Is the WPA About Lack of Dominant Tennis Players or Depth?

When Naomi Osaka claimed her second Grand Slam title in succession during January at the Australian Open, it seemed like the WTA could have located a player with sufficient dignity to surpass Serena Williams. The primary obstacles that are standing in her way appear to be three other Grand Slam champions, including Angelique Kerber, Petra Kvitová, and Simona Halep.

The hype was enormous. Referring to Osaka and Williams, a news article published in The Atlantic stated: “Women’s tennis is currently a two-headed monster while the rest are still lurking.”

The WTA Becomes a 14-Headed Monster

However, Osaka managed to draw a blank with the weeks that followed after the Australian Open. She was knocked out before the quarterfinals in two large tournaments, including the Miami Open and the BNP Paribas Open, which are both considered the most significant tournaments when it comes to Grand Slams. Perhaps more intriguing is the fact that her demise wasn’t the handiwork of Grand Slam champions, but instead at the hands of Su-Wei Hsieh and Belinda Bencic, neither of whom were ranked in the top 20.

Now, after 12 weeks into 2019, the WTA is not regarded as a two-headed monster anymore, but a 14 headed monster due to the number of single tournaments along with different tournament champions that have been produced in the new year. Meanwhile, Kerber, Kvitová, and Halep have one title between them which Kvitová managed to secure in Sydney. So what gives?

“It’s fantastic, isn’t it?” stated Ashleigh Barty after she claimed the Miami Open tournament earlier this month. “Especially when you look at the women’s side, I believe everything has evened out while the depth has grown considerably over the last couple of years.”

There’s no denying that the days when a top 8 seed could sleepwalk through to the quarterfinals without having to surrender more than a couple of matches are long gone. However, it still took the tour a couple of generations to fully achieve and mature the competitive depth we have now. The young generation, players up to 22 years of age, might be the strongest yet. Ashleigh Barty, currently ranked at number 9, might be its talisman.

The WTA Tournament Group

Ashleigh Barty was so well disciplined and schooled that she managed to burn out just after she turned 18. She decided to leave the tour for over a year and made her return in the minor league in May 2016. She’s only 22 years old at the moment, and there’s no one else that has claimed a WTA tournament on the hard courts in 2019. In recent years, some winners were considerably younger. The WTA tournament group includes Jelena Ostapenko who was the French Open Champion in 2017, Belinda Bencic, a struggling 21-year old who claimed a Grand Slam event, and Bianca Andreescu who was the first wild card entry to claim victory at Indian Wells. So there’s no denying that the competition is getting more difficult with each passing year.

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Roger Federer Wins at Miami Open


Roger Federer managed to win the 101st single title of his career during the Miami Open in March. There were several signs that Roger Federer could secure the title – and a handful that indicated that he wouldn’t – when he started his journey ten days ago. No tennis player in the world has won more than 1 title in a total of 19 ATP tournaments in 2019. The top seed in Miami, Novak Djokovic, managed to win the last 3 Grand Slam events and looked keen to rebound from a third-round defeat at Indian Wells.

Roger Federer at the Miami Open

Roger Federer had some severe doubts at the Miami Open. He was defeated in Miami during the second round in 2018 and returned after an Indian Wells final defeat at the hands of Dominic Thiem. “To be honest, it would have been quite easy to say that last year simply didn’t work out for me, let me rather not come back,” Federer stated in a news conference after he defeated John Isner in the final. “I’m delighted I decided to change my mind.”

Other ominous signs started to develop in real time for Federer. He was forced to produce an 11-hour rally against Radu Albot who was his first opponent to take down in the tournament. All spectators then turned to the group of young players who managed to run roughshod through the tournament where two teenagers managed to end in the semi-finals. The role of Federer seemed to transform from a primary candidate to elder statesman and then dangerous veteran to everyone’s role model.

Roger Federer, who is currently 37 years old, didn’t assist his cause with the phenomenal way he fielded all the unanswered questions about the promoting, young, gifted kids who wanted to replace Federer in the brackets. However, that’s the MO for Federer: Love and lull them to death.

