All noise points towards a wildcard for Maria Sharapova at the US Open

The race to New York is on. At the end of the month Flushing Meadows will be ready for the final major of the year and one lady you can expect to be there is Maria Sharapova.

No official decision has been announced yet however all noise is pointing towards a wildcard in New York.

Sharapova was denied a wildcard to the main draw of qualifying at Roland Garros but at Wimbledon was giving one for qualifying but had to withdraw to due injury. A former champion at the US Open back in 2006 we can expect to see Maria compete.

Maria is currently taking part in the Bank of the West Classic down in Stanford this week and the US Open twitter account was very vocal about the Russian during her first round victory in Stanford.

After the match Sharapova said how she wanted to hug everyone at the match for making her return to the US one to remember which was then prompted with a reply from the US Open Twitter account which said…

“It seems like the feeling is mutual. Sharapova got a great reaction from the crowd after her match tonight”

I would be surprised if discussions haven’t been going on for a while and this would be (surely) communicated within all levels of the USTA/USOpen whether it’s directors or someone who runs the social media account. 

It would be a bit odd to be vocal and discussing support for Sharapova if she wasn’t to appear at Flushing Meadows.

Early signs suggest she will but we will have to wait and see.

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Yes, the tournaments at the CitiOpen are different sizes but just respect both!

The American hard court swing is underway and one of the first stops on the calendar is Washington. As of Monday Washington host’s the CitiOpen once again a tournament which has attracted a few top 20 players however there is an issue and all I’m asking for is a bit of respect.

The men’s tournament in Washington is an ATP 500 event with prize money of $1.75 million where as the women’s event is a smaller international event with prize money of $250,000 but played simultaneously which I don’t think is fair or respectful to the women’s tournament as it doesn’t get the respect it deserves.

The women’s tournament in Washington has only been going for a few years so needs time to grow but there is an obvious bias and would I say it is slightly sexist? Yes.

They make the decision to play the tournament at the same time, they could play them a week apart to give the men and women a share of the main courts.

Let me take you back to 2015 and the main court in Washington is the Stadium Court and over the eight days of play 30 men’s matches were played on the top court, want to guess how many women’s matches? 6…

I remember I was ready to watch Makarova v Pavlyuchenkova in the semi-finals of the women’s singles but at the same time the Bryan Brothers were about to walk on Court 1 for their semi-final in the men’s doubles and the powers that be in Washington decided last minute to swap the courts…

Is that fair? No

Just show respect.

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Why this former finalist might be favourite to make her mark in New York

Everyone wants to win. Many have, many still dream. Recent champions include Angie Kerber, Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova and of course Flavia Pennetta. One lady who has made the final before could be about to make her mark again and is no stranger to pleasing crowds in New York.

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This iconic picture from 2014 is Caroline Wozniacki in a nutshell. The passion, determination and fight she shows on court is second to none. Her performance against Sharapova at Flushing Meadows three years is probably my favourite performance of all time.

Wozniacki is a player who has been on the tour for so long. She has seen so much and achieved so much but what is missing from her trophy cabinet is a Grand Slam title. She’s come close in New York twice before making the final on two previous occasions and with no Serena or potentially Maria as we don’t know what will happen there it is up for grabs and the only previous champions taking part potentially this year are Angie Kerber who has been in poor form this year, Venus Williams who has made two grand slam finals this year and surprise winner from 2011 Sam Stosur.

It’s a possibility but the coming weeks are important for Wozniacki as preparations as necessary and the decision to play in Sweden this week is one I think is a great decision as she bids to find confidence and consistency going into the final major of the year.

The unlikely but totally deserved champion!

Going into Wimbledon I didn’t have Muguruza down as a contender. To be honest an early exit was predicted by many due to the rollercoaster of a time she has had since winning Roland Garros 13 months ago but it feels a life time ago.

The season had been disappointing and the headlines were about poor form and of course that on court bust up with her coach Sam Sumyk earlier in the year. Coming to Wimbledon Sam wasn’t there in the coaching team but former Wimbledon champion Conchita Martinez was and seemed to have brought some calmness and good feeling to the match.

As a former finalist she knows what it takes to get to the final and her game relies on that raw power she can generate via the backhand which is one of the best on the tour on it’s day and because of the risk behind the shot when it isn’t working and without it moments like this wouldn’t happen…

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There was a point during the tournament where I felt this is where she is a contender. During the match with Kerber she was just starting to take control as the first set went on and fought incredible hard and at such a high level something I haven’t seen from her in a while and the way she moved up the court but still defended quite deep when required was excellent.

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Muguruza is about 45% inside the baseline and 10% outside which is still a lot but she picked her shots incredibly well to get the better of the former world number one.

This is massive for Garbine. I remember she said winning Roland Garros was the best and worst thing that happened to her but she saved her best for when it mattered and more than anything that smile says it all.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

Going into Wimbledon I didn’t have Muguruza down as a contender. To be honest an early exit was predicted by many due to the rollercoaster of a time she has had since winning Roland Garros 13 months ago but it feels a life time ago.

