What an amazing two weeks at Flushing Meadows for the 2022 US Open!
Lots to discuss with our panellists; from the old to the new and story lines aplenty in between.
We have two new Champions in Iga Swiatek and Carlos Alcaraz, with his win moving him to World number 1 aged just 19. We also said farewell to the Goat, Serena Williams.
We look into many topics including:-
And so much more!
Want to hear more from our panellists? Get to know them better in their own episodes on Control the Controllables:-
DISCLAIMER: Please note we use a transcription service, so there may be some errors in the following transcription of this episode. If you can, please refer to the audio for exact quotations.
Daniel Kiernan 00:09
Welcome to Episode 174 of Control the Controllables and what an unbelievable fortnight it's been in New York City Flushing Meadows. You know where the drama happens is sellout crowds under the lights, and we've had tennis to go alongside it. We've got our youngest ever world number one on the ATP since the rankings were alive in 1973 in Carlos Alcaraz the the superstar that is being born in front of our eyes, winning in four sets against Casper Ruud, and coming from match points down in his match earlier on in the tournament against Jannick Sinner, he found himself even around before that he found himself a breakdown in the fifth set. You know, he really did come back from the dead on many occasions in this just an inspiration to us all. And an equally amazing inspiration on the woman's side as our friend Iga Swiatek won her third Grand Slam. You know, she earlier in the year, I think she had 38 matches in a row without losing. She's now 49 wins out of her last 53 matches. She adds US open to her two Roland Garros titles, and proves she can play on more than just a clay court. And what I love about both of those incredible winners, they're both incredible people. They live the way that you should live. They play off a smile on their face. They play with excitement, and they're always putting people first when you hear them in their interviews. They're much loved on the tour. And we have a treat over the next 15 years. 20 years. The way that the modern game is going as we watch them, we've had lots of storylines Serena Williams obviously was talked about in our preview. She didn't disappoint. No but we still don't know is that her final ever match that we see. She's left the door slightly open. Some kinda cool storylines. Tracy Austin's son, Brandon Holt, qualifying, winning his first round match against Taylor Fritz, who I think everyone really fancied to go the distance or certainly be the longest lasting American male player. But Francis Tiafoe took that role up. Mary Jo Fernandez her son won a match on the in the doubles tour. And then Christiane Ruud, who was the was the highest ranked ever Norwegian male tennis player until his son, Casper Ruud has come along and blown that away as he moves to world number two, and makes his second grants grants eat makes his second Grand Slam final of the year. I have Noah Rubin who promised me he wasn't going to go and watch the US Open. Why would he do that it was too hot. But his good friend Chris Eubanks got him over to Flushing Meadows to watch him in his singles match. So we have Noah joining us again. And we also have Freddie Nielsen, our ever present on these panels. A couple other guys could make it tournament to going on. I myself are actually in a place called Melia, which is in Spain. But it's actually a little it's just it's attached to Morocco. I'm here for an ITF Pro circuit event as well. So if the noise, the sound is not quite what it normally is. I do apologize. I don't have all my kit with me. But it was amazing that we were able to tie times up to have the chat that we've had. It's well worth a listen. You'll love it some great topics. And we'd love to hear your thoughts at the end as well. But I'm going to pass you over to a US Open review panelists. So a big welcome to our US Open 2022 review. And I've got Noah Rubin, beside me and Freddy Nielsen, across the world in El Salvador ready for the Davis Cup and Ruben, I believe in New York City where the excitement's happened over the last two weeks, and I think we have to start with last night and I mean, it feels as if the men's game call us Alcaraz is taking it to another level with speed, agility, touch, power control. You know, you name it. You're supposed to be good at a couple of those things, but not all of them
Noah Rubin 04:52
Yeah, it's pretty remarkable watching them play. I mean, yeah, and Freddie I were talking about this before about I was trying to live tweet about the past week, and it was absolutely exhausting. But I did watch my, probably my first full five set match. And I can't remember how long that was with Sinner Alcaraz. So, you know, the finals, as much as they were gunning for the number one spot, and there's a lot on the line, you know, is going to be somewhat anticlimactic no matter what I think we were all gunning for Alcaraz. I mean, if he wasn't going to take this title, there was kind of be a failure of the week because of how well he was playing. And, and beyond that, I don't know if you can have a much better tennis match than Sinner Alcaraz. And I'm watching those guys just battle it out. So yeah, I mean, I said it, I think Alcaraz is probably the most well rounded tennis player we've ever seen. I don't know if he can, I don't know why not. But I don't know why, you know, if he can keep this up or not, I don't know if he's gonna break Grand Slam records or not. But he has about 60, Grand Slams to play and, you know, to think that he can't get 15 of those or 20 of those. I don't know, I think it's pretty exciting to watch him
Daniel Kiernan 06:04
From a from a physical perspective Freddie, it does feel as if they're taking it to a bit of a new level, again, you know, to, you know, the just the speed. And I was even watching that the amount of times that Alcaraz hits a volley, about two inches from the neck. And I swear to God a second earlier, he was on the back fence, you know, like their ability to transition up back the positions that getting on the court and be in behind the ball. You know, what, what is that is that is the training changing is diets evolving. You know, what, what, what's happening in the world of tennis,
Freddie Nielsen 06:46
I think there's definitely a change in the way people train, I think the change of modern tennis Carlos is maybe not the tallest guy. But in general, people are getting taller and moving like, back in the days, the smaller people did. I mean, if you see like Tsitsipas, Zverev these kind of guys, they're tall people and in the 90s, they would probably just be bombing serves and hitting the ball hard. But now because I think they put so much emphasis into the, to the to the mobility side to the training side to the technique of the footwork. They're so strong out of the side positions and all this, that the athletes are just completely different. And obviously, it's also a sign of the times because the balls are bigger, the surfaces are slower. So if you want to compete, you got to be able to compete from the baseline. And they're putting much more emphasis into into the both the physical strengthening, but also the technique on the footwork. And I think Carlos is a good example of that, because he is he is able to move. He's got speed. He's got good technique on his footwork, and he can absolutely club it. And I think those are the kinds of guys you see they don't serve as well as they have back in the day. But they still serve. All right, I think I saw a steed tweet. I think it was Robert Koenig, who said that there hasn't been a male winner of a slam since guest on Gaucho who won as little points on his first serve as Carlos has this week? I think it was Yeah, yeah. And I think that just shows that the tennis is transitioning into a more different era where the bombing of serve does really get you as far as it used to. So I think it's a sign of the time. So I think it's tennis has created a necessity to be that if you want to compete the way the conditions are. And I think we're gonna see more and more people like that.
