Tag Archive: Nick Lindahl


Sorry, Brazil: It Appears Christian Lindell Will In Fact Be Swedish

A couple of months ago I wrote about all the mysterious country-switching happening in and around Sweden, mostly among players with an L-I-N-D-?-?-L letter sequence in their surnames (Nick Lindahl and Christian Lindell, to name two) (note: those were the only two).

Well now it appears that at least one of these mysteries has been resolved.  And much as I’d like it to be confirmation of Lindahl’s alleged drunk dial to Tennis Australia’s Craig Tiley, instead I’m reading some news-item tea leaves and coming to the conclusion that the Brazil-raised-and-trained Lindell will, in fact, be playing for the blue and gold of Sweden for the foreseeable future.

“I’m Swedish, damn it!”

A poorly Google-translated Brazilian article (with the tantalizing title: “Lindell train with Sweden in Davis and can stay away from Brazil”) states the 19-year-old talent “was invited by Thomas Enqvist for a week to train with the team’s Swedish Davis Cup home to the expectation of being drafted for the duel against Russia.”  In which case, he’d be prevented from representing Brazil for at least two years.

All of which leads me to wonder: where does this leave Nick’s Swedish Davis Cup hopes?  Is he still in their plans?  After all, Enqvist swooped in after Lindahl in much the same way a year ago or so.

 Even Brydan Klein is worried about him, at this point.

Edited to add: Here’s a better article which confirms it (although it’s probably just as crappy a translation).

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So.  Hello.  I’m pretty sure it’s not me you’re looking for either.  And I know I’m supposed to be driving to Florida right now, but the Northeast is getting slammed with snow – bamboozled by blizzard, we are! – so I’m (Tom) delayed for one more day. Which means, despite my procuring of the finest guest-hosting talents (and they are doing a spectacular job), you are stuck with me for one more day. I don’t know what to do with myself, other than sully my site with more of my words. Therefore, I proudly present to you my Australian Open men’s qualifying day one wrap-up – cabin fever edition:

I was able to wake up in the middle of the night and watch the livestream of the John Millman v Sebastian Rieschick match as well as the Greg Jones v Olivier Patience contest. Then I fell asleep again (sorry Gooch!) Turns out that Greg and the Mailman were the only Aussies to come good out of the twelve who played yesterday.

That’s right, two wins out of twelve. Maverick Banes, Matt Reid, Chris Guccione, Sean Berman, Sam Groth, James Duckworth, Ben Mitchell, Luke Saville, James Lemke, and Brydan Klein all lost. Ouch. All Ozzed up, and no place to go. In fairness, Mitchell’s effort (some of which I saw) was superb, taking top seeded Blaz Kavcic to 4-6 in the third set. And Saville lost to a red hot Nicola Mahut. 

Benny Mitchell – Will He Escape From Full Screen Mode?

So I’m especially glad to have seen the rare instances of Aussome success in all their glory. And they were glorious indeed. If ever a match could be called “classic John Millman”, this match vs. Rieschick was the one. The Mailman seemed dogged by the conditions early, and easily distracted by “fans” with highly questionable etiquette. His shots were landing short in the court, and his opponent was taking those short balls and teeing off, making more than he missed.

Thus, the amiable Queenslander found himself down a set and a break, with the burly German serving for the match, when he was granted a rain-delay reprieve. After an hour or so break, Milkman came out raring to go, a noticeable spring in his step that was absent pre-precip. Maybe he enjoyed some caffeine during his break. I offer this as evidence for my hypothesis:

Meanwhile, Rieschick was nowhere to be found, and ambled out onto the court a good five minutes or so after John did. When play resumed, Mailman overcame match point, shoddy line calls, and dodgy inter-game spectator migrations to break twice and take the second set 7-5. Rieschick also could no longer find the court – that helped, too.

The third set opened with three straight breaks, Sebastian settled a bit more into his game after an extended walkabout during the previous frame’s conclusion.

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Sweden’s Very Mysterious Case of the Country-Switching L-nd-ls.

OK. Here’s what I know. Erstwhile Australian Nick Lindahl has parted ways with the Commonwealth Star and the Southern Cross, and is now playing under the gold Scandinavian cross of the Swedish flag.

Meanwhile, there’s talk that current Swede and 19-year-old prodigy Christian Lindell is strongly considering a switch to Brazil in 2011.

All of which leads me to conclude one thing, which seems quite irrefutable: if you’re a player whose surname contains a L-nd-l letter pattern of some sort, you’re clearly planning a defection of your own – either from Sweden or away from Sweden.  The pattern is evident; you don’t need to be Tom Hanks in the Da Vinci Code to figure this shizz out.

So Inigo Landaluce, an 18-year-old from Spain, will clearly be The Next New Swede based on this pattern/pandemic. Don’t even try to deny it, Inigo – I’m on to you! And what country will you play for, 21-year-old Andreas Lindell (no relation), if not Sweden? I know you’re planning something! And what of American Benjamin Lundell (about whom no information is known at all)? Is he now hiding away in Sweden somewhere, awaiting citizenship (whoever he is)?

Now, as disturbing as all of this already is, can you even imagine if such a trend had been underway in the 80’s? Ivan Lendl would’ve defected to the Swedes and joined the likes of Stefan Edberg and Mats Wilander!

See? He’s in a blue shirt! He must’ve already got the L-nd-l memo this year!

How scary would the Swedish Davis Cup team have been then, I ask you? Now I hope you go and have a good long think about all of this, because it’s very important stuff.

