Retiring at the top: No. 1 Barty says she is ‘spent’

Ash Barty, Ashleigh Barty

On Wednesday in Australia, No. 1 Ash Barty waved goodbye, once again. As she said on TV this morning she did everything over the past few years. After she won the 2022 Australian Open, she was gone. She looked fantastic on the court, but she did not want to travel anymore. She pulled out of Indian Wells and Miami, and she did say that she needed to rest. But then, she thought about it a lot. Last year after she won 2021 Wimbledon, she was almost ready not to play after that. However, she wanted to try and see how she feels. It turned out to be fine, but the start of this year, after she finally won the Aussie Open, she had nothing left.

“It’s something I’ve been thinking about for a long time,” the 25-year-old Barty said. “Wimbledon last year changed a lot for me as a person and for me as an athlete. When you work so hard your whole life for one goal, to be able to win Wimbledon—which was the one true dream I wanted in tennis—that really changed my perspective. I just had that gut feeling after Wimbledon and had spoken to my team quite a lot about it. There was just a little part of me that wasn’t quite satisfied, wasn’t quite fulfilled. And then came the challenge of the Australian Open. I think that for me just feels like the most perfect way, my perfect way, to celebrate what an amazing journey my tennis career has been.”

In 2014, Barty was mentally out of it, saying in her video with friend and former doubles partner Casey Dellacqua that she was “spent.? She could not win anything. So she stopped, she paused and started to play cricket. She played pretty well, but by 2016, she was back again playing tennis. It took her for a while to really feel all the right shots. Eventually, she matured and began to crack the ball, with her forehand, serve and at the net. Barty could always hit her one-handed backhand, with an amazing variety. She could beat anyone when she was in form on the hardcourts, on the grass and the clay. She was one of the best players since she came on tour.

Barty has said that she wants to focus on something else, and it looks like she may not return again. That is her decision. However, Barty was very popular and many the fans would watch her, at the events or on TV. But now, the WTA workers have to reset and hope that the fans can listen and hope they will like a different style. 

Indian Wells results

At least Iga Świątek has improved a lot, winning Indian Wells when she took down Maria Sakkari in two easy sets. She can get down so low, and she can hit it pretty deep, with her forehand, backhand and first serve. Plus, this year when she plays, she can lock it in. She can be very intense. She is ranked No. 2 and since Barty has retired, it looks like that Swiatek could be No.1. According to reports, it’s up to Barty whether she will ask to be removed from the rankings, leaving the top spot open.

At what point did Taylor Fritz rose way up high? A year ago, in fact, even in January, he was rising, but he couldn’t put it all together. Finally, at Indian Wells, he played fantastic, upsetting Rafa Nadal 6-3 7-6(5). Yes, the 21 Grand Slam champion was hurt. The Spaniard injured his ribs in the semis on Saturday when he edged the terrific teenager Carlos Alcaraz in more than three hours. He had to get up the next day and battle again. He was frustrated at times, but Fritz get chugging, and he smacked with his powerful forehand and backhand. His first serve was impressive, taking his

first ATP Masters 1000. Finally, he is darn good. Plus, the last time that an American men won in the ATP 1000 was almost four years ago when John Isner won Miami. Nadal said that Fritz finally won it all, plus a couple other Americans are impressive.

Nadal said, “It’s a great victory for him. First Masters 1000. Big day for him. Victory like today helps. He played well. He went through some great matches during this week, especially yesterday [when he beat Andrey Rublev ]. A lot of credit to him on the victory because he had much tougher opponent in front yesterday than today I think.

“But he already played great matches in Australia against Tsitsipas. It’s obvious that he is improving. With this victory, it’s a great start of the season for him. He will have chance to be very close if not in the top 10 very soon. Going to be a big battle there for these numbers because there are a lot of young and great players fighting for these spots. Yeah, Brooksby is another kind of player. I saw him play a couple of times. He does a lot of things very well, with a special style, but doing things very difficult, doing very difficult things easy. Probably he going to have a great future, too.”

