Roger Federer’s New Racquet: How it Affects Every Aspect of his Game

fedracquet

Roger Federer has been competing with his new 98 square inch Wilson Racquet for about five full months now, and the results have been nothing short of outstanding for the 32 year old. But rarely do we see or hear an explanation on how the racquet is helping. Well, I’m here to break down how the racquet is impacting each and every part of Federer’s game. It’s almost all positive, but there are some things that Federer has had to adjust in his game to adapt to the racquet. Let’s get into it.

Serve–For the most part, the larger racquet head size and lighter frame has allowed Federer to put a few more MPH on his serve. However, it’s not that big of a difference. He peaks around 205 kilometers per hour(127 MPH), and that’s about the same as when he was using the old racquet. This biggest thing is that Federer is getting a consistent increase in pace AND spin. The spin here is the key. He’s now hitting kick serves as first serves, and they’re extremely effective. His wide serve is also getting excellent width with the added spin.

His second serve was starting to get eaten at up in 2013. What used be one of the best second serves in the game was not getting punished when he played good, attacking players.(See matches against Nishikori, Berdych, Stakhovsky, Robredo) The new frame is getting just a little bit more kick, and it’s made a difference. In 2013, Federer won 55% of his second serve points, and in 2014, he’s winning 57% of those points. While that may seem like a minimal gain, it actually is huge. When he’s consistently defending his second serve, Federer is very tough to beat.

Return–This is probably the toughest aspect to analyze. Federer’s return has always been the weakest part of his game, even though it’s really not that weak at all. He’s winning the same amount of first serve return points as he did in 2013, 33%. He’s doing slightly better on second serve returns though, where he’s gone from 53 to 55% points won. He is able to attack second serves more effectively because he can generate more pace with the larger frame.

What we see is that Federer is about the same on first serve returns on his forehand side, but slightly better than before on the backhand side. He’s mishitting fewer, and putting more in play. That allows for him to get into points and really get the most out of the racquet–at the baseline.

Forehand– It’s interesting, because Federer is one of only a handful of players in the top 100 to still use an eastern forehand. Everybody talks about how the racquet is giving Federer more power and spin, but nobody really goes further than that. Players with eastern forehands, such as Roberto Bautista Agut and Radek Stepanek, often hit very flat strokes, and rarely ramp up the spin. But Federer is an exception. He uses so much wrist just before contact that if he wants to hit spin, he can. Watch below.

So with the new larger frame, he has more margin for error during that wrist action, therefore limiting the number of balls he mishits. He’ll still shank an occasional forehand, but far less than when played with the 90 square inch frame. He is hitting the ball with more power and spin, but that’s predominately because the sweet-spot on the racquet is larger, and he has more margin for error.

It also doesn’t hurt that he can generate more racquet head speed with the lighter frame.

Backhand–This is where we really start to to see a difference. In 2013, Federer was shanking balls left and right. He was leaving the ball short and making numerous unforced errors off of his weaker wing. The new frame has added a couple dimensions that have really helped Federer. First, he’s able to hit over his backhand WAY more than he used, especially when he’s on the run. The larger head size is allowing Federer to get more easy pace, and therefore he feels more comfortable driving through the ball, even when he’s in defensive positions.

This video is a great example of that.

The slice is getting more spin and bite than before, and he hasn’t lost any control in the process. One concern when Federer switched was that with more power at his expense he would lose some of the precision that his game is based around. Well, that concern is gone. In fact, he is able to be just as precise if not more accurate, due to the consistent increased spin rate he is putting on the ball.

Volley– This was my biggest concern when Federer switched. Bringing in Stefan Edberg, everybody talked about Federer’s increasing desire to get to the net. Often times larger and lighter frames lack the stability and feel needed to excel at the net. But it turns out that Federer’s volleys have IMPROVED with the new racquet. He’s getting a little more stick on the standard volley, and a ton of slice and bite on the low volley.

And don’t worry, his drop volley’s look just as good as they used.

Here’s a video of some of Federer’s best points of 2014 thus far.

 

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Reflections from Roland Garros: Day 1

The French Open is back, and so are we! It’s been a long layoff for The Tennis Nerds. I had a lot on  my plate over the last few months, including school, college tennis, and figuring out plans for the future. But I have some exciting news that I’ll be sharing very soon, but first, let’s begin our daily series from the French Open, where I reflect on anything and everything that I found interesting from the action of that day.

