TL;DR Recap 🎾 Off Season - Week 2

Federer Back To Practice🏃‍♂️, ATP Player Face-mash🤯, Isner Supports Gimelstob, Kyrgios & Tsitsipas Boxing🥊, New Coaches!

Don’t expect anything too serious in these off-season recaps. The analysis will be back for the start of the new season.

📢 = Player or Tournament Announcement/News

🤕 = Injury/Fitness Update

🏅 = Awards

🚨 = Controversy

📊 = Stats/Records

📱 = YouTube/Instagram/Snapchat

📢 The Australian Open has been approved to use a super tiebreak (first to 10 points) at 6-6 in final sets. The tournament is currently considering whether and when to implement the change. We may see it as early as the 2019 edition in 6 weeks time, as long as the various players being consulted don’t put up a fight.

This means that all 4 slams will probably soon have different final set structures.

  • Australian Open: (Proposed) Super tiebreak at 6-6 in final set.

  • French Open: No Tiebreak.

  • Wimbledon: Normal tiebreak at 12-12 in final set.

  • US Open: Normal tiebreak at 6-6 in final set.

I’m a bit confused why the Australian Open, a tournament which hasn’t had that many unusually long 5th sets in recent memory, is making this change. Wimbledon’s decision (to be implemented from 2019 onwards), occurred on the back of the marathon Isner vs Anderson match, at this years championships. And the All England Club’s decision is far more understandable given the rarer rate of service breaks that happen on grass vs hard courts (Isner vs Mahut in 2010 being the prime example).

A change like this was probably inevitable given Tennis Australia’s desire for ‘innovation’ in tennis. But I'll always feel that a tiebreaker, and how irreversibly important its points are compared to the back-and-forth in normal games with a deuce, is a brutally sudden way to end a 5 set match.

More info here.

📢 Filip Krajinovic has announced Thomas Johansson as his new coach:

Saša Ozmo@ozmo_sasaThomas Johansson, new coach of Filip Krajinovic: He is a talented players that moves well and has all the shots. The reason why he hasn‘t cracked Top 10 until now is that he needs to be a bit more professional and to work a bit harder. That is why I am here. #Krajinovic

📢 Lucas Pouille has announced Amelie Mauresmo (the former world No.1 and coach of Andy Murray) as his new coach.

Lucas Pouille@la_pouilleVery happy to have @AmeMauresmo as my coach! 🙌 She has the experience and the skills to help me reach my goals. I’m convinced great things are ahead of us! ;) #Allez 💪YTy

Simon Cambers@scambers73

Great to see @AmeMauresmo getting another high-profile job coaching a top player, in @la_pouille

Initially Mauresmo was going to continue in her role as the new French Davis Cup captain, with Pouille’s renouncing of the new format meaning there would be no conflict of interest. But a few days after announcing the new partnership, Amelie stood down from the DC captaincy anyway.

More info here.

📢 Jo Wilfried Tsonga has announced Sergi Bruguera as his new coach.

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga@tsonga7Hello #TsongaTeam, I’m happy to announce that Sergi Bruguera will be part of my team in 2019 ! I’m very excited to start working together and to take up new challenges 👊🏽👌🏽🎾

📱Dominic Thiem launched his YouTube channel, joining Vasek Pospisil and Stef Tsitsipas as aspiring vloggers.

— 10/10 use of stock music. Here’s hoping for a weekly series of bloopers called ‘Fack Dis Sheet’.

📱 Tipsarevic prepping for his grudge match against a bat.

— On a serious note, it’s great to see Janko preparing to comeback after an injury riddled few years. Easy to forget he was No.8 in the world in 2012.

📢 Tsitsipas gave a pretty wide ranging interview (in Greek) here.

xsou81 translated a few of the best quotes. Check that thread out here.

Here’s a taste:

“Nadal is my idol, I saw him from a different perspective and he is still my idol. Federer is a huge (or best) athlete, he manage to take his game but also the sport to a whole different level.”

📱 Deep thoughts with Stefanos.

Stefanos Tsitsipas@StefTsitsipasToday, you are the oldest you’ve ever been and the youngest you’ll ever be.