Yes, that was Fritz’s biggest championship for the current No. 13. If he develops mentally, then maybe he can go very deep at the Grand Slams. But before that, he and the others are already in Miami. Winning these two 1000 tournament back to back would be almost impossible. Or is it?

Ash Barty beats Danielle Collins, wins the home country crown

Ash Barty, Ashleigh Barty

At what point did Ash Barty turn it around? Seven years ago, she quit, and she stopped playing tennis. She went back into Australia, and she put her rackets down. She had lost so many matches.

She was exhausted, mentally. So she decided to play cricket instead, which she likes a lot. However, after one year, it turned on the light. And she started to practice tennis frequently. When she felt that she was stroking on court, it was time to return at the WTA in 2016. It was slow, but better, each month. Her one-handed backhand was sharp, her forehand was powerful, her first serve was strong, and her return was focused.

The Aussie is now in full flight. She won Roland Garros on clay, Wimbledon on grass, and now at the Australian Open on the hardcourts, joining Serena Williams, Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and Rafa Nadal with majors on each surface. She knows all of it now, and she is the best player out there, hands down.

Maybe this year, she can win the 2022 US Open, too.

“They are all very different, all very different stages of my life. I think to be able to have this feeling and experience this a few times over. I just understand how fortunate I am to be able to experience that, because not many people get to do that,” she said. “It’s just been an incredible journey over this past 20 years of hitting a tennis ball but particularly the last five or six years in this second phase of my career.

“I think being able to surround myself with amazing people who have invested so much time and effort and love into my career, and for them to be able to support me and to be able to experience it with me is really cool. I think our drive and determination and passion has always been the same right from the start. I think finding what we love to do and being able to then go out and compete and try and break down some of the barriers and try and achieve new things is really exciting for us always,.”

Barty did not lose a set, in seven matches over the past two weeks. In the final, she beat Danielle Collins 6-3 7-6(2). Still, Collins will rise to No. 10 and the top American woman.

The American was sharp in the second set, up 5-1, and she was blasting the ball. Collins can attack all the time, but she can miss, and perhaps it would have been a good idea to stay in the rallies, before it is time to rip it. But she did not, and all of a sudden, her first serves went astray. The errors came again, and Barty rose up. Her forehand was lethal, and her backhand was steady, with her slice, her spin and flat two-handers. Barty won four straight to even the set at 5-5.

“She did a great job on her service games in runs. She’d make a lot of first serves, and for the most part I was having to chip returns and just trying to find a way to get into points,” Barty said. “I think when I was able to be more aggressive, that was a change, and I was able to dominate with my forehand a bit more, particularly from being 5-1 down in the second set, I just found a lot more forehands and tried to work harder with my feet and take half chances and create forehands even if they probably weren’t there, and I wasn’t too concerned if I was going to miss them. It was more trying to change the look of the match than the outcome of the individual points.”

In the tiebreak, Barty had no fear, going for winner after winner. Staying very cool, she as found a way to keep her focus.

“As Australians, we’re extremely lucky to have the tennis history and the rich history that we do, particularly here at the Australian Open. But across all Grand Slams, we’ve had champions that have stemmed back years and years and years and have really set the platform for us to come through and try and do what we do and try and create our own path,” she said. “I know them more as a person. Those people that come to mind, Pat Rafter and Evonne (Goolagong), in the way that they handled themselves on the court, there’s just no one better. I think I’m a very, very small part of that. I’m still trying to figure out what I’m doing myself, but to be a very small part of an amazing history in tennis as an Australian is really, really neat.”

The controversial Novak Djokovic

Simona Halep

The saga continues. No. 1 Novak Djokovic was currently denied to practice on court at the Australian Open, until Monday, when he was practicing with coach Goran Ivanišević

He was just sitting in a hotel for four days. Why because he has yet to be vaccinated against the vicious coronavirus. He might be healthy, but he decided not get the shots. There are consequences. So far, in the United States, some 770,000 have died from COVID-19.

Read this AP story.

Here is a portion of the story: “Regardless of how the whole ‘an unvaccinated Novak Djokovic goes to Australia’ saga concludes — and, despite a favorable court ruling, his status was still up in the air — there are plenty of key questions for the top-ranked tennis player to answer. … Of even more consequence: Such a move also could result in Djokovic being barred from Australia for three years.”

Without a doubt, that is a gigantic risk by Djokovic, if he loses against the judge this week, he will have to leave and he won’t play at the Grand Slam. Wow.

WTA player, Czech Renata Voracova is in the same hotel with Djokovic. The 38-year-old played last week in Melbourne, and all of a sudden, they came to her and said she had to go into the quarantine. Now she cannot leave, to practice or play, until she can clear it.

She said that at the hotel, there are heavy security. “There are guards everywhere, even under the window, which is quite funny. Maybe they thought I would jump out and run away,” she said. “They [the guards] really weren’t rude or vulgar. But some quarantine practices are not pleasant. You have to report in, everything’s rationed. I feel a little like I’m in prison.”

The week’s action
The Canadians won the ATP Cup with Denis Shapovalov and Felix Auger-Aliassime. That was huge, and they are lurking in the top 5 this year. They will be even more confident going into the Aussie Open.

In Adelaide, Rafa Nadal won the title, edging the American Maxime Cressy 7-6(6) 6-3. Nadal could not play during the fall due to his injury, but now he looks good again. But will he be able to sustain that level through the Aussie Open?

It was a stunner that Cressy made it into the final, but he finally has become more consistent, and he can crush the ball.

The No. 1 Ash Barty is trucking, winning the singles over Elena Rybakina.She also won the doubles with Storm Sanders.

At Melbourne 1, the former No. 1 Simona Halep won it all She was hurt last year. She still really likes to bring it and she will be a force are the Aussie Open. Another American, Amanda Anisimova grabbed the title at Melbourne 2, her first career crown. The 20-year-old can scamper.

At the age of 35 Gael Monfils also lifted the title in Adelaide. He beat Karen Khachanov in the final, when he smoked his forehand.

One last question: Where is Peng Shuai? Let us not forget her predicament. The governments should find her and make sure that she is safe.

US Open preview: Is this Pliskova’s opportunity?

Almost everyone wants to read about Novak Djokovic, who has a chance to win four Grand Slams this year. He is so consistent, and rarely strings together many errors. Once in a while, he does, but he is powerful, and he has a wide-ranging variety. He can smash his serves, he can return from the baseline and at the net. He is the top dog.

However, Djokovic is not the only person in New York. There are more than a few who want to reach the second week, or even further, such as Kei Nishikori, Alex de Minaur, Matteo Berrettini, Jenson Brooksby, Jannik Sinner, Denis Shapovalov and Reilly Opelka. But, the big challenge could be in the semis when Djokovic has to face Alexander Zverev. The German is flying high, he finally likes to be move and to smash it down the lines. He can go cross-court, and he can shatter it into the middle which can be very deep. He has finally matured a good amount. He hasn’t won a Grand Slam yet, but he was very close in the US Open last year. So in the fifth set, he can lock it in and then he can snag it, finally.

The No. 1 Ash Barty has only won ‘just’ two Grand Slams. This year, the Aussie has played fantastic, with her variety from her forehand and her backhand to take Wimbledon. It is hard to know where she is going, which is why she has beaten lots of excellent players. But can she win another Slam, this time in Flushing Meadows? She has grown a lot, and she is more intelligent. Without a doubt, she can push down almost everyone.

But, there are a number of players who think that when they are playing excellent, they have a shot to upset Barty.

In the first and second quarters, it could be Karolina Muchova, Jennifer Brady, Belinda Bencic, Jessica Pegula, Iga Swiatek, Paula Badosa, Maria Sakkari and Bianca Andreescu.

