Murray to lead Brits in Davis Cup final date

Andy Murray will lead his Great Britain team into battle against Belgium in the Davis Cup Final 2015. It will be the Scots first final of his career and potentially the first title for GB since 1936, longer than the wait for a British winner of Wimbledon. Great Britain go into the match as favourites despite the fact that the final will be played on the Scot’s least favourite surface clay.

Leading the charge for Belgium will be David Goffin, the young 16th ranked player has made it into the top 20 for the first time and will be dangerous on the dirt. Murray faced David Goffin in the Paris Indoors in Bercy 4 weeks ago and the Scot ran out an easy winner on the slow hard court surface. Even on clay Murray should have enough in his armoury to defeat Goffin regardless of what the Belgian may throw at him.

Make or Break Decision
GB Captain Leon Smith will have to decide who plays number 2 to Andy Murray. Both Kyle Edmund and experienced James Ward are vying for the slot. Edmund recently won a challenger title on the dirt and although slightly less experienced than James Ward he is clearly in form and his ranking has improved throughout 2015. Ward will hope that his big performances in the Davis Cup throughout his career will stand him in good stead for selection. Experience may be key in such a big occasion.

Jamie Murray is top ranked doubles player in the tie and should team up with Murray. Dom Inglot is selected as second choice doubles partner should Murray pick up any niggles in his singles. For Britain to lift the trophy Murray needs to win both his singles which rankings and current form say he should plus win the doubles on the Saturday.

Why may GB not win?
Murray has already expressed his feelings on the arena, saying that it is freezing cold. The damp atmosphere and cold conditions will slow the tennis down even more meaning the rallies could be long and hard. Murray certainly cannot afford to waste any energy. The home crowd will also play a pivotal role in the destiny of the Cup. The 13,000 capacity arena will be packed to the rafters and if previous Davis Cup finals are to go by then the atmosphere will be hugely pro the home team. The Belgian players will look to feed off the crowd and make things hugely uncomfortable for the Brits.
Although Andy and Jamie are brothers they have little experience of playing together on the court at the very top level even less so on clay. The brothers will need to keep it tight on Saturday and ensure that tempers do not become frayed in the cauldron of the Flanders exhibition hall.
The Teams will be declared for the first round of matches on Thursday lunchtime at which time we will know who will be playing number 2 for GB. If GB were to get a 2-0 lead after the first day they would be in a fantastically strong position to go on and lift the title. A 1-1 draw after the first day would be a fair result based solely on the rankings.
GB win 3-2 with three Andy Murray victories.

Beardy Federer ditched by Gillette?

There are rumours that Roger Federer has been dumped by one of his long time sponsors Gillette. The news emerged following the Swiss refusal to shave his beard at last week’s prestigious Barclays ATP World Tour Finals. The usually clean cut Roger Federer was sporting a bit of facial hair in his opening match against Tomas Berdych . Many of us were surprised to see that by his second match on Tuesday against World Number 1 Novak Djokovic that Federer had allowed his facial hair to grow even more. By the final on Sunday past the Swiss had a full face of designer stubble prompting some to speculate that the great man had been dropped by one of his biggest supporters over the years.

imagesPerhaps the great man was on holiday mode already given that the season is already 45 weeks long. The jury is out though as most of us are used to the clean cut Federer as seen here.

Signed and used Rafael Nadal T-shirt up for auction for charity‏

CharityStars is currently auctioning a t-shirt Rafael Nadal wore at the Paris Masters 1000 tennis competition, which has also been signed by the tennis ace.

Proceeds from this auction will support the charity FRIENDS OF SEAN, which supports Sean Hadfield, a man of 24 who, because of a car accident at the age of nine, sustained a total and irreversible injury to his spine and spinal cord that left him to completely immobile and needing permanent support from a ventilation machine. The goal is to help Sean in his difficult journey and to offer as many opportunities as possible for a peaceful, happy life with all the care and support he needs.

Further information is available here: and the auction ends on 27 November 2015. An image is also attached. If you’re able to help us promote the auction in any way, that would be great.

If you require any additional information, or further images please let me know.

Victorious McEnroe Marvels at Djokovic and Federer

John McEnroe won the ATP Champions Tour double-header in Verona and Modena, beating Sergi Bruguera 6-4, 6-3 in the final, and then talked about his admiration for Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer.

In front of a capacity crowd at La Grande Sfida in Modena, he was in fine form to overcome a man 12 years his junior.

