Woo hoo! I received two pieces of good news this week. One which I can’t reveal just yet and the other concerning Miss Monica Seles. The three time winner of the French Open championships will present the winner and runner up of the 2012 women’s tournament in Paris next month! About time!
Monica won in 1990, 1991 and 1992 before being stabbed in April 1993. She made the final once again in 1998 but narrowly lost to the feisty Spaniard Aranxta Sanchez Vicario.
Monica is one of many former French Open champions to present the Suzanne Lenglen trophy in recent years. Others so far have included Steffi Graf, Chris Evert and Evonne Goolagong.
Holding a lower profile than many other retired tennis professionals, Monica does not make too many public appearances so thats why her presence is a real treat for her many fans when she does.
At least we know someone who’ll be in the Phillipe Chatrier court on Saturday 9th June – as for the two finalists, who knows!? They will be revealed in good time…
(P.s. Three time winner Mats Wilander will present the men’s trophy.)
LTB has enjoyed watching the ladies final and conveys congratulations to the first Italian Grand Slam Champion Francesca Schiavone!!!
She simply outplayed Australian Sam Stosur in two sets of high class tennis, kissing the terre battue to seal her delight of winning her maiden Slam at the ripe old age of 29. Sam must be disappointed but there was no denying Francesca had her game plan worked out and wasn’t afraid to take the lead right from the beginning.
Although perhaps unknown to many, the Italian sure has a great personality and somewhat reminded me of a female Rafael Nadal with her gutsy fist punches and dancing arround Philippe Chatrier Court such was the level of her enthusiam for winning today’s crunch match.
It has been a bit of an unusual ladies tournament with plenty of shocks and suprises and new talent showcased on the red stuff. Despite poor semi finals on Thursday, there were some excellent matches in all the rounds that surely pleased the crowds in Paris.
So with the ladies Champion decided that can only mean one thing folks – it’s almost the end of the French Open Grand Slam and thus the end of a long clay court season but as Mr Jones would say to Captain Mannering, “Don’t panic”!!!
We all know it has been comforting to come home from work and watch a few sets over dinner in the evening. It’s been good to catch up with the scores online and hear the tweets of the top pros and ogle over the outfits.
It has been nice to read the odd bit of tennis news in the papers and hear snippets of scores in the radio news bulletins. It has been great to feel a stronger connection to all things Parisian and French like eating croissants and listening to that cool song Stereo Love with the funky French jingle in the middle.
However, the matches are fewer on the ground and we know all good things in Paris must come to an end tomorrow. The excitement that was in bucketfuls at the start of the tournament has inevitably worn off. Perhaps we’re all feeling a bit disillusioned Rafa isn’t facing Roger in the final tomorrow.
You may start to sigh and frown and you might feel a little weak and down in the dumps. This is normal behaviour for any tennis fan so do not feel alone.
We at LTB are here to help you through this painful process. We all understand how dire Monday mornings can be so this one coming is going to be a little worse than normal. But believe me, its easier now than it will be after Wimbledon!
To cheer us up, we do have some tennis to look forward to. Besides the huge men’s final tomorrow, next week, we are back to the UK and to the green green grass of home. Queens club will host some of the world’s top male players and the week and some of the lovely ladies will be in Birmingham, including Miss Sharapova. The week after we have Eastbourne and then the week after that, it’s the one and only Championships at the AELTC. (Yay!)
But in the meantime, if you begin to suffer from female Grand Slam withdrawal symptoms and are new to the Blog, feel free to scroll down our articles written over the past five months to see the breadth of things we have covered all for you lovely tennis people to enjoy!
Drop in a comment where you feel you need to give your say, that’s what the comment feed is all about, so use it (but please don’t abuse it). Click on the title of each article and scroll down to add your comment.
Juan Martin Del Potro dealt the tennis world a bombshell this week and it wasnt one of his devastating forehands either. He has decided to miss the remaining three grandslams of the year as to allow a full and proper recovery from wrist surgery. The Giant Argentinian has been out of action since the Australian Open in January but had been expected to be back in action at the French Open. The injury mirrors Andy Murrays injury suffered on the clay courts of Hamburg when the young Scot had to miss RG and Wimbledon. Murray decided to err on the side of caution to allow a full recovery, but the power on Murrays forehand has never been the same since. Del Po has built his game around his solid forehand and when he returns hopefully in the Autumn he may have to change his gameplan somewhat to take all the pressure from his forehand.
Del Potro isnt the only tennis star injured at the moment and with Roland Garros beginning who knows what kind of state the runners and riders will be in as we enter the most congested period of the tennis calendar
Queue Star Wars music…Nah Nah Nah NanaNah NanaNah… It’s April, which means it’s the return for the dirt ballers. The clay court season is finally upon us, in truth however, it was never really gone for this anti-social breed of tennis players. For while everyone else is playing the American hard court and the miniscule grass court seasons, this crew of pure blud n guts miscreants return to the red sands of latin America, Africa and middle Europe to ply their trade.
