After the Open has Gone…

Feb 11, 2009

The Australian Open is always an exhausting start to a year of tennis; coming out of it you get strange withdrawal symptoms and suddenly you feel a little bare. For years I was a fan of tennis who only ever watched the big Open events (being British, Wimbledon was one of the highlights of my entire year), and I used to wonder what on earth the tennis stars did with themselves in between times.

A little older and wiser, I found the very simple and obvious answer: they play tennis. Sure, they give themselves a rest; for most of the players just recovering from the jetlag of being in Australia is cause enough to sit back for a little while. Andy Murray, for example, arrived back in Britain after his stint in Australia with a virus. He trained at half his usual intensity to let his body recover, and went on to sweep aside Ivan Ljubicic in the first round of the ABN AMBRO World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam. Many have injuries to recover from and abused bodies to coax back into good health. There’s also a lot of press to contend with, particularly for the top players. Rafael Nadal seems to have been cropping up in the sports section of every newspaper and television/radio broadcast, so one can only guess how tough his schedule has been.  

But even today – when I consider myself a bit more knowledgeable about tennis than in my earlier years – I’m still amazed about how much playing goes on between the big Grand Slam tournaments. The calendar is busy, and complicated; there’s the ATP tours, which include the 250, 500 and 1000 series.  The rules are becoming more and more strict about the top 100 players’ attendances at these events. It’s not just school children who need a doctor’s note to get out of playing. For the women, there’s the Women’s Tennis Association making sure they’re keeping busy, and their WTA matches are sometimes combined with the men’s.

So whilst we recover from the excitement of the Grand Slam, our favourite players are plugging away at those in-between tournaments. Since there is just so much going on, I thought a quick round up of a selection of tournaments would make the myriad of goings on a little easier to wade through: 

ABN AMBRO World Tennis Tournament Rotterdam: as mentioned previously, Andy Murray has so far had an easy time getting into the second round. He is expected to do well, and hopefully it will all contribute to the Grand Slam win that many people expect will come soon…

That said, he’s not the only one to watch, what with World No. 1 Rafael Nadal at the opposite end of the draw to Murray, and a Russian invasion of Nikolay Davydenko, Mikhail Youzhny and Dmitry Tursunov will certainly make things interesting.

South African Tennis Open: Jo-Wilfred Tsonga beat the Frenchman Jeremy Chardy in the final to take the title. This is his third ATP title and appeared to be enjoying the whole experience immensely, already looking forward to going back next year and defending the title.

Open GDF Suez: Serena Williams, obviously still on form from her Australian Open win, got through the first round against Iveta Benesova.

So despite the first Grand Slam being over with, there are exciting things still going on in the world of tennis. They are fun to dip in and out of, but one can only hope that the busy schedule doesn’t get to a particular player and ruin their Grand Slam chances. We’ve seen it happen before, and I for one would like to see the French Open filled to the brim with healthy players ready to battle for the next Grand Slam title.



-          SophieG

Written by: SophieG

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