Questions for Mats Wilander and Marcos Baghdatis Hello Everyone! My name is West Nott and I am a freelance tennis writer. All my ideas are based here at www.undergroundtennis.com where I have approximately 250 high-end tennis users from #1 NCAA Coach Manny Diaz of Georgia, Matt Knoll Head Coach of Baylor and former coach to Ben Becker, Donald Young, Amer Delic, Jesse Levine, Glenn Michibata, John Isner (current #1 NCAA), Kelly Jones (#1 ATP Doubles and former coach to Mardy Fish), to current USTA National High-Performance Coaches. Below are some of the articles I have written recently or interviews given. I taylor to a very high-end niche audience, but you are all welcome to come view the content and bounce ideas off these tennis minds. We welcome posting of videos which is where you can view some of the top coaches in action (just look through the video archives). I am going to Mats Wilanders home to interview him next week and Marcos Baghdatis in the coming months. I will posting a forum to post questions for me to ask him. Look for the forum in a day or two to post questions to a 7-time Grand Slam Champ. Also, there is a lot more interesting interviews in the archives- a great one most recently that is very relavant to the users at Talk Tennis is one I did with Harold Solomon. Enjoy! Look forward to seeing you inside UndergroundTennis.com. Form a profile which takes a sec and the content is free to use. -West Here is my recent article of the Easter Bowl boys: Finally I have a place to write my thoughts without having to spend an hour formatting a webpage. Expect a ton of updates! Before I dive into talking about the Boys at the 2007 Easter Bowl (girls will be tomorrow), I want to make sure everyone understands some of the new features. First, everyone has the opportunity to upload their own pics. I personally was at the Easter Bowl where I tooled around with a digital slr camera, so if you type in "Easter Bowl" in the search tab- all the "Easter Bowl" pics should pop up. You can view them in larger sizes and use them for yourself. They are semi-professional photos, WHY PAY FOR YOUR PHOTOS WHEN YOU CAN GET THEM FOR FREE??? Wow, what a concept. Next, there is video. What I love about photos and videos is you can not only upload them from your computer, Flickr.com, or YouTub.com- but you can also upload pics and vids from your phone. So you can take advantage of that feature. In the video section, I uploaded a very small portion of my 1600 total clips from the 2007 ITA/NCAA Men's Team Indoors. Watch Brad Dancer, Manny Diaz, Greg Patton, Michael Center, Billy Martin, or Bob Bayliss in action with speeches from the huddle...more to come, I just need time. Other great features include RSS feeds. Basically all the Junior Tennis news will be supplied by Colette because she kicks everyone's butt in that department 6-0, 6-0. For college tennis news, you will get the latest news from the specific athletic site themselves, all updated automatically. I have the top 100 Men's and Women's Collegiate programs...again, why go anywhere else when I have the most up-to-date resource for articles on collegiate tennis. I also created an Ultimate Tennis RSS Feed which includes news from a variety of major online news publications covering mega professional tennis. Lastly, I added an Instruction Corner at the bottom- we can always get a little better at tennis. My next project is to add rankings- I am thinking the USTA junior rankings and ITA rankings. Just like any other networking site, you can send messages and write on someone's wall. Except ours is called a Chatterwall. Finally the busy work is done. Now lets talk about the fun stuff- the Boys at the 2007 Easter Bowl. I saw spurts of championship mentality throughout the week. Starting with the younger kids, I got my first glimpse of Christian Harrison. For a 12 year old, the kid can play some serious tennis. Many might think he lobs the ball and plays not to lose, but quite the opposite. Christian rips the ball and plays tennis the right way for long term development. His strokes are extremely simple and technically sound, he is the best 12 year old I have ever seen in my life. Also, his maturity is comparable to kids twice his age on and off the court. Expect great things from him in the future. He finaled at Las Petit As U14 and is probably the best 12 year old in the world at the moment. I hit a few hours with Sean Berman and Emmett Egger. Sean packs a big punch for his size and Emmett serves and volleys on every first serve. Emmett played cautious throughout the entire event off the ground except for the finals, who knows if he can unlock his potential when he is "supposed to win" in the future. What is commendable is his willingness to serve and volley on every first serve and sometimes on the second. It should pay big dividends in the long-term if he develops the ability to