I can't tell you how comforting it is to watch tennis with crowds again.

And also seeing Venus playing so well
I'd love it if Venus could have a decent year. She's 41 in June and I can't imagine she'll play much longer; maybe skip the clay season where she never does anything anyway and gear up for a Wimbledon farewell.
So tough to know this year whether it's better to avoid playing lots of tennis the week before a slam, or whether it's better to be out shaking off rust, getting court time in given how much downtime players have had.

It's weird to see Osaka arrive with either extra weight or just some softness compared to her usual condition. She's someone who I would say is quite professional in her approach to tennis, and certainly someone who has a great team in place, so it will be interesting to see if it has any effect on her tennis. I can't imagine she wasn't putting the hours in during pre-season or hitting training targets anyway at this stage in her career when she looks poised to really go on a march to greatness.
Naomi isn't a naturally skinny girl. I imagine those 2 weeks of quarantine, even if she had nicer circumstances, would've had an effect on her conditioning.


Any thoughts on the draws for next week? Looks like a tough road for Kenin if she is to defend her title. And yet another Swiatek-Halep match up in the fourth round!
Naomi's section has me quaking.

R1: Pavlyuchenkova
R2: Garcia
R3: Jabeur
R4: Muguruza/Kerber
QF: Andreescu/Kvitova/Venus
SF: Serena/Simona/Iga/Sabalenka
F: Barty/Vika/Kenin

5 or 6 grand slam winners in her path to the quarter final alone.
I've got a very worrying feeling that this is Barty's time. I'm not sure I trust anyone to stop her before the semi-finals.

Also dreading the Djokovic-Zverev quarter final as it means I'm going to have to actually cheer for Novak (or a meteor to land on the stadium, either or)
Much as I'd like to be proved wrong, I think the boat has sailed for Jo. Roland Garros in 2019 was her big chance, maybe Wimbledon in 2017 if she'd got through Venus, but I don't see it for her now.
I would have felt pretty good about Serena if her draw had been a little kinder. However I was impressed with how she was playing so we’ll see how that goes and hopefully the injury concern is more preventative that anything else.

I am also SUPER excited to see how Andreescu plays, assuming she does. A lucky loser for your round 1 after a full year off is the best she could hope for, however Pironkova in round 2 will be tricky.

Kenin’s draw is probably one of the ‘easiest’, but I don’t see her retaining.

In the mens, Shapovalov vs Sinner in round 1 is of note and should be a good entertaining. I’m manifesting a Thiem win overall, his draw eases him in which should put him in a good position in the second week.
Jo actually has a good draw on paper, but I can see multiple potential banana skins for her, particularly if she’s not 100% on it.

After watching both of Juvan's matches and both of Jo's this week, unless there is a significant improvement from Jo in the AO she will get slaughtered.
Do we really think Sofia's draw is that easy? Potential second round against Kanepi who's been known to be a spoiler, then possibly Vekic (who she has never actually played) and maybe a last 16 against Konta if she can get it together, or Brady who demonstrated her hardcourt credentials in New York - all to get to a possible QF against Vika? I'm not sure I'd call that a breeze.
Yeah there's no way Kenin's draw qualifies as a "cakewalk" at all. Kanepi is the exact sort of seasoned big hitter would will relish taking on the defending champ and has the game to sweep her off the court. Vekic is pretty much a walking bye since at least the resumption of play post-Covid, but boring Brady is definitely another threat lurking for Sofia. And drawing someone who double bagelled her a few months ago in her QF is far from ideal too.

I was definitely disappointed seeing Barty's draw. Seems very doable for her early on, although an inspired Kontaveit would have the game to beat her, I don't see it happening. Surely Pliskova will go out to Danielle Collins in round two in that quarter. I'm starting to feel Pliskova may be ready to depart her perma-top 10, technically a contender status.

Ship has well and truly sailed for Konta to the point that I wouldn't even feel a need to analyse her draw. Nor would I want to ever again after rooting for her a bit during that French Open only to witness one of the worst performances I've ever watched. Gauff v Svitolina will be interesting in a way. Be good for Coco to play a big match against someone who won't hit herself out of the tournament. I'm a borderline hater of both so I can enjoy the schadenfreude either way. Vika really could make another good run here. I really hope Sofia can make semis at least, as a fan and for the tour's benefit.

Naomi's draw is an utter hellscape. I'd be surprised to see her body and mind hold up through the amount of tennis that draw will take unless she comes in in inspired form and wipes opponents aside easily. I'd be happy with a lot of the main contenders (Naomi, Petra, Bianca, Muguruza) on paper from that part of the draw winning the tournament really if it holds up and we see some great matches. Super excited to see Andreescu back in action regardless.

For the last section I just hope we get to see Sabalenka/Serena and Swiatek/Halep. Sabalenka I will settle for nothing less than a hard fought loss against Serena at the VERY least. Too much tour success to keep bombing out at slams to nobodies. If she fumbles this she's officially in the Pliskvoa category for me. Serena/Swiatek would be fun too. Or Serena/Halep after Wimbledon final.

Basically I have even less clue than usual who wins this one.
I'm not surprised or even particularly disappointed at this round of withdrawals from the women, because I understand that with the truncated preparation for this slam suddenly developing an injury has become an even bigger risk than usual, but I do think the WTA has to do something to at least try disincentivize it from happening. It's such a bad look for the tour (not actually giving people something to watch at the end of a tournament), in a sport that has already done very little to retain or build public interest outside of a couple of weeks a year over the last... decade?

Osaka treats the tour like Serena does now. Only difference is that Serena has earned a right to be careful and selective with her tournament prioritising as someone nearing the end of her career. I'd honestly rather see Osaka tank a match or just do an Andreescu than keep going deep in pre-slam tournaments and then pull out right near the end and leave a hole in the schedule. It's confusing for casual fans and makes it harder to follow. Naomi didn't even name a specific injury in her statement. Vika deserves a call out too of course.

Not being award full prize money or full points maybe. It's not gonna put the very top players off but the WTA needs to be seen to do something to reinforce the importance of competing in tour events and make it worth players' while to take to the court. This issue is particularly pertinent this week when they already had a third set tiebreak introduced to try alleviate injury concerns and prevent mass pullouts. And not to mention, while i don't care for the ATP Cup, it's a great format for public entertainment; seeing top guys all taking each other on. Meanwhile WTA is cancelling events or skipping entire days of play.

Would love to see Muguruza carry her good form and confidence from this last week into the next fortnight.