Plus, Karolina Pliskova wants to try to win the US Open for the first time. She has reached the final once, but could not pull it off. It’s all about her will. Pliskova thought it about it and she responded, “The next Grand Slam, I’m going to try to play like I was playing here from the first round to the last one.”

Hopefully, not early. Later.

Wimbledon, Day 8: The round of 16’s old favorites, new surprises

Karolina Pliskova

The famous Round of 16 match is on Monday. It is very crowded. Th fans must decide: Where will they go? Good luck, and hopefully, there will be some dramatic matches.

A few days ago I wrote an article about Sebastian Korda, Madison Keys, Denis Shapovalov, Iga Swiatek and Ons Jabeur.

Here, there are 13 matches coming upon Monday:

Karolina Pliskova vs Liudmila Samsonova
The Czech has reached the second half at the Slams, so many times. She is vast hitter, but she can collapse. Samsonova is brand new and just emerging now. All of a sudden, she is a darn good player. It is her time, but she has to handle the big stage if she wants to advance.

Novak Djokovic vs Cristian Garin
The Serbian is steady of the rock, while Garin likes to move the round the box. Djokovic will be sharp with his backhand, and he will trick him a lot.

Angie Kerber vs Cori Gauff
The German is finally good again and she has won Wimbledon before, so she really likes to grind it. The American has improved a lot this year, but it will take her a while to really understand how tricking the grass is.

Roger Federer vs Lorenzo Sonego
The Swiss is getting better every day, but he is not perfect yet. The Italian is creative, and ambitious, but Roger will nail his forehand and his returns.

Ash Barty vs Barbora Krejcikova
The Aussie is still so-so. But the No. 1 really wants to minimize her errors, which is unusual. The Czech is rising, finally, and she can hit very hard, but at times she checks out mentally.

Alexander Zverev vs Felix Auger-Aliassime
The German badly wants to win a Grand Slam this year, and in the first week, he was more thoughtful and patient. The Canadian really hustles, and he can smack the ball, but Zverev returns better and bangs a bigger first serve.

Emma Raducanu vs Ajla Tomljanovic
Who would have foreseen that these two have won three matches? On Monday, they will be thrilled to be on the court. Maybe the nerves will kick in. It is a tossup, but if the veteran Tomljanovic strikes early, she will win it and celebrate, with a big smile.

Andrey Rublev vs Marton Fucsovics
The Russian is under control, and he can blast his forehand and backhand. Eventually he will win a major, but maybe not this Wiml\bledon, Fucsovics is pretty robust, and he must hit more with slice. Rublev will dominate him.

Daniil Medvedev vs Hubert Hurkacz
The other Russian was down 0-2 and it looked like he might fold against Cilic, but he stayed in there and came back by being steadier, with more penetrating shots. Medvedev can win Wimbledon, but Hurkacz is very neat, another man who will reach the top 10. Bang, bang. But this can go five sets.

Aryna Sabalenka vs Elena Rybakina
At times, Sabalenka can be angry, but this year, outside of the Grand Slams, she is pretty brilliant. She has so much potential. Rybakina is also gaining ground. She is showing real court understanding. This will be a three-setter.

Matteo Berrettini vs Ilya Ivashka
The Italian likes to rally a lot. He can attack when he has the opportunity and knock it on the lines. Ivashka has been around for a long time, and few people know him, but he reached the Round of 16, so he must be pretty fit.

Karen Khachanov vs Sebastian Korda
The Russian is a big banger, and the American is also young with a lot of variety. This should be a great match. Of course, they will go into the fifth set. Whomever will win will do it with a lot of aces and thev crisp returns. This will be all about who can keep their cool in the third set.

Karolina Muchova vs Paula Badosa
Another young player of note is Muchova, who can show grea potential. But, Badosa is even younger and is showing real steadiness. But, also, will Muchova climbing up the hill.

