Well, I think my Olympics hangover is just about. . .over. Nothing like a Spice Girls reunion to bring you crashing back to stark reality. Now how are the players doing?
It depends. This weekend’s winners in Toronto are on opposite poles of the Olympics recovery spectrum. Novak Djokovic gave his mojo a good working out this week at the Rogers Cup, successfully defending his title without losing a set. He beat a (resurgent?) Richard Gasquet 6-3, 6-2 in the final. This victory comes after a disappointing fourth place finish at the Olympics and losing his top spot to Roger Federer at Wimbledon. His childhood coach, Jelena Gencic, even went on record after the Olympics saying that her former charge is “burdened with personal problems and now his tennis is suffering.”
There’s nothing like winning to make a champion perk up:
“I truly did not expect myself to win this tournament after the emotional losses in the Olympic Games.” Novak said (via ATP). “I really took it hard. I tried to bounce back and recover; I’ve done great, I have to say.”
I love how Novak sounds so pleasantly surprised.
Though singles gold medalist Andy Murray pulled out of Toronto with a sore knee after winning his first match on Wednesday (hey, props just for showing up), the Bryan brothers lost none of their momentum after their gold medal efforts in London. They saved a match point in their finals win over Marcel Granollers and Marc Lopez in Toronto on Sunday, after playing a delayed semi final match earlier in the day. Besides the trophy, their win earns them yet another trip to London this year – playing in the World Tour Finals at the O2 arena.
“Maybe we’re still riding high from the Olympics and we feel good.” Mike Bryan said, explaining their current form (via the ATP). “We always play better when we’re happy. Right now we feel like even though it gets sticky and tough, we’ve been winning all the big points for the last couple weeks; we did the same today.”
Roger Federer didn’t play in Toronto, pulling out to rest after his efforts at SW19 this past month or so. No worries there. He’s back in Cincinnati, where he started practicing a few days ago. I am worried about this outfit, though:
If you’re Rafael Nadal, you’re doing just fine – at least off the tennis court. His latest Facebook update shows him shirtless, smiling and – where else? – on a boat in the Mediterranean. Though he reports making progress in practice courts, I can’t help but think he’s in no hurry to hit the American hard courts at the moment. As for the U.S. Open, well, Rafa says it’s up to his knees to decide: “I will compete when my knee says I am ready to compete. I don’t want to go on court with bad feeling because then it is terrible.” (via tennis.com)
Two women, Li Na and Petra Kvitova, wait to contest the Rogers Cup final in Montreal on Monday and perhaps gain some momentum going into the US Open.
Serena Williams didn’t play in Montreal, but is on board for Cincinnati. As for the rest of the women’s medalists, neither Azarenka nor Sharapova are going to play much tennis before the US Open. Maria didn’t play in Montreal and has pulled out of Cincy with a lingering stomach virus. Azarenka retired from a match in Montreal with a knee problem and is not going to play this week.
Olympics doubles champ Jo-Wilfried Tsonga is also out of Cincinnati after jogging into a fire hydrant and requiring stitches to his knee. Perhaps he was relieving his moment of glory on the podium?
Look out this week for on-the-scene reports and plenty of great photos from our gal in Cincy, Andrea Nay!