Tabilo over Djokovic, Hurkacz downs Nadal

In just one day, both of the other great champion, Novak Djokovic and Rafa Nadal, were gone, losing somewhat early, in Rome. Alejandro Tabilo played a terrific match, beating Djokovic 6-2, 6-3. The No. 1 put together more than a few errors, and he also didn’t crush the ball, with his amazing backhand and his forehand. He has mentally out of it.

Nadal went down again, as he could not re-find where he needed to do,  when Hubert Hurkacz out-stroked him, winning it 6-1, 6-3. Hurkacz played fantastic, but Nadal was almost awful, very rare, that the Spaniard has won so many titles on the clay, but soon, he will retired. His body is going away, soon.

Neither Tabilo or Hurkacz have won a Grand Slam yet, but when they are on, they can beat almost everyone. Yet they have to continue to prove it, and they know that if they want to win day after day, they have to be super smart, and also, really go for it. Tabilo said, “I came on court just looking around, just trying to soak it all in and trying to process everything. I’m just trying to wake up right now.”

Well wake up, on the court, to all of them. The Chilean has to face against Karen Khachanov, a very tight match.

There is two American men still left, when Taylor Fritz beat another guy,  Sebastian Korda 6-3, 6-4.  Fritz  didn’t play great, but good enough, while Korda made some so-so shots, or mediocre shots.  Korda plays almost every week, so maybe he should not play way too much during the year. Maybe he isn’t very happy.

Fritz looks better and better, reaching the semis in Madrid, so he can do it again next week in Rome.  If he does that, his confidence will shine, again, but he has to face against Grigor Dimitrov, who has been playing extremely well in 2024. That should be a long, tough match.

Tommy Paul beat Aslan Karatsev 6-4, 6-2, and while he has been struggling, here and there, at least he is finally liking on the clay. On the hard courts, he can be darn, good. He will face versus Dominik Koepfer, who is also smart, so just try to fool him.

There will 16 women players on the singles, on Monday, when there should be some marathons.

Naomi Osaka has become better, with her backhand, and when she is 100 percent, on the matches, she can pound anyone. However, she had a child, and she could not play for a while, but now she looks more powerful, both sides. She has to face the No. 7, Zheng Qinwen. That should be fascination, as Osaka is starting to understand on the dirt.

“I just wanted to play smart tennis. I wanted to play the higher-percentage ball no matter what,” Osaka said. “I think in that match, when it got tight, I did overhit maybe one or two shots. I kind of realized that and I tried to get back in the groove of things.  For me, I’m very aware that I can’t beat her defensively, so obviously I have to go for my shots. I don’t want to play flat here either.”

Yes, also with some spin, and low, or  really high. The No. 3 Coco Gauff has to find a way against Paula Badosa, who has lost to her three times. The other American, the No. 13 Danielle Collins, played terrific on the hard courts, but over the years, in the clay, she did not go super deep. Now she has another chance when she has to play against another veteran Irina-Camelia Begu. Win another match, and again, and again.

Sloane Stephens: ‘Who knows how much longer I will play, but there is still a lot left’

Sloane Stephens
Ron Cioffi/TR

The older they get, many people finally become more  intelligent, and what is really happening. Sloane Stephens just turned 31-years-old, and while she won the 2017 US Open, after that, she could not do it again. Other players want to do it again and again, and while she certainly made some huge efforts, it wasn’t good enough, and that is OK. However, she has had some tough times, on the court. She knows that. 

“It’s been obviously a difficult journey, a lot of ups and downs, a lot of heartbreak, a lot of strong, incredible performances on incredible stages and great trophies and just very low lows,” she said, who is playing Miami Open, after she beat Angelique Kerber 6-2, 6-3. “It’s definitely been a journey in itself, and I think obviously when I started playing tennis I would have never even dreamed of winning a Grand Slam or being No. 3 in the world.  I was playing because I really enjoyed it and I loved it.  Somebody asked me this the other day, like, does it matter that you were never No. 1 in the world? I’m, like, absolutely not. I maxed out what I had, I won a Grand Slam, I had a great career-high ranking, played the Olympics, done all these amazing things.”

