Welcome to Tennis Elbow, the column that looks back on the week that was in the world of tennis. This week, Charles Blouin-Gascon reviews the results from the previous two big tournaments in tennis.
On the long and difficult sprint that is the tennis season every year, the BNP Paribas Open and Miami Open back-to-back functions as an early oasis.
Ahead of the looming desert crossing that is the low-key April month, which begat the clay court season grind, which itself gives way to a summer spent running around on grass courts before moving on to hard surfaces, ahead of all of this is the relative downturn that allows us to all spend three full weeks in Indian Wells and Miami for maybe the two biggest «kind of a big deal» events on the tennis calendar.
Every year at this time, in other words, we have a bit of time to stop and look to draw broader conclusions as to what results X or Z mean in the grand scheme of things. Every year at this time, we can gather our thoughts and don’t need to immediately move on to the next event, because by and large there are none of major consequence.
So let’s do this: have we learned anything from our time in California and Florida? Maybe.
Let’s maybe get familiar with the lyrics to the Canadian national anthem?
We still have a hard time grasping the world we are living in right now, where the three most promising youngsters in the WTA and ATP are Canucks. Bianca Andreescu, Felix Auger-Aliassime and Denis Shapovalov have each taken their sport by storm and all look capable of becoming the best player on tour before long. For the Canadian that we are, it’s a strange feeling considering how little Canada has accomplished in its tennis history in singles.
Let’s maybe slow down on the Naomi Osaka train?
Now, we’re not saying the train has gone off the rails entirely: Osaka is still there atop the WTA rankings, with a healthy if small lead, and she’s still young with a promising game all the while still seemingly being wise beyond her years. But for as great as she’s been since capturing the 2018 US Open title and then the 2019 Australian Open, Osaka was pretty disappointing in Indian Wells, where she lost in the third round, and Miami, where she lost in the second.
Hey, it happens and it’s okay. Osaka will be fine. All it means is that it won’t all be easy, and that’s fine.
Don’t mouth off at Nick Kyrgios.
In a sport devoid of any kind of drama and pizzazz of any sort beyond the occasional “Yeahs!”, “Come Ons!”, in a sport where the most fascinating thing is always what the players accomplish and do physically and never what they say, Nick Kyrgios is a beacon of light and stands out where everything and everyone mostly remains the same.
He’s right, too. Shouldn’t the fan have been elsewhere on a weekend night but paying good money out of his own pocket to watch a player he apparently despises play a tennis match? Entitled fans are the worst. Never change, Kyrgios.
What’s wrong with Novak Djokovic?
Wasn’t everything supposed to be back to normal for Novak Djokovic, who could now add to his lead atop the ATP World Tour rankings by competing and excelling in the few events on the calendar where he had little to no points to defend from last year? Wasn’t he the overwhelming force who would steamroll everything standing in his way?
The optimists will say that the Serb’s third- and second-round losses in Miami and Indian Wells simply mean that the man is focused on excelling at Grand Slam events and nowhere else, while the pessimists will say that they’re symptoms of worse things on the horizon.
Whether the former or latter end up right will give us a totally different 2019 men’s tennis season.
Follow Charles Blouin-Gascon on Twitter @RealCBG