For many players this was an off week as they prepared for Madrid next week, a Premier Mandatory for the WTA and a Masters 1000 for the ATP. So this week we had small clay tournaments in Morocco, Prague, Munich, Estoril and Istanbul. The top seeds this week were Pavlyuchenkova, Pliskova, Monfils, Carreno-Busta and Raonic respectively. Of the five tournaments, Munich’s draw was most appealing (Fognini, Zverev, kohlschreiber), though Ferrer did play Estoril.
- GP SAR La Princesse Lalla Meryem (Morocco/Clay/International) Draw
- J&T Banka Prague Open (Prague/Clay/ International) Draw
- BMW Open by FWU (Munich/Clay/250) Draw
- Millennium Estoril Open (Portugal/Clay/250) Draw
- TEB BNP Paribas Istanbul Open (Turkey/Clay/250) Draw
Top Moments This Week:
5. beIN continues to be the definition of struggle tennis tv. To begin, no tennis was scheduled until Wednesday this week. Second, the schedule online and on cable boxes simply lists coverage as match of the day leaving viewers to wonder which tournament the match will be from, much less which match will be shown. This is poor marketing and communication. Third, why is there a daily half hour viewing of the ATP World Tour Uncovered? Hopefully the WTA’s contract addresses this issue. If I were responsible for the tour’s subscription, I would not be happy with this situation! Why can’t tennis have nice things?
4. When top ranked players really want the week off, they lose in the opening round or maybe they are just bested by a better player… Camila Giorgi took out Pliskova in the first round of the Prague Open 7-6 (6), 6-2.
3. The brillance and humor of tennis twitter never ceases to amaze me. @EvaUnit_0_1 sends up the WTA/ATP’s best in a bit known Conan or Cobert would be thrilled to debut, Tennis Players as High School Students. Check who’s labeled as the prom queen, valedictorian, thief, drama queen, class clown, etc…
2. If I see one more leaderboard for the WTA Finals in Singapore I am going to scream, even if Kim Clijsters is its ambassador! Unlike the NBA Finals or the NFL Super bowl, or the MLB World Series, no one cares about tennis finals, WTA nor ATP. With such a long calendar and an even crazier schedule, the sport may be best served with players who specialize in specific surfaces. Nadal is a clay court player, Djokovic is a hard-court specialist, Kvitovais a grass court specialist, etc… With all of this in mind, are the finals really anything more than an exhibition match or a marketing scheme?
1b. The most infuriating thing about sports, particularly tennis, basketball and soccer is the false distinctions made between the women’s and men’s game. The differences are often arbitrary and used to belittle the women and make the men’s game dominant. Of course, this results in unequal access and pay. Ironically, tennis promotes itself as an equal pay sport. This is not true. Sure at the Grand Slams and a few other tournaments, pay is equal but men earn more than women in tennis even if Wimbledon increased prize by ten percent. The unequal treatment in tennis is startling and too many have disparaged the women’s game. It is great to see that more and more players are acknowledging the talent on the women’s tour.
“I changed my mind a lot about women’s tennis especially after (Martina) Hingis and (Chanda) Rubin they had returned my serve like a piece of cake… It is unbelievable. I couldn’t hit an ace. They were returning better than guys, my serve, so (it) was pretty impressive. Goran Ivanisevic
With insight from players, coaches, journalists, umpires, and data, Matt Trollope penned Tennismash’s three-part Men’s and Women’s Tennis Compared. He concludes that the men’s and women’s game isn’t that different in technique, tactics and training. Unfortunately he highlights the emotional side as the area for distinction in the tours, but he does believe that the game should simply be viewed as tennis. If this is so, maybe equal pay is truly on the horizon and women’s matches will become more accessible.
1a. Is the swell of wrist surgeries poor form, over-playing or simple genetics? Move Over, Tennis Elbow; Wrist Injuries Increasingly Plague Stars explores the phenomenon.
Tennis is one of those sports that, honestly, the wrist is one of the structures at most risk because the force of contact with the ball is transmitted directly through the wrist, and very often, with an element of torque as the player attempts to place higher and higher degrees of spin on the ball… You’ve got this overwhelming strength and speed in the players, that competitive drive that once they’re out there playing, they’re going to be playing as hard as they can against their opponents, and they can get into this vicious cycle of ‘Well, I can outhit you.’ But these structures [ligaments] are just so vulnerable.
Del Potro, Laura Robson, Madison Keys, and now Belinda Bencic have all had at least one wrist surgery. Dr. Richard Berger, an orthopedic surgeon at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., performed the operations on Robson and Del Potro. Before 2007, players simply rested to heal damaged ligaments. Then came Dr. Berger’s breakthrough. He sewed split tears in ligaments and with six weeks in a cast and ten in rehab, players return better than ever. Now preventative training, playing and therapies are required.
- This week’s top ATP storylines.
- Having not played since the Miami Open, Federer says he’s now ready for Roland Garros.
- Kyrigios pulled out of Estoril to attend his grandfather’s funeral. He wrote a rather mature and fan friendly note on facebook. The talented lad turns twenty-two last week.
- The Djokovics are expecting a second bundle of joy to join big brother Stefan who was born in 2014.
- Del Potro is still looking for a coach. Anyone but Boris Becker, please…
- Liveable definition of grace and kindness, Venus Williams returned to Mark Twain Elementary as part of a special campaign called ‘thank a teacher’.
- Mirjana Lucic-Baroni unbelieveable journey.
- Wozniacki makes it official with thirty-four year old San Antonio Spurs forward David Lee via instagram.
- Gerard Tsobanian, President and CEO of the Madrid event, gave Sharapova a wildcard because she is a champion who shouldn’t have to start over. OK!
- Kvitova is back on the practice court after a home invasion left her dominant hand cut requiring surgery….
Dees makes an argument for Sharapova and against WADA and the ITF.
- Tennis stars at the Met Gala, oh my!
My Picks This Week:
GP SAR La Princesse Lalla Meryem (Errani) J&T Banka Prague Open (Strycova) BMW Open by FWU (Monfils) Millennium Estoril Open (Almagro)
- TEB BNP Paribas Istanbul Open (Cilic)
Winners This Week:
- Mona Barthel secured her fourth title against Kristyna Pliskova 2-6, 7-5, 6-2 in Prague. (GP SAR La Princesse Lalla Meryem
- Meanwhile in Morroco, the maybe retiring Francesca Schiavone succumbed to Pavlychenkov 5-7, 5-7. (J&T Banka Prague Open)
- Alexander “Sascha” Zverev Jr. fell Pella 6-4, 6-3 to win his first home title in Munich at the BMW Open by FWU.
- Carreno Busta took out a slew of clay-court experts to win Millennium Estoril Open. The Spaniard expelled countrymen Robredo, Almagro and Ferrer before tackling Muller in the final 6-2, 7-6 (5).
- TEB BNP Paribas Istanbul Open crowned Marin Cilic champion and Raonic runner-up 7-6 (3), 6-3.
- Mutua Madrid Open (Spain/Outdoor Clay/Premier/1000)
- Too bad, Madrid begins on Saturday while Prague and Rabat, are in the midst of their finals and the men are playing semifinals in Istanbul, Munich and Portugal.
What were your top tennis moments this week?