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Road to the NBO...

Road to the NBO Montreal : Wimbledon 2023 - Week One

Welcome to the Road to the NBO, our weekly recap of all the action on the WTA Tour ahead of the National Bank Open in Montréal from August 4 to 13.

DAYS UNTIL THE NATIONAL BANK OPEN: 27

On-court action 

Meteoric Mirra

Andreeva Wimbledon 2023
Photo : Alberto Pezzali

This may feel like a rehash, but the child leaves me no choice. For the third time in just a few weeks, I’m compelled to devote a few paragraphs to the WTA’s newly-minted prodigy.

Mirra Andreeva continues to defy even the most optimistic predictions. At Wimbledon, the 16-year-old got as far as the round of 16, and the excitement of experts and fans alike continues to be warranted as she pursues her astonishing rise in the WTA rankings.

Read also: Andreeva Reaches Round Four in Madrid

Just as she did in Paris, she breezed through her three qualifying matches. In London, she even went an extra round before she was toppled by Madison Keys (3-6, 7-6 (4), 6-2).

She’s a dazzling phenom on so many levels.

She may be young, but she still manages to serve at over 175 km/h. In her four matches, her first-serve percentage was never lower than 61%, and she hit a total of six double faults (4, 0, 1 and 1).

Photo : Reuters

Solid from the baseline and quick and effective on defence, she doesn’t do anything spectacular. But because she sends a lot of balls back with the composure and aplomb of a seasoned player, she forces her opponents to hit errors. As far as her own unforced errors, she made about half as many as her rivals (and three times fewer than Madison Keys).

Mirra also plays fast. Very fast. Towards the end of the match against Keys, she was often ready to serve while Madison was still getting in the ready position—a smart strategy to slow the pace to her liking.

Read also: Canadians Go Down Swinging at Wimbledon

In Andreeva’s 50 matches at all levels this season, she’s is 43–7. When the rankings come out on July 18, she should be around No.64.

A year ago, she was No. 614. And 15 months ago, she wasn’t even No.1200.

Mind-blowing.

Mirra Andreeva’s rankings in the past 15 months

2023

  • July 18: No. 64
  • June 11: No. 101
  • April 9: No. 312

2022

  • July 17: No. 614
  • April 3: No. 1272

Stories to watch 

Swiatek finds her footing

Photo : Sportskeeda

In week one, everything went according to plan.

On Monday, July 10, the Top 4 (and five of the Top 6) were still in the mix.

Read also: Venus Williams Receives Wild Card to play at National Bank Open

Regardless of the outcome of week 2, World No. 1 Iga Swiatek is slowly finding her footing on grass—the only court on which she has yet to excel. Against Belinda Bencic, the 22-year-old saved two match points to enter the Wimbledon quarters for the first time in four tries.

Her tournament came to an end at this stage, against Elina Svitolina, the woman on a mission. But the world number one is certainly starting to feel more comfortable on grass

Photo : Kirsty Wigglesworth – AP

If you don’t count her 2018 junior title, her previous outings ended in the first, fourth and third rounds in 2019, 2021 and 2022, respectively.

Read also: Remembering Caroline Wozniacki’s 2010 Montreal Title Run

A powerhouse on the clay and hard courts from which she’s already taken home 14 winner’s trophies, she’s never really mastered grass. She’s never really competed in a lot of Wimbledon lead-ins either (only 11 matches in 4 seasons), and that may explain why she’s been slow to acclimatize.

Even so, don’t be surprised if she raises the Venus Rosewater Dish, sooner rather than later.

Off-court buzz 

WTA fashion: Thanks, Ted Tinling!

Photo : Lawn Tennis Association

As part of its 50th anniversary celebrations, the WTA released a short video on the importance and the evolution of tennis fashion.

Of course, tennis apparel has gone through many transformations over the years.

Read also: Road to the NBO - Diverse Field Remains at Wimbledon

In WTA 50: A Half-Century of the Best in Fashion, Tracy Austin, Valerie Ziegenfuss and Rosie Casals discuss how Cuthbert Collingwood Tinling put fashion front and centre on the courts. The leading designer of 20th-century tennis looks, Ted spent over 60 years shaping the sport’s apparel.

A close friend of Billie Jean King’s, Tinling designed the dress she wore when she won the Battle of the Sexes in 1973. He also created outfits for Suzanne Lenglen, Margaret Court, Rosie Casals, Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova, including the dress Martina had on when she won the 1979 Wimbledon title.

Photos : Facebook/Marco Island Historical Society

While the name Ted Tinling may not ring a bell, a quick Google search yields dozens of photos and videos of the women who built the WTA wearing his designs.

Image : Youtube/International Tennis Hall of Fame

The video also takes a look at more recent tennis trends worn and designed by Venus and Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova, and Coco Gauff and Donna Vekic talk about their own design processes.

Jelena dresses for the occasion

Photo : WTA/Jimmie-48

What would Ted Tinling have to say about Jelena Ostapenko’s tennis looks?

The World No.17 has definitely had a few fashion moments, including the fun and eclectic pieces from her iconic 2022 collab with DK One.

The WTA's best return to Montreal this summer for the National Bank Open August 4 to 13 at IGA Stadium. Tickets are on sale. Get your tickets today!