📊 The ATP put together a nice analysis on the rate of players breaking serve after they win the first point in a return game:

— Essentially Nadal (over the last 4 seasons) has been a narrow, statistical favourite to break serve as long as he wins the first point of the game when returning. Of course this a rather simplistic statement, with Rafa far more likely to break serve from that position on clay, than off it. Still impressive though.

The top 25 players avg (of breaking serve when 0-15 up on return) was 39.5% (still very high), which gives an indication of how significant that first return point is. Anyone who’s played even vaguely competitive tennis can tell you there’s a big difference in pressure, felt by the server, between 15-0 and 0-15.

Full piece here.

📱 The ATP face-mashed a bunch of players and then asked them to identify who the combined players were. You’ll have to guess for yourself. Warning: these are nightmare fuel:

— Dimitrov losing it when he was shown Randy Murdal is priceless.

🚨 As predicted last week, Isner has voiced his support for coach Justin Gimelstob (JG) in the wake of assault allegations. Isner is one of the voting members of the ATP Players Council, which was due to meet to decide Gimelstob’s (who holds a position on the 7 person ATP Board) fate.

After Lleyton Hewitt was critical of Gimelstob and the ATP’s decision to stick with him, Isner said:

“I don't think [Justin] should take a leave right now. We don't know the facts yet. Hewitt doesn't know the facts, either. He's the guy who was involved in his own nasty situation with James Blake (at the 2001 US Open), and I'm not calling for his head, or for him to step down from working with Tennis Australia. He's being arrogant.” Source

This statement was confusing for a number of reasons. Firstly, Hewitt isn’t on the ATP Board, therefore the Players Council (and Isner) have no voting power over him in this context. In marked contrast Isner does have very real and imminent voting authority over Gimelstob as a member of the ATP Player Council. An authority/responsibility which Isner is almost certainly going to ignore due to his personal relationship with JG. Secondly Hewitt isn’t currently defending allegations of assault, Gimelstob is.

I’m all for legal due process before someone gets punished, but there are a number of issues in Gimelstob’s case that make this situation worth discussing pre-trial. First off, Gimelstob’s (and this is a general problem in tennis leadership) conflicts of interests in working as a commentator, Tennis Channel employee, ATP Board member and coach, deserve closer attention. As does his track record of shitty behaviour which is widely recognised by the majority of the tennis world, despite his fast rise through the ranks of tennis management.

It remains to be seen whether or not the rest of the players council (minus Isner and probably Querrey as well) have voted to keep Gimelstob in the fold. Roger Rasheed, a former member of the ATP Board, was ousted by the Players Council for far less just a few months ago. Gimelstob’s hearing is set for December 12th.

📱 Andy Murray’s off season adventures:

Chapter 1. Andy Murray works up an appetite with some absolutely mental hula hooping: Source

Part 2: Andy Murray meets Saltbae:

Part 3: All that salt turned Andy into the grinch:

The end.

📱 Tsitsipas tried boxing.

Credit to Mouratoglou Academy.

📱As did Kyrgios:

— Pretty sure this is a Tyson fury impression.

Can we please have Tsitsipas vs Kyrgios instead of KSI vs Logan Paul?

📱 Federer has started practicing ahead of the 2019 season.

Credit to tomhill95 on Instagram.

— You’re all caught up! That’s everything that happened in tennis this week.

— Note to subscribers. Apologies for the delay in the ATP vs ITF issue. It’s coming. Wanted to be thorough with it, hence the delay.


— The Racquet is created, and written, by Matt.

— You can find me on Twitter here.

TL;DR Recap 🎾 Off-Season Week 1

Pouille's Coach Jumps Ship📢, Gimelstob Faces The Music🚨, Rafa's Record📊

📢 = Player Announcement/News

🤕 = Injury/Fitness Update

🏅 = Awards

🚨 = Controversy

📊 = Stats/Records

📱 = YouTube/Instagram/Snapchat

🤕 Pablo Andujar, who was the world No. 32 in 2015, has completed a stunning comeback into the Top 100, after three elbow surgeries derailed his career. In February this year Pablo was the No. 1824 in the world, but the Spaniard finished 2018 ranked No. 82. A brilliant (and probably underreported) achievement.

