ATP: A 500 and two 250’s are on the schedule for this week. Again, 3 tournaments over 3 continents shows just how wide the tennis footprint is across the world.
Rotterdam 500, The Netherlands:
Probably the best indoor tournament of the year in my opinion. Consistently strong fields, very well attended, and a list of title winners comparable with a major….Bjorn Borg, Stefan Edberg, Boris Becker, Lleyton Hewitt, Roger Federer, Andy Murray, Stan Wawrinka…
This year is no exception, with Stefanos Tsitsipas, Andrey Rublev (who faces Aussie Alex de Minaur in the first round) Felix Auger-Aliassime, and Holger Rune as the top 4 seeds. To further prove the strength of the field, we could see a Jannik Sinner v Stefanos Tsitsipas second round match up….a rematch of their Australian Open classic. Bring it on.
Buenos Aires 250, Argentina:
Second stop on the Latin America ‘Golden Swing’, takes us to Buenos Aires, where the stands are often packed, and the tennis quality is high. To prove this, past winners include Rafael Nadal, Dominic Thiem, David Ferrer, all the way back to Gustavo Kuerten.
But who could forget last year’s emotional event, when Juan Martin del Potro retired in front of his home crowd.
While we’re not expecting anything like that, the big interest lies in the return to the tour of Carlos Alcaraz after an injury layoff. There’s a possibility he takes on Fabio Fognini as his opening match, which might be worth setting an alarm for.
Delray Beach 250, USA:
We’re back playing outdoors in the USA, with the traditional opener to the season. The event goes all the way back to 1993, and early on, the Aussies had a stunning run, winning the title 5 years in a row, from 1995-1999.
It’s been a dry spell since then though, but this year, Jordan Thompson will be hoping to break the drought. He’ll face Denis Kudla again in the first round, after their Dallas Open match up this past week and if he gets through that, it’ll be second seeded Tommy Paul in his way.
Taylor Fritz is the top seed. Dallas Open winner Yibing Wu has withdrawn today citing fatigue.
Doha 500, Qatar:
Just the one event on the WTA Tour this week, and we stay in the Middle East. Due to the lack of options for the women this week, we see another top level field, with 8 of the top 11 ranked players making the trip. In fact, the qualifying draw could easily be a 250 event in its own right.
World Number 1 Iga Swiatek is back in action this week after bowing out early in Melbourne, but there will be a host of other players looking to take her scalp. Jess Pegula, Coco Gauff, Abu Dhabi winner Belinda Bencic, and Caroline Garcia, are just a few of the players who would give themselves a chance. This should be a wonderful week of tennis.
ATP Challenger Tour:
Manama 125, Bahrain:
In just its second year on the tour, the Manama Challenger has been upgraded from an 80, to a 125. Interesting decision considering it didn’t draw the strongest field last year. This year however, there is massive Aussie interest, as Jason Kubler, Alexei Popyrin, and Christopher O’Connell fill the top 3 seeds. Add Thanasi Kokkinakis as the 8th seed, and it could be a very successful week in Bahrain for the Australian contingent.
Chennai 100, India:
Chennai is back after a break due to Covid. Jordan Thompson won the first instalment back in 2018, when playing as top seed. Plenty of Aussies in India this year too, with James Duckworth leading the way as second seed, only behind Taipei’s Chun-Hsin Tseng. Other Aussies in the field are Marc Polmans, Dane Sweeney, and Max Purcell.
Cherbourg 75, France:
One of the longest running events on the Challenger calendar, Cherbourg has been a staple for 3 decades. Benjamin Bonzi was last years winner, and our own Jordan Thompson took out the title back in 2016. Traditionally, Jordan has performed well this week, so watch out in Delray Beach! But back to Cherbourg, and it will be John Millman holding the hopes of Australia, as he takes the second seed position, behind Vasek Pospisil. With plenty of bigger events on this week, the door might be open here for Millman to notch up a few wins, and hopefully take out another title.
W60 Altenkirchen, Germany:
A very solid acceptance list, with 13 players in the top 200, including 98 ranked Slovakian Tamara Zidansek. No Aussies making the trip to Germany, but with a strong field, there should be plenty of great matches.
W60 Irapuato, Mexico:
The field will be lead by top 100 duo Tatjana Maria and Xinyu Wang. Aussie Kim Birrell will be jetting over from Orlando, after her 60K victory this morning. 25 year old Olivia Tjandramulia, is in qualifying.
Another great week of tennis at all levels, across all corners of the globe.