Our weekly guide to who’s hot and who’s not in tennis
It had become one of tennis’s annual rituals, like the returning men’s champion opening Wimbledon’s Centre Court on the first day, or the men’s US Open final being played on a third Monday. Caroline Wozniacki is just meant to win her home tournament in Copenhagen. She was the champion the first couple of years, in 2010 and 2011, and it was widely supposed that she would win a third title when she played Germany’s Angelique Kerber in the final. But Kerber was not the house guest that the Danes had been expecting; she played a fine match which brought her a straight-sets victory, and a second career title. There is a group of Germans bunched between 11 and 16 in the rankings: Andrea Petkovic (11), Sabine Lisicki (13), Kerber (14) and Julia Goerges (16). No one can say with any great certainty who will finish the year as the German No 1.
There are far better images of Capriati than that police mug-shot (the one taken after she was busted, as a teenager, for shop-lifting). There was some good news for Capriati, now in her mid-thirties, after she heard that she was to go into the sport’s hall of fame: “Tennis has been my passion and dedication for my entire life, and to be acknowledged for this passion and dedication is truly icing on the cake.”
So Ljubicic, the Croat with no hair and plenty of class and plenty of friends, played his last professional match at the weekend when he lost to Ivan Dodig, a countryman, in the first round in Monaco. Yes, Ljubicic reached 3 in the world. Yes, he single-handedly won the Davis Cup for his country. Yes, he was once playing so well that Michael Llodra climbed naked into his locker in Miami, in the hope that some of the confidence and magic might rub off on to him. But he will mostly be remembered for the way he went about his business, especially as the vice-president and president of the ATP Player Council. For being one of the good guys. As he walked into the locker room after his last match, “all the guys were standing and clapping”. “It’s the end of something beautiful for me,” Ljubicic said.
Don’t expect to see Mrs Roddick on a tennis court anytime soon. She told Women’s Health magazine of the time her husband tried to teach her to play tennis: “I ended up hitting all the tennis balls over the fence and smashing my racket because I was so frustrated. I told him, ‘You don’t teach me how to play tennis, and I won’t teach you how to model in a bathing suit.'”
In the music business, they call it the second album syndrome, the pressure of trying to replicate a huge hit. Fish has been going through that this year in tennis, trying to follow up his 2011 season, which was his best year yet in tennis. “The hardest part for Mardy is he’s really having trouble being in situation he’s in,” Fish’s coach, Mark Knowles, has said. “He’s accomplished a lot in the last year and half and achieved lot of his goals. It’s more evidence that it’s easier to get there than to stay there. It’s easier on the way up because every week is a new positive. It shows how tough the tour is.
“He had an extremely full year last year ending in the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in London and before he knows it he had to turn around two weeks later and face grand slam pressure at the Australian Open. You are also going into that major as totally different person than you’ve been in your career, as the top American and as the world No 8. Things are being asked of you never had to deal with before.”
Around two thirds of you who voted in The Tennis Space poll thought that his shaved-head look was “a bad idea”.