Sunday, January 1, 2012

The Deuce Court: Previewing the Week

Join The Deuce Court as we preview week one of the Australian Summer.

Deuce #1: Murray-Lendl Buzz

The spotlight will be on Andy Murray in Brisbane, that you can be sure of. Just a few days after making news by hiring eight-time Grand Slam title winner Ivan Lendl as his new coach, Murray will enter Brisbane as the only top ten player in the draw. Reportedly, Lendl will join Murray in Melbourne for the beginning of the Australian Open, but the buzz about the high-profile hiring will likely follow Murray to the court in Brisbane, where he'll face Mikhail Kukushkin in the first round.

On paper it looks like a great hire for Murray. Lendl was the consummate professional throughout his career, and he'll likely be more eager than some of Murray's recent coaches to direct some constructive criticism at his charge. And even though Lendl's self-imposed tennis hiatus lasted quite some time, does anyone really doubt that he doesn't have some very good advice to offer Murray with regard to breaking down the big three?

My question is this: Can Lendl talk Murray into serving better? If he does, I think the pairing will succeed. If he does not, perhaps not.

Deuce #2: Serena's Mission

What we already know about Serena is that she's not one for apologies, what we're dying to know is what kind of fire is burning in her 30-year-old belly? Thankfully, we'll probably find out by the end of the week. With a star-studded draw in Brisbane (Stosur, Clijsters, Petkovic, Pavlyuchenkova, Schiavone), fans will get a chance to see who's been doing their homework in the gym and on the practice court over the last two months.

Ad In: The Roger-Rafa show in Doha

Are you ready for Federer-Nadal, edition 27? How could you not be? They played an exhibition match over the weekend, and they had a romantic candle-lit knock-around in Doha yesterday, but now it's time for some REAL tennis.

You'd think that with Nadal nursing a now-publicized ailing shoulder, Roger would have a good chance to reach the double digit win mark against his long-time rival (he currently has 9), but that wasn't the case over the weekend in Abu Dhabi, when Nadal took out Federer in straight sets in the aforementioned exhibition.

This week, if all goes well, Roger will get another chance. But they aren't the only two people in the draw, so we should keep an eye on Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Gael Monfils as well.

Deuce # 3: Keep An Eye on the Kids

The kids are alright. But is "alright" going to be good enough to climb the rankings when the game's scales are clearly tilting in favor of more experienced, more developed players? Young ones in action this week: Raonic, Chennai; Harrison, Nishikori, Tomich, Brisbane; Jovanovksi, Brisbane; Marino, McHale, Auckland.

Ad Out: The Draws



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