© Ella Ling

Serena Williams yellow headband

Who's hot and who's not?


Which players are climbing and which are tumbling this week?


Serena Williams
The hottest player of the second half of 2012, Serena had tears in her eyes as she did the necessary, beating Petra Kvitova in the Doha quarter-finals to take the world No.1 ranking off Victoria Azarenka. In so doing, she started this week as the oldest woman to hold the world No.1 ranking since the WTA’s computers started doing their thing in 1975, returning to the top spot for the fifth time in her career (her sixth time at the top in all), her last stint ending in October 2010.

“I didn’t imagine that it meant that much to me,” she said afterwards, having signed the camera ‘Serena is #1′. “I did not expect to not be able to stop crying. I didn’t expect to feel that way at all I just thought I would be happy and, you know, just move on to the next round. But my reaction was completely unexpected from me.”

Victoria Azarenka
The Belarusian may have borne the brunt of a lot of stick in Australia, but let’s not forget that she is still a double Grand Slam champion. And this weekend she backed that up by finally beating Serena in a tournament final, 7-6 (6), 2-6, 6-3 in Doha. The ghosts of her US Open choke must finally be laid to rest. It’s going to be very exciting to see what happens next between the two.

Rafael Nadal
In his second week back on the tour since being ousted by Lukas Rosol at Wimbledon last year, Rafa Nadal got to sink his teeth into a trophy after trouncing David Nalbandian to win the Sao Paulo title on clay. The court was troublesome and the altitude was high, but Nadal survived two three-setters on his way to the final, and deemed it a satisfying week.  “This one I appreciate it the most because of all the struggles I went through during the week, with some problems with my knee some days.” Rafa is having a week off before the third of his clay-court comeback in Acapulco, Mexico, next week.

Juan Martin Del Potro
It seems funny to think of a 6ft 6in man treading anywhere softly, but that’s exactly what the big friendly Argentine is doing, winning his first title of 2013 in Rotterdam. He didn’t drop a set before the final, and defeated Julien Benneteau, Roger Federer’s conqueror, in straight sets.

Milos Raonic
Is the curly-top Canadian about to really hit the big time? Raonic blazed a trail to the San Jose title, the last ever to be held in the Northern Californian town after 125 years, winning his third straight title there.


In an interview with the New York Times, Canada’s Rebecca Marino revealed that she is returning to twitter after a nine-month break from the micro-blogging site because of the damaging influence of cyberbullies. No sooner had the interview been published than Britain’s Laura Robson, one of the most-followed tennis players on twitter, deactivated her account. Presumably for the same reason.

Laura Robson. 
Speaking of Robson, the British teen revealed that she has been suffering from a chest infection since the London Olympics last year, and has had four bouts of antibiotics, to no avail. She is due to see a specialist in London.

David Goffin. 
The baby-faced Belgian suffered a double bagel at the hands of Jarkko Nieminen. Ouch.

Piotr Wozniacki.
The enfant terrible of tennis parents has been rather quiet of late, but let that not suggest he might have turned over a new leaf. Caroline’s dad subjected umpire Julie Kjendlie to an embarrassing petty tirade. Grow up, Piotr.

The Brazil Open
They are lucky they still had players standing at the end of the week, let alone their top seed and big star holding the trophy. A court that disintegrated under Rafa’s feet, prompting him to nearly turn his ankle, cramming fans in after over-selling tickets, and worrying security breaches, they did not exactly cover themselves in glory. Who’s looking forward to Rio 2016 and 2018?