|Coach serves up opinions on tennis|
|Written by Emily Warner, Daily Vidette Sports Editor|
|Tuesday, 26 June 2012 17:56|
Now that basketball is over, there is a different “Big Three” that sports fans are talking about. Of the 29 last tennis Grand Slams, 28 of them have been one by either Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, or Roger Federer.
With that in mind, the men’s draw should be exciting, but there are no dark horses that are going to creep up and steal the crown. At least that is the opinion of ISU women’s tennis coach Chris Hoover, who also discussed other headlines and players that are making up this year’s Wimbledon, which started on Monday.
When it comes to watching and following tennis, where does Wimbledon rank for you?
It’s traditionally and internationally known as the pinnacle of our sport, but me personally … Worldwide it’s a perennial — its hollow grounds for tennis. I love it, but I’m still a big U.S. Open fan. [But Wimbledon], of all the grand slam tournaments, it’s the grand daddy of all of them.
Do you think either Djokovic, Nadal, or Federer will win it all?
I would have to say I think it’s a good bet one of those three will win. I think over time and throughout history, tennis has always had years where individuals will dominate or a couple or three will dominate. [John] McEnroe and [Bjorn] Borg, [Pete] Sampras and [Andre] Agassi — these were great players over the history of the game, and they had moments where it seemed like they were unstoppable. I would say with these three, it’s been longer and more dominant than I’ve ever witnessed in my 50 years of living and my 40 years of following tennis.
I think this could be the longest most dominant streak by any three individuals. Roger Federer, just how singly dominant he has been and then you look at his record against Nadal and Nadal has owned him. And now last year, Djokovic, the tear he went on, he won so many tournaments in a row, he was just ridiculous. It’s been fun to watch. I would say it’s near unprecedented these three for the length and dominance that they’ve all shown.
On the women’s side, Maria Sharapova is No. 1 and coming off of a win at the French Open, how do you think her chances at Wimbledon are?
I think they’re pretty good because she’s just so confident right now, having won the French, may end up doing more for her than any of the previous ones she’s won because it was such a struggle for her to get it and then to finally conquer it. I think she’s serving so much better now. I always thought that was sort of her Achilles heel, but she’s improved that greatly, so I would have to say she’s a favorite … but I certainly feel better about any of the [big three winning for the men’s] than I do about Sharapova winning.
Who are some other players that you like watching?
I love watching Andy Murray, and I like watching John Isner on the men’s side. On the women’s side I always enjoy Kim Clijsters, and on the women’s side there are a lot of new players that I’ve never heard of who are really good. But I always like watching the Williams sisters although Venus has already been bounced out of the tournament … I think the women’s game is still very interesting and intriguing just because there are so many possibilities compared to the men’s side where I think it’s going to be safe picking one of those three.
Clijsters says it is her last Wimbledon and that she’ll retire after the U.S. Open. Would you like to see her make a run?
She’s playing well right now. She’s always good, always a threat. She retired once already, so I take that with a grain of salt because she’s proven she can take a couple years off, have some kids, and come back and still be a very strong player on the women’s circuit. Athletes are strange, their personalities, it’s hard to get away from it. That’s why it’s so hard to watch Venus with her struggles and illness, you don’t like seeing those people grow old and what have you and as their days start to fade their abilities start to fade, and you see them lose harder. For athletes, it’s hard to get away from it, so Kim Clijsters, she might leave, have another baby, and come back.