Yes, there are some terrific memories, when they are awake, or sleeping. It is the good stuff, or bad, depending during the matches. Stephens can be so steady, with her forehand and her backhand, and when she is comfortable, then she can try to nail it into the lines. Even on the dirt, when she is skipping around on the court, then she can mix it up, a lot. She did reach at Roland Garros, in 2018, and while she didn’t win it, she was more respectable. But not all the time. Current, she is ranked No. 41, which is OK, but not wonderful. At the last six Slams, since 2022, she could not advance into the second week. Ouch. Perhaps she can do it again, but maybe she will just hang it around.

“When you start a sport, you can have a dream, obviously something that you really want to do, and if you do that, you get there, it’s always incredible, right? But when you do that and then you do so many other things on top of it, it’s just like icing on the cake,” said Stephens, who will face against the solid person, Sorano Cirstea. 

“I feel like I have done so much, but there is still a lot left. I’m 31, but who knows how much longer I will play, but there is still a lot left. Hopefully some more, like, accomplishments and fun things to come.”

Osaka win sets up clash with Svitolina
Another four time Grand Slam champion, Naomi Osaka, is starting to play well, so when she can go month after month, then eventually, she can be much more attentive. She can mash her forehand and her backhand down the line, quickly, and she can also raid, immediately. She has had some tough years, with her thoughts, and she is working on it, but in the matches, she can re-think what she is doing.  She has to face against another very good  player,  Elina Svitolina, in the second round. Both of them will hit the ball so hard.

It has to be with Frances Tiafoe this week in Florida, as the other American hasn’t gone deep this year, and even before that. In 2023 in June he won Stuttgart, Germany, but after that, he fell down. Two weeks ago at Indian Wells, he lost in the second round. He was a fine player in 2022, when he reached into the semi at the US Open, and he almost did it, but Carlos Alcaraz overcame him in the fifth set. At Miami, Tiafoe will face a solid veteran, the Aussie, Christopher O’Connell, so that should be a long contest. Backhand to backhand, whoever can press it, down the line, he will grab it.

Is Cameron Norrie is fading this year? I would say, no, not yet, as the No. 30 players all the time, and he is very steady.  However, he should blitz early. He will face versus Flavio Cobolli, who has had a solid season. 

Day 2, 2022 US Open, the picks

Alize Cornet
Mal Taam/MALT photo

Emma Raducanu vs Alize Cornet
Raducanu, ranked No. 11, won the 2021 US Open last year. Oh, really? Who knew that before Flushing Meadows that this teenager would play her so steady forehand and backhand, set after set after set. But, she did and then everyone knew that she can be terrific. But in the last 12 months, she has been up and down. The pressure is totally on. The Frenchwoman knows that, and also, she has been pretty good even last week in Cleveland when she reached the semis. She has played so many matches, and sometimes she is so consistent and other times, she is flat. There will be some fascinating points, with some wild backhands. Cornet really wants to reach the second week at the US Open, but Raducanu wants to rise, again. She will win in three sets.

Danielle Collins vs. Naomi Osaka
Talk about a pick-em. Yes, Osaka has won it twice, and when she did it, she was so strong and so focused. But, in the past year and a half, due to the vicious COVID-19, she was hit with depression. After that, she didn’t want to play in the matches. So far, since she made it into the final at Miami, she has won one match, and four lost. Osaka is now ranked No. 44, and given that she won the US Open in the 2018 and 2020, she can be mentally off. Maybe she can be motivated against Collins. However, the No. 19 Collins is very forceful, and she also goes for it immediately. It should be a bangup match, and Osaka will finally be happy and win it in three dramatic sets.

Diego Schwartzman vs. Jack Sock
The Argentine has been for years, and he always get into the rally, and grind it. Plus, when he has a chance, Schwartzman can swing away, and when he does, he can pocket a lot of winners. Years ago, the American actually got into the top 10, winning Paris. After that, his body got hurt and he wasn’t trying hard enough in the singles. In the doubles, yes, he is very good. In singles he has improved slightly, but he is ranked No. 107. Not good enough. He did say that he is trying again, and he thinks that if he is 100 percent, he will win many more matches. But not against the No. 16 Schwartzman, who knows that he wants to push him side to side, and tire him out. He will, and he will win in four sets.