“The last couple of years I’ve played in Italy and the crowd has been unbelievable,” said McEnroe. “So passionate and they remind me of someone – myself – so they get really into it, they lift me up and you’ve got to want to play for people who come out like that.”

McEnroe also kept half an eye on the final of the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, where Djokovic completed a stunning year with a straight sets victory over Federer.

“I’m in total amazement at how consistent Novak has been, at such a high level,” said McEnroe. “From my own memories of trying to win big ones and be the best, I remember how hard it was to be that consistent and have that much domination mentally over all the other guys.

“Roger has also amazed me because my peak year was 25. This guy is 34 and looks better than ever – so I ask myself ‘what the hell was I doing wrong?’ A lot, apparently. He’s forcing guys to get better, which I think is a good thing. But I’m also waiting to see who these next guys are who are going to finally break the stranglehold.”

McEnroe will now join Thomas Enqvist and Pete Sampras at the top of the ATP Champions Tour standings for 2016.

The Tour now moves on the London for Champions Tennis at the Royal Albert Hall, 2-6 December.

For more information:

Wilander In Awe Of McEnroe at 56

Mats Wilander said he played as well as he could against 56-year-old John McEnroe at the ATP Champions Tour event in Verona, Italy on Friday. He lost 6-2, 6-4.

With Italian great Adriano Panatta looking on, Wilander did all he could to make it competitive in front of 3,000 fans, but McEnroe had too much for him.

Wilander, 51, said: “It doesn’t matter how old John is – he still plays so well. It is a pleasure to play against him, and at the same time a pain in the butt! I can’t play any better than I did tonight, and I feel like I don’t have a chance to win a set when we plays like that. It was a great evening. I’m actually happy losing 6-2, 6-4!”

Also in the crowd was Paolo Cane, a man who scored a famous 6-4 3-6 4-6 7-5 7-5 win over Wilander in a decisive fifth rubber of the Davis Cup in 1990. Wilander was delighted to see him.

“It was a huge win for them, and for Paolo personally,” remembered Wilander. “It’s amazing how one big important match will make you stay friends for ever. 25 years later here we are. John McEnroe and I played a Davis Cup match in 1982 (the second longest in Davis Cup singles match in history – six hours and 22 minutes. McEnroe won 9-7 6-2 15-17 3-6 8-6) and when you share something as special as that, you are closer and always share that memory. Once you’ve taken each other the distance, you have respect for that person beyond being a normal being – you have respect for them as a fighter and their character. It was really fun to see Paolo tonight.”

In the other match on Friday, Sergi Bruguera beat Henri Leconte 6-3 7-6(2).

After a day visiting the Ferrari factory on Saturday, the players will move on to Modena on Sunday for the final between Bruguera and McEnroe.

To see pictures of the players with the Ferraris, go to the ATP Champions Tour Facebook page –

McEnroe Visits Ferrari Ahead Of Wilander Clash

John McEnroe was an all-time great at what he did – World Number One, a multiple Grand Slam champion, and part of a Davis Cup-winning team. On Friday, ahead of La Grande Sfida, an ATP Champions Tour event in two Italian cities, McEnroe was introduced to an all-time great from the Formula One world – the Ferrari museum.

McEnroe, Mats Wilander, Sergi Bruguera and Henri Leconte were taken to visit Enzo Ferrari’s workshop ahead of the tournament, which takes place in Verona tonight and Modena on Sunday. They were bowled over, and the experience took McEnroe back to when he used to own a Ferrari of his own.

“I had a Ferrari 400i,” he said. “It was difficult to get it out my garage so I figured out I wasn’t cut out to have one. You need to be a better driver than me to own one!”

To see pictures of the players at the Ferrari workshop, go to the ATP Champions Tour Facebook page –

From 8.30pm local time, Leconte will clash with Bruguera, and then Wilander will face McEnroe.

Updates will be posted on the ATP Champions Tour twitter feed –

After Italy, the Tour will journey to London for Champions Tennis at the Royal Albert Hall, 2-6 December.

Tour website:

Andy Murray to Headline Exciting New Tennis Format – Tie Break Tens – at The Royal Albert Hall in December‏

Andy Murray will play his final competitive tennis of the year in the inaugural edition of Tie Break Tens, a new, quick-fire tennis tournament which is to be staged at the Royal Albert Hall on the night of Saturday 5th December as part of Champions Tennis.

