Highlights and Aces: The Best of Tennis – 2016

2016 in the tennis world was a year full of change and surprise. Here’s a quick look back at those players and highlights that stood out the most in this most memorable of years.

Top of the Charts

2016 was indeed a year of change including at the top of the tennis rankings. With breakthough, and career changing seasons, Angelique Kerber and Andy Murray closed out the year both as year-end No.1s.

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Filed under ATP, Australian Open, Davis Cup, French Open, U.S. Open, Wimbledon, WTA

From The Heart.

Svetlana Kuznetsova, with her two dramatic three set wins, and an impromptu haircut now seen around the world, has become the breakout star at this week’s WTA Finals in Singapore. A fact made more impressive given that she is actually the oldest player, at age 31, in the draw. But if anyone was perhaps due an exciting final act in what has been a career of stellar highs and stunning lows, it is Kuznetsova.

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Filed under WTA

Open and Close

The 2016 US Open opened with a new roof over Arthur Ashe Stadium and closed two weeks later with two new singles champions. With neither top seed claiming the title, and with at least one Number One ranking changing hands, the question remains if this is the start of a new era, or merely a brief time out in what has been almost near domination by two of the sport’s biggest stars.

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Roddick Comment on Kyrgios Sparks Twitter Debate (at least on my timeline)


Former US Open Champion and World No. 1 Andy Roddick returned to live tennis commentary via Periscope. While Roddick commentated on both the Serena Williams/Vania King and Juan Martin del Potro/Steve Johnson second round matches, it was a comment he made when answering a question about Nick Kyrgios that generated a lot of response, at least on my own Twitter response timeline after I posted the comment.

While I don’t remember the actual question, this is what Roddick said about Kyrgios.

 

After posting this, I received many responses to it. Debates about Kyrgios and his personality are nothing new.
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Filed under ATP, Tennis

Raising The Roof

The US Open starts next week. The last major of the season is looking ahead to the future with a mixture of excitement and perhaps, reluctance. While the long awaited and much needed roof over Arthur Ashe Stadium is now in place ready for use, New York’s favorite player won’t be there to play underneath it. Continue reading

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Filed under ATP, Tennis, U.S. Open, WTA

Making The Best of It

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It’s been a tough week in Cincinnati. But even organizers weren’t expected it to be this tough.

The combined ATP and WTA event was already dealing with several big names not being in the draw before things got started. That included defending champion Roger Federer who is out for the rest of the season.

Then defending women’s champion Serena Williams, who surprised everyone when she accepted a wildcard into the event, proceeded to withdraw after one practice session on-site. Williams, who continues to deal with shoulder inflammation, now might see Angelique Kerber claim the WTA top ranking if the German wins the title outright.

Adding to the tourney’s woes, mother nature decided to play havoc with the schedule. Torrential rain on Monday and Tuesday cancelled many matches. As I write this, another rain delay is underway.

Away from the courts, the tournament’s parking lot – in this case the lawns of a nearby golf course – quickly turned into a soggy mud field equivalent almost to quicksand. That left many parked cars trapped in the mud. Drivers that thought their cars could maneuver through the mud soon found themselves, as I did, trapped as well. It was only with the help of several volunteers pushing my car that I finally made it out.

If drying courts with squeegees and pushing cars out of muddy fields were Olympic sports, the volunteers in Cincinnati would be medal contenders for the Summer Games in Tokyo next time.

Star names are the draw here in the Midwest. But fans have to hurry to see them before they exit. Rafael Nadal, admitting to being worn out after a week in Rio, barely managed to win four games against Borna Coric in their third round match. Coric himself retired due to injury in his next match to fellow Croatian Marin Cilic.

The women’s event has held up a bit better. In addition to Kerber, several top seeds remain including Garbine Muguruza, Simona Halep, and Agnieszka Radwanska.

With the US Open Summer Series coming to a close (though the opening event in Stanford felt like months ago) it’s hard to know if the results from this year’s North American hard court swing will matter come time for New York. The Olympics added basically another Major to the season.

Olympic gold medalist Monica Puig and silver medalist Juan Martin del Potro didn’t earn any points but certainly raised their profiles before the US Open. If they translate Olympic success into more in New York remains to be seen. Add in the lack of big names like Serena and Novak Djokovic not playing during the series as well, it ends up being one of those years that only happens every four years.

As I finish this post, a massive rainbow appeared over the stadium with bright sunshine in the distance. A sure reminder to everyone here at the Cincinnati tournament that despite a soggy start, and a rainy middle, a sunny ending including with a new No. 1 player just might be on the horizon.

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Filed under ATP, WTA

Rio. Ready? Or Not.

 

The Summer Games are finally here and how one feels about them is as individual as the 11,000 plus athletes expected to compete in Rio. After a barrage of dire warnings and articles that the Brazilian city was not ready to host the world’s biggest sporting event, and the ongoing Russian doping scandal, and the still ongoing claims of corruption within the International Olympic Committee itself, it’s go time. Ready or not.

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Filed under Tennis