The season had been disappointing and the headlines were about poor form and of course that on court bust up with her coach Sam Sumyk earlier in the year. Coming to Wimbledon Sam wasn’t there in the coaching team but former Wimbledon champion Conchita Martinez was and seemed to have brought some calmness and good feeling to the match.

As a former finalist she knows what it takes to get to the final and her game relies on that raw power she can generate via the backhand which is one of the best on the tour on it’s day and because of the risk behind the shot when it isn’t working and without it moments like this wouldn’t happen…

 

There was a point during the tournament where I felt this is where she is a contender. During the match with Kerber she was just starting to take control as the first set went on and fought incredible hard and at such a high level something I haven’t seen from her in a while and the way she moved up the court but still defended quite deep when required was excellent.

 

Muguruza is about 45% inside the baseline and 10% outside which is still a lot but she picked her shots incredibly well to get the better of the former world number one.

This is massive for Garbine. I remember she said winning Roland Garros was the best and worst thing that happened to her but she saved her best for when it mattered and more than anything that smile says it all.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              

                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Hats off ladies!

First up on centre court today was Johanna Konta and Donna Vekic. These two faced each other back in Nottingham just a week or so ago with Vekic winning the final but this time round on one the biggest arena’s on the tennis circuit it was the Brit who fought her way to the third round after a brutal 3 hours and 10 minutes of tennis.

On a day when temperatures reached 30 degrees on centre court and we also saw flying ant day these two ladies put on a show and a half. Both served incredibly well in high pressure situations especially as the match went into the latter stages of the final set but they continued to hold nerve and the tension in the match was sublime.

As the final set went on and on both players seemed to find themselves 0-30 down on serve but held nerve until right towards the end when Johanna Konta thought, let’s go for this and let the forehand cross-court go and press the defence of Vekic after looking a little tight on return throughout the whole match and progressed to the third round for the first time at Wimbledon.

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All credit to these ladies for playing a stunning match on centre court and you will not see a bigger embrace at the net all fortnight at Wimbledon!

Welcome back Ladies!

Just over 6 months ago Victoria Azarenka gave birth to her first child called Leo now the former world number one who returned to action in Mallorca lately will have her eyes set on Wimbledon and she will thrive off that atmosphere on centre court.

Also we have another returning playing in Petra Kvitova. About 6 months ago the two time Wimbledon champion was involved in a horror attack at her home where she was stabbed in the left hand with concerns over whether she could play again she’s fought as she does and defied the odds and is back where she belongs and is a threat going into the second half of the season.

These women are greats in the game and what they have achieved is bloody brilliant and to be back on the court playing competitively at the highest level after 6 months out is a credit to their fight, determination and strength.

I don’t think any are expecting major miracles from these two at SW19 but the fact both are there and have been playing a good level of competitive tennis mixed it with their experience at the top level makes them a threat.

They may not be a top 10 ranked player at Wimbledon but ranking doesn’t matter and the crowd will get behind these ladies. Just look at Ostapenko… who’d have thought that would have happened?!

Having these ladies back is great for the game in more ways than one. The competitive spirit they have is incredible but also to be back so soon. Petra was stabbed just over 6 months ago and Vika gave birth not long ago and one of these ladies winning at SW19 would be a beautiful story. They are inspirational, strong and bloody brilliant.

Welcome back ladies!

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40th on route to Singapore, Wimbledon dream looks unlikely for one former finalist!

At a time where the women’s draw is wide open opportunity knocks and for former Wimbledon finalist Agnieszka Radwanska you would have thought would be one of those looking for that opportunity but so far it’s been a horrendous season for the former world number 2 now at 10 in the world comes into Wimbledon with a 11-10 win/loss ratio after her defeat to Lauren Davis in Eastbourne where she is usually effective on the grass but lasted not long over an hour into the week.

There are moments in a career where you think this could propel a player going forward or on the other hand could halt them. Back in 2015 Aga was the surprise champion at the WTA Finals in Singapore and I asked the question can Aga push on and in all honesty she hasn’t.

At the moment Aga is ranked at 40 in the world on the Road to Singapore and unless something changes quickly Singapore will not happen for her and the ranking will continue to deteriorate.

Aga’s game is about flair and producing those brilliant shots most can dream about but it lacks that steel from the baseline and players aren’t afraid, yes they may get lobbed at some point but it hasn’t been a sustainable style of playing for some time and we saw against Lauren Davis the lack of impact on the baseline and during her own service games just a lack of movement and where the rest of the tour is right now is quite far ahead of Aga and a ranking of 10 I would say is false.

First up for Aga is Jelena Jankovic and to be honest I don’t see her coming through that match at all, I’d love to be proved wrong but the way the season has gone something incredible would have to happen!