From the heart of North Devon
Returning to play and getting back to league tennis
What a roller coaster the last year and a bit has been. Despite periods of nice weather and a few gaps in 2020, returning to tennis feels much more important this time.
We’ve changed too. I’ve never seen so many people pleased to get back to playing and to see each other again. It’s even been moving. How do we get that ball to the other end? Ah, that’s how.
The leagues coming back. Are you ready for the competitive juices to flow again? It’s the time where we wink at our opponents, some from our own club. Are you ready? Well, we hope you enjoy your matches and good luck in 2021.
Elsewhere on the tour
Chris Evert Interviews 10 current WTA players
Chrissie is a former world number 1 and top 10 player from the 1970’s and 1980’s who’s talking to current players about how they got into tennis and what’s it like on the tour.
In the first interview Chrissie talks to Ash Barty, the current number one. After getting into tennis almost by accident, she had an excellent junior and early pro career. Gradually she felt the pressure of being on the tour, the traveling and being away from her family. She decided to take a break. Clearly a talented athlete Ash took up cricket. After a couple of years, after watching tennis, she decided to return to the game. Ash freely admits to experiencing ups and down, but with newfound perspective, Ash’s results have improved over time. A win at Roland Garros and a couple tournament wins in 2021, Ash Barty is now more comfortable in her own skin.
See the WTA interviews Here
Three pieces of news. Obvious anticipation at the tournaments return to the calendar this summer, albeit with some restrictions. Everything is being done to be upbeat as practical by saying at least 25% of capacity will be allowed to attend. So maybe an outside possibility of nudging this number up.
From 2022, the middle Sunday is going to be a permanent fixture. Its only been activated four times since 1991. The others being 1997, 2004 and 2016. Whilst manic Monday was great for spectators, spacing of matches for players, in use at the other slams already, is to be introduced.
To mark a hundred years since moving from Worple road to Church road, Wimbledon is taking ownership of Wimbledon Park. Well not all of it, just the bit the golf course and lake currently occupy. This area, formally designed by the landscape architect Capability Brown in the 18th century, will more than double the footprint of Wimbledon. As well as retaining a lot of landscape features, it is where a new Garden Stadium will be built, opposite Court 1, plus 70+ grass courts. which will enable the qualifying competition to be played there the week before. The stadium is planned to come into use from 2024 with remaining features over the remainder of the decade. An exciting series of changes to come.
See most up to date info Here
12 in Barcelona, 10 in Rome
We can only be talking about Rafa. It means so much to Rafa, even after all his achievements. We were again treated to his traditional laying in the dirt, spraying the court in his sweat and apologising to his opponent for beating him. In this case, Stefansos Tsitsipas. 3 hours and 38 minutes. Coming from behind in the first set, Rafa led by a set, 5-4 and had 2 match points. Stefanos recovered, won the tie-break, and had match points of his own at 5-4 in third. It was Rafa’s turn to recover and take the win. Needless to say, confidence is now sky high. Stefanos should not be disappointed. He’s been playing great since Monte Carlo and looks like a real competitor.
And now Rome. Such a series of intense matches. Nothing is easy on clay. Countless players could have won matches they did not. Denis Shapovalov v Nadel. 3 ½ hours. Denis led a set & 3-0 in second with point for 4-0. Had two match points in third, but Nadal takes it. Thiem v Lorenzo Sonego. An Italian player who delivered lights out tennis all week long winning third set tiebreaker either could have won. Djokovic v Tsitsipas, Sonego v Djokovic and finally Nadal v Djokovic. Where do the best athletes find the energy to play tennis like this, 4 or 5 days in a row? People kept saying “Rafa is looking vulnerable”, but one commentator said, “No matter how difficult the situation, Rafa finds a way.”
So, where does this leave ‘vulnerable’ Rafa at Roland Garros? Pundits have been writing him off since 2005. “He’ll never pass the age of 23 playing like that” etc. After 13 wins, 2 losses (Soderling 2009 & Djokovic 2015) and one retirement in 2016, Rafa looks as strong as ever. Over 5 sets on clay he is rarely matched.
ARC Summer Open
It’s good for tournaments to be back on the calendar.
A week long Tournament for all ages and all standards from 6 to 60 plus. Junior events are played during the day on set days whilst adult play is daytime at weekends and Bank Holiday Monday then 6pm onward's during the week. There are Open and Vet’s events in both singles and doubles.
Taking place from 29 May – 6 June. We hope to see lots of you there.