I do hope that everyone had a fantastic Christmas and all the best for the New Year.
What a start to the 2016 tennis season. After the revelation that was 2015, 2016, leap year that it is decided that there was only one way to keep interest alive in the WTA and that was to showcase the depth of talent that abounds in WTA Land.
We had winners, resurgent careers, how the hell did she do that moments.
What else is there to say about Victoria Azarenka, but welcome back. Vika put on a performance in Brisbane that brought the nostalgia with fans from her heyday in 2011 and beyond. Raising the Brisbane trophy for the second time, Team Vika had many reasons to celebrate. The 3 year drought has ended and how? Vika put on a dominating performance against Angelique Kerber. The Spin Team welcomes back Vika to the winners circle and hopes she stays awhile
Sloane Stephens. One time heir apparent to the Legend that is Serena Williams also put on one of the more focused displays that I have ever seen. Her first set performance against the wall that is Wozniacki shows the depth of talent that this particular young woman has. Not only did Sloane complete her semifinal match against Wozniacki, but she went out a few hours later and completely annihilated Julia Georges to capture her second WTA title from as many starts. Are we looking at this era’s Anna Chakvetadze. If anyone can recall AnnaC won her first 4 Tour titles from as many starts. The difference being that all of AnnaC’s first set of titles came at the Tier 1 level. Taking nothing away from Sloane but she is really looking good.
Congratulations to all the winners.
The WTA Tour
The new tennis season has just started and at the time of writing this preview, the Tour has become the Walking Wounded with many of the top players already succumbing to injuries during their first few matches. Many are using this as a way to ridicule the fitness of the top women, but I suspect it has more to do with players either saving themselves for the big one, that is the Australian Open, or ensuring that they are 100% fit and ready to compete over the next 10 months.
The list of players who have already sent in a doctor’s note are as follows:
Serena Williams – withdrew from Hopman Cup with knee inflammation
Maria Sharapova – withdrew from Brisbane with a right forearm strain
Simona Halep – withdrew from Brisbane with a left foot injury
Garbine Muguruza – retired from her match in Brisbane with a left foot injury
Lucie Safarova – withdrawn from all tournaments including the Australian Open with an undisclosed illness
Petra Kvitova – retired down a set in Shenzhen citing illness
Ana Ivanovic – after losing in the first round at Brisbane, withdrew from the doubles tournament citing headaches. She has since received a WC entry into Sydney.
Samantha Stosur – after losing in Brisbane, it was reported that Stosur is having issues with her wrist which might require cortisone shots to ease the pain.
Serena has indicated that her knee just needs a few days’ rest and that she will be fine for the Australian Open. Sharapova has indicated that she hurt her arm during practice and as many folks know both Halep and Muguruza have had reoccurring foot injuries which have kept them out of tournament for extended periods of time.
While most of these ladies will no doubt be back on court and competing at the Australian Open, I am a bit concerned about Safarova. Many will recall that Safarova had one of her best years on Tour last year, winning 2 Grand Slam titles in doubles and making the final of the French Open, where she won a set. Since then, apart from playing in the YEC, Safarova has not done much of anything else as she has not only been hospitalized, but it seems that whatever it is that ails her has not gone away in the off season. I do hope that she is getting the best medical treatment around and this is not something that has not been caught, diagnosed and treated by her doctors.
Since writing the above about Safarova, news has come that she has been diagnosed with rheumatic fever. The Spin Team wishes Lucie a speedy recovery.
If you have not done so already, tune in to the RealzTennisPodcast. The Realz gang wrapped up the 2015 season and gave a sneak peek of what to expect from the gang in 2016.
If you have questions that you would like us to address during each week’s podcast, feel free to hit up any member of the gang on Twitter, Facebook or in the comments section.