There were four ATP250 tournaments this week, as well as a few Challenger Tour events and going back on all of them would take considerable time. For this reason, I will stop on a few players who, to me, marked the week for a reason or another.
He missed a few months due to a toe injury, a toe that is now permanently fixed to his foot. The last few years have been spent, in many parts, on the sidelines recovering from an injury or another. Since a year or two (maybe even three), many are those who predict his retirement from professional tennis, as they did/do with Andy Roddick, Tommy Haas, David Nalbandian, and even Roger Federer. The 30 + Club.
Roddick and Haas won Wimbledon warm-up events, Nalbandian reached a final, and Roger Federer added to his legend in Wimbledon. Many saw them retiring, instead, they proved everyone wrong.
Lleyton Hewitt did just that in Newport, this week. Having dropped to no 233 due to his recent injury and the (normal) difficulties upon coming back, the Aussie made it all the way to the finals, his first since Halle, in June 2010.
Unfortunately, for the first time in his career, Hewitt did not emerge the victor in a grass court final (now 7-1 in them), as he was defeated 7-6(1) 6-4 by John Isner.
Nevertheless, it was a great week for Hewitt, who is now, with this finals appearance, back into the top 150. With a favourable draw, I think he can surprise many at the Olympics, in two weeks from now. Furthermore, he is another proof that we should never retire a player until he is ready to do so himself.
From a veteran to a youngster, from a first ATP final in two years to a first career main draw. This is what Marco Trungelliti achieved this week in Umag.
The 22-year-old from Santiago del Estero (Argentina) defeated his countryman Juan Martín Aranguren, and Spaniards José Antonio Salazar Martín and Adrián Menéndez Maceiras to qualify for his first career ATP main draw.
Not content to do it, Trungelliti also won his first match in an ATP main draw when, in the first round, he defeated Paolo Lorenzi, 7-5 6-4. As a matter of fact, as is a bit customary with him, he came back from breaks down a couple of times during the match.
For Trungelliti is known for being a player who just never gives up and fights until the end. In the second round, against countryman Carlos Berlocq, with whom he shares the coaching of Francisco Yunis (also coach of Leonardo Mayer), we expected just that. Two players who know each other’s fighting capacities as well, as we know Berlocq is also one never to give up.
When we saw they would play each other, many of us wished for the match to be on the Centre court, as it was the only TV court of the tournament and we expected quite a battle. Sadly, it was on the second court and we could only follow the scores, but indeed, it was a battle, as Berlocq and Trunge battled for 3:06, a fairly even match for two sets.
In the end, it’s the veteran who triumphed, 7-6(4) 6-4 6-1.
This week, Trungelliti, now at a career high ranking of 224, is back on the Challenger Tour, where he will take part in the SDA Tennis Open, in Grez-Doiceau (Belgium). He will face German Mischa Zverev (7) in the first round.
If you want to see a little how he plays, here’s a little video I took during a qualification match in Buenos Aires earlier this year. What it doesn’t show is the fiery temper of the youngster. And believe me, a temper he has! Usually, it just fires him up. A player I quickly adopted a couple of years ago, and I don’t regret it. He has a lot of potential.
The least we can say is that Croatian Marin Cilic is on fire lately. Since Roland Garros, he cumulated a 14-2 record and won his second title in a month (and his first career title on clay) today in Umag, when he defeated Marcel Granollers 6-4 6-2.
In Umag, he became the first Croatian to win the title since the first ever winner of the tournament, Goran Prpic, back in 1990 (Prpic had defeated Goran Ivanisevic in the finals). Furthermore, Cilic did so without dropping a set, even though he did mount comebacks from breaks down this week, particularly in the semi-finals against Alexandr Dolgopolov and in the finals.
Cilic is right now in full confidence and it shows. Hopefully, he can stay healthy to continue building on it and get back to the top 10, where his undeniable talent can make him belong.
I risk repeating myself, but like the wine, David Ferrer gets better with age. Today, the Spaniard defeated his friend and countryman Nicolás Almagro, 6-2 6-2, to claim the title in Båstad, which he won in 2007 and where he was runner-up last year.
The World no 5 thus earned his fifth title of the season, a personal best, and tied for first place with Roger Federer in the year-to-date number of titles won.
Moreover, this win was his 51st of the season, an ATP top to this date (for 9 defeats, seven of which against the top 4).
To Janko Tipsarevic, who won his first title of the season and his first career title on clay in Stuttgart.
To John Isner, who defended a title for the first time when he won in Newport…
last but really not least…
To the great Roger Federer, now the sole record holder for the number of weeks at number one in the World, sitting atop the ATP rankings for a 287th week. Nike, his clothes and shoes sponsor, decided to commemorate the occasion by making a limited special edition of the Zoom Vapor shoes, which you can see here.
And to Guga Kuerten, who was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame yesterday. Smiles all around for one of the most loved players.