wishing me well! The monarch, the population of a nation, the weight of expectation to do the business each time you step on that hallowed, historical Centre Court. My hat goes off to him for handling all that with such apparent ease.
In the last 12 to 18 months, the way in which Andy has built around him a staff and support team who have helped him be calmer at just the point when the pressures should be greatest is truly remarkable. I've worked with some of the best players the world has seen, and 10 who've been ranked No 1, and I'll tell you that even the best of the best are not immune to pressure.
So to Troicki, a tall, strong guy and a big hitter. Strength and powerful groundstrokes are his tools but he's not going to knock Andy off the court with those alone. The Serbian has twice played Andy and twice lost. I can't see this going beyond three if Andy hits top gear again, four maximum if his level drops a little.
Head-to-head: Two previous meetings. Murray leads 2-0
Bollettieri's prediction: Murray in no more than four
Giant step for Ivo
As I wrote yesterday, I thought Ivo Karlovic was capable of beating Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, although I thought he'd need to do it in three straight sets instead of the four it took him. It was an interesting match and victory couldn't happen to a nicer guy, who spent a month recently at my academy. Something is starting to click with him, mentally. He's had problems with tie-breakers on big occasions but the way he closed out yesterday's match suggests a new confidence. Ivo's in the fourth round on Monday now and surprisingly that's the furthest he's ever gone in a Slam.
It was good to see this quietest of souls celebrate so vigorously, fist-pumping and jumping. Winning felt special. I sent Ivo an email after the match. The message was: "Just keep doing what you're doing. You can go a long way, this win shows it. Serve well and you can knock anyone down. Anyone."
My girls are cruisin'
Serena Williams and Daniela Hantuchova are both girls who are close to my heart and both of them won yesterday to set up a fourth-round meeting on Monday. I'm going to have to take the Fifth Amendment on calling that because it's just not fair to pick one over the other.
Serena came through 6-3, 6-4 over Roberta Vinci, which is pretty much as we'd expected, an ultimately comfortable match. It goes without saying that Serena has the ability to overpower anyone physically.
I was especially glad to see Daniela get through 6-4, 6-3 over Ai Sugiyama, because Daniela is a person who needs a lot of encouragement to thrive, and confidence equals self-encouragement.
From Danielia's run here, she's obviously feeling good about herself and that's a heartening thing because it's no secret that Daniela has had issues over her weight in the past and it's fantastic she's in such healthy shape and in a competitive state now. She's serving well, she's got those beautiful groundstrokes and her excellence in doubles means she volleys well.
King Rog in majestic form
Roger the Maestro is moving smoothly on and I don't believe that one dropped set yesterday against the very talented Philipp Kohlschreiber is of any significance whatsoever to his chances of marching on towards the final. He just looked totally in control in the first two sets, majestically at times. Some of his shots were just unbelievable, like the one where he scooped the ball from low down and close to the net. He dropped it over with spin. The ball just does what he tells it.
When the stakes are high, Federer gives no quarter.
Improve your game: Power with accuracy
*For all players out there, I invite you to email me your tennis problems and I'll try to help. Today's questions come from Imogen in London, who asks: "First, if I'm playing my boss, do I let him win? Second, how can I stop hitting the ball slightly long when I'm trying to inject some power into play?" First, don't let him win. Beat the crap out of him – but don't expect a pay rise. Second, come inside the baseline to hit. The further back you are, the more errors you'll make. And put spin on it when adding power.
The A to Z of Bollettieri
Snapshots from 53 years as a top tennis coach
*K is for Kick, as in kick your opponent when they're down. Get your business done quick. There's a place for nice guys in sport but it sure as hell isn't on the field of play. Look at Venus and Serena; the two finest female athletes in history and two of the nicest girls you'll ever meet. On court, bullies who want to muscle you out and kick you down. I remember watching them play doubles in Palm Springs when they were younger. The opponents started in regular positions. It didn't take long for them to relocate to the baseline. You don't want a double barrage of Williams close up!
*L is for Love, as in knowing which players respond to the love approach (the arm around the shoulder) and which respond to the kick up the ass. Monica Seles and Andre Agassi both needed the love approach. With Andre, the louder you talked to him, the more he backed away. He taught me to listen. With Jimmy Arias it was the opposite. It was no use trying to be nice to him, he needed a good kick up the backside. He thrived on it. He seemed to enjoy being bawled at!
Win a week in Florida at my tennis academy
*Want a week's tennis holiday at my academy in Florida? Included in the prize is five days' top-class tuition, accommodation in our poolside clubhouse, and all meals. The winner arranges the travel. All you have to do is email to tell me who will win today's big match. I want a specific score line and, as a tie-breaker, a one-sentence summary of the manner in which your pick will win. At the end of the tournament, all the daily winners will go into a hat, and one overall winner will be chosen. Yesterday's winner will be announced in Monday's paper. Email me at: email@example.com
I look forward to meeting the winner.
*Today Warm with some cloud with sunny intervals. No rain forecast. Maximum temperature of 25C
More cloud with some sunny intervals tomorrow, with a maximum temperature of 26C.
*BBC 2 14.00-16.15, 17.30-20.00. BBC 1 12.10-17.40.
BBC 2 20.00-21.00
*Additional coverage on BBCHD and BBCi
*MEN'S THIRD ROUND
Andy Murray plays Viktor Troicki (Serb) today
*MEN'S FIRST ROUND
Alex Bogdanovic lost to T Berdych (Cz Rep) 6-3 6-4 6-4
Daniel Evans lost to N Davydenko (Rus) 6-2 6-3 6-3
Joshua Goodall lost to M Llodra (Fr) 4-6 7-6 6-4 3-6 6-4
James Ward lost to F Verdasco (Sp) 6-1 6-3 6-4
*WOMEN'S SECOND ROUND
Elena Baltacha lost to Kirsten Flipkens (Bel) 7-5 6-1
*WOMEN'S FIRST ROUND
Anne Keothavong lost to P Mayr (Aut) 7-5 6-2
Katie O'Brien lost to I Benesova (Cz Rep) 6-2 5-7
6-4Laura Robson lost to D Hantuchova (Slovak) 3-6 6-4 6-2
Melanie South lost to M Johansson (Fr) 7-5 7-6
Georgie Stoop lost to V Zvonareva (Rus) 7-6 4-6 6-4
Quotes of the day from SW19
"I felt a lot of pressure two years ago when I was going for my fifth, but this time I feel relaxed."
A confident Roger Federer is ominous for Andy Murray et al
"Because I'm pretty much down-to-earth, I don't consider myself, you know, Serena Williams. I'm just Serena"
Serena Williams is even more relaxed than Federer
"We were warming up at the same place. We just had to make sure we were not going to sit on the same bench."
Daniela Hantuchova on her third-round win over doubles partner Ai Sugiyama
"I'm sure Andy would definitely be the favourite in the other section of the draw. Obviously, my focus is elsewhere and getting to the final."
Men's singles favourite Federer tells second favourite Murray that he will be seeing him in the final
"On the grass I play really well, so my confidence is up. Everybody from now is really tough, but if I serve like this, why not?"
Ivo Karlovic in confident mood after the 6ft 10in Croat defeats ninth seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
" I had to come to England to start watching this America's Got Talent show. And apparently Jerry Springer is all sensitive now... Come on!"
Andy Roddick struggles to keep himself entertained
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