One To Watch is a series in which Blacklabel Tennis introduces fans to some of the newer and lesser known players with significant potential, today's One To Watch is Lara Arruabarrena-Vecino
Name:Lara Arruabarrena-Vecino Hometown: San Sebastian, Spain Age: 19 Current World Rank: #105 Tour Level Titles: 1 Signature Win: def. Alexandra Panova (RUS) 6-2, 7-5 Final, Bogota, XX Copa BBVA Colsanitas
So take pretty much everything I've written about Petra Kvitova since last year's Wimbledon and do me a favor, scratch out that name and pencil in Victoria Azarenka. I'm not alone there, there are plenty of other bloggers and writers who could say the same thing given how the Bella Belarussian has started her 2012 campaign a sterling 17-0. I'm also not selling my stock in Kvitova. The Czech player has remained impressive since claiming her first major last July, but Azarenka has shown us something a notch above what Kvitova has thus far. It's about time we start paying attention.
For a few years now, NetJets has run a commercial featuring Roger Federer dragging a cart full of trophies across an airport tarmac. It's surely a fitting image for a man who's acquired as much hardware as the gilded Swiss. In fact, if you compare his record to any of the would-be GOATs (Greatest of All Time) there are only a couple of omissions. He never won the (true) Grand Slam (OK, well only two men ever have, we can give him a pass there), nor Olympic singles gold (an event known for "funky" results, Rafael Nadal's form run in 2008 notwithstanding). Federer's also never won the Davis Cup. That omission is a bit less forgivable, especially after his 0-2 performance this weekend on Swiss indoor clay against Team USA.
Australia's over but the 2012 tennis year has really just become. Who came out of Oz on fire and who needs a jumpstart? Time for a round of Power Rankings.
1. Novak Djokovic (SRB)Last Month: (2)
Is it me or is 2012 beginning to look a lot like last year? It is for Novak Djokovic at least. He came into this Australian swing with some legitimate question marks about his fitness and his state of mind; he left the land Down Under back on top. Djokovic captured his fifth major and a seventh consecutive win over World No. 2 Rafael Nadal, albeit in a near six hour epic that showed the two players may be on closer terms than they seemed a year prior. Just seven matches from the Nole Slam in Paris you have to think, wouldn't that be an interesting feather in the Serb's cap? Federer could be the greatest ever, Nadal could be the greatest clay-courter ever and Djokovic could be the only one of the three to win four majors in a row. You want to talk Greatest Generation? Only seven men have captured the career grand slam and Djokovic could be the third to do it in four years...all while beating TWO of the others to get there. Why are we getting ahead of ourselves? Djokovic beat Nadal on clay twice last year, just saying. In any event, the next few months are on hardcourts. Djokovic has won the last three majors on the hard stuff...up next, defending the Indian Wells-Key Biscayne double.