“I was highly impressed and kept asking myself how old he actually was and how good will he eventually get?” Federer stated after he recalled the first time he witnessed Denis Shapovalov who was his semi-final opponent with a superb backhand. “He was, and the same can be said about his serve. It felt like he truly belonged in the tournament with a beautiful swinger.”

Federer continued by stating that he was extremely excited to play against Shapovalov who he managed to defeat without any remorse or mercy, 6-4, 6-2.

Roger Federer’s Opponents in the Miami Open

The assignments for Federer always give the impression of scripts from Mission Impossible. Eliminate Rafael Nadal in Europe on the red dirt. Outsmart Novak Djokovic in Wimbledon on spongy lawns. Outfox Andy Murray in Asia on hardcourts. However, the week at the Miami Open felt more like a lumberjack operation. Chop down the timber in 3 consecutive matches during the semi-final. Federer’s opponents included Daniil Medvedev, Kevin Anderson, and Isner who all offered dangerous serves, and he managed to defeat them all.

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Bianca Andreescu Wins Indian Wells Women’s Title

If Dominic Thiem required a clear reminder that anything is possible before his incredible three-set upset against Roger Federer at the BNP Paribas Open in the men’s final. Bianca Andreescu certainly provided that pep talk. She is only 18 years of age.

Bianca Andreescu vs Angelique Kerber

With her remarkable 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 victory over Angelique Kerber, a three-time Grand Slam champion. Bianca Andreescu managed to become the first wild card to claim the Indian Wells women’s title. She is now regarded as the youngest tournament winner since Serena Williams back in 1999. Bianca is considered the fourth unseeded tennis player to raise the prestigious trophy, joining Naomi Osaka, Kim Clijsters, and Serena Williams.

Towards the end of the third set, Bianca Andreescu was visibly exhausted, played injured, and had cramps in her legs against one of the toughest, fittest women in the world of tennis. However, for one day, the 18 years old Canadian managed to outsmart one of the greatest fighters in the sport.

“This is undoubtedly one of the most difficult matches I’ve played in my career,” Andreescu stated after the match. “I realised how much determination I have, and regardless of the score, anyone can come back. I certainly believe that I proved that anything is possible today.”

From Sunday’s first ball, Andreescu didn’t show any signs of the nerves that usually accompany players during their first WTA final. Mainly when she played against a tennis pro. Who was there to contest for her 29th final and was ranked number 8 in the world. On the other hand, Andreescu already managed to take down 5 Top 20 players in 2019, three in this tennis tournament alone, and accumulated more match wins than any other female tennis player.

Dominic Thiem vs Roger Federer

Even though he dropped the first set against Federer, who seemed every bit the champion. Thiem managed to rally to take the second set and during the 11th game of the last set. This prevented Federer from scoring on a back-to-back drop shot attempts before breaking him with a brilliant crosscourt forehand.

The 25-year-old from Austria then managed to close the match on his serve. This allowed him to claim his first Masters 1000 title along with the most significant tournament of his career with an astonishing 3-6, 6-3, 7-5 win. Thiem was instantly grabbed in the head, he dropped to the ground, and his legs/arms were splayed out. This was similar to how Andreescu did when she won the most significant single title on the history of Canadian tennis.

“It’s quite unreal what occurred in 10 days throughout the tournament,” Thiem stated after his victory. “I had terrible form in most categories, and I’m not the Indian Wells champion. It feels truly unreal. It’s remarkable that I managed to get here, my first massive title.”

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Serena Williams Retires at Indian Wells

The return of Serena Williams to the world of tennis, following a five-week break, ended rather early when she decided to retire from the BNP Paribas Open on Sunday due to a viral illness.

Williams vs Muguruza

Williams managed to race to an incredible 3-0 lead against Garbine Muguruza, a two-time major champion, in their third-round match before dropping six successive games as well as the first set 6-3.

“When you look at the score, it might have seemed that I started great. However, I wasn’t feeling physical well at all,” Williams stated in a recent interview.

