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Nick's Picks- Recap of Australian Open weekend

Maria Sharapova assists Nick Bollettieri during a clinic at IMG Academy

Novak Djokovic

I said to myself several times that it looks like the #1 seed was going down. In his interview with Jim Courier he was asked what was going through his mind when he was so close to defeat. He answered that he kept hitting and wasn’t afraid to lose. It is sad that 2 warriors fought their hearts out for 5 hours and only one could move on. Stan gained the respect of all the tour players and all the world. Wawrinka was truly hurting for the last two sets playing with tears of pain in his eyes.

Sloane Stephens

Will face Serena Williams in the quarters. They press asked Serena if she was the mentor to Stephens and she answered that she is not the mentor when they play each other.

Maria Sharapova

She sometimes throws the ball too far in front of her. Any ball inside the baseline she says is all hers. Maria must keep her tossing hand up much longer. She pulls her front should down too soon. She will not leave Australia without the winner’s cup. She is on fire and will only hit missiles to blow you out of the water.

Her next opponent is Makarova. She controlled play against Kerber and always kept her on the run. Yes, she moves well but hitting is not enough, she must add angles and be more aggressive on her 2nd serve. She has excellent groundies and is not afraid to come forward.

Kei Nishikori

Kei must get some free points from his serve. He must not only retrieve balls but he must also add defense to his game. He is very comfortable at the net, and he must come in more. Kei is an exciting player to watch and has been at the IMG Academy for 10 years. He has gained so much respect on the tour, but everyone is aware of his injuries and weaknesses. He needs less time on the court in practice and more time in the gym.

Federer Vs. Raonic

Yes, Raonic has a huge serve, very aggressive forehand, consistent backhand, but he is very uncomfortable at the net. Federer has given time with his outstanding coach and former student of the IMG Academy in Paul Annacone. He is getting much lower on his forehand volley and turning his upper body vs. hitting the volley in the open stance.