Players who practiced at the US OPEN on August 26th

King Andre

New User
For most of Friday I was watching the pros practice in Louis Armstrong and Grandstand. The first players who were on Louis Armstrong were Ivan Ljubicic and Gustavo Kuerten. From what I saw, both players were hitting the ball well. Occassionally, however, Guga hit several forehands long. Guga's backhand was amazing though, he was absolutely ripping that thing and was able to control it very well. Suprisingly, Ljubicic's ground game was pretty heavy. Both his forehand and backhand had quite a bit of pop. Ljubici's kick serve was insane- that thing bounced over Guga's head several times and thus Guga had trouble returning it and tried taking it early. The next players on Louis Armstrong were Roger Federer and Stanislas Wawrinka. Wawrinka showed up on time, however, Federer, for some reason, wasnt there at all. Everybody was trying to look at the gate through which the pros come but Federer ended up entering through one of the public entrances and hopped the railing onto the court. From what I saw, Federer didnt play amazingly at all. In the warm up his strokes seemed ok, quite fluid and smooth. When he and Wawrinka began to play games, however, Fed kept netting his volleys, and sent some forehands long. He even double faulted a couple of times. I think Stanislas broke Fed in the opening game, held, broke serve, and held again, until he was up 4-0. For these 1st 4 games, Wawrinka's game seemed solid, he was ripping winners off his forehand, keeping Fed at bay with his backhand, and was serving quite well. After 4-0, Fed's game picked up and he had Wawrinka on the run constantly, and finally got back in the match. I'm not sure if they were playing a set, since they didnt stop once wawrinka was up 6-2, nonetheless, they kept playing games for about 2 hours, at the end of which Wawrinka seemed incredibly tired and Fed was back in the groove. Surprisingly, Federer refused to sign autographs for anyone as he left.
At the same time that Federer was playing, Roddick was on at Grandstand. He was practicing with the Dane, Kenneth Carlsen. I sat up close and was watching Roddick warm up. His backhand wasnt all that bad. It was quite consistent, had good pace, and depth. In fact, it looked fine to me. Roddick's forehand seemed pretty flat and fast on most balls, except for a few when he really brushed up the ball and imparted that heavy spin. Roddick's serve, as usual, was amazing. Even his warm up serves were fast- I mean like 110 + mph. Usually pros dont serve so hard in their 1st couple of warm up serves- evidently this guy does. Roddick seemed to be pretty enthusiastic and was looking around and even joking around with Carlsen a lil bit. I didnt watch Andy play his set with Carlsen since Federer was on at the same time, but I heard that the crowd was really into Andy's match. From what I could see, Roddick's serve is like a shotgun. The sound that his racket makes upon impact with the ball is amazing. Carlsen had a lot of problems returning Roddick's serve. Lastly, I was watching Roddick volley from the side. His technique isnt really bad at all- it looked pretty solid to me. The only thing was he was netting a few volleys now and then. Roddick seemed pretty nice and he signed a lot of autographs as he left.
After having lunch I came back and watched Nadal and Gasquet practice in Grandstand. I was really surprised at Nadal's serve and forehand. I thought his forehand would have much more height over the net, but it seemed pretty low over the net, like an inch or two above it, and was pretty fast too, with great depth. In addition, Nadal was hitting his serves really hard and flat, and was getting them in consistently, with several aces here and there. His serve is clearly underrated. Nadal's backhand was also spectacular as he was able to generate good pop and angles with it. On the other side of the court, Gasquet was also hitting spectacular shots against Nadal, one of them being a cross court backhand winnder off Nadal's 1st serve. I was surprised because Gasquet was hitting with as much or maybe even more spin than Nadal at certain points- maybe this was because Nadal was trying to pratice more depth and penetration on his shots. Both these guys seem to string at low tensions- they generated lots of spin and pop, and the sounds coming off their rackets wasnt that boardy sound one gets when one strings tight. As Nadal and Gasquet were leaving, a lot of girls were screaming for Nadal's shirt. As they asked him, Nadal took off his shirt and looked like he was gong to throw his shirt to them but put it down and put on another shirt. Nadal neraly got mugged as he tried to walk into the gate because so many people wanted his autograph.
The next peope who came onto Grandstand were Guillermo Coria and Guga. These guys had several 60 + shot rallies in which they were ripping the ball consistently. Although they were clay courters, they didnt put as much spin on the ball as I expected and were hitting pretty flat and hard most of the time. I have to say that Coria's ground game is impeccable, he hits it pretty hard for a guy his size, and almost never misses. Guga, on the other hand, was also hitting really hard, but was sending several of his forehands long by like 1 or 2 inches, which isnt much.
After watching these guys for 10-15 minutes, my friends and I went to the outer courts where we saw Mark Philippoussis in action. His serve was very impressive- it was very heavy and fast. Flipper practiced his returns by having his coach serve from the service line. He had some problems reading where the serve was going and getting the returns consistently in play, but was able to rip several forehand and backhand winners off of serve. I got a close look at Mark's racquet as he was sitting down- LM Prestige paintjob - with tons of lead at 3 & 9.
I also got to see Marcos Baghdatis playing. This guy is so talented. His coach was making him do a 1-2 punch, serve-forehand drill, and I was amazed at how well he was hitting the ball. On the occassions that he missed, he did 10 push ups. At the end of a long practice he seemed really tired. but he got down and started doing abwork, with crunches of all sorts. Im pretty sure he had been practicing for over 2 hours. I was amazed at how hard he was working, since he was the last one left on the practice courts right before dusk. After doing many crunches, Baghdatis's coach helped him stretch out. Right before they left, my friends and I got an autograph from him and got to take pictures with him. All in all, he seemed like a very nice guy- he was smiling all the time and never said no to anyone. On a sidenote, Ivo Karlovic was also pretty nice. my firends and I saw him walking with his girlfiriend (whos half his size) and he let us take our photos with him and signed our tennis balls.
The last match of the day I saw was Bogomolov vs Benneteau. The quality of tennis was very high. Bogomolov ended up winning 7-6 7-5, a hard fought match. THroughout most of the match, most of the fans rooted for "bogie". This guy was a real grinder, he was out there sliding on the hard courts and hitting great shots on the run. But his opponent, Julien Bennetau, was also very telented. This guy had quite an effective serve, and could hit big off both sides in his ground game. It was a very close, exciting match, which Bogomolov won through his amazing grinding play, the support of his fans and through some bad luck netcords that Benneteau had.
 

