We are back with another edition of what’s trending in the tennis world, the article where we take a look at which players are moving in the right direction (here’s looking at you Petra Kvitova!) and who needs help as soon as possible.
Players like Kvitova, Jelena Ostapenko, and Carlos Alcaraz had winning weeks. Was it enough to make the list? Or maybe we’ve just come to expect greatness from Alcaraz.
Wimbledon starts in just a week. Will any of the players mentioned on the following win the next Grand Slam? Or will they end up trending down with an early, and unexpected, loss?
Players trending up include Petra Kvitova
The 33-year-old Czech superstar secured her 31st career WTA title on Sunday when she took care of Donna Vekic in straight sets to win the bett1 Open. This gives her the second most career titles among active players behind only the iconic Venus Williams. Kvitova is still clearly a dangerous Top 10 player and not just a gatekeeper. Her superb grass game and the momentum from this win should give her loads of confidence going to Wimbledon.
Winning on the ATP Tour is a very difficult thing. Sometimes, players like Rafa, Roger, and Novak make winning look so easy, when it’s quite the opposite. Bublik came into the ATP 500 event in Halle with one career title, on indoor hard courts. In addition, he had lost his two previous grass-court finals. Sunday, following his 3-set victory over World No. 7 Andrey Rublev, you would be hard-pressed to find anybody that wasn’t happy for the insatiable Kazakhstani.
Alex de Minaur
While he may not have won the title at the Queen’s Club (congrats to Carlos Alcaraz), the Aussie made quite the impression en route to the final. His ball-striking was wonderfully crisp throughout the week. His speed and defensive abilities are never in question, and this week was no different. His game looks to be rounding into form as we approach Wimbledon. He will be a tough out in a best-of-5 match.
It takes two to tango, and Kvitova needed a dance partner in the final in Berlin. Vekic was more than ready to step up. The Croat had quite the week as an unseeded player at the bett1 Open. She knocked out the reigning Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina and the heavy-hitting 6-seed Maria Sakkari on her way to a surprise appearance in the final. It wasn’t too long ago that Vekic considered leaving the sport altogether. Based on her performance this week, tennis is lucky she decided to stick around.
Players trending down this week
This is not to say that the world No. 6 cannot fully challenge at the All England Club. However, in her first match since the Roland Garros quarterfinals, Jabeur fell in the 1st round to the German qualifier, Julie Niemeier. It was not the most comforting start to her grass court season. Let’s see if she can bounce back.
We have our first repeat offender on the trending list. Tsitsipas lost early again. He fell at the first time of asking at the Terra Wortmann Open to the unheralded Frenchman Gregoire Barrere. The Greek star is now 0-2 to begin the grass swing and things are not looking comfortable for his chances at Wimbledon. His struggles on this surface still befuddle, as he has the style that should be an ideal fit. He now tries to defend his title on the grass of Mallorca.
The powerful lefty has not made a quarterfinal since the first week of January. The Canadian tasted the top 10 in the world rankings in late 2021 and floated around the top 15 for most of the time thereafter. However, he has been slowly sliding back. His game seems to be discombobulated starting with an erratic ball toss on serve. A true shot-maker, he has the ability to get hot and make a run. However, based on recent results, I would not put a lot of stock in that.
As both tours begin steaming towards the third Grand Slam of the season, the pressure is going to ratchet up on all the players. Everyone wants their game feeling good heading to Wimbledon, so we will see who can rise to the occasion. As always, a week can change it all. Come back next week to see who makes their move.