ATP Tour Blog: July 2012 in review

We get to visit the All England Club twice this month...what a treat!

It’s been a historic month of July on the men’s tour!  Wimbledon was epic, and set the stage of Roger Federer to climb back to the top of the men’s game.  We’ve seen a couple players reach personal milestones this month, and others climbing the rankings again trying to resurrect their careers.  And to top it off, the Olympics are underway at the hallowed grounds of the All-England Club.  Let’s take a look at the top storylines from July 2012.

On the ATP side…

-This month, King Fed has reclaimed his throne as the top ranked player in the world after winning his 7th Wimbledon singles title and record 17th major singles title.  He then proceeded to break Pete Sampras‘ record of 286 total weeks as the top ranked player in the world.  Just another historic month for the Swiss all-time great.  As the #1 player in the world and the defending champion of Wimbledon, he has to be the favorite going into the Olympics.

34 year old Tommy Haas has re-established himself in the ATP top 50 this month.

-We’ve seen yet another incredible resurgence from the 34 year old Tommy Haas.  Once again, he’s recovered from injury and come back as strong as ever!  In June of 2011, his ranking had plummeted into the 800s.  A little more than a year later, he’s back up to #35 in the world.  He’s had 2 top 5 wins this year, including a win over Federer in the finals of Halle for his first title since 2009.  This month, he had two top 20 wins and reached the final in Hamburg before losing to red hot Juan Monaco.  Can the veteran German continue his climb or will he get bit by the injury bug once again??

Philipp Kohlschreiber reached a career high ranking of #16 in the world this week

-Two guys reached personal milestones in their careers this month.  Juan Monaco has had a career year, and after winning the ATP 500 title in Hamburg he’s climbed into the top 10 for the first time.  Hot on his heels is German Philipp Kohlschreiber, who has climbed into the top 20 for the first time after reaching the final in Kitzbuhel last week and reaching the quarterfinals of Wimbledon.  He’s currently at a career high ranking of #16.  And, do you know who had the most aces in the men’s draw at Wimbledon?  That’s right…5’10″ Philipp Kohlschreiber, with 98 aces in five matches.

Brazilian Thomaz Bellucci has been playing some high level tennis of late

-Watch out for Brazilian Thomaz Bellucci!  He’s only lost two matches this month, and both to top 10 players (Tipsarevic and Tsonga).  However, he avenged his loss to Tipsarevic the very next week in the final of Gstaad to take the title, and his first round match against Tsonga at the Olympics might have been the best match of the first round.  Tsonga served unbelievable and proved why he’s one of the best grass court players in the world, but Bellucci gave him a run for his money, losing 6-7 6-4 6-4.   The lanky lefty clay-courter got a rough draw this week, but in the last month he’s gone from #80 in the world to #42.  Look for the big hitting Brazilian to continue his hot play into the summer.

Olympic Preview:

With only three weeks to recover between Wimbledon and the Olympic Games, the grass at the All-England Club is playing more like a classic grass court than the slower courts seen at Wimbledon in the past few years.  The courts are playing lightning fast, balls are staying low and taking strange bounces, and footing is a struggle.  Look for the veterans to handle the adversity the best over the next couple weeks, and look for some of the top players to get driven crazy with the tough conditions and get upset.  My predictions? I expect to see a Roger Federer / Andy Murray rematch in the final.

Stay tuned for more pro blogs in the coming weeks!  Thanks for reading!

-AG

The Grass is Always Greener on the Other Side of the…..Pond

I can now say that I’ve spent a whole day at Wimbledon. Yes, my first experience at the All England Club. Not to mention that it’s my first experience in Europe, let alone London. From spending what seemed like one day running into the next traveling (wait, it was one day running into the next!), to learning about how to use the Underground “Tube” for cheap easy transit, to figuring out which coin is which when using the currency of “£.” Then trying to do the quick math of how much I actually spent in US dollars. Jason! where are you when I need you?!

After a night that felt like no sleep (jet lag) and now that we (my fiancée and I) had discovered the ins and outs of the Tube, we were off to Wimbledon. The Grand Slam of all Grand Slams. Out of the Southfields stop and walking into the gates, I was in awe. Wimbledon and John McEnroe were the two reasons I became interested in tennis. With a camera in hand and two hours before the first match on Centre Court, we had some exploring to do. (Yes, we were very fortunate that some VERY good people helped us out with tickets on Centre Court.) First stop, Henman Hill. Or Murray Mount, whatever your preference. With a beautiful sunny day hovering around 80°F, it was already filling up with spectators getting seats and sun in front of the big screen. Next we walked by Court 19, where Flavia Pennetta would soon be playing. Right across the walkway, Sam Querrey was slated to play. We kept walking past some more outside courts and came up to Centre Court. It was just shy of two hours before Serena took court. We had plenty of time to cruise the grounds and get some pictures.

12:30 pm. We can’t wait any longer. We saw the order of play for the day and knew we’d get to see both Men’s and Women’s No. 1 players today. First up, Serena Williams handled business without trouble against Michelle Larcher De Brito. Her big serve and big groundstrokes are rather impressive. Next up: the Bull. Rafa Nadal took on Kei Nishikori. A straight set victory with dominating groundstrokes off both wings. No surprises there. However, I must say I really like Nishikori’s crafty game. Though it was a straight sets loss, it was much more competitive than the previous match. Lastly, Robin Soderling took on Robbie Ginepri. All I can tell you is that Soderling CRUSHES the ball. A big guy with even bigger strokes.

After that, we walked the grounds a bit more and caught bits and pieces of some of the outside court matches, then called it a day. We probably would have stayed a little longer if we didn’t have…wait for it…tickets for Wednesday as well!!!!!

Cheers!

Spencer