Backhands and Compliments

Rafael Nadal wins a seventh consecutive title in Monte Carlo.

Honestly, this tournament didn’t have too much drama but the semifinal between Nadal and Andy Murray gave us a glimpse of the old Andy Murray in the second set. Unfortunately, it also gave us a glimpse of the old Andy Murray in the third set, too.

Seven consecutive titles for Nadal? It’s incredible. But the truth is, Nadal’s sister Maria Isabel could change the face of tennis. Because she might be the most legitimately cool looking person hanging around tennis these days. I know absolutely nothing about her. Who cares? She looks like a cross between Charlotte Gainsbourg and Patti Smith. If Anna Wintour could stomach looking away from Roger for a second, she would see a Vogue feature waiting to happen. I hope she continues to pop up here and there wearing her boho chic attire of jeans with big belts, a man’s dress shirt and long scarves. Tennis needs you, Maria Isabel!

The US was kicked out of Fed Cup.

I’m just hoping they won’t have television cameras in the country where the United States will be forced to play a World Group II tie. Could someone please explain why in the past two years, I have seen Melanie Oudin play seven Fed Cup ties?? OK, I know why. Enough is enough. Everyone knows Fed Cup was best when it was a one-week event with strong teams and one host city. Over the weekend, Russia made it to the final of the main stage event against an Italian team with Roberta Vinci and Sara Errani. I think even the United States could have taken down that Italian team. Maybe not, but it would have been closer than the tie against Andrea Petkovic’s German team. Fed Cup used to have it right! Bring back an annual one-week event with “A” level teams, a best of three format with the doubles sandwiched between the two singles rubbers and a cool host city. Everyone can play hard, party hard and then get out of town until the next year.

ATP Week Ahead

Men are in Barcelona. Robin Soderling is in and Roger Federer is out. Otherwise, it’s a pretty similar lineup as Monte Carlo. I have a feeling we’re going to be seeing a lot of Melzer and Ferrer on Tennis Channel this spring. Anyone think Rafa won’t make it 6 of 7 in Barcelona?

WTA Week Ahead

Women are making up for the Fed Cup weekend and playing two events in Fes and Stuttgart. Let’s start adding “?” to players’ names on the draw sheets! Why not? This week in Fes I would add one to Safina, Dokic, Cornet and Oudin. My eye is on Irina-Camelia Begu who made it through qualifying and also made the final in Marbella a couple of weeks ago. Let’s hear it for clay court upstarts!

Stuttgart looks like a fantastic field. I actually got excited when I looked at it! A first round match between Petra Kvitova and Jelena Jankovic? Not too shabby. Victoria Azarenka has to be the favorite here and I’m hoping she meets Caroline Wozniacki in the final. Let’s face it, if we’re going to accept Wozniacki as the top player, she needs a rival who is talented, hungry and a little bit mean. With Henin gone, Serena off the tour and Sharapova trying to get back into the mix, Azarenka is the best bet to keep Wozniacki honest.

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2 Responses to Backhands and Compliments

  1. sis says:

    A bit on Maria Isabel (from her mother’s interview to a Spanish newspaper): she’s 19, studies physical education in Barcelona, lives there in a rented appt, has a bf, is a total Real Madrid fanatic (even more so than her bro), plays a decent recreational tennis and is nuts about her brother (and vice versa).

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