More Than A Pretty Face - UBITENNIS
Connect with us

Focus

More Than A Pretty Face

Published

on

Bethanie Mattek-Sands (zimbio.com)

By Cheryl Jones

When Bethanie Mattek-Sands first made an appearance on the professional tennis scene, she was something of a “freak-show”. It was the beginning of the new century. There was something about her though that was more trying to be hip and cool. She had managed to toss together outfits that were quite different from virtually anyone else on the tour. At first glance, it was the knee socks that are actually compression socks that older folks often wear to deal with swelling that might be a precursor to serious health issues for anyone – young or old. Then, there were the outlandish shorts or skirts and blouses that more than made a statement on their own.

It was more than fifteen years ago and she didn’t have a clothing contract. From the looks of things, that’s likely the case today. She was with Under Armour for a number of years and often played wearing decals that advertised the company, utilizing cheek bone black lettering – just like football players. Manly looking, she’s not. She’s not very tall by today’s tennis player standards. She’s just 5’6” tall and fit as can be.

This time out she’s been wearing a top emblazoned with giant strawberries. She has tattoos; but then these days, it’s the oddity to not have one if one is under the age of forty. She has received a good deal of publicity and has been called the “Lady Gaga” of tennis. (There haven’t been any beef steaks used for Malttek-Sands’ tennis garb, but I don’t want to give her any ideas.) A pre-Wimbledon party in 2011 gave her a chance to be decked out in a fluorescent green dress that was from designer Alex Noble. It was festooned literally covered with tennis balls.

Lest the world think that she is only out for a laugh; that’s not the case. She has been an outstanding doubles player who is now ranked Number One. Her singles ranking has been up and down repeatedly. Now it’s at 117 and she had to qualify to receive a place in the singles draw. Today, in her second-round match, she managed to eke out a win in two sets over a much more highly ranked player, Petra Kvitova, who had the horrendous injury to her playing hand after being attacked by home invaders. She had to work hard during both sets to take the match 7-6, 7-6.

Mattek-Sands spoke after the match and said, “I saw Petra before the tournament started. I gave her a big hug and I was really happy to see her back. You know she’s an inspiration. That’s what I told her at the end of the match (today). She not only came back from all of that; she came back playing well.” She followed that up with, “You know, we’re both competitors out on the court.” And that’s the thing with Mattek-Sands, she is all business when it comes to competition.

She plays mixed doubles, doubles and singles. That’s a tiring schedule for anyone, but as she said today, “You know what? I’m a competitor. I love playing matches.” She is a stickler for practice and beyond that, she loves to hear the fans while she marvels at the stadium in which she’s competing. She is a young lady from Minnesota, and she is hungry to see the world. She’s done it. And she’s done it her way; via a tennis court.

She loves Paris. She loves it in the spring when it drizzles as it did last year, and this year she loves it in the heat. She actually gushed with a litany of praise for the city that loves tennis and everything about it. And, to quote her once again, “I love red clay. I feel comfortable on it. I feel comfortable sliding.” And it’s apparent she does. She will face Sam Stosur in the next singles match. It won’t be easy for her, but with determination, she may just reach the Round of Sixteen that could lead her as far as she’s ever traveled in the singles bracket in Paris.

Reflecting on Stosur and the upcoming match, she said, “She’s coming off a win in Strasbourg. So she’s feeling confident on the red clay. Hits a big heavy ball. I’ll be ready for it.” And if the past is any indicator, she certainly will.

 

Focus

Tommy Paul Downs Lorenzo Musetti Wins Maiden Grass Court Title At Queen’s Club

Tommy Paul is the new American number one!

Published

on

(@TheTennisLetter - Twitter)

Tommy Paul has won his maiden grass court title at Queen’s Club after defeating Lorenzo Musetti 6-1 7-6(8).

The fifth seed was too good for the Italian who never really got going as Paul claimed his first title at ATP 500 level.

It was Paul’s third ATP title of his career and moves to world number 12 after an impressive week.

Heading into the final, Paul had beaten Jack Draper and Sebastian Korda and the American continued his red-hot form in the opening set.

Incredible movement on the grass as Paul played efficient counter-attacking tennis as he frustrated Musetti early on.

The American secured the early break for a 3-0 lead as the world number 13 dictated with power and touch.

Looking for a response, Musetti aimed to dictate play on the backhand and the Italian’s serve was firing in the next game as he secured his only hold of the match.

However, Paul was too consistent and solid as the American broke again and would soon win the opening set 6-1.

In the second set, Musetti started more positively as he was more proactive and aggressive as he looked to control his power more.

Paul managed to outlast Musetti’s early power to keep moving the Italian about and creating angles to hit winners into.