Daniel Kiernan 08:37
And Noah followed you with. I always think you're you're entertaining. You know, I think you're never shy giving an opinion. I followed your tweets, and there was certainly a couple of things that you alluded to, I think, certainly five set matches, you know, you aren't in general, a big fan of you were you were questioning what the guys were eating, you know, was it Carlos Alcaraz's berries? Or was it was it Sinner's pizza? You know, what was it that was getting these guys in the shape that they're in? So give us a little bit, a little bit more meat on the bone of a tweet? You know, you can't, you can't say what you want to say in the characteristics of 120. But here on this podcast, you've got the floor.
Noah Rubin 09:22
Yeah I mean I think as we all know, you know, as we all know, you know, as much as that Sinner match will probably go down as one of the better matches of this decade, probably, you know, definitely of the new era. But, you know, kids won't be able to watch that match or weren't able to watch that match. You know, maybe they get highlights after but, you know, you know, even you know, my parents were pretty lenient, but they weren't allowing me to stay up until 2am You know, to watch any tennis match and that's just kind of how it worked. And you know, they were making fun where it was perfect for Europeans now you know, Brian early in the morning you guys are awake, but you know, we're supposed to do it for the demographic They were playing in. So in New York, the fact that, you know, a lot of the kids that I've seen at clubs and local clubs won't be able to watch that full match live is I think extremely disappointing. And that's there's a fundamental issues with tennis that makes scheduling just impossible. You know, there's there's no time there's no clock, you don't know when match is gonna go on. I guess you can make the night session an hour earlier. So but I don't know how much that's gonna help. You know, that's still 1am instead of, you know, 2am. So, in terms of that I struggle, I think best of five should start in the quarters. I don't think there's a need for before that. I don't know. You know, I know that Cilic mash was still a great match. I did not get to watch that one. But I think if that's best to three, and then you go into the quarters, and then you start running away. I think that's better. And everybody, you know, people working there, the commentators, broadcasters, everything else. I mean, I saw a fantastic picture of Alcaraz with the fans at the end, and you had the security guards giving eyes like, can we just get out of here, man, like we're just here. So yeah, that was really funny. That was that was interesting and kind of alluded to that point of it just as much. They're special. They're incredible. But you have a 28,000 person stadium with 4000 people in it at the end, as much as it's special. I think there's things that have to change.
Daniel Kiernan 11:23
The tickets, they say, just quickly, and I want to bring the next point. They do say that I think broke all Time Attendance records last week at Flushing Meadows, you know, that was, you know, the 23,859 I think they said it was sold out every single match every single session. Yet, you've got 10% 15% of them in there at some point. So why? Normally it's for TV rights, but I guess, tick Why does is it the European thing that they want the matches to be going so late? Why are the matches happening at those times?
Noah Rubin 12:01
There's kind of a unique feel to it. And I totally understand that. It's something that will only happen at a night match Arthur Ashe stadium, it's something that is special to the sport. But for me, whether it's you know, 2am or 11pm, or 1030, you know, that's still late, and it's still has that same feel, I think, that has to the connotation around what late is and what a night match is has to change a bit. Yeah, I mean, I again, I struggled with it, I was in a hotel room, I was away during that match. And I was like, one eye open, like kind of from the side, even at the level of tennis, it was still forcing myself to stay awake at 230 in the morning. So yeah, I think, again, there's ways to keep that love for these unique tennis matches, but making them a little bit more mainstream.
Daniel Kiernan 12:54
Um, the second point around the mixed berries and the pizzas.
Noah Rubin 13:00
Yeah, I've been in pretty good shape before. You know, it's one thing I probably atest a lot of my wins too. I know, Freddie has seen me run down a few tennis balls in my life. And during what I thought was, you know, pretty good shape. I mean, when I was 19, that was kind of when I was really having my and then I can attest that he's 19 Right now, I had my first Grand Slam win at that age. And I remember how my body was feeling I remember, you know, putting in three, you know, qualifying matches, I you know, I remember the aches and pains. And I played, you know, four set match, you know, I was like going through this and I'm like, What the fuck are they do and they will you know, what does this come down to in the end because whatever I was doing was obviously not working. And I felt like I was in pretty damn good shape. And I know that, you know, I was not hitting the ball as big as he was maybe getting free points on the forehand side. But still in the end the hours he put in and I loved I use it all the time to him slotting out on his non dominant leg. In the fifth set. Every time I saw that I was like, You got to be out of your like you're out of your mind. You have to be crazy. So yeah, I was like, it must be the gluten free diets, which didn't make sense because Sinner's, you know, probably eating pizza every other day. And then you know, might be one of these super foods like kale. But nothing's making sense to me. That would not only allow Alcaraz to go deep in the fifth in these matches over and over again. But then to recover. I mean, he's going to sleep at 6am Every match he was playing, you finish at 233. You're going to sleep at 6am Probably on the conservative side, waking up, let's say two, I don't know and then doing it again, like not making a lot of sense to me. So I've been in good shape play these matches, and I'm like, I'm pretty tired right now. I don't know if I got four more of these in me. So maybe it's that I'm behind the times, but it's the numbers aren't adding up.
Freddie Nielsen 15:05
Wasn't he also close to being the most on a court in a slam ever?