Frances Tiafoe vs. Marcos Giron
Talk about a matchup, as both of them have practiced a lot, so they know each other well. Tiafoe is in the top 26, and Giron is in the top 56, too, meaning that at the US Open, they really want to reach the second week. But only one can win it, and when they are playing, they certainly be very creative and attack when it is right. They have to hit a lot of first serves — not second serves — smack their forehands, and bend down low at the net. It doesn’t look like that they will be nervous, so the most important is to be very focused. Tiafoe will edge him in five sets.

McEnroe and Evert mull Medvedev and Osaka at US Open

Daniil Medvedev
Mal Taam/MALTphoto

Both with John McEnroe and Chrissy Evert have won at Flushing Meadows. They were the best players back then, but now they have retired. However, they are on ESPN. While they talked about with Serena and Venus Williams earlier this week for a long time, still, they had a lot of comments. Some very good ones, and some real questions.

Outside of the famous Williamses, there are other players who could go very deep — or even to win — the US Open.

The No. 1 Daniil Medvedev won it last year, but since then, he has looked pretty good, but not spectacular. The former No. 1, Naomi Osaka, who won it twice at the USO, she has been struggling a lot.

According with McEnroe, Medvedev has not improved enough.

“He looks more or less the same. You wonder what’s going on in his head, obviously, with what’s going on with that war,” McEnroe said. “So, I can’t imagine it’s not playing a part in all these Russian players [who couldn’t play at Wimbledon] and what’s going on in that part of the world. Having said that, I still think he’s one of the favorites, one of the top two couple guys, no question about it. So that’s obviously an interesting storyline to follow. And tactically there’s a whole other thing. Obviously he plays so far back. It seems like that will catch up to him … players should figure out a way to deal with that and he’s got to adjust.”

Osaka has been phenomenal when she is so focused, with her huge first serve, and her hard hitting with her forehand and backhand. In her first Grand Slam final in 2018, the fans were almost stunned when she exploded out of nowhere and she upset Serena. But eventually, after Osaka won the 2021 Australian Open, she became depressed. Mentally, the Japanese player had to stop, a lot. She wouldn’t play that much, and here and there, she could walk on the court and be pleased, but in the matches, maybe she didn’t want to be there.

Evert said, “You don’t know how she’s made us very aware that mental health is very important in her tennis. And I think she’s hitting the ball fine. I’ve watched her the last couple of weeks. She’s hitting the ball fine. She’s made some coaching changes [she does not have a real coach, currently] by which I think was probably because of the time — I don’t know why. But anyway, she’s made some changes. And I think she just isn’t match-tough. I think that’s the one thing that’s hurting her. She just hasn’t played enough matches where she feels her instincts are back and she feels confident going for the shots, going for shots on big points like when she was playing her best tennis. If she gets to the second week, I think she’s going to be dangerous. She loves the hard courts and I think she’s going to feel good playing at the US Open.”

McEnroe thinks that Osaka can be thrilled, on and off the court, or she can be very gloomy. When she is smashing her forehand and backhand, then she can put together a ton of winners. But she is now ranked No. 44. He thinks the 24-year-old needs to step it up.


“Did she look happy? Does she look sad?,” McEnroe said. “Does she look this way or that? So, in a way it made it more difficult for her. So that part I think she didn’t take that. It seems like that part may not have been taken into account enough. And so that’s made it trickier. I don’t know where her head’s at. Obviously, she’s incredible on hard courts. And I’m sure if her head is into it the way it can be, she’s obviously one of the favorites, in my book. But at the moment it doesn’t seem like she’s all there. But she’s won it twice [at the US Open] and she’s won four majors [also twice at the Aussie Open] on hard courts. To think she wouldn’t be capable of doing it would be crazy.”

NOTES
Here is my story about Alize Cornet on Tennis.com.

Cornet, 32, is set to break the consecutive Slam appearance record, with her 63rd straight major at the US Open. She could retire next year, but right now she is playing very good, so maybe she can continue for a couple years. She will probably make decision in 2023.

