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PostHeaderIcon Tips for Better Tennis Fitness from Jackson Bloore

Jackson Bloore

Jackson Bloore

Jackson Bloore

Jackson Bloore

For the past couple of weeks I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know Jackson Bloore, a personal fitness trainer here in San Francisco at DIAKADI Body.

Besides the obvious (stunning good looks with an Adonis body owing to his work as a fitness model), Jackson is one of the nicest, most approachable guys you’ll ever want to meet. He’s also in the best shape I’ve ever seen from someone who’s not a dancer or professional athlete.

I’ve watched his workouts at my gym over the past several months, and have been tremendously impressed by their caliber and quality. Though he has the muscular physique of a bodybuilder, trust me when I say that his workouts are about more than simply lifting weights.

It’s also clear from watching him (and checking out his training videos) that he has a core belief about how to train others that he applies equally to himself, and his own workouts. This is fairly notable at a gym where you rarely see trainers “practice what they preach”.

Jackson demonstrating reverse crunches.

Jackson demonstrating reverse crunches.

While chatting, I mentioned that I’ve been struggling lately with on-court injuries. Though I’m in great shape by most standards, I’m pretty much at a loss on how to best train my 50-year old ex-dancer body for the rigors of my tennis game. After all, core work and biking only go so far.

We set a time to meet so that Jackson could offer some suggestions on how I could better use my gym time to prepare my body for tennis. What followed was a mind-blowing 10-15 minute chat, with specific exercise suggestions, that gave me great hope for lessening injuries while improving my tennis fitness in 2014.

I asked if I could share some of his insights with my readers, and he agreed. So as his time allows, I’ll share occasional training tips to help you all with various aspects of tennis fitness.

I know this won’t have the same impact as ‘Oprah’s Favorite Things’, but I can’t say enough about Jackson’s knowledge, professionalism, and easy-going demeanor. You can contact Jackson for consultation/training at jackson@actionjacksonfitness.com. He does in-person training as well as Skype consultations. If you’re struggling with injuries and need help with your training regimen, give him a shot.

Until next time, enjoy these two training vids featuring Jackson doing his thing.

 

 

PostHeaderIcon Aussie Champ Li Na Ousted In An Epic Day Three French Open “Shock or Not” (VIDEO)

Li Na (© FFT)

Li Na (© FFT)

A lot of notable names bit the dust on Day Three at the French Open: some due to upsets, some due to injury retirement, and one simply said “Goodbye”. So let’s dive right into an epic upset day at Roland Garros, starting with the ouster of the women’s Australian Open champion one day after the Australian men’s champion was sent packing.

Kristina Mladenovic defeats Na Li: Shock or Not? Epic Shock, But…

It’s reality check time for Li Na and her coach, Carlos Rodriguez. Upsets happen in almost every tournament, but there’s a level of ‘acceptable’ sloppiness that permeates Na’s game. And I say ‘acceptable’ because she appears to be perfectly okay with it.

When she lost to Serena in Miami after being up two breaks at 5-2, winning only 1 more game of the final 12, she said “I think it was a pretty good match” afterwards in press. When she lost to Flavia Pennetta in Indian Wells with nine double faults and 52 unforced errors, she said, “I think it was pretty high level match”.

Grigor Dimitrov (© FFT)

Grigor Dimitrov (© FFT)

If your bar for a high-quality match includes 52 unforced errors, something is very wrong and very broken with your quality barometer! Mladenovic, a mixed doubles Slam winner, is a fine player. However, Li Na is a two-time Slam champion (including former French Open champion) who needs to play like one. I repeat, it’s not acceptable to play this poorly to later declare, “That was good, wasn’t it?”

Ivo Karlovic defeats Grigor Dimitrov: Shock or Not? Total Shock…Unless You Watched Match.

Dimitrov came into the French Open as a legitimate dark horse for the title. He’s improved his game and fitness, and even won his first clay title in Bucharest during the lead up to Roland Garros. On the other side of the net was Karlovic, a player who’s arguably past his prime but still manages a good win or two in smaller events. Easy winner pick, right? Wrong!

Karlovic’s serve was ‘on’, and his slice game was working effectively on the clay. Dimitrov was kept off-balance, and struggled to dig the low balls up without having them get put away by the big man at the net. On paper, this loss was a total shock. But Karlovic’s level of play against Dimitrov was reminiscent of the Ivo that, back in the day, few top players wanted to meet in the first round of a major. Still, it was a shocking loss for this young gun. Maybe some Sugarpova will help ease his pain.

