Author Archives: Craig
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Well, firstly congratulations go out to Henrik Weirsholm for capturing the 2012 Boy’s 16’s singles final today here at Kalamazoo over our very own Sasha Gozun. Henrik won 6-4, 6-1 and was the better player on the day with more consistent play from the back of the court.
It was a tough loss for Sasha but overall it was an incredible week to make the final – especially saving three match points in the Rd 64. Henrik also won the doubles yesterday as well.
Brandon and I have just videoed our final interview with Sasha in the hotel room and posted it online in this week’s Brain Game Academy lesson. You can click on the following link to go straight to it.
Good morning from the Zoo,
It’s just another normal day in Kalamazoo with another match to take care of. Sasha will play the final of boy’s 16’s this morning at 11.30am against Henrik Wiersholm and the weather looks fantastic. All is good this morning in camp gozunator and very much looking forward to the battle.
Early this morning I uploaded the interview Brandon and I did with Sasha last night and also a 5 minute highlight video from yesterday’s semi final against #2 Paul Oosterbaan. Please click on the following link to go straight to the Brain Game Academy lesson to see the videos.
Sasha Gozun, the #32 seed in the boy’s 16’s, is through to tomorrow’s final of the national hardcourt championships here in Kalamazoo after defeating #2 seed Paul Oosterbaan 4-6, 7-5, 6-2 in this morning’s semi final.
I am working with Sasha and his coach, Brandon Wagner, this week and it is so pleasing to see Sasha succeed with vastly improved body language and commitment to following game plans. This is the fourth three-set match Sasha has won out of six matches and I am so impressed with how his game and mind have progressed match to match throughout the tournament.
Sasha went down a break early at 2-2 in the first set but broke straight away with some excellent returning deep down the middle. Sahsa got broken again at 4-4 and Paul played a solid service game to close out the first set.
In the second set there were no breaks of serve to 6-5 until Sasha pressured some errors from Paul, including a double fault on set point.
Brandon and I got to coach Sasha during the 10-minute break between second and third sets and Sasha came out and broke immediately and raced to a 3-0 lead before closing it out 6-2 in dominating style.
Sasha hit a lot of targets serving in this match and returned extremely well deep down the middle of the court. I also liked his commitment to dominate the back of the court with his forehand and look to finish at the net.
Sasha will play #12 seed Henrik Wiersholm, from Kirkland, Washingston, in tomorrow’s final at 11.30am.
Brandon, Sasha and I will add another interview this evening to this week’s BG Academy weekly lesson about today’s match and I will also add a 5-minute highlight video as well.
All the best from the Zoo,
Good morning from the Zoo,
It’s a wet one here today in Michigan but Sasha has a day off so no worries with the weather for us. Coach Brandon Wagner and myself will give Sasha a workout indoors this afternoon and further develop the patterns of play for tomorrow’s semi-final.
I have updated the Kalamazoo LIVE page in the weekly Academy lessons this morning with three 5-minute videos of match highlights from Sasha’s early rounds as well as a tour of the Kalamazoo College courts with some quarter-final action yesterday. There is also a new interview uploaded last night with Sasha – as well as some bloopers. It’s not easy to keep a straight face when the Gozunator starts cracking up.
Please click on the following link to go straight to the member’s section.
Catch you later,
Sasha Gozun, the #32 seed in the Boy’s 16’s, is through to the semi-finals of the Kalamazoo national junior hardcourt championships with a dominating 6-1, 6-4 victory over Shane Monroe in his quarter-finals today. It is an absolute pleasure to be part of Sasha’s coaching team, along with Brandon Wagner, and see Sasha’s growth and development this week on the big stage.
Sasha got off to a great start in the match, breaking Shane in his second service game and broke again to win the first set 6-1. Sasha also got an early break in the second set and led 4-3 30-30 serving when the rains came. After about an hour delay, Sasha came back out and closed out the match 6-4 to advance to the semi’s on Saturday against #2 seed Paul Oosterbaan.
Yesterday was another thrilling day at Kalamazoo for Sasha Gozun as he narrowly won his Rd 16 match in the Boy’s 16’s 2-6, 7-5, 7-6 (4) to advance to the quarter finals today. This was a match where everything seemed to go wrong for Sasha and yet he still managed to find a way to win.
This was his first time on stadium court which brought out a few more nerves at the start of the match than normal. Combine that with Sasha was competing against an excellent opponent in Shawn Hadavi and things got tough straight away for Sasha as he went down a double break at the beginning of the opening set.
