Even before match play began on Thursday morning, spectators got their money’s worth as Caroline Wozniacki, Ana Ivanovic, Andy Murray, and Feliciano Lopez were all spotted on the practice courts at the Sony Ericsson Open. Check out all the photos at the end!
Caroline Wozniacki was hitting with adidas Player Development Program’s Mats Merkel as coach Sven Groeneveld gave small tips from the sidelines. Her boyfriend and professional golfer Rory McIlroy sat side-by-side with her father Piotr. Both were relatively quiet – which is a stark change for the ever-vocal Piotr.
Wozniacki’s hitting was clean and surprisingly flat. Makes one wonder why the incessant moonballing continues to trump her game into oblivion during match play.
On a court across from the central Tennis Plaza, tennis’ golden girl Ana Ivanovic was seen practicing with a University of Miami athlete. There is no sweeter individual on the WTA tour willing to chat with fans, sign autographs or smile for photos, but during practice she is brutal on herself. Floppy forehand? Unacceptable. Missed volley? Disappointing. Missed serve? Pathetic. It’s no wonder she’s had her fair share of struggles coming back in the rankings over the last couple of years. She’s tough on herself but it sometimes makes you wonder if it’s too much of the wrong kind of pressure.
Of note though is Ivanovic’s improved physical appearance. Just last year, she was looking eerily thin for a girl with a 6’1” frame. But today, she seems to have put on a few healthy pounds – thanks in part to her new coach since Wimbledon, Nigel Sears. She needs to keep this athletic and lean figure in order to have the strength and power required to hit her signature forehand well.
On a neighboring court, fans clustered around the fence for a peek of Andy Murray practicing with Feliciano Lopez. There were plenty of laughs, intentional pegging by Murray of his coaches while he served, and great match-like points during their joint practice session.
After a 30 minute warm-up, Murray’s coach Ivan Lendl walked over to his pupil and asked “What do you want to do today?” Oh, so that’s how you coach! If this is the type of approach Murray requires of a coach, then he may have been better off with just his core team. However, Murray’s demeanor on court was lively and he seemed to be enjoying himself. So maybe having a bigger team helps his psyche in that manner. Whatever it is, I hope he gets far here because he’s a fun player to watch.
Lopez likewise was having fun in the sun and the two have a good friendship going. Perhaps Lopez can convince Murray to get back on twitter? A girl can hope!
Lopez laughing at Murray pegging serves at his team and coach (bonus video below!). Not sure, Wilson thought through the sweat situation on this latest t-shirt…
In the two photos below, I would like to think that both Lopez and Murray are looking directly at my camera for an awesome photo-op. In all seriousness, it’s probably the hot redhead next to me that made their jaws drop.
Hey. At least I got Murray to smile. AT me. Win!
Murray and his team mesmerized by a yellow airplane in the sky. No joke. I can’t even make this stuff up!
Feliciano Lopez laughing as Andy Murray pegs his team with serves:
Clumsy Andy Murray: