Every once in a while, a perfect storm hits and a tournament that’s been under the radar leaps forward. Such is the case this year in Acapulco, where the Abierto Mexicano Telcel has sparkled as it never has. It started with a great field of five top tenners, including the surprising last-minute entry of Novak Djokovic. There have also been several superb matches. Among the best: Juan Martin del Potro’s third-set tiebreaker win over Francis Tiafoe. The next evening, the powerful Argentine pushed Djokovic to the limit, serving at 4-3 in the third before the Serb surged ahead to snap up the last three games. But then it was Djokovic’s turn to be toppled – Aussie Nick Kyrgios earning a 7-6 (9), 7-5 win. Kygrios has now beaten Djokovic, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal – even more amazingly, beating each of them in their first meeting.
Tiebreaker for the ages in the Dubai quarters, Andy Murray besting Philip Kohlschreiber 20-18 in the second set TB – Murray fighting off seven match points before taking the final set handily, 6-1. That second set tiebreaker alone lasted 31 minutes.
The search for a new term for “recreational players” remains in progress. At this moment, the best terms to have emerged are “dedicated amateur” and “serious amateur.” But I’m convinced, we can do better. More updates to come.
Rod Laver turns 79 in August, but don’t think he’s slowing down. Come September, he’ll headed to Prague to be front and center for the inaugural Laver Cup, a team competition between Europe (captain, Bjorn Borg) and the world (led by John McEnroe). Three weeks later, Laver heads to Texas where he’ll be one of 14 legend coaches at tennis’ longest-running fantasy camp, Tennis Fantasies with John Newcombe and the Legends. The amazing aspect of Laver is that no matter who comes in contact with him, he inspires awe. Be it a contemporary great like Roger Federer, a lifelong mate such as Roy Emerson, historic icons Martina Navratilova and Pete Sampras (each of whom saw him as a role model), or the dedicated amateurs he watches at the fantasy camp, Laver’s presence electrifies any gathering. Like none other, the Rocket continues to soar.