Mattek-Sands Lucky in (tennis) Love

It’s a real challenge these days for players to get clothing sponsorships, with nearly all the money going to the very, very top players.

But American doubles star Bethanie Mattek-Sands – always known for her sartorial splendor on court – has carved out a deal with the Miami-based brand Lucky in Love.

They will collaborate on “capsule collections” throughout the year, with the first kicking off for January’s Australian Open.

If you don’t know the brand, they’ve been head and shoulders over the rest the last few years for fun, bright, original designs. Amazing stuff.

Mouratoglou – Serena should make Paris

Serena Williams coach Patrick Mouratoglou says his charge needed five weeks to be ready, after arriving at his academy April 30.

“After her pregnancy, Serena had to rebuild her body. … That is the reason why we decided to skip Madrid and Rome,” Mouratoglou said in an exclusive interview with the WTA Tour website

“She is improving in all the areas fast. I am very satisfied and confident that she will be ready for Roland Garros,” he said.

Williams also was spotted with tape on her left knee.

An Instagram post by Williams Monday had her in Rome Monday.

WTA promos Bouchard, as she hits ITF

Some tone-deafness on the part of the WTA Tour Twitter account this week, as it promoted Genie Bouchard  – and linked to an April photo shoot – the very week the 24-year-old Canadian takes to the ITF circuit at Cagnes-sur-Mer, France.

A year ago in Madrid, Bouchard upset Maria Sharapova in arguably one of the matches of the year for its intensity and drama. 

But that was a year ago. So it was just grist for the haters’ mill.

It might do Bouchard good to watch the video, though, before her first match in France. She was pumped.

WTA No. 1 in play again in Madrid

Unless Simona Halep manages to duplicate her near-perfect 2017 clay run, we may see Caroline Wozniacki atop the rankings for the foreseeable future..

It might not happen next week in Madrid; Wozniacki would have to reach the semis to have a shot – the final if Halep defeats Ekaterina Makarova in her first match.

But in all, Halep has 2,885 points to defend (Madrid title, Rome and French Open finals). It’s about one-third of her total points.

Wozniacki, who dealt with a shoulder injury a year ago, has just 495 points coming off. She didn’t even play Rome in 2017.

Sharapova week-to-week with Högstedt

Maria Sharapova has not committed full-time to former coach Thomas Högstedt.

But given her improving health after a long-term forearm injury, she said his work ethic is what she needs right now. And he brings fresh intel into the collaboration.

“With Thomas … he’s coached a lot against me since and I appreciate that feedback coming back into the team,” she said after losing a tight one to Caroline Garcia in the first round.

“He has a great work ethic. And I’m all for that. I’m not shy of putting in the work.”

The Czechs play coaching musical chairs

If you go by the musical chairs the Czech players are engaging in, in terms of their coaching choices, you’d think there were only four qualified tennis coaches in all of the Czech Republic.

We’ve put together a handy graphic for you, illustrating who has coached whom, and who is currently working with whom as the 2018 season begins.

There has been drama.

The big winner is David Kotyza. The longtime coach of Petra Kvitova, now working with Barbora Strycova, has run the table.

There has to be a book in there down the road.

More surgery for star-crossed Paszek

Austrian Tamira Paszek, whose once-promising career has turned out to be a star-crossed struggle of major proportions, is having surgery again.

Still just 26, she won her first WTA Tour title as a 15-year-old in Portoroz. But in recent years, she has struggled.

Paszek posted this on Instagram Monday, without specifying the nature of the surgery (it turned out to be on her foot)

A year ago, she had surgeries to address issues with her tonsils and sinuses, which led to the diagnosis of a rare disorder called trigeminal neuralgia.

Paszek talks about that here. She said she hoped to return in 2018.  

Wozniacki leads October WTA Awards

No surprise, WTA Tour Finals champion Caroline Wozniacki was named the WTA Tour’s Player of the Month  for October.

And there was a deserving win for the under-the-radar Magdalena Rybarikova for Shot of the Month, after she hit three or four shorts worthy of the moniker in a single point in Linz against Barbora Strycova.

For her efforts in Moscow and Zhuhai, veteran Julia Goerges won the “Breakthrough Performance of the Month” award. 

With the victory in Zhuhai, the 29-year-old reached a career-high singles ranking of No. 14.

Hingis will retire No. 1 in the rankings

It was almost a foregone conclusion. But it was made official Friday.

Whatever happens in the rest of the doubles event at the WTA Tour Finals in Singapore, Martina Hingis will end her illustrious career ranked No. 1.

Can’t ask for a better ending.

The No. 1 doubles ranking, the WTA reminds us, is “presented by Dubai Duty Free”.

Hingis and partner Yung-Jan Chan are the fifth team in WTA history to finish the year as co-world No. 1s. Hingis did it with former partner Sania Mirza in 2015.

The WTA looks back at her career.

Drawing blindfolded, with Karolina

The WTA Tour has some interesting ideas about what fans want to see from their players, as they try to promote them off the court.

So in the grand scheme of the “put a cracker on your forehand and try to get it in your mouth without using your hands” experiment at last year’s WTA Tour Finals in Singapore, getting Karolina Pliskova to try to draw various objects blindfolded probably isn’t the worst idea they’ve ever had.

At least she was a good sport about it.