Tennis-wise it has been a great week so far. My game is feeling good, both physically and mentally, and I’ve been able to get in plenty of hours out on the drilling court as well as a handful of sets. Physically, my knee is feeling better than it has in some time. I’ve been pushing myself to the limit over the last week and so far the body’s holding up nicely. It seems like the more movement and gym work I do the better the knee feels. When I barely move or skip a day or two of running on the treadmill or out on the field that’s when things tighten up and become stiff and sore. Sometimes these kinds of injuries don’t make sense, but hey, I’m smiling and I’m going to run with it and ask questions later.
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.
-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??
-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.
-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.
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!
It’s been an exciting first half of the 2012 season on the ATP Tour! We’ve seen Roger regain the #1 spot in the world rankings and three different players win majors, which hasn’t happened to start the year since 2005. Anything can happen leading into the Olympics in a couple weeks and with the American hard court season looming. Let’s take a look at who’s hot and who’s not on the ATP Tour leading into summer…
Roger Federer – Record 287 weeks at #1. He’s just won his record 17th major and record-tying 7th Wimbledon title. He’s compiled a 46-6 record so far in 2012 with 5 titles, with two Masters 1000′s (Indian Wells and Madrid) and a major. Don’t look now, but Roger has returned to the throne at the top of the men’s game, and he’s turning 31 next month. G.O.A.T.? Without a doubt!
Marin Cilic – He’s won 2 titles in 2012 and they have both come in the last month, winning Queen’s Club (Nalbandian’s epic meltdown) and this past week’s clay court event in Umag in his home country of Croatia. After missing the first couple months of the year due to injury, Marin has compiled a 22-10 record (and four of those losses are to Del Potro). His only top 10 win of the year was against Isner in Madrid, but I think the big serving Croatian is gaining confidence and finding his form coming into summer.
Brian Baker – Is there a better story in tennis right now than this guy? After five surgeries and leaving the game to coach college tennis at hometown Belmont University in Nashville, TN, the smooth-moving American has come back with a bang and exploded into the world’s top 100 rankings. And if you think his recent results are a fluke then you’re heavily mistaken…he was formally number 2 in the world in juniors, and he’s won 32 of his last 38 matches dating back to April. Watch Brian continue his hot play on the American hard courts and reach the top 50 by the end of the year.
John Isner – After beating Djokovic and reaching the finals in Indian Wells in March, the big serving Georgia Bulldog hasn’t done much in tournament play since the tour moved over to Europe for the clay court season. I know he won Newport this past weekend, but his best win of the week was against fellow American #48 ranked Ryan Harrison, which just so happens to be his highest-ranked win in the last two months. He lost 5 of his 8 matches on the red dirt, which normally is a surface he’s strong on. Hopefully the big man can pick up some momentum in front of the home crowds in the States this summer, because the confidence seems to be lacking a bit in recent weeks.
Feliciano Lopez – He’s lost 6 of his last 7 matches, including a first round loss at Wimbledon followed by a first round loss at a Challenger event in Colombia against the 213th-ranked player in the world. Not sure what’s going on right now with the big lefty from Madrid, but he’s seen his ranking drop from a career high #15 in April to his current #30 position. We’ll see if he can get out of a tough section of the draw in Gstaad, Switzerland this week and gain some momentum for the coming weeks.
Gael Monfils – He’s been struggling with a knee injury since the beginning of the year, and we haven’t seen him since his loss to Brian Baker in Nice just before the French Open. Given his history of injuries, who knows when we will see the exciting Frenchmen again. He’s got some ranking points to defend from last year’s summer hard court season, so if he doesn’t come back soon he’ll be out of the top 20 for the first time since 2008.
Stay tuned for more pro tennis talk as the summer action heat’s up! Thanks for reading!