Roger’s Racquet is STILL Blacked Out– Okay, this isn’t exactly breaking news, but it still baffles me that Roger Federer, the most recognizable and marketable tennis player on earth, has a tennis racquet with no design on it. Wilson has had something like 6 months to design and name the new weapon that has treated the Swiss star so well this season, but they are still painting the frame all black, and simply stenciling the Wilson “W”. Think about how much money they could make if they offered Federer’s frame to the public? People would go crazy over that thing. Even Federer’s old racquet, the Pro Staff 90, which should not be used by anybody other than a professional, sells off the charts. Go to your local tennis club, and you’ll see what I’m talking about.

The 5 Set Warrior: Mikhail Youzhny– It seems like every time I look at the live scores of one of Youzhny’s matches, it goes the distance. Seriously, the guy plays 5 set matches ALL THE TIME. Check out his ITF Tennis page, and see for yourself how often he plays these types of drama filled matches. Today, he went down two sets to none on the youngster Pablo Carreno Busta. He only won 4 games through the first two sets. And that’s when the comeback began. As he was clawing his way back, the crowd started to really embrace the unpredictable Russian. He won 3-6 1-6 6-3 6-4 6-0, and finished with his classic Soldier Salute. I still believe it’s the best celebration in tennis. Also a word for Radek Stepanek, who himself came back from 2 sets down to defeat Facundo Arguello on Sunday.

It’s Not The French Open Without Scheduling Controversy– When it was announced that 8-time and defending champion Rafael Nadal was to begin his 2014 campaign on Suzanne Lenglen, there was a lot of questioning of the decision from fellow players such as John Isner, to the outrage of media members and fans on social media. It’s very interesting to me, because the French Open is different than any other major when it comes to scheduling. Because they don’t play under the lights, only 4 matches(2 men’s, 2 women’s) are scheduled  per day on the big show courts. Tournament organizers decided that Novak Djokovic and Stan Wawrinka would serve as better options than the 14 time grand slam champ. At any other slam, Nadal would have been an automatic for Center Court.

But when I thought about their reasoning, it sort of makes sense to me. Roland Garros, more than any other slam, aims please their fans. The Paris crowd has never really loved Rafa. Sure, they have a ton of respect for him, but his style of play is not the type that the French really love. They appreciate a little flair, and almost anybody who speaks their language. Roger Federer is treated as one of their own during his fortnight in Paris. Even Novak Djokovic, who over the years has become pretty fluent in the French language, is now getting serious support from the Parisians. So think about it. Do you think the French Crowd would rather watch Rafael Nadal or Novak Djokovic? The last two times the two met at Roland Garros, it was Djokovic who had the crowd slightly behind him, especially last year. Now, Nadal or Wawrinka? The French love Stan. He has the one handed backhand, throws in the dropshot, and is fluent in French. While it’s probably not right that an 8 time champion isn’t put on Center court, it does make sense if you think about from the tournament organizers eyes.

Speaking of the French Crowd– They show their players more support than probably any other country, except for maybe the Fanatics of Australia. Alize Lim held in first service game, and the Paris faithful was already rocking. They were incredible for Tsonga, and I can only imagine how loud they’ll be for their favorite player; Gael Monfils.

Sidenote– How awesome would it be if Monfils made a deep run into the tournament this year? I, for one, am completely behind that notion.

The Clay is Playing Slow, like Really Slow– It’s wet, it’s cloudy, and it’s slow. The red clay is already the slowest of the four surfaces, but when it’s cold and rainy, it is nearly impossible to hit through the court. I really noticed this in Federer and Lacko’s match on Chatrier. The show courts are tended the best, and for that reason they are also usually the slowest. Combine that with the moist conditions, and you get the idea. They say the weather is supposed to be just as bad if not worse for at least the next 5 days, and it will be interesting to see how it affects the tournament. Nadal actually likes the hot, fast, high bouncing conditions much more than the slow clumpy stuff that will be out there this week. However he should roll through his first few matches.

That’s it for day 1, but I’ll be back tomorrow! Also, if you missed it, here are my analysis and picks for some of Monday’s best matches: http://wp.me/p2TliK-2tL

Australian Open Quarterfinal Picks–Dimitrov/Nadal and Federer/Murray

baby and fed

There are two blockbuster quarterfinals tonight, with both Baby and Uncle Fed participating. In all seriousness, these have the potential to be great matches, and my roommate Jorge Merlos has joined me to break down the match-ups and make our picks.

