Daily Bagel: Inside the combination of Sloane Stephens and Paul Annacone
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• Video: TennisTV selects their top five ATP matches of the season.
• Peter Bodo looks at the intriguing combination of Sloane Stephens and Paul Annacone.
Coaches often must be adept at amateur psychology, even with the very best players. [Pete] Sampras had a tendency to want to beat guys at their own games, but Annacone always wanted him to go out and dictate with that explosive game -- “Show them that you’re Pete Sampras and they’re not.”
Stephens needs a measure of that sort of support; every player does, and more often more than you might think. Yet I don’t see Stephens as a player who needs a lot of stroking. Drama queen? Yes. Needy? Not so much. Annacone would not make a very good Svengali, so it would be a good thing if his charge didn’t expect him to be one.
In fact, the things Stephens most seems to need are the ones Annacone is good at providing. Those include a sound, practical grasp of strategy and tactics. Given Stephens’ degree of power, she’s been a very instinctive player -- to her detriment, I think. She’s often been too content to react to what her opponent is doing, rather than taking charge. And she’s suffered some puzzling lapses of concentration.
• A phenomenal tennis quiz put together by Canada's Tom Tebbutt. Good luck!
• Juan Martin del Potro has been named Argentina's Sportsman of the Year for the second time in his career.
• More year-end nostalgia: The BNP Paribas Open blog puts together their fan awards.
• The ATP finishes its countdown of the biggest comebacks of the season.
• No Australian Open comeback for Jelena Dokic.
• Andy Murray is the overwhelming favorite to win the BBC's Sports Personality of the Year, but he won't be attending the ceremony. Apparently this is a big deal.• Non-tennis: From The Big Picture: The world mourns Nelson Mandela.