Maybe it’s because my next birthday is inching up…or that lately some of the things I see and hear make me feel old (I’m pretty sure I still don’t know exactly what twerking is?!). But I feel like the world is all sorts of retro lately, even hitting the tennis world…and I like it!
Even watching the Oscars last weekend, actors I grew up watching were on stage winning awards (shout out to Jordan Catalano for any “My So Called Life” fans — who knew we would see Jared Leto up there winning an Academy Award?!). So seeing some of my favorite tennis players make their way back on to the scene (in one way or another), makes me excited for the future of tennis!
Sad news today from the tennis world. One of my all time favorite tennis players, James Blake has announced his retirement and that the US Open would be his final tournament. I guess I shouldn’t be shocked by this, after all, it seems like Flushing Meadows is the place that many American players go to ride off into the sunset. Pete Sampras, Andre Agassi, Andy Roddick and now, James Blake. It’s probably a bit unfair to those great American champions to put Blake in the same sentence as them, but to me, he deserves to be mentioned. A former world #4, he has made the quarterfinals of the US Open 2 times, is a 2007 Davis Cup champion, and has earned nearly $8 million in prize money over his 15 year career.
Four former top-five ranked players along with rising American stars highlight the list of players granted wildcards into next week’s BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, CA. David Nalbandian, Tommy Robredo, Jakes Blake and Kimiko Date-Krumm have all at one point in their careers been ranked inside the top 5 in the world rankings. Up and coming Americans Tim Smyczek, Steve Johnson, Madison Keys, Maria Sanchez, Melanie Oudin and Taylor Townsend will all have their chance to take down some of the world’s best as well with guaranteed admittance into the main draw. Rounding out the wildcards on the women’s side are Shahar Peer, Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Kristina Mladenovic.
“This year’s main draw wildcards span from seasoned veterans, to rising American and international stars to those returning from injury,” said tournament direction Steve Simon in a recent press release. “Awarding wildcards to players like David Nalbandian, James Blake, Madison Keys and Taylor Townsend add to the allure of early-round matches for fans and provide the potential for these deserving athletes to break through and make a move up their respective Tour’s rankings.”
Some notables among the players awarded wildcards into the qualifying draw are former top-ten player Andrea Petkovic, UCLA standout Dennis Novikov and up and coming Americans Christian Harrison, Jack Sock, Rhyne Williams and Grace Min.
Players begin battling in the qualifying draw Monday, March 4 for a berth in the main draw that begins on Thursday the 7th. The BNP Paribas Open is the largest ATP World Tour and WTA combined two-week event in the world, offering more than $12 million in prize money.
Thanks for reading!