Grigor Dimitrov vs Rafael Nadal

Joey: This match has the uncertainty factor. Nadal definitely goes in as the favorite, but there are a few things that could have a massive impact on the outcome of the match. For one, Rafa has grabbed his knee a few times throughout the tournament, and it’s unclear whether he is 100% healthy. The massive blister on his palm could bother him, but he should be able to fight through that. Another unknown is how Dimitov will perform at this level in the most pressure packed match of his life. He had not been past the third round of a Grand Slam before this tournament, and although he has performed exceptionally well thus far, you never know what might happen given the uncharted territory.

The matchup is always tough for a one-hander like Dimitrov against Nadal, but Grigor has taken a set off of Rafa in each of their previous three meetings. Interestingly enough, it has always been the second set, and I believe if Grigor wants a shot at this one he will need to win the first. Unlike most players, Baby Fed hits a very sharp slice that actually can give Nadal trouble. In Cincinnati last year he used the shot very effectively, keeping Rafa on the back foot. It will be interesting to see how much he decides to come over the ball, because his one-hander at shoulder level almost always lands short. We pretty much know what we are going to get from Rafa, who never gives anything away, and always makes the opponent earn the match. Dimitrov has served exceptionally well and he will need that to continue to have any shot. My head tells me Rafa, as does every expert analyst out there, but sometimes you gotta go with your heart right?

Dimitrov 7-6(4) 6-4 2-6 1-6 7-5

Jorge: La Rodilla! The blister! Stop it. After beating Kei Nishikori on Monday, Rafael Nadal is poised to stop the Fed of the future, Grigor Dimitrov. If Dimitrov wants to win this match, his serves have to be on point. Last year in the round of 16 against Nadal at Cincinnati, Dimitrov won 38 of 54 point of his first serve. However winning points off his second serve was not as efficient as he won 12 out of 29 points.

Dimitrov has been able to win at least a set on Nadal in each of their matches but Nadal has been able to close out every match. Grigor takes a lot of positive momentum into this match after taking out Raonic and Bautista Agut, but Nadal looks unstoppable after beating his last 3 opponents in 3 sets. Look for Nadal to use his forehand to break down Grigor’s backhand, and attack Dimitrov’s unstable return game. I see this match ending with a very tough 4th set tiebreaker with Nadal eventually pulling it out.

Nadal 6-4 5-7 6-3 7-6 (7).

Roger Federer vs Andy Murray

Joey: A little after Baby takes the court, Uncle Fed will take center stage against Andy Murray. The two played a great, but not necessarily high quality match one year ago in Melbourne. Murray is coming off of back surgery and has played three players outside the top 100 in route to the quarters, so to say he’s had a weak draw would be an understatement. He has looked sharp though, only dropping one set to Stephane Robert in the round of 16. Through his first four matches it appeared that Murray had a few lapses in concentration, but that is understandable given the competition. He does look fully healthy, but playing his 5th match in 10 days will be a big test for back. After playing somewhat scratchy against James Duckworth in the first round, Federer has looked awesome in last three matches, culminating with a dominant performance over Jo Willy Tsonga that gave all Fed-fans some serious hope and belief.

Murray leads the head to head 11-9, while Federer leads the Grand Slam record 3-1. Hard courts are definitely the Muzza’s best surface, with his movement giving his opponents fits. The surface on Rod Laver Arena in a little quicker this year, but it’s a night match so condition will slow down. With the new racket, Federer has been serving very effeciently, even adding a few m.p.h.’s. His wide serve in the deuce court has been especially potent, and he uses that serve on almost every first point of his service games. Murray has played Federer with more aggressiveness in their past few meetings, and it will be important he does so against, because Federer has been bossing his opponents around the court. I think we know what to expect from Murray, a good solid performance. Federer is much more of a questions. However, there is a certain fire in Fed’s eyes and you know how badly he wants to prove the doubters wrong. Again, I’ll admit it, I’m picking with my heart.

Federer 6-3 7-5 6-7(5) 6-4

Jorge: I readily admit that I did not expect this match to happen. I did not see Federer beating Tsonga, and certainly not with that kind of  conviction, crushing Jo Willy in straight sets. It was the perfect way for Fed to come into this matchup against Murray. Murray has looked solid in his first few matches coming back from surgery but has not faced a big challenge from any opponent.

