Simon Reed

  • Sharapova v Azarenka was the noisiest match I’ve ever heard

    Grunting or screaming in women's tennis is nothing new. Maria Sharapova and Victoria Azarenka being two of the loudest in the game is nothing new either. But when the two of them came together in the women's semi-final at Roland-Garros, it was the noisiest encounter I had ever heard.

    The screams just went on and on - not just at the point each hit their shot, but still when the ball was on the other side of the net, almost on the strings of their opponent's racquet.

    It was Sharapova who most caught me by surprise. Although she is a screamer, she was Azarenka's equal - or perhaps even more

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  • Next coach could be make-or-break for Laura Robson

    It has been another interesting week in the career of Laura Robson after she produced a superb display to beat Venus Williams in Rome before an admirable performance in defeat against Serena the following day.

    This follows a pattern: when she plays against big name players she produces a higher level of tennis than she does elsewhere.

    I think the name is getting around a bit now too. What was interesting about her match with Serena was just how seriously Serena took the contest.

    Serena looked totally focused – almost as if she was treating it like a final - she didn't look like she often does

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  • Djokovic-conqueror Dimitrov is top-five bound

    Grigor Dimitrov puts his body on the line to beat world number one Novak Djokovic (AFP)

    It was an absolutely massive performance from Grigor Dimitrov to beat Novak Djokovic in Madrid, that’s for sure.

    Dimitrov is over-burdened with talent and it has, in the past, affected his attitude towards the sport. His talent was taking him to quite exotic places, and he was not having to work too hard in the process.

    When he split from coach Peter McNamara last year, I was worried for Grigor as I was not sure what his work ethic would be like without him. Tennis is mostly about physicality these days – Djokovic, Andy Murray and Rafa Nadal are all physical freaks.

    Thankfully for Dimitrov he

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  • Forgotten man Soderling has the mental toughness to return

    It is hard to believe that it is nearly two whole years since Robin Soderling last played tennis. In July 2011 he won the Swedish Open but soon after he suffered a wrist injury. Then he was diagnosed with mononucleosis and he has not played since.

    He told the Swedish newspaper Expressen this week about how his fight to get back on the court: "It’s going very slowly, but at least it’s getting better," he told the paper.

    "People tell me I have to set a deadline, but why do I have to do that?"

    It continues to be a tough road back for Soderling but I still see him as a future top 10 player even

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  • Dominant Djokovic throws French wide Open

    Rafael Nadal leads Novak Djokovic 19-15 in their overall head to head, but unsurprisingly Rafa is 12-3 on clay, even after his Monte Carlo Masters final loss to the Serb at the weekend.

    After Nadal’s successful return from a career-threatening injury break, I had earmarked him as comfortable favourite for the French Open title. Now I am not so sure.

    It’s not just that Djokovic beat Nadal on the brown stuff: his two previous clay victories also came in Masters finals at Madrid and Rome two years ago, but even then Rafa went on to win the French Open.

    No, it’s the manner in which Djokovic

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  • It is heartening to see Novak Djokovic feeling that he has recovered sufficiently from his ankle problems to play in the Monte Carlo Masters, but this tournament is all about Rafael Nadal. That is no criticism of Djokovic's abilities on the red stuff, but tournaments on clay are all about Rafa, who is fresh and ready to begin his latest assault on his favourite surface.

    Nadal is bidding for a ninth straight title in Monte Carlo. That is an incredible run. It is a glorious setting for a tournament, but Nadal has turned it into his personal training ground.

    I'm slightly surprised to see

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  • Great Britain's 3-2 win over Russia in the Davis Cup shows that if there is a belief in a team and the team pulls together, very strange things can happen.

    The doubles win to claw the tie back to 2-1 on Saturday with Colin Fleming and Jonny Marray winning was pretty predictable because we have a fine doubles unit, but the reverse singles were astonishing really. James Ward, ranked 214th in the world, was the crucial one to beat Dmitry Tursunov, number 67, who is talented but very inconsistent and a bit of a loose cannon.

    Credit must go to Ward for battling away, especially after his loss on

    Read More »from Evans shows exactly how much talent he’s not taking full advantage of
  • Is elite tennis now just a case of last man standing?

    Andy Murray and Rafael Nadal, winners in Miami and Indian Wells

    Tennis has become steadily more gladiatorial and it is losing a lot of quality because of the ‘last man standing’ nature of the matches at the highest level.

    Many of the ATP finals are about one player outlasting another, and the concept of pure tennis does not come into it, sadly. It is a great shame that players have to concentrate all of their efforts on simply surviving physically.

    A classic example was at the Miami Masters when the final between Andy Murray and David Ferrer simply came down to conditioning and the two players taking themselves to their limits in terms of fitness.

    I am a

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  • Caroline Wozniacki went out of a tournament early again in Miami, but she will bounce back.

    I was surprised about her going out of the Australian Open to Svetlana Kuznetsova in January, but losing to Garbine Muguruza in Miami this week is no disgrace.

    I think we are going to have to get used to that as she is a top-20 player waiting to happen: 19 years of age, with the world at her feet, Muguruza has been frightening a lot of players. I am surprised that she beat Wozniacki right now - but in a year's time I wouldn't be surprised.

    The problem with Wozniacki is that she will always be at the

    Read More »from Caroline Wozniacki’s problem isn’t Rory McIlroy, or stripping off to sell underwear
  • Nadal passed acid test, but what about Federer’s fitness?

    It was an astonishing performance from Rafael Nadal in Indian Wells, and one that I doubted was possible on a hard court so soon after his return.

    He proved a point about his fitness and his state of mind with the clay court season just around the corner.

    In saying that, I am glad he has decided not to take further risks by withdrawing from Miami this week.

    Of the two tournaments - Indian Wells and Miami - he probably chose the right one to play.

    Everything about Indian Wells helped Rafa, and he responded to the moment. The conditions were ideal for him and the ball was up high for him to

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