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Tuesday, 27 June, 2000, 11:14 GMT 12:14 UK
What next for Rusedski?
Greg Rusedski's Wimbledon hopes were dashed at the first hurdle when he lost to the American Vince Spadea in five sets. Where does that leave the British No.2?
It is not so much that he lost in the first round at Wimbledon 2000, but the fact that he crashed out to an opponent who was on a run of 22 consecutive defeats.
Rusedski will cling to the fact that although he was clearly out of sorts he served for the match - and only lost in a tense fifth set.
However this defeat follows his exit from the first round of the French Open and with a Davis Cup tie against Ecuador a week after Wimbledon he urgently needs to rediscover his form.
Rusedski claims to know what is wrong but can seemingly do little to change his present run of form and has decided to take a break from tennis for the duration of Wimbledon.
Is rest the best cure or is hard work the only remedy?
After 15 double faults in his first round loss is it a simple case that without a reliable serve Rusedski's game is found out to be one dimensional?
Can Rusedski rediscover the form that took him to the US Open Final in 1997?
What can he do to turn things around?
I have to agree with Gavin Reed. Greg needs a new backhand before he is going to get any further success and I suspect he knows it, which is why his confidence has evaporated. The sliced backhand is just not enough.
I think Greg should do what Agassi and Chang did and enter some of the smaller tournaments to win titles and regain his confidence. Once this has been acheived, his confidence will be increased and hopefully, he will be winning more matches in the bigger tournaments, hopefully a grand slam!
Barbara Angopa, UK
The problem with Rusedski, as someone above pointed out, is that he's a very average player blessed with an exceptional serve. Subsequently, when his serve is off, he's just average, period. Yes, he reached the 97 US Open final, but that was one purple patch in an otherwise so-so career. His backhand is not much above that of the average club player, and his volleys under-pressure are suspect at best.
What both Rusedski and Henman need to do is hire a decent coach to sort them out before it's to late. The right person is literally staring at them every day on BBC. An ex-winner and one of the best players on fast courts, he could whip them into shape, both physically and mentally, in no time at all.
His name? It's Mr. Pat Cash. Give him a call, boys!
I believe that he is just as good as Tim Henman, but due to injuries his form has yet to materialise this year. Although many of us out there are thinking surely if he is on home soil why can't he win? We have to consider the enormous amount of pressure that both the British number one and number two seed are under. I don't think that there is anything seroiusly wrong with his game plan or the way he plays, but I do feel that he should be looking at players such as Pete Sampras and watching his moves and look at how the 'better players' play.
Rachel Helen Bayley, England
What's wrong with British players such as L.Latimer and B.Cowan!? With some support and encouragement, they might manage to receive a shred of credit instead of being forgotten about as we remain obsessed about Rusedski and Henman. And maybe by noticing the women particularly, we can inspire some potential British tennis stars!
Greg Rusedski simply has to be patient. He has had some serious surgery and may not completely trust his feet. He knows he has the talent and he most certainly knows he has the will to get back to where he was. He is a much stronger competitor than Henman and should totally dismiss any negative thoughts. We should all get behind him and not speculate on any thought of failure.
Pip Patrick, UK
Greg is obviously going through a crisis with his game. He played some great tennis though he's struggling mentally. I don't think that anyone should kick him while he's down, he needs a lot of support at this time. He'll get it back together and then we'll see some more excellent tennis from him. British tennis seems to be in a slump. Where are the women? Since Virginia Wade there doesn't seem to be anyone around.
I am confident that Greg will bounce back. All great athletes and sportsmen have bad patches, he will learn from this one and come back a stronger player
Rusedski's serve may well have lost some of its potency but it was his inability to win break points which cost him against Spadea. The same thing also happened in the French against Dosedel. If he is to bounce back from this slump he needs to reinvent himself as an all-court player. His reliance on his serve over the years has begun to work against him, in that when it's not working 100 percent he doesn't seem to believe that the rest of his game is good enough. Sadly Greg still thinks he is a top ten player when, in actual fact, he's struggling to be top 50. When he accepts that he can begin the process of rebuilding his game instead of going into tournaments with ridiculously high targets. For all that, it was a great game.
