Vinci gets French Open trophy replaced

What sad news it was last August when Italy’s Roberta Vinci announced that the cherished mementos of her long career had been stolen in a home burglary.

The US Open stepped up a month later, replacing her 2015 singles finalist’s plate and promising to also get a copy of her custom-made 2012 women’s doubles championship trophy.

And now, Vinci also has a copy of her 2012 French Open women’s doubles trophy, won with Sara Errani.

Vinci’s career finale came in Rome last month, when she lost to Aleksandra Krunic and was recognized with a post-match ceremony on court.

A Challenger wild-card tale of woe

It’s hard enough to make a living at the lower levels of tennis, as French doubles player Dorian Descloix can attest ($7,367 in earnings in 2018).

So you can understand his anger at Blois Challenger tournament director Claude Roget, after Descloix got confirmation of a doubles wild card – only to find himself not in the draw.

He laid the story out on Twitter (in French – including a copy of the email). It includes accusations of some mocking and quite disrespectful behaviour – and being told he was on the hook for his hotel room.

Not very nice.

Auger-Aliassime in exclusive company

Félix Auger-Aliassime had to breathe a sigh of relief after successfully defending his Lyon Challenger title Sunday.

Without it, he would have dropped out of the top 200 this week. With it, he stands at No. 172.

The teenager trails only Richard Gasquet for the most career Challenger titles by players 17 and younger. Gasquet had five. Auger-Aliassime, Novak Djokovic and Juan Martin del Potro each had three.

Auger-Aliassime plays in Blois this week. He turns 18 in August.

His friend Denis Shapovalov, currently in the top 25, won one Challenger at 17, and another at 18. Many different paths to the top.

Double hip surgery for Zimonjic

Nenad Zimonjic, the longtime Serbian doubles star and current Davis Cup captain, hasn’t played since Munich six weeks ago.

It will have been his final match, barring some sort of miracle.

The 42-year-old had total bilateral hip surgery June 8 at the Endogap Clinic in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany.

Zimonjic is doing a documentary, and has checked in on Twitter with videos of his progress.

He left the hospital Friday, after walking without crutches just six days after the surgery. 

Zimonjic has 54 doubles titles including back-to-back Wimbledons 2008-09 and the French Open in 2010 – all with Canadian Daniel Nestor.

Sharapova has bucket-list hit with Nadal

For a couple of minutes, after Rafael Nadal’s practice in Rome on Monday, two-time French Open champion Maria Sharapova got to hit with him on court.

It was an item struck off the bucket list, Sharapova wrote on Twitter.

In 2012 and 2014, Sharapova and Nadal both won the French Open.

Sharapova also has won Rome three times, most recently in 2015. Nadal has won it seven times, although not since 2013.

Her referring to Nadal as the GOAT (the clay GOAT – she obviously meant) predictably had Roger Federer fans (among others) rushing to their keyboards to take offense.  

CiCi Bellis still out of action

It’s been a fairly quiet absence for CiCi Bellis.

But the 19-year-old American has been out since Miami with an elbow issue.

Bellis actually made it to Rome. But she withdrew.

Her ranking hasn’t been too affected so far. But she has more than 400 points to defend over the next month (worth about 50 ranking spots). And she has withdrawn from Strasbourg next week.

(On a personal note, did you know she’s dating fellow 19-year-old Northern Californian Sam Riffice? Riffice is playing the pros this year, but has committed to the University of Florida for 2018-19).

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.

Dane Caroline Wozniacki is quite a Dame

One of of the most famous athletes to come out of Denmark, Caroline Wozniacki was honoured Monday.

She was presented with the knight cross of the Dannebrog, the first level of the Danish Order of Chivalry first established in 1671.

It’s for “meritorious civil or military service, for a particular contribution to the arts, sciences or business life or for those working for Danish interests.”

Unless Wozniacki gets convicted of treating, looting or gross misconduct, it’s a lifetime honor.

From now on, we shall refer to her as “Dame Caro”.

Stan Wawrinka closes in on return

Stan Wawrinka says returning to action in Rome next week is the goal, after pulling out of Madrid as a precaution.

“I lost 10 days’ training because of a calf injury,” Wawrinka said Thursday as he confirmed his presence in Gstaad, after Wimbledon. “The knee is holding up. I’m convinced I’m seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.”

He called upon former coach Magnus Norman for a two-week training block. “After that, we’ll see,” he said.

Wawrinka’s schedule is a work in progress. He’s not ruling out Switzerland’s Davis Cup playoff tie in September.

After 622 days, Medina Garrigues returns

Not that she’s been counting the days, but Spain’s Anabel Medina Garrigues was counting the days.

Her return, after 622 of them, didn’t end up with a win.

But Medina Garrigues and Arantxa Parra Santonja put up a fight against Johanna Konta and Shuai Zhang before going down 2-6, 6-3, 10-3 in their first-round doubles in Madrid.

Medina Garrigues, don’t forget, was Jelena Ostapenko’s coach last year. She’s Spain’s Fed Cup captain. But she always said she wasn’t necessarily retired.

With a protected ranking of No. 34, the 35-year-old also entered Rome and the French Open with Parra Santonja.