Wimbledon, Day 6: Djokovic and Gauff look very comfortable

Coco Gauff

Novak Djokovic is setting his Grand Slam sights on Wimbledon. The Serbian has won it five times on the slippery grass. He is sharp on the hard courts and is more patient on clay. In London, he goes for it early, because the points are fast and and the ball stays low. He has to nail it, or go for drop shots that float it right over on the net softly

On Friday, he downed long-time American, Denis Kudla. Kudla can be very patient, but he can also go down quickly, as he doesn’t push himself enough. But, in a straight-set loss to Djokovic, Kudla proved more than a worthy opponent, stretching the No. 1 in a 64 63 76(7) battle. The American is the type of journeyman who can pop up with a strong showing every few tournaments or years. In this contest, Kudla’s best couldn’t dent the two-time defending champ’s more oppressive game.

Right now, Andrey Rublev is more than comfortable. Not only can he shatter the balls, he can also find his mark. Rublev was able to overcome a slight downturn at 1-1 in sets to exert his more consistent power and focus over Fabio Fognini.

Saturday matches
The No.1 Ashleigh Barty is still a little bit hurt, and why it will be tough to win the 2021 Wimbledon. It she just pushes herself, she can go deep. She did that on Thursday when she beat Anna Blinkova. She was not great, but good enough.

“I try to bring my game style and play my game style as often as possible, knowing what their strengths and weaknesses,” Barty said. “I go to work with Tyz [coach Craig Tyzzer]. We work on a few things. There’s nothing drastic that changes. I think for me it was just trying to get a rhythm on the court. I made a lot of unforced errors today, more than I’m used to. I think when I needed to step in, I did.”

Yes she did.

The No.20 Coco Gauff keeps going higher, as she beat veteran Elena Vesnina. Every event, she looks like not only can she belt the ball, but she is thinking all the time. The teenager will face another youngster, the 20-year-old Slovenian Kaja Juvan, who has had decent wins this year, but at the All-England Club, Gauff wants to reach the second week. She really might, and then, the fans will know who the 18-year-old is ready to do a winner’s dance.

Nice to see Vesnina competing after two-and-a-half years on the sidelines. Another mom is proving that significant victories continue to come after becoming a parent.

2021 Roland Garros: 8 women to reach the quarters

Bianca Andreescu

On Sunday, Roland Garros will start. It is a huge draw, at the four Grand Slams, but many people cannot make into the second week. Moreover, to reach the quarters, then they are already playing very well and they can think that they knock down anyone. 

But that is not reality as the eliminations continue. 

Here are eight players, to reach the quarters, as not only playing darn good, but they also like clay, sliding all over. 

Ash Barty
She has won this before, with an incredible combination of skills. Not only can she run fast and rarely gets tired, but she can slice it, top it, and then she can nail it. As long as she won’t get nervous, she can be brilliant and win it again. Maybe.

Aryna Sabalenka
The Belarus is now ranked No. 4, winning Madrid on clay. While she had taken down against a few of the top players, but she still haven’t to figured out who to cut them down at the Grand Slams. Yet. The 23-year-old might be the biggest hitter on tour. If she really wants to do it for the first time at a Slam, then she was to be placid and bottomless.
Bianca Andreescu
She finally returned this week, after she reached the final at Miami, got hurt and she had to retired. Yesterday, she won in Strasbourg but then pulled out before her quarterfinal with an abdominal injury. She might not be 100 percent, but she hits the heck out of the ball. The one-time Grand Slam champ really wants to show in Paris that she is back in form as long as she continues to be healthy.

Serena Williams
The American has won here before. While she is aging, she really want to win another major to tie Margaret Court Smith with 24 23 Grand Slams. Yes, she is a little bit slower now, but she has been practicing a lot, so when she arrives at RG, she will be ready to be more passionate, and hustle. She is still very powerful, so as long as she doesn’t get upset when she isn’t playing well, then she can fight back. But, to win it again? That would be surprising.
Iga Świątek
There is now doubt that she is the favorite, she is a titanic hitter won the 2020 RG, and last week, she won another big event, crushing Karolina Pliskova 6-0, 6-0. She is quick, she can read opponent’s shot, she can slap it and crush it. Not only does she love clay, but the young person studies off the court, and on the court. She is ready to grab it again.

