Ponder The Racket VIII: Stray Rogers Cup Thoughts
- Of all the players that impressed me the most over the week, Heather Watson was most definitely at the top. She’s only 19, but her footwork and consistent set-up and motion on her groundstrokes is excellent. She likely has some work to do on the speed of her movement and creating her own pace, all natural things for a 19 year old, but the girl has real potential, and I think could be a regular feature of the top 20 for years to come.
- After coming back from forearm surgery, Aleks Wozniak has changed her grip and her stroke, and it may be for the better. She had an amazing run in Vancouver and demolished Shahar before bowing out to eventual finalist Stosur. Some of the goofy errors, particularly off the once super loopy backhand, seem to be fading and she looks more patient out there. Glad to have her back.
- Eugenie Bouchard is probably going to be a superstar in a couple years. People have started to compare her to Anna Kournikova, and I’m not so sure they’re really talking about her game. Oh, she speaks great English and French, to boot. She’s a top junior, but she’s got some work to do. Regardless, one to keep an eye on over the next couple of years.
- How goofy is it that players need to wait to announce their withdrawl from a tournament? There was zero doubt in my mind that Aga Radwanska was not going to be playing Cincy, what with a seriously screwed up shoulder and all. Instead she was forced to lie, saying she would go down to the tournament and see how it would hold up. There has to be a better way.
- If the past week showed anything, it was that the big, baseliner bashers rarely have a plan B, and if you can get them out of their comfort zone, you can find a way to win. Vinci and Voskoboeva in particular, sliced, drop shotted, and pushed their larger, more powerful opponents out wide and into the net and found ways to win.
- In other words, there was a lot of talk about “parity”, or the flip side, inconsistency, in the women’s game this week in press (mostly because it was national press who only cover women’s tennis a week a year). I think us tennis nerds can realize that it might not be either. These players have a certain way of playing the game that works or them, and who can blame them. But there are certain styles and approaches that can really upset that style of play (along with the confidence and rhythm of them) and can cause upsets at almost any part of the tournament.
- The amount of work I pumped into this tournament was bordering on insane for the first several days, but I loved every second of it, and I really appreciate the support. Most reporters have deadlines and other things going on, but as someone able to head out to outer courts, I busted my butt to try and be the best “professional” fan I could, giving accounts of the weather, grandstand, atmosphere on centre, and making it back for pressers. And if you ask me, people willing to do this are fantastic for tournaments (I wasn’t the only one out there). I think it’s one thing to have the official site tweeting pics of Kiri on the practice court, but it’s another thing to have knowledgeable tennis people who have a beat on the pulse of what makes fans tick, and are there grinding it out across the grounds.
- Judging the absolute ridiculousness of the upsets, injuries and weather of the past two weeks, I think we’re in for the most neck damaging, eye popping grand slam in the year. It’s only a week away, people. More on that later today.