It wasn’t just the warm and humid conditions that made it difficult for 15th seed David Goffin of Belgium to come through with his 6-4, 6-4 second-round win against Spaniard Marcel Granollers on Friday at the Miami Open.
Goffin, who resides in Liege, a French-speaking city located in the Walloon region of Belgium, was playing with a heavy heart because of the terrorist attacks that hit Brussels airport and train station on Tuesday.
“It was hard to hear the news and to see some videos of the airport,” Goffin said. “It’s a place I know really well, of course, because it’s the biggest airport in Belgium. I know every shop and every coffee place there, so it’s really tough when you see the shocking video and the shocking news.”
Despite feeling far from home at such a trying time, Goffin believes the best way to fight these heinous acts is to maintain a normal lifestyle.
Never miss a local story.
“You have to keep going, to do your job and just try to play like nothing happened,” he said. “You have to keep living and enjoying life even if it’s hard in Belgium. As players, we are traveling all around the world and in a lot of airports. But when you hear bad news like you heard about Brussels, it’s tough.”
Reigning Australian Open champion Angelique Kerber of Germany, who trounced Barbora Strycova of Czech Republic 6-1, 6-1 to move into the third round on Friday, spoke of the Belgium attacks earlier in the week.
“It’s terrible,” Kerber said. “It’s really sad. Of course, sometimes after all these things happen you’re thinking, ‘OK, you are traveling every week and at airports around the world every week. It’s scary a little bit.’ ”
Two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova, who defeated American Irina Falconi in straight sets on Thursday, also addressed being a frequent international traveler in these tenuous times during Tuesday’s media round tables.
“I think we can’t worry about it,” Kvitova said. “Europe is very open right now, so it was sad news to wake up to. As a European it’s not easy to hear about it. I really wish the people can be nice and the world in peace. Hopefully, one day.”
Kvitova believes Europe would probably benefit from closing its borders between countries again but realizes it’s not likely to happen.
“I think it’s kind of late already,” she said. “When they’ve opened the borders, it’s kind of difficult to close them again. Of course, I’m not in politics though.”
CoCo Vandeweghe posted the first big upset of this year’s Miami Open when she took out sixth seed Carla Suarez Navarro of Spain, who reached the biggest final of her career at the Miami Open last year.
The 38th-ranked Vandeweghe upended Suarez Navarro 6-4, 6-2 to journey to the third round. Vandeweghe had lost her two previous outings against Suarez Navarro in straight sets at the 2013 and ’14 U.S. Opens.
“She’s always tough and is top 10 for a reason,” Vandeweghe said. “She does so many things well. I was really hitting the ball very clean and heavy, serving well and protecting my serve well, which kept the pressure on her service games.”
Vandeweghe, the granddaughter of the late Ernie Vandeweghe, who played for the New York Knicks, and the late Colleen Kay Hutchins, who was Miss America 1952, has always shown great talent for the game.
Where the 24-year-old has been tripped up is in posting consistent results.
She’s confident that her current coaching partnership with Craig Kardon is providing the missing link. Kardon’s worked with many top players through the years, including Grand Slam champions Martina Navratilova, Jennifer Capriati, Mary Pierce and Lindsay Davenport.
“I think I’ve been doing a lot better job at consistency,” Vandeweghe said. “I trust Craig. and I trust him with my career and that’s a big thing. There’s experience on Craig’s side that I never had before in a coach.”
It doesn’t hurt that they’ve quickly bonded beyond the coach-player relationship to become good friends. They always seem to make everything a competition from the mundane to golf outings where Vandeweghe insists she has the edge.
“I’m currently up $4 on him as to who can complain the least at this tournament,” Vandeweghe said, smiling. “He was sick the beginning of the week, but he wasn’t getting any sympathy from me. I told him go call your mom, buddy.”