Here is my Tennis.com story on Maxime Cressy. The French-American, said, “I do big things when I’m really focused.” He will have to. The best think is that he is seeded for the first time at a major at No. 30. In the third round, if he gets there, he might face Stefanos Tsitsipas. That would be a huge battle.

19-year-old Ben Shelton is in the draw based on winning the NCAA singles this year. If he makes it to the third round he might have to face against the No. 1, Daniil Medvedev, who won it last year. That is almost impossible, but you never know. … Jessica Pegula has yet to reach into the quarters at the USO, but she is ranked No. 7. So this time, she has to be so real and be much more fierce. Just do it. 

TennisReporters.net plans on commenting on the US Open draws on Saturday and Sunday.

Amanda Anisimova rising: step on the gas

Amanda Anisimova
Mal Taam/MALTphoto

American Amanda Anisimova is finally rising, and on Thursday, she out-hit huge hitter Aryna Sabalenka. She is only 20-years- old, and last year, she was erratic at best, but now, she is smarter, and as she grows, she is more alert. She is ready, she can hustle, and she can mix it up. She is currently ranked No. 33 and very soon, she will crack the top 30s

The American needs that. When you want to step on the gas, and you are secure, then you won’t be afraid constantly.

Then on Saturday, Anisimova beat Petra Martic in straight sets. Then she is picking up. She wanted to beat the very best players, and she was pretty close, but this season she has lost to Leylah Fernandez.

Look at the No.1 Iga Swiatek, who now has won 23 wins in a row. At the end of January, after she lost at the Australian Open, she put her head down and she kept coming. The last time she lost was to Ash Barty, who won the AO, and then out of nowhere, the Aussie decided to retire. That was a shocker, but she did, so then Swiatek went way up in the sky and has been almost perfect.

In the AO, Anisimova upset Belinda Bencic and Naomi Osaka. That was almost stunning. But now it is almost normal.

The American will face Victoria Azarenka on Monday, which will be two players who can bash the ball. The emotional Azarenka can look terrific, but she does get hurt on court a lot. However, early on, she is more consistent and patient.
 
The four-time Grand Slam champ Osaka is in there, and she totally loves playing the hard courts, and she actually likes clay. But, on grass, well, she is very honest in saying it is a challenge.

“I don’t feel like clay should be harder for me than grass. To me, grass is probably the most scariest thing. But, of course every year is a new thing, and there are new players that are coming up that are really, really amazing to watch,” Osaka said. “I don’t want to like think that it’s going to be that easy to go back to the quarters, but it’s something that I feel like I should be able to do, and I’m just going to keep working on it match by match.”

There are a bunch of players who have a chance to go pretty deep next week including Bencic, Jessica Pegula, Coco Gauff and Canadian Bianca Andreescu, who has recently returned.

TennisReporters.net 2021 year-end review: top 15-11, the women

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova

15. Elina Svitolina
You can go back a few years ago, she is very strong and extra confident, but not at the Grand Slams. She finally reached the semis twice, and she was mentally better, improving on the earlier contest when she would freeze. Yes, she won a number of big matches outside of that, and she looked like a fine player, but on court, she can mentally check out. She can be very good, but in 2022, if she wants to crack into the top 3 again, she will have to re-think her game.

14. Elena Rybakina
The 22-year-old is impressive when she is thinking hard, moving quickly and, at times, being patient. She had a very decent year. While she was more thoughtful, she did lost to many of the top 15 players. That means that she had to continue what she is improving such as her serve, as well as her forehand. Like all the players, she has played thousands of matches since when she was very young. However, even though you can strike the ball, that does not mean you know where to hit it. Next year, if she really wants to upset the top-notch players, then she has to lift her game.

13. Naomi Osaka
This was an odd year by the four-time Grand Slam champion. When she is focused and totally deep, she can beat anyone. She is so mighty on both sides, her first serve and she frequently goes for the lines. But, she stopped playing in the fall because she was depressed, and currently, few people know when she will come back. I would think that she is currently using a psychologist, which can help address her life and how she can be happy again. She is such a great player. So when she returns, it will be fascinating to watch her on court, and see that she is really committed.

