These past few years can rightly be called the Novak Djokovic era of tennis, numerous slams, ATP 1000 wins and domination of the sport. But one thing struck me as I watched Novak Djokovic lift his 11th grand slam title and 6th Australian Open, the Serb does not have the following or respect that his other colleagues such as Nadal and Federer have. The applause from the Melbourne crowd was quite polite and muted to Djokovic victory. It seems that despite the victories many tennis fans are reluctant to embrace Djokovic as a true tennis champion.
I remember feeling a little uncomfortable at the Wimbledon and US Open finals in 2015, the crowd was just so Pro Federer it was suffocating and embarassing. They cheered for every Federer point and even every Djokovic miss. It was worse than a typically partizan Davis Cup match. Djokovic is the absolute model professional, he trains hard, lives a perfect family life and is gracious and respectful on and off court. So why they does he struggle to achieve the adulation that his other top 4 members have?
Djokovic has been on the tour for over 10 years, has travelled the world countless times in that time and played hundreds of games. His counterparts Nadal and Federer have been on a the tour a longer period of time and taken as a whole the two have won more so far than Novak but no matter what they seem to do or say their support from tennis fans is unwielding. I have no doubt it must be annoying for Djokovic, he really is a fantastic ambassador for the sport and does not put a foot wrong yet in every major event throughout the world he will be outnumbered in terms of fans. I wonder is it his style? Is it his oncourt behaviour? (which it must be added is mild mannered compared to some on tour) When will we the tennis public start treasuring Novak Djokovic for what he is?
It will not be a matter of winning more slams or making donations to humanitarian charities. My conclusion is as follows, Novak Djokovic will not receive true critical and fan acclaim until Mr Federer or Mr Nadal retire. Both these guys have dominated our sport and the love affair for our sport was rekindled by the magic of Rafa and Roger. There is so much love and affection for these two that any player ( Djokovic) who can routinely rout our tennis heros will never be popular. But as a memories fade slightly we will all come to appreciate the magic of Novak Djokovic. Novak if you are reading this, Well Done, Keep up the good work and someday you will feel the love of all the tennis fans!
The Dunlop Tour 100 25 Junior Tennis Racket. This week we take a look at a Dunlop Junior Racket designed for advanced tournament playing juniors between 9-12 years of age.
On first glance this is a very stylish racket, its black and yellow colour scheme are extremely attractive and ooze cool especially if you are a 10 year old kid. The Dunlop design department have done a really good on this model.
The best way I can describe this racket is fun, it feels lovely in the hand and is nice and easy to swing. Ideal for tournament playing juniors who are not quite ready to move up to a full size full weight adult 27 inch racket.
This racket comes in at 225g unstrung which relative to my normal racket is a lot lighter than I am used to. Surprisingly it is very well balanced and at times I had to remind myself I was actually playing with a junior racket. I found power very easy to generate, even on short swings I was able to get plenty of weight in my shots. It was remarkable really that such a racket can deliver so much power and play so like a full size racket.
The racket is extremely manoeuvrable and its thin frame cut through the air quickly. I could really hit through the ball without losing control of the racket. Racket head speed was easy to generate and as I accelerated on my forehands and backhands I always made good contact with the ball without it losing stability upon impact. The string pattern on this frame is 16×19 and so provides good topspin without much effort.
Serving with this racket was easy as too were volleys. I was able to get plenty of power on the serve and hit the corners of the service box without much difficulty. I could put both spin and slice on the serve. With such a manoeuvrable racket volleying was easy but feel was one area that could be improved. I found that sometimes I couldn’t be as precise as I would have liked on my volleys.
So with great power, spin and manoeuvrability what else could a junior player want? I gave the Dunlop Tour 100 25 Junior racket to a talented junior in my club. Jack found the racket really fun to play with ‘light but powerful, really cool looking and easy to generate topspin.’ I noticed greater zip on Jack’s shots and improved depth. Take a look at my video below for further info.
Dunlop Fort Tennis Balls.
These are all court tennis balls designed for all courts surfaces and conditions and even on a dreary January day in Derry they still really impressed. Holding the tennis balls in my hands you could feel the quality and thickness of the felt. Even before one ball was struck I knew these were going to be good. The balls have plenty of life in them and bounced well on hard courts. Upon contact there was a lovely crisp feeling on my strings which didn’t diminish as my hit went on. For great quality balls with even better performance Dunlop Fort Tennis Balls are certainly worth a hit.
Johanna Konta- Australian Open semi finalist is a sentence I never thought I would utter. Ranked as low as 147 last year the Aussie Brit made it to the US Open 4th round losing narrowly to Petra Kvitova and then continued her stellar form accumulating match win after match win on the WTA Tour. As her performances improved as too did Konta’s ranking and she finished the 2015 ranked inside the Top 50.
Johanna Konta attributes her success to mental coach Juan Coto who has helped the Brit compartmentalise her on court feelings and focus on the process rather than the outcome. There can be no doubt that the appointment of Coto has rejuvenated Konta’s game. In the early hours of Thursday morning GMT Konta will face German left hander and 7th seed Angelique Kerber for a place in the Australian Open final and a likely match up against Serena Williams.
Konta has benefitted from a fortunate draw and several big names suffering early defeats in her quarter of the draw. Nevertheless JoKo has had to deal with the pressure of being favourite and in performing in from of the huge arenas in Melbourne Park. She has taken this opportunity with aplomb. She takes on left handed counter puncher Angie Kerber who is more experienced that the Brit but in such a high pressure match Konta cannot be discounted. Kerber will be the overwhelming favourite to make the final which could free Konta up a bit and allow her to swing freely. Konta has the serve, forehand and power to force Kerber into errors. Lets hope both ladies are on their best games tomorrow.
Regardless of the result tomorrow Konta will have proved that her recent form and coaching changes have not been a fluke. Having had 6 years on the lower reaches of the WTA tour, Konta has done her best to keep a low profile often being overshadowed with the younger GB ladies Heather Watson and Laura Robson. But currently ranked number 1 in GB and potentially rising to Top 30 for her performances thus far in Australia Konta’s stock will rise rapidly as she becomes a seeded player at Grand Slam events.