Anyone else still recovering from those late-night Aussie Open sessions? But the tour goes on. Here are a few updates that are renewing my interest.
Getting over his Australian Open hangover is Laureus World Sportsman Rafael Nadal, who says he’s cleared to start training again in advance of his country’s Davis Cup tie vs. Belgium at the beginning of March. But it was tears just a couple weeks ago, after he lost to Ferrer in the quarterfinals Down Under while hampered with a torn thigh muscle.
“I was crying in the locker room,” said Nadal (via the ATP’s website). “I [hated that I had] to go out of the tournament. Last year, I had to do it and it was something I didn’t want to repeat. But from the third game I knew I didn’t have a chance to win. David was playing fantastic and I wasn’t able to run enough to rise to the level to beat him.”
Stating the obvious or looking like a doof? Jo-Wilfried Tsonga stirred the pot with reporters in Rotterdam, where he’s into the quarterfinals. Via Yahoo!:
“Federer and Nadal are not alone (at the top of the rankings) any more,” said Tsonga, who fired 11 aces in his 75-minute win over the 19-year-old Dimitrov.
“Maybe on clay, things (Nadal’s victories) are still the same, but not on other surfaces.
“Djokovic and Murray are beating Nadal and Federer very often, all the players are improving their games. It’s not just about Nadal and Federer any more.“
(Murray wasn’t beating the likes of Marcos Baghdatis in Rotterdam, however, crashing out in straights against the Cypriot on Wednesday in his first match since the Aussie Open final.)
Photo AP Photo/Rob Griffith via Daylife.com
Tsonga’s Canadian doppleganger, Milos Raonic, is into the San Jose quarterfinals after taking out James Blake 6-2, 7-6(4). He gets fellow young gun Richard Berankis of Lithuania next.
Photo by NICOLAS ASFOURI/AFP/Getty Images via Daylife
Young gun – more like young uzi: Here’s a taste of a fantastic article by Robert Davis on Alexandr “Dog” Dolgopolov Jr., who beat Tsonga and Soderling on his way to this year’s Australian Open quarterfinals. Via the ATP’s website:
Some players are easy to define; baseliners, all-court, serve and volley. Not the ‘Dog’. His tennis would fall under a different category, something like Slash and Burn. Or on an off day, Crash and Burn. If Dolgopolov’s tennis could talk, it might say to an opposing player, “what have you done lately?” And there is that little matter of his shot selection. At first glance it seems insane.
Kim Clijsters, playing the Open Gaz de France in Paris this week, is now just one win away from the No. 1 ranking.
It’s official, Brooklyn Decker has eclipsed Andy Roddick in the star power category. (It helps when you are a smoking hot bikini model/actress and your film runs previews during the Superbowl.) Vid of pre-premier goings on via Tennis-x:
Team USA lost to Belgium in the first round of Fed Cup last weekend, meaning that Serena Williams and Venus Williams will have to schlep to Germany this April for a lowly World Group playoff if they want to play in the 2012 Olympics. (Via tennis.com.)
Speaking of the Williams family, I just caught this strange Oracene Twitter story and wish that I’d missed it.