Tennis is in the mud right now with this Wimbledon ranking points decision, which we discuss, plus recap the clay court season and preview the French Open
We did an Instagram Live with Taylor Townsend and coach John Williams. Shoutout to Rodney Rapson – The Plug – for setting it up for us; congratulate Gael Monfils and wife Elina Svitolina who are expecting a girl in October; shout out Morelos Open winner Jay Clarke and “Yard man” Dustin Brown who now represents Jamaica. We also give our takes on the Wimbledon ranking points row – very chaotic!
Frances Tiafoe started clay court season really well – made the quarter-finals in Houston; lost to Felix Auger-Aliassime in the round of 16 in Barcelona; then reached the final in Estoril (lost to Sebastian Baez in the final but wowed the crowd with stunning wins against Alejandro Davidovich Fokina and Sebastian Korda).
Auger-Aliassime had rough start on the dirt but picked things up in Barcelona. Then made back-to-back Masters quarter-finals in Madrid and Rome – absolutely demolished Jannik Sinner 6-1, 6-2 in the round of 16 in Madrid).
Sloane Stephens has a game well suited to clay, but has struggled coming into Roland Garros. However, we believe the 2018 runner-up will be motivated come game time.
Coco Gauff, now working with coach Diego Moyano, lost to Simona Halep in the third round in Madrid but picked up a nice win in Rome the following week against Angelique Kerber. Gauff, a quarter-finalist in Paris last year has real potential to go deep again.
Naomi Osaka pulled out of Rome due to an Achilles injury she picked up in Madrid She has also been busy securing the bag with agent Stuart Duguid. The pair are no longer part of IMG after setting up their own sports agency – EVOLVE.
French Open Draws – first rounds…
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, playing his last tournament before he retires, plays eighth seed Casper Ruud.
Auger-Aliassime, seeded ninth, starts against Peruvian qualifier Juan Pablo Varillas.
Tiafoe, the 24th seed, opens against Frenchman Benjamin Bonzi.
Mikael Ymer, who hasn’t won a match since February, takes on Australian James Duckworth
Wildcard Michael Mmoh faces Spanish qualifier Bernabe Zapata Miralles.
💫 Townsend, back from maternity leave, plays Frenchwoman Caroline Garcia. Also playing doubles with Madison Keys.
💫 Hailey Baptiste, who came through qualifying in Paris for the second year in a row, takes on Ukraine’s Anhelina Kalinina (aka Alicia Keys!).
*Honourable mentions for Oceane Babel, 18, who lost in the final round of qualifying. And Paul Jubb who beat Christopher Eubanks in the first round then lost in the second round to Luca Nardi.
Gauff, seeded 18th, opens against Canadian qualifier Rebecca Marino. (Gauff could face 10th seed Garbine Muguruza in the third round)
Madison Keys, who reached the semi-finals in 2018, is the 22nd seed and faces Anna Kalinskaya.
Osaka has been drawn against 27th seed Amanda Anisimova.
Stephens opens against German qualifier Jule Niemeier.
Jasmine Paolini takes on Romanian Irina-Camelia Begu.
Heather Watson, now 30 years old, has French wildcard Elsa Jacquemot.
*This episode was recorded on Saturday 21 May