Wednesday, September 21, 2016


We all know who the victors are for this year's US Open Championship in Flushing Meadows, New York.  A lefty German Angelique Kerber who is now number 1 in the world, and a warrior Swiss Stanlislas 'Stan Da Man' Wawrinka number 3 in the world, both relentless in their quest for perfection.

What stands out the most with these two players?  They each found their own game.  Such is the beauty of tennis- stay with this sport long enough and you will discover that you do have your own innate style highlighting your personal strengths and weaknesses. 

Let's look at the women's final and how Angelique does it~

photo courtesy, link to us open 2016
First, let us take a look at the obvious. Get a good look at Angelique's physique. That is why I chose this photo.  Each element of her body is in unison with the other. She is practiced, folks, such power and discipline as hers is built over time, each day, each hour, each minute taken into consideration of the whole, of working that strength each day for even more power tomorrow.

Her eye is on the ball, no distractions, she is in balance and and knows where that ball is going once it is off her racquet. That is practice. Trust. Building your game.  

Another great asset of Angelique Kerber's is her ability to stay in the game, to stay with the ball, and never give up. Herein lies the strength of focus. And focus is not an easy attribute.  We may think it is, what is the big deal? Stay on task, piece of cake.  

But try under duress, when people are watching, when your ranking is at stake, when maybe your knee has a bit of pain and will not go away, when your breathing becomes tight and you know you have to breathe but it is tight from the stress of it all anyway.  Then what?

The key to Angelique Kerber's success~

Focus, you say? It is hard enough to stay in the point! Yet that is exactly what Kerber does and more, she turns the tables and moves her opponent around the court.  So much that you wonder how Kerber does it. And she does. Angelique Kerber is a champion. A focused champion.

Here at the US Open Championship this year, Angelique Kerber defeats 11th ranked Karolina Pliskova of Monte Carlo, Monaco in three sets 6-3, 4-6, 6-4. Please click here for highlights.

photo courtesy Pete Staples/USTA, US Open 2016 Champion, link to afterward Q & A
And the men's final-

How in the world did Stan Wawrinka beat, yes beat, world number from the Czech Republic, Novak Djokovic? Djokovic still dominates with highest ATP points won so far as of September 21, 2016, with 14,040 points versus Stan's number three ranking with 6,260 points.  

How does David overturn the giant Goliath? Let's look at the numbers here first. Stan won in four sets, 6-7 (1), 6-4, 7-5, 6-3. You can tell all these games were close. And then of course there was the medical delay in the third game of the fourth set with Djokovic's toe issues. I won't get in to that, but suffice it to say the validity of this delay was questioned by seasoned tennis champion commentators and regardless of what the pundits think the delay was fine with gentleman Wawrinka.

I tuned into this match in the third set, and both dueling gladiators were going at it strength by strength. When these two champions play against one another, magic is in the air! 

These two have certainly met up before, please see my post in 2013, DUELING GLADIATORS  and as follow up, also in 2014 DUELING GLADIATORS II.  

So here we are in 2016 in the middle of set 3, dueling away, and Stan is getting every ball back, then going for his winner down the line. We know that is what he will do, everyone knows. That is Stan's simple game, and it worked. Get your opponent off balance, wrong-footed, then go in for your closing shot down the line. Again, sound easy? Piece of cake?

photo courtesy Howard Simmons/NY Daily News
 I love this photo of Stan, I have seen many just like it. It is classic Wawrinka with his eyes on the ball and his off-hand high in the air for optimum balance. He loves what he is doing.

How does Stan get himself into that 'easy' moment when he can dominate? See PROPER NUTRITION.  HARD WORK. These are quite informative links and a video to put you up close, in Stan's shoes.

The key to Stan Wawrinka's success-

Consistency, when you put the pieces together. Besides upping his game with running, and closing out AD serves when he needed to most.

Congratulations, Stan Wawrinka, you prove that  staying in the match and using what you know can turn the tide in your favor.

photo courtesy Darron Cummings/AP click for stats on the match!

Thursday, September 1, 2016

US OPEN 2016

Welcome to the US Open 2016! So happy for this event, so much to do, to see, to experience!

The Official Site

There is nothing like New York, and what a great venue to host a world class tennis tournament.  Just last week I saw the lights of uptown from Tribeca, lower Manhattan, and so much mystery happens in so little time!  We figure that the tennis players are staying uptown, in the Upper East and West residences. Ah yes, the life of a tennis player :)

Really so exciting, if I can, I will make the effort to get there next week, no guarantees, I wish this grand slam would last forever, so nice to have an event as this in your own back yard.  Hop on the subway, the 7 line, and you are there. Easy.

Please take the time to really look at the photos on the official US Open website. Super photos!  

You can see the players looking at the ball as it comes off the racquet strings, you can experience their aggression, their emotions, their hopes and happiness, and conversely their disappointments and failures...saying to themselves, 'another day I am sure, I will get that ball, that game, set and match!'

What strikes me the most is the amazing physicality of these players.  Not an ounce of fat on any of them.  Varying body types, but these players all work from the same common denominator.  Fitness.  And motivation.

Isn't it amazing how much preparation goes into hitting a little yellow ball?

it is the chase, the will to win, that motivates each player to be their very best. Now. 

Even keeping your eyes on the ball is a present moment.  Very important fact, very little true understanding. It takes time to digest this overstated mantra. Here, yoga is a mainstay for mindfulness that will keep you present and indeed your eye on the ball! The goal~ zero distraction to achieve your result. 

These athletes are respectful of each chosen avenue of success,  and yoga is integral to Novak Djokovic's survival and success on the court.

Music is a motivating factor, too, Azarenka is privy to headphones, even Michael Phelps, our Olympic gold medalist swimmer (the Greatest of All Time in swimming), loves to tune in before he competes.

So, tennis players and aficionados, enjoy and savor the talents, the motivations, the beauty of this fabulous sport, and maybe, just maybe, I will see you at the courts! 

Here is a great Youtube by Ian of Essential Tennis, he puts you on the subway, too!

AND, Serena in SOHO, NY!

photo courtesy of yours truly