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Tennis10sBalls Shares Insights From The 2018 BNP Paribas Open

Pauline Parmentier of France in action against Carina Witthoeft of Germany during their women’s single 2nd round match during the French Open tennis tournament at Roland Garros in Paris, France, 01 June 2017. EPA/CAROLINE BLUMBERG



By Craig Cignarelli


Stadium 2 is a hundred sixty-three size-12-Nike steps from Center Stage. You’ll pass by throngs of tennis enthusiasts taking photos in front of the Moet & Chandon display, Audi’s glass ping pong table where mothers’ beat their children in the most compassionate way, and several gray-haired volunteers who ask things like “Do you have the app yet?” which is akin to a T-Rex asking which fork to use.


Yesterday afternoon, on someone’s suggestion that I “Go see this kid play!” I made the walk across the grounds. When I arrived, the announcer introduced a thirty-one year old French veteran named Pauline Parmentier who’s made close to three million dollars on tour. On the other side stood a sixteen-year-old, 5’10 American girl with a Russian heritage. She’d received a wildcard into the event and now stood hammering backhands with bad intentions.


For the next hour, I watched her destroy Parmentier 6-2, 6-2. She displayed a complete commitment to attacking every return and gave a disdainful look after an inch-long miss. Her serve sat around the 107mph range and she could hit any spot in the box. Exhibiting an uncommon court sense for a teenager, she ran the Frenchwoman into a geometric maelstrom that left Parmentier shaking her head. To date, the girl’s record is 9-2 on the WTA tour and it appears not much is going to stop her from improving upon that record.


It’s rare to see young talent compete with this kind of mental fortitude. The usual teenage angst is absent, replaced with a palpable competitive drive. This girl wants to do damage. Her name is Amanda Anisimova and here’s a short scouting report. Ultra-aggressive returns. Rock-solid backhand (she missed two in the entire match). Forehand racquet speed lags a big, especially from the inside-out position. First serve is becoming a weapon and second serve hits the back of the box with more regularity than some of the prune-eating patients over at the desert’s Eisenhower Hospital. She’d built a drop shot into her repertoire to compliment her baseline power and employs it sparingly enough that even the artistic French woman sent her applause. The volley game is suspect but you get the sense she’ll be shoring up that part of her game by her reaction to the misses – imagine the way a mother looks at her child after the kid has launched a bag of flour across the living room and you get close.


Whether or not this kid advances her remains to be seen. After all, tennis has seen hundreds of young rookies shoot towards the top, only to fail ungracefully as the coaches and adversaries discover tactics to defeat them. Still, I like this kid’s potential. There’s a something in the eyes that says “I’m going places,” which is exactly what I’m doing today. Will report more later.

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