TTI’s René Denfeld enjoyed a fantastic week at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix this year, not just because of the players, the matches and the great organization — but also because of a premier bunch of colleagues in the press room. For this piece, he is joined by Angelica Fratini and Diego Barbieri of OkTennis, Giulio Gasparin of Sportsface.it/Il Tennis Italiano and Ros Satar of BritWatchSports to share their favorite moments of the week.
Angelica Fratini: Timea Babos recounting the life of a professional tennis player traveling to a 125k event in China.
Giulio Gasparin: Monica Niculescu’s point at 3-1 up against Petra Kvitova is a contender for point/shot of the year — with the Romanian bossing the two-time Wimbledon champion around the court with dropshot-passing-lob-smash and finally closed with a backhand down the line from outside the tramline.
Ros Satar: Ana Ivanovic’s tale of travel woe — although, transcribing it proved another matter.
René Denfeld: Niculescu explaining how she’s going through thick and thin with her coach, whether she’s No. 300 or No. 30. In a dog-eat-dog 2016 world, it was a rare tale of genuine loyalty and complete trust.
Diego Barbiani: “Monica Niculescu can’t have Twitter because she can’t create a sentence using only 140 characters,” — said after the press conference in which she told us she doesn’t use social networks.
Angelica Fratini: Andrea Petkovic, luck and Stuttgart don’t go well in the same phrase.
Giulio Gasparin: Simona Halep came to the All-Access looking and sounding positive about her status and form but her on-court performance was below par, to say the least. Surely, the breathing problems affected her, but it looked like there clearly was much more than that, so why not be honest with the press?
René Denfeld: German television airing the finals between two Germans at the biggest women’s tournament in the country on a regional channel — which cut off mid-way through the trophy ceremony before Kerber gets to drive to the Porsche. Weak.
Ros Satar: Petkovic still not getting any joy at this event — and she apparently still hasn’t hit the autobahn with Angie!
Diego Barbiani: We didn’t have a “blockbuster” match as in 2015 with Kerber-Sharapova, Halep-Wozniacki, Kerber-Wozniacki…or also Errani-Radwanska!Embed from Getty Images
Angelica Fratini: Siegemund as tennis’ champagne (© Roberta Vinci) and her Cinderella story.
Giulio Gasparin: Timea Babos –her name comes with a ‘mea culpa’ because it is clear I did not do my investigation on her before this week. However, never I would have expected this fierce and fiery Hungarian tennis player to be one of the funniest I’ve ever talked to off-court. Her story on Suzhou’s tournament is something nobody should miss!
Ros Satar: Siegemund — she’s not only a great narrative but one very clever and grounded person.
René Denfeld: Siegemund’s run was stunning but I was just as surprised and impressed by how fit, driven and solid Kvitova looked throughout large patches of this week. If she can carry some of that form through to the next few weeks, things could get interesting.
Diego Barbiani: Siegemund coming out of…nowhere, almost, and making a final by beating three Top 10 players in a row and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in straight sets — by losing only 19 games.Embed from Getty Images
Angelica Fratini: Halep goes on court with a kid taller than her!
Giulio Gasparin: Hard to pick one — it’s been an extremely fun week. However, I think it is hard to beat Roberta Vinci in a fun-contest: her press conferences are always amusing, no matter if after a win or a loss.
Should I pick one only? When she stopped in the middle of the press conference, looked at Diego and asked, laughing: “Have they put you in punishment? Today, you are asking no questions!”
Ros Satar: Opening ceremony — Halep and the tall kid, plus the announcer shading Radwanska about her woeful clay experience; she went on to the semis!
René Denfeld: Radwanska complaining about some guys from a local club playing on Centre Court at 11 pm at night, joking, “That’s why we have bad bounces!” and shouting, “I’ll switch the light off on them!”as she headed towards the elevator.
Diego Barbiani: Babos and Vinci press conferences — particularly Timea’s, because she showed a very funny character that was mostly unknown, or Radwanska complaining about people who were playing on Porsche Arena.Embed from Getty Images
Angelica Fratini: Kvitova-Niculescu, a match with backhands, forehands, drop shots, lobs, overhead volley and a lucky or unlucky net (it depends which is your side)
Ros Satar: Kvitova/Niculescu — a Forrest-Gump-Box-of-Chocolates match. You never knew what you were going to get next! Slices, dices, serves, volleys…snd two great interviews to boot.
Giulio Gasparin: Monica Niculescu vs. Petra Kvitova: sure, some other matches featured two higher ranked players, but this one had it all with variety, power, serve and volley, quality and a dramatic scoreline.
René Denfeld: Kvitova/Niculescu was a hoot, but I’d also like to give a mention to Makarova/Vinci. Entertaining and full of great shot-making and rallies.
Diego Barbiani: Niculescu-Kvitova, second round. In particular — how Monica was dominating in the first set and how much Kvitova had to raise up her game in the second to change the momentum, with a ‘little bit’ of luck on the first match point.