Garbiñe Muguruza
The Spaniard also won it in France. Then she went through a stretch when she was really struggling. However, in 2021, she came back mentally so now, she is more mature. From the back, both sides, she can smack it very deep. When she moves forward, if she can breath on court, she does have another opportunity to win RG another time. But that is a big if.

Coco Gauff
The 17-year-old American is getting better all the time. She hustles, she practices with purpose, and she has added some fine strokes. She is very young, and she is ambitious, and she also has improved to return. But, to win it at this age? Maybe not, but or maybe she can stun the world.

Jessica Pegula 
What a year it has been for the veteran, who for her first eight years, it was hard to for Pegula to knock off the top 20 players. Now, she has been stable. Plus, she finally figured out that she can be much more assertive. She is very spruce and she can pull it into the quarters. But, to win it all, probably not even though she will scrape in the glorious three-setters.

The two very good A’s: Alexander Zverev, Aryna Sabalenka win Madrid

Aryna Sabalenka

In the third set in the Madrid final, the rising Aryna Sabalenka was looking at a 4-4 score against No. 1 Ash Barty. Last year, in the winter, the spring and much of the summer, she was decent, but not great. But in the fall, she decided it was time to be different, smarter and control her emotions. So then, she was in control.

Sabalenka won the next two games for 6-0 3-6 6-4 victory. That was the best title ever. She is a gigantic hitter, with her hard forehand and backhand, and with her first serve, she can blast it. Her returns are very decent, too.

But listen, she has yet to win major title, but Barty has. Now they are 4 and 4, tied in their head to heads.    
Sabalenka thinks that she can win Roland Garros. She thinks that, but she has to prove it. The Madrid championship was the first time she won on clay. So, in Rome and Roland Garros, if she wants to week after week, against the excellent players, she must focus all the time.  One way or another, Sabalenka will continue to be aggressive and, right now, tough to beat.

Barty won 2019 Roland Garros, and she could win it in June. She has played excellent ball this year, mixing it up and move it all around the box. Getting another French title is very doable for her, as her confidence is beginning to make a difference.

German Alexander Zverev is so spectacular when he is confident. On Sunday, he overcame Matteo Berrettini 6-7 6-4 6-3 once again in Madrid. There have been so any times when he gets upset and irritable/ But, when he is playing well, he shows a smart and tactical game. He also likes to scramble and eventually he can whip the ball.

Zverev now has five ATP Masters: Madrid (twice) London, Rome and
Canada. Last week, also upset Rafa Nadal and Dominic Thiem, two Slams winners. If he continues to be healthy, it is pretty clear that Sasha will win a major. But in Roland Garros? Possibly. Good luck.

Sabalenka said: ‘I feel a little bit better on the clay, a little bit different.’ Oh yes she did…

John Isner on Andrey Rublev: “He’s the second best clay-courter in the world right now. He hits the ball so big. It’s pretty fast. He just does so many things well.” He has, over the last year…

Simone Halep, after she losing Elise Mertens: “I want to do it better, is to stop missing, because sometimes I am rushing and I do some mistakes that I normally don’t do. I have to work on that and to be more patient in the future.” The future is now …

Felix Auger-Aliassime when he lost against the rising No. 16 Casper Ruud: “He’s improved a lot. He has a great forehand, we all know that, and he did what he had to do.”

The Miami final: Ash Barty versus Bianca Andreescu

Bianca Andreescu

Australian No. 1 Ash Barty can be very steady, and she can mix it up, with her fabulous one-handed backhand.

Canadian Bianca Andreescu can really hustle, she can sprint, and she can rip it on the lines.

