Finally I was here, the If Stockholm Open 2009. The matches I was going to see were not the ones I originally hoped to see but I was there on tuesday and the real action was on wednesday. The differences? Well the wednesday had players like: Soderling, Ferrero, Haas and Baghadits to offer, while the tuesday had future hopes Kontinen and Dimitrov, both junior Grand Slam champions. Also playing on the tuesday were: Kendrick, Belluci, Nielsen, Berrer, Vinciguerra, Seppi and a few others. I was ofcourse equipped with a camera to take pictures and film some videoclips for you guys to watch.
As you can see the Stockholm Open is a beautiful place and the best part really about being there on a day that did not feature the top stars of the tournament was the fact that I could sit anywhere I wanted, if I wanted to sit on the long side I could, in the side-change between the players I went over to the far side and sat there instead. (I persume that would be impossible in a tournament like Wimbledon)
The first match I saw was between Berrer and Kontinen. Kontinen who still is very young has actually trained in my hometown Uppsala back when he was a kid 13-14 years old and my coach Marcus told me that he had seen him as a youngster and did not really think much of him when he thinks back on what he remebers from Kontinen. Anyway it seemed to work out well for him and he played a close match against Berrer that he eventually lost. Kontinen had a huge serve and hit many serves above 200km/h but he was not hitting many angles with it and he seemed to lack match experience. Berrer played his game, nothing spectacular but went on to win the match without any particular difficulty.
I also saw Nielsen from Denmark play against Belluci, did not think that was a very interesting match and it wasn't on the centre court so I pretty much ignored that one. There was another match were Kendrick from the United states faced some lower ranked guy . It was quite funny because I was standing just behind Kendrick and started taking 2-3 pictures and suddenly the umpire looks in my direction and calls out: "No flash photography please" -Holy crap! I had forgotten to turn my flash off. Funny (embarassing) situation got my ass out of there as quick as I could.
See how the Umpire is looking at me, lol.
The first half of the day was nice, now it was time for former ATP Worldtour Pro Jonas Bjorkman from Sweden to talk about tennis with the club "UTK" that I am playing for. He knows some of the coaches there and they had apparently set up a meeting between him and us. It was great! He spoke alot about the ATP Tour and his life, and how it is not impossible to become a pro even if you're not a supertalent at the age of 13 etc, that was not how it was for him when he was young but he eventuelly went on to become World No. 4 and No .1 in doubles. He gave everyone some peptalk and then it was time for some questions..................................Nobody asks anything.................And I think to myself, oh well I might aswell ask the first one!
Q: When you were facing Roger Federer in the 2007 Australian Open, what was your gameplan going into the match?
Jonas: Hehe, it is funny that you ask me what my gameplan was. Here's what it was: Trying to get as many games as possible out there. See, I always had the attitude that I was going in to a match to win. Even back in 2006 when I faced Roger at that years Wimbledon, I thought I was going to play my best and win, I lost and learned my lesson well. So when I faced him in '07 at the Australian Open, I knew going in to the match that I was most likely going to loose.
After that it was time for some pictures, there were so many kids trying to stand close to Bjorkman and take a picture with him so I kind of felt embarassed to do the same thing, I guess I am trying to act cool. Cool Anyway afterwards I had a nice conversation with him and we spoke about fitness and practicing and how to do this and that, it was great and he really had alot to say and was definetily not shy to speak his mind. Jonas Bjorkman is a great guy and he is good for swedish tennis.
Before we left the Open I watched one last match which was between Niemenen from finland and Dimitrov. Dimitrov who is coached by Peter Lundgren, Roger Federers former coach is said to be one of the greatest talents comming up and that he is definetily going to become a top10 in the future. He is very young now and got beat really bad by Niemenen. It was really easy, Niemenen just hit the ball back with nice lenght and topspin while Dimitrov tried to go for it but mostly hit the net or out. He pretty much lost the game by hitting tons of unforced errors. But you have to watch the guy, he has COMPLETELY emulated Federers game, atleast by the looks of it. I mean when you watch him play it looks like its Roger Federer, not some 18 year old kid. Check this video out and go look for this guy on youtube, his name is Grigor Dimitriv.
I had a great day and I think it was really good for me to see how ATP players actually play, what kind of a speed and pace the game has etc. You know I thought that these guys went for their shots alot more often but from what I saw its a pretty safe game they are playing and I do believe I should learn something from that, too often I try to change the direction on a ball that is really to risky to do anything else than hit a cross-court shot. So I need to go for less, and try to hit angles and only punish the ball with a clean winner whenever I am in perfect position with great preparation.
That is all for now my friends, hope you enjoyed reading it!