Tennis Prose



Desperation In Indian Wells

The wondrous tennis paradise of Indian Wells also has a flip side. It is also where several desperate pro tennis players will try to save their careers with a breakout week in qualies and hopefully main draw…

31 year old Tennys Sandgren got a WC into qualies and will play Dusan Lajovic. Sandgren is ranked 224 now. He previously played and lost to the Serbian at 2014 AO qualies 76 63.

Stefan Kozlov, 25, will play qualies as a lucky “alternate” vs. 33 year old 594 ranked Italian Roberto Marcora who is in by “protected ranking.” Kozlov is ranked 358 now and looking to improve his 9-26 career ATP World Tour record.

Steve Johnson is 33 now and ranked 137 and he will face the challenge of 20 year old Zachary Svajda. Johnson has a record of 3-6 this year in qualies and Challengers and has lost his last four matches.

32 year old Bradley Klahn is back after a long injury hiatus, he’s ranked 485 and will play Alex Popyrin. Klahn was once ranked 131 and has a career ATP record of 8-16. Klahn beat Popyrin last year at Cincy qualies 75 76.

34 year old Yuichi Sugita is ranked 813 and is using his Protected ranking to play qualies where he will face Thanasi Kokkinakis, a man he beat at 2021 US Open qualies.

29 year old WC Mitchell Krueger is ranked 212 now and will play Francesco Passaro in qualies first round. Krueger was once ranked 135 and has a career record of 7-17.

31 year old Coco Vandeweghe is ranked 125 now and plays Laura Siegemund. She was once ranked 9 in the world and has won two WTA titles.

35 year old Sara Errani is ranked 97 and still grinding it out in the WTA. The former world no. 5 in 2013 will battle Swiss Miss In-Albon.

26 year old Taylor Townsend is ranked 123 now and the former world no. 61 will face 33 year old Lesia Tsurenko, ranked 95 now.

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  • Cory · March 7, 2023 at 2:50 am

    Errani cleaned up. She’s just tough. But someone with accurate firepower will boss her around in the main draw.

    Denis Kudla amazingly was serving 40-0, at 3-6, 6-1, 5-6, and lost 5 consecutive points (4 of the 5 on UE’s) to gift-wrap the match to Muller. Kudla has always been so un-clutch.

    Marcora is way better than his ranking (altho never gets anywhere, just bothers players who should beat him) and mopped Kozlov outta there. Kozlov after a year-long drought is now ranked 350ish… just wow. A year ago he was riding high on those big Challenger results. He’ll be playing D. Young in Challenger Qualies soon.

    Love these qualifying tourneys almost better than the main draw Scoop!!!

  • Scoop Malinowski · March 7, 2023 at 7:30 am

    Cory, I agree, the IW qualies and all qualies are great lil tournaments, but the establishment disregards them as a sideshow. Everyone loves US Open qualies. SO much drama, so much importance to so many striving desperate players. Kozlov wheels have come off, AO second round after beating Vesely, then won a set off Berrettini, been all downhill ever since. May not ever get back again to knock on the door of top 100. SO many young hungry tigers coming up. Tennis is a cruel sport. I just saw Ryan Harrison at a 4.5 tournament I played at IMG on Sunday, he was training and walking through – no one else recognized him. Said he’s had back issues, a muscle in the middle of the back but he just played four tournaments and is on his way back. I said at the end, he needs a second Grand Slam (he won French Open doubles title with Michael Venus), he smiled and replied, “That’s the plan.”

  • Scoop Malinowski · March 7, 2023 at 7:33 am

    We’ll see of Errani gets womanhandled ) She’s a former Grand Slam finalist so she has something extra. Kudla has been irrelevant lately, the Mr Clean Kojak look may not be suited for tennis success.

  • Scoop Malinowski · March 7, 2023 at 7:36 am

    Johnson lost a heartbreaker 76 in the third to Kid Svajda. Looks like the end for Johnson. Andujar is another veteran hanging on, he won. Kozlov got routed.

  • Scoop Malinowski · March 7, 2023 at 11:16 am

    I asked a former ATP player if he ever heard of any players buying wildcards? “This used to happen back in the day on the Futures/Challenger, 250 level all the time. That’s why the canceled the one point for losing first round (rule changed in late 90s). It was mostly done by players who had no points so they could skip the expensive route of going through qualies of Satellites and Futures before getting a point.”

  • Cory · March 7, 2023 at 12:55 pm

    Tennis is very cruel you’re absolutely right. It’s just so difficult to rise from the ashes ranked 300-1000 ala Harrison story above. Look at Marcora – ranked 580, getting a WC into the qualies. 33 years old. Highest ranking 150 (albeit just a couple years ago). Winner of only 600k. Today’s match is life and death for him against Vukic. I’ll pick Marcora again – he’s very pesky and Vukic is the furthest from clutch. I do like Vukic game but question his mental. I love these stories of these journeymen. Tennis is so tough – like u say, so many hungry guys.

    Another example is Sandgren v. Hijikata from AUS. The latter is very good and has earned his way from playing UTR in 2021 onward now ranked 130-ish. Hungry. Sandgren the old boar – needs this, ranking slipping, attitude issues. Love these qualies.