callitout

Professional
Awesome report Im jealous...seeing guga, Fed, and Nadal Gasquet mustve been cool. When I watched Fed practice in cincy I was really underwhelmed, by his intensity, but that could because 1)He doesnt need practice just concentation in match play or 2)He was a bit rusty after taking time off from Wimby. Great report though.
 

King Andre

New User
yeah, thanks.
As to Federer, I also saw that he didnt really seem intense. He played for a very long time, but he never looked like he was really into it, although he was hitting a few good shots. I also saw Donald Young that day, for a little bit. Donald was practicing with his hitting partner (who was definetly not a pro, since he looked pretty overweight, but could still rally with Donald well) and was messing around a lot. Donald still seems a little to inconsistent for the pro circuit. He had a very low percentage of 1st serves at one point and missed some routine backhands. OTher than that i was impressed with the pop and spin he got on his forehand. The last person I saw on Louis ARmstrong before I left was Nicolas Massu. This guy hits with a lot of height above the net, maybe 5 inches... His forehand especially had a lot of spin. Massu actually spent the first 10 minutes on court arguing with his coach and hitting partner about something- he seemed really angry. Even when he started hitting he seemed really angry, I dont know what he was angry about tho. Oh, btw, I got to see Ashley Harkleroad for like a minute b4 she left a pratice court. She seemed very fit and was hitting the ball ok. She looked pretty exhausted at the end of her practice though. I was dissapointed that I didnt get to see Agassi, Safin, Hewitt, or Moya. I know that Agassi was practicing in Ashe which was closed to the public. And I guess i must have missed the others. All in all it was a good day to watch pros.
 

Marius_Hancu

Talk Tennis Guru
Nadal did the same here in Montreal: rallying in training pretty low to the net, but in the match he was way higher in general. Perhaps he wants to gradually get lower on HC.
 

VamosRafa

Hall of Fame
Great report, King Andre. We had heard Rafa was practicing with Gasquet. Do you mind if I post your terrific report of their practice on the Nadal site? Actually, I'm going to post it, but if you have a problem, let me know and I'll take it down.

Thanks.
 

35ft6

Legend
So jealous. Man, I'd have loved to have been there.

From what I've seen in the past, I agree with many of your observations. Coria does have impeccable strokes. I saw him practice with Massu one year and his strokes where just money. Every shot looked the same. And his shots weren't loopy at all.

I saw Federer practice with Malisse one year and maybe he just doesn't take practice that seriously. Maybe, like Sampras, he just makes sure everything seems under control, because on that day he wasn't very intense either.