have 5 or 6 different first serves. Time will tell. As for Sean, what's missing is a serve and a mid-court game. Regardless of the big three (Christian, Emmett, and Sean), some other kids displayed serious talent who will be knocking on their doors really soon. Elortegui is a baller who plays big everywhere. The only problem is his head, but once he gains the confidence he can overcome the hump with the top players mentally- watch out! I know Elortegui will figure it out because his coach says the "right" things. He constantly tells his player to pull the trigger after some painful misses. Also in the U14 Boys, I found the mini-version of Michael Russell. Spencer Newman has the footspeed and the racquet head speed to cause some damange in the long-term. The only question will be his heart, does he have the intangibles to dominate for a little guy? In the U16, I caught glimpses of 15 year old Formentera. I LOVE THIS KID. He can straight up ball. What I love about Formetera is his ability to release on every shot with no doubt. He doesn't hold back, yet he is always playing within a high-level band of consistency. No matter what shot he is hitting, whether it be a lob, angle, looper, arc ball, or drive- he has the same racquet head speed. The only thing that changes is the trajectory and angle at which he hits the ball. This is a powerful concept that will carry him far because under pressure he is playing "balls to the wall" when others are guiding the ball. Formentera defeated Alex Dome in the quarters. Alex Dome might have the biggest forehand in the U16's. He hits the sucker with two hands- watch out for him at the Zoo. Evan King is the Tiger Woods of junior tennis. His maturity is clearly evident within the first few moments of watching him compete. I saw him secure a 6-1 first set and started the second set down 0-1, love-30 serving. The good news is he didn't panic. I saw many other juniors in the same situation at the tournament losing their minds. Evan is not only composed, but very fun to watch. He has tremendous balance with his upper body- his upper body is silent when he crushes the ball. Very effortless and creative. Moving to the 18's. I don't even know who is 16's or 18's because it seems all the youngsters are playing up. Ryan Harrison, JT Sundling, and Rhyne Williams are making the older ones work hard for their money. JT Sundling hmmm hmmm hmmm. This guy can play. I saw him 6 months ago at the ITF in Tulsa and he played like a boy. I saw him lose 5 in the third to Rhyne 1st round at the Easter Bowl- now he plays like a man. Everything he does is far more explosive at the same level of consistency and variety. Out of all the kids at the Easter Bowl, he is my pick for kicking some serious tail on the tour in the long-run. Why? The head is strong and tough. He is patient. He understands the game. He doesn't always bang. He can mix it up. You put that together with his lefty swings and his explosive movement- you got a baller. Kellen Damico had a tough time playing with the one heezie. The encouraging sign is great players are having a tough time beating him with one-hand. Kellen puts his pride on the line every week, what more can you ask for? Hamui is such a blue collar player. I think his legs caught up with his gamestyle for the finals. He was a little sluggish on the last day, making it a routine day in the office for Rhyne. The beauty of Johnny's game is he makes you earn every point. If you are ever in the mood to not hit that extra ball, just forget it against Johnny. The only way to win when he is fresh is if you are willing to work. Hopefully Johnny hits the leg press machines and jumps on boxes to develop calves the size of David Ferrer. I saved the best for last. With Andres Pedroso guiding Rhyne throughout the week, I was curious to see how Rhyne would handle diversity. For those who don't know, Andres is one guy you don't want to see on the other side of the net (he did damage on tour and played college tennis at Duke). Andres makes you work and I think that fits perfectly with a guy like Rhyne who is full of talent. Andres definitely balances out Rhyne. Rhyne eaked out two big matches deep in the third sets against Lajola and Sundling. I don't know what the future holds for Rhyne, but his game is big. He can definitely hit a winner from any part of the court, especially off the forehand side. His mind is a little fragile at times, but he is quick to get back on the horse and re-align the tracks. He is one shot away from getting to the next level- my biggest concern is his ability to get the backhand crosscourt with the way he hits it. Don't listen to me though because it seems to be working fine with an Easter Bowl title and a finals appearance at Carson. Rhyne is a legimate contender for the Nats at the Zoo and like I said, one shot away from maybe contending for a Junior Grand Slam Title.