12. Sofia Kenin
At times, and the American was aggressive and she was on top of the ball. She could smack all of her shots, very flat at times. Back in 2020, the 23-year-old was trying to get to the No. 1 spot quickly. But this year, she did not play well, likely because of her injury. In fact, she stopped in July, after Wimbledon, and she is trying to recover and back at 100 percent. Almost two years ago, she won the Australian Open. Now her goal is to play within herself. If she does, though, the former No. 4 will be aiming for the lines.

11. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova
The Russian has been here for a very long time, and this year, she finally rose. Before that, she was decent, but not unreal. She decided that if she is going to go up the charts, then she has to be more confident and smarter. She reached the 2021 Roland Garros final, beating Aryna Sabalenka and Vika Azarenka before losing against the very good young player Barbora Krejcikova. The 30-year-old Pavlyuchenkova is now nimble and very healthy. If she can bolster her serve and attack more, she can win a huge tournaments, which she has not done it yet.

Time to pivot: Frances Tiafoe & Leylah Fernandez are upset winners

Lylah Fernandez

There are times when Frances Tiafoe was erratic. He would be frustrated and knock the balls way out. But, on Friday right, at the US Open, he was spectacular when he really needed to be.

It was a marathon at the Arthur Ashe Stadium, and very late at night, he pulled it off, upsetting  Andrey Rublev 4-6 6-3 7-6(6) 4-6 6-1.
 
“I love these matches. This is why you work,” Tiafoe said. “This is why you put the time in, to play the best guys in the world. These are the matches I get up for. I want these guys. I want to put it on my resumé. I came out today and I was like, ‘I’m going to beat him.’ I grew up with this guy, I don’t fear any of these guys. Let’s keep going.”

Yes, the American Tiafoe has lost a lot of five setters. But, as the years go by, a player learns and can becom smarter. Tiafoe has a massive first serve, and a gigantic forehand. His backhand is pretty good, too. However, he is ranked outside of the top 50, so he has a tremendous work to do. Including advancing at this year’s US Open.

 “I’ve lost a lot of five-setters. My five-set record isn’t great,” he said. “[But] I can’t not bring it. I’ve lost a lot of tough matches on this court. … I wasn’t going to leave this court without a win tonight.”

TOP WOMEN FALL
Naomi Osaka has won four Grand Slams, but this year, she seems perpetually downcast. She lost against the very good young player, Leylah Fernandez, 5-7, 7-6 (2), 6-4. The Japanese is a huge hitter. The reason why she was No. 1 was because she was so focused. Not anymore, as in the match. She missed some easy swings. She was foiled and she actually smashed her racket to the ground.

The 18-year-old Fernandez is coming up strong, with some impressive forehands and backhands.

Yet on Friday, Osaka was depressed again. She does not know when she will return this year.

“I feel like for me, recently, when I win, I don’t feel happy, I feel more like a relief. And then when I lose, I feel very sad,” Osaka said. “I don’t think that’s normal. This is very hard to articulate. Basically, I feel like I’m kind of at this point where I’m trying to figure out what I want to do, and I honestly don’t know when I’m going to play my next tennis match. I think I’m going to take a break from playing for a while.”

But how about Fernandez, who on court, she is already clever. “Finally, I found a pattern to her serve,” Fernandez said. “I just trusted my gut and hit the ball.”

Ash Barty took a big fall in the third set. Up two breaks to Shelby Rogers, the top seed lost 6-2, 1-6, 7-6(5). Statistically, the Australian had a slight lead in winners/unforced errors, aces and just about every category. But, she made too many mistakes in a final-set tiebreak while the American crowd propelled South Carolina’s Rogers to victory.

How about Garbine Muguruza is getting substantially better, beating Victoria Azarenka in three sets. Muguruza likes to ram it, side to side, and she can be excited and totally into it. But Azarenka let herself be dominated. While she did win two Slams, her second serve can be almost awful. When she lost match point, she double faulted. Ugh.

