It's all in the stringing
A conversation with Nate Ferguson -- a custom stringer from Priority One, a Zephyrhills, Fla.-based company -- revealed some interesting info on who likes their rackets strung loose and who likes it tight enough to the point it seems like the strings are dead. Many players will go on court with rackets that aren't all strung at the same tension to be prepared to compensate for weather and court conditions.
So in case you want to try a tension that's similar to the stars, here's the info you need to pretend you're Roger Federer
, Marat Safin
, Novak Djokovic
or a number of other players:
(The first number is the main string tension, the second the cross string tension -- tension is given in pounds.)
Roger Federer (44/41): Federer strings loose for feel and extra zip on his topspin strokes, but bear in mind, he plays with a smaller head racket and strings with half gut, half synthetic.
(62/62): Murray likes variety in his bag, so he is known to fluctuate between 60-64 pounds.
Marat Safin (61/59): He prefers dead strings because he generates his own power.
(55/55): However, Fish went on court against Marcos Baghdatis
with rackets strung at 54, 55 and 56 pounds.
Here's a few more tensions: Novak Djokovic: 62/60; Marcos Baghdatis: 50/54; Gael Monfils
: 50/48; Stanislas Wawrinka
: 66/62; Fernando Gonzalez
In case anyone is wondering, No. 1 Rafael Nadal
uses the tournament stringing service rather than a private service such as Priority One.
Brawl on the grounds
There was a brawl between about 15 fans throwing chairs at each other in the garden area designed for people to relax at the Australian Open on Friday. It was thought to be a clash between Serbian fans supporting Novak Djokovic
and Bosnian fans supporting the Bosnian-born American, Amer Delic
Two men were charged on a summons by police and another one was cited for riotous behavior. One woman was knocked out but refused to press charges, raising the question that perhaps she was part of one of the groups. All participants were ejected from the ground.
"There's no place for that here," said a dismayed Delic about the clash.
Super Bowl prediction
As it turns out, James Blake
has not strayed very far from close friend Mardy Fish's prediction as to who will win the Super Bowl. Ordering a sandwich for lunch in the player's lounge, Blake weighed in on the upcoming game to be held in Tampa. "I think Pittsburgh's going to do it. Their defense is going to shut [Arizona] down. But I'm just disappointed that the Giants aren't there."
Fish has predicted a Steelers blowout.
Friday in the Down Under news
The Sydney Morning Herald reported that Jelena Dokic
's father, Damir, banned from the WTA Tour because of numerous incidents when he was still in his daughter's good graces, hung up on the newspaper when reached by phone for a reaction to his daughter's advancing to the third round at the Australian Open. The newspaper also said the elder Dokic reportedly is selling his property outside of Belgrade in order to raise money to open a tennis academy for juniors. Given his reputation, as well as comments made by his estranged daughter this week, the paper speculated that enrollment will not be overwhelming.
The Sydney paper also addressed the critique of Australian player Casey Dellacqua
, who has been criticized for being overweight and not in shape. Apparently, Roger Rasheed, the former coach of Lleyton Hewitt
, didn't mince words in saying Dellacqua carries "excess baggage," a comment that was backed by 1987 Wimbledon champion Pat Cash. Dellacqua, who has been nursing a shoulder injury, was appalled by the remarks, and the paper quotes her as saying, "I have never met Roger Rasheed. He does not know me or my tennis. He does not know my training technique, my background or my personality.
He has never bothered to even introduce himself, let alone offer advice on any aspects of my tennis."
No. 13 Fernando Gonzalez vs. No. 24 Richard Gasquet:
It's hard not to like the possibilities in this first-time matchup between two former top-10 players. The problem is that both have periods of play when they forget to stick to top-10 form, which explains their ranking inconsistencies. Gonzalez was a finalist here in 2007 and possesses a serve that, when it's on the money, is capable of leaving any opponent quaking in his sneakers. Gasquet is a bona fide talent, but his spoiled personality hasn't helped his advancement in the game.
ESPN.com prediction: Gasquet in five.