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DiCaprio In Crowd; Robredo's New Perspective

Paris, France

Actor© Getty ImagesLeonardo DiCaprio watches the tennis on Sunday. takes a look at the news and talking points at Roland Garros on middle Sunday. 

DiCaprio Spotted In The Crowd
The Great Gatsby actor Leonardo DiCaprio enjoyed the action on Court Philippe Chatrier on Sunday in Paris. The Hollywood A-lister has been in Cannes promoting his new film. 

Players Make Nadal Favourite
Rafael Nadal may not have been at his best during his run to the fourth round, but David Ferrer and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga firmly believe the Spaniard is still the favourite to lift an unparalleled eighth Roland Garros trophy. 

Speaking after his own fourth-round win on Sunday, Ferrer said, “I think every match is different. Sometimes the players play better and play worse. [The] important [thing is that] Rafael is in the fourth round. For me, he's the favourite player to win Roland Garros. He's the best on clay courts.”

Tsonga added, “The best players, they have yielded sets. And maybe he hasn't played the best tennis in this year's edition of Roland Garros, but he wins and that's what matters. He remains the favourite for this tournament.”

Federer's Most Significant Major QF
In rallying past Gilles Simon in five sets, Roger Federer advanced to his 36th successive quarter-final at a Grand Slam event. When asked which quarter-final during the stretch was most meaningful, Federer in turn, went back to a point in time before his run.

“It was maybe [Wimbledon 2003],” said Federer. “I lost first round at [Roland Garros] in 2003 and then made the quarters at Wimbledon. I beat Sjeng Schalken, I think, on Court 2. That was the first time for me to make it to a semi-final. 

“He was injured. He couldn't move very well. He had a foot problem, I remember. And I wasn't happy he had that, but I was happy he wasn't the Sjeng Schalken I knew he could be on the grass. That was a particularly big one for me to give myself an opportunity to play Roddick in the semis. I won Halle, he won Queen's, and I won that to go on and win. So that one stands out for me.”

Robredo’s New Perspective
In February 2011, Tommy Robredo wasn’t sure he would be able to play tennis again, or if he could – at what level? – after undergoing surgery on his hamstring. The 31-year-old Spaniard has battled his way back to the world’s Top 40, after falling out the Top 400 of the Emirates ATP Rankings, and now, through to the Roland Garros quarter-finals, explained his new perspective during matches.

“It's life with its ups and downs, and you learn a lot more from the downs than the ups; that is, the moments that are difficult,” said Robredo. “When you're back, you're even happier. Maybe some years ago, I wouldn't have fought for each point, whereas today I do this on each point. 

“This is a lesson I've learned. When I was injured, I was not even thinking that I could be back, that I could play on the Lenglen court or Chatrier court. I wanted to be fit. That's all. Whereas nowadays, I see what's important for me is each day, each match; I love playing tennis, you see. I love what I do. So I'll continue as much as I can for the time being.”

Single-Handers Stealing The Show
Eight of the players in the round of 16 have single-handed backhands, with three all one-handed backhand match-ups. Richard Gasquet is due to face Stanislas Wawrinka, Tommy Haas will play Mikhail Youzhny, while Tommy Robredo defeated Nicolas Almagro.

Video Technology: The Balance Between Information & Intuition
The New York Times examines the growing role that video analysis is playing in tennis coaching. Gilles Simon is a fan of the increased technology, not for analysing his own game, but for studying his patterns of play against certain players. He credits his new coach, Jan De Witt – whom he hired in April, for his increased attention to tactics.

“Most players are very focused on what’s happening with themselves, on their side of the net. I’m much more focused on what’s happening on the other side of the net,” said Simon. “So the tactics are very important to me, and Jan is very good with this, especially with the help of the video. The hard part is to know how to use it intelligently. That’s what’s interesting, and that’s what the coach’s job should be. He should give only the essential to the player.”

But the Frenchman cautioned that information gained from studying video analysis, should not get in the way of basic intuition on a tennis court.

“The video really can be a plus, but you have to really use it right; otherwise it’s too much information, and it can be almost paralysing,” he said. “Tennis is in the moment. It’s about instinct, too. When the ball comes, you’ve got to hit it and perhaps your video analysis determined it was better to return serve to a certain spot, but if at that moment you really feel you want to put it somewhere else, you still need to listen to that.”

Photo Of The Day
How does Tommy Haas fuel up after a 4hr., 37min., third-round battle with John Isner? With Haagen Dazs of course! The German enjoyed the creamy treat with Brazilian Andre Sa, who shared the snap on Twitter.


Room For Improvement
He may be a Top 10 player, a former Grand Slam finalist and through to the quarter-finals at Roland Garros without dropping a set, but Jo-Wilfried Tsonga still has one area of his game that he considers needs significant improvement.

“I have been working on my backhand since I was the age of five, and it's a disaster: my backhand. So I'm working on it,” said the Frenchman. Indeed, during his commentary for ITV, former French player Fabrice Santoro suggested that part of Tsonga’s problem is that he is very right-hand dominant on the stroke.

“I have worked on it since I was small, since I began my tennis career,” continued Tsonga. “So I'm progressing with each passing year, with more experience, in the way that I strike the ball. As long as physically I'm top notch, then I will improve my backhand, because obviously it's a shot where I'm increasingly solid. I don't make many unforced errors. 

“Now, it's not my shot which shines. It's not where I will shine to make good points, but it's not a shot where I make lots of unforced errors, either.”

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