On the tennis tour, Monday usually signifies the official start of the tournament. The qualifying draw happens over the weekend beforehand and some tournaments such start on Sundays for scheduling purposes. Other than that, Monday signifies a new start for players on the tour. It is a chance to forget about their struggles of the last week, and focus on creating triumphs this week.
For players, Monday means the start of another week at the office. In their case, it is a tennis court. Some start match play, but most hit the practice courts. In order to be a professional athlete, you must put in the effort. Many of us wish we could be successful enough to play in the pros, but it is not for everyone.
Even at tournaments, players must practice to stay in shape. Of course, exercise and training are also important. It has been said by experts, such as Malcolm Gladwell, that you need at least 10,000 hours of practice in order to have mastered something. You also need to continue to practice so that you do not get bent out of shape.
Today is a new week in tennis. It must be a Monday.
On the WTA tour this week we have tournaments in Istanbul and Bad Gastein. The big name in Istanbul this week is Venus Williams, who is the number 1 seed. The defending champion, Caroline Wozniacki, has decided not to participate this year, opting to start her hard court season in Stanford. We see Sara Errani back in action in Bad Gastein after a finals run in Bucharest.
The ATP tour is packed this week with three tournaments. Bastad will transition from the women to the men, as the beautiful city sees professional tennis for a second week in a row. Umag, Croatia will play host to a variety off talent, including the entertaining Frenchman Gael Monfils. Lastly, the men will have their first hard court tournament of the summer in Bogata.
I will keep you posted on the events of these tournaments.
This week was the final grass court tournament of the year in Newport, RI at the International Tennis Hall of Fame, with unseeded American Rajeev Ram, ranked 161, upsetting no. 2 seed Ivo Karlovic in 3-sets. He will now rise to 87 in the world as he collects the second title of his career.
Also this week were the WTA tournaments in Bastad and Bucharest. Hometown favorite Johanna Laarson, claimed victory against defending champion Mona Barthel in Bastad. Also, Anna Karolina Shmeidlova defeated Sara Errani to hoist her second trophy of the year in Bucharest.
Today Argentina and Belgium advanced with 3-0 wins and will face each other in the semifinals. The Murray brothers won the doubles tie for Great Britain and they lead 2-1 with Murray scheduled to play Simon tomorrow. Hewitt and the Ausie team were able to prevail in doubles today, but they still trail Kazakhstan 2-1 for a spot in the semi finals.
This week players on the WTA including Serena Williams ascended in Bastad. I just wanted to give a nod to tournaments like Bastad, where the tennis complex is located in a place with beautiful surroundings. Other places include Monaco, Bad Gastein, and Rio de Janeiro. It’s a pleasure for those on tour to be able to play in such places. It adds to the experience of the tennis and can be appreciated by fans like me.
This year’s Wimbledon featured many upsets, especially on the ladies side. Top 10 seeds Simona Halep and Eugenie Bouchard were both knocked out in the first round. It was not as surprising as one might expect for Bouchard. She had come in to Wimbledon with an 8-13 record, including a 1-3 record on grass. I expected her to go out early, and was not surprised that she lost in the first round. Halep was a little different. She has also been known to be struggling in the later part of tournaments but she still is winning matches. It was not so at wimbledon this year.
The defending champion, Petra Kvitova, seemed to be having an easy draw through to the semi-finals where it was projected she would meet Halep. After breezing by the first and second rounds, she was defeated in a 3-set comeback win by Jelena Jankovic. Kvitova seemed to lose control of her shots near the end of that match and it cost her the opportunity to defend her Wimbledon title.
In the same section of the draw as Kvitova, there was the crafty Aga Radwanska, who had been having a less than stellar year with her worst loss coming in the first round of the French Open. Her win-loss record was 15-13 after that defeat. She played two warm-up tournaments, and wimbledon bringing her grass court record to 12-3. Her resurgence on grass put her back in the top 10 after an abysmal clay court season.
The surprise of the Championships was the rise of Garbiñe Mururuza, the 21-year-old Spaniard. She made her first Wimbledon or grass court final, defeating the likes of Kerber, Wozniacki and Radwanska en route. Muguruza previously stated her dislike of grass, but has really come into her own on it.
Other players with success were Victoria Azarenka, making it to the quarter-finals, losing in three sets to Serena. Maria Sharapova also made a semi-final, also losing to Serena. Madison Keys is another rising star who made the quarter finals, losing in a thrilling 3-set match to Radwanska. Overall, the new top 10 has Aga back in it, and Muguruza as a new face. It was a successful Championships.
This week the summer clay court season began, and the grass court season sees its final tournament.
On the women’s side you have the tournaments in Bastad and Bucharest. Headlining the Bastad tournament is none other than Serena Williams, fresh of her fifth Wimbledon title. In Bucharest, the top seed is surprisingly not Simona Halep. She decided not to defend her title and instead the top seed is Sara Errani.
On the men’s side, the lone tournament is the final grass court tournament of year in Newport. Players ascend on the International Tennis Hall of Fame for this annual tournament and the induction of the new class of hall of famers. More on the hall of fame inductions to come.
There is still much to talk about with Wimbledon, and this week is a great one to conclude talk of grass and get back to the clay before the American hard court season resumes.
For the first substantive blog post I will give you my take on the events that have occurred the past fortnight at the All-England Club. It was an exciting Championships with many twists and turns.
This big news is the completion of the Serena Slam by Serena Williams. She had to endure several three set matches, but in the end she came through and is on track to win the calendar year Grand Slam. She started slow in the final match but came back to show Muguruza and the world that she is the champion.
After a disappointing end to his Roland Garros campaign, Novak Djokovic came back in style. After a testy fourth round match against Kevin Anderson, where he came back from two sets to love down, he cruised to the finals. The first two sets of the championship match were tight, but Djokovic was able to gain a crucial break in the third set and maintain it to take the set. The fourth and final set was also relatively routine.
In days to come, I will be writing more about the Championships.