Reem’s #RG16 Diary: Bacsinszky, Muguruza & practice

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • Mail
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • WhatsApp
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn

Timea Bacsinszky is one player who should have a brilliant career in radio. She can have her own show and just give her thoughts on life and anything she wants. That’s practically what her press conferences are like anyway.

The Swiss No8 seed has been a strong philosophical voice ever since she returned to the sport two years ago, following a stint of working in a hotel restaurant and dealing with the emotional scars of having an abusive father.

On Saturday, Bacsinszky was asked about what it felt like playing her friend Pauline Parmentier and whether it is possible to have real friendships on tour.

It is a topic long-discussed in tennis and became a hot one on the WTA tour when Garbine Muguruza told a Spanish newspaper last year that “we all hate each other”, referring to herself and her peers.

Of course Bacsinszky’s response was way more elaborate than that and she even randomly name-dropped Alexandr Dolgopolov in the process.

“Well, I think you can have some type of friendship. Look at how I work with the other players on the tour. Well, I’m more or less friends with some of them…” said the Lausanne-native, who turns 27 next week.

“So I’m really in favour of peace. If there is one of them who doesn’t want to speak to me, I’m not going to come to her and speak to her. That’s the way I am.

“But then if I feel there is a feeling with some players, then, yeah. We’ll meet – well, perhaps not during all the tournaments. But, for instance, Pauline, well, if we’re at the same hotel, sometimes, for example, in Rabat we played, both of us, and in the morning at breakfast I was alone and she asked if she could sit and have breakfast with me. And of course we did that. We had breakfast together…

“But I wouldn’t say this is deep friendship. Well, you see, I know some things about her. She knows some things about me. But, you know, my friends in Switzerland, it’s totally different. I have a group of friends. That’s different type of friendship, and with the players, it’s not as deep.

“Because I think that if you have this very profound friendship between two female players – well, it might happen, but then if they play semis in a grand slam, you know what might happen? They might bicker and they might fight in a certain way, like girls do.

“Knowing someone well is something that helps you understand their tactics during the match. For instance, if someone is well organised in life, I don’t think that this person on a court will do anything and everything.

“I can’t really say, I can’t give you more examples, but I was thinking, you know, what’s the name? There is a Ukrainian player who is amazing, a Ukrainian player – Dolgopolov. That’s the name. I don’t think in life he’s very organised. I don’t know. I don’t know.

“What happens on a tennis court is something that mirrors the person you are. I have the impression, you know, those are just my beliefs and what I think, maybe someone is going to say, No, no, no, not at all. But, you know, these are the little things that you can see in the locker rooms. If a girl, you know, folds her towels away, et cetera, everything is clean and neat, if during a match you can break her game, maybe she’s going to be lost.

“I don’t know. These are ideas I have that come to my mind. So to have deep friendships in tennis is okay, but, you know what we want to do, tennis is our bread and butter. We want to win. We can’t give too much space to others. So we have to find the right balance, I think.

“Viktorija Golubic is one of my good friends on the tour.”

Earlier in the week, some of the top ATP players spoke about practicing with their rivals, like Stan Wawrinka hitting frequently with Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray practicing with Rafael Nadal…

I had asked Muguruza if she ever practiced with her fellow top-10 players. The Spaniard said: “No. No. I don’t ever see really top-10 women’s practicing with each other. Maybe, but it’s rare. I think we like to practice more with sparring partners maybe. But it’s rare, rare to see.”

World No6 Simona Halep had a very different view.

The Romanian said: “Yeah, I practiced with Victoria Azarenka, with Carla (Suarez Navarro), (Heather) Watson. So we practice together as much as possible.

“Sometimes you want just to hit with a sparring to do your job or with your coach just to have the feeling. But, yeah, mostly we practice each other always.”

So when would Halep choose to hit with her sparring partner and would she prefer a fellow player?

“Today before the match I practiced with (Roberta) Vinci,” Halep had said after her first round win in Paris. “So you don’t know. You feel it before the day, before the practice. If you want to hit with someone else, you go for it. If not, you just take yourself the court.”

Most popular

Reborn Kuznetsova returning to form at happy French Open hunting ground

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • Mail
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • WhatsApp
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
The 30-year-old won Roland Garros in 2009.

There are two Roland Garros singles champions still alive in the women’s draw: one is the current title holder and owner of 21 grand slams – Serena Williams, and the other is the under-the-radar, Russian mystery that is Svetlana Kuznetsova.

There are two Roland Garros singles champions still alive in the women’s draw: one is the current title holder and owner of 21 grand slams – Serena Williams, and the other is the under-the-radar, Russian mystery that is Svetlana Kuznetsova.

Kuznetsova’s career reads like the Fast and the Furious movie franchise – every few years, she peaks.

A winner of two grand slam titles, captured five years apart – the 2004 US Open and the 2009 French Open – Kuznetsova, who turns 30 next month, is currently enjoying yet another stint of resurgence.

A trophy run in Sydney at the start of the season, a trip to the finals in Miami – where she beat Williams en route – and a quarter-final appearance in Rome earlier this month have helped Kuznetsova come to Roland Garros as the No13 seed.

She may have been inconsistent throughout her career, but Paris has been a happy hunting ground for her, having reached the quarter-finals seven times and made the final twice.

On Sunday against fourth-seeded Garbine Muguruza, Kuznetsova will be looking to record her 50th match win at the French Open.

