Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Amelia Island Musings

I was fortunate enough to score tickets for the semifinals of the Bausch & Lomb Championships at Amelia Island last month, and had a fine time. The facility is top-notch, and some of the tennis was excellent.
Unfortunately, Lindsay Davenport took ill and had to default to Maria Sharapova in one semi, but the second match between Alize Cornet and Dominika Cibulkova was pretty exciting, as were the doubles semis. I have a few observations following.

1. Cornet has a nice all-round game, and should vault up the rankings in the next year.
2. Cibulkova will always be height challenged, and her serve is a pretty weak arm swing.
3. All eight doubles players I saw – Meghann Shaugnessy, Nathalie Dechy, Victoria Azarenka, Elena Vesnina, Bethanie Mattek, Vladimira Uhlirova, Anabel Medina Garrigues and Virginia Ruano Pascual – in addition to both singles players, head net skills ranging from good to outstanding, but their knowledge (or at least execution) of the transition game was sadly lacking. Can we start teaching that again?
4. Bethanie Mattek appears to have lost 10-12# since I last saw her play, appears to be in very good shape, and is finally wearing “normal” tennis clothes. What a relief!!
5. Ruano Pascual looks like she works out for a living, rather than playing tennis! She must spend every non-tennis minute in the gym. She sets a shining example of work ethic, in my opinion.
6. Women’s tennis on clay is not shown in its best environment. A faster court would better showcase these ladies skills.

I ‘m saddened that this is Bausch & Lomb’s final year sponsoring the event: they’ve been a great partner with the WTA for many years. I hope the tournament finds a new sponsor and stays at Amelia for many more years. If you get a chance to go, do it. The club is great, the atmosphere superb, and the people are friendly. Besides, you may see me!!!