From watching him play Federer in Miami, totally agree that people are sleeping on Nadal's backhand. That thing seems capable of becoming a weapon very very soon. He hits it flatter than his forehand so can rip a different type of winner with it. And when he's NOT going for winners, it's rock solid. Not as good as Agassi, but he can rip winners Agassi can't with his backhand.

Roddick slices his volleys too much. They're not firm, compact volleys. He could probably use some coaching from Tony Roche. He really has some of the ugliest volleys on tour.

Yeah, I saw the Agassi Ljubicic match in Carson City, and his kicker is flat out ********. That thing bounces so damn high. It got a lot more height than Roddick's kicker, although Andy's came at you much faster.
 

idj49

Semi-Pro
King Andre said:
For most of Friday I was watching the pros practice in Louis Armstrong and Grandstand. The first players who were on Louis Armstrong were Ivan Ljubicic and Gustavo Kuerten. From what I saw, both players were hitting the ball well. Occassionally, however, Guga hit several forehands long. Guga's backhand was amazing though, he was absolutely ripping that thing and was able to control it very well. Suprisingly, Ljubicic's ground game was pretty heavy. Both his forehand and backhand had quite a bit of pop. Ljubici's kick serve was insane- that thing bounced over Guga's head several times and thus Guga had trouble returning it and tried taking it early. The next players on Louis Armstrong were Roger Federer and Stanislas Wawrinka. Wawrinka showed up on time, however, Federer, for some reason, wasnt there at all. Everybody was trying to look at the gate through which the pros come but Federer ended up entering through one of the public entrances and hopped the railing onto the court. From what I saw, Federer didnt play amazingly at all. In the warm up his strokes seemed ok, quite fluid and smooth. When he and Wawrinka began to play games, however, Fed kept netting his volleys, and sent some forehands long. He even double faulted a couple of times. I think Stanislas broke Fed in the opening game, held, broke serve, and held again, until he was up 4-0. For these 1st 4 games, Wawrinka's game seemed solid, he was ripping winners off his forehand, keeping Fed at bay with his backhand, and was serving quite well. After 4-0, Fed's game picked up and he had Wawrinka on the run constantly, and finally got back in the match. I'm not sure if they were playing a set, since they didnt stop once wawrinka was up 6-2, nonetheless, they kept playing games for about 2 hours, at the end of which Wawrinka seemed incredibly tired and Fed was back in the groove. Surprisingly, Federer refused to sign autographs for anyone as he left.
At the same time that Federer was playing, Roddick was on at Grandstand. He was practicing with the Dane, Kenneth Carlsen. I sat up close and was watching Roddick warm up. His backhand wasnt all that bad. It was quite consistent, had good pace, and depth. In fact, it looked fine to me. Roddick's forehand seemed pretty flat and fast on most balls, except for a few when he really brushed up the ball and imparted that heavy spin. Roddick's serve, as usual, was amazing. Even his warm up serves were fast- I mean like 110 + mph. Usually pros dont serve so hard in their 1st couple of warm up serves- evidently this guy does. Roddick seemed to be pretty enthusiastic and was looking around and even joking around with Carlsen a lil bit. I didnt watch Andy play his set with Carlsen since Federer was on at the same time, but I heard that the crowd was really into Andy's match. From what I could see, Roddick's serve is like a shotgun. The sound that his racket makes upon impact with the ball is amazing. Carlsen had a lot of problems returning Roddick's serve. Lastly, I was watching Roddick volley from the side. His technique isnt really bad at all- it looked pretty solid to me. The only thing was he was netting a few volleys now and then. Roddick seemed pretty nice and he signed a lot of autographs as he left.
After having lunch I came back and watched Nadal and Gasquet practice in Grandstand. I was really surprised at Nadal's serve and forehand. I thought his forehand would have much more height over the net, but it seemed pretty low over the net, like an inch or two above it, and was pretty fast too, with great depth. In addition, Nadal was hitting his serves really hard and flat, and was getting them in consistently, with several aces here and there. His serve is clearly underrated. Nadal's backhand was also spectacular as he was able to generate good pop and angles with it. On the other side of the court, Gasquet was also hitting spectacular shots against Nadal, one of them being a cross court backhand winnder off Nadal's 1st serve. I was surprised because Gasquet was hitting with as much or maybe even more spin than Nadal at certain points- maybe this was because Nadal was trying to pratice more depth and penetration on his shots. Both these guys seem to string at low tensions- they generated lots of spin and pop, and the sounds coming off their rackets wasnt that boardy sound one gets when one strings tight. As Nadal and Gasquet were leaving, a lot of girls were screaming for Nadal's shirt. As they asked him, Nadal took off his shirt and looked like he was gong to throw his shirt to them but put it down and put on another shirt. Nadal neraly got mugged as he tried to walk into the gate because so many people wanted his autograph.
The next peope who came onto Grandstand were Guillermo Coria and Guga. These guys had several 60 + shot rallies in which they were ripping the ball consistently. Although they were clay courters, they didnt put as much spin on the ball as I expected and were hitting pretty flat and hard most of the time. I have to say that Coria's ground game is impeccable, he hits it pretty hard for a guy his size, and almost never misses. Guga, on the other hand, was also hitting really hard, but was sending several of his forehands long by like 1 or 2 inches, which isnt much.
After watching these guys for 10-15 minutes, my friends and I went to the outer courts where we saw Mark Philippoussis in action. His serve was very impressive- it was very heavy and fast. Flipper practiced his returns by having his coach serve from the service line. He had some problems reading where the serve was going and getting the returns consistently in play, but was able to rip several forehand and backhand winners off of serve. I got a close look at Mark's racquet as he was sitting down- LM Prestige paintjob - with tons of lead at 3 & 9.
I also got to see Marcos Baghdatis playing. This guy is so talented. His coach was making him do a 1-2 punch, serve-forehand drill, and I was amazed at how well he was hitting the ball. On the occassions that he missed, he did 10 push ups. At the end of a long practice he seemed really tired. but he got down and started doing abwork, with crunches of all sorts. Im pretty sure he had been practicing for over 2 hours. I was amazed at how hard he was working, since he was the last one left on the practice courts right before dusk. After doing many crunches, Baghdatis's coach helped him stretch out. Right before they left, my friends and I got an autograph from him and got to take pictures with him. All in all, he seemed like a very nice guy- he was smiling all the time and never said no to anyone. On a sidenote, Ivo Karlovic was also pretty nice. my firends and I saw him walking with his girlfiriend (whos half his size) and he let us take our photos with him and signed our tennis balls.
The last match of the day I saw was Bogomolov vs Benneteau. The quality of tennis was very high. Bogomolov ended up winning 7-6 7-5, a hard fought match. THroughout most of the match, most of the fans rooted for "bogie". This guy was a real grinder, he was out there sliding on the hard courts and hitting great shots on the run. But his opponent, Julien Bennetau, was also very telented. This guy had quite an effective serve, and could hit big off both sides in his ground game. It was a very close, exciting match, which Bogomolov won through his amazing grinding play, the support of his fans and through some bad luck netcords that Benneteau had.
Wow I was at all the practice sessions you were at except I didn't see the Bogomolov match, I watched the Murray match and then left so apparantly I missed Safin and Moya. I did see Ivo walking around a few times and happened upon Monfils practicing with Scoville Jenkins.
 

