Giving tennis more than a shot

A Dream Team For The Dream? (And News, etc.)

It’s the off-season, but this doesn’t mean that nothing is happening in the tennis world. The players have resumed training for the most part in preparation of the 2012 season, a few have changed coaches, there were very interesting exhibition tournaments to follow and there will be more coming next week as well, etc.


Off-season, they say, when there wasn’t a day without interesting tennis tidbits. For instance, the ATP announced Thursday that Brad Drewett was their new CEO. I will get back to it a bit further.


Another one of these tidbits of news was the Argentine Tennis Association (AAT) introducing the new team at the head of their Davis Cup squad. 


Les deux font la paire

There is, usually, one captain on the Davis Cup team and the rest of the technical corps is more or less known to about everyone. Of course, there are assistants who are usually known but it is really a nice fact that the Argentine team will be run not by a captain and an assistant, but by a captain and a sub-captain.


What does this mean? Basically that both will work together on all the aspects of the team, although only the captain will sit on the chair with the players during the rubbers.


The composition of Argentina’s head duo was no surprise, as it was discussed a lot during the last Davis Cup final, as we knew that Modesto “Tito” Vázquez’s contract was coming to an end and that all pointed to his not coming back. It is indeed what happened, as the AAT did not renew Tito’s contract as Davis Cup captain. However, he will remain as Director of Development (of the young players), a position he was already in and did very well into for the past few years.


Furthermore, as rumoured then, Vázquez has been replaced at the head of Argentina’s Davis Cup team by Martín Jaite, former coach of David Nalbandian. As Jaite wanted, he will be seconded by former player Mariano Zabaleta and both will really form a team in order to earn Argentina its first Davis Cup, hopefully next year. Both are under contract for the next two years.


It is with great pride for both men that the new head team was introduced to the media on Tuesday by the President of the AAT, Arturo Grimaldi, and Executive Vice-President Héctor Romani. Jaite did not waste time in recognizing the work done by Vázquez and, as he had played under his captaincy many years ago, to admit that he was the best captain he has played for.


Jaite added that he and Zabaleta are already at work and have started making contact with some of the players in order to get the team chosen for the first round (February 10-12, 2012), when Argentina will play Germany, in Germany and on clay. Will they count on Juan Martín Del Potro? They sure are hoping so. For Jaite, he is “a champ”, “the ace of spades” of the team (this in reference, I’ve been told, to a popular card game in which the ace of spades is the strongest card). 


Except for this tough first round against Germany, the rest of the draw is very favourable to Argentina, as they would then play all the other ties at home. As a fan, I am really looking forward to see what this new duo will do next year.


After many detours, finally, the ATP has a new CEO

After many a detour, lots of rumours, and a very long time, the ATP announced Thursday the nomination of Aussi Brad Drewett as their new CEO. Drewett will, as of January 1st, replace Adam Helfant at the head of the men’s tour, and that for the next three years.


Drewett, a former ATP player whose highest ranking was world no 34, was the World Tour Finals Director since 2001, as well as the actual CEO of the ATP International Group and, in the past, has been as well in the Player Council and an ATP Player Board Representative. He thus knows very well the insides of the game and is well-known of the players.


An impressive list of credentials that, hopefully, will help improve matters in the ATP, in a time where the players have many a grievance and that necessary changes will need to be made.


Drewett’s election as CEO has, at least, the approval of Roger Federer, which is no mean feat, as the Swiss is President of the Player Council.


You can read what the ATP’s news release here.


Off/Pre-season movement

The players have started, for the most part, their pre-season training in order to get ready for 2012, and if some have been quite active in exhibitions over the last few weeks, others have also taken time to rest, recharge their batteries, and start their training for the upcoming season. Some players have, as well, made some coaching changes:


  • After stopping to work with Guillermo Cañas, Ernests Gulbis is back working with Hernan Gumy since the beginning of this month.
  • Juan Mónaco is not working with either Jose “Pepo” Clavet nor Mariano Zabaleta anymore. If the rest of his team remains unchanged, Pico is now coached by Gustavo Marcaccio, as was announced officially on his website. In the same article, you can also find his calendar for the first half of the season.
  • Pepo Clavet is actually now coaching his countryman Guillermo García López.
  • Thomaz Bellucci has announced close to the Challenger Tour Finals that he was not working with Larri Passos anymore. He is now coached by Argentine Daniel Orsanic, which means that Orsanic is not working with Uruguayan Pablo Cuevas anymore. Cuevas, who is still recuperating from a knee surgery, is presently coachless.
  • Grigor Dimitrov has split with coach Peter McNamara at the end of the season and has not yet hired or named a new coach.
  • Fabio Fognini is now working with Jose Perlas.
  • Ryan Harrison has stopped working with Scott McCain and is now working with Grant Doyle.


Yes, that’s quite a bit of movement.


As well, we were talking about Argentina’s new Davis Cup head team, but it is worthy of mention that Spain is also looking for a Davis Cup captain, as Albert Costa is not coming back, being now, instead, Coordinator of the Spanish National Selections (Fed Cup, Davis Cup, Olympic delegation).


On the day the news of Costa’s departure from the captaincy was made official, Carlos Moyà announced that he would not be the next captain. The most likely to take the post was and remains, for the moment, Alex Corretja. However, Corretja wants a two-year contract, whereas the Spanish Federation (RFET) wants to give him only a one-year contract (article in Spanish). The negotiations thus continue, and I’m only hoping that the RFET will give Corretja the two years he’s asking.


Gaël, the showman

I cannot leave the blog for the Holidays without the highlight of the last week in the tennis world, which is the incredible show given by Frenchman Gaël Monfils in Buenos Aires, as he took part in the Copa Peugeot Argentina. And what a show he gave! I was fortunate enough to watch two of the three matches he played (the second one, against Eduardo Schwank, was sadly not streamed) and I must say that I had loads of fun seeing the entertainer he is giving quite a performance. From many a crazy shot to dancing to joking with linesmen, opponents, umpires, it really was The Gaël Show everytime he took the court.


If you have missed the matches or, if you have and want to see some of The Gaël Show again (and again, and again), here are three great videos taken and posted by BA Tennis. I must say I am not getting tired of them at all!


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Happy Holidays!

It was a long season. Of course, Running Forehand has only been in existence for a little while, but as you know, I also have a French blog that’s been running for over a year now and, consequently, I haven’t really stopped since the beginning of the year. For that reason, unless news of importance come up, I am taking a few days off writing, in order to, of course, celebrate the Holidays, but also to rest and come up with new ideas for the coming year, and my inspiration quite refreshed. This way, I will be able to inform and entertain you the best way I can, as always. I will be back at the beginning of 2012, in time to wish you all a great year.


Next season, as well as my usual ATP coverage, I will most likely add more features to the blog, mainly by talking even more about the Challenger Tour, but also about Futures. Time permitting, of course.


In the meantime, I wish you all very happy Holidays! May they be as festive as you deserve them to be, spent with your loved ones and full of fun and happy times.

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