Murray, who will try to help Great Britain win a first Davis Cup in 79 years next week, will return to London to take on an all-star field of past and present tennis champions at Tie Break Tens the following weekend. World No.7 David Ferrer, former World No.4 Tim Henman, and rising Briton Kyle Edmund will join Murray in a six-man field. The final places will be taken by a qualifier from the Champions Tennis tournament at the Royal Albert Hall, and one still-to-be-announced player.

Each of the ten matches at Tie Break Tens will be contested over a first-to-ten-point tie-break. The six-man field will be drawn into two groups of three players, using a round-robin format. The top two players in each group will go through to the semifinals, with the winner taking away a cheque for $250,000.

Murray said: “It’s nice for me to be able to play one more time in Britain before the end of the year, and this is a really interesting format which should be a lot of fun for everyone involved. Tie-breaks are always exciting, so to have a whole night of them is going to be great. Plus, the Royal Albert Hall is an iconic venue, and I’m looking forward to playing there for the first time.”

Matthew Pryke, Tournament Director of the new Tie Break Tens tournament said: “Tie Break Tens will be everything that people love about tennis, in a night of ten-point tie-breaks. It will be fast-paced, fun, but also super-competitive, and we believe it is a format that can be enjoyed by players, spectators, tv viewers, media and sponsors. We are thrilled that Andy Murray has agreed to be part of the field in our first event. With Tim Henman still in such great shape, it will be fascinating to see how he and the other champions get on against Andy, David Ferrer and Kyle Edmund in a short sprint to ten points. We are using this event to launch the format, and plan to stage further events around the world in 2016 and beyond.”

Charlie Grave, Managing Director of Sponsorship at IMG Tennis, who own and stage Champions Tennis added: “Tie Break Tens is an exciting new format which we are confident Champions Tennis spectators will enjoy on Saturday evening, 5th December. The tournament is now in its 19th year and we are expecting record crowds throughout the week, so to be able to add an event like this is the icing on the cake.”

Sky Sports will broadcast live coverage of Tie Break Tens and the Saturday afternoon session of Champions Tennis.

Tie Break Tens website –

Follow @tiebreaktens on Twitter and Instagram to keep up to date with all the latest announcements and information.

For tickets visit or call 020 7070 4404

How to beat a grinder?

Tennis racket and string technology allow many players to stand at the baseline and boss rallies. They run from side to side robotically keeping the ball in play and can be incredibly hard to break down. Andy Murray, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal have all dominated the world of tennis with this style. Many  top ladies stand on the baseline and try and dictate tennis from this point.

If you know a player like this just how do you begin to beat them? Typically these players are very comfortable on the baseline, it is their territory, they know they can retrieve most balls and put sufficient topspin on the ball to allow them to make it back into the middle of the court for the next rally ball. It can be hugely frustrating trying to break down the player that does not miss. Look at Novak Djokovic, the guy is so competent from the back of the court, he can run and run and is equally comfortable using both forehand and backhand. It is like playing against a wall.

To beat the baseline grinder you must first take them out of their comfort zone. Shorter angled balls which take them off the court are ideal for creating space and dragging grinders away from the middle of the court.  Please be careful though as if they manage to get their racket on the ball they can use your acute angle against you. Just ask Federer how it feels to be passed by a certain Mr Nadal.


If we look at Nadal and Djokovic losses over the years they are usually against guys who are willing to take a risk and play flat hard tennis into the corners. Czech Lukas Rosol gave Nadal won of his career defining defeats in the second round of Wimbledon a few years back. Ranked 100 in the world Rosol knew to play his normal game against Rafael Nadal he would certainly suffer a defeat. So the Czech played a ultra aggressive attacking brand of tennis which shocked Nadal and the Centre Court crowd. He bludgeoned the ball and took away the Spaniards time, he went for the angles and tried to win the point. In the end after 5 epic sets the King had been beaten.

To maintain such an attacking brand of tennis over 5 sets is certainly not an easy task. The margins for error when playing such a game are very small and even the slightest deviation in performance then the grinder is likely to get back into the game. The message is simple, take the game to the opponent and do not wait until they take the game to you.

Low balls

Tennis players love rhythm, none more so than the base liners. The same path angle and spin enable them to get into a rhythm and groove on shots. Slice is a very effective way of bringing a grinder away from the baseline and making them play up on a shot which could force an unforced error. If you can slice aggressively, keep the ball close to the net and low then any player will find it tough to play an aggressive shot. Why dont you check tennis sport books for further information? Remember to keep the slice away from the swing of the opponent, also ensure they must move forward or to the side keeping it away from the middle of the court.

