The French Tennis Federation has allocated its two reciprocal wild cards for next month’s Australian Open.
And the winners are somewhat of a surprise.
The women’s pass goes to Pauline Parmentier (perhaps not such a shocker, although France has plenty of young female players).
But it’s not a consistent theme; the men’s wild card has been awarded to Lucas Pouille, a 19-year-old currently ranked No. 203.
That means veteran Paul-Henri Mathieu will have to go through qualifying. And another veteran – and a player who has provided distinguished service for his country in Davis Cup – Michaël Llodra, may have to do the same.
The Magnificent one© may get straight in; he’s only a few spots out as he starts the final campaign of his career. But it would be surprising to see him go through qualifying.
Pouille had a nice rise in 2013; he began the season ranked No. 431. Definitely a youth movement although Parmentier, who turns 28 a few days after the end of the Australian Open, doesn’t really qualify for that on the women’s side. Her career best was No. 40 back in 2008; she’s currently ranked No. 232 after struggling with a shoulder injury much of the year.
Exho of the day
In Anvers, Belgium (new mom Kim Clijsters took part in some doubles), home girl Kirsten Flipkens defeated Ana Ivanovic 3-6, 6-3, [10-7].
(Pic from Ivanovic’s Instagram)
In Caën, France, in an exhibition with more of a tournament setup, fellow Belgian David Goffin (who had defeated Michaël Llodra and Pablo Andujar (stepping in for Benoît Paire) in straight sets in the previous two rounds), defeated Richard Gasquet 7-6 (5), 6-3 in the final.
Gasquet had been parachuted straight into the semis, where he defeated Nicolas Mahut 7-5, 6-4.
Suárez Navarro and her elbow
Top Spanish female player Carla Suárez Navarro Tweeted this pic from her hospital bed today.
From the bandages around the elbow, it’s obvious that was the focus.
From what we can gather she didn’t actually have elbow surgery; but it was some sort of exploratory test.
So obviously there’s an issue; Suárez Navarro had surgery on that elbow in the spring of 2011.
Friends join Rafa in Buenos Aires
It obviously took a fair bit of coin for the Copa Claro event in Buenos Aires, Argentina in February to get Rafael Nadal to come and play.
Enough, that last year’s finalists David Ferrer and Stan Wawrinka have taken a pass.
But the tournament announced Wednesday that Argentine Juan Monáco and Nadal’s countryman, Tommy Robredo, have been added to the roster.
Pearlman talks to James Blake
Illuminating interview with James Blake from writer Jeff Pearlman.
A little hair product overzealousness
Here’s Roger Federer in a promo for his highly-anticipated debut in the Aussie Open warmup event in Brisbane.
We’re not sure what’s up with the hair.
Today’s DelPo treat
Juan Martin del Potro practices his overheads with one of his tryout racquets.
(Pics courtesy of Andy Eidman)