The event: Twenty-four of the most talented Aussies who didn’t get direct entry into the Australian Open main draw (aka everyone except for Lleyton Hewitt), fight it out in a 32-draw, single-elimination tournament in Melbourne Park. The winner receives a wildcard for entry into the main draw of the upcoming Australian Open.

The Forbidden:  aka Those Who Were Banned: aka Brydan Klein, Nick Lindahl and Dayne Kelly, all of whom were forbidden to participate due to unspecified behavioral transgressions.  Brydan’s woes (racial vilification, outburst in Kalgoorie) are well-documented, but the transgressions of the other two remain somewhat of a mystery.  Although no one’s gone on record as saying so, the fact the Nick Lindahl has chosen to play for Sweden has to be the primary reason for his sanction. As for Dayne Kelly, I have no idea. He’s a funny, boisterous guy, oftentimes not all there on court (similar to Marinko Matosevic in that respect), but I’ve yet to hear what specifically led to his wildcard playoff ban.

The Top Competitors: let’s have a closer look at the top seeds competing for the wildcard prize.

Top seed Peter Luczak: the 31-year-old, 2nd-ranked Aussie behind Lleyton Hewitt, “Looch” has had a fairly rough year, going 25-35 on the season and dropping from his career high of 64 about a year ago to his current #137 in the world rankings. He has not advanced past the quarterfinals of any tourney this year, and lost in straight sets to Rafael Nadal in the 2010 Australian Open.

Second seed Marinko Matosevic: the combustible 25-year-old has had a pretty good year, going 37-24 for the year and achieving a career high ranking of #137 last month. He currently sits at #138 in the world rankings, just behind Peter Luczak.  Marinko qualified and made the 2nd round at Indian Wells (l. Tsonga), and won the Aptos and Calabasas Challengers. He lost in four sets to Marco Chiudinelli in this year’s Oz Open.

Third seed Carsten Ball: the big-serving 23-year-old lefty has had an up and down season, as is usual with the laid-back “American-Australian”. He won the Lexington Challenger in July, which led to a career high ranking of #108 in the world. Since then, however, he has gone 6-11 and dropped back down to #153.  He gave Fernando Verdasco a good fight for three good sets at this year’s Aussie Open before succumbing to the Spaniard in four.

Fourth Seed Matt Ebden: also 23 years old, Matt Ebden has had a fairly decent go of it this season, going 35-24 and breaking into the Top 200 for the first time, achieving a career high of #162 in September. He had a good run at Brisbane to start the year, qualifying and making the 2nd round with a win over Melzer before going down in straights to Gasquet. He made the finals of the Kyoto Challenger in March and won the Great Britain F16 Futures in October. He also made it through qualifying at the ’10 AO before losing three 4-6 sets to Gael Monfils in the first round.  Ebden incurred a training injury from an on-court tumble this weekend, but an MRI on his right hand showed bruising but no fracture and will hopefully have little effect on his game.

Fifth seed John Millman: aka The Mailman (or, as the bawdy Greg Jones calls him, “The Milkable Man”), the affable and determined 21 year old has delivered a super season that saw him break into the Top 200 for the first time as well.  40 wins and 22 losses on the season, Millman had a torrid month-long span from mid-September to mid-October, during which we went 14-1 in winning the Australia F6 Futures as well as the Sacramento Challenger before petering out in his last two matches in the States in October.  The Mailman hasn’t played in a couple of months, but has been training hard with the NA-Brisbane team and should hit the court raring to go, despite the lack of recent match play.

Sixth seed Bernard Tomic: WITHDRAWN. And wasn’t at the draw ceremony. And has played three matches since September. Things that make you go, “Hmmmmm.”

Seventh seed Greg Jones: funniest guy on tour, hands down, but the gregarious 21 year-old has had serious trouble kickstarting his year.  After a super start which saw finalist showings at the Burnie Challenger (l. Tomic) and the Aussie F2 Futures (l. Millman), he made the semis of the Leon Challenger in April and reached a career high of #179.  A series of injuries (including one from a New York City cab accident as he headed to the airport post-USO) have left him limping toward the finish line.  Jones started the year 16-9 but has gone 12-22 since.   One unexpected highlight, however, was his silver medalist showing at the Commonwealth Games, where he lost in the final to Somdev Devvarman.  The tall, big-serving righty had Juan Monaco on the ropes in New Haven, and I think has what it takes to be a Top 100 player.  He lost in the first round of qualies to Ivan Sergeyev at the year’s AO.

Eighth seed Sam Groth: almost the red-headed step-brother to Greg Jones in both game and mannerism (and grunting too, for that matter), the 23 year old has a HUGE serve and a lovely one-handed backhand (Greg has two, if you’re scoring at home) (or even if you’re alone).  Sam’s year is divided into to distinct parts: the first three quarters of the year was characterized by frustration and injury, and then the talented Mr. Groth found his game, going 30-5 for a scorching hot end to the season.  Let’s see if Sam can keep his form going through the playoff (which would mean more of his wife Jarka in the commentary booth all week, so everybody wins).

The entire draw breaks down as follows:

Peter Luczak [1]/Bye
Joel Lindner v. Luke Saville
Mark Verryth v. Jared Easton
James Lemke [9]/Bye

Matthew Ebden [4]/Bye
Maverick Banes v. Benjamin Mitchell
Dane Propoggia v. Andrew Whittington [A]
Samuel Groth [8]/Bye

John Millman [5]/Bye
James Duckworth v. Matthew Barton
Adam Feeney v. Colin Ebelthite
Carsten Ball [3]/Bye

Greg Jones [7]/Bye
Sean Berman v. Jason Kubler
Matt Reid v. Michael Look
Marinko Matosevic [2]/Bye

I’ll be taking a close look at the other matchups as each day progresses.

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