Fourhand: Venus, Bartoli, Fognini & Bouchard
We'll forgo tweaking the fickle Mutua Madrid Open crowd for raining its whistles down on Kei Nishikori after his title bout with Rafael Nadal started so convincingly and then became a bust after his injury. Here, some (mostly) happier, smile-inducing recent news in the pro tennis realm:
VENUS RISING (IN THE MORNING) Venus Williams, missing in action in Madrid this week, lends some great depth of insight into her training regimen here—and rightly notes that, at season's end, she doesn't visit the gym for four weeks, needing a rest-and-refresh period away from it all.
NOT-SO-GREAT EXPECTATIONS Don't go pretending that Marion Bartoli will return to the WTA Tour. She has all but squashed that notion. Even so, "Never say never" is a good mantra for sports stars. Regardless of what she designs for her life, one has to love the photo of her shown at the Telegraph link here.
DUST-UP IN THE DIRT If you missed it (part one), Fabio Fognini and chair umpire Mohamed Lahyani got into a tiff—catalyzed purely by the former, of course—over a call in Fognini's Madrid match against Alexandr Dolgopolov, which he lost.
“Are you serious?” Fognini said to Lahyani. “Check this. There is no space!” Later, upon shaking the umpire's hand, Fognini continued, saying, "Come now. I want to see you now. Come now and don’t be scared.” Odd and sort of foreboding, but that's the mercurial Italian for you.
YOU CAN'T MAKE THIS UP File this under Points a Player Never Should've Won: Eugenie Bouchard's best Chumbawumba embodiment in this clip:
"She gets knocked down, but she gets up again/ No, you're never gonna keep her down." Pity Alisa Kleybanova on that one, who ultimately surrendered the match as well.
Your Turn: What's your own must-see point or occurrence of this clay-court season so far? Those are a couple keepers, for better or worse.
Got a thought, a tip, or a point to make? Hit me on Twitter at @jonscott9.