19-year-old Christina McHale was praised for her potential by 2011 US Open Champion Samantha Stosur as reported by this blog last week. She lost a first round match to Aleksandra Wozniak, 5-7, 7-5, 4-6 last Monday in Charleston, and caught up with the tennis media shortly afterward. In the presser, she talked a lot about her career on clay.
“It’s been a decent twelve months for me”, she said, trying to stay upbeat even as the obvious disappointment of an early exit at the Family Circle Cup was still very close to the surface.
What clay warm-ups should we expect before Roland Garros?
“I think my first one will be Madrid, and then Rome, and then the one right before the French (Brussels), so hopefully, I’ll be feeling better on the clay by then.”
Memories and thoughts about clay play?
They had a 12s Super National that was on clay, so I think that was the first time I played a tournament on clay. If I practice on it more, I think my game could adapt well to it. I like the clay, I have to get used to sliding more, because I’ve never been that great at sliding, but I like it.
What’s she working on?
“I’ve been working on my serve, trying to get it more consistent and a little bit more power on it. Also, my court positioning, trying not to get so far back.”
On training at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New
York with Melanie Oudin:
Mel’s a good friend of mine. We haven’t really had too much time to practice together because I’ve been at tournaments, so we’ve missed each other. It’s nice, because everyone else is pretty young there so it’s nice to have someone else my age there.
So, does this mean Christina does not consider herself young?
Forgive me for laughing.
She’s the darling of the East Coast and the nation. Just don’t even think about calling her a kid.
Video of her play in the first round Charleston match is found below. If you want to know who’s asking the questions in the presser video up top, let me stop you right there and warn you that you have no challenges remaining. Their identities are revealed in the youtube desciption.
The first matches of the day are just wrapping up at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, California, and it can already be declared a banner day for USA tennis. Two American women have cruised through to the third round. World #99 Jamie Hampton upset #14 Jelena Jankovic 6-4, 6-3 for the Alabama native’s first victory over a top-15 opponent. Christina McHale also took care of business against Elena Vesnina 6-3, 7-5.
On a local note, Denis Kudla finished off a nice comeback against Tobias Kamke moments ago, 2-6, 7-6 (3), 6-4 in a match where it seemed neither player had the will to win at times. This was a rematch from their last meeting in Memphis, and a much closer result than in Kudla’s victory over Kamke in the Volunteer State. If you’re wondering what took them so long to decide the winner of the match, now you know. Kudla not only won the match, but he also won the right to play the greatest of all time, Roger Federer, in the next round.
Americans Sloane Stephens and Vania King play later tonight.