The Last Word: March 20, 2014

Whatever Bernard Tomic does in his tennis career, which is still in its early stages, he may forever remain in the record books.

But it’s not something he’ll be very proud of.

The young Aussie returned to competition far ahead of schedule from double hip surgery (performed after he retired in his first-round match against Rafael Nadal at the Australian Open) to play Miami, for reasons that surely had nothing to do with his ability to actually perform.

Clearly, he wasn’t ready. Tomic lost 6-0, 6-1 to veteran Jarkko Nieminen. Total match time: 28 minutes, 20 seconds (and remember this actually includes five 90-second changeovers). He won just 13 points.

That’s actually impressive, and knocks former Canadian Greg Rusedski (vs. Carsten Arriens long ago) off that “lofty” perch.

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Timing is everything

On the day Tomic half-houred his way out of Miami, Head officially announced that Tomic was returning to the fold, after a couple of years with Yonex.

It wasn’t exactly a breaking news; Tomic played with a Head racquet during the Aussie summer swing.

Here’s the *official* quote from Tomic:

“I am very happy to be back with HEAD. I have always been impressed with the quality and extra care that goes into the development of HEAD racquets”, says Tomic who already played HEAD racquets between 2007 and 2011. “I know that when I step on the court, I have the best weapon in my possession to do some serious damage.”

On his first official day as a Head-head, he certainly did. But probably not the kind they wanted.

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Azarenka out of Monterrey, too

She tried a match at Indian Wells, but that was painful to watch (and probably play). No Miami for her, either. And now Victoria Azarenka has pulled out of the small event in Monterrey, Mexico, where she would have been the top seed.

The foot injury that has dogged her since the Australian Open continues. One quote from the tournament director had her out maybe another two more months with it.

VictoriaAzarenka

The Monterrey tournament hasn’t had much luck – but of course, as a lower-tier event, it’s definitely at the mercy of the top stars who deign to play them.

Two years ago, it was Serena Williams, announced as the star, who bailed because of injury. The last two years, it’s been Azarenka.

Juan Ceballos of ESPN’s Spanish arm reports tournament organizers will set their sights on trying to get Li Na to play.

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Serena loads it up

What’s more impressive than the way Serena Williams came back from a slow start to beat Yaroslava Shvedova today in Miami?

That she was able to do it wearing all this gunk around her eyes.

Serenaeyemakeup

Ewwwwww.

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Paris becomes Toulouse

Sadly, an event – a high-profile women’s event – exits Paris as the GDF Suez, held right after the Australian Open, is moving.

ParistoToulouse

The event, whose director is the fabulous Amélie Mauresmo, is a rare opportunity for the best players (especially the best French players) to strut their stuff in France, other than Roland Garros, obviously. It will be in Toulouse the next five years and be named the Open de Paris Coubertin.

Which, obviously, makes no sense. This move coincides with the end of of GDF-Suez’s sponsorship.

That tournament really kind of needs to be in Paris, doesn’t it? To me, it’s emblematic of the third-class status the women’s game has in that tennis-mad country. It’s been there since 1993.

There were reportedly groups from Germany, China and other Asian countries willing to buy the tournament and move it (at least, that’s what the newspaper La Dépêche reports), so at least it’s still in France.

Toulouse last hosted a high-level event 15 years ago, a men’s tournament.

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4 thoughts on “The Last Word: March 20, 2014

  1. Thank you for clarifying a confusing situation.

    • I just spoke to someone with the ATP who cleared it up even more. It’s actually not confusing at all. Pretty cut and dried. Will have a story up later.

  2. Can you throw some light on the Tomic playing Miami controversy? An Australian newspaper account, published before he played the match, said the original plan was to come back April 13 for Monte Carlo, which certainly makes more sense in terms of recovery and preparation time. So I wondered exactly when Tomic entered the Miami tournament.
    His trainer said he played it to avoid penalties, that players were “fined heavily” for missing tournaments. I tried to find the rules on the ATP website but could only find what looks like a summary, so am still confused. I thought that if a player was out of competition for a minimum of 30 days with a verifiable injury he did not receive penalties.
    Also, Tomic is not a commitment player, so does that have a bearing on whether he needs to play a Masters 1000?

    • Monte Carlo is a similar situation in that that’s where Tomic lives. But since the plan is to be fully ready for the grass season (not sure tender hips and slippery grass are the best mixture for a return – ask Raonic), he’s going to want some play.

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