Daniil Medvedev can still find a scary good level, but will it hold? The former world number one played perhaps his best tennis in at least the last six months in taking home the singles title at the ABN Amro Open in Rotterdam. His level was a reminder of how difficult he can make the game for any opponent when he’s in that groove. The question now of course is whether he can maintain this or if he’ll fall back into the inconsistent mode we’ve seen since last Summer. Tennis is better when Medvedev displays this level from Rotterdam.
Carlos Alcaraz is back? Listen, we looked at the draw in Buenos Aires last week and it was easy to see the path to Alcaraz winning the title if he was healthy and able to find his rhythm. He did that and scored his 7th singles title, but had not faced anyone inside the top 50 until the final when he took out Cam Norrie. Still, the Spanish phenom didn’t drop a set in four matches and this looks to be a good spring board as he comes back from injury that kept him sidelined from tour matches since last November. This week he goes to Rio to defend the title there with another very winnable draw. There are just three top 20 players in the Rio draw and one is the aforementioned Norrie that Alcaraz beat on Sunday. It’s a week to build confidence ahead of the switch to hard courts and the Sunshine double – that is when I think we will know more about where Alcaraz’s level rates.
The weekly doubles rant is here! There were a lot of shares on social media about the mixed doubles exhibition event known as the Eisenhower Cup this past week. Media members hyped up the pairings that includes the likes of Stefanos Tsitsipas and Maria Sakkari, Cam Norrie and Emma Radacanu as well as Hubert Hurkacz with Iga Swiatek and many more. The feigned excitement makes me laugh. These are the same media types who over and over say that adding more mixed doubles into the schedule would be great for the game. The same media who hype that up and then pay little to no attention to mixed doubles at Grand Slams. Why? There’s no “sexy” pairings with top singles stars for the most part – but that shouldn’t be the point.
If you think mixed doubles is fun, if you think mixed doubles is attractive, it should be attractive when you have top doubles stars participating too. But that won’t happen because these same media types simply do not care about doubles. They don’t watch it weekly. They don’t follow the compelling stories like Krejcikova-Siniakova winning damn near every Grand Slam they play. I’m a broken record with my disdain for the media who whine about doubles needing more excitement as if only a singles player brings that to the table. There are skilled show-men and show-women in the doubles game. Maybe #WatchMoreDoubles and you’ll understand that singles players alone don’t elevate the notoriety that doubles can get. I’ll keep bitching. They’ll keep paying too little attention.
Sania Mirza’s tennis career is officially complete. Mirza played her final doubles match alongside Madison Keys in Dubai. The pair was beat routinely in straight sets. The 36-year-old heads off to retirement with six Grand Slam titles to her credit. The last came in 2016 paired with Martina Hingis at the Australian Open. Hingis was her partner for three of those Slam titles. They were a formidable duo that went 94-17 in two years together from 2015-2016. They won an astounding 14 doubles title in that span. The other three Slams titles came in mixed play with Mahesh Bhupathi accounting for two of those and Bruno Soares the last when they won the 2014 U.S. Open mixed titles. Her last Slam final came in Australia in January when she fell partnered with Rohan Bopanna against Rafael Matos and Luisa Stefani. She’s an obvious Hall of Famer who will be missed on the doubles scene.
Wednesday may be the day we find out about whether or not Novak Djokovic will be allowed to play Indian Wells and Miami. The Serb has scheduled a press conference in Belgrade to address the status of his hamstring injury as well as an expected update on his status to play in Indian Wells and/or Miami. The Djokovic team applied for a special permit to allow the unvaccinated world number one to participate in both tournaments in the US in 2023. The goverment is expected to lift restrictions on allowing unvaccinated foreign-born citizens into the US at the end of May. That obviously helps Djokovic for the Summer and the US Open swing, but will he get a shot to play the two Masters events that he’s won a combined eleven titmes? Tune in Wednesday as we could find out with Indian Wells slated to start on March 9th.
My father is home! He was in the hospital for over two weeks, but was sprung on his birthday on Sunday! It’s the best news of the year by far. He’s certainly got more healing to do, but it’s just amazing news for him to be back at home after all the trials and tribulations of the past few weeks. We even taught my Dad how to use video calling on his new smartphone that he got just after the New Year began. Getting to chat with him on a video call last night while we both watched the same basketball game was fantastic. I’m looking forward to finally getting to see him in person again in a few weeks when I tag in for my sister who will head back to her residence after being a bad ass mother f-er for this month.
GOOD KIT/BAD KIT OF THE WEEK
I dig the combo of blue and black for Bautista Agut’s Izod kit in Rotterdam. It does just enough with the patterns without doing too much that would make it annoying.
For the love of all things holy, STOP WEARING THESE DAMN NIKE AUSTRALIAN OPEN KITS!! They’re awful. I hate them. They need to go directly into a furnace and then doused generously with gasoline. There’s no excuse to still be wearing these Mr.Dimitrov.
DOG PIC OF THE WEEK
THOR gets the nod this week. This little bit of magic happened one afternoon while he was relaxing and looking out the door to our backyard. He’s a magnificent looking boy isn’t he?