There was rain in London’s SW19 just an hour after Day 1’s tennis had gotten underway at the All England Club.
Centre Court has a retractable roof, though (since 2009), as does Court 1 (since 2019).
Court 1 was where the fierce battle in the Gentlemen’s First Round, between Carlos Alcaraz (19, Spain 🇪🇸) and Jan-Lennard Struff (31, Germany 🇩🇪) was taking place.
Struff’s coach must have instructed him to play gangbusters and go for the margins, hit two first serves every point, just to have a shot at beating Alcaraz. He did just that, with great effect.
Alcaraz had to pull a rabbit out of a hat in the must-have fourth set-tiebreaker, to be at 1-2 and not 0-3.
Struff followed his shot in the forehand corner to the net. Alcaraz got it back, then had to streak crosscourt like a cheetah, to pick up the volley from Struff. He made a scorching one-handed backhand winner out of it. (Under normal conditions the Alcaraz backhand uses two hands).
Final score: Alcaraz 4-6, 7-5, 4-6, 7-6(3), 6-4 after 4 hrs 11 mins.
The short lawn tennis season is in full swing with the ATP tournaments in Eastbourne and Mallorca this week— and then there is Roehampton, the qualifying tournament for Wimbledon (that starts on Monday).
Wimbledon has banned Russian and Belarussian players from the tournament this year. The ATP and WTA (representing the players) have retaliated by announcing that no ranking points will be awarded for those that are allowed to play.
Seven-time Wimbledon champ Serena Williams (40), has been given a wildcard to play. Rafael Nadal (36) has announced he is good to go as well (he has had a lingering foot injury).
The men’s professional tennis tour action is in Lyon, France, and Geneva, Switzerland, this week. The clay court season is nearing its end, with the French Open in Paris starting in just a few days on Sunday.
Lyon (also spelled Lyons) is the capital of both the Rhône département and the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes région, in east-central France. It is set on a hilly site at the confluence of the Rhône and Saône rivers. Lyon is the third largest city in France, after Paris and Marseille. Geneva (French Genève, German Genf, Italian Ginevra) is the capital of Genève canton, in the far southwestern corner of Switzerland that juts into France. [From britannica.com]
The Italian Open tennis tournament in the Eternal City has started, at the beautiful Foro Italico sports complex.
The tournament was first held in Milan in 1930 as the Italian International Championships, and was moved to the Foro Italico a few years later, in 1935.
Seattle Sounders FC made history tonight by becoming the first Major League Soccer team (team from the United States or Canada, that is) to win a Concacaf* Champions League title.
*The Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football, founded in 1961, one of FIFA’s six continental governing bodies for association football (soccer).
The Sounders beat the Pumas UNAM (based in Mexico City) by 3-0 in front of a record home-crowd of 67,000 at Lumen Field. The weather played along, as well: a high of 65 °F/ 18 °C today before it starts raining on and off for the next several days.
The 2022 Madrid Open tennis tournament is under way, in the multipurpose stadium complex called La Caja Mágica.
During the Madrid Open, it is the only facility in the world with three tennis courts under a retractable roof.
This year, the top Men’s Singles seeds are ‘No Vax’ Djokovic, Sacha Zverev, Rafael Nadal (the ‘King of Clay’), Stefanos Tsitsipas, the Norwegian Casper Ruud, Andrey Rublev— but no Medvedev (he had hernia surgery), Carlos Alcaraz and Canadian Félix Auger-Aliassime.
Djokovic lost yesterday in the Monte Carlo Open, but so did young Carlos Alcaraz, today (against Sebastian Korda). Aw. That really hurt my interest in the tournament, but I will continue to watch.
Writes Christopher Clarey in the NYT: ‘Davidovich, 22, looks like a Viking prepared to make mayhem with his head closely shaven on the sides and his fair hair pulled back into a knot. His father Eduard Mark Davidovich, a former boxer, is originally from Sweden and his mother Tatiana Fokina from Russia. But he was born in Malaga, Spain, and raised, as his accent makes clear, in the southern Spanish region of Andalusia. He started playing tennis at age 2 — even younger than Djokovic did — and has become one of the flashiest, fastest men in the game under the tutelage of his longtime coach, Jorge Aguirre’.
The annual Monte Carlo* Open tennis tournament has started.
It is one of the big 9 second-tier tournaments on the calendar (the big ones are the four Grand Slams: Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon, US Open).
*Monte Carlo is one of the four quartiers (sections) of Monaco. It is situated on an escarpment at the base of the Maritime Alps along the French Riviera, on the Mediterranean, just northeast of Nice, France.
Novak ‘No Vax’ Djokovic will play (still unvaccinated), as will Carlos Alcaraz, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Sacha Zverev.
There is tennis in Miami this week: the annual Miami Open, a tournament that I attended in person in 1990, during my maiden visit to the United States.
Up-and-coming superstar from Spain, Carlos Alcaraz (18), ousted Stefanos Tsitsipas (23) in spectacular fashion on Tuesday. Alcaraz will face Miomir Kecmanović (22) from Serbia for a place in the semi-final.
The men’s semifinals of the Indian Wells Masters tomorrow will be very interesting.
Semifinal 1: 🇪🇸 vs. 🇪🇸
Semifinal 2: 🇺🇸 vs. [the country that shall not be named]
19* 🇪🇸 Carlos Alcaraz (age 18) vs. 4 🇪🇸 Rafael Nadal (age 35)
20 🇺🇸 Taylor Fritz (age 24) vs. 7 Andrey Rublev (age 24)
*This is the seed number for the player for the tournament.