What I have seen from Federer in the past week has been amazing after a dismal 2013.  If Federer can move like he has been for the past couple matches, he can win this match. Look for more of the serve and volley from Roger to neutralize the Murray backhand return. The serve and volley tactic won’t seal the deal, but it will be a key part in winning the match.

Federer 5-7 6-4 7-6 (4) 3-6 6-4.

Go ahead, blast our picks. But I want to hear from you guys. As Brad Gilbert and Ricky Dimon  would say, who ya got and scoreline?

The Australian Open Court Speed Debate

Margaret-Court-Arena-1-700x450

 

If you’ve been watching the Australian Open for the past two days, then you have undoubtably heard commentators, analysts, and players discussing the speed of the court in Melbourne. Court speed is debated at just about every grand slam. Consensus opinion is that court speeds in this era are medium-slow to very slow at just about each major. For those of you who have watched enough tennis, you know the affect the speed of a surface can have on the game.

What I’ve noticed in watching the action is that yes, the courts look slightly faster. I mean slightly. This is not an event-altering adjustment. The outside courts look to be a bit quicker than the Stadium courts, as the players have reported. And as Brad Gilbert said, the new balls at this years Aussie Open aren’t fluffing up as much as years past, allowing them to get through the court a bit quicker. But even with these modifications, the tennis hasn’t been impacted too much. Part of the reason the courts are playing quick is because it’s so hot, over 100 degrees on Tuesday. When it’s hot outside(and especially dry heat like they have in Melbourne), the balls fly through the air much quicker. In contrast, if you’ve watched any of the night matches you’ll have noticed a significant drop in the court speed. Djokovic and Lacko, and even Nadal and Tomic’s matches looked to be playing much slower than the day.

So all that crap begs the question: Should the courts be faster?

As somebody who enjoys aggressive, attacking tennis, I always felt that quicker courts would lend themselves to more aggressive play, and they do. But you have to be careful, because at a point the tennis starts to get boring for the fans with razor quick courts. First serve unreturned. Second serve chipped back to the middle, forehand winner. First serve unreturned. The rallies are short, and therefore the matches are short. Tournament officials are stuck between giving fans a good show, and allowing players easier times on their bodies.

Everybody remembers the epic Djokovic vs Nadal Final in Melbourne ’12. All 6 hours of it. And because of how slow that court was playing, it seemed like every rally was going at least 20 strokes. This, obviously, made the players tired, and therefore they began to take very long time between points. With the new 25 second rule, those guys would have defaulted in the third set. So if we really want to enforce these new rules then the surface speed is kind of forced to be faster.

Is this good for fans? I don’t know yet. I always used to agree with the old-timers and say,”yeah, lets make these courts faster.” But I’m starting to rethink my position. The courts in Brisbane and Sydney were really fast, and there weren’t a lot of long rallies. I started to say to myself,”this is kinda boring…”

So I guess I’ve come up with a conclusion that is fair for everyone. How about we don’t go just one way or another, and instead make each Grand Slam have very different characteristics. Believe it or not, the French Open has been getting quicker over the years. Wimbledon has slowed down significantly and the US Open is…inconsistent. How about the Australian Open goes back to being really slow with a high bounce, Roland Garros goes back to its slower speed, while Wimbledon and the US Open get sped up?

What do you think? I might have just confused myself writing this article.

Australian Open Preview +Picks

aus

 

Make sure your alarm clocks are set. Be sure that your friends and family are aware that you may be unreachable for the next two weeks. If you’re like me, your sleep schedule will be wildly unordinary for the next 14 days. The Australian Open is upon us, the first slam of the year, the “happy slam.” With temperatures set to break 100 degrees on multiple days in Melbourne, the heat will certainly test players happiness.

The draw was released on Friday, and more than a few were in uproar at the imbalance it produced. Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray, Juan Martin Del Potro and Roger Federer are all on the top half of the draw, leaving Novak Djokovic sitting pretty in his quest for his 4th Australian crown. But a draw is nothing more than a draw, and the matches still have to be played for potential matches to occur later in the tournament.

I think this year’s Aus Open will be the year of the upset. An upset winner is highly unlikely, but we could be in store for some deep runs by less than “elite” players. So let’s get into the picks!

