Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files: Your man Andy must come out guns blazing
He has shown all the qualities, but he's up against one of the greatest
Sunday 08 July 2012
Reasons to be cheerful
I'm thrilled for your man Andy making a Wimbledon final at last because this is the way the movie should be. It's not a matter of not wanting others like Jo-Wilfried Tsonga or Rafa Nadal to do well, it's the way the script should pan out and, after all the tear-jerkers, those scriptwriters got it right at last.
Reasons to be cheerful today? Well, Andy is in great form and has just the right amount of confidence. I've been so impressed with the way he's met the different challenges of this Wimbledon, from a couple of big Croats like Ivo Karlovic and Marin Cilic – and holy cow, they were big – then his mirror-image David Ferrer in the quarters and Tsonga on Friday.
His returning has been superb – and will need to be today against the Federer serve – and so is his movement around the court. That's not just speed and fitness, it's anticipation too. You can improve fitness and work on running but if a guy can anticipate where the ball's going the moment it leaves the racket, that's a precious quality.
The first two sets of the semi-final were probably the pinnacle, the best he's ever played. Two sets up, Andy maybe lost a little bit of focus but that's when a real champion needs to think like he's two sets down and become even more focused. He showed me he's thinking: did you notice the way he pushed Tsonga out wide where the grass was slippery? That's smart.
What has really helped Andy, and will do so today, is having a man like Ivan Lendl in his corner. Lendl brings to the table that feel of how to go about things on court – because he's been there. Lendl has been out there and experienced it all. He's brought calmness and confidence to Andy.
Sure, he'll still show a little bit of frustration from time to time, but there's less moaning and cussing and that can only be good. I'll swear I saw a ghost of a smile on Lendl's face one day last week and I know Andy surprised some folk by not managing much of one when he came off court for his flash TV interview after the semi-final. But that just shows how serious these guys are. I heard that Lendl said to him "well done, now what time you wanna train tomorrow?"
Right at that moment, after making the final at last, I reckon Andy didn't even know his own name. So give him a break.
Big day for Fed too
Murray is in control of his mind and his body. He's playing very smart. But he needs to start well from the first point, and a lot will depend on how these two guys handle the pressure. Because don't imagine it's only Murray who has a big day here.
Roger needs it to be No 1 again. When I watched him beat Novak Djokovic, his serve and his volleying were just outstanding. I saw a very aggressive backhand. And his forehand I believe is the best of all. He's outplayed Djokovic, the world No 1, to give himself the chance to take back that crown ahead of the Olympics. Don't underestimate how much that means to him. I'll go as far as to say that if Federer wins this, he is the best of all time. He'll have done the same as Pete Sampras – come back and done it again and again.
Hang in there, Andy
I know we can't often trust that British weather and if there's rain about and they close the roof, I think that will favour Roger. It will mean more bounce and nice calm conditions, with no wind for the ball toss. The toss is important and Roger's is perfect, not too high, not too low. Federer will not give away two sets to Andy like Tsonga did. But I'm thinking that the longer he can stay in the match, and with the crowd behind him, the more chance Andy has.
Both are striking the ball so, so well and both have all the tools you need to succeed in the game. The difference is that Federer has been here before and Andy has not. But what an incentive for your boy. If he never wins another Slam, people would remember him for this one. And when you've shown the world you can win one, you gain a lot of respect, from opponents too, and you say to yourself, "I've been there, baby, I can do it". I would have to say Federer has the advantage with all his experience. What Andy must do is come out all guns blazing right from the start – and then who knows?
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