By Maud Watson
Breaking New Ground
Before he jetted off to London, Juan Monaco was in Hamburg, Germany, where he picked up his sixth singles title. But this title run meant more than the previous five, as the win propelled him to No. 10 in the rankings – the highest the Argentine has ever been ranked in his professional career. While some may question his decision to not only compete in a tournament so close to the Olympic Games, but one that was staged on clay no less, I somehow think it’s a decision he won’t regret. Winning, like losing, is a habit. There’s no substitute for confidence, and Juan Monaco ought to be feeling pretty decent about his chances of making a run in London, even if it is on grass.
Recapturing the Magic
Much like Monaco, pundits may question Andy Roddick’s logic in choosing to play Atlanta before he made the trip to London, but this was a smart move on the American’s part. After finding some success during the brief grass court season, Roddick knew he would be best served to attempt to continue to gain momentum during the time of year that has typically served as his bread and butter – the American summer hard court season. He played some impressive tennis in Atlanta, which included wins over John Isner and the always dangerous Gilles Muller. Much like with Monaco, there’s no substitute for that winning feeling. Couple that confidence with Roddick’s grass court résumé, and he could be a tough out for anybody during the London Games.
Last week in California, the WTA saw a pint-size winner in Dominika Cibulkova. The Slovak with the deceptively big game persevered to take the title at the Mercury Insurance Open over Marion Bartoli in the final. The title comes nearly three months after she split with her previous coach of two years, Zeljko Krajan. Fans will remember Krajan as the coach of former No. 1 Dinara Safina. Safina frequently talked about how hard Krajan could be on her, and Cibulkova spins a very similar tale. While noting that Krajan was a “great coach,” she also admitted that he could be overly hard on her, which led to her mentally blowing any unforced error way out of proportion. She has since promoted her hitting partner, Peter Miklusicak, to head coach, and it appears the change is already paying dividends. Cibulkova has always had potential. With a little more consistency and a new mental approach to the game, there’s no reason she couldn’t be Top 10 material and give the game’s biggest names more than they bargain for.
Music to the Ears
Tennis fans in the United States were undoubtedly happy to hear that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has once again sided with the Tennis Channel in denying an appeal put forth by Comcast in its dispute with the sport network. Back in December, Tennis Channel won its case against Comcast, with the verdict being that aside from being slapped with a $375,000 fine, Comcast would also have to put Tennis Channel on the same tier of cable channels that included two of its own networks – Versus (now NBC Sports Channel) and the Golf Channel. Since being denied their appeal, Comcast has been told that they have 45 days to comply with the original December ruling, which hopefully means extensive tennis coverage that’s readily available will be just around the corner.
The Olympics are rare enough given that they’re only staged every four years, but this year tennis fans are going to see something that may never happen again in our lifetime – color at Wimbledon. Photographs show the purple and lime green colors of the Olympics splashed around the grounds, and the players are free to wear whatever color strikes their fancy. While it’s understandable that the players may want to be decked out in the colors of their home nations, the colored backdrops are a bit much. In any case, the folks who have prepared the grounds have done a great job to do everything possible to ensure this feels like a whole different event and not just a second take at SW19.