Birmingham Day 3

My third and final day at Birmingham was one to remember! Thankfully I bought some sun tan lotion on my way today!

First all before action kicked off on centre got the chance to see Kiki, Timea, Julia and Barbora Strýcová on the practice courts

Following that Rybarikova who has been impressive all week was back in action and from 1-2 down she took control with her stunning level of tennis once more going through in two sets

Following that as Strýcová and Tsurenko came on court I decided to go for a stroll to the practice courts for a bit and noticed Eugenie Bouchard on site practicing

A few courts down was Elina Svitolina who was last on centre court today getting in some practice with her coach ahead of her match against Buzarnescu who defeated Elina at Roland Garros not long ago.

Elina was kind enough as well to grab a selfie with me after her practice!

following this selfie with Eli I then made my way back to see the end of Strýcová who I also got a snap with!

Up next was the inspirational Petra Kvitová who was simply faultless once again!

Following this match was Elina Svitolina v Buzarnescu, the Ukrainian was bothered early on by her right leg but take nothing away from a stunning performance from Buzarnescu!

That’s me done! Birmingham, thank you! 🙏🏻

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Birmingham Day 2!

Day 2 of my visit to Birmingham was a very hot day! So hot that my face is now sunburnt!

First up on Ladies Day was Petra Kvitová who wasted no time against a frustrated Kasatkina winning in straight sets.

Next up was the top seed Garbine Muguruza who looked frustrated from the off as she fell to a two set defeat against the very impressive Barbora Strýcová!

After I then took a break from centre court and bumped into Kiki and Timea playing doubles on court 1 which they won! I was stood watching the match right next to top umpire Maria Cicak but was too afraid to ask for a photo. Immediately after the win Kiki came back on the practice courts with her brother Luka

I then wondered back to see Julia Georges save 5 set points in set one on her route to a straight set victory over Barty

And the final action of the day involved the double pairing of Watson and Boulter who unfortunately only won two games in their 6-2 6-0 defeat

Tomorrow is quarter final day but also my last day! I’m looking forward to a busy day on centre court with all 8 players in action!

I just need to remember my sun cream this time!

Birmingham Day 1

So, day one of Birmingham for me is over! What a day it was! Here’s some photos to recap an epic day!

Of course in true British style it was raining to begin with…

Once the rain disappeared on came Mladenovic and Rybarikova. Kristina was very impressive to begin with but her net play let her down too many times and Rybarikova put on a solid performance to seal the win.

After the match I then went to Court 1 and watched British pair Heather Watson and Katie Boulter win their doubles match!

After this match I was going to go see Naomi Osaka however she had to pull out with injury!

On my way to back to Court 1 to see Muguruza and Kasatkina team up in the doubles;

I also saw Buzarnescu walk on route to court 1

I had two highlights of my day, one was watching Elina Svitolina play live which was stunning!

And then as the doubles match finished i bumped into Karolina Pliskova who was kind enough to take a selfie with me!

Wimbledon announce first round of wildcards

As I wait in the rain at the Edgebaston Priory club for Kiki Mladenovic news began to filter through about Wimbledon wildcards for 2018.

The big news was that Dan Evans who recently returned from a ban after testing positive for cocaine has not received a wildcard for the main draw or qualifying which means he will have to go to Roehampton tomorrow, miss Eastbourne and hope to win 6 matches to get to the main draw.

Men’s wildcard recipients include Alex De Minaur, Liam Broady and Jay Clarke. More will be announced later.

Ladies wildcards include Katie Boulter, Naomi Broady, Ons Jabeur, Katie Swan amongst others

Laura Robson is the 76th alternative for qualifying after declining any wildcard

Welcome back Andy! Kyrgios edges 2hr 40min battle against the Brit!

Welcome back Andy Murray!

His comeback has never been about getting the win but his performance on his first match in almost a year after surgery was very good.

I said in the preview I’m not going to talk about their games and I’m still not going to go into too much detail however what we saw was very positive.

Andy served well and hit his ground strokes well to. With time he will improve his movement around the court which will allow him to get more power from behind the baseline and use those running shots to defend.

Kyrgios himself did seem to be struggling and looked frustrated as he pick up his first win at Queens in his fourth appearance and his first win against Murray on his fifth attempt. Focus will be now on an injury with him crouching a lot and whether he will play doubles with Lleyton Hewitt who is here this week.

The performance was good but it doesn’t matter. These next few weeks and months will be important in getting back to that level which is where I imagine Andy will want to be by January, if anything this second half of the season is a free hit!

He looked motivated and he looked fit and with a smile he will be back!

Welcome back!

The 342 day wait is almost over

The wait fans all over the world have been waiting for.