Ana Ivanovic defeats Caroline Garcia: Shock or Not? Shock For Relative Ease, But….

The young Frenchwoman, with maiden title in hand from Bogota, cracked under the pressure of French Open expectations and won only 4 games against Ivanovic. What should have been a dangerous outing for Ivanovic ended in a routine first-round victory. But if we learned nothing else from Amelie Mauresmo, it’s that playing at home in France is often your biggest opponent at the French Open.

tomic-french-jacket

Bernard Tomic at his post-match press conference

Samantha Stosur defeats Monica Puig: Shock or Not? Actually, I’m Kinda Shocked!

Sam Stosur, one of the tour’s most disappointing Slam champs in the past couple of years, routed one of the tour’s better newcomers with the loss of only two games; with stitches in her leg. This might seem harsh, but given Sam’s struggles this year, I was pretty much expecting a first- or second-round loss. As I always say, I LOVE to be proven wrong.

Richard Gasquet defeats Bernard Tomic: Shock or Not? Completely Shocked at Tomic’s…

…bad taste in post-match attire. Otherwise, I have no other comments on Tomic’s ongoing issues of questionable commitment to training, proper attitude, and way-too-staunch defense of his coach/father. I’m “over it”.

Caroline Wozniacki (© FFT)

Caroline Wozniacki (© FFT)

Yanina Wickmayer defeats Caroline Wozniacki: Shock or Not? Sadly, Not Shocked.

Poor Caroline attempted to play this year’s French Open with a bum knee and a broken heart. Either one by itself would be a challenge, but the combination was too much. As Erik Gudris wrote in his piece Wozniacki Stands at Crossroads After French Open Loss, Wozniacki is in a tough place right now. People sometimes forget that players are just like us, and are affected just as much in their job performance as we are by similar events. A loss of confidence due to injury and a broken engagement would affect anyone, let alone a 23 year-old. I feel for her, and hope she gets it all sorted before the 2014 season is a washout.

Camila Giorgi defeats Bojana Jovanovski: Shock or Not? No Shock, Just Happiness

With a grunt/screech that puts Vika Azarenka to shame, I’m never sad to see a noisemaker on the receiving end of a loss. Sorry.

Marinko Matosevic defeats Dustin Brown: Shock or Not? Majorly Shocked At His Reaction!

Matosevic finally won his first Slam match in his thirteenth attempt, and this is how he reacted:

Also, I’m a little sad to see the colorful @DreddyTennis knocked out. (Especially since the avatar I’m using in my Sega virtual tennis game looks like him.)

Injury Retirement Shocks

Jack Sock defeats Nicolas Almagro via retirement (foot injury). Withdrew from match with Wawrinka in Monte Carlo due to similar injury. Not a good sign…

Jurgen Zopp defeats Tommy Haas via retirement (shoulder injury). I don’t know how much longer Tommy can keep this up. He probably doesn’t either.

Actual Retirement Shocks

Nikolay Davydenko will definitely NOT be playing Wimbledon, and is mulling retirement.

Et enfin, au revoir a Michael Llodra!

PostHeaderIcon Stan Wawrinka, Kei Nishikori, and Nicolas Mahut: La Première French Open “Shock or Not” (VIDEO)

Stan Wawrinka after losing to Guillermo Garcia-Lopez (© FFT)

Stan Wawrinka after losing to Guillermo Garcia-Lopez (© FFT)

Welcome to my première edition of “Shock or Not” for the French Open. Let’s start with the biggest of the three from Day Two. As Heidi Klum says on Project Runway, “One day you’re in, the next day you’re out!” Stan “Please don’t call me Stanislaus” Wawrinka found that out today the hard way with his first-round loss to Guillermo Garcia-Lopez.  Let’s start this “Shock or Not” with the ouster of the reigning Australian Open champion.

Guillermo Garcia-Lopez defeats Stan Wawrinka: Shock or Not? Kind of Yes, Kind of Not

I kind of called this one when I wrote my preview piece about the men’s draw. Stan’s section looked good, but the accidental Australian Open champion has been one of the most enigmatic players on tour this season. He’s won three titles this year in Chennai, Melbourne, and Monte Carlo. Apart from those wins, he’s failed to win more than two matches in any other tournament that he entered.

