Rain rain go away, Djokovic stands atop a depleted field, Kvitova wins one, and the tennis world moves to the Midwest. Click Read More to get your Weekly Wild Card
-The story of the Rogers Cup tournaments in Toronto and Montreal had to have been the weather. Rain delays were lengthy and numerous, and without a roof to cover the stadia, the players were forced to wait. On Thursday, most of the players were forced to play two matches, which is unheard of in Masters 1000 tournaments like this one. Rain also forced the women's final to take place Monday night, after the Cincy tournament had begun. The unfortunate reality is that a roof is simply not possible over any of the stadia used to host even these huge tennis tournaments. The four majors can afford these, but no one else can, and as a result the players and fans suffer. It's been this way for as long as tennis has been played outside, obviously, but with three of the majors soon to have retractable roofs, the problem becomes much more obvious.
- These two tournaments were also major causualities of the Olympic tennis event. While the Citi Open last week was the primary tournament to suffer, Toronto and Montreal didn't fare too much better when it came to the very top players. On the men's side, Roger Federer decided to skip the tournament due to fatigue, Rafael Nadal's knees prevented him from playing, Andy Murray tried to play, did win one match, but then withdrew prior to his third round match, and even iron man David Ferrer wasn't entered in the draw. For the women, it wasn't too much better. Serena Williams, understandably so, withdrew after winning the Olympic singles and doubles titles and before that the Wimbledon singles and doubles titles. Maria Sharapova picked up a bug in London, so she decided against playing, and Victoria Azarenka, at 3-3 in the first set of her first match, retired. This left Djokovic on both the men's and women's side as the only truly top player to participate fully in these tournaments.
-And Djokovic was rewarded for his perserverance. After losing a tough match to Murray in the semifinals of the Olympics to then even losing to del Potro in the bronze medal match, he came back and played a solid tournament, winning it. His toughest opponent was actually against veteran Tommy Haas, who took him to three, but other than that he took care of business, winning the title. He got a break in the final, playing a tired Richard Gasquet, but it was a solid win for him and should give him some confidence going into the rest of the hard court season.
- For the rest of the men of the ATP World Tour, this was a tremendous opportunity to make deep runs through the draw. Richard Gasquet, a talented yet habitually underachieving player was able to take the best advantage of this, and reached the final. John Isner, the American who had been struggling, was able to reach the semifinals. In the end, however, it was a Big 4 member who won, and that does beg the question. If even in a depleted field without 3 of the Big 4, no other player can win, when will it happen?
- On the women's side, with the aforementioned withdraws and retirements, other players were able to rise up and make runs. Three players who we had seen a great deal of the past two years but were no-shows this year all had great showings. Caroline Wozniacki, who had been the number one player in the world for over a year, had been awful in 2012, but she made a run to the semifinals, where she was defeated in three tight sets by Petra Kvitova. Li Na, whose last title was the 2011 French Open, showed great form as she made it into the finals. Finally, the champion, Kvitova, who hadn't won since the 2011 WTA Championships, finally won a North American hard court title. It was a great win for her, and one that she'll look to build on.
- Now the tennis world moves to Cincinatti, or more precisely, Mason, which is about an hour north of the city. The fields are much deeper, and all of the big names, sans Rafael Nadal and Maria Sharapova, are there. It's all on Tennis Channel, ESPN 2 and ESPN3. Enjoy the tennis everyone