Daniel Kiernan 15:13
He was four, he was four hours above Casper going into the final. And I must admit, I thought Ruud would would get him I didn't. Even I saw our traffic for two in the first set. And I thought he just looked to me like that tennis player that's going to be a bit frustrated, and just things aren't quite going to go and and actually, I, we talked about the Sinner Alcaraz match, which was incredible. I thought there was a four or five game period at the end of the third, which really hit fire in the final last night. And, and that was the moment. And Ruud actually went away, didn't me, he played a really bad tie break. You know, he found the frame a couple of times on the backhand. You know, all of a sudden, you just missed a couple of balls you hadn't missed. And, you know, I couldn't, it would have been super human. If Ruud gotten two sets to one up and in for him to come back into and win in five. And I wish you know, I it doesn't, it seems, it doesn't seem natural. It seems just it's an incredible feat that's going on, but ready to move to move into other stories. And I think if we stay on the men's side right now, I think we talked about it, we always do. We never want to talk about them. Mr. Kyrgios. You know, he, he knew again, he knew that it was a new, it was a chance he knew it was an opportunity. He saw it. He couldn't quite get over the line. He he got fined as he always does. He called people names, as he always does. But he gave us entertainment as he always does as well. What do you think of Kyrgios and can he maintain this, you know, this new kind of desire to actually achieve in the sport, you know, how much longer is he going to achieve? And keep that desire?
Freddie Nielsen 17:00
I kind of think that he can because he he's shown it for me over a consistent period of time this year. He's been way more consistent. He's not been skipping tournaments as much as he has. And he's been doing well against the opponents that he historically maybe hasn't had the enthusiasm to give his best against. So I think he will, I think the rest of the year will be very interesting to see. Because I think he's also very slam motivated. And I don't know if he's got the energy he he's been mentioning that he was feeling missing home a little bit. And I don't know if he has the energy to come back and get riled up for for Paris, for example, if that means enough time. And I think in order for him to have a good finish, you really need to qualify for Turin, which seems difficult when when the points from Wimbledon don't count. So
Daniel Kiernan 17:55
that's not motivating with it, I don't think I don't think those events are doing it from a. And when you can even see I mean, that one of my one of the videos, and everyone handles these things differently. And you've obviously got the ever professional Rafael Nadal he loses he shakes everyone's hands and he goes off. But there was this kind of view that gone almost like bird's eye view looking down at the court. And Nick was just smashing three or four rackets after he lost the match. You know, it really like seemed to get to a, you know, an almost
Freddie Nielsen 18:29
I think he really wanted at this time. And I think he also said that much afterwards if I'm not mistaking. And he did. I mean, he's and that's that, in my opinion, this is what he's kind of protected himself against for all these years just is the heartbreak of losing these matches by not maybe applying himself as much. And now he is applying himself and we see why it maybe was so difficult for him to apply himself as much prefer because he really takes it to heart and it didn't hurt him. And I there must have been more to that fine than that he got because I mean, I don't think breaking a racket is the most insane thing you can do. So must have been more to it. And I think that would be a shame if that was all he got to fine for me. How bad is that? Really? At the end of the day would you prefer whatever for him not to do it? Yes. But it wasn't hurting anybody was threatening anybody who's showing his frustration and we want to we want people to show their frustrations and show the human side and not be robots. We want to relate to them and people want to see some something outside the box and he brings that in it's natural. You want to see the wrong bachelor emotions. And if it doesn't hurt anybody else, then yeah, give him a fine. Okay, fair enough. Don't want to see it. But at the end of the day doesn't have to be that big of fun if it's just a Caribbean change. I mean, yeah, that's where I stand anyway. nailed it. I think you'll be Yeah. Well of course there is. That's also why some of the hockey players in the NHL have it in their contract that they need to do a certain amount of fights every year. So it's something that the crowd wants to see. To finish off my very long point, I think he's going to be really frustrated nobody to attack it and have a good tournament. I really do. I think he's gonna be beat up for 2023
Daniel Kiernan 20:24
and no on the men's side, I think we all talk big three big three nobody else what happens and all of a sudden you're looking at the quarterfinals. You're lucky in St. Paul hey, we've got some players then you've got an Alcatraz Tiafoe match up in the semifinals and you know someone who you know very well we talked about in the preview you know, it felt like there was going to be an American I don't know which genius it was of us that said that it was going to be one of the four Americans that will just gonna go quarterfinals or semi finals. But we did talk about the American guys that we were going to see somebody come through and Tiafoe grabbed it you know he absolutely grabbed it.
Freddie Nielsen 21:09
Who had Tiafoe as the dark horse. Just wondering. Does anybody remember? Oh, its me. Come on down.
Daniel Kiernan 21:17
Listen back. Yeah, but you've grown up. You've known you've known Francis, you know, I guess tell the listeners. There'll be some diehards that will know all about Francis Tiafoe, but there will be they'll also be some people listening into this that have heard of Alcaraz. They've heard of Nadal. They've heard of Serena Williams. But this guy this American guy, Francis, Tiafoe? Where's where's he come from? So give us a bit of a background on on Francis, TFR and why it seems like the whole tennis world is behind him as well. Everyone seems to be happy for Francis. But he's had such a breakthrough event as well.
