Monday, February 07, 2022

Weekend Tennis Roundup

Nice tournament wins for Joao Sousa, Alexander Bublik and Albert Ramos-Vinolas; plenty of eye candy on and off the court; plus we're a week closer to the start of the next major and I still don't hear of any compromise to allow Novak Djokovic to compete unvaccinated, something every other sport in the world allows its players to do. (Even Olympic athletes in Beijing who choose not to get vaccinated can participate so long as they quarantine for 21 days.) 

Question: Why does it seem that most tennis fans don't care about the integrity of the sport so long as their guy benefits? And that the tennis establishment has always favored Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, so is actually pleased with what's happening rather than trying to work with foreign governments to accommodate its recalcitrant Serbian star. Would I have been happy if Martina Navratilova or Serena Williams had been refused entry into a major as to prevent them from tying or surpassing my girls (Chris Evert or Steffi Graf)? I can say this unequivocally: Of course not. Tennis isn’t a popularity contest. All top players who want to compete should be allowed to or else it taints the event. That's not how majors should be won. 

Keep reading BELOW.

For those who say, "Virtually every other tennis player got vaccinated, why can't he?" I say this: Djokovic overcame impossible odds to rise to the level of Federer and Nadal and is obviously very anal about his body and training. (Remember the gluten-free diet and the pressurized egg?) So while vaccination is the obvious answer, I don't think any of us is in a position to question what he does or doesn't do physically. And with such a huge part of tennis being mental, I also don't see how we can argue that doing something he doesn't believe in isn't detrimental to that part of his game, either. 

*When I first shared this, I noted that Rafael Nadal was afforded a much greater chance at winning the 2022 Australian Open when Novak Djokovic, whom he hadn't beaten on a hard court in nine years, was suddenly tossed from the tournament after having secured a medical exemption to compete. (What luck!) The obvious if irrelevant "there's no guarantee Novak would have won" argument was then made, to which I pointed out that the same thing could be said about the asterisk people always put on Steffi Graf's career. And what did I -- who has sworn off internet arguments -- get in return? Various readers who cannot follow that there's no guarantee that Monica Seles would have won tournaments she didn't play -- instead trying to "gotcha" me that I was comparing Djokovic's refusal to get vaccinated with someone's stabbing Seles. (Wow, to which chapter of Mensa do you belong?) And you wonder why I've started deleting comments without reading them. 

LOL! Nadal is 465 weeks at number 1 (and counting) behind his Big 3 rivals but OK. Most Rafa fans are smart enough to just keep their heads down -- a win's a win -- but not all of them. 

Most persuasive argument — and I quote:

“Nadal’s best chance is to move two slams ahead of Djokovic and Federer by winning his 14th French Open in four months time.  He’s currently the favourite to win the tournament and those odds will shorten even further if Djokovic is denied entry because of his vaccination status.”(!)

P.S. Kudos to the Twitter user who also pointed out that Nadal also hasn't beaten Djokovic on grass since 2008(!) -- we have Covid to thank for never knowing who would have won the 2020 Wimbledon, although you can guess who my money's on -- and obviously had just been defeated by the Serb on the King of Clay's home court at Roland Garros. But the Australian Open had a feel-good ending, so that's all that matters, right? ๐Ÿ™„๐Ÿ™„๐Ÿ™„

This week's action ...

It’s been a long wait, but Portuguese dreamboat Joao Sousa returned to the winners' circle on Sunday, defeating Finnish sixth seed Emil Ruusuvuori 7-6(9), 4-6, 6-1 to capture the Tata Open Maharashtra in Pune, his first ATP Tour title since 2018.

Alexander Bublik earned the biggest win of his career Sunday, shocking World No. 3 Alexander Zverev 6-4, 6-3 to capture his maiden ATP Tour title at the Open Sud de France.

Albert Ramos-Vinolas captured the Cรณrdoba Open in Argentina, rallying to defeat Chilean qualifier Alejandro Tabilo, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4.

