A career is often defined by few things: a sudden awareness,
a sense of unfinished business, or meeting the right coach who can lead him towards
becoming more committed.
It's never easy to understand what's going through player's
minds. Yet, there are some players who have recently shown signs that they
could, in 2011, kick on from previous seasons on the tour.
The 25-year-old old
Swiss is at a crossroads in his career. He knows that he can still improve and
wants to put everything into achieving that. For several months now he has been
working with Peter Lundgren, the former coach of Roger Federer and Marat Safin.
He did well at the US Open, beating Andy Murray, so he's in the ascendency. He
chose to be more offensive on the court and worked a lot on both his serve percentage
and being efficient on the shot coming right after it. He's also coming far
more into the net than before. Stan is a very precise player, focused and
determined. We should see him improving again this year.
The Latvian remains a mystery. Amazingly gifted, with a huge
striking power, he seems be have been a victim of his own talent. Temperamental
and sometimes out of control, he has never before given himself a chance to
succeed in a sport where hard work, rigour and commitment bring more results
than pure talent. Gulbis's talent nearly remained unexploited but his meeting
with Hernan Gumy, the former coach of Marat Safin, changed that. The coach is used
to strong and unsettled tempers, and he seems to have helped the Latvian get
his game in order. Gulbis now uses a better shot selection and accepts that he
has to work for every points and so has lowered the number of unforced errors.
He improved tremendously last year and should keep riding along the right path
The Serbian is coming off the back of an outstanding year.
Here is a very efficient player who, until that Davis Cup victory, seemed to be
lacking a killer instinct. He totally dominated Novak Djokovic at the US Open
before ending up losing and he got match points over Rafael Nadal in China but
was unable to win one. If his results were displaying his abilities, they were
also pointing to the issues he has when it comes to finishing off big matches. Having
improved all year long, Viktor was amazing during that decisive Davis Cup game
against Michael Llodra, taking home the last point for the Serbian team.
Without a doubt, that experience will have positive consequences for his game
and his confidence. We should see him with new ambition in 2011 and with more ammunition
to realise his dreams.
The 29-year-old Austrian lefty enjoyed the best season of
his career in 2010 and he is now ranked 11 in the ATP tour. Not so long ago he
was far too easily riled on the court, was capable of swinging from excellent
to awful and there was no consistency to his results. Playing without a real
game plan because he was able to do many things with the ball, he was often
losing his way during matches. But, since he started to work with the Swedish former
player Joakim Nystrom, he has found regularity, calmness and efficiency. Until
now he rarely won against the top players, except against Novak Djokovic at the
French Open, but for about a year now his results are far more consistent.