Sat, 28 Mar 2020

Paris - Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal return to action for the first time since the Australian Open while Qatar saw the latest tennis mum return to action.

Here follows a look at three tennis talking points this week:

Djokovic: Not you again!

World No 1 Novak Djokovic plays on Monday for the first time since lifting the Australian Open for the eighth time.

However, his opponent in the Dubai first round, Malek Jaziri, was left wishing the 32-year-old Serb had stayed away a little longer.

The Tunisian, who made the semi-finals in the UAE in 2018, lost to Djokovic in the second round two years earlier when the Serb won his fourth title at the event.

The 36-year-old, now ranked outside the top 200, has also had to face Roger Federer, Andy Murray and Grigor Dimitrov in Dubai.

Before the draw was made Saturday, Jaziri even said: "Hopefully this year the draw will be good for me. Usually I play a seeded player always here. I've played Roger, I've played Novak, I've played Andy. I played Grigor as well two years ago."

Djokovic, too, saw the funny side.

"He is a super nice guy and we train a lot. It is unfortunate. It is very odd that that happened."

Nadal and Kyrgios: Loco in Acapulco?

Rafael Nadal takes top seeding in Acapulco, 12 months after being knocked out in the second round by Nick Kyrgios in a match which sparked angry exchanges between the two.

Nadal, a two-time champion at the Mexican event in 2005 and 2013 when it was still played on clay, accused the combustible Australian of "lacking respect" for serving underarm in the 2019 match which Kyrgios won in three sets.

Kyrgios described the Spaniard as "super salty".

Nadal went on to win a bad-tempered Wimbledon duel in which Kyrgios speared a ball at the 19-time major winner and criticised what he perceived to be his rival's pedestrian pace of play.

This time around in Acapulco, the two are in separate halves of the draw with Nadal starting against compatriot Pablo Andujar and Kyrgios facing Ugo Humbert of France.

Mums net: Shvedova joins tennis mothers

Multiple Grand Slam title winners Serena Williams, Victoria Azarenka and Kim Clijsters are probably the best known of tennis mums on tour.

They have now been joined by Kazakhstan's Yaroslava Shvedova who returned to the WTA Tour in Qatar on Sunday after an absence of almost three years in which she gave birth to twins.

The 32-year-old was a top 30 player in 2016 and won two Grand Slam women's doubles titles.

Her comeback in Doha was short-lived, losing to Germany's Laura Siegemund 6-3, 6-2 but there plenty of other mums on tour from whom to take encouragement.

As well as Williams, Clijsters and Azarenka, India's Sania Mirza, Mandy Minella of Luxembourg and former US Open and Wimbledon runner-up Vera Zvonareva have all returned to the pro ranks after starting families.

World rankings:


1. Novak Djokovic (SRB) 9,720 points, 2. Rafael Nadal (ESP) 9,395, 3. Roger Federer (SUI) 7,130, 4. Dominic Thiem (AUT) 7,045, 5. Daniil Medvedev (RUS) 5,890, 6. Stefanos Tsitsipas (GRE) 4,745, 7. Alexander Zverev (GER) 3,885, 8. Matteo Berrettini (ITA) 2,860, 9. Gael Monfils (FRA) 2,860, 10. David Goffin (BEL) 2,555


93. Lloyd Harris (RSA) 641, 122. Kevin Anderson (RSA) 445


1. Ashleigh Barty (AUS) 8,367 points, 2. Simona Halep (ROM) 6,076, 3. Karolina Pliskova (CZE) 5,200, 4. Bianca Andreescu (CAN) 4,665 (+1), 5. Sofia Kenin (USA) 4,490 (+2), 6. Kiki Bertens (NED) 4,335 (+2), 7. Elina Svitolina (UKR) 4,301 (-1), 8. Serena Williams (USA) 3,915 (+1), 9. Belinda Bencic (SUI) 3,875 (-5), 10. Naomi Osaka (JPN) 3,625

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