Noah Rubin 21:56
Yeah, I mean, I actually talked a little bit of this with making our own pod. You know, he, he's an interesting one, he rides that wave almost better than any of definitely any American but any tennis player that I've seen in a long time, he loves, you know, that atmosphere, he feeds off of it. And what I've said about him is he's kind of unapologetically himself, you know, for anybody that knows him off the court, big smile, he's a clown and cracking jokes, some good, some bad, but he's always, you know, trying to, you know, make lightheartedness of the situation and kind of just, you know, really enjoying himself the way he wants to enjoy himself. You know, he's always been, you know, extremely talented. I've played them multiple times in the juniors, in junior windy to Kalamazoo played them in doubles. And he's has kind of this utmost confidence in himself that he's going to succeed one way or another, I sadly gave him the win to bring him inside the top 100 For the first time when I lost him at a Stockton challenger in the finals, and he absolutely killed me. But you know, watching him there, you can see that he's going to play his game, and he's going to make it work. I think my issue and for others that have known like a vacation, I've seen him play many times. It was the honing in on that mental capability. It was the how do we channel that? How do we bring that all together and say, Hey, you're going to have to be a bit more professional than you are. If you want to be at the top of the sport, you're going, you know, you're a great athlete. You know, your six to your smacking serves 135 It's not enough, and it won't be enough. Yeah. But Wayne Ferreira has done is truly incredible. I mean, that guy deserves a lot of credit for not only letting Francis be kind of the player that he is, but also saying, Hey, these are the things that we're going to hone in on that you're just not going to do anymore. These practices are going to be more professional, you're not we're I saw an interview that said we're doing runs without music without phones, you know, you have no social media during treatment sessions, it was just this idea that you're going to be you're going to be a business person, you're going to treat this like a true job. But on the court, we're going to surround it with fun and then off the court, he could do what you want. But when I'm saying we're going to be professional, you're going to be a professional and and I think you know that allowed him to play tennis you know, with a longer attention span, which I think is a problem for a lot of these fishing guys is in especially in the best of five is how long and how long is that stretch of great tennis am I going to have and then I don't know if Tiafoe has the consistency you know of a top 10 player yet you know I think he's surrounding kind of their top 20 in the world. But there's definitely some excitement there with them.
Daniel Kiernan 23:16
And Wayne Ferreira is very understated, isn't he as well. You can see him in the box very understated. I spoke to him actually on the pod probably 18 months ago now maybe maybe even a couple of years ago and even his Korea when for errors Korea, you wouldn't necessarily think not a great you think we're in for our exit. Okay. But I actually want to start from when we spoke and the last time Wayne Ferreira played Boris Becker, Stephen had Pete Sampras, Roger Federer, John McEnroe and Bjorn bog, he won the match. So his last match against all of those players, he won. And that even surprised Wayne a little bit. And it was an unbelievable statistic that's just said, if you are in the mix across that range as well over the years, you know, he's someone who was doing it. Now granted, he played Borg, actually, I think, was in Monte Carlo, when Borg had his come back match. When he came back, and he didn't have the wooden racket anymore. He came back and he wanted to have another go. And it was weird that he played in the first round, but still to have that level. And just to appreciate and understand. That doesn't change across eras. You know, you you put the work in, you did stand out, you know, you up your base level. You know, that's what all of these players have had over the years. And what an amazing guy to have in his corner. And I certainly think that added to the excitement. In terms of our predictions. There was one person that got the men's winner, correct. It wasn't Mark Hilton, it wasn't Freddie Nielsen. It wasn't myself who all went for Daniil Medvedev, it was Mr. Noah Rubin, who put his put his word out there on Alcaraz saw a big well done to you on that. Noah, maybe you can use something we didn't. But I think we did talk about it. And it was mentioned that even though he'd had a few losses, and I don't know if this is 100% true, but I don't think he's lost in straight sets this year. So so nobody's getting past him easy, even when they do get past them. And it's hard to see how he's not going to be world number one over the next 23456 years. Even I think with the likes of Djokovic coming back, because I'm not sure with Djokovic's age, he is going to be able to do it every single week. I think he's gonna be hanging his hat on the Grand Slams as well.
Noah Rubin 27:27
Yeah, no, I think I agree. I mean, I think both the men's and women's tours has this kind of an interesting playing field right now with a little bit lack of consistency. The women had it for the past two years and I think are kind of finding the way now and the men definitely are in this you know, new era where I don't know I mean, yeah Casper Ruud's two in the world right now. Do I think he's a consistent too in the world? I don't, you know, I really I don't think he's going to be there. You know, Medvedev, yeah. You played a in fantastic form. You know, some of the best tennis I've seen. Have Nick Kyrgios. You know, we don't know where Nick's gonna be. I think I disagree a bit. I think Nick. This took a lot out of him. I think it really did. I think it was exhausting for him. Yes, he's going to be ready for the Australian Open but I don't know after that tournament what he has in him so I think the fields a bit open. outras Yeah, he if his body holds up, it's going to be tough to take that number one spot away from him. I think Djokovic still has a lot of good tennis left in him. And the doll probably has one AB left and a half a leg that he could still, you know, win French Open on so yeah, I mean, it's an interesting kind of stage of tennis. And this is why I kind of talk about you know, we need to form that rivalry. You know, who you know, for Alcaraz. Who is that number two going to be? I hope it's a Medvedev. I think that's a really good combo. I think Sinner's level of tennis and is good. Yeah, yeah. But I don't know. I mean, I think even at Medvedev, he's he said, No more clay basically hates the surface. You know, you can't have this kind of stuff to have those at the same level that you need to be and you know, just a little lack of consistency at times, but we'll see. We'll see what the next year holds.
Daniel Kiernan 29:16
And Freddie Nielsen, I owe you an apology. You You did pick Tiafoe as the one to watch. I tell my usual easy way out i i set the Americans and pick four of them so I can't fully take it but Tiafoe was one of my four Americans. Tommy Paul didn't quite make it as as we thought he might but he's Again, he's someone that's probably due and will have a have a big event at some point. I'm not convinced. He's got the got it in him to be the consistency to be a top five top 10 player. Mark Hilton picked Dan Evans. You know, Dan Evans did have a great match actually against Cilic put himself in that position. And we mentioned Jack Draper. I want to quickly mention Jack, before we talk about the women's event. Jack was right up there against Khachanov you know, and he had some physical problems had to stop. But I think Jack Draper has also shown that he's in that mix is is probably one of the next next ones for to come through. And obviously for any British tennis fans listening in, that's exciting because I think he's starting to stamp his name as someone that we can see consistently being in the later stages top a top 20 ATP, but will not do the women's side. And none of us picked Iga Swiatek to win it. Again, I think we're a bit silly in some ways she won 37 matches in a row. If she'd had a couple of matches that she'd lost, you know, we threw a few names out there. And she just seem to not necessarily cruise through the drawer. But the final it looked like she was going to cruise through. And the point I want to make nor before I send it to you is like Ons Jabeur who now is planning to Grand Slam finals, you know, some of these young young girls, young tennis players that are playing these events that, like if we take Ons Jabeur, she's almost holding the responsibility of African tennis on the shoulders, you know, and we see her smiling her way through often, she seemed like she had a little bit more tension on her shoulders. During this year's Open. There's the picture that everyone captured afterwards in floods of tears. And it's not so easy. It's not so easy to take, not just a hope of a nation, but a hope of a continent as well. What was the what was your take on the women's event this year?
