Match Points – Jan. 9, 2014

News and notes from around the game.

No Sydney WC for Azarenka

According to tennis writer Matt Cronin, there was no wild card available for former Australian Open champ and world No. 1 Victoria Azarenka, who is making her way back from injury.

It’s pretty hard to believe – especially considering whom the tournament awarded the two wild cards to.

The first is Daria Gavrilova, a former excellent junior who missed a lot of time after tearing her ACL and having surgery and is playing for Australia (although not officially yet). She’s also dating young up-and-coming Aussie Luke Saville.

The second wild card went to Jarmila Gajdosova, the Slovak-born Aussie who has been benefiting from these free passes for years. It’s not that she’s a bad player – hardly – and she has done well to come back from some tough personal and injury blows to get back to No. 70 in the world. But we’re talking about a premium player here in Azarenka – and a former Oz Open champ.

Gavrilova earned the Aussie Open singles wild card after winning the playoff last month. The 20-year-old is ranked No. 231; a little over a year ago, before the injury, she had been up to No. 124.

Fellow Aussie Matt Reid is NOT a fan:

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Aussie Open no-shows

Not news. But Jo-Wilfried Tsonga is out. tsonga Radek Stepanek is out. Janko Tipsarevic is out. Marin Cilic is a definitely not maybe.  Gael Monfils? He just pulled out of the Auckland event (personal reasons), and he had already bailed from the Abu Dhabi exhibition. Another, lesser-known pullout is Lukas Rosol. But he’s not injured. Rosol and his partner are expecting their first child right around that time, and he doesn’t want to take a chance on missing it.

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Sydney draws have some first-round appeal

Among the scheduled first-round matches at the Sydney joint event, the final warmup before the Australian Open: -Juan Martin del Potro vs. Sergiy Stakhovsky -Nick Kyrgios vs. Jerzy Janowicz -Sabine Lisicki vs. Carla Suarez Navarro -Agnieszka Radwanska vs. Alizé Cornet -Madison Keys vs. Svetlana Kuznetsova -Caroline Wozniacki vs. Barbora Zahlavova Strycova (didn’t that just happen? Oh yeah, it did!) -Samantha Stosur vs. Lucie Safarova  

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Nürnberg was dead, then it rose again

News at the end of last year was that the French Open tuneup event in Nürnberg, Germany – the site of Canadian Genie Bouchard’s first career WTA Tour title – was no more. This week, the tournament announced that it would indeed be back, the week before the French Open. Genie Bouchard wins Nurnberg

Good news. With the Estoril tournament apparently also being defunct, the number of tuneup events on clay was dwindling in a major way.

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Murray working with a sports psychologist

Andy Murray

In Perth, Paul Newman of the Independant elicits this from Andy Murray.

“I’ve been working with someone for a number of months now. “I don’t know if I feel like I need to travel with [a psychologist], but it’s not something I’m closed-minded about.”

“I think when it comes to psychology it has to be something that the player wants and the player buys into. When it’s someone else’s suggestion in the past I haven’t felt like it’s worked. But just now I think it’s working well.”

Murray wouldn’t name the psychologist. Interestingly, he hasn’t ruled out having the professional do some traveling with him.

Once again, the Scot is ahead of the surve.

Read more about it here.

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Genie surfs

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