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Posts Tagged Nicolas Mahut

Why I Admire Fabrice Santoro’s Tennis Game By Joe Marshall

Joe Marshall loves Fabrice Santoro’s ultra-unorthodox style, and many of Joe’s opponents have complained to me how maddening it is to play against him. It’s full of lobs, spins, surprise placements and drop shots, and a ball that lacks all the speed and force of what most modern power tennis is about. Maybe you’d find it works for you. In the video above, Fabrice is the guy who keeps returning the balls that the other guy just can’t seem to put away. There is another video that won’t embed. This is Joe’s fifth article in a series about winning tennis strategies for doubles.

The magician, Fabrice Santoro. He played for 22 years on the pro tour, the only man in the open era to play in four decades. His highest rank in singles was 17, yet he was as high as 37 in his mid-30′s, a year or so before he retired.

Fabrice beat more #1 players at some point in their career than anyone else (tied with Andre Agassi). He was 3-4 against Pete Sampras, 3-3 against Andre, 8-3 against Marat Safin, 1-0 against Jimmy Connors….he beat a total of eighteen #1′s. It was Pete who named him The Magician.

No one had more joy on the court, no one had a more original style (his main shot was his two-handed, cross handed, righty forehand slice, which he hit primarily with his left hand! Sound impossible? Watch the video).
In an age of power and more power, Fabrice hit the ball softly, neutralizing power, and using his opponent’s aggressiveness to confound him…..like Judo the way the monks invented it. He was a showman and a great sport, quick to compliment his opponent on a great shot with a bow or applause.

He could beat you many different ways….great defense, tricky spins, looped passing shots, drop shots, lobs, sneak attack volleys, and gentle but confusing approach shots….he was afraid of no one. He has the record for the most singles losses in the open era (more than 400), but he won more than he lost (more than 450 matches), and was a great doubles player, winning a couple of grand slam titles. He had the record for the longest match ever (beating Arnaud Clement at the French open in 6 hours and 40 minutes over two days) until it was eclipsed by the famous John Isner-Nicolas Mahut three day affair at Wimbledon. I doubt that they will let him on the senior tour….he would wear them all out…..Enjoy!

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Tommy Haas Has Abs

Tommy Haas

Off to an ATP tennis tournament this week in Newport, RI. I hope to hit balls on that surface myself. On Saturday, I will applaud Andre Agassi, when he is inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame.

The highest ranked player in the match is John Isner (#46), who beat Nicolas Mahut (#95) at Wimbledon last year, 70-68. This was the longest pro tennis match ever. I always felt sorry for Mahut…to lose such a marathon of a match. Mahut is also in the Newport draw. I hope he does well.

Tommy has abs

Another player whose name I recognize is Tommy Haas, who in 2002 was ranked 2nd in the world. What an achievement! However he has had numerous injuries over the years and even been unable to play for long stretches, so that now at age 33, he is ranked 768. But in tennis, 33 is ancient. What is it like to have been so high in the rankings and then to fade out so low. I feel sad for him too.

In reading about his career, I bumped into some pictures of him that show he has—or had—very pronounced abs. What do you think?

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Isner-Mahut Match Like Running Two Marathons Or Doing Jumping Jacks Throughout 11 Hours

While we admire John Isner winning the longest-ever tennis match against Nicolas Mahut—70-68 after 11 hours over three days, and 7 hours five minutes for part of the fifth set alone on the second day in 81 degrees—it’s the fitness, endurance and determination to keep playing by both men that impresses me the most. Even if Isner was looking and acting like a zombie with no idea of where he was and what was happening.

John Isner

How did they survive it? Here is what : Lauren La Rose wrote for The Canadian Press:

…So just what would it feel like to play that much tennis over the course of three days? Imagine expending the energy equivalent of running two marathons, says Brendon Gurd, an assistant professor in the school of kinesiology and health studies at Queen’s University.
Gurd says the intensity of tennis is probably on par with a light jog.

“It was separated by two nights, but they essentially jogged for 11 hours total, so it’s a huge demand,” he said from Kingston, Ont.

“What goes along with that is as they’re exercising, they’re using stored fuels, so they’re using carbohydrates stored within their muscles, they’re using fat stored in their fat cells, so a lot of that as you continue to exercise will become depleted.”

Lance Watson of B.C.-based LifeSport, who has been coaching triathlon and distance runners for more than 20 years, including Canadian Olympic triathlete champion Simon Whitfield, said the big difference with tennis is that it’s a stop-and-go sport.

“Eleven hours of that would just be brutal because there would be so much muscle teardown,” he said from Victoria.

“I guess for the regular person if you could imagine doing sets of jumping jacks on and off for 11 hours I think that would be a comparison.”

Nicolas Mahut

Gurd said in a rough estimate, the players were probably burning somewhere in the neighbourhood of 600 to 700 calories an hour, but those figures could potentially be higher.

Both Gurd and Watson said staying nourished and hydrated while competing is critical.

Watson said in working with Ironman athletes, a huge part of their preparation and training is becoming systematic about the way they consume calories and fluids. For example, many will set their watches to go off every 15 minutes to ensure they’ll remember to eat a certain amount of carbs, he said.

“They would be probably preparing their hydration and their nutrition for their typical length of match and they wouldn’t have probably preloaded and kept the calories coming in in anticipation of that kind of an endurance match.”

Gurd said Isner and Mahut were probably eating as many carbohyrdates as possible to stay fuelled, while also guzzling Gatorade, which is source of both carbs and hydration. Read the rest of this entry »

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