It has been quite a newsy week both on and off the court for some of the biggest stars in tennis. Here is a look around the ever-changing landscape of the sport.
Serena Shocks the World
The real reason for Serena Williams’ lengthy post-Australian Open absence was revealed Wednesday. The 23-time Grand Slam winner took to Snapchat to announce that she and fiance Alexis Ohanian are expecting their first child.
The 35-year-old was eight weeks pregnant when she won the Australian Open to break Steffi Graf’s modern era record for Grand Slam singles titles.
Williams stated her intention to return to the tour in 2018. While it is foolish to put anything past her, it is far from a certainty given her age and apparent happiness in her personal life.
The already wide open ladies tour is now even more so without its unquestioned superior athlete. However, as one megastar steps away, another is back on the scene.
Sharapova is ready to Roll
Maria Sharapova has arrived in Germany for her comeback at next week’s Porsche Tennis Grand Prix. She will play her first match when her doping suspension ends on Wednesday. She will have to practice off tournament grounds until then.
Sharapova’s return remains controversial, but it is happening. There is no reason to look in the rear view mirror. It has been 15 months since Sharapova has played an official match. Until she takes the court for her opener against Roberta Vinci, no one will know if she can get back to the top, not even Sharapova herself.
We do know a few things. Sharapova has dominated everyone not named Serena over the years. Williams is out of the picture for now. Also, we know that the 30-year-old Russian is highly motivated and in great shape. This could make for a lethal cocktail for the competition.
2017 Themes Continue in Monte Carlo
While the ladies tour is being rocked to its core, it has been business as usual for the men at the season’s first big clay court event in Monte Carlo, Monaco.
While it is a step in the right direction just to see them back on the court, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray lost relatively early to lesser players once again. While their opponents played well, Djokovic and Murray continue to search for answers.
One person who has them, but is not sharing is Rafael Nadal. The “King of Clay” is into the final in search of a mind blowing tenth title in Monte Carlo. There is no reason to think Nadal’s 2017 rebirth will slow down on his favorite surface. The final member of the “Big Four” continues to reiterate his intention to rest until the French Open. Even when he is not around, Roger Federer’s presence looms large.
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