Best of Three: Memorable matches come and go in Key Biscayne
Last week was largely about hellos and good-byes. Playing in her first event of the year, Venus Williams made a grand return. On Friday night she (allegedly; see below) beat Petra Kvitova. Then on Sunday she simply outfought Alexandra Wozniak and won 7-6 (5) in the third set. Clearly there's some rust. Clearly her fitness level isn't full capacity. But the WTA balance of powers just got a shakeup.
Another welcome back to Alisa Kleybanova of Russia. Diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma last year, she played her first tournament in 10 months and won her comeback match. Heartening on every level. A warm hello to Grigor Dimitrov, a vastly talented future star -- we will hereafter refrain from the gratuitous comparison to you-know-who -- who beat Thomas Berdych. Hello Ryan Harrison, who acquitted himself well against Roger Federer on Saturday. Hola to Garbine Muguruza Blanco, a Spanish teenager who made the wild card dispensers look prescient, as she reached the fourth round.
Now for week two...
Straight answers were hard to come by and they involved explanations about broadcast windows and sub-rights and world feeds and TWI, IMG's production arm. To the average fan, all this, of course, is gibberish. All they know is that they couldn't find a match they wanted to watch. This at a time when you can get streaming video of Little League games and school dance recitals. Put this on Tennistv.com. Stream this on the tournament website. Pay a fan to record it on an iPhone. Something. Failing to make a marquee match available has the effect of diminishing the event while exasperating fans.
? Andy Murray is our latest SI Tennis Podcast guest. I defy you to listen to this and not find him thoughtful/engaging/endearing.
? Billie Jean King and the other WTA "Original Nine" are gathering for a reunion next month in Charleston.
? Though the publicity from the Republic of Tennis was bafflingly shabby, the "60 Minutes" piece on Novak Djokovic was flattering in the extreme. Fans will find that little new ground was broken here. But a nice hit, both for Djokovic and tennis. This also makes for a good excuse to link S.L. Price's profile on Djokovic last year.
? Discuss: who's having the worse year: Ernests Gulbis or Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova?
? Compare the 2012 Wimbledon poster with the French Open poster:
"We said "Gaudio" not "Gaudi" (or gaudy)" ... Check out 2012 French Open poster. (Thanks @dufussy). Not to be outdone, here's Wimbledon.