For more info on the years biggest ranking risers, click here.

🏅The ATP have announced their best slam matches of 2018 with some very questionable ordering and choices (The Racquet’s picks are coming next week):

  1. Nadal vs Thiem - US Open

  2. Djokovic vs Nadal - Wimbledon

  3. Nadal vs Del Potro - Wimbledon

  4. Cilic vs De Minaur - US Open

  5. Federer vs Cilic - Australian Open (LOL)

Full list.

📢 Emmanuel Planque has announced that he’ll no longer be coaching Lucas Pouille, and instead will start working with Corentin Moutet. Moutet is 19 years old, and world No 150.

This isn’t that surprising given the two players recent trajectories. Pouille was No.10 in the world in March this year, but finished the season at No. 32 after a disappointing 2018. Moutet, on the other hand, is one of the brightest, French, next-gen, talents alongside Ugo Humbert (No.84).

It will be interesting to see who Pouille announces as his next coach. The 24 year old previously (and briefly) had Tommy Haas in his corner (although Haas is the current Indian Wells Tournament Director).

Pouille graciously wished the new partnership well:

Lucas Pouille@la_pouille@FFTennis @moutet99 Good luck les gars 👊

🚨 Justin Gimelstob, the former player and current ATP Board member, is in the process of defending serious assault allegations (info here) against a Californian Venture Capitalist. This is the latest in a long line of Neanderthalic missteps from the former world No. 63, that have somehow failed to remove him from his positions of authority and influence in the sport. Some very worrying questions, about tennis’s organisational structure, emerge when you consider that an individual with such a stained track record has managed to not only keep his positions of power in tennis, but positively thrive in recent years. Gimelstob, before the most recent allegations, was apparently regarded as next in line to the ATP President role (currently occupied by Christ Kermode), according to the Telegraph.

The ten strong ATP Players Council (currently led by Novak Djokovic) would need only a 6-4 majority to remove Gimelstob from his ATP role. This Council is meeting imminently to make a decision.

Gimelstob’s most recent allegations revolve around assault accusations from his wife, a businessman (Kris Thabit), a paddle tennis player and the VC referenced above. That 4 separate people are accusing him of such things, all within the last few years, paints an incredibly poor picture of the former player.

📱 ATP Players asked who the best looking player on tour is. Dimitrov struggling not to say himself is pretty priceless.

📱 Jack Sock’s ranking drop excuse clearly didn’t fly with the doping control team. (Source):

— I’d probably be checking for stashed pop-tarts, rather than drugs tbh.

📱 Krygios taking a brief break from Basketball and Call Of Duty. (Source)

Nick while streaming:

“I'd rather play this (than tennis) to be honest.”

Genie Bouchard@geniebouchardBjorn Borg is my man crush forever 😍😍Qel

📱 The Iceman’s still got it.

📱 Eliot Loney with one of his classic Rafa impressions:

— “This is the Bernard Tomic: we gonna look at the beautiful dish, admire it… and then throw it in the bin, waste it.”

📱 doublefault28 (Tennis-Twitter GIF maker extraordinaire) ran down his best GIFS of the season. You can check them out here.

📱Kyle Edmund hanging out with Liverpool legend, Alan Hansen.

📢 Zhe Li, at the ripe old age of 32, has qualified for a Grand Slam main draw for the first time in his career. He beat Zhang Ze 1-6, 7-6, 6-4 in the Asia Pacific Wild Card Playoff Final.

📱You know it’s the off-season on r/tennis when…

Luca Brancher@LucaBeck% of weeks in the #Atp Top-10 in the last 10 years (01.01.09->12.31.18). #Nadal is the only one at 100%.

📊 One of Rafa's more impressive consistency records. Despite multiple seasons where he missed approx half (or more) of the year’s points through injury, he still hasn't been outside the Top 10 since he entered it in 2005.

You’re all caught up! That’s everything that happened in tennis this week (off-season week 1 is always the quietest time of the year).

