Wozniacki on the rebound, Andy Murray coach woes continues – The Friday Five

By Maud Watson

One Bad Misstep

Just one week ago, reigning US and Australian Open champion Kim Clijsters was feeling pretty good about her chances of playing the French Open in spite of the fact that she was nursing both a shoulder and wrist injury. But this past weekend at her Cousin Tim’s wedding, Clijsters, who was wearing high heel shoes, accidentally stepped on someone’s foot, which led to her seriously injuring her ankle. She is looking at a minimum of six weeks before she can even get out and start practicing again, and as a statement on her website noted, with Roland Garros starting in six weeks, the odds were heavily stacked against her participation. Even if by some miracle she is able to compete, it will be a big ask for her to go deep with zero clay court matches under her belt this season. In the end, what’s most important is that she recovers and finds the drive to make the comeback from these setbacks. Injuries were her worst fear when she returned to the sport, and with so many coming in succession, Clijsters might start to consider cutting her comeback shorter than most recently planned.

Andy Murray

Sight for Sore Eyes

Earlier this week, the web was abuzz with the news that Serena Williams – who hasn’t played a competitive match since winning Wimbledon last year – has hit the practice court as she continues to recover from her health problems. Naturally there is no official return date set, and Williams has stated that she is just taking it day by day. But love her or hate her, there’s no denying that Serena Williams is good for the game, so the fact that she’s once again out with racquet in hand is welcomed news indeed. Fingers crossed that Serena’s body and health cooperate, and that she’ll find herself making a comeback in record time (though she can leave the Pepto-Bismal-inspired body suit in the closet!).

The Search Continues

We’re a little over a month out from the French Open, and Andy Murray still finds himself in search of a coach. The young Scot, who this week finally notched his first win since losing the Australian Open final, has laid out exactly what he’s looking for in a coach, and despite the criticism around him, is adamant that he will not be rushed into a decision. He wisely has explained that he wants to give whoever becomes his new coach a fair shake, and so if he proves unable to make a decision in the coming few weeks, it is unlikely that he will appoint one until either immediately following Roland Garros or after Wimbledon. In this way, the new coach will not be put through the paces of coaching Murray at a major straight out of the blocks. Undoubtedly Murray could use a coach in his corner sooner rather than later, but in the meantime, he couldn’t have done any better than to have two of the game’s best coaches in Darren Cahill and Sven Groeneveld offering him advice as part of the Adidas coaching staff.

Anticipation Heightens

With the type of season that Novak Djokovic has chalked up thus far, many fans have anxiously been licking their chops to see him take his brand of tennis and confidence to the clay and see how it stacks up against the likes of Rafael Nadal. Many probably also thought that that particular matchup might happen this week in Monte-Carlo, but the undefeated Serb was forced to withdraw, citing a knee injury. The good news is that the injury isn’t serious, and fans can expect to see Djokovic try to continue his streak in the near future. What a treat it will be if he’s once again asked to keep it alive against the man who is arguably the greatest clay court player of the Open Era.

Kick Off

The clay court season got going last week, and all four victors are worth a mention. On the women’s side, Caroline Wozniaki rebounded nicely from her early loss in Miami to take the premiere event title in Charleston. An ocean away, Victoria Azarenka took the title in Marbella, Spain, impressively backing up her play in Miami with her second successive title. And in the men’s game, the spotlight was on two first time winners, as Ryan Sweeting, one of the American hopefuls, won his maiden title in Houston, while Spaniard Pablo Andujar claimed his inaugural title in Casablanca. All were great stories that capped off an exciting week of tennis to get the clay court season underway.