Mutua Madrid Open, Spain
Some players have a psychological advantage over others, sometimes the reason is obvious; yet, often it is baffling why they do. A serve and volley player may be particularly troubling for a baseliner. Williams does not like going to the net and still is not quite comfortable around the net despite her many doubles titles. Azarenka forces Williams to come out of her zone of comfort more frequently than other players and this causes William some concern. Even though Williams has dominated their head-to-head; Azarenka can complicate the picture with her attacking style of play. She did that again today, pushing Williams to a tiebreaker in the third, before Williams finally closed out the match 7-6(5), 3-6, 7-6(1). Did it impact Williams’ level of concentration facing Azarenka now that she has Williams’ long-time hitting partner, Sascha Bajin, on her team? It appeared to have negatively affected her; inexplicably, Williams lost her focus in the second and third sets after going up a break.
There is a new crop of talented young players and many of them are rapidly rising up the ranks. Kyrgios got noticed for his “famous” defeat of Rafael Nadal at Wimbledon in 2014. Of course, not really that shocking to Nadal fans who knew he was having issues on grass since he made it to the 2011 final. Is it your opponent or is it your mental perspective that creates the advantage or disadvantage? It’s a bit of both. You play the way you think, if you think you can win, this attitude will often be reflected in the elevated quality of your tennis. If you believe that you have no chance of winning that will also be reflected in the quality of your tennis. Kyrgios believes that he can compete with the best and win. Yet, Federer has been a dominant number one player and knows how to work through difficult matches. Unfortunately, he was unable to work through this one and lost a tough battle. Kyrgios gets another victory over another member of the “fabled top four”, 7-6(2), 6-7(5), 7-6(12).