Racquet subscribers will be getting the ‘ATP vs ITF’ issue in the next day or two (I delayed it to make sure it’s thorough), as well as the ‘Matches Of The Season’ Issue.

If you know someone who would like The Racquet, you can now give them a gift subscription!

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— The Racquet is created, and written, by Matt.

— You can find me on Twitter here.

TL;DR Recap 🎾 Davis Cup Final

🇫🇷 France vs Croatia 🇭🇷, Djokovic Wants Players To Boycott Davis Cup Rule🤔, What Next For Davis Cup❓

There are lots of images/GIFS in ‘The Racquet’ so it may take a while to load depending on your wifi/4g. I promise it’s worth it 😅.


If you don't want to see the results yet, and want to catch up with the highlights, stop scrolling now! Links (some may get removed):

Best Match Of The Weekend:

🇫🇷Mahut/Herbert 🎥 Pavic/Dodig 🇭🇷

🇫🇷 Pouille 🎥 Cilic 🇭🇷

🇭🇷 Cilic 🎥 Tsonga 🇫🇷

🇭🇷 Coric 🎥 Chardy 🇫🇷


💥 = Beatdown \\ 🤕 = Injury \\ ‼️ = Upset

🇭🇷 Croatia d France 🇫🇷

Lille, France - Indoor Clay

  • (Rubber 1) 🇭🇷 Coric d Chardy 🇫🇷: 6-2, 7-5, 6-4

  • (Rubber 2) 🇭🇷 Cilic d Tsonga 🇫🇷: 6-3, 7-5, 6-4

  • (Rubber 3) 🇫🇷Mahut/Herbert d Pavic/Dodig 🇭🇷: 6-4, 6-4, 3-6, 7-6(3)

  • (Rubber 4) 🇭🇷Cilic d Pouille 🇫🇷: 7-6(3), 6-3, 6-3

— Croatia win the 2018 Davis Cup, 3-1 🏆.

Key Matches = (1st & 2nd Rubbers)

The keys for this tie lay mainly in France’s team selection and the surface choice (clay). Noah’s failure to pick Simon (who has a 6-1 winning H2H vs Cilic & has won their last two matches + a 2-0 record vs Coric), and repair his damaged relationship with Monfils, cost France their two best shots at victory this weekend. Chardy was always going to struggle on clay, and Tsonga and Pouille are both woefully short of form. It felt like Noah picked the surface to try and limit Cilic’s (Croatia’s obvious top threat who loves fast hard courts) weapons, but in doing so also opened up the underbelly of his own team’s shortcomings on such a slow surface. Chardy and Tsonga’s backhands in particular got picked apart by the baseline solidity of Coric and Cilic. Had Simon or Monfils been present, clay would have been an understandable pick with both players being excellent slower court players. But none of Chardy, Tsonga or Pouille have ever played their best tennis on clay, which makes the choice for such an important final, baffling. These shortcomings manifested as a bit of a rout in Croatia’s favour in singles, with Cilic and Coric not dropping serve once in three matches. The bright spot for the French came in the form of the evergreen Mahut/Herbert doubles duo, who, fresh off a great season together, gave the French a short-lived glimmer of hope at an improbable comeback.

Croatia much too good this weekend.

— Croatia 🇭🇷 Your 2018 Davis Cup Champions.


— Coric’s backhand was such a weapon all match vs Chardy in the 1st Rubber.

— Cilic was so comfortable in the backhand-to-backhand battles vs Tsonga. Marin knew Tsonga didn’t have the backhand down the line (at least with any consistency), so could just wait for the right ball to attack.

— Brilliant to see some classic Tsonga flair on court. Hopefully he can start his comeback for real next year, after a tough end to 2018.

— Pavic finding space where there was none.

— Huge forehand down the line from Mahut.

— Crazy reactions from Herbert.

— Ah the ol’ Wii Tennis special.

— Brilliant touch from Pavic.

— Championship/match point for Croatia and Cilic. What a way to clinch it.