Between sets when the changeover occurred, Williams requested to speak to her trainer. She managed to go out and unfortunately lost the first game during the second set. Soon after that, the match was declared over, and Serena Williams walked off the court.

“Before the match, I didn’t feel too great, and it just got worse from there with extreme fatigue and extreme dizziness,” Williams stated. “I will get better and prepare for Miami.”

Muguruza is the only tennis player to have defeated both Venus and Serena Williams in tournament finals. “It’s undoubtedly a weird feeling as I don’t feel like I won,” Muguruza stated to reporters. She merely looked forward to the next time the two will meet on the court.

Muguruza credited Serena Williams for being extremely dominating when the match was underway. “I quickly had to adapt my positions a little bit on the court, especially when it came to how I was hitting the ball. It took a few tries to get it right,” Muguruza stated. “I felt far more comfortable once I did.”

Serena Williams

Serena Williams, who is currently 37 years old, played her first major tournament since late January during the Australian Open where she, unfortunately, lost during the quarterfinals.

This is the second time in 4 years where Serena Williams had to withdraw from a tennis tournament. She managed to return to the desert during 2015 following a 15-year boycott. During the same year, she managed to reach the semi-finals before she had to withdraw from playing against Simona Help. She also missed 2017 due to her pregnancy.

Rafael Nadal managed to breeze past Jarden Donaldson, while Roger Federer defeated Peter Gojowczyk in the second round. Federer was able to save 6 of 7 break chances while playing the Germany-born opponent he lost only two points on his serve during the set.

“If I perhaps served a little better, I believe things would have progressed faster,” Federer stated. “However, towards the end, it was a complicated second set, and its perhaps also exactly what I required.”

Federer has managed to reach the desert tournament final in his last four appearances, claiming victory two years ago. Overall, he boasts with a total of 5 titles at Indian Wells. He also managed to win his 100th title in his career in Dubai last weekend.

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Nick Kyrgios’ Impressive Win Against Rafael Nadal

Nick Kyrgios only played his 6th match in 2019 before he faced Rafael Nadal in the Acapulco ATP 500 on Wednesday evening. Kyrgios certainly made up for lost time when he upset the top seed of the tournament in an electrifying 3-hour match in glorious fashion.

The curious factor about the match is that the action most witnessed as unsporting or inflammatory weren’t the kind of defenceless transgressions that have earned Nick Kyrgios notoriety.

The Controversial Bits of the Match

The controversial bits that occurred during the match on Wednesday evening were an injury timeout during the second and first sets. The underarm serves Kyrgios attempted, and a complaint regarding the amount of time Rafael Nadal took between points which occurred during the third set.

Nadal fumed after the game, stating to reports: Nick is someone that has enormous talent on the court. He can easily win several Grand Slams and battle it out for the top position. However, there’s a good reason why he is still ranked at number 72 in the world. He merely lacks respect for his rivals, for the public, and more importantly, towards himself.”

Rafael Nadal, who never actually criticises other players in public, was merely giving voice to the opinions shared by other tennis players and fans. Kyrgios is a careless, aggressive player who usually lacks a filter. Nick has treated highly regarded players with insolence and failed horribly to provide his best effort. He has also been known to make disparaging remarks regarding his profession — this all taking place while still reaping the rewards when it comes to his lavish lifestyle.

The Match Between Nadal and Kyrgios

Kyrgios managed to suck up all the oxygen from the match, and there’s no doubt that it irritated Nadal from start to finish. Nadal managed to win the first set before taking a timeout for injury. This is quite a common feature in tennis these days. Nick informed the trainer that he had lower back pain and was feeling sick. A microphone managed to catch him stating that if he decided to quit the media would blow it out of proportion.

Kyrgios managed to fight back during the match after the first set. During the third set, he attempted an underarm serve to take full advantage of the return position of Nadal deep in his court. The gamble provided a double fault along with a contentious debate over Twitter. Most regard the underarm serve as being unsporting. However, it does not violate the rules of the game in any way. Several players have attempted it before Kyrgios as well.

