Tennis action is starting to heat up as we inch toward what we are all waiting for - the first major of 2013! I started out just half-heartedly watching some of the matches this week according to what is on TV in my area, but as the week has progressed I have begun paying more attention, finding some matches on the computer that weren't on TV, beginning to get into the spirit of the new season.
For example, I was very impressed with a girl I had never heard of before, Monica Puig. This 19-year-old from Puerto Rico and ranked in the 100s gave #5 ranked Angelique Kerber a real run for her money, taking her to a 3rd set tiebreak. Those two were going for it with everything they had on every point. It was very inspirational tennis and I'm sure we will see more of her this year.
It was encouraging seeing Gael Monfils playing in Doha. After being out of the tennis world for a few months following a knee injury and now ranked at 77, Monfils looked as if he plans on a move back up the ranks, playing some really good tennis to beat Kohlschreiber. He did, however, have a little run-in with the chair umpire after being warned that he was taking too long between points. The often ignored rule of 25 seconds between points is actually going to be enforced this year, with loss of serve after the first warning for the server (hmm, maybe that's the real reason Rafa decided not to play this month?), which happened to Feliciano Lopez in his lackluster loss the other day. I'm really happy that they're finally cracking down on this and hope it continues.
Though I am ready for the next week-and-a-half to go by to get to the tournament we're really waiting for, and in spite of several top seeds going out early in the women's game, I'm glad to at least be watching some great tennis that has actually inspired my own game, which had been suffering the last couple times I played. Today I was able to apply some of the tactics I had seen in a few of the matches I watched and had some good success.
I don't know how much the tournaments this week really mean when it comes to predictions at the Australian Open (such as Djokovic's loss to Tomic in the Hopman Cup), but it's fun to see some of the players out on the court again knowing we have some great things to look forward to right around the corner.