Breaking it down…..

Tonight on RLA there will be an intriguing story taking place. Bernard Tomic will be focused on coming out and putting a stop to all the noise. A 4th round blockbuster match up awaits possibly with world #2 Andy Murray but first of all Tomic must deal with a tricky customer under the bright lights. John Millman from Brisbane has the opportunity to keep the loud noise echoing around Melbourne Park. Millman has become a crowd favourite all based around a run to the 3rd round with a game built around hard work, tenacity, hustle and all out effort. This is the biggest moment of a career that has taken Millman to all parts of the world and to some places tennis fans wouldn’t even know existed. It sounds exotic and luxurious but Millman has had to watch his pennies, every single one of them and has stayed at backpackers and hostels or whatever was affordable. He has toiled away on back courts in remote and isolated locations for years all in the hope of getting a shot at the big show. Well here it is. Here is the shot he has dreamed of.

At the other end of the spectrum is Tomic. A child prodigy who has always been in the spotlight with unlimited resources at his disposal through sponsorships and funding from tennis federations. An athlete who at times looks disinterested and ungrateful. A solid 2015 season has seen him rise to the top 20 with his sights set higher. Where the improvement comes from to reach that higher level we will leave to another day. Tonight he has to worry about Millman who is riding a wave of emotion and support and who could blame him. The crowd support tonight will be with Millman as the Aussie crowds have always loved the underdog and Johnny fits the bill to a tee. He will look to stay in touch early on in the contest and get the crowd involved. Where this match will be won and lost will be the serve. Tomic has been serving up a storm in his earlier matches and he will look to it time and time again tonight. Millman doesn’t have this luxury and more often then not spins the ball in and relies on placement. He will have to work hard for every point and will look to rip his backhand with heavy spin at every opportunity. It’s his favourite shot and he must deliver with it tonight. Tomic plays tremendous defensive tennis and he will look to move the ball around and draw errors from the Millman forehand. It can leak errors at the big moments and Millman needs to keep it in check.

The cross court exchanges forehand to forehand are what Millman should look for. He needs to back himself and break down this shot. It’s a much improved shot from Tomic but the errors will come from this side and not the backhand. The backhand is rock solid with world class technique and it rarely lets him down.

It is a fascinating match up both between the lines and outside. It is art imitating life. From the back courts to the bright lights. The prodigy and the journeyman facing off for a 4th round birth at their home slam. Tomic to put a stop to the noise. While for Millman he wants the decibels through the roof. He indeed wants the noise to continue.

Jade Culph is a former Collegiate All-American athlete in the sport of tennis. He is currently a High Performance Sports Coach and Consultant with a Bachelors degree in Sport Management and a Masters degree in Exercise Science. He is the Founder and Managing Director of JC Visionary Sports and is the Director of his own Tennis Academy in Australia. He is a sort after sports writer and motivational speaker.

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