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Hey there, happy 6-Love Saturday!
Here is 1 player to watch, 1 match to re-watch, 1 goodbye, 2 tips from us, and 1 question for you:
1 Player to Watch
Maria Sakkari: This week we’re focusing on the women’s side – and one of the players I’m excited to watch this year is the Greek Maria Sakkari. Coached by my good friend and former teammate Tom Hill, she reached her first 2 Grand Slam semifinals this year, along with a semi-final at the WTA Finals.
Maria has the game, the brains, and the fitness (if you’ve never watched one of her workouts, you’re missing out). In my opinion, the only thing she’s been missing is confidence in herself and really believing she’s one of the best – which I think has changed after the great 2021 she had. She’s started the Aussie Open with 3 very solid performances, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see her win her first GS this year.
1 Match to Re-watch
Berrettini vs Alcaraz Garfia: While I know this isn’t a Wimbledon final between Federer and Nadal, I think this has probably been the most exciting match of the tournament so far. It’s always nice to see 2 players who leave it all out on the court and who show their emotions on the court – and both of these guys did that very well.
It was great to see Mateo getting a good win after his emotional withdraw at the ATP finals, and it’s also such a great joy to watch Carlos Alcaraz. You can tell this guy is just going to be so good. Great win by Mateo by 62 76(3) 46 26 76(5).
Cici Bellis: At the age of 22, Cici Bellis decided to call it quits on tennis after struggling with injuries for the last 3 years. Cici reached the 35th position in the rankings at the age of 17, and was expected to become one of the next stars in women’s tennis. She posted the news on Instagram and seems to be at peace about the decision:
“I absolutely love the sport and have nothing but the best memories from my time playing, but it was definitely time to move on. The good news is that I used my injury time-out wisely. I’m currently completing my business/finance college degree (graduating in 3 months), and an MBA will follow. I’m working full time as an investment analyst for @leadsportsofficial – a VC firm designed to support and grow early-stage sports & health tech startups.Needless to say, it’s right up my alley and I literally find myself sprinting to the office each day because of how excited I am.”Cici Bellis, on Instagram
While it’s sad to know that tennis will be losing a great talent, it is really encouraging to see her doing so well after struggling with injuries. She will be graduating from Indiana University East soon, and she seems like the type of gal who will have a great career in whatever field she chooses. I wonder, however, if she regrets the decision of going pro at the age of 17 instead of accepting the offer to play for Stanford University.
2 Tips from Us
I. Using your left arm on your forehand: too many players focus exclusively on their right arm (or left for lefties) when hitting forehands, but the non-dominant arm is just as important. You should make sure that:
1) it is well in front of your body and pointing at the ball, which will help with the contact point and the rotation; and
2) it shouldn’t “drop” after letting the racket go, as that will make you lose momentum when hitting the ball.
We have a full lesson on youtube highlighting how to use your left arm well, and you can check it out here:
II. Reducing the number of double faults: Aryna Sabalenka, the world #2, seems to have forgotten how to serve. She served a combined 58 double faults in 3 matches – which means she gave away almost 15 games in double faults. We’ve seen this happen with other successful players (Zverev and Coria, just to name a few), and I have also personally been there – sometimes you just lose confidence on your serve and it is REALLY hard to get it back.
If you ever go through the same issue, here are a few things that help: developing a routine for the serve (step-by-step), practicing high-pressure situations (one serve only, playing specific point situations), and keeping your toss relaxed (poor tosses are often the cause for double faults). Most importantly – relax, and know that with time and practice, this too shall pass.
1 Question for You
- Who are you betting on the women’s side of the Aussie Open? Vika Azarenka has been playing really well, but Ash Barty is probably our pick right now that Naomi is out.
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Until next week,
Gui & Karue
Former junior, college, pro tennis players, and co-founders of My Tennis HQ