Sasha also went down a break 2-1 in the second set, but often falling behind like this can take the pressure off and free you up to play. Sasha’s normally aggressive game style was not to be and he had to grind for a lot more points from the back of the court and figure out a new way to win a match.
To his credit his body language stayed extremely strong and somehow he stole the second set 7-5 and raced to a 5-2 lead in the 3rd set until Shawn came storming back to level at 5-5 and soon after they were battling in a tie-breaker. Sasha went ahead to lead 6-1 and eventually won it 6-4 to advance to his first ever major quarter final on boy’s 16’s.
Please click on the following link to go to the members area of the Brain Game website to see Sasha’s interview with coach, Brandon Wagner, and myself.
The Sasha Gozun train keeps rolling here at the National Hardcourts with a hard fought three set win yesterday over #4 seed Logan Smith in the Boy’s 16’s. Logan is a very accomplished player with excellent speed, defense and court sense and Sasha was able to pull out a sensational 4-6, 7-5, 6-4 victory yesterday afternoon.
Sasha was in deep trouble down 3-0 and 40-0 on his serve in the third set, but he was able to save those three break points and claw his way back for probably the best win of his young career.
I am assisting Sasha’s coach, Brandon Wagner, here at the tournament with Dartfish match analysis and game plans and we are both delighted with how Sasha is progressing with his tactics during the point and his body language between the points.
I have updated the Brain Game Academy weekly lesson with another interview with the three of us late last night – you can click on the following link to go straight to the interview exclusively in the members section of the BG website. It took a few “takes”, so we threw in some pretty funny bloopers as well. Highlights of the match will also be posted this morning on the same page.
Sasha will play in the Round of 16 this afternoon at 2pm and we are preparing this morning for another tough encounter.
We are bringing you this week’s Brain Game Academy lesson live from Kalamazoo with a backstage look at one of the most promising juniors in the country – Sasha Gozun.
Sasha is originally from Moldova – a small European country between Ukraine and Romania – and now lives in Tampa, Florida, and trains with coach Brandon Wagner. Sasha is the 32nd seed here in the Boy’s 16’s and received a bye in the first round and won his second round match 7-5, 7-5 and won again today in his third round match 6-2, 3-6, 7-5 – saving three match points along the way.
This week we take a close look behind the scenes with Sasha’s tennis and the preparation we are doing using Dartfish software. We video his matches and tag them in Dartfish to learn and develop the best patterns of play for his game style.
Please click on the following link to go straight to this week’s lesson.
Good evening from Kalamazoo, Michigan!
I trust everyone is gearing up for a great weekend of tennis and a simply awesome Wimbledon final on the horizon between Roger and Andy. It is going to be a cracker!
Well, I am at the Boy’s 16’s & 18’s National Hardcourts at the Zoo with super coach Brandon Wagner and his young star, Sasha Gozun -who hails from Moldova (somewhere between Ukraine and Romania). I started working with Brandon and Sasha earlier in the year and its fantastic to join them at such a big tournament. We will giving updates as the event progresses.
Brandon and I were working on the website this afternoon and we figured out a way that members do not have to do the click through when they click on pages within the website. For example, this morning you would navigate to the Brain Game Academy section and click on one of the weekly lessons which would have directed you to to the landing page, and then you would have to click again to get through to the lesson. Not ideal.
Well, no longer my friends. Members will be directed straight to the lesson and bypass the extra step to get there. Listen, I would love to take most of the credit for this but Brandon is the real hero here. Good stuff matey! We also worked on reloading videos to the website that I took off last week (so that all videos can be viewed on an iPad). That will be completed asap.
Big storms rolled through Michigan this evening but we are hopeful to get on court tomorrow morning and get the tournament underway. Sasha plays his first match at 11 and it is all systems go after a nice practice session this afternoon working on patterns of play and return of serve in particular.
Ok – off to bed as my 3.50am alarm this morning is starting to catch up with me.
Well, that was a tight one.
Rajeev Ram lost his semi final match of the ATP250 Los Angeles event last night to Sam Querrey 6-3, 7-6 (4), who went on to win the event today over Richard Berankis 6-0, 6-2.
Rajeev battled really well and had Sam on the ropes for a lot of the match but just could not close it out. Congratulations to Sam on winning his 7th ATP title and third and LA.