Serve and volley

Since Roger Federer hooked up with Stefan Edberg we have seen an all court attacking game played by the Swiss in which he gets to the net at every opportunity. Federer has reinvented himself and his game and is able to take the ball off the rackets of the baseline huggers. A smartly aimed serve with angle can enable the server to approach the net and play the ball into the open court or directly back behind the opponent. Even if the server does not win the point first time around they are in a good position to volley away any other balls in the rally.


So to conclude, it is important to take on the ball in the point and prevent the grinder doing their thing.

Mix it up with slice and angle.

Approach the net

Go for it!

Wilson Announces Brand-New ULTRA Racket Line‏

Wilson Sporting Goods Co., announced today the introduction of a new high performance racket franchise called ULTRA. Wilson Labs, the innovation hub at Wilson, developed the ULTRA collection for the All-Courter, or player that hits from all corners of the court, who seeks a racket that is easy to swing, yet provides strong power and offers great maneuverability and comfort. Wilson Advisory Staff Member and #16 ATP ranked player Feliciano Lopez will debut the ULTRA on tour in 2016.

“As we visited courts all over the world to talk with adult players about what they needed from a racket, our Wilson Labs team quickly realized versatility, power and ease were key,” said Hans-Martin Reh, General Manager of Wilson Racquet Sports. “To engineer that experience, we delved into our best designs for inspiration and created a modern racket with a unique frame geometry and state-of-the art materials and construction. For our athletes, the result is a racket that is easy to handle, feels effortless with every stroke, and yet is very, very powerful.”

The ULTRA racket features octagon geometry inside the frame and rounded geometry outside the frame. This innovative frame design was inspired by the Company’s new, cutting-edge BURN® FST racket geometry, which allows players to swing faster with less effort. The racket’s frame is complemented by premium High Performance Carbon Fiber to deliver power in every stroke. The racket is also lightweight and its Cushion Foam handle offers optimal shock absorption for comfort.

The ULTRA franchise consists of four racket models: 97, 100, 103S and 108. The ULTRA 97 combines the precision from a mid-plus headsize with easy power. This racket is smooth and its forgiving feel makes it perfect for both the advanced singles and doubles player. The ULTRA 100 is best for intermediate to advanced All-Courters, while the ULTRA 103S is designed for intermediate level players who love the game and are looking to improve their performance. With Spin Effect™ Technology creating explosive spin and High Performance Carbon Fiber providing tons of power, the ULTRA 103S makes the game easier for a wide range of playing styles.

The ULTRA 108 is designed for the All-Courter who is just starting out to those who have mastered basic tennis skills; it is ideal for the doubles player. This racket features a more traditional rounded frame geometry. It has a large oversize head and a big, comfortable sweetspot to provide high power.

Page 2 / Wilson Launches New High Performance Products
The ULTRA is the second All-Courter collection to emerge from the Company’s PlayerID system. The UTLRA line will be available at specialty retailers and on on December 15. The line will retail for $229.00 (USD).


What every man in his 40s ought to know about playing winning tennis

By… Ramon Osa

In this article, you’ll discover the 9 keys to winning matches you should be winning. You’ll also find out how to win as an underdog. 

  1. The Winner’s Mindset.

We both know that our mind is key in how we perform on the court.

It’s either our best friend or our worst enemy.

That’s why the first step in playing winning tennis is having the right mindset.

Look at Roger Federer, arguably the greatest player of all time!

When you watch him in a match, you never know if he’s winning or losing.

That’s because he’s always calm AND EXPECTS TO PLAY WELL.

A calm state of mind is your single biggest asset in playing a tennis match.

It’s bigger than having a 110 mph serve or a devastating ground game (though having all of the above certainly doesn’t hurt).

2. How to calm your mind.

Our minds naturally race from thought to thought and if we’re not careful, it will wreak havoc on our tennis game.

Luckily, calming your mind is very simple.

All you have to do is become totally present.

You can do this a few ways.

One way is to just pay attention to your breath.

Another is to ask yourself if you can feel your hands.

Yet another is to simply observe your thoughts (without being totally identified with them).

Each of these ways take energy away from our overactive minds.

This creates a calming effect that you can feel throughout your entire body.

As a result, your thinking improves.

You become more “in the moment”.

You become a calmer, better tennis player.