    Struff and Albot today, 2 crusted veterans. Albot will give Struff nothing. But will Struff’s firepower overhwlem? OR will steady Albot work Struff to death.

    Andujar v. Gojo… that’s another good one. Gojo firepower is insane – but he’s untested, un-clutch. Andujar stinks on hard but he has experience. Interesing.

  • Scoop Malinowski · March 7, 2023 at 1:09 pm

    Cory, I wish tennis would figure a way out to promote these quali competitions, in some ways I actually prefer it to the main draw, even at US Open, the qualies is the most exciting time of the tournament, energy, everybody hopeful, less crowds, great battles. Many slam QF, SF and even Fs are duds. No duds in qualies. When Kozlov was winning those Challengers he owned Vukic like three times he beat him. Now Vukic should handle Marcora is my pick. I saw Hijikata at Sarasota Open last year, didn’t stand out. Galan won the tournament beating Steve Johnson. Fils was also in qualies at Sarasota Open last year but he lost early to… I can’t even remember. Now or never for Sandgren.

  • catherine · March 8, 2023 at 2:23 am

    Emma R has WD from Eisenhower Cup, an exhibition type thing I think, but she is still in the main draw at IW.

    To say her career is stuttering is an understatement. Shades of Bianca, she cannot keep momentum going and without that, progression is very difficult.

  • Scoop Malinowski · March 8, 2023 at 7:22 am

    The former US Open champion who can barely win a match now. The WTA is a big mess, they need to clean up.

  • Cory · March 8, 2023 at 10:13 am

    Can’t even legally stream a WTA match besides the slams on ESPN and tennis channel if they happen to cover it. I illegally stream all the time. Hey there’s no choice. WTA a mess.

  • catherine · March 8, 2023 at 10:23 am

    In this particular case I can’t really see what the WTA can do. It’s up to Emma herself and the people around her.

    Some players move easily from the post junior years and settle into pro ranks. Others find it hard, sometimes never make it.

    WTA/ATP – plenty of examples.

    On the coaching side I’m surprised Fisette hasn’t offered – unless he did but it was a matter of $$$$$.

  • Scoop Malinowski · March 8, 2023 at 10:31 am

    and yet they keep on screaming for equality and equal prize money. But why not equal prize money for LPGA and WNBA? Barty had enough.

  • Scoop Malinowski · March 8, 2023 at 10:32 am

    Maybe few WTA players are smart enough to hire Fissette. Or they prefer the cheaper route. As previously noted, one former wta coach told me to be a wta coach is to be a “slave.”

  • catherine · March 9, 2023 at 4:29 am

    Stephanie Myles

    ‘The good news for fans of
    @EmmaRaducanu is that unlike Tuesday, she did make her practice court date.
    The bad news? A whole lot of fairly concerning bandaging on her wrists and hands.
    Will she make her first-round date Thursday?’

    My question:
    What on earth does Emma get up to in her spare time ? MMA ?

  • Scoop Malinowski · March 9, 2023 at 7:41 am

    or the wraps are disguise, so if she loses, she has her built in excuse – she played while injured. Why do media and fans always believe tape jobs are 100 authentic? How many times have we seen players with legs or something wrapped in tape, run and move and play like gangbusters and no sign or hint of any pain, ache or injury? Answer: Countless times.

    It just proves again, many or most people believe everything they are told. Everything they read, here or see.

    “Believe nothing of what you read or hear and only half of what you see.”

  • Doug · March 9, 2023 at 5:36 pm

    When a qualifier can win a WTA major crown, her 4th event, doesnt it say something is wrong with the field?

  • Scoop Malinowski · March 9, 2023 at 5:46 pm

    Good question Doug. It just proves that any player can do it at any time. Raducanu changed the game and gave a lot of underdogs and outsiders tremendous inspiration.

  • Scoop Malinowski · March 9, 2023 at 7:14 pm

    Raducanu cruises, wrists injury alleged was no factor in the SS win vs Kovinic. Ben Shelton slays another dragon in Fognini 64 61, this kid has a one way ticket to the top ten. FL Gov. Desantis says he’ll boat Djokovic into FL from Bahamas to play Miami Open.

  • catherine · March 10, 2023 at 1:48 am

    Raducanu will find Linette a bridge too far I think. At the moment I’d just say Emma’s a talented player with a frail body. Not the first by any means. But she’ll go on getting plenty of negative stuff for it. And about the 2021 US Open. A freakish result which is unlikely to happen again. Leylah Fernandez was there too of course.

  • Doug · March 10, 2023 at 7:18 am

    Im all for underdogs,outsiders,inspiriration and biological women. Now answer this honestly. What are the odds this same outcome could ever occur on the atp side?

  • Scoop Malinowski · March 10, 2023 at 8:01 am

    Catherine, why wasn’t her body “frail” when she had to play ten matches at the US Open? Or is her body frail now her go-to PR reason for losing most of her matches? A lot of players have disappeared after their Grand Slam titles and finals appearances – Puerta, Rios, Rusedski, Philippousis, Fernando G, Coria, Gaudio, Pennetta, Muster, Nishikori, etc.

