Goings on so far

Feb 24, 2010

The hustle and bustle of a Grand Slam season has died down, the chatter and gossip and winners and pictures have started to fade as a (rather good) memory into the back of our minds. Now comes the long stretch, that long wait until the next Grand Slam event. In between times, however, the players do not get that kind of rest and restoration. They continue to pound the circuit, looking for form and progress that will stand them in good stead in the future. As there has been so much going on, with tournaments starting only days after the Australian Open ended, I’m going to highlight a selection of the most interesting and note-worthy pieces of news so far.

Dubai

Everything’s happening at the Dubai Championships. First, Roger Federer pulls out of the tournament – what would have been his first since winning the Australian Open – with a lung infection. Not wanting to put his health at any further risk, the Swiss has said he is hoping to take just two weeks off to recover, and should be back for the Indian Wells tournament. We wish the world no. 1 a speedy recovery; the word ‘infection’ is never good, and lets’ hope recovery goes well for him.

Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic were therefore seen as the ones that would go head to head for the title – which the Djoker took last year – in Dubai. Unfortunately, Andy Murray has suffered a shock exit in round 2, beaten by Janko Tipsarevich 7-6 (7-3) 4-6 6-3. The Scot had appeared to be going into the whole tournament with a can’t-do attitude, so it’s not all that surprising that he seemed stilted and quiet throughout the game. Hopefully that experience with coming so tantalisingly close to a Grand Slam final before having it whisked out from under his feet hasn’t knocked his confidence so badly that this becomes a precedent for the year ahead.

Djokovic and Marin Cilic are through, however Tommy Robredo and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga are both out after early defeats. Nikolay Davydenko also had to pull out of the tournament due to a wrist injury, that may even keep him out of Russia’s Davis Cup tie with India. The same goes for Juan Martin del Potro; he had to drop out of the tournament with a wrist injury and may miss Argentina’s Davis Cup tie against Sweden.

If anyone is still aiming to get that one-night stay in a five-star luxury hotel, like myself, then we are being put to shame by the tennis elite. At the Dubai tournament, the top tennis stars are staying at the Burj-al Arab, where not even five or even six stars are good enough. The seven-star accommodation should certainly help with the exhaustion from the busy schedule. It’s alright for some, isn’t it?

The Women’s Tour

Maria Sharapova has taken her first title of the year at the Cellular South Cup, helping to put some backing to her claim to get back up to the top rankings. Sharapova has been doing well since her return, but not well enough to reach the giddy heights she was at before her injury.

In Mexico, Venus Williams has taken the Mexican Open in a rather clinical victory in the final over Mathilde Johansson. This is not long after her Dubai title, helping to prove that Venus is the most powerful woman out there on the circuit to date. I pity but admire anyone who is getting in her way.

Davis Cup

Britain is looking nervy as Davis Cup tie season rolls around. With Andy Murray deciding not to play, this has left the team a little bare and jittery. Now that Britain’s No. 1 isn’t going to play, where are the wins going to come from? The team play Lithuania in March and I have to say they don’t appear to be oozing self confidence. James Ward has been put in place of Andy Murray; Britain’s world no. 3 and world ranked at 252. He has never played a Davis Cup match before, but captain John Lloyd is hoping to tap into that new blood. Of course, we also have to look at the contenders. On the other side of the net is Lithuania’s number one, Ricardas Berankis, who started this year ranked world number 320 before shooting up to 198th currently. That is a pretty impressive feat for a nineteen year old. Expect big things from this young man, and for the sound of the GB team mourning Andy Murray to be heard all the way from Lithuania.

For other countries, the picture is also quiet bleak. Juan Martin del Potro and now David Nalbandian will have to sit out of Argentina’s ties, with Nalbandian acquiring one in a long string of injuries only recently at the Copa Telmex in Buenos Aires. Still, Modesto Vazquez has not been cowed to defeat already, and has put Juan Monaco to be the leading player of the team. They play Sweden in early March, and like Britain have had to come up with a few new strategies after their top players were no longer able to play.

Wimbledon

Yes, a little too early to be looking ahead to Wimbledon, but this isn’t much to do with the tournament itself. This is about plans for a new ‘Wimbledon way’ walk of fame to be created using a marked route of hand/footprints, signatures and much more from the top players of Wimbledon’s history. The Wimbledon Way will take people from Wimbledon Station, to the Wimbledon Hill, to Wimbledon Village, and finally to the All England Club as well as the Lawn Tennis Museum. This is all part of a huge plug Britain has had on its sporting events in recent months; 2012 looms in the future, and all sports are getting a bit of a spruce and promotion. Well, at the very least it will give Wimbledon goers something to do if they end up arriving in London a little earlier than expected.

Follow, follow, follow the Wimbledon road…

- SophieG

Written by: SophieG

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