I started this pre-Australian Open part with the two warm-up tournaments that are played this week, but there are also exhibition tournaments that are quite known and to which many good players are taking part. Although in some cases, we really mean “exhibition”.
World Tennis Challenge – Adelaide
The World Tennis Challenge is an event that features many tennis players from all over the world but, of course, it is the part featuring legends and active players that is the best-known to the fans.
This year, the four teams are as such:
- Australasia: Pat Rafter and Alexandr Dolgopolov
- Europe: Henri Leconte and Michaël Llodra
- International: Brad Gilbert and Stanislas Wawrinka
- America: John McEnroe and Tommy Haas
Add to this Mansour Bahrami as a wild card and you’re in for a loooooooot of fun, and I really mean a loooooooot of fun, especially as far as the doubles are concerned. Who has forgotten the antics of the Frenchmen in the finals last year, to which John McEnroe also took part and Ryan Harrison’s huge fit of giggles? “What is it about Frenchmen and being naked?” asked the commentator. I don’t know, but I laughed really hard.
Well, this year is no different, doubles-wise. Sure thing, Leconte and Llodra haven’t stripped (yet), but the great Henri actually did play sitting on a chair when they faced Team America! (Warning: giggle-inducing video!)
As I mentioned earlier, throw in Mansour Bahrami as a wild card and you get a lot of spectacularly funny points and shots, especially if Alexandr Dolgopolov is on the other side of the net!
There are many jewels on the WTC YouTube channel, to be honest, and visiting it often is always a nice adventure to watch funnies and incredible shotmaking.
AAMI Classic – Kooyong
There is only one shadow that darkened the AAMI Classic (a yearly classic indeed) and it was the withdrawal of Milos Raonic after his match against Mardy Fish. The Canadian Cannonman has a stomach virus and thus needs to rest in order to be ready to compete at the Australian Open next week. The Canadian sensation has been replaced by the Japanese sensation Kei Nishikori for the remainder of the tournament.
Nevertheless, it is a very nice field that we see again this year in Kooyong, with top 10 players Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Tomas Berdych, and Mardy Fish, along with Andy Roddick, Gaël Monfils, Jürgen Melzer, and Bernard Tomic.
There are many good matches still to come and we’re lucky, they are all streamed, even though we don’t have many highlights to see come the morning.
To be continued… again
Coming up later: players practicing and others fighting to qualify.