The good news is Rajeev is now back in the top 100 at #93 for the first time in a couple of years. Since we started working together in Atlanta in 2011, Rajeev has shaved off 179 spots from his ranking of #273. That’s a big deal any way you want to slice it. Congrats big man!!!
Rajeev Ram is through to his second ATP250 semi final in three weeks with a 7-6 (3), 6-3 victory over #3 seed Leonardo Mayer of Argentina. This win will catapult Rajeev back into the top 100 in the world for the first time since July 2010 and the tournament is far from over. Rajeev will play the winner of Sam Querrey and Xavier Malisse, who play at 7.30pm pacific time this evening. Rajeev also made the semi’s of Newport two weeks ago where he lost to Lleyton Hewitt in three sets in the semi finals.
Rajeev served extremely well in today’s match, making 71% of his first serves and winning 74% of them. More importantly, he won 15/20 (75%) on second serves which is the main reason he only got broken once for the match – early in the second set. Rajeev dropped behind 1-3, but stormed home to win the last 5 games in a row.
There is a lot more tennis to be played in this tournament as Rajeev seeks his the second ATP title of his career (won ATP250 Newport 2009).
All the best and have a wonderful weekend!
ATP250 Los Angeles Rajeev Ram v #64 Leonardo Mayer + New Academy Lesson – Steve Job’s 7 Secrets To Success
I hope everyone is having a wonderful Thursday and getting ready for hot weekend of tennis.
Rajeev Ram will play his quarter-final match against Argentine, Leonardo Mayer, tomorrow afternoon in Los Angeles. Mayer is a quality player, currently ranked #64 in the world, and he has been as high as #51 back in 2010. I actually coached against him twice in 2010 when I was working with Kevin Anderson – a loss in Delray Beach, followed by a win in Toronto. We wish Rajeev all the best with this great opportunity.
Wow that was quick!
Rajeev just made his way into the quarter finals of the Los Angeles ATP250 with a straight sets W over Chilean Paul Capdeville in an hour and some change. Rajeev won 6-3, 6-1 and never faced a break point for the entire match. He broke Paul five times from nine opportunities and only lost three points on serve in the second set. Pretty dominant performance.
Rajeev served much better in this match than the previous few weeks, making 62% of his 1st serves and won 22/26 (85%) points on 1st serve for the entire match. He was also rock solid on 2nd serves, winning 11/16 (69%).
It’s match day again for Rajeev Ram as he takes on #139 Paul Capdeville (CHI) in the 2nd round of the ATP250 event in Los Angeles. They play 2nd on after 2pm Pacific time and it should be another great battle for Rajeev. They have played four times in the past, with Paul winning three of them, but Rajeev won the last match earlier this year in Guadalajara 6-1, 6-1.
Also, we are really getting caught up with Academy lessons and the new one today is called Don’t Quit On Me. Click on the following link to go straight to it.
A huge congrats to Rajeev Ram for his straight sets victory over # 8 seed and world #79 Brian Baker 7-6 (3), 7-5 late last night at the ATP250 event in Los Angeles. Rajeev has been on a roll lately, making semi’s of the ATP250 Newport event a couple of weeks ago after making the quarter-finals of Wimbledon doubles. Rajeev and I have spent a lot of time “sharpening the sword” and all of that work is really paying off at the moment.
It makes it all very rewarding.
Rajeev did not serve that great, only making 51% of first serves, but he won a massve 80% of them when he made it in. He also won 50% of second serve points, which is always a good day at the office. A major part of the victory was the good work done on Brian’s second serve, where he won 63% of the points. Rajeev stepped it up in the second set, winning 10/12 (83%) of points on 1st serves to come away with a narrow victory over a very good friend.
I hope everyone is doing well in their tournaments this weekend!
It’s a big day for Rajeev Ram as he battles Lleyton Hewitt in the semi-finals of the Campbells Hall of Fame Tennis Championships in Newport, RI this afternoon at 2pm eastern (live in tennis channel).
Rajeev and I had a wonderful swing through the grasscourt season in England, working together in Nottingham and then Wimbledon qualies in singles and main draw in doubles where he made it through to the quarter-finals with Scott Lipsky.
The very first tournament I started coaching Rajeev was Atlanta last year where he beat Hewitt in three sets in the Rd16 7-5, 2-6, 6-2. Rajeev also just beat Lleyton in the doubles at Wimbledon last week in the 3rd Rd 6-4, 3-6, 6-4, 6-4.
G’day from Nottingham!