The final aspect of the match was the third-set complaint by Kyrgios regarding Nadal’s slow speed of play. Nadal enjoys using the full 25 seconds. However, Kyrgios possesses a fast pace when he serves. The rule of tennis state that plays must proceed at the speed of the server. So, although Kyrgios won the match, it’s the last thing fans thought about after the game.

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Andy Murray Could Play Again

Andy Murray is currently recuperating from his recent hip surgery, while his mother believes he still has a good chance of making a return to tennis. Murray, the two-time Wimbledon champion, announced at the Australian Open last month that he would participate in the first major tournament for the season but might never be able to enjoy the game again. He was defeated during the first round before he had hip resurfacing surgery approximately two weeks ago.

Judy Murray

Judy Murray, the former coach and mother to Andy Murray, informed reporters that she doesn’t believe her son is done with tennis just yet.

“I don’t believe we know anything for sure. I doubt anyone does,” Judy stated at the Rio Open, considered the biggest tennis competitions in South America. “However, I know for a fact that he would do anything he can to have another shot at playing again.

“I believe he had the same hip surgery as Bob Bryan following the US Open, and he was able to play doubles again during the Australian Open. Although doubles is a very different game when compared to singles. All we can do now is wait and see.”

When Andy Murray made his unexpected announcement before the Australian Open. He stated that he would love to keep playing tennis until Wimbledon. A competition that he has managed to win in 2013 to make him the first British champ at the All England Club in over 70 years.

Murray also managed to win at Wimbledon in 2016 as well as two Olympic gold medals and one US Open title. Andy Murray was ranked number 1 for a total of 41 weeks.

Judy Murray, who was speaking at the Jockey Club after receiving an invite to the ATP tournament, stated that she believes her son is still fighting with the idea that he will never play again. If he sees an opportunity, he will definitely take it, she stated.

“I believe he will. However, I think he is well aware that it could not be possible,” she stated. “He’s an intelligent guy and has loads of interests in various things, giving him loads of other options in life apart from tennis. However, the most important thing is that he is completely pain free after dealing with it for more than 20 months. Andy Murray also has a young family and he needs to think of his life quality as well.”

Andy Murray

Andy Murray stated that overtraining when he was younger might have caused the recent operation, including the removal of a damaged bone as well as cartilage from his right hip socket which was replaced with a metal shell. His mother managed to coach both her sons in their earlier years. However, she doesn’t agree with Andy that too much practice was the main cause for his surgery. She did a fantastic job with her boys as both managed to excel in tennis. Let’s hope this is not the end for Andy Murray.

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John Isner Not Stressed About His Slow Start in 2019

John Isner entered the New York Open tournament earlier this week without a win for the season. That actually isn’t all that bad when you look at the recent history in the sport. As a top-ranked tennis player from the United States, John Isner had an awful start at the beginning of 2018. He only recorded one match win in a singles tournament during the first two and a half months of the year. He only managed 1-6 before making his way to the Miami Open that took place in March.

John Isner’s Career in 2019

Things certainly turned around for Isner at the Miami Open in March 2018. He managed to win the event, the biggest title in his entire tennis career. His performance at the Miami Open propelled him to his best year. He managed to qualify for the ATP World Tour Finals, obtained a career-high ranking of number 8, and finished the year with a world ranking of number 10.

Despite the extremely slow start in 2019, Isner is in a position that he never thought would be possible ten years ago, when he was only a graduate at the University of Georgia. He is very close to 34 years of age, but he says that he has never been healthier. He receives his inspiration from Roger Federer who is currently 37 years old. The stability that is being provided by his new role as father and husband has assisted Isner to overcome the tendency to obsess over unsatisfactory results and to lose focus.

Isner lost during the first round of the New York Open in 2018 to 91st ranked Radu Albot. He will certainly face more pressure this time around but refuses to let it get to him. “Perhaps if I was younger, it would be completely different,” Isner stated. “However, I am well aware that everyone will lose and gain points. There’s a very good chance that I will lose points during the Miami Open unless I somehow win it again. However, everyone’s tennis ranking fluctuates year on year, even for Novak Djokovic who was ranked at number 18 during 2018. This is bound to happen to me too in 2019.”