Therefore, you win more matches.

3. Visualize success ONLY

We visualize everyday.

As guys, right around noon, we are probably visualizing a sandwich or some other delicious food.

That’s why it’s key that we take control of the visualization process when playing tennis.

Get into the habit of visualizing ONLY the outcome you want on the tennis court.

This sounds easy, but can be challenging (especially when things aren’t going exactly the way we want).

Between points, visualize the precise way you want the next point to go.

You can do this in just a few seconds.

The reason this works is our minds can’t tell the difference between what is real, and what is vividly imagined.

Picture yourself hitting your perfect serve, dictating play, and winning the point.

Do this using as many senses as possible.

See the ball shooting past your opponent, hear the crack of your serve, feel the racket in your hand, etc…

Never allow yourself to picture yourself performing poorly.

Keep your desired outcome precise and positive and fix it in your mind.

Do this between EVERY point, and you’ll be amazed by your results.

4. Have a great strategy

A sound, well-executed strategy can trump superior technique and conditioning.

Your specific strategy is based mostly on two factors:

What you do well, and what your opponent does not do well.

Generally, do what you do best.

Then, force your opponent to do what he is least comfortable doing whenever possible.

For example, if your opponent plays well from the baseline, but can’t volley, you should bring him in with short balls whenever you can.

If you move well, and your backhand is your weaker shot, you should position yourself to hit as many forehands as possible.

 5. Play within yourself

As guys, we want to hit great shots and feel the exhilaration of a clean winner.

We also want to crush every single ball.

Maybe it’s the testosterone.

The truth is, we don’t have to hit perfect shots to win.

And we don’t necessarily have to do anything exceptional to win.

All we need to do is play within ourself.

If all you have is a lob, then hit it deep to his weaker side.

If all you have is a slice backhand, keep it low and move him around.

Also, aim for large target areas.

Instead of trying to paint the lines, aim 4 feet from the line.

As the match goes on and you become more confident, you can begin to narrow your aim.

By playing within yourself, you force your opponent to go for shots he’s not comfortable with.

In other words, you’re the one dictating play.

You’re in control.

6. Hit Cross-court

One great strategy to adopt is to hit most of your shots cross court.

This works very well because it’s a high percentage shot.  

You’ll have more surface area of court to hit into.

The net’s also lower in the middle.

Finally, you don’t have to cover as much court when you recover.

Changing the direction of an oncoming ball can be difficult.  

Hitting cross court eliminates that challenge.

Staying cross court gives you the chance to create a short ball that you can put away.

As Bjorn Borg once said, “Mostly I hit cross court, sometimes I go down the line”.

We should do the same.

7. Mix it up

Variety is a great way to take away rhythm from your opponent.

Instead of crushing every single forehand, throw in a slice or a lob.

This messes with your opponent’s timing, and creates problems for him to stay consistent.

You can also experiment with hitting the ball short vs. long.

And hitting down the middle vs. pulling him wide.

Often times, the more variety you have, the better your chances of winning.

 8. Serve like a veteran pitcher

We like to hit hard serves.

It feels great to crush the ball.

However, often times it’s more effective to mix up our serves.

Instead of blasting every single serve, take 10 mph off and just guide it into your opponents backhand.

You might be surprised by how many free points you can get.

Mix in a good kick serve for your first serve.

You may catch your opponent off guard.

Constantly experiment with these four factors: speed, spin, placement, and where you stand.

By varying these factors, you have an infinite possibility of serves in your arsenal.

This clearly makes returning your serve a much bigger challenge than just gearing up for your fastball.

It also reduces your risk of double faults.

Finally, you can anticipate your opponent’s return tendencies, and plan your second shot accordingly.

 9. Make him hit one more ball

Winning a tennis point is simply about hitting the ball over the net one more time than your opponent.

It doesn’t necessarily have to be pretty.

Making your opponent hit the extra shot sends a message.

The message is “you’re going to have to do better to win.”

And this is a huge advantage for you.

How can you develop your serve into a weapon that wins you free points?

These strategies work extremely well when you’re playing tennis to win, and they will win you matches that you may have previously lost.

But you still need to develop your serve if you want to win consistently.  You can do this with “The Best Serve Drill Ever”.  It’s the single most important drill that has helped me climb from 3.0 to 5.0 in just a few years.

I’ve created a brand new video that shows you how to perfectly execute this drill so you can easily develop your serve into a consistent weapon.  You can have it free here.

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