— Match point courtside view. Source


🇭🇷 Cilic: “This is something we’ve been working on for so many years. We’ve had our ups and downs, some tough times but always believed we could win it and that’s why it’s such an unbelievable achievement.” Source

🇭🇷 Cilic: “It's just incredible finishing a chapter like this.” Source

🇭🇷 Cilic: “Winning Davis Cup is completely different comparing to Grand Slam, that is an individual achievement. We go through a lot of tough moments.” Source

Cilic on the incoming, new DC format:

“We'll see how the new format will work. From a financial point of view, the small nations were not benefit by the old formula. I think these federations will be able to have more resources, and I find that very good.”

Cilic one of the few with positive words to say about the new format.

🇫🇷 French DC Captain Yannick Noah: “When people say that Kosmos Cup is Davis Cup, they lie.” Source

🇫🇷 Noah: “I really hope they’re not gonna call this (new format) Davis Cup. Playing best of three sets it’s not Davis Cup, playing somewhere else isn’t Davis Cup.” Source

🇫🇷 Noah: “My only regret is that I couldn't help Gael Monfils. Thought Gael would be my main player these 3 years. He only played one match under my captaincy. I don't understand. Couldn't find the key to help him.” Source

(Matt: Context = Monfils and Noah have a shaky relationship. Monfils has previously questioned Noah’s captains choices (for e.g. tie locations), and Noah has criticised Monfils motivation for the team. A real shame, especially considering that Monfils and Simon are France’s best players at the moment (especially on clay), and neither were selected for the Final.)

🇫🇷 Pouille: “This was the last time I play the Davis Cup. I won't change my mind.” Source


📊 All active Slam champions have now won the DavisCup with their respective countries:

  • Federer & Wawrinka🇨🇭(2014)

  • Nadal 🇪🇸 (2004, 2008, 2009, 2011)

  • Murray 🇬🇧 (2015)

  • Djokovic 🇷🇸 (2010)

  • Del Potro 🇦🇷 (2016)

  • Cilic 🇭🇷 (2018)

📊 Croatia is the 10th country to win more than one Davis Cup.

— Djokovic vs Davis Cup

Frederik Rosengren (Kyle Edmunds Coach) has revealed some very interesting information about Novak Djokovic, who is head of the ATP players council, attempting to persuade fellow top players to boycott the Davis Cup Olympic Eligibility rule.

Watch the full interview clip, and support Alex’s tennis talk show: (Interview Clip 🎥)

Alex@tennisguru100We had the pleasure to have Fredrik Rosengren, coach of Kyle Edmund, in our show recently. Here is the translated part where talks about players disbelief in the new DC-format and why Djokovic wants players, and Edmund, to boycott a specific rule. 🎥: @Sourcepodden

Rosengren: “The ITF has rules that one must play two Davis Cup matches the same year as the Olympics to represent his country in the Olympic Games. He (Djokovic) wants the players to boycott that particular rule.”

Rosengren: “For me, Davis Cup is dead. I haven't heard any player being positive about it. Federer and Djokovic will play? Bullshit. Good luck.” Source

This is the rule in question:

Given that many top players would only need to play 1-2 ties in 2019/20 to be eligible for the Olympics in 2020, if many of the top players agreed to boycott the rule, it becomes very hard to see how the Davis Cup won’t crumble, with regard to player participation, in the first two years of its new format.

This interview was interesting for lots of reasons. Firstly it’s very surprising that Rosengren was comfortable sharing a private email that Edmund received on a public talk show. And secondly it alludes to the proactive ambition which Djokovic seemingly possesses in his position as the top player representative of the ATP Players Council. Novak helped unveil the ATP’s competing team competition (the ‘ATP Cup’) a week or so ago in London, alongside ATP power brokers Craig Tiley and Chris Kermode. This indicates that despite publicly backing the new Davis Cup format just a few months ago, Djokovic has firmly chosen sides.

On the same day (yesterday), Haggerty (the president of the ITF), suggested that talks were progressing between the ATP and ITF, with a potential combined event being the preference of both sides:

Gaspar Ribeiro Lança@gasparlanca"There was this feeling that we all want to do what's best for tennis. If we do that we all have to give a little bit, to think about the greater good for the sport. I'm an optimist by nature & I'm very optimist that tennis can work together to come to one event", Haggerty said.

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