Greg should never forget that form is temporary, but class is permanent.
He will be back.
Let's hope Rusedski can get it together for the upcoming David Cup tie. He thrives on teamwork, so maybe he can use it to help restore his confidence.
Once again we are putting a British sportsman down. He has had surgery and the stress of getting married. Did everyone think Sampras was finished when he had his back problems and didn't win every tournament he entered? Anyone who was privileged to see the Davis Cup matches at Birmingham will know that this guy tries all the time! Go Greg Go!
So Greg lost - big deal! It's a disappointment but not one that the British public isn't used to. Why should he have to put up with all this when he already knows he's got problems? The wider issue is that this country seems to have only two tennis players who are expected to achieve time and again and have to face national disappointment and criticism when they don't.
Until Greg can consistently play a top-spin backhand his career will only go one way.
Rusedski might be an English citizen but he is not English! What a joke it is for us Americans to watch you Brits waving the union jack during his matches. The bottom line is Rusedski is a mediocre tennis player and being Canadian-born a mediocre Englishman. Wave the flag for Henman - a true Brit.
What can the Gregster do to turn things around? Sort out his serve - that should raise his game by about 99 percent! Then learn how to win set/match-deciding service games after breaking an opponent (how many times did that happen vs. Spadea?). Finally, get his body and mind up to speed instead of cracking under pressure like a wet-behind-the-ears teenager (we can forgive Lleyton Hewitt, but Greg should know better). If he does all that, he'll recapture his 1997 US Open finalist form, you mark my words.
Phill Hood, UK
I think that Rusedski's run of form is unfortunate. His groundstrokes aren't exactly amazing but he's one of my favourite players for his willingness to battle during matches. We should let him do what he thinks is best so he can return in better shape. Maybe, if we're lucky, he might develop a top-spin backhand shot.
I think Greg has to believe in himself again. When he went 8-7 down in the final set against Spadea he looked beaten, he'd given up. He needs to get his old confidence back and then I'm sure we'll see him winning again!
Watching Rusedski you get the impression he still hasn't shaken off the psychological effects of his surgery. His game is based on power, the channelling of which puts tremendous stresses on the body. Whether he can rediscover his form depends on him overcoming the mental barrier that he might injure himself again.
The decline in Greg's form can be directly linked to his acrimonious split with his former coach Tony Picard. When he was with Pickard he reached a Grand Slam final, his rankings were top rate and he was considered as a major force in the men's game. Greg needs to take stock of his situation and surround himself with talented people
who can bring out hte best facets of his game. This is clearly not happening now.
The match was one of two major tennis talents - Spadea was Top 20 last year - who have been caught in slumps largely caused by a lack of confidence. Both men have the ability to recover quickly and rediscover their form. Greg in particular is an exciting and multi-talented player. I look forward to many many more thrilling tennis matches from him and perhaps a Grad Slam win in New York!
On Monday I watched the most thrilling match between Rusedski and Spadea. Form is of course not something that changes dramatically with only simple advice. But it struck me how often Greg used his 'high- kicking' serve out wide instead of his more simple and reliable serve straight through the middle of the court. Although his serve outside is a fantastic weapon, I feel his serve down the middle
is far more fierce and should give him more 'easy' points. In the fourth and fifth set he used this 'big' serve more often but especially
on the 'deuce' side of the court he almost always went for the serve outside.
Let's face it, Rusedski is a fantastic server who can also play a small amount of tennis. If the serve lets him down, there's not much left.
He can earn some money being a TV pundit with the rest of the them. The Brits should just stick to rowing. It is the only sport we can hold our head up high where we know we are the best.
Not so long ago Andre Agassi was in the same spot as Greg. He has since won a Grand Slam. Greg has been a US Open finalist and has won nine titles helping to put Britain back among the world's elite tennis countries. Give him a break and let him get it back together again.
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