Winner

Novak DjokovicI know, this is probably the 1000th time you’ve seen this pick. But to pick against Djoker would mean that I’m not a realistic tennis analyst. Look at his draw. Really the only danger he faces in route to the final is Stanislas Wawrinka, and that is real danger. If Stan the Man gets to the quarters, we could be in for another epic. But most likely Novak will cruise through his first 5-6 matches dropping maybe a set or two in the process. He is the best hard-court player in the world, as he proved during his 24 match winning streak to end 2013. Obviously he should face a great player in the final, whether that’s Nadal, Murray, or Del Potro. But none of those players have an easy road to get to their 7th match. The overall stress of playing 2-3 tough matches takes its toll and Novak will undoubtably have the clear edge in the final.

Dark Horse(‘s)

Ernests Gulbis–Although Ernie G is in Novak’s quarter of the draw, he has the firepower to take out anyone. He lost in straight sets to Rafa in Doha, but I think the court speed in Melbourne is just right for Gulbis’ style of play. He will have just a split second more time, and the ball will sit just a little higher; perfect for his elongated strokes and extreme grips. Of course Ernie could lose in the first round and make me look incredibly stupid, but you gotta show some faith right?

Gael Monfils–I’ve made a few comments on twitter in the last couple weeks talking about Monfils. From what I’ve seen, I think he’s ready for a breakout(or breakback?) 2014. The talent has always been there, but he looked as focused as I had even seen him in Doha. He lost a close 3-setter to Nadal in the final, but he was hitting the absolute **** out of the ball. If he is serving well, he is tough to beat, and Gael lives for the big moments in front of big crowds. The defining match for him will be the potential 3rd round rematch between Gael and Nadal, under the lights on Rod Laver Arena.

Grigor Dimitrov–I pick this guy….a lot. And usually he proves me wrong, by losing before the third round in Grand Slams. But my colleagues at Tennis View Magazine have had great reports for Dimitrov’s practice sessions. Apparently he is really hitting the cover off the ball, and with new coach Roger Rasheed, it’s time that Grigor made his move. 2014 will see Grigor inside the top 10. There. I  said it.

Americans(The less Popular One’s)

Tim Smyczek–Had to include Smee in this post. He adds to the stacked top half of the draw. He will play Roberto Bautista-Agut in the first round. RBA is in good form, reaching the SF in Auckland, where he blew a set and break lead to John Isner, eventual champion. Tim is using a new racket in 2014, and as long as he takes out RBA he will meet Delpo in the second round, which should be fun to watch.

Denis Kudla–I really like Kudla, I think he has one of the higher ceilings among young Americans. He is VERY fit, and solid as they come off the ground. He qualified into the tournament and will face Florian Mayer in the first round. Mayer is a really good player, but I think Kudla takes this one in 5. He will then could face Mikhail Youzhny. Again, it should be fun.

As Brad Gilbert says: Who ya got and scoreline?

 

Federer Out…Again

Federer frustrated after missing another break point chance.

Federer frustrated after missing another break point chance.

It was a day of firsts for Roger Federer. After a lengthy rain delay, Roger match with Tommy Robredo was put on Louis Armstrong stadium. It was the first time at the US Open since 2006 that he played a match outside of Arthur Ashe stadium. Coming into the match, Federer had not dropped more than 1 set in any match with Robredo, owning a 10-0 record. That changed, with Robredo winning in straight sets to claim his first victory over the Swiss legend. And finally, with Federer losing in the 4th round this week, it marks the first time in 10 years that he has failed to reach at least one Grand Slam final during the season.

However, the taste in fan’s mouths after the match can’t be as bitter these days. By no means was this a routine loss, but it wasn’t as shocking as should be. If you’ve watched Federer play the last few months, you’ll know that he looks great some days, and very bad on others. His first three matches at the US Open were nearly flawless. He was hitting his forehand like old times; smoking the ball with pin point precision. His serve was back to it’s normal dominance, and he was even hitting his backhand with confidence. But all that changed Monday night, with Federer looking mediocre at best. He was even out-aced by Robredo; I’m willing to bet that’s also a first.