On Tuesday afternoon for the first time in 342 days Andy Murray will be back playing at a tennis tournament since Wimbledon last year. He was due to play in Netherlands last week but wasn’t ready and made a decision 29 minutes before the draw was to be made to play at Queens.

Unfortunately for Andy the draw gods have not been kind for him as he will play good friend of his Nick Kyrgios in round one; a player he has never beaten.

The result doesn’t matter and if I see one person in the media criticise his performance or ‘chances’ at Wimbledon they need to go and have a long look in the mirror. Don’t expect him to pull up tree’s.

Andy had surgery back in Melbourne in January which was a surprise to everyone as we only knew about it after it was done.

Recovering from surgery is tough but Andy did it a few years ago when he had back surgery and was written off after that, he then went on to play some of his best ever tennis.

Getting back to his level will be a long and difficult road. The tour has moved on but Andy is a hard worker, he said he felt no pain after surgery and when he could begin rehab he would do around 6-8 hours a day.

Seeing how the hip reacts to tour life is something time will tell and maybe it will mean a revised schedule like Roger skips clay, Rafa slows down around grass and is something I expect Stan and Novak to do now to.

I don’t really see the point in sitting here and previewing this match at all.

I think it will be emotional for Andy, his family and us his fans. He said he will be nervous and has missed tennis a lot so I think it should be treated as a celebration.

Welcome back Andy!

A new chapter awaits!

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Dissecting the Draw’s – Queens Club & Birmingham

Well, the draw gods have treated us to some stunning round one match ups at the ATP 500 event in Queens Club and the WTA Premier event in Birmingham where I will be next week. So let’s have a look?

Queens Club

Marin Cilic v Fernando Verdasco

Top seed Marin Cilic takes on an unpredictable Fernando Verdasco. Fernando’s game is very much at it’s best when he is able to sit on the baseline with time. He adapts well to all surfaces and recently secured his 500th career win on the tour. Fernando will provide a challenge and I think he could cause an upset here. Marin has been in good form this year with his Roland Garros ending at the quarter finals against Juan Martin Del Potro.

Stan Wawrinka v Cameron Norrie

I suppose the questions will follow for Stan. Stan is set to play here at Queens and then Wimbledon before making the switch to hard court. Stan has just pulled out of some clay events due to take part in July due to quick surface change and if things don’t go to plan here surely Wimbledon becomes a question mark? 

Cam Norrie was good on the clay so it will be good to see him play at this big tournament against Stan who has no match rhythm this year something he is hoping to find as he teams up with Novak Djokovic in the doubles.

David Goffin v Feliciano Lopez

David Goffin never seems to get the luck, The Belgian’s year which has been good has been halted a few times by injury failing to pick up momentum where we expected him to be a major part of the clay court season and a first round match up against Feliciano Lopez who is of course the defending champion after a stunning run to win here last year having come here throughout his career.

Nick Kyrgios v Andy Murray

Stay tuned 😉

Other matches

Jack Sock is in action against a tricky Daniil Medvedev who always provides a tricky test on grass. Milos Raonic is back in action after making the final in Stuttgart against Bhambri and could play Goffin/Lopez in R2.

Novak Djokovic is also at Queens Club and will open up against John Millman in R1 and round two match with second seed Grigor Dimitrov is possible!

Birmingham

Elina Svitolina v Donna Vekic

Well, I am hoping that this one doesn’t take to court until Wednesday but that’s unlikely! I’m so pleased Elina is here in Birmingham and I do hope to see her this week, likewise for Donna Vekic who is another player who becomes so dangerous on the grass courts.

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Petra Kvitova v Johanna Konta

After an explosive end for Johanna Konta in her final loss against Ashleigh Barty in Nottingham and it won’t get any easier against the defending champion Petra Kvitova who has been quite sensational this year. Despite being in front of a home crowd I do expect a 50/50 atmosphere as Petra’s story and win here last year really connected with the crowd.

Daria Gavrilova v Dominika Cibulkova

Two players I love watching. On their day they are unstoppable but unfortunately for Dominika more her day hasn’t come too often. It’s easy to forget she is a former Grand Slam finalist and under two years ago was stunning at the WTA Finals in Singapore, I would love to see her reach those heights again.

Daria is good to watch. She’s lively from the baseline and when it all comes together she does perform well however when she doesn’t perform the wheels come off, frustration is visible and it becomes a bit of a circus.

Other matches

Garbine Muguruza is the top seed and will open her week up against Pavlyuchenkova. British pair Heather Watson and Katie Boulter are also here and will open up against Tsurenko and Osaka respectively.

Pliskova, Mladenovic, Kasatkina and Nottingham champion Barty are also in action in Birmingham.