Australian Open - Mouratoglou: Federer sets the tone

Mon, 17 Jan 20:30:00 2011

Patrick Mouratoglou blogs every day from the Australian Open.

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First rounds of a Grand Slam are always interesting because they give details on the true shape of the main title contenders.

Today, Roger Federer played a perfect game: offensive, confident, daring and totally ready regarding his fitness. When he’s moving like this, his level of play goes through the roof.

Novak Djokovic was also very impressive during the night session against Marcel Granollers who was only able to get five games in three sets. The Serbian showed how well prepared he was.

It was the same story for Andy Roddick who started his match with three consecutive aces and ended it with 18 under his belt and 68% of first serves in. His win was really easy and lost only five games, like Roger and Novak.

I think Grigor Dimitrov, the 19-year-old Bulgarian player who trained in my academy, deserves to be talked about because he’s a symbol of the next generation. along with Berankis, Harrison, Tomic, Raonic, Kuznetsov and Krajinovic.

Grigor, started working with Peter McNamara in July and has improved a lot in his game and his ranking. After qualifying for the main draw, he won his first round match against Golubev - 38th in the world - in straight sets. This victory shows all the work done and how much he has improved in eight months.

He’s so fast, fluid and with a cat like game but he also showed maturity. He could have been carried away, could have tried to go too much for it and then being caught by the pressure of what was at stake. Winning his first match in this kind of event means a lot for a young player. Grigor remained focused and calm from beginning to the end. I’m really proud of him.

On the women's side, I'd like to talk about Yanina Wickmayer, with whom I work from time to time and that I deeply respect. She’s one of a kind, with a strong temper but she’s a player built for the big matches.

She’s still young and needs time to become a champ but tonight she played an outstanding match against Jarmila Groth. The Australian, who just won in Hobart, also played well but made too many mistakes.

Yanina found a way to hang in there and to wait for the best opportunity in order to strike. This match was such a fight and once again Yanina impressed me with her will power, and how determined and aggressive she can be. She’s a real gladiator.


Dinara Safina v Kim Clijsters

You shouldn’t miss this one. Kim Clijsters is obviously the big favourite but she displayed some signs of tiredness in Sydney during her semi-final and final. I think she feels confident about her game but she’s a bit short in her fitness. So it’ll be very interesting to see how she regenerated after Sydney and if she’s able to play at a great level.

Unfortunately for Safina, she is facing tough opponents in the first rounds as she tries to return to her best level. She had to play Wickmayer in Auckland, Bartoli in Hobart and now Clijsters. Still, she’s playing well and will test the Belgian.

Bernard Tomic v Jeremy Chardy

Jérémy went through a tough year and has missed his start of 2011, but we all know he’s very talented and is a great striker of the ball. He’ll face the Australian prodigy. Though Tomici s pretty low in the ranking (199), he’s gifted enough to upset good players when he’s having a good day.

Last year he pushed Cilic to the limit and Jeremy will have to play aggressive, to hit hard and, most important, make Tomic move. Bernard grew a lot last year and so is still struggling with his motion. It’s tough for him to be steady in his strokes and to run a lot but let's also have a look to his outstanding backhand down the line.

Lleyton Hewitt v David Nalbandian

The battle of the day will be the rematch of the Wimbledon 2002 final. The Australian has get the edge by playing at home. He’ll be very tough to beat and seems in shape because he has just won the Kooyong exhibition.

Nalbandian played great in Auckland where he reached the final but it’s always tough to guess how this tennis genius is going to play. Let’s just be sure of one thing: he’ll want to do his best in this kind of game.

Lauren Davis v Samantha Stosur

The future of tennis is at the Australian Open. Among the young players to watch is Lauren Davis who is on an amazing winning streak. Born in 1993, she was given a wild card and will now play Samantha Stosur.

Since October, she has won 33 matches and lost just once in junior events. She has lost only once in a semi-final of a junior event. You’ll get to see a very quick player, very fierce and willing.

Outside Courts

You should also watch Serbian Bojana Jovanovski, born in 1991 and who is rising very fast with some good wins in Sydney against Aravane Rezaï and Flavia Pennetta, against Kai-Chen Chang and Coco Vandeweghe who will face Alizé Cornet.

There is also Christina McHale against Carla Suarez Navarro and don’t miss Caroline Garcia, one of the biggest French hopes who was born in 1993 and owns a lot of weapons needed to reach the top level. We’ll watch closely her game against Varvara Lepchenko.

In the men draw, Ricardas Berankis, born in 1990, will play the wild card Marinko Matosevic and Milos Raonic, born in the same year, will play against Bjron Phau. If you can get the chance to go and watch those players, you won’t regret it.


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