Noah Rubin 31:43
I think it was great. You know, I think, you know, we had so we spoke a lot about Yeah, we didn't pick the winner. But I think that was almost a little bit too easy of a guess at that point. I think we were kind of going trying to go a little outside the box, you know, watching Swiatek, you know, the way she plays she has a little bit of that Rafa and her sliding out on her nondominant leg as well. And just, you know, she wakes up and she's like, I'm not going to lose. And I'm like, Yeah, you're probably not going to lose, you know, she has she's one of those players right now. So I think she's at that Alcaraz stage in her own respective way of going to be at the top of the sport for a long time. But with Ons it's amazing. I mean, tough not to like her tough not to root for her. You know, she, ironically, at this point, is one of the older girls, you know, competing, which really isn't, you know, mistaken if she's 28 or 29. But, you know, it's, you know, comparing to a Coco Gauff who made another wave in this in this grand slam. You know, you have a lot of those really, really true young female tennis players coming out. So I think for her, it's not only kind of like, the clock is ticking, I got to get some of these slams in hopefully, you know, get a slam or two under my belt. But also, as you said, you know, have a full continent behind me while I'm doing it. But yeah, I think a lot of great matches and you know, I brought up Jessica Pegula last time and you know, I think after watching her play, I'm pretty certain she's a top five consistent player. I think she has a lot of great stuff. I think Swiatek plays a better brand of that same game than she does and that's going to be a tough matchup for her. But yeah, I think the I think the top five are pretty stable. I think we kind of know what the top five even the top 10 looks like, you know, at this point where, you know, the women I think it was like Ben Rothenburg that put it together that for two years they had like 16 Different semi finalists who actually 32 Different semi finalists amongst you know, two years of Grand Slams, which seems almost unfeasible and you know, was the way it was so it's nice to see it settled down a little bit.
Daniel Kiernan 33:57
Freddie you've got a you are Coco Gauff's biggest fan and I think we're all big big fans and cold call but she she's your one but then we go to the opposite end of the spectrum, young Coco and then we've got old Serena, who if we go to the it seems a lifetime ago, but it was really this Serena show for the first five six days of the you know, I think we were I actually spoke to Monty Panesar a really it's a really random podcast guest we have Monty Panesar famous England cricketer. And I spoke to him last week on the podcast, because everyone else was pushing me back because of the open. So I had to jump outside of the sport and he was like I'm staying up all night to watch Serena I can't I can't go to bed. You know, like I can't go to bed and I was the same. You know, I respect Serena massively, but I've never been a one to necessarily want to watch the Serena. I've found her a little bit obnoxious. I'm not sure I haven't quite connected to her. But I certainly did. But Over the last couple of weeks and I had that kind of split thing because Tomjanovic was my pick for the one to look out for, and she was playing against Serena and my ego was telling me come on down. You can talk about how what a good pick Tomjanovic is, but how great it would have been to see Serena even got a couple of steps further, but she she, I think surprised us all with a levels ready last week.
Freddie Nielsen 35:25
Yes, definitely nothing leading into the tournament suggested that she was going to be able to make a run for it. But then when she got through the first few rounds, and she'd be the controversy there was like, Okay, now it's interesting, let's see. But it is she's one of those athletes that just transcend sports. You know, she's a, she's a Jordan, she's a Brady, she's a Tiger. No matter what sport you're following, you know who Serena is. And people are watching to see what what happens. And I also you mentioned her longevity. I saw a tweet about when she started out Tom Brady hadn't thrown a touchdown pass from Michigan yet. It's been around forever. I mean, the consistency is insane. And I think I mean, I was under the impression last time we talked that it was a definite, I'm done. But now I can understand that maybe it's not really and I would just I would think it would be a shame if it wasn't done if there was so much going into make in such a good farewell. I mean, how would you want any different and I really hope for her that it is the end it was a fitting finish. She competed well, she was competitive. It was in New York, she's got all the accolades. And I think it's, it's really a great way to go. And I think by now, I know some of the older players Sharapova was even mentioning it as well. It can be easy to feel that there's a there's a vacuum there to be filled in. There's still some tournaments to be won. And maybe she's still feeling that she's going to be able to get into the record numbers, but I think no, it's it's it's just too tough. I mean, she's, she's, it's gonna be tougher to get to seven matches, and I think it would be a perfect finish for her right now.
