Gigi Salmon’s column: Katie Boulter’s success in San Diego, Andrey Rublev’s disqualification, Andy Murray and Indian Wells | Tennis News

In her latest Sky Sports column, Gigi Salmon reflects on Katie Boulter’s San Diego success, Andrey Rublev’s disqualification, an emotional summer in store with Andy Murray and Rafael Nadal set to retire from the game, and Indian Wells…

What a great way to wake up to the news that Katie Boulter is the champion in San Diego, her second career title and her biggest with this being a WTA 500 event and in her first 500 final, following on from the 250 she won in Nottingham last summer.

It also comes with a new career high of 27 have entered the competition as the world No 49 and puts her 16th in the year-end race.

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Katie Boulter won her first WTA 500 title with a sensational comeback victory over Marta Kostyuk in the San Diego Open final

Boulter did it by coming from a set down to beat sixth seed Marta Kostyuk, after a rain delayed start to the final. She she’d seen off three other seeds before her meeting with Kostyuk.

It is so good to see Katie play with such confidence, consistency and absolutely crushing the ball, she was unplayable at times over the course of the week.

Giving her some extra support in the final were her family who had flown in, alongside her boyfriend and newly crowned Acapulco champion Alex de Minaur, who accepted his trophy, did his speech and then apologised in advance for missing the post-tournament party as he had a 6am flight to catch to make it in time for the final!

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Laura Robson believes ‘the sky’s the limit’ for Katie Boulter after her victory in San Diego

Was Rublev’s default warranted?

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Andrey Rublev was disqualified from the Dubai Tennis Championship for screaming in the face of a line judge

Making the headlines over the last few days has been Andrey Rublev with the Russian disqualified from his Dubai semi-final for verbal abuse after getting in the face and yelling at a line judge because of a call he didn’t agree with.

Rublev, having lost the point to go 6-5 down on serve against Alexander Bublik, took umbrage at a mid-point forehand that he believed to be long, but the call never came.

What followed led to discussions on social media and within the tennis community about what he did or didn’t say, what language he used, Russian or English, and was a default warranted?

But regardless of any of those things, what Rublev did was unacceptable. He crossed a line and went too far and as I say to my eight-year-old twins all the time, ‘actions have consequences’.

But according to reports in The i newspaper today those consequences have lessened in severity as on appeal the ATP has reinstated Rublev’s semi-final points, together with the majority of his prize money, meaning that he holds on to his place in the top 5, with the initial punishment concluded to be ‘disproportionate in this case’.

Rublev is one of the good guys but his Achilles heel is the anger he displays on court, whether aimed at himself or others and at times his lack of belief in himself, which side by side isn’t a good combination.

And maybe we shouldn’t be surprised as his outbursts have been getting more frequent in recent times, all because of a call that turns out to have been the right one.

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Highlights of the Dubai Tennis Championships semi-final match between Rublev and Alexander Bublik

Murray’s plans becoming clear after latest defeat

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Andy Murray says he hopes to play at the Paris 2024 Olympics before he retires from tennis

Andy Murray’s retirement plans seem to be becoming clearer, due to the fact that he’s not getting the wins that he’s looking for and as he said in Dubai that he gets asked about it after ‘every single match that I play.’

In his own words, following his second-round loss to France’ Ugo Humbert, he’s ‘likely not going to play past this summer,’ with a goal of wanting to play at a fourth Olympics in Paris and a confirmation that he would like to play Roland Garros ‘one more time.’

I can see why he keeps being asked about it and when I sat down with him last month in Doha, while not asking directly when he was planning on retiring, we did speak about how he felt and where he was at with it all and he made the point after saying that he had never experienced a period like this as a professional, that no one will tell him what to do or when to do it, that’s up to him.

The hope now is that he can get on with making the most of the time he has left as a professional and it was summed up perfectly by mum Judy who wrote on X: ‘Let him enjoy whatever time is left of his career. He is 50 in the world, has a metal hip, bipartite patella and four kids’.

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A not so happy Andy Murray said he had ‘no idea what he’s doing’ during his defeat to Ugo Humbert in Dubai

An emotional summer in store

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Carlos Alcaraz and Rafael Nadal took part in the inaugural Netflix Slam exhibition match in Las Vegas

It’s starting to feel like it could be an emotional summer saying goodbye to two greats of the game, with Rafa Nadal having said in May last year that 2024 ‘should be’ the last year of his career. But before we get too ahead of ourselves there’s a lot of tennis to be played and we will next see them in action at Indian Wells, the first combined Masters 1000 event of the year which starts this week – live on Sky Sports Tennis.

Being a mandatory event as a WTA 1000 and an ATP Masters 1000 the best of the best, who are fit and able, will be in attendance and more often than not the top players enter the doubles event too. And having been spread out across the world following the Australian Open, on the clay and hard courts, it’s the first time everyone is back together in one place.

Winners from down the years include Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova, Naomi Osaka, Iga Swiatek, Roger Federer, Nadal, Novak Djokovic and in 2021 Cameron Norrie, with 43-year-old Venus Williams and former champion Caroline Wozniacki awarded wild-cards into both Indian Wells and Miami.

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In celebration of Novak Djokovic’s return to the Indian Wells Open after a five-year gap, we take a look at his winning moments…

Five-time champion and world No 1 Novak Djokovic is back making his first appearance in the desert since 2019 due to a mix of scheduling, Covid and post-Covid entry restrictions, and it’s his first tournament since his semi-final exit in Australia.

Indian Wells is the fifth-most attended tournament after the Slams and houses the second-largest permanent tennis stadium in the world after Arthur Ashe in New York, with a capacity of over 16,000.

It’s also in a stunning setting referred to as “the Garden,” sheltered between desert and mountains. And look out for pictures of the players lawn, a big rectangle of natural grass in full view of the fans that is used for warm-ups, stretching and five-a-side football.

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Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola shares his inspirations from different sports including athletes such as Nadal, Roger Federer, and Tommy Fleetwood

Brits to keep an eye on at Indian Wells…

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Emma Raducanu, Boulter, Murray and Jack Draper will all be in action in Indian Wells – live on Sky Sports Tennis

Brits to watch out for in singles action in Indian Wells are San Diego Champion Katie Boulter, who has received direct entry into the main draw for the first time in her career. She will be joined by Emma Raducanu who has received a wild-card into both the Indian Wells and Miami main draws, and hoping to join them is Harriet Dart, who will take on qualifying, but Heather Watson fell in the first round of qualifying to 15th seed Rebeka Masarova.

Norrie heads up the men, also in the main draw Dan Evans, Jack Draper and Andy Murray, while looking to navigate qualifying will be Liam Broady.

I’m going to be joined by Tim and Laura for Indian Wells and so far no talk of challenges.

After my brief foray into coaching (which apparently I might be resuming at Roland Garros) and a 10k that nearly finished me off I’m hoping for a quieter time, but you never know as I’m sure there’s something being planned!

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Do you remember when Nick Kyrgios reacted to a fan’s comment by bringing actor Ben Stiller into the argument during Indian Wells in 2022?

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