Archives for June 2020

2008 US Open finalist Jankovic may return: ‘The door is open’

Jelena Jankovic

In the fall of 2008, Jelena Jankovic become No. 1. During the US Open that year, she knocked down Elena Dementieva in the semis. However, the super consistent Jankovic looked pretty good in the final versus better player, Serena Williams, and she was somewhat close. But, the American went for the lines, she hit some huge returns, and then won it again.

Serena now has 23 Grand Slams, while Jankovic is one of a handful of No. 1s who has never won a Slam. Without a doubt, the strong Serbian has been a dominant player and has won 15 titles. But, three years ago, she hurt her back and she couldn’t play at all. She had played week after week, all over the world, and she rarely stopped, except for the fact was she was hurt a lot and she would complain about it. Many of the players did not like her and some people though that she was cocky. When she was very young, it was all about her.From a journalist’s point of view, she was a delight. If you want to talk to her, she will about anything.

Perhaps she has grown up a lot. Currently, the 35-year-old hadn’t played since 2017, and now, she might play again on the WTA Tour, but she isn’t sure, yet.
Last week, she finally started again at an exhibition in Belgrade, with Novak Djokovic, Alexander Zverev, Dominic Thiem, Grigor Dimitrov and Nenad Zimonjic, among others. 

She did not play fantastic, but good enough. To go back on tour, well, that is a huge tossup.

“This is the first time I’ve held a tennis racket in a very long time. I was sidelined by a back injury which not only hampered my tennis career, it was so bad I couldn’t walk properly or sleep,” Jankovic said. “I’ve made a full recovery but I don’t know if this is a comeback. The door is open, I never officially retired, but I am living a different life now.” 

Her dangerous backhand was a weapon going down the line and crosscourt. She had great touch, too. She was always very fast, and she hustled all the time. But, her forehand was never great, and her serve was spotty. So, if she happens to come back in the WTA, hopefully, she has improved — finally. She needs to raise her game, one way or another.
“Making a tour comeback is a very different matter and a painstaking process.” Jankovic said. 

This week, the ATP and the WTA announced their schedules from August through November, including Cincinnati, the U.S. Open,Madrid, Rome and Roland Garros, among others. Obviously, they are thrilled to play again in six weeks. Still, right now, no one has any idea if they will be healthy n August. Athletes in many American sports are currently coming down with the virus. The international contingent in tennis just puts more and more players at risk.

Let’s just assume that everyone is healthy. That brings us to two big questions: Who will play the US Open and who will win. It’s still too early to answer the first question but the chances are high that both draws will contain many of the best players a very full fields. Even though they haven’t played in the big tournaments since early in March, eight people can reach the quarters in Flushing Meadows. 

My [crazy] picks for the women: Ash Barty, Karolina Pliskova, Sofia Kenin, Bianca Andreescu, Belinda Bencic, Serena, Naomi Osaka and Alison Riske. 

The Grand Slams: Will they start again this summer?

Roger Federer

According with Daily Tennis, with the fine writer Robert Waltz, “the plans to restart the season are getting serious — and, arguably, seriously weird.”

That is true.

In eight weeks, it is possible that the players will go up against each other in real tournaments. Most people like to watch the exhibitions, but 95 percent want to see the legitimate matches, such as the U. Open. The huge one. A real Grand Slam.

This is what I really believe: At some point this year, a few fans will go to watch at the tournaments. Not a gigantic amount, but a few, because the owners know that if there are no fans at all, then most events will lose money, perhaps a tremendous amount of money. So, what is the point of making a legitimate effort to hold a tournament this year? That is why dozens of tournaments have pulled out for the rest of the year. But, hats off to tournament owners who decide to operate in 2020 because then the they really love tennis. Good for them.

But, the tennis world has to figure it out in the next month or so. The aggressive coronavirus — which has now been responsible for 116,000 American deaths since March 11 — may still ravage more people in the summer and fall. Then all of the sports will continue to stop at the big events.

However, Daily Tennis has a schedule, here [not the entire schedule]:

  • Week of August 3: Charleston
  • Week of August 10: Washington
  • Week of August 17: Cincinnati
  • Week of August 24-September 7: US Open
  • Week of September 14: Madrid and Istanbul
  • Week of September 21: Rome
  • Week of September 28 and October 5: Roland Garros
  • Week of October 5: Seoul and Tianjiin

There are other tournaments in the fall, such as Beijing and Wuhan, that are yet to be decided. But, the tournaments and the tours are still working on it.

Right after the US Open ends, the players will go straight from hardcourts onto the clay at Roland Garros in Paris. That would be an incredibly quick turnaround, but that could be thrilling, especially for the player go deep into the second week of both Slams. Back to back will be very tough, but the top 10 players rarely give up.

Roger Federer pulled out for the rest of the year due this second surgery this year. He hurt his leg while practicing last week; so he had to stop playing. It will take him a couple more months to become healthy, and he didn’t want to risk his leg again. As he said, he can’t wait to play again in January 2021. That is a long time, but the good news is that he wants to play again, even though he is will be 39 then. March on.

Rafa Nadal has said that the rest of the year, they may not play in a legitimate match in the summer and the fall. He could be right, or he could be wrong, but currently, no one knows how tennis will play out. But, with in a second, if he plays a Grand Slam, he will be right there.

A high-level exhibition is coming to Charleston June 23-28. The field consists of: Sofia Kenin, Bianca Andreescu, Sloane Stephens, Madison Keys, Victoria Azarenka, Amanda Anisimova, Monica Puig, Ajla Tomljanovic, Danielle Collins, Alison Riske, Shelby Rogers, Genie Bouchard, Jennifer Brady, Leylah Fernandez and Emma Navarro. That is an excellent field.