Since I'm not a fan of the Spanish veteran's dead eyes, I thought this might be a better photo to use

Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut tasted success on the ATP Tour once again on Sunday, edging Lloyd Glasspool and Harri Heliovaara 4-6, 7-6(3), 12-10 to win the Open Sud de France title.

Around the net ...

Mask4Masc: Janko Tipsarevic

20 candles for Argentina's Santiago Franchini

Just when I want to dump Dominic Thiem ...

Like we didn't already know Matteo Berrettini was a work of art

Hubba hubba

Can't get enough of Zlatan Dzumhur

Dusan Lajovic is becoming a crypto bro #sadface

Not true. It's being Russian and having thinning hair at a such a young age.

Speaking of hair ... oh, Liam!

It's so nice to see Jo-Wilfried Tsonga's big ass back in action

Karen Khachanov's forehand matches his car

Happy to see Chris Evert taking on cancer the same way she did a net rusher

Kevin Krawietz with footballer friend Joshua Kimmich

Marcelo Demoliner is on track to be the Brazilian del Potro, minus the success

Tommy Paul and Reilly Opelka hanging out

Fashionable Lloyd Glasspool

Hot for Austrian Sam Weissborn

Cesar Ramirez knows how to pick 'em!

I suppose I should be flying off the handle at how homophobic this is

Matt Ebden's got flex appeal ...

and more

Hot for preppy

The Aussie Open doubles finalist made headlines over his country's "stupid" isolation laws

Is that you, Jack Sock?

Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic had a Dickens of a year

Yes, I'm still falling for everything Robert Farah does

Jan-Michael Gambill auditioning for 'The Real Housewives of Hawaii'? 

Ryan Harrison takes flight

Maybe Taylor Fritz's influencer gal pal isn't so bad after all 

The ATP's favorite trust-fund baby

ATP Dudes never disappoints -- and neither does Stefanos Tsitsipas

Christian Harrison works up a sweat

Jordan Thompson puts the meat in a Harrison sandwich 

Baby love with Tobias Simon

Marton Fucsovics, who went from being the best-dressed player on tour to the worst, and Andy Murray

Kevin Krawietz puts in the work with trainer Julian Knowle

Hubert Hurkacz with the Shap

Everyone was thrilled to see Juan Martin del Potro -- with Pabrlo Andujar -- back on court in Argentina 

Only to find out it may be his last tournament ever

Lloyd's of London

Aljaz Bedene is aiming for a hard-court comeback

The pride of Portugal! 

God I pray Ryan Harrison plays around on the side 

He and his brother may suffer from toxic masculinity at times ...

but at least they're Mama's boys 

Ben isn't right about everything, but he nailed it here:

ATP+WTA tournaments should all be offering it, too, especially in this era of increased corporate cooperation between the tours. At Indian Wells and Miami, especially, this ought to be a no-brainer. Hopman Cup, also, can't come back soon enough. ATP Cup was a huge downgrade.

And last but not least: What a thrill to see that Inside Women's Tennis -- my favorite paper as a kid -- uploaded highlights from the 1977 U.S. Open at Forest Hills, which many of you know is the first pro tournament I ever followed. (And what's up with reigning Wimbledon champ Virginia Wade handling tennis and commentating duties? Prize money that bad?!!!) Watching a 14-year-old Tracy Austin go on to beat No. 4 seed Sue Barker and Virginia Ruzici (who would win the French Open the following year) left an indelible impression on me, which I sometimes wish had never happened. (People who don't care about any sports seem much happier to me.)

(With wire services.)


Donny said...

You have mentioned that Nadal has not beat Djokovic on a hard court in nine years at least twice. In both instances you either bolded or capitalized the word nine. You clearly believe that argument holds weight. Well, Seles had won eight of the last nine grand slams she entered prior to being stabbed. That's a pretty good proportion, right? Perhaps even an indicator of future titles. Certainly more so than Djokovic winning any title in the current field. Speaking of Mensa chapters, you're not as smart as you think you are. Your argument doesn't apply to your guy.

Kenneth M. Walsh said...

@Donny: You might want to re-read what you wrote because you helped bolster MY point!