Daniel Kiernan 37:17
Yeah, well, the competitor in her would have gone not far away, have beaten the world number two, you know, this draws looking kind of open, I know that I'm playing to a good level, however, the US Open happens every 12 months, you know, she isn't going to quite have the same crowd behind her inall of these events that I think gave her an extra 10 15%. And I have to throw this one to you know, because as non Americans, you know, for me, this was quite an American thing that happened. You know, I was an LSU Tiger and I I'm very, very fond of the sport and culture over there, but to pull out the players onto the court to then project these videos of, of this star this superstar in front of them, and then to have a big kind of Muhammad Ali entrance onto the court while the players sat there, quaking in their boots seemed a little bit unfair to me. And, and I know, we have all the respect in the world for Serena and there's, there's a certain way of doing it, and, you know, she absolutely deserves those accolades. But what what was your What was your take on? On? I don't know if it was meant to be intimidation tactics, but I, I certainly think it had that. We've had that effect, and we can't have it afterwards was in the press conference, crying her eyes out. And she's a lovely girl condiment. You know, I've known her since juniors. And it seemed like that whole experience of being a little overwhelming for
Noah Rubin 38:55
Yeah, I mean, that's just such a New York thing to do. I think it was kind of expected to be honest. I think beyond that, and I spoke to Jameel Jenkins because I was watching Eubanks play Sinner I came out he actually got me to come out to the open. But yeah, and I said I literally I had my phone watching Serena which again, haven't watched too many matches recently and I can hear my phone from like the other room. I was like what's happening and I asked her me and he's like, it was louder against Kontaveit than it was in the two finals that he saw there with her. So I think it was less about the lead up and yeah, I mean, that was all it's all very funny to have that as kind of this preparation but I think Serena tied her shoes and it was standing ovation applause screaming and and I think that's where I mean, I was just surprised I really did not expect that from I guess I'm almost a little proud of the crowd to kind of do that. And I know it's a lot for Annett to deal with in some of these other players but I I mean, this is one of the greatest athletes of all time. And so you know, there's it just gives a different feel because it's tennis, but any other sport, if you knew Brady I mean its tough and Brady because a guy comes back every other day, but you know, if you knew it was definitely his last game for sure, you know, it's the same field, but it's, you know, it's it's football. So you're expecting half of that already where tennis? I mean, it was the place was shaking. I mean, the place was literally erupting. So, you know, that's when we talk about the record attendance. I mean, that's all Serena is doing. I mean, that was just one single person that is Serena Williams getting everybody out there. And, you know, I think actually a little disagreement, I don't, I don't think I think she looks at that tournament and says, Yeah, I'd be the number two player in the world. But I don't really have what it takes to consistently go deep. I don't know if I have what it takes to win a slam right now. You know, I'm sure she's watching, you know, the Coco's and we attack and and she's like, I don't know if I have that in me right now. And I don't know if I have 12 months of training consistently in me which is something she would probably have to do so I think it's a perfect farewell as I already said and you know, I think 20 years is enough you know
Freddie Nielsen 41:18
Let's be honest at that point with the rocking everybody that was just there to to provide for the Serena Williams Show right so diverse that they would just do that because they needed they she needed an opponent I mean, if they could have if you could have gone on without they they would have let her because there was no real nobody really that was going to stand a chance with with the crowd and the presentation and the like No, I said it's difficult for tennis, but maybe that's what it needs and maybe rightly so. You know.
Daniel Kiernan 41:46
And I thought it was lovely at the end in her in her speech when she said I wouldn't be Serena if there wasn't Venus you know and I thought that was like a real kind of tear jerker. You know, she she really was in gearing there to the crowds into into the whole tennis world
Noah Rubin 42:05
Older than her ironically, you know and not it hasn't left the sport Yeah, and I know there's family and stuff like that that goes into it but it is a bit is a bit ironic that you know Venus the older one is still like I got a few more years left or whatever she has left.
Daniel Kiernan 42:22
It really is. And on the men's doubles, Freddy Joe Salisbury Rajeev Ram a second. US Open title, stayed world number one, you know, and just incredible and I have to also shout out Neal skupski, you know, and Wesley Koolhof what an amazing year they've had. And if if Neil had one that I believe he would have moved to world number one as well. Those guys are all going to potentially play switch partners next week and the Davis Cup as Great Britain takes on the USA. But what a career that Salisbury and what a partnership that's proven to be Salisbury Ram.
Freddie Nielsen 43:02
Lucky to play a lot with Joe when he kind of made his push from low hundreds to the to the top of the tour in 2018. And I was very impressed by back then he had visions for bigger than he was he was always applying himself to a higher level than he was actually playing at. And it's no surprise to me that he's doing well. He's very professional, very, he has got very good vision as to how he is what he wants to play, and how he wants to apply himself. And he's very good at applying that. Every time I played with him. There was no escaping the situation or doing something he's not supposed to or chickening out, very clutch player following gameplan very good and applying himself to what he wants to do. And I think he's got a I got a partner in Regina, who's also very professional and is able to, to first of all, he's a great tennis player. That's number one. Second of all, I think he's the same he's got great attitude and following the game plans and and I think they have a perfect partnership as in, they both get out of it what they want, and they don't expect anything more from each other. But they hold each other to too high standards. And yeah, I'm super stoked for Joe. Great guy. And obviously, as you mentioned, Neil as well, same for Neil, great guy work well. Credit to Louise work as well.
Daniel Kiernan 44:31
Louis Cayer, you mentioned
Freddie Nielsen 44:35
it is undeniable that he is the best doubles coach out there. And the results are there to be seen. When you mentioned the Brits, you mentioned your old player Lloyd Glasspool amazing, keeps making runs now and big tournaments, also getting help from the Wii and it's just it's impressive and they're good guys, and they're fun to watch and I'm all will be offended
Daniel Kiernan 45:00
And doubles no this is this is my last point before I want to just ask you guys about the rest of the year quickly doubles. It does go under the radar and it still still does and I think there was a story that very much did go under the radar I think typically doubles doubles but then Czech doubles players Krejčíková and Siniaková won another one against Taylor Townsend and Katie McNally here and I think was a set and four one up in the final. But in doing that they weren't a golden slam. And they are only the there's four players. There's Pam Shriver Gigi Fernandez Serena Williams and Venus Williams, are the only other female players that can say that they've done the golden slam. So they've now one of the Olympics. They won two Roland Garros two Wimbledon's, one Australian Open, and now one US Open. And that is a big story, you know, and should be a big story in our sport. It wasn't really mentioned anywhere. However, I want to make sure we go on record to absolutely tip our hat to those girls who are putting together an incredible, incredible career. And obviously, Krejcikova is also doing it on the single side as well.