Tournament Consistency

Isner stated that he is unable to place his finger on why he cannot get off to a more ideal start in the last couple of years. However, he was very philosophical with regards to fluctuations in his tennis rankings. He managed to learn that with his shutdown game and quick-strike, frustration can transform into triumph as fast as his deadly serve. He is essentially a shrewd judge of his own weaknesses and strengths. Isner knows full well that he’ll have more than enough opportunities to improve his overall ranking if he is more consistent from tournament to tournament. He simply needs to shine at Wimbledon and the US Open to succeed.

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The New Davis Cup Format

The drastically restructured Davis Cup tournament was launched a week ago. In most people’s eyes, it had one noticeable flaw: It wasn’t the Davis Cup that we’ve all come to love. That’s not much of a shortcoming when you consider that the competition, which is 118 years old, is finished. Unfortunately, it will never be revived even if Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos take an interest in it. It’s time to move on, even though it’s rather difficult for most who are still clinging on to the memories of past ties.

Davis Cup 2.0

Only hours before the competition started last week, Lleyton Hewitt, who was already in a pre-tie lockdown with the squad from Australia in Bosnia-Herzegovina, started fuming over the changes made to the format of the Davis Cup. He referred to it as “absolutely ridiculous.”

However, there he was, in traditional gold and green Aussie colours preparing his team to join in on making history while the brand-new Davis Cup was preparing to lift off. Fortunately, it was a huge success for Hewitt and his team who led the Australian team into the 18-team World Group who will participate in the final taking place in Madrid in November. Apart from Australia, Italy, Serbia, Germany, and Sweden were also able to qualify. However, Sweden was unable to advance.

Although the traditional teams still regretted the makeover, the ties over the weekend were still competitive and satisfying. In addition, they managed to produce the beloved and familiar Davis Cup atmospherics. Those that manufacture multi-coloured wigs, whistles, and drums don’t need to fear a recession within their industry at all.

The old format of the Davis Cup was loved by all due to the fact that the nationalistic subtext produced a unique way where underdogs could become superhuman features. This includes John Isner who managed to upset Roger Federer on clay more than seven years ago. It’s definitely a story that Isner will continue telling until his last breath. Thankfully, the competition managed to provide a handful of those cherished heroes overnight.

Santiago Giraldo

Santiago Giraldo is a perfect example. He is the most successful singles player from Columbia, but he hasn’t managed to win anything as of yet. Columbia has been extremely close to qualifying for the World Group a total of 6 times only to stall at the end. However, in this Davis Cup competition, which is the 51st in 2019, the Columbian team managed to claim victory at home while playing against Sweden. Giraldo, who is playing as number 2, managed to win both his singles matches.

On the other hand, Felix Auger-Alainssime from Canada managed to withstand road game pressures as he clinched a vital fifth rubber while playing against Nobert Gombos from Slovakia. Both these victories resonate far more than before as both Canada and Columbia usually made it to the playoffs but could never get past the knockout stages of the World Group first-round. This time around they’ve managed to advance to the finals that will take place in Madrid.

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Can Novak Djokovic Be Considered for the GOAT?

When we look back at the 2019 Australian Open in a couple of years, we will mostly remember that it marked the place and time at which Novak Djokovic managed to rekindle the debate for the greatest player of all time.

Djokovic’s victory against Rafael Nadal in the final on Sunday earned him his 15th Grand Slam title, placing him just two behind Rafael Nadal and ahead of Pete Sampras. He is also only five titles behind Roger Federer who currently boasts with 20 Grand Slam titles.

Novak Djokovic as the GOAT

Considering his excellent health, age, his obsession for clean living and his healthy appetite for domination, it’s quite impossible to escape the fact that he can now be considered for GOAT honours. Djokovic has managed to win three consecutive majors since his resurgence a year ago.

“I am absolutely speechless,” Djokovic stated to the crowd at Melbourne after he defeated Rafael. Fans and pundits, most of whom were expecting a 5 hour plus battle on the blue floor at Rod Laver Arena, couldn’t believe how amazing Djokovic played against Nadal.

