Our weekly guide to who’s hot and who’s not in tennis
Sometimes it helps that Venus leaves her mind on Pluto. Venus Williams is in Miami playing her first tournament since last season’s US Open, having got back into shape after suffering from the auto-immune disorder Sjorgen’s Syndrome. She had a fabulous win in the second round over Petra Kvitova, the Wimbledon champion, but on her next appearance found herself match point down against Aleksandra Wozniak, a wild card. Not that she noticed. Venus was gloriously oblivious to the fact that she was a point away from defeat. She went on to beat Wozniak, and next plays Ana Ivanovic.
Will we look back at this as the occasion when the Bulgarian started to fulfil his promise? Dimitrov’s win over Tomas Berdych was his first victory over a top-10 opponent, and a hugely encouraging result for all those who have long wished him well.
Yes, yes, she only won a couple of games in her third-round match against Victoria Azarenka. But consider what had come before that. She had turned around a 0-5 deficit in the final set of her opening match against Sorana Cirstea, and then in the next round had defeated a top-25 opponent, Lucie Safarova. Also consider that, with this victory over Watson, Azarenka extended her undefeated start to the season to 25 matches. Let’s not patronise Watson by sticking a ‘plucky Brit’ label on the side of her racket-bag. She lost heavily to the world number one, but this was a fine tournament for the Channel Islander. She showed promise, not pluck.
What’s easier to get rid of, an orange BMW or an overbearing, “annoying” father? Bernard Tomic, who put the sports car up for sale after one traffic fine too many, was having difficulties shedding his dad in the Florida sunshine. During Tomic’s defeat to David Ferrer, the Australian had an illuminating discussion with the umpire, Cedric Mourier. Dad Tomic had been shaking his head at some of his son’s tennis. Walking to his chair for the changeover, Bernard said to the umpire: “He’s annoying – I know he’s my father – but he’s annoying me. I want him to leave but how’s that possible?”
Mourier: “If you tell him to leave.”
Tomic: “It’s not gonna happen. If you see him coaching, tell him to be quiet.”
Mourier: “He knows already. I caught him coaching already.”
When the umpire then issued a code violation for illegal coaching, Tomic turns to the official and says, “thanks”. Here was a rare example of a player thanking an umpire for a code violation, when the player’s voice wasn’t tinged with sarcasm. While Bernard would later say that the discussions were about wanting his rackets restrung, YouTube would suggest otherwise.
There are suggestions that the Belgian, who lost early in Key Biscayne, could be considering early (second) retirement because of injury.
For the first time, Isner was competing as a top-10 player. He was understandably tired after his run in California, where he finished as the runner-up in Indian Wells to Roger Federer, but he should have done better in Miami. A third-round defeat to Florian Mayer was a disappointing result.