Noah Rubin 45:07
Yeah, that's pretty incredible. I think, you know, tennis shows time and time again, they're not going to talk about doubles as much as you know, it's something that they act like they care about, you know, when push comes to shove, you know, that article was not really seen, you know, on the main feeds or Twitter or anything else. So yeah, I mean, that's that's an incredible feat. I mean, it's so tough to do at anything to be that consistent and to be that dominating. Yeah, and to tailor town said to come back after having a child and to be in the finals probably should have won that match with McNally. Yeah, just a lot of fun things to watch. On the double side. I mean, Joe Salisbury man, play that guy and qualifying of my first challenger title, thought the guy was really nice to professional did I see him winning slam after slam I didn't know him as well as Freddie did but you know, there's there's a lot of stories to be had that just aren't really told. And yeah, a little bit disappointing. But that's kind of how tennis has been. Yeah,
Daniel Kiernan 47:24
And Taylor, I remember actually know, back back in the day when I was traveling with Josh Ward, hibbott, Liam broady, all of those guys. And you know, we we I met you along that way the the GB USA match and East born and you know, we all it was always was always fun. But the one girl I really remember was Taylor, you know, she was like, she was the life and soul. She was smiling. She was happy. She was always speaking to everyone. So it's it's lovely to see good people do well as well.
Noah Rubin 47:58
Now, it was great that she's worked her ass off to get to where she is right now dealt with a lot of crap. Especially from USTA times and going against that, but she is a talented tennis player. Some of the best hands I have seen anywhere, especially on the woman's store. And yeah, deserves all the success that she's hopefully going to come across the next few years.
Daniel Kiernan 48:20
So that the end of 2022 It's a nice feels US Open. That's it. But obviously Freddie, you're out and El Salvador for Davis Cup right now. There's lots of players getting ready for the Davis Cup. I personally, the Davis Cup finals is in Malaga, actually, which is about an hour from my academy out in Spain. So I'm hoping that some of the big names gonna turn up. We've spent enough money on tickets at Saudia for the academy that hoping that we might see your Rafa's and we the Alcaraz's, and Andy Murray's and The Jock of itches, and not all of those guys, but just give us one thing not to look out for, for the rest of 2022 before people start getting ready for Australia again, it comes around thick and fast.
Noah Rubin 49:08
Yeah, I mean, I think, you know, and being a little bit more of a fan than player at the moment, you know, I think this is going to show what kind of players we have. That's at the top of both sports, you know, yeah, this is definitely from a fan point of view. It's a slam centric kind of viewership. You know, that's where people want to see. But you know, the reason why Ruud will be at the top of the sport is because I am in you know, I see him being consistent year round for the next 10 years. You know, these are the things that you know, the fans that are just common to the sport because of Alcaraz or for any story should see what it takes to be a tennis player at the top of the sport. If you're not one of these generational talents like Alcaraz. This is what it takes and Ruud will be you know, Sinner, you know, these guys will be there day in day out playing very, very good tennis. But yeah, I mean, maybe we're wrong. Maybe we See a couple breakdowns May we see some of these younger players not taken in stride as well as you know, the big three and I think it has proven a lot I think I think this time I think the next few years will prove even further just how great and just how dominating the Big Three were and even a Maria even though while Rinka you know how consistent they really actually were. And that's when I was I kind of compare David for rare to Casper routed away, seeing kind of where those Prime's would match up if you know obviously brood is not in it but where it could end up. And yeah, we have a lot of interesting tennis to watch but for me I even need a break from watching it. You know, I really do use open took a lot out of me as a fan. And I get why. You know for a lot of people it's tough to follow tennis around.
Daniel Kiernan 50:51
Although no I did see. I did see a picture jumped on social media of you with the men's final on a small television and the NFL on a big television. So there was it was it the secondary it was secondary importance yesterday for you the US Open final.
Noah Rubin 51:09
Yeah, it was it's fun. I really became an American football fan last year with my girlfriend in Minnesota. So super easy to become a fan of them. And I'm not a tremendous football fan. But yeah, I knew that the Finals was not going to be at the level Sinner Alcaraz was and honestly until a set in the half almost two sets. I was kind of bored of the tennis and it was the first game of the season for the Vikings. So I had Yeah, it was proportionally placed if that means anything.
Daniel Kiernan 51:40
And Fred to you as a as a coach. Now my last question to you. I've been lucky in the last two and a half to three years that I've had players that I've coached, played against Jannik Sinner, Casper Ruud and Carlos Alcaraz and Yannick Sinha was at Tunisia 15k. Evan height played against him in the we scouted him in the first round. He beat Luke Johnson seven five and the third and we scouted him. And honestly my scouting was he had a bit of a dodgy forehand genuinely, and, and Evan got all over his forehand beat him three and four. And the next week, he won his first challenger. And he went on that incredible run. So it was literally the week before he went on that run. Fast forward. A few months later, we went to Rafael Nadal Academy for a 15k in Mallorca. And there was a young 16 year old everyone was talking about. Juan Carlos is my age. So we, me and my partner went Tarbes under fourteens in 1994 and Juan Carlos when Tarbes singles in 1994. So we were we were kind of sharing stories. And I said, Come on, how good is this kid you know we watched a practice and he said he's already top 100 level easily. You just need to now play the tournament. And he beats Evan Hoyt in the semifinals. And Casper Ruud in Davis Cup. I was helping out the Irish Davis Cup team. Pete Bothwell played Casper Ruud and actually hadn't 5-4 in the first set of 30 all on Casper's serve. But all three of them were the most professional guys in the tournament. All three of them Jannik Sinner was always on the practice court. Casper Ruud was doing every last detail that you could imagine, you know, you saw out Alcaraz was out there, he was there in the gym. He didn't miss a beat. You know, and that is the reality for us as coaches, we want those role models Kyrgios we love him. But he's a dangerous role model because the kids think they can go that route. They think they can just have that skill and you there's only one or two generational talents that can get away with being a half decent player like that. So for you as a coach, how good is it to have those three guys and Iga Swiatek that are at the absolute top of the game right now. And showcasing all of the values of a decent human being, as well as all the values that it takes to be a top high performer.