gugafanatic

Hall of Fame
King Andre, was Guga playing pain "free" without any discomfort?. Was he showing good mobility on the court?

Guga is currently missing his big first serve and forehand. His backhand is always in the zone.
 

dozu

Banned
I was watching Bjorkman playing against Galvani in court 4 when I recognized this familar service motion.... it was Safin playing games at court 5.... so I run down there, and saw Moya was on the other side.

Both guys are smacking the ball so hard... the shots are noticeably heavier than the Bjorkman-Galvani match.... Safin had coach Peter L at his side and they'd chat for a couple of seconds after each point.

Safin looks as big in person as on TV.... Moya looks bigger than on TV.
 

King Andre

New User
Guga was missing several first serves and forehands, but he seemed to be playing pain-free. He was grinning and joking with Ljubicic most of the time.
Flipper was wearing one of those sleveless shirts. In short, he looked to be in better shape than in Wimbledon. But I think he still has a long way to go mentally and physically before he can really compete with the likes of the Top 10.
I'm going to be at the open on Sunday the 28th too, as long as it doesnt rain or anything.
 

edberg505

Legend
Yup, just like I posted about Ljubicic's kick serve when i was in Montreal. It was just plan SICK!!! I thought Andy's kick serve was awesome. But I don't know what it is that Ivan does to his serve to get it to kick like that. I hope I get to see it again in person just so I can record it this time.
 

guernica1

Semi-Pro
I've seen Sampras have practices where he looked totally out of it and the other guy looks like the #1. Like once when he and Jeff Morrison were mixing it up, Pete missed a ton of first serves, wasn't moving too fast.. I've heard he lost practice sets against his sparring partners quite often.

Good to see Baghdatis playing again.. if this guy was injury free he'd be top 50 probably. So much talent. Did you see if he was wearing any sort of elbow brace?
 
Top