I’ve had a change up to my usual ‘analysis column’ at the last minute. After a long day at work, as you would expect I go home to watch the tennis, naturally. I actually started thinking tennis was in a pretty healthy state at the moment. It’s making it pretty exciting right now as there are many different styles and characters out there. With the recent success of Elena Vesnina beating Kuznetsova in Indian Wells and SW beating VW winning down under, the old skool certainly look to have the upper hand in the Ladies. But with RF tearing it up in the Men’s as well at the moment and the top two in the world both approaching 30 in the next couple of month the men’s looks to also be dominated by the dirty 30’s on tour. Rafa and Stan have already hit the 30 club. In fact, Thiem stands out like a saw thumb at 23 years in the top ten, even Milos and Kei are the wrong side of 20 now. I start thinking maybe I should make a comeback? I might be about to peak! Ask Ilkley for a Wild Card and see how I get on? People might think Xavier Malisse brother had turned up when I rock up with my impressive man bun! There were, however, another couple of pointers tonight suggesting the youngsters are hot on the heels, especially in the men’s game.
Federer is looking absolutely supreme right now, ripping everyone an absolutely new one in the process. He’s just ousted Del Potro today, Delboy doesn’t get schooled very often, tonight he didn’t look to have any answers to Federer’s barrage and found his serve under constant attack. Credit where its due, its taken some balls for Federer to change up his game again. The main point for me there is that he would have had to admit it just wasn’t working anymore and he wasn’t going to be at the top if he didn’t make changes. For a top class athlete or anyone for that matter to admit that, it’s gutsy and he has been simply sensational to watch of late. Tiafoe gave him problems the previous round and I’m expecting a few wins for him over the second half of the campaign when the tour returns to the US. I like this lads attitude at 19 he’s giving off positive vibes on the main tour. I got another taste tonight of two of the top talents currently operating on the tour, who have both been making statements of late. Kyrgios and Zverev both put in performances that show again what they offer to the future of the game. Zverev was class against poor old John Isner, throw him a bone FFS, what did he have to do to win that? Saving match points and showing unreal composure in the process. He was really playing to the crowd tonight and it was great to see, waving his hands and really giving it large at times. This guy really is going to be one hell of a player, he’s the same age as Tiafoe but obviously more advanced at the moment, no disgrace in that for the American. Zverev is certainly helped by his physical attributes but he’s just bigtime as well. Nick showed great intensity in knuckling down to the task of Dr. Ivo’s serve, you can’t underestimate that, good effort. It’s good to hear him coming out and being honest and saying he was in a bad place after the Oz, but as he said his family and friends had his back. He’s looking a lot more focused right now and coming across with a maturity in interviews, he still had banter with the crowd last night and why not?? I think its class having these kind of characters in the game, that play to the crowd. Especially when it comes so naturally to them, long may it continue. Both these matches finished in final set breakers, compelling viewing! Dimitrov is having his first blip of the season in the past few weeks but along with Dominic Thiem, they both look to be hot on the heels of the top boys in terms of where their games are at. Lucas Pouille isn’t too far away either, though he has disappointed me so far this season, I think I might have expected a little bit too much too soon from the Frenchman who has a great all court game. There is a nice mix in there, chuck in Tsonga, Delboy and add the likes of Sock and PCB who are improving their rankings and its pretty tasty. A few of the younger lads like Coric, Nishioka, Donaldson and Edmund are all showing signs of promise, consistency or lack of is what you have to accept with the youngers lads, by and large, they can look like world beaters one day and not always be able to back up.
The women’s game is exciting for slightly different reasons at the moment. Serena being the dominant figure still when fit, but her injury has given the field an opportunity to get some easier silverware and big ranking points on the board. I think her schedule is going to be very, very select this year and damn right it should be, she needs to be good to go when Paris, London and New York get underway. I’m still nowhere near convinced with Angie this season, even though she is still standing this week. Pliskova continues to look solid and consistent without being ultra dominant in Williams absence currently. It just looks so competitive in each event at the moment as a result. Caroline Wozniacki is getting a lot of wins under her belt again, always a popular figure among fans. Muguruza retired against her today. I still think the Spaniard is not too far way away from hitting some form again, I’m unsure as to just how high that form will be at the moment. Halep has looked better this week with wins over Kontaveit and Stosur. Kontaveit looked to be playing some good stuff and she was comprehensively dismantled. Let’s see how she gets on when the going gets even tougher, it’s been a massively underwhelming season so far for her. Then I finished off by watching Venus play Kuznetsova for the first time in 6 years? WTF?? Hard to see how their paths haven’t crossed since then, but they haven’t. Venus continues to up her game again at the moment and that’s great to see, I’m sure she cannot wait to get on the grass courts when she’s striking the ball like this. She certainly seems to be moving well this week after not looking right in California. I’ve actually got a sneaky feeling that Konta will take the Women’s this week on a side note, beating Wozniacki in the final?? We need to see a bit more of the form from Australia now Jo and you’ll be a serious runner this year. Chuck in the mix Kvitova, Sharapova and Azarenka all set to return in the next few months and that will spice it up a fair bit. I can’t see how they aren’t going to go straight back in the pack. Madison Keys should be bang on for the summer when she gets back to match toughness with the grass and US campaign being the surfaces that utilise her strengths. There are plenty of players like Mladenovic, Konjuh, Bellis (still only 17) Kasatkina, Osaka, Ostapenko, Siniakova, Kontaveit, Townsend and Vikhlyantseva that are all looking to make their mark this year. The French lady obviously a few years older, but there is plenty of competition in there the moment at these events. Finding consistency for these players is the key as it is with the men. Lets Go!
Andy Del Potro