Tennis Week Gone by - 18th July
The big story this past week was the revelation from Russian tennis player Alisa Kleybanova that she is suffering from cancer – Stage 2 Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The Russian chose her 22nd birthday to make the news public. Currently ranked 28th in the world, Kleybanova was ranked as high as no. 20 earlier this year but has not played since May when she had complained of feeling lethargic. She is currently recuperating in Italy and in a statement released on the WTA site, Kleybanova said if her treatment goes well, there is a possibility she would return to tennis. The hard-hitting Russian, who has often been criticized for her large frame, can take inspiration from Corina Morariu. The American recovered from leukaemia to return to tennis and also reached the Australian Open doubles final in her comeback. Here is hoping Kleybanova a speedy recovery and all the best in the toughest match of her life yet.
On the court, former World No. 1 Juan Carlos Ferrero won his 16th career title at the Mercedes Cup in Stuttgart with a 6-4, 6-0 win over Pablo Andujar. 31 year old Ferrero was playing only his third event of 2011 (and his first since May) and showed he is still capable of competing near the top.
In Bastad, world no. 5 Robin Soderling won the Swedish Open – his fourth title of the year – but the Swede desperately needs a strong performance at the US Open to salvage an otherwise disappointing Grand Slam season. And Feliciano Lopez, surprisingly choosing to play a Challenger event, won the ATP Challenger title in Bogota.
On the women’s tour, with most of the top names on the sidelines, two Spanish veterans picked up clay court titles. Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez won the title in Bad Gastein over local hope Patricia Mayr – her first in 2011 and fourth career title – while in Palermo, Anabel Medina Garrigues ended the 9 match-winning streak of Slovenia’s Polona Hercog (a player to watch out for) for her 10th career clay court title – the most among active WTA players.
The US Open summer hardcourt stretch kicks off this week in Atlanta for the men and next week for the women as the countdown to the year’s final major heats up. And finally, things have cooled off between Czech tennis couple Thomas Berdych and Lucie Safarova. In her blog, Swedish player Sofia Arvidsson wrote that Safarova told her the two are no longer together. That blog has since been pulled down from the world wide web. Just as I decide to put this one up.