The road to Wimbledon on the English grasscourts has begun here in Nottingham at the $75K Challenger this week. I am here coaching Amer Delic and Rajeev Ram and I it is such a pleasure to be back hitting on grasscourts. Amer lost a tight first round match 6-4, 6-4 in qualifying to talented young Frenchman Pierre-Hugues Hubert. Amer had all the momentum early in the match but could not convert break points to get ahead. We videoed the match, reviewed it, and have already begun improving areas of his game.
We have had some rain here which has delayed some matches but today has seen play all day. I worked with Rajeev and Amer from around 8am to almost noon today – first indoors and then out on the grass and I must say we had one of the best practice sessions I can remember in a long time. The focus was on approaching and serving and volleying and both guys reall hit well. Brian Baker also joined Rajeev on court later in the morning as he gets his feet under him on the grass after a successful claycourt season.
Will be updating regularly with photos and videos from Robin Hood country!
Hope all is well and everyone is enjoying the action in the early rounds at Indian Wells. I worked with Rajeev Ram in qualifying where he won his first match against#227 Ivan Navarro (ESP) 6-4, 6-2 and lost in the second round to #91 Matthew Ebden (AUS) 6-4, 6-3. Rajeev played a great match against Ivan, but battled 30mph+ winds against Matthew which caused havoc with his serve and attacking game.
The YouTube point posted in this blog is from the Round 1 encounter between #63 Dudi Sela (ISR) and #178 Amer Delic (BIH). Dudi won 2-6, 6-0, 6-2. Amer looked good in the first set but Dudi broke early in the 2nd and rolled to victory. There was one special point in this match where both players ended up hitting a tweener – has to be the onlyATP point ever for that to happen.
It was a pleasure to be on the inaugural tennis panel at the ESPN Sloan Sports Conference at MIT in Boston this weekend.
http://www.sloansportsconference.com / @sloansportsconf / #ssac
The panel was moderated by ESPN’s Mark Stein and I was joined by Paul Annacone (Roger Federer’s coach) and Todd Martin (former top #5) for the discussion. The conference has been going for 6 years and this was the first year tennis was included.
It was great to get together with Paul and Todd before the panel and talk about tennis analytics and discuss just little they are actually applied in our sport. In fact, Mark Stein opened the discussion by stating that tennis is the second worst sport to adopt analytics in their sport – with boxing being the worst.
Hello from Boston,
It is an absolute pleasure to be a speaker at the ESPN Sloan Sports Analytics Conference in Boston today and tomorrow. This is the inaugural year for tennis to be included in the conference along with a host of other sports.
The moderator for the panel is Marc Stein, from ESPN, and the tennis panel is made up of Paul Annacone (Roger Federer’s coach), Todd Martin (former top 5 player) and myself (former Albury and Border Junior Player of the Year :-))
Another instant classic between Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer in Melbourne last night. Nadal got home in four sets, but only after coming from a set and a break down.
Please read my analysis of the match by clicking on the following link.
It’s going to be another great semi-final tonight between Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray.
Just finished another fun article for the New York Times – this one is on Roger Federer’s big quarter-final win over Juan Martin Del Potro at the Australian Open last night.
Please click on the following link to go and read it.
Hope you guys enjoy it!
The business end of the Aussie Open is firing up and it’s going to be a fantastic week of tennis. I am back writing for the New York Times and you can click on the following link to read my story of the Federer/Tomic match.
The Brain Game Academy is going extremely well and we have 5 weekly lessons online now and lots of players participating.
Click on the following link to go to the Academy homepage.
Looking forward to a great week and more stories coming up in the New York Times.
The Brain Game is pleased to announce the launch of the Brain Game Academy on Christmas Day 2011.
In the past seven years the Brain Game has developed into the world leader teaching tennis strategy – working with many professional ATP
and WTA players and national championship collegiate teams. We have researched more matches and analyzed more patterns of play than anyone on the planet. The world’s best tactics are now exclusively available as a weekly course through the Brain Game Academy.
You simply can’t get this information anywhere else.
We focus on the best players in the game and uncover what makes them so special. How you hit the ball is important, but from what
part of the court you hit it matters more. Imagine knowing the secrets of the elite players and using that to your advantage. The Brain Game Academy reveals those secrets and provides a weekly road map to your improvement.
With Christmas right around the corner, the Brain Game Academy is an ideal gift to give to any competitive tennis player. Simply enroll
and print off the Christmas present PDF on our website.