This menacing surface has proved an enigma for many a tennis star; Pete Sampras and Andy Murray for example, and this part of the season usually upsets the established order in tennis. This year could be different…
With Federer finally breaking his French Open duck and career slam monkey off his back; Nadal unbelievably losing to Soderling in the French last year; and the fact that we’re already having a topsy turvy season means that this season is going to be the most unpredicatble yet… A pain in the arse for those playing ATP’s Bracket Challenge!
So what is store for us over the coming months, dare we guess it here at LTB. Federer is always a good place to start. Having beaten Nadal again on clay last year, and winning the French Open, he will be playing with much less weight on his shoulders. I have noted he hasn’t shown up for Monte Carlo, but I think he may take this series of Masters events more seriously than the last, as he will need the preparation for the French Open. Given the consumate professional he is, I would dare say the one notch left on his belt that he wants is to beat Rafa in Roland Garros.
Speaking of Rafa, it will be intriguing to watch his progress over the coming months. He missed a few opportunities to really give his season a boost in Indian Wells and Miami. It’s still hard to bet against him on clay but I don’t think he’s ever really fully recovered from that Soderling loss last year. He will be desperate to reestablish his dominance, but it will be more difficult as clay court tennis is all about muscle and stamina from the back, something he has lost a little of late.
What about the rest of the pretenders? Novak Djokovic is an obvious choice for silverware this year, and will be looking to get Nadal’s number early on while he’s still vulnerable. Andy Murray has never really looked comfortable on clay, and given his recent form I wouldn’t bet him doing well, but you never know. There are outside shots to come from the likes of Nikolay Davydenko and Robin Soderling, but the man who I want to watch this year will be Juan Carlos Ferrero.
Every year there is always someone who has a special clay season. In the past that has included Gaston Gaudio, Guillermo Coria, Nicolas Almagro, Albert Montanes, Nicolas almagro, Juan Monaco, Juan Carlos himself and of course the imperious Rafa Nadal. Can Juan Carlos recapture the magic of 2003? He has been on sparkling hard court form of late and that should hopefully transfer to even better form on clay.
So we hope this wets your appetite in anticipation of a great month to come of mud slinging, slip n sliding, muscle balling tennis!
First off we’d like to say sorry guys for the quietness on the blog front the last couple of days. Our usual bloggers have been overwhelmed with other workload, which only draws attention to the need for more bloggers. So please send us an email or comment here if you would like to join us and we can set you up.
There may have been a identical field in memphis to san jose last week, but the result was entirely different. Neither finalists, Roddick or Verdasco made it to the final, in fact Verdasco lost surprisingly to Jeremy Chardy. Chardy is another one of those frustrating frenchies who gets the odd amazing win and then never follows it up, this time losing to Lukas Lacko. The tournament was eventually won by Sam Querrey beating fellow budding American John Isner in the battle of the serves. The week got even better for the pair as, John and Sam buried the hatchett to win the doubles event together beating the Brit, Ross Hutchins and Australian, Jordan Kerr. In a week where John lloyd selected the Davis Cup team, it’s good news for him that Both Ross and Jamie Murray are in good doubles form again.
Elsewhere in the big french orgy which is Marseille, there was a surprise winner in the form of Michael Llodra. In fact the tournament was filled with surprises as Benneteau beat Tsonga and Monfils but then went on to lose to Llodra. Really does just epitomise the inconsistancy of the french as before mentioned. Finally in Buenos Aires, the fabulously in form Juan Carlos Ferrero made in back to back tournament wins by beating top seed and old foe, David Ferrer in the final. The tournament saw the welcome return of Fat Dave [Nalbandian], only to lose him again for another week to injury. He has quite possibly been the tennis most untapped talent ever but more on that later.
This week welcomes back the ATP500 series, and next stop is the Dubai International. The competition finally hots up a little from this years Australian Open, as the likes of Andy Murray, Novak Djokovic, Nikolay Davydenko, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Marin Cilic all playing. Top Ranked players like Federer, Nadal and Del Potro are all injured and will have to sit this one out, and aren’t likely now to return until Indian Wells. Murray will be looking bounce back from losing the ozzy open final, and win his first tournament this year. He will have to go three better than any of his other appearances in Dubai. Perhaps the huge financial incentive (which I would dare say is what won the tournament it’s favourite status from the dressing room) will help him along the way.
In other parts of the world Juan Carlos Ferrero will be aiming to make it an unprecedented 3 in a row for him. He will have stiffer competition though this time with the Nando’s Verdasco & Gonzalez turning up. Could this be the beginning of a run similar to the won which led him to his French Open victory and no.1 in the world in 2003? Lastly, and actually probably leastly is the hard court tournament in Delray Beach. Tommy Haas, Ivo Karlovic, Jeremy Chardy and James Blake will all be trying ot get some sustainable form before the masters season kicks in.