The best of the past week, on and off the courts, day after day…with « small » tournaments, censored cartoons, and annoying animals.
Monday, April 30th
Phew. After being stuck in the United States for a few months, Victoria Azarenka finally received the authorization to leave the country with her son, whose custody was the issue. We wish the young Leo a luckier future than Dylan McWilliams’, as the 20 year-old American has already been bitter by a snake, a bear and a shark. In less than four years’ time. Pauline Parmentier, on her side, has gone from the world 122nd spot to the 76th after her win in Istanbul last week. A much bigger progression than Marco Cecchinato’s (33 spots won) or Stefanos Tsitsipas’ (19 spots won). While waiting for next Monday, we wish the baby some safe travels.
Tuesday, May 1st
Careful, Wimbledon is coming very soon. In consequence, the organizers of the tournaments have already announced the changes that we will see in this 2018 edition. First, the rules : in order to avoid seeing the numerous withdrawals that we have seen in the previous years, the players who will now withdraw too early before the first round will see 50% of their prize money go to their substitute, and they could also be fined if the organizers find that they lack professionalism. Speaking about prize money : it has seen a 7,6% increase in comparison to last year, and has now reached a total of 38 million euros (with the winner of the tournament earning 2,5 million). Still with rules, but in China this time : the cartoon Peppa Pig has been censored as it encouraged children to « jump in puddles » and « grunt. » Intolerable, of course.
Wednesday, May 2nd
Four informations. Two good ones, and two bad ones. Let’s start with the bad ones : having respectively suffered injuries to the knee and meniscus, Stan Wawrinka and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga have both withdrawn from the Madrid Masters 1000. The good news, now : Roger Federer will make his return on June 11th in Stuttgart, and a Chinese airline flew a customized Toy Story Airbus. A plane which probably censored the cartoon pigs, though…
Thursday, May 3rd
Four informations. One bad one, and three surprising ones. Let’s start with the bad one : as she is still looking to get back to her optimal form, Serena Williams has decided to withdraw from the Madrid Masters 1000. Now, the surprises : Marin Cilic and Kevin Anderson, both top-seeds in Istanbul and Estoril, were defeated by Malek Jaziri (6-4, 6-2) and Stefanos Tsitsipas (6-7, 6-3, 6-3) while the Pope put his Lamborghini up for sale. The estimated price of the vehicle : between 200 000 euros and 300 000 euros. A price which would probably multiply if its owner decided to drive it at least once.
Friday, May 4th
Murphy’s law. After Tsonga, Williams, and Wawrinka, Cilic decided to pass on the Madrid Open. A city in which we will however see Philipp Kohlschreiber who defeated the world number fourteen, Roberto Bautista Agut, in the quarter-finals in Munich (6-4, 6-4). A little further south, at the Grasse Future tournament, around ten betters were asked to leave the venue because of their activities which were judged fraudulent. All of this is far, ver far form Don Gorske’s considerations. This 64 year-old American ate the 30 000th Big Mac of his life. A world record, obviously, and a quest that he started in 1972.
Saturday, May 5th
Three. A number which pleases Petra Kvitova and Elise Mertens early this weekend. While the firemen of Manosque, France, saved a tortoise named Caroline on the motorway and that New-Zealand celebrated the fourteenth naked gardening day, the two players lifted their third trophy of the season. In Prague for the first one, who defeated Mihaela Buzarnescu (4-6, 6-2, 6-3). And in Rabat for the second one, after her win against Ajla Tomljanovic (6-2, 7-6). In men’s tennis, the big winners will be Joao Sousa (6-4, 1-6, 7-6 against Stefanos Tsitsipas in the semi-finals) or Frances Tiafoe (6-2, 6-3 against Pablo Carreno-Busta) in Estoril, and Alexander Zverev (7-5, 6-2 against Hyeon Chung) or Kohlschreiber in Munich. Place your bets.
Sunday, May, 6th
The verdict : Zverev (6-3, 6-3 ; back to back titles) and Sousa (6-4, 6-4 ; first Portuguese player to win in Estoril). But also the world number 114th, Taro Daniel, who defeated Jaziri in the final in Istanbul (7-6, 6-4) and who won the first ATP title of his life, at 25. Less in a hurry than this Belgian motorist who was mistakenly snapped by the police going at 696 km/h in an Opel Astra. And a little less impressive than this raccoon who sneaked in the air-conditioning system of an Aircraft in Canada, delaying the Saskatoon-Toronto flight for more than seven hours. Now let’s go to Madrid !