How about the 18-year-old Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz, who stunned No. 3 Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-3 4-6 7-6(2) 0-6 7-6(5)? Alcaraz could be one of the best players for the next 15 years. The Spain is athletic, he changes the shots, he can shatter it. Alcaraz can hit it softly, well-placed drop shots right over the net. He is coming hard.

NOTES
Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime was pumped up in the fifth set and then he can inhale, then run, very hard. At the end, he knocked off Roberto Bautista Agut 6-3 6-4 4-6 3-6 6-3. Another one, who is gaining ground. …   Former No. 1 Simona Halep came up big, and maybe she won’t go far in the second week, but she is so steady. She beat Elena Rybakina 7-6(11) 4-6 6-3.

Jack Sock’s marvelous forehand was zipping past Alexander Zverev in the first set. But, he had a medical timeout on his right leg after the first game in the second set. The injury stalled Sock’s revival and he resigned in the fourth set.

In one of the best matches of the year, Angelique Kerber beat Sloane Stephens 5-7 6-2 6-3. The German was spot on and super steady. Stephens looked good, over the first two sets But, in the third set, she became nervous and lost her control. Maybe Kerber will continue to be so smooth. Then she will have a real shot to win her fourth Grand Slam. But she has to continue to pivot.

Angie Kerber: ‘I fought my way through’

Angela Kerber

At times, the former No.1 Angie Kerber has been rock solid. The German would run to the net when she really had to. But what she really liked was to stay in the backcourt and knock it back forever. Her legs were super strong, she can spin it, or flatten it out. She would battle, and she wouldn’t give up.

When she was No. 1, she had an incredible confidence. However, that cannot stay forever. That is very rare for everyone.

A few years ago, Kerber fled mentally. She won three Grand Slams, winning the 2016 Australian Open and the US Open, and also 2018 Wimbledon. She was clearly the No. 1 player on the planet. But then, she began to slide.

Yes, here and there, she was slightly injured, but not much. She just couldn’t think anymore. She was very frustrated.

Not any more. She  woke up in Cinncinnati, took down Jelena Ostapenko 4-6 6-2 7-5 in the round of 16 and edged Elena Svitolina, 7-5 2-6 6-4 on Wednesday. All of sudden, she realized that she can come back and beat every player.


“That means a lot to me, she’s such a great player. She played great,” said Kerber about Svitolina: “I fought my way through, it was important to stay in the match after the second set and play point by point.”

She won Bad Homburg this year. Then the 33-year-old reached the semis at Wimbledon, beating two very young and excellent players, Coco Gauff and Karolina Muchova.

Maybe she can win it this week, in Ohio, or even the US Open. She wants it, especially to get the trophy in Flushing Meadow. But really, it is all about being more aggressive, here and there. She can be steady, but when she sees a real chance, she can leap on the ball and crush it.

NOTES
Why is Svitolina so frustrated? After she lost, she smashed her racket. Ouch…

It has been a difficult year for Naomi Osaka, who has not been happy at all. She has said that she can be depressed. A lot of people throughout the world are depressed. So, if you can, battle. She did that on court on Wednesday when she edged Gauff, 4-6 6-3 6-4. When she won, on the match point, she nailed it with an ace. She is so darn good when she is on.
 
How about Karolina Muchova who beat the No.7 seed Bianca Andreescu 6-4, 6-2? True enough, it is the Czech’s fifth victory over a Top-10 player, including Karolina Pliskova and Ash Barty. On Monday, Muchova beat Johanna Konta, and early in February, Muchova reached the Australian Open semifinals beating Karolina Pliskova and Ash Barty  before going down to Jennifer Brady. Yes, Muchova can be very good, but she can also check out. But, the older she gets, she has become more serene.

The Olympics in Tokyo: Barty, Osaka have early exits

Kei Nishikori


In Tokyo, at the Olympic Games, many of the top women have lost, including Ash Barty and Olympic flame lighter Naomi Osaka.

With Osaka in the Olympic spotlight, it took a streaky Marketa Vondrousova to knock her out 6-1 6-2.

Wimbledon champ and No. 1 Ash Barty was quickly bounced by Sara Sorribes Torma of Spain in the first round. Definitely, a shock.