Stan hasn’t lost in the first round of the French Open since 2006. But it’s pretty tough to overcome 62 unforced errors, and a generally listless performance, give or take a couple of spectacular shots.

stan-french-get

So am I shocked that he crashed out to a tough Spanish clay-courter? Yes, because he’s shown his championship mettle this year, and finally seemed ready to live up to his talent.

Asked in a different way, am I surprised that he crashed out in the first round? Not really. He’s the most uneasy champion that I’ve ever seen on tour, and has looked uncomfortable since winning in Melbourne. “Heavy is the head that wears the crown” suits Stan perfectly these days. And honestly, I don’t see that changing anytime soon.

When you look at all of the great champions, there’s an air of ruthlessness about them on the court. Stan the man will never be ruthless. So we can probably expect more of this in 2014.

Martin Klizan defeats Kei Nishikori: Shock or Not? Not

Some wondered why I didn’t mention Kei as a legitimate contender for the quarterfinals after his Top 10 breakthrough AND win in Barcelona. But come on… just look at his record this year. If you don’t have the time I’ll break it down for you: brilliant play in fits and starts mixed with illness, injury, and withdrawals. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that if a player is prone to breaking down during the part of the year that features ‘best of three’ format tournaments, overcoming in a ‘best of five’ Grand Slam is an almost laughable proposition.

I like Kei. He’s got a great game, and it’s great to see him challenge the top guys the way that he can when everything’s working. But his propensity for physically breaking down should be troubling to everyone in his camp (I’m looking at you Michael Chang). Hopefully he can get a handle on it for the sake of his career, as well as for our viewing pleasure.

A Journalist Congratulates Nicolas Mahut on his 4-set Loss: Shock or Not? Shock with a ‘SMH’

There’s an unspoken rule in the pressroom that it’s generally best that you don’t ask dumbass questions to the players after their matches. The ATP/WTA handlers do a good job of weeding out the good from the bad, but every now and then one slips through. Such was the case today when a journalist congratulated Nicolas Mahut on his victory even though he had just lost a tough 6-3, 6-7 (4), 6-3, 6-4 to Mikhail Kukushkin. Mahut was not pleased, and showed it pretty quickly. Here’s the exchange:

Q. Congratulations.
NICOLAS MAHUT: Congratulations? I lost.
Q. You lost? Okay. So what happened out there?
NICOLAS MAHUT: Are you serious? Did you watch the match?
Q. No, I didn’t. I was told that you won. I’m sorry.
NICOLAS MAHUT: Questions in French, please.

Yep, I can attest to the fact that this journalist probably got some pretty nasty looks around the room…and well-deserved.

PostHeaderIcon Racquet Review Wednesday with the Wilson Steam 99 & 99S (VIDEO)

The Wilson Steam 99 and Steam 99S

The Wilson Steam 99 and Steam 99S

steam-sideI’ve never been a huge Wilson racquet fan, but wanted to spend a couple of days with the Steam 99 and Steam 99S to see if they could change my mind. No dice! Still not the sticks for me. But I did find lots to like about the Steam 99; less so with the 99S.

Check out my preview video above, then check out the full reviews by clicking the links below:

The Wilson Steam 99: A Solid Choice For Power, Spin, and Control

The Wilson Steam 99S: Promises Spin But Delivers Frustration

Racquets provided by City Racquet Shop of San Francisco.

Racquet Review Overview Video

PostHeaderIcon Racquet Review Preview: Two Days with the Wilson Steam 99 & 99S (VIDEO)

 

steam-thumb I’ve never been a huge Wilson racquet fan, but wanted to spend a couple of days with the Steam 99 and Steam 99S to see if they could change my mind. No dice! Still not the sticks for me. But I did find lots to like about the Steam 99; less so with the 99S.

Check out my preview video above, then check out the full review when it goes love on 5/21/14 for Racquet Review Wednesday.

Racquets provided by City Racquet Shop of San Francisco.

PostHeaderIcon Racquet Overview: The Prince Tour Pro 98 & Tour 98 ESP (VIDEO)

The Tour Pro is for players seeking control, while the Tour ESP is for those seeking more spin. Do they succeed in those goals? The short answer is yes. I’ve never owned a Prince racquet, but that might change after three straight wins in tough doubles play during my test hit. Check out the full review for each racquet on my SF Tennis Freak website.

Check out my thoughts on each by clicking the links below:

Racquet Review: The Tour Pro 98 Is an Excellent Baseliners Racquet
Racquet Review: Rip It and Spin It with the Tour 98 ESP

(Racquets provided by City Racquet Shop of San Francisco.)

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