She credits her form this season to a mentality shift that focuses more on enjoying tennis. But once she started climbing up the rankings again, keeping that positive frame of mind was not easy.

Speaking after her third round 6-1, 6-3 victory over her compatriot Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, Kuznetsova said: “I was better today because first matches I was extremely tense.

“Today I said to myself ‘look, you got to get out of this tense’. I got to just play my game, and whatever happens, my goal for this year was trying to enjoy the tennis.

“Since I got a bit better ranking and everything I start to be tense again, and I don’t want it to happen.

“I had a great nap in the locker room while the guys were playing five sets (match before hers). I was great. I was feeling much better.

“So I said ‘okay, I just go out there and I want to be happy’. That’s the only thing I was concerned about.”

The strategy worked and the Russian veteran with the heavy topspin is into the last 16 at a major for a 27th time in 54 slams.

Not one to live on past glory, Kuznetsova doesn’t think a lot about her triumph in Paris in 2009.

“I mean, it’s been six years. It’s great memories, of course. Yeah, I’ve been in finals. I’ve been playing great here. I just want to enjoy it. I mean, it’s great to know that I’ve done great here, but I just want to look forward and try to do my best,” said the former world No2.

Kuznetsova has beaten Muguruza in their only previous meeting, on clay in Madrid last year, but it was a tight three-setter.

“She’s great player. She plays really flat and aggressive game. Yeah, she will be the favourite because, I mean… just favourite. I don’t know why,” Kuznetsova said with a smile when discussing Muguruza.

“But I just want to go out there and just try to play my game.”

Most popular

Shelby Rogers shocks No. 10 seed Kvitova in French Open

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • Mail
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • WhatsApp
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
Great result: Shelby Rogers.

Two-time Wimbledon champion and No. 10 seed Petra Kvitova was sent packing by world No. 108 Shelby Rogers in the third round at Roland Garros on Friday, while Andy Murray recaptured his form in a smooth win over Ivo Karlovic.

Rogers, who had won just one match at Roland Garros prior to this campaign, knocked out her second Czech seed of the week, having ousted 17th-seeded Karolina Pliskova in her opener, before ousting Kvitova.

The 23-year-old American played the match of her life to complete a 6-0, 6-7 (3), 6-0 victory over Kvitova and reach the fourth round of a grand slam for the first time in her career.

Kvitova struck 36 unforced errors, double the number of Rogers, and called the defeat one of her worst ever at a major.

“I felt like nothing really worked today. I think I didn’t start well the match and I was feeling very tired and my legs were very heavy,” said Kvitova, who had made the semifinals in Paris in 2012. “I felt just weird. I didn’t really sleep tonight and it’s just difficult day today.”

No. 6 seed Simona Halep narrowly avoided Kvitova’s fate as she survived the brute force of 18-year-old Japanese Naomi Osaka.

Before the match, Osaka had told reporters that interviews were “her thing”. Following her 4-6, 6-2, 6-3 defeat to Halep, the world now knows that tennis is very much her thing too.

Osaka was contesting just her second grand slam main draw and was facing a top-10 player for the first time in her young career. But that didn’t stop the Japanese-Haitian teenager from stretching Halep, a runner-up at Roland Garros in 2014.

“At the risk of sounding really arrogant, I kind of think that I can play with the top-10 players, like I feel like I can play with anybody. I just have to be consistent and not freak out all the time,” said Osaka.

Halep’s next opponent is former runner-up Sam Stosur, who improved her poor record against last year’s finalist Lucie Safarova to 4-11 with a hard-fought 6-3, 6-7(0), 7-5.

Second-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska had a difficult time before beating Barbora Strycova 6-2, 6-7(6), 6-2.

After fighting through 10 sets in three days to get through his first two rounds, Murray got his campaign back on track with a 6-1, 6-4, 7-6(3) over the giant-serving Croat Karlovic.

“It was nice to win quickly today,” said Murray, who broke the 2.11m Karlovic with an inch-perfect lob in the first game of the match and never looked back. “It’s a matchup that I like. I have had good success against him in the past, and I have always enjoyed playing against serve and volleyers, normally.”

The No2 seed will be pleased to know that he faces another big server in John Isner in the fourth round.

Defending champion Stan Wawrinka set up a last 16 meeting with Serbia’s Viktor Troicki, thanks to a 6-4, 6-3, 7-5 win over Frenchman Jeremy Chardy.

Nick Kyrgios was bothered by a pain in his shoulder during his 6-2, 7-6 (7), 6-2 defeat to No9 seed Richard Gasquet.

“I felt it this morning when I was in my warm-up, and I didn’t think it was anything, but it was bothering me a little bit and I got physio on it. It actually loosened up toward the start of the second set, so it’s hopefully not too bad,” said Kyrgios.

Kyrgios and Gasquet had split their previous two grand slam meetings – at Wimbledon – but the Aussie was unable to make it competitive yesterday.

“I got absolutely destroyed. Wasn’t really fun,” said Kyrgios.

Gasquet was happy to get through in straight sets, particularly against someone who once saved nine match points before defeating the Frenchman at Wimbledon two years ago.

“Great for me to win against Nick in three sets. He’s one of the biggest players now, played very good last two months. Of course it’s a big victory, especially for me on center court at home with my crowd. It’s very nice for me,” said Gasquet.

He next faces No. 5 seed Kei Nishikori who went the distance before beating Spaniard Fernando Verdasco 6-3, 6-4, 3-6, 2-6, 6-4.

Most popular