“I felt like I beat myself; without taking any credit away from Tommy,” Federer said. He pretty much nailed it on the head with that comment. Robredo was standing at the fence for nearly the whole match. He was going to grind to the death if he had to, but usually grinders pose no threat to Rog, who will just move them back and forth until he finds the opening. Something was amiss with his forehand, as he was shanking what seemed like every other shot. That has been the pattern in all of Federer’s defeats this year; his once other-worldly forehand has come back down to earth, and he performs extremely poor on the big points. (2 for 16 on break points against Robredo)

It was a loss for not only Federer fans, but for tennis. Had Rog been able to come through the match, he would have set the first ever Rafa vs Roger blockbuster match at the US Open, the only major where the two have yet to play. Until next year I guess…

From The Eyes Of The “Die Hard” Fans

The Die Hards

It was a  Monday morning in February 2012 when I saw Tim Smyczek for the first time. A friend and I were going to our first ATP World Tour tournament, the SAP Open in San Jose, California. We had no idea who Smyczek was, but on initial glance he looked like a pretty cool guy. The atmosphere in the indoor arena known as the “shark tank” was similar to a golf course; utterly silent. His match wasn’t even in the main draw, he was playing in the final round of quallies. He beat Ricardas Berankis that day, with very few fans in the arena. His ranking at the time of that match? Number 301 in the world.

From that day on I started to follow Smyczek’s results week to week. They were up and down. One week he would win a couple main draw matches, and the next he would lose first round of a challenger. A huge step in his career was this year at the Australian Open. After being awarded a lucky loser, Tim won his first round of the main draw and played David Ferrer in the second. Ferrer has a game that Smyczek strives to have, with both players being very small. Tim took a set in that match, and I personally began to believe that Tim could be a great player.

My friends and I bought tickets to the US Open in June. We really are “Tennis Nerds”, and I was pumped to experience my first Grand Slam. When I saw that Tim could potentially get to the third round, I started to think of what we could do to support him. Our friends from Ithaca College a year ago had done shirts for S-O-C-K, and I thought that doing the same for “S-M-Y” would be even better because very few fans actually know Tim. After watching great tennis all weekend, it was Sunday evening, around 6 p.m. Smyczek and Marcel Granollers were walking onto court, and we had front row seats. As I looked around the Grandstand, I was disappointed. Most fans had elected to instead watch the Haas-Youzhny match on Armstrong. Smyczek was the last American man left in the draw, and no more than 1000 people were there to watch.

I shrugged my shoulders and told my friends, “Looks like we’re going to have to carry them(the crowd).” From the opening game, all five of us were in full support of the man we like to call Smy. Tim lost the first set after being up a break, which was disappointing. He got down a break to open the second, but broke right back to 1-2. At that point, somebody from Smyczek’s camp came over to us and said, “We need you guys to get this place nuts.” That was all we needed. I was going to wear the “M” with more pride than ever.

From that point on, after every changeover, we lead a different chant. From “Let’s go tim”, to “Smy-Czek”, to “U-S-A”. Smy started to play better, absolutely crushing his forehand like I had never seen him do before. He took the second set 6-3. At the end of the set, Mike Haber, a High Performance Evaluator for the USTA, came over and told us to “make this like a college match”, with the Grandstand being Smy’s home court. Things were starting to get crazy.

Tim started playing the best tennis I’ve ever seen from him. He won the third set 6-0 and he was doing so it some style. He was painting lines and crushing serves, not exactly what you expect from a guy who is 5’9 (and that’s generous). The crowd was not only getting behind Smy but behind us; they were engaging like I’ve never seen at a US tennis match. We ran around the Stadium, getting people out of their seats and into uproar. The atmosphere was electric. It could even be described at epic. People started to file into the Grandstand, hearing how loud we were getting.

Granollers played a very strong fourth set, and took it 6-3. Still, we believed. Tim played inspiring tennis to go up 4-1. We were going nuts; a couple of us including myself voices were shot. That didn’t matter, we were so invested into the match that nothing else mattered. We were literally heartbroken when Smy dropped the match 5-7 in the fifth.

But looking back on it all, it was the greatest sporting experience of my life. Tim Smyczek is exactly the kind of player you want to root for. He plays the game the right way, has a funny personality, and is pure class. His tweets today represented exactly the kind of guy he is.

I’ve never rooted for a player harder than I did last night. Tim will likely move into the top 100 for the first time when the rankings come our next monday, something most people will take for granted. I certainly won’t. People shouldn’t be Smyczek fan’s just because he’s an American, but because he’s everything an American should be.

One last time: FIGHT SMY!