After a controlled start, Musetti produced a reckless seventh game as erratic unforced errors saw Paul break for a 4-3 lead.

The American was calm and collected for the majority of the match but when serving for the match Paul faltered under pressure.

Too many missed first serves saw Musetti with an opportunity to break back and the Italian didn’t need a second invitation as a crisp backhand return winner sealed the break back to level the set at 5-5.

An inspired Musetti applied pressure on Paul with some phenomenal hitting from the baseline as he secured consistent winners.

The American held his nerve to force a second set tiebreak as the American looked to overcome some jitters.

It looked like Musetti was going to cruise to the tiebreak but the Italian squandered a 4-1 lead in what was a highly entertaining tiebreak.

In the end Paul would win the tiebreak 10-8 and secure his first ATP 500 title as well as becoming the new American number one.

Continue Reading

Focus

Jannik Sinner Wins Maiden Grass-Court Title In Halle

Published

on

Jannik Sinner - Parigi 2024 (foto X @ATPTour_ES)

Jannik Sinner has reached another milestone in his blossoming career after claiming his first title on grass at the Terra Wortmann Open in Halle. 

The world No.1 ousted fifth seed and doubles partner Hubert Hurkacz 7-6(8), 7-6,(2), in a tightly contested encounter. Sinner was sternly tested by the big-hitting Pole who knocked French Open finalist Alexander Zverev out of the tournament on Saturday. Nevertheless, he managed to come out on top to become only the eighth player in PIF ATP ranking history to claim a trophy in his first tournament as world No.1.

“This means a lot,” Sinner told TennisTV. “It was a tough match against Hubi. I knew that I had to serve really well. You play only a couple of really important points throughout the whole set. I tried to produce in the best possible way in the important moments. 
“I’m very happy about this tournament because it’s my first time winning (a title) on a grass court. It’s a good feeling.”

Proceedings got underway with a 53-minuite opening set which saw no breaks of serves during the first 12 games played. However, each player had one opportunity to do so during the early stages. In the tiebreak, Sinner continued to be troubled by Hurkacz after failing to maintain a 5-2 lead. Then at 6-5, he was unable to convert his first set point due to an ace from his opponent. He missed a second opportunity to do so before prevailing on his third by hitting a shot deep to the baseline that his rival returned into the net. Making Sinner the first player to take a set off Hurkacz this week. 

It was a case of deja vu in the second frame with both players standing strong behind their serve. Hurkacz was unable to find a way to break but he did win over the crowd after hitting a fantastic over-the-shoulder passing shot without looking to win a point. 

Meanwhile, Sinner continued to weather the storm as he closed in on victory. The second tiebreaker saw him capitalised on back-to-back unforced errors from his rival en route to a 5-1 lead. Two points later he earned his first match point with the help of another costly mistake from across the court before closing the match out with ease.

Sinner’s latest victory is only the second time he has beaten a top 10 player on the grass with his first triumph being against Carlos Alcaraz at Wimbledon two years ago. He is also the second player to win Halle whilst ranked No.1 in the world after Roger Federer. 

Heading into Wimbledon, the 22-year-old has won four ATP trophies so far this season on three different surfaces. He has now won 38 out of his last 41 matches played. 

“I’m looking forward to it,” Sinner said of the next Grand Slam. “Last year I made the semis and played some good tennis. So let’s see what’s coming this year. 
“For sure I’m more confident on this surface. Obviously, the grass here (in Halle) might be a bit different to Wimbledon but I have a week to prepare so hopefully it is going to be a good tournament.”

Sinner is the 17th active male player to win a tour-level title on all three surfaces. 

Continue Reading

Focus

(VIDEO) Jannik Sinner And Lorenzo Musetti Create Italian Grass Court History

Italian tennis keeps getting stronger as Jannik Sinner and Lorenzo Musetti make more history on grass.

Published

on

(@TheTennisLetter - Twitter)

Jannik Sinner and Lorenzo Musetti created Italian grass court history by becoming the first Italians to reach ATP grass court finals in the same week.

The world number one, Jannik Sinner, overcame Zhizhen Zhang in straight sets to reach the final in Halle.

It’s Sinner’s best ever performance at Halle and will now face doubles partner Hubert Hurkacz for the title on Sunday.

Meanwhile at Queen’s Club Lorenzo Musetti reached his second ATP 500 final with victory over Jordan Thompson in three sets.

It’s Musetti’s third ATP final of his career and his first ATP 500 final since 2022 where he beat Carlos Alcaraz in the Hamburg final.

Ubitennis founder Ublado Scanagatta reflects on the historic achievements by Sinner and Musetti and the impact it could have on the whole pyramid of Italian tennis.

Continue Reading

Trending