The good, bad & ugly: Rafa’s 10, Genie’s gaff

Published by Paul Moore

Rafael Nadal won his second tournament for the tenth time in two weeks. Photo: Getty Images
There are times to celebrate and times to wince. We take a look back at a week when some players were riding high, and others should have just laid low.

From Rafa’s perfect 10 to Genie’s ‘what were you thinking?’ moment, we take a look back at the highs and lows of a busy week in tennis.

The Good

Rafa’s perfect 10: Another week, another perfect 10 for Rafa Nadal. But let’s not blithely dismiss how impressive that achievement is. Nobody in the open era has won a tournament – any tournament – ten times. Rafa has now done it twice, and could complete the hat-trick at Roland Garros in a few weeks time. It’s not just impressive, it’s spectacular.

Siegemund’s Stuttgart stunner: That Laura Siegemund likes Stuttgart is beyond doubt. The German reached the final in 2016 as a qualifier, and this weekend went one better. But it’s not so much the fact that Siegemund got the win that impresses, it was the manner in which she did so. Before beating an in-form Mladenovic, Siegemund had to negotiate a way past three top ten players who are all playing well: Halep, Pliskova and Kuznetsova.

Masha makes waves: Love her or loathe her, Maria Sharapova is back. The five-time Major champion stormed into the Stuttgart semifinals before Kristina Mladenovic ousted her in three tight sets. While the Russian undoubtedly divides opinion (witness The Ugly), that she brings an X-Factor – and with it significant interest – to women’s tennis is beyond doubt.

The Bad

WTA seeds keep on stuttering: There are no easy draws in tournaments, and nor should there be. But tricky draws aside, these are worrying times for three big names in the WTA. Agnieszka Radwanska can barely buy a win these days, the same can be said for Garbine Muguruza (who has a lot of points to defend at Roland Garros), and then there’s Angelique Kerber. Yes, she’s the WTA’s presumptive No.1, but the German has been patchy at best in 2017, and on current form it’s surely only a matter of time before that ranking starts to slide.

Similar struggles on the ATP: According to the ATP, this is the first time since 1999 that the top two players in the world haven’t made the final of one of the first four ‘big’ tournaments of the year (Aus Open, Indian Wells, Miami, Monte Carlo). Even more worrying is the fact that that doesn’t look set to change any time soon. Yes, Murray was better in Barcelona. But being better and being the best are two different things, and the incumbent world No.1 looks a long way from being the latter.

The Ugly

Bouchard’s misplaced missive: There are times in everyone’s life when someone needs to tell you to pipe down. That someone was obviously absent when Genie Bouchard went on a Maria Sharapova rant after another first round exit (this time in Istanbul). Whether or not you agree with Genie her opinions drew more criticism than they did support, and looked like a misguided attack from a player who is very obviously struggling for form – and to stay relevant on the tennis circuit.

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