Five for Friday: Mardy Fish's bad luck continues in Atlanta
Time to clear out the notebook. This week, Mardy Fish got tripped up at the net, Wimbledon announced a change and the Lopezes get the Olympic nod.
Mardy's bad luck: Mardy Fish was forced to retire while leading 6-4, 3-2 over Gilles Muller in Atlanta due to a right ankle injury sustained while trying to retrieve a drop shot. Fish sprinted forward and tried to stop to avoid the net post, when his ankle buckled. "I did everything I could just to bring my head back," he said. "That brought my right leg out, sort of sliding and jarring it back and (turned) the inside of the right ankle. It was going to be either my knee, my ankle or my head. Thankfully it was my ankle."
Just add this incident to Fish's rough 2012, which includes an early slump in the spring, a heart procedure to correct an arrhythmia in May, and now, just as he began to find his form, an ankle injury. Fish, a silver medalist in Athens, is skipping the London Olympics this year, which makes it even more imperative that he uses the time to heal his body and, to be frank, go on a point grab through the smaller tournaments fielding relatively weak fields before all the big guns return to the tour. Here's hoping that ankle injury isn't as bad as it seemed.
Mind the Gap: The All England Club announced this week that beginning in 2015, the Championships will be moved back one week to allow for a three-week gap between the French Open and Wimbledon. That's great news for the players as well as the LTA, which runs the AEGON series of tournaments at Queen's, Eastbourne and Birmingham. The break should allow for stronger player fields and commitments for all of the grass court lead-up tournaments and perhaps open the door for more tournaments in the future.
But what about the effect of the move on the Emirates U.S. Open Series in North America? While Wimbledon and Roland Garros have a bit more flexibility surrounding their scheduling, the U.S. Open is virtually unmovable given the fact that it's scheduled around Labor Day weekend in September. So Wimbledon's shift back means a compacted schedule for the summer hardcourt season, though it could help the grass court tournament in Newport, which may now take place before Wimbledon, allowing for American players to come home after the French and play on grass before heading back to London. Aside from Newport, Wimbledon's decision could have an adverse impact on tournaments like Stanford, Carlsbad, Atlanta and Los Angeles.
Good to be a Lopez. Rafael Nadal's disappointment from missing the Olympics will be tempered somewhat by the fact that his absence has created a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for two of his good friends. Feliciano Lopez, a three-time Wimbledon quarterfinalist, will take Nadal's spot in singles. Marc Lopez, with whom Nadal has paired up for doubles with much success (the two won Indian Wells earlier this year for their fourth title together) will get his spot in doubles, pairing with Marcel Granollers. As for the flag-bearing honor, that will go to Los Angles Laker Pau Gasol, who was in Nadal's player box when he won his record seventh French Open in June.
Home is where JJ is: Jelena Jankovic scored her first win of the season on U.S. hardcourts at the Mercury Insurance Open in Carlsbad on Thursday night, battling past Melinda Czink to win 2-6, 6-4, 6-4. Jankovic, who has struggled mightily in 2012, was pleased to be able to fight through a sub-par day to win in a place that will eventually become her home. That's right, JJ's much ballyhooed real estate purchase in nearby Rancho Santa Fe is finally finished, renovated, and ready for furniture, she says. The eight bedroom house, which features a pool and a tennis court, is, according to Jankovic, way too big. "It's too big for my own good," she said.
She's visited the house in her off-time in Carlsbad and said she's there so infrequently that the security guards almost didn't let her in. "I was walking around there, and first of all, when I was entering there I was saying, I'm the owner. They were looking at me like, you're the owner? You're only like 27 years old," she said, laughing. "They were looking at me like, Get out of here. You don't belong here."
Jelena Jankovic is always good for a quote, always good for a story, and if you get her going, always good for a laugh. It's nice to see her winning again. She's a character. Miscellaneous: Add Gael Monfils to the list of players forced to skip the Olympics due to injury. He'll be replaced by Julien Benneteau in singles.... Melanie Oudin was aware that she had a chance to gain direct entry to the U.S. Open if she won a few more matches but opted to skip Stanford in order to train. Her team sounds confident she'll be awarded a U.S. Open wildcard given that she's the next American in.... If you're planning to watch the Olympics on the internet, be sure to sign up early on NBC.com to avoid any snafus.... McHale's Navy: Christina McHale, who visited a naval aircraft carrier earlier this week in San Diego, said her grandfather was a machine gunner in the navy in World War II... Add Janko Tipsarevic to the not-so-surprising-but-always-disappointing list of ATP players who think equal prize money is ridiculous.