Nadal, who essentially didn’t compete for more than five months, only had one caveat to hold onto while giving full credit to Djokovic for playing a phenomenal game: “Facing such a big challenge, I required something else to successfully compete at such an elite level. However, its something that I do not have as of yet.”

It’s a valid point. However, its far more likely that Novak Djokovic, following a mid-career crisis due to an elbow injury and private issues, is playing better than ever. He has managed to recover his game as well as his focus. He is also placing a sizable amount of daylight between him and his rivals due to the fact that his fitness and age are increasingly affecting his games with them.

At 32 years old, Nadal is only a year older than Novak Djokovic which isn’t much, to be honest. However, there’s no denying that Nadal’s career is far more difficult. He has a lot more miles on the clock and his body needs more than just a simple routine check. On the other hand, Federer is in fantastic shape. However, he is already 37 years old.

Djokovic vs Nadal

This victory managed to boost Djokovic’s record against Rafael Nadal to 28-25. This record has some incredible aspects that have to be sobering for each of his rivals. The 28th victory over Nadal is considered the most wins by one pro against another. Djokovic also boasts with a 13-3 record against Nadal on every tennis surface imaginable since Rafael Nadal managed to beat him in the 2013 US Open final.

Djokovic spoke quite highly about Nadal after his win stating, “I’m quite positive that we still have loads of matches to look forward to against each other on various surfaces. I sincerely hope we will as this rivalry has been quite significant for more.”

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Novak Djokovic to Face Rafael Nadal in the Final of the 2019 Australian Open

On Friday, Novak Djokovic continued his quest to claim his seventh crown in the Australian Open after defeating Lucas Pouille to advance to the final where he will face his ultimate rival, Rafael Nadal. The world number 1 provided a flawless display at the Rod Laver Arena who has managed to move into a first decider in Melbourne since 2016.

“It’s without a doubt one of the best matches that I have played on this court,” stated Djokovic, who managed to hit a total of 24 winners and only had five unforced errors. “Everything worked out exactly how I imagined it would prior to the match.

“It’s an upsetting time for Lucas, but thankfully he had a phenomenal tournament, and I sincerely wish him all the best for the remainder of the season,” he added. Novak Djokovic, unfortunately, lost during the fourth round of the tournament in 2018, followed by a poor form and elbow surgery until he managed to win at Wimbledon and turn everything around.

“It was impossible to imagine that I would be where I am today 12 months ago,” stated Djokovic. However, as I stated before, I will continue to have loads of self-belief which I think is something that manages to always prevail.”

The Australian Open Final

Novak Djokovic will now need to face Rafael Nadal in the Australian Open final. The two world-renowned tennis players have met a total of 53 times on court and eight times during a Grand Slam final. In 2012, they delivered the longest final in the history of Grand Slams when it comes to time played at the Australian Open. Novak Djokovic managed to edge a thrilling battle during the fifth set after playing for 5 hours and 53 minutes.

During Djokovic’s 34th semi-final in the Grand Slam, he took a mere 83 minutes to defeat Lucas Pouille who made his debut at the Australian Open this year. Pouille is also Djokovic’s regular practice partner.

The 14-time title winner of the Grand Slam was quite fresh after winning the quarter-final this year as his opponent, Kei Nishikori, was forced to quit after only playing 51 minutes. During the semi-final against Pouille, Djokovic managed to dish out an awful 6-0 bagel during the first set which only took 21 minutes. Pouille managed to hold his first ever service game during the second set which was met with a massive ovation from fans at centre court. However, Djokovic was a picture of precision on both return and serve and didn’t allow Pouille to make a comeback at all.

Djokovic vs. Nadal

Rafael Nadal currently holds an incredible 3-4 loss-win record against Novak Djokovic in the finals of the Grand Slam which includes all three meetings since their marathon at Melbourne Park seven years ago. Both tennis players will be chasing a milestone on Sunday too.

If Nadal wins, he will be the first player to win all Grand Slam titles twice, while a win for Djokovic will provide his 7th title which places him above Emerson and Federer.

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