Freddie Nielsen 54:23
For me, it's nice, I do like it and feel like that you have somebody to put up on a pedestal as they see what they do. From from the from a coaching point of view I'm very much a big fan of the versatility of the human mind and I want to firmly believe that although it will probably be difficult to work with. There has to be room for the for the outliers and the geniuses who do differently like the Nick Kyrgios and, and I like to draw the line when we get personal and insulting towards other people. Personally, but within that we expect them to show your emotions and all that and finding a way to get the best out of Nick is also fascinating. And I like that I think that there should be room for that in within the tennis and I would be disappointed in myself if I if I tried to make all my my players look the same way. I think that their personalities have to come out on court. And I think that's what these guys do genuinely, they're not trying to be anything different. They genuinely like this as a person, the professional side of it obviously goes without saying, I think that's something that I would never want any player to question. And I also am a firm believer, now we have a lot of, we have mainly futures players in Denmark that I work with, and I'm a strong believer in, in having world class attitude no matter what tournament you're at. And I don't think that you need to adapt to different levels, I think you're trying to apply yourself to the best level possible, no matter what tournament you're at. And I think that's what these guys have been doing pretty well. And they've had the vision to see what it takes to be a good player. From what I know Casper started early with his physical coach and put in a big plan of that. I don't have particularly knowledge of how the other boys did. And then they did it no matter where they were. And I'm I'm a big believer of that you got to stay in the moment, but you got to be able to see where you want to go and apply yourself. And application is number one, everybody can say that they want to be number one in the world is the easiest thing in the world to say. However your actions need to package you got to be able to see it with with what you do, excuse me, with what you do. And these guys have put it in, and I want to see that button with my players as well. I want to hear what they want to do. And then I want to see the application. Because like I said, saying saying what you want to do is the easiest thing in the world, I can say to you, then I want to be number one in the world. But it's completely bonkers if I'm just lying around and not putting in the effort. So yeah, to summarize, I do like the versatility I think there should be room for people to to express themselves in different ways. And I think if you put Casper Ruud's attitude approach to the game, down to that we've used them a lot, but then to curious, I don't think you're gonna get a particularly great version of Kyrgios. But at the same time, the professionalism, I also want, you know, the professionalism of the being able to concentrate and prolong your career. That's, that's what I was wondering a player, you know, I'm not so interested in short term success, I want consistent success, I want my players to continue winning over a longer period of time. And if you're a professional, and your body stays healthy, I think you'll improve your chances of doing that.
Daniel Kiernan 57:51
Guys, your you're true gents to come on, give your time you really are. And we're going to have a couple more, it's proving in the outside of the pandemic was much easier than inside the pandemic was much easier. People were locked in hotel rooms, you know, now people have lives. So, you know, getting all of these timelines together is difficult. But I'm just going to leave the listener with with one thing and you said it Freddie, but a world class attitude is in your control. You know, hitting a world class forehand isn't. That's what control the controllables is, is all about it another great conversation, guys. And thank you so much for your time. Thanks. Thanks. And once again, I love the conversation I really do. I could talk tennis all day long. And I often do, it's kind of my job. Sometimes the logistics of what you do in running a tennis academy gets in the way of the passion of talking shop talking tennis, and to have these tennis people on the other side of the laptop, being able to see them and talk I could I could talk for hours. And as we discussed there so many storylines, so many bits to pick up. And just one thing I'd like to pick up here at the end of today's show, we touched on it there at the end. And it's role modeling. It's something that I think a lot about, I talk a lot about, you know are these super superstars, the real role models that for us to follow and I think Alcaraz is almost that generational talent. Yes, he's a role model is amazing. he's special for the sport, but he's also quite hard to touch. Because I saw him at 16 years old, he was already at the top 100 level is is is almost a freak of nature in that way. You know whereas what I love about the Casper Ruud story, I think that Sinner has it himself as well, Ons Jabeur has it in abundance 28 years old, having the best year of her career. They're more touchable they're we can we can relate to them much better. You know and I think If Casper Ruud to this people out there going to Casper route gets the world number two, then it's a chance for us all. And that's not a disrespect of Casper, because he is everything that we would that we want our tennis players to be. He lives, the professional life. He puts it out there every single day. But he's just a little bit more than normal people's person. He's not quite that generational talent. Yet here he is in 2022 in two Grand Slam finals, but he puts it in the puts it in camera and during the same these, these are the players that we want also our kids to look up to, you know, these are the ones that maybe it's a little bit more tangible in terms of in terms of the journey that they were on. They weren't necessarily set for this absolute stardom, which which in our Khurasan dallies these guys were but I think that for me is a big, big takeaway from this year's us open the stars, the amazing people will see them the crowd that Jon Bon Jovi's, you know, we saw Michelle Obama, you know, New York is really the place to be, I can't wait to go back there, whether it's next year, or in the in the near future. But thank you to everyone that was involved in the event for giving us two incredible, incredible weeks. But my last message, as we all know, it was an emotional two weeks. And as we moved into the second week and towards the end of the tournament, the sad news came through from the UK, that our queen, you know, the grandmother, the person who we've all looked up to the person who's always been on our screens, you know, who's given us comfort, whatever your thoughts are on the monarchy, this is not the show that I'm going to get involved in, in those sorts of discussions. But I know certainly on a personal level, I've lived 42 years and and I had a real feeling of of sadness in a very busy week, at the academy just to stop and feel a bit overcome with the emotion of it all. And I have thought about it a lot the last few days. And it is that it's somebody that's no longer there that took that role, took that position, gave us all strength, made us all feel like things are okay made us feel that things are normal, all of the challenges and things that go on in the world. And it wouldn't be right for me to speak in this week without mentioning the Queen and rest in peace. You know, I really do. Thank you for all that you did our country but also the Commonwealth and the rest of the world to give your life and I had a discussion with the tennis players on this today who maybe don't quite understand who the Queen is and in terms of in terms of her position but to give up her life to to play that role and be that be that figurehead for for so many people out there. And it was it was incredibly sad it's been a sad sad few days. But back to the tennis we will be back now that the US Open is not on. I've got all of my eyes on many different tennis people that have got no excuse now not to be jumping on to the podcast. So so watch this space as always, and until next time, I'm Dan Kiernan and we are Control the Controllables