Top-seeded qualifier and former World No. 25 Vasek Pospisil led a field of men’s hopefuls into the main draw of the BNP Paribas Open Wednesday, a place that clearly brings out the best in the 27-year-old Canadian.
Pospisil, who got past Adrian Menendez-MacEiras 7-6(5), 6-2 in the second round of men’s qualifying Wednesday, had the best win of his career at Indian Wells Tennis Garden last year, shocking then-World No. 1 Andy Murray in the second round as a qualifier.
Joining Pospisil, one of five Canadian men in the main draw, are Americans Tim Smyczek, Evan King and Mitchell Krueger.
No. 6 seed Jelena Ostapenko is only 20 but the Latvian just recently joined Twitter and admits, “I honestly don’t really understand how to use it. I know how to post it, but I didn’t even know how to put the hashtags on …”
An Instagram regular, Ostapenko said, “Hopefully in the next couple of months, I’ll get used to it.”
Two-time Grand Slam champion and No. 3 seed Garbine Muguruza attended the Oscars on Sunday night, as did Caroline Wozniacki. Muguruza spends a lot of time in Southern California and said she loves to train outside.
“It doesn’t matter if it’s a public park … I can do some workouts on the beach, which isn’t usual,” she said. “You’re always in the gym and sometimes you just want to say ‘Let’s get out of here. Let’s just do something in the sand.’ So I like it.”
And the famed Venice Beach? “I like it for a couple of days,” she said, “but after that, I’m like ‘There’s weird people there. I am not getting out night here alone.’”
American Jack Sock, seeded No. 8 here, joined Roger Federer, Bill Gates, the Today Show’s Savannah Guthrie in an exhibition tennis event Monday that raised $2.5 million for Federer’s foundation benefitting children’s education in Africa.
On Wednesday, Sock told reporters that the event was “extra special,” and that it was “remarkable” meeting Gates.
“Every word out of his mouth is something new to me. … a little bit of gibberish,” Sock quipped. “I had to research some stuff online after he was talking. By far the smartest guy I’ve come across and spoken to. He gave some insight on where he thinks the world is going and the future in 10, 20 years. … I have a video on my phone of him talking. A lot of good info.”
No. 7 seed Kevin Anderson became the tallest Grand Slam finalist ever at 6-foot-8 when he met Rafael Nadal in the US Open final last fall, and says being the same height as LeBron James has become an advantage.
“Just the progression of the sport is definitely more and more guys who are tall doing well,” he said. “You‘ve seen some of the guys who are taller are moving the best that they ever have and matching some of the physicality of the guys who aren’t so tall. I think it’s just a matter of time before you see guys winning Grand Slams who are much taller. I was the tallest guy in a Grand Slam final last year and I think that trend will continue.”