There are some players looked banged up. Garbine Muguruza is very strong, beating Alison van Uytvanck. When she is on, she can win this tournament hands down. But not this year.

Elina Svitolina also really wants to win, making up for her disappointing performances at the Slams. However, she can smash the ball. Marketa Vondrousova is slightly better, but she has to be more precise.

Kei Nishikori knocked down No. 7 Andrey Rublev. Nishikori is up and down, but he really likes playing in Tokyo. He can go much further. He is very thoughtful and can be a top player when he is very healthy, which is rare.

Daniil Medvedev continues to grow, even in the fifth set, when he is 38-18. Perhaps he is on the way, not only in Tokyo, but maybe at the US Open? The No. 2 has to charge at the net and put the ball away.

Novak Djokovic has won three Slams this year, and if he wins Tokyo and the US Open, then he might be the best player of all time. I mean that.

At the doubles, Andy Murray and Liam Broady are rocking and rolling. Out of nowhere, they emerged. But Croats Marin Cilic and Ivan Dodig got them out in the quarterfinals. Kiki Bertens’ just retired, winning 10 WTA singles titles. At WTA 1000 in Cincinnati, she beat Simona Halep in the final. She also won the 2019 Madrid, defeating Petra Kvitova, Sloane Stephens and Halep. That was wonderful. She was very good overall, but she was never spectacular at the Slams. Good enough, though.

Who will play the Olympics? Not enough

Sofia Kenin

Will play: Djokovic, Zverev, Berrettini, Barty, Osaka and Kenin. 

Won’t play: Nadal, Thiem, Federer, Kerber, Azarenka and Serena


Who doesn’t like to watch the Olympics? Many of us do on TV, not only tennis, but gymnastics, swimming, basketball, soccer, or track and field. It will start next week at the 2021 Tokyo, and it should be a blast to watch, but there will be no fans. That could be bizarre. 

On July 16,  23 of the ATP top 50, will not play in Tokyo, including  Nadal, Thiem, Federer, Shapovalov, Raonic, Evans, Opelka, Isner, Fritz, Kerber, Azarenka, Serena, Halep, Kenin, Andreescu and Konta.  

Novak Djokovic is in, which is terrific, as the Serbian has won three Grand Slams this year. He was victorious at Wimbledon and now he has 20  Grand Slams, like Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal.  At the US Open, Djokovic has a big chance to win it all four. Assuming they will be healthy, the Big Three could have some fascinating matches, long ones, some tough ones. In the second week, they will begin to bash the ball. They were confident, and ready to go even further. 

Which ones? It is early, six weeks away, so we don’t know who is playing healthy and excellent on the court. I won’t guess, but today, here are more players who will reach the second week with Djokovic, Nadal, Federer, Alexander Zverev, Andrey Rublev, Matteo Berrettini, Denis Shapovalov, Sebastian Korda, Ashleigh Barty, Simona Halep, Serena Williams, Angelique Kerber, Garbiñe Muguruza, Sofia Kenin, Bianca Andreescu and Iga Swiatek.

In Newport, this week, Jack Sock won a singles match and then he lost against Kevin Anderson. The American went way down, in singles, and in 2017, he was a career-high No. 8. And in doubles, in 2018 that was another positive signs, his a career-high No. 2. So when he is healthy, and in good shape, he can gradually go up the ladder, but very slowly. He is ranked No. 231, which is way out there, but this season, he played a lot, especially on the USTA Pro Circuit. Clearly, he really wants to try. Good luck.

Wimbledon finalist Anderson got hurt two years ago, and now, he is close to reach the top 100 again. Yes, the 35-year-old may not reach a Slams final again as he did at the ’17 US Open and ’18 Wimbledon, but the tall man hits his huge serves and forehands. Remember, in 2018, he was ranked No. 5. He was darn good. When you watch him at a match, he can be so respectable, or more so. He does believe that in the next year, he will reach the top 20. But beyond that, he will have to prove it. That is life.

By the way, Sock will play Atlanta next week. Also, his friend, Nick Kyrgios, will also play, singles and doubles.