  • Scoop Malinowski · March 10, 2023 at 8:03 am

    Doug, it has happened – Albert Costa, Gaudio, Goran, Andres Gomez, Krajicek, Chang, Ferrero, Petr Korda, Thomas Johansson, Cilic, Del Potro…

  • catherine · March 10, 2023 at 11:54 am

    Scoop – because USO 21 was two + years ago and Emma’s whole life was different. She’d just left school, finished her exams, the world was fresh and new. The grind of the pro tour hadn’t made inroads yet.

    In some ways Emma reminds me of Evonne Goolagong when Evonne was beginning. She won W’don in 1971 beating Margaret Court and didn’t win again for 9 years. The pro circuit was less strenuous in those days but Evonne was nevertheless prone to erratic results and injuries. She had her devoted fans and Emma has hers and luckily there was no internet in those days.

    One tennis hack complained that Emma didn’t smile enough in her post match interview. Would they say that about a man ?

  • Scoop Malinowski · March 10, 2023 at 12:41 pm

    Catherine, the critics love to criticize Emma about anything, it just goes to show how intense the scrutiny is on her essentially living under a microscope at every tournament. Everybody is watching her every move on and off the court. Everybody wants a piece of her, or an interview, autograph, photo, to talk with her. Yes she may have some minor injuries. But she may also be faking or exaggerating them for self preservation and relief from sponsor pressure, to protect her ego and rep by creating the built in excuse for losing. Look at what Nadal did. He has created an illusion that the only times he ever really loses big matches in his career (turned pro in 2001) was because he was hurt.

  • catherine · March 11, 2023 at 1:39 am

    Comment from Emma which covers it I think:

    ‘I’m not 100% but you never really are.’

  • Scoop Malinowski · March 11, 2023 at 7:35 am

    There it is Catherine, straight from the horse’s mouth. It’s like in Maria’s book she said she felt she had a cold the day of her first Wimbledon final vs Serena, she complained about it to her coach. He laughed at her and said What, you are in the final of Wimbledon and you’re worried about a cold?! She said the cold totally vanished in that moment. Then she won the final vs Serena 61 64.

  • Scoop Malinowski · March 11, 2023 at 9:09 pm

    Catherine surely thrilled by Emma win vs Linette and no sign of any injury or phantom injury. Fritz survives Shelton in 3 thought Shelton may have been afraid to win, he had Fritz on the ropes 44 in the second.

  • catherine · March 12, 2023 at 1:55 am

    Emma had a painkiller for her wrist and eschewed topspin in this match. Played a good tactical game though and stayed to sign autographs.

    Wrists can be difficult. There’s that anxiety every time you hit the ball. Nevertheless Emma got up to 80mph on the forehand. May lose v BHM but as long as she doesn’t have to retire I’d count IW as an advance. Seems to be ok with Sachs as coach.

    Why has Donna Vekic not been fined ?

  • Scoop Malinowski · March 12, 2023 at 7:40 am

    Oh ok, if she said she used a painkiller for the wrist then it must be true. Nobody would ever fabricate a fake injury to protect their ego and image in pro tennis or recreation level tennis either. People are simply too honest by nature to do that. Go Emma! Vekic fined for what? missed it…

  • catherine · March 12, 2023 at 11:45 am

    Scoop – I can see nothing will ever persuade you that injuries can be real so I’ll stop trying. British fans are nevertheless remembering Laura Robson whose career was ended by her wrist problems. (Emma is a lot better than Robson IMO.)

    Vekic – refused to shake Tsurenko’s hand at the end of their match which Vekic lost.

    ‘TC showed the end of the Vekić v Tsurenko match. Donna walks straight to her bench and ignores Tsurenko. Tsurenko looks puzzled and walks to Donna’s bench and extends her hand. Donna continues to ignore here so she shakes hands with the Chair. The TC commies had no clue and guess maybe it had to do with their last match where Tsurenko retired.’

    Whatever the reason Donna’s behaviour was childish and unprofessional. WTA should punish her. I’ve never been a fan of Donna’s actually.

  • Scoop Malinowski · March 12, 2023 at 2:24 pm

    Catherine remember the McEnroe quote: “It’s been scientifically proven – Everything hurts more when you’re losing.” Re Tsurenko and Vekic, tennis will always have players who hate each other. Bill Tilden once said, “I never lose to someone I hate.”

  • Scoop Malinowski · March 12, 2023 at 9:21 pm

    Catherine… Q. You did call for the trainer to have a look at your wrist again. How is the right wrist? Exactly what is the injury?

    EMMA RADUCANU: Yeah, I got some treatment in between. It’s the same. It’s manageable. Still able to win matches at this level. Managing it.

    Yeah, as to what it is, I’m not going to go into it (smiling).

    (who smiles about a potentially serious, career threatening wrist injury which can explode at any moment from a huge serve or forehand coming at her. Or is the smile at the end a wink that it’s all just a bluff?)



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