The Tennis Hall of Fame of October

Oct 25, 1994, 6:00:00 AM | by Steven Oliveira

Félix Auger-Aliassime
A boss-sized Felix Auger-Aliassime, an Iga Swiatek who shows she's human, a suspension, births, jokes, strokes of blood and a possible return of Serena Williams. A look back at another emotional month of October.

MVP of the month: Felix Auger-Aliassime 

Novak Djokovic could have won in Tel Aviv and Astana. Except that he only played seven matches in October, that he hasn't played since the 9th of the month and that these two tournaments don't carry much weight in his immense record. And then, above all, another man won two tournaments this month: Felix Auger-Aliassime. The Canadian, who has been struggling this summer, won in Florence and Antwerp, losing only one set in each of the two tournaments before lifting his first trophies since his success in Rotterdam. This is enough to make up for the seven consecutive losses in the finals that preceded these titles and allow him to dream of a first participation in the ATP Finals. A qualification that could be decided in Paris. 


End of the month: Iga Swiatek

Barbora Krejčíková, who has been struggling this season after a remarkable year in 2021, came back to life in October with a win in Tallinn against the local player, Anett Kontaveit. She also won the WTA 500 in Ostrava, in her home country of the Czech Republic. To lift the trophy, the current world number 17 defeated Iga Świątek. A feat since the Polish player was on a ten-match winning streak in the final - all without even losing a set - and had not lost in a title match since 2019 and a defeat to Polona Hercog in Lugano. Not exactly a morale killer for Świątek, who resumed her winning ways a week later by winning the WTA 500 in San Diego. 


Suspension of the month: Simona Halep

Thunderclap on the WTA Tour. Tested positive for Roxadustat, a substance that promotes the endogenous production of erythropoietin (EPO), during the last US Open, Simona Halep was provisionally suspended for doping by the Tennis Integrity Agency. Eliminated in the first round of the New York tournament by qualifier Daria Snigur, the Romanian denied doping in a long message on her Twitter account: "Today begins the hardest match of my life: a fight for the truth. During my whole career, the idea of cheating has never crossed my mind because it is totally against the values that I have been given. Faced with such an unfair situation, I feel lost and betrayed. I will fight until the end to prove that I never knowingly took a banned substance and I am convinced that sooner or later the truth will come out. It's not about titles or money. It's about honour, and the love affair I've developed with tennis over the past 25 years." Answer in the next episode.


Poulidor of the month: Sebastian Korda

For Sebastian Korda, October could have been synonymous with trophies. In the end, it will be with regrets. The fault lies with his two defeats in the final in Gijón against Andrey Rublev and in Antwerp against Félix Auger-Aliassime. He will have to digest these two defeats in two sets in order to move on. If this is any consolation, he is not alone in his troubles, as Maria Sákkari has also lost twice in the women's final (Parma and Guadalajara) this month. That makes five consecutive losses in the final for the Greek. Five more and she can mirror Iga Swiatek. 


Qualifier of the month: Caroline Garcia

It's a mild understatement to say that Caroline Garcia didn't have an incredible October. To say otherwise would have been an understatement as she only won one match - against Rebecca Marino - and lost two, but the main thing was elsewhere for the Frenchwoman, who secured her place at the year-end Masters in Fort Worth where she will meet Iga Swiatek, Ons Jabeur, Jessica Pegula, Coco Gauff, Maria Sakkari, Aryna Sabalenka and Daria Kasatkina. This will be the second Masters for Caro, who reached the semi-finals of the 2017 edition. This is a good thing because at the same time there is no French player in the Top 40 of the ATP rankings for the first time since 6 July 1997. Caroline Garcia was 4 years old at the time. 


First time of the month: Marc-Andrea Huesler

There is no age limit for winning a first title on the ATP circuit. Marc-Andrea Huesler reminded us of this when he won the Sofia Open at the age of 26, where he dominated the 19-year-old Holger Rune in the final. Angered, the Dane now coached by Patrick Mouratoglou took his revenge a few days later by winning in Stockholm against a Stéfanos Tsitsipás whom he had already beaten at Roland Garros this year. This is Rune's second title this year. Only Carlos Alcaraz has done better among the Nex Gen in 2022. Five years ago the two men played doubles together at the Small Aces tournament: a small slap in the face.


Statement of the month: Serena Williams 

In tears after her defeat in the third round of the US Open last September, Serena Williams made a long speech and received a tribute that smacked of retirement. But if this seemed to be a foregone conclusion for everyone, the American sowed doubts in comments collected by the website The San Francisco Standard: "I am not retired. The chances of my return are very high. You can come to my house and see that I have a court. I still haven't really thought about retirement. I went to the court the other day and I realised for the first time in my life that I wasn't playing with a competition in sight and it felt very strange. It was like the first day of the rest of my life, and so far I'm enjoying it." Until the love of competition caught up with her.


Parents of the month

What do Gael Monfils, Rafael Nadal and Daniil Medvedev have in common? Well, yes, they are all top ten ATP players who lost in the final of the Paris-Bercy Masters, but above all, all three men became fathers for the first time in the month of October. After putting her career on hold during her pregnancy, Elina Svitolina - wife of Gaël Monfils - can now look forward to the 2023 season following the birth of her daughter Skaï. Skai is the limit. 


Anger of the month: Corentin Moutet

In September, Corentin Moutet made headlines by clashing at the net with Adrian Andreev after their clash in Genoa. This month, the tennis player-rapper didn't get into a fight with an opponent, but with the surface of the Naples court, which he considered too slippery. It even annoyed him greatly as Moutet threw his racket against the tarpaulin before abandoning the match against Serbian Miomir Kecmanovic because of the state of the court, as his coach Laurent Raymond explained to L'Equipe: "They had a problem with the surface which was not holding. Originally, these are clay courts. They put a wooden structure on the ground and then a lino and they poured a resin on it which didn't hold." Unless Moutet left the tournament because the spectators didn't appreciate his stroke of genius the day before. 


Hit of the month: Lorenzo Musetti

In Naples, Lorenzo Musetti - who dominated Matteo Berrettini in the tournament final - was on cloud nine. Just like his point in the second round against Laslo Djere with a beautiful tweener-lob. 

Joke of the month: Paula Badosa

We knew Paula Badosa, the tennis player. Now we discover Paula Badosa, the comedian and her famous fake birthday sketch. The principle is simple: make the restaurant employees believe that it is Aryna Sabalenka's birthday and see her receive a cake to the singing and applause of the whole room. Laughter guaranteed. If you're not into this kind of humour, you might prefer Alexander Bublik's joke about untying the chair umpire's laces.