On paper, the player with the lower seed number is favored to win.
May the best man win as far as the Spaniards go, and go USA!
We don’t want a Russian to win. Not this year, anyway.
Sat 3/19: Fritz won 7-5, 6-4, and Nadal won 6-4, 4-6, 6-3. Sun 3/20: Taylor Fritz beat Nadal 6-3, 7-6 (7-5), the first American to win there since 2001.
The annual Indian Wells Masters tennis tournament is in full swing (in Indian Wells, California, of course). Novak Djokovic is not there: no vax, no play. Just last week, Djokovic lost his No 1 position on the ATP (Association of Tennis Professionals) rankings list, to the Russian Daniil Medvedev.
Should Medvedev be allowed to play, given that his country invaded Ukraine, and now wages a brutal war there? (Brutal being superfluous: all wars are brutal). The ATP has banned Russia from team events (such as the prestigious Davis Cup), but also ruled that Russians can compete as individuals, just not under the Russian flag.
From the New York Times, as reported by Chris Buckley and Andrew Das: In a climactic moment to end the opening ceremony of the 2022 Winter Olympics, China chose two athletes — including one it said was of Uyghur heritage — to deliver the flame to the Olympic cauldron and officially start the Games.
The moment was tinged with layers of symbolism — a man and a woman working together, a nod to China’s Olympic history — but it was the choice of Dinigeer Yilamujiang, a cross-country skier who the Chinese said has Uyghur roots, that confronted head-on one of the biggest criticisms of the country’s role as host.
The Chinese Communist Party state has conducted a mass detention and re-education campaign targeting Uyghur Muslims in the western region of Xinjiang that the United States has declared as genocidal. It was among the reasons that several countries, including the United States, took part in a diplomatic boycott of the Games.
“Huge respect for beating me, because I tried my best”
-Daniil Medvedev (Russia, age 25) after losing to Rafael Nadal (Spain, 35) after a marathon Australian Open final that lasted 5 hours and 24 minutes
Medvedev was two sets up to none, at 3 am Pacific Time this morning, as I was watching the 2022 Australian Open Mens Final. I turned off the iPad and thought: ‘Looks like Medvedev has it’.
Several hours later on the other side of the world though, the scoreboard read 2-6, 6-7 (5), 6-4, 6-4, 7-5 in Nadal’s favor. Quite a comeback from two sets down, and from a chronic foot injury that had him contemplating retirement late last year.
This shot made by Pablo Carreño Busta (Spain, age 30) in his five-set match against Tallon Griekspoor (Netherlands, 25) at the Australian Open is perfectly legal but very rarely seen.
Busta won the match after 4 hrs 10 mins of play.
You are not allowed to touch the net, or to jump over the net to play a ball, to return a shot. You can run around the net post and play from there, provided your feet/ your racquet does not touch the inside of the opponent’s singles court.
It is OK to reach over the net to hit a shot, while not touching it, nor touching the inside of the opponent’s singles court lines.
All right. You-Know-Who (The No-Vax One) has departed from Melbourne, Australia (reportedly flying to Dubai, and presumably getting to his home in Monte Carlo, from there).
It is Monday morning, 72 °F (22 °C) and sunny in Melbourne, so hopefully the tennis tournament can bounce back from the ugly run-up to its start.
‘Lucky loser’* Salvatore Caruso (age 29, Italy) finds himself in the main draw now, in the spot that held the world number one’s name.
*He lost in the Australian Open qualifying tournament’s final round.
Looks like we will have to wait until Wednesday Australia time for the final word from Australia’s immigration minister, Alex Hawke, regarding the fate of No Vax Djokovic.
There are reports that his travel declaration form (travel before the trip to Melbourne) was filled out incorrectly. He had in fact, traveled to Yugoslavia and Spain, which was not noted in his declaration. Then there are Twitterati that got a hold of the (now publicly available) QR-code of his Dec. 16 Covid test, scanned it, and says the test result show as negative, not positive. If one can believe that.
From Yahoo Sports:
The Victoria state government allows medical exemptions for people who tested positive for COVID-19 in the last six months. That’s why Djokovic received a medical exemption to play in the Australian Open. The event is hosted in Victoria, one of six states in the country.
Border authorities, however, did not accept Djokovic’s previous COVID-19 diagnosis as an acceptable reason for a medical exemption, leading to Djokovic being detained and his visa being canceled.
My opinion: Djokovic should just go home. Bye-bye.
Mon 1/10 (reported by @MetroSport on Twitter):
Judge Anthony Kelly declared that the government’s decision to cancel Djokovic’s visa was ‘unreasonable’ on the grounds that he had not been given time to speak with his lawyers or representatives from Tennis Australia after being detained, and overturned the cancellation.
That means that the judge’s call hinged on a technicality, concerning the way in which the border force implemented the rules, rather than an outright declaration that Djokovic should have been completely free to enter the country all along.
Now the ball is in the court of Australia’s immigration minister, Alex Hawke, who must decide whether to personally intervene and cancel Djokovic’s visa himself.
Fri 1/14: Immigration Minister Alex Hawke’s decision to cancel his visa was announced at 6 pm Melbourne time. Djokovic’s legal team is challenging the decision.
Sun 1/16: The Australian Federal Court upholds Hawke’s decision to cancel Novak Djokovic’s visa. The court panel returned their unanimous decision just a day before the World No. 1 was set to play his first match of the Australian Open. Djokovic will now be deported and will not compete in the tournament.