On Saturday, in Miami, they will face off in the final, and head-to-head, they really are even. Barty won Roland Garros, and Andreescu won the US Open. That is legitimate, with the some of the best players who can raise the game, period.

However, they are not perfect, and over the past three years, they were learning about how to really play: serving, returning, and being patient. Now in 2021, they are mentally more mature.
In January, Barty won the Yarra Valley Classic, beating Serena Williams and Garbine Muguruza, two Slam winners. At the Aussie Open, she lost in the semis against Karolina Muchova. In Miami, she took down Vika Azarenka, Aryna Sabalenka, and Elina Svitolina, three very potent players.

Barty can be very steady, and she can pivot, with her one-handed backhand. She really likes the hard courts, and then she can blend it whenever she wants to.

“I enjoy these courts. I enjoy the balls and how they are responsive to spin. A lot of different elements,” Barty said.

The 20-year old Andreescu survived way past midnight, winning 7-6(7) 3-6 7-6(4) over Maria Sakkari. It ended at 3 a.m. She didn’t play for 14 months due to an injury, and at the start of the year, she was a little bit raw. Three months later, the basher was locked in and with a tremendous confidence again.

“I have a lot of experience in these tough three-setters and digging through and finding a way. Sometimes I literally feel like I’m an octopus out there running side to side, I feel like I have eight legs,” Andreescu said. “It’s insane. Sometimes, I don’t even know how I get to some shots. But, it’s that fighting spirit I have always had in me, never giving up.”

Andreescu cannot wait to play against Barty. She knows that the Aussie is darn good, but she will be right there to give it all throughout the match.
“Her being No. 1 and her doing really, really well. Her game style, as well,” Andreescu said. “It’s something I have never really experienced. I love a challenge, and I know she’s going to challenge me.”

Notes on a draw sheet: Serena, waiting for Wimbledon

Serena Williams

No. 2 Naomi Osaka won the 2021 Australian Open, beating Jen Brady in the final. We talked a lot about both of them, playing with some amazing points during seven matches. Now, it is better to talk about other people, to see how well they did, and what is ahead.   
Ash Barty just lost to Danielle Collins, which means that she isn’t quite right now and has withdrawn from Qatar. She will recover, eventually. Essentially, she is anxious. Click here for a piece I wrote about her a couple days ago.

Let’s talk about the three terrific veterans who have won the Slams:
Serena Williams, Victoria Azarenka and Garbine Muguruza. Serena looked very good at times in the Oz Open, but she also had so many errors. Instead of waiting and getting into long rallies, she should nail a few winners with her forehand down the line. The 23-Grand-Slam winner sort of knows that, and she does have another chance, to grab No. 24 major. But not at Roland Garros on clay. Serena loves to play on grass, so here it is, waiting at Wimbledon. The tension starts mounting now.
When it just before at the AO, it looked like Azarenka said that she was feeling very good and slightly improved. You just had to watch her, because when she is calm and focused, she can smash her forehand and backhand. But, other times, she is irritable, she loses an important edge and starts complaining. The 31-year-old Azarenka loves to give a speech at press conferences. When she first started her career, she could be mean and she didn’t want to talk. Silence. Even though she isn’t playing great on the court, she finally has become a super nice person.  

Muguruza is playing fancy once again and she almost downed Osaka, but she lost 7-5 in the third. Had the Spaniard captured the match, she could have won another Grand Slam. But, she did not, because she hesitated. At Roland Garros, if she goes for it, then she could win. Her forehand and backhand are potent.
A few more notes: Karolina Muchova is so competitive, and very quick. … Bianca Andreescu is finally back. She didn’t play at all in 2020 and, if she is healthy, then she will go into the top-5. She can be spectacular. … Where is Karolina Pliskova going this year? No one really knows. …The same goes for Jo Konta, who hasn’t won a lot of matches over the past two years. Maybe because she gets injured a lot, or she isn’t really thinking. … American Madison Keys is stuck, currently, and if she can get back into the top 10, then she will have to find her forehand again. Or she hopes.