There’s a little more wildcard drama than usual at this year’s Family Circle Cup, since it’s been rumored that Maria Sharapova and/or defending champion Caroline Wozniacki might very well take that last spot if they get the call.
Matt Sodo from ESPN explained the confusion a couple of weeks ago in his perfectly titled article ‘Star Security Backfiring on WTA?’.
The long and short of it is that Wozniacki may or may not be eligible, according to Sodo. But it’s very probable that she is hungrier for rankings points now than she has been in over a year. Sharapova, too, could use every point she can earn in the event of a sputter by Azarenka this year. Bartoli just gave her hope as the future President de la Republique handed Azarenka her first loss of the year tonight.
According to FamilyCircleCup.com, 45 players are pictured in their Qualifying Player Field Gallery, meaning that there could be up to three more entrants. Their Main Draw Gallery shows 55 players or spots (with 1 Wild Card and the 12 Qualifiers place-held), leaving possibly one extra wild card.
We reached out to the Family Circle Cup, but haven’t heard a word from them as of this posting.
Tennis East Coast is on the story and will drop our mustard-sauced barbeque sandwich, a South Carolina delicacy, as soon as news breaks. Let me remind you that my family soup contains West Virginia, Western North Carolina, Tennessee and Louisiana ingredients. So this ancestral Southerner awaits with great anticipation both the wild card announcements and a chance to see the Best Tennis Town in the USA up close and personal during the region’s biggest tennis event of the year.
ESPN’s Mary Joe Fernandez and Darren Cahill held a conference call today wherein they discussed current events and observations of the game.
For one, Fernandez is fond of Christina McHale:
Christina is such a hard worker, with a great disposition. She wants to keep improving her game and she had a really good week. The next step for her is to finish off her matches. She had bad luck not finishing off Kerber, but I was proud of how she finished against Kvitova. She knows the keys to improving and her ranking just keeps going up.
Cahill was asked if he would compare the men’s top 10 of today to the top ten of ten years ago.
Every generation is different, but if you go back to Chang or Krajicek, Sampras and the others, if you were outside the top 10, if you could step your game up a notch, you felt like you had a chance. Now, these players today, the top 4, are more physical than I’ve ever seen. Djokovic had problems with his serve. He solved that problem. (Today’s Top 4) are the best movers and the best returners, too. We’re very lucky to be in this era.
On the hindrance rule of which Serena Williams fell afoul in last year’s US Open and Mardy Fish violated at Indian Wells before retiring to Matthew Ebden:
MJF: If you say “C’mon!” before the point is over, that’s hindrance. I think it was a good call on Serena at the US Open.
DC: The rule is quite simple. The point is awarded to the other player. Even if you smash a point and yell ‘come on’ before the second bounce. There needs to be a little more common sense in interpreting the rule. That was pretty rough that Mardy lost that point.
After declaring that Nick Bollettieri should definitely be in the International Tennis Hall of Fame, Cahill opined to Tennis Maryland on the difficulties of a younger coach coming along in the style that Bollettieri or Braden did.
The question of putting together a tennis academy is much tougher than it once was. The elite juniors of the world and their associations hire away good coaches. But the best coaches in the world are the ones whose names we don’t know. They’re the ones on court with the 8-to-12 year olds day in and day out.