The kids came out to play yesterday. In what was a throwback to times gone by, nine teenagers took to the searing heat of Melbourne’s courts and one came up trumps. Laura Robson, Garbine Muguruza, Donna Vekic, Jana Cepelova, Annika Beck, Kristina Mladenovic, Daria Gavrilova, Yulia Putintseva and Luksika Kumkhum are all teens with varying levels of notoriety. Gavrilova’s players’ box contains none other than one M. Hingis. Vekic too, works with renowned British coach David Felgate and was surrounded by a large group of reporters after her first round win. Robson is the most heralded of the bunch, who incidentally marches on in the tournament and needs little introduction. Others however, have received little fuss or fanfare….namely Luksika Kumkhum, who can boast the best moniker among her cohorts.
A few thoughts on Vekic: Girl is composed beyond those sixteen years. In what was her first ever grand slam appearance, Vekic impressed with her rangy, steady shot making. Vekic generated effortless power, and had no discernible weakness on either backhand or forehand side. While the addition of a slice backhand, core strengthening and enhanced lateral movement will aid Vekic in the future, the real thing to note here is Vekic’s on-court demeanour. Vekic didn’t engage in any superfluous fist pumping, nor was she observed to dart her eyes furtively over to her camp after a long rally (I’m talking to you, Caro). This was a salient factor in both of Vekic’s matches, and while it appeared the heat bothered her yesterday, there was a star like quality to the way she approached both matches. Off the court, Vekic was affable with fans and the media alike, and even caught the eye of Chris Evert via Twitter:
‘GREAT effort, Donna, in 110 degree weather against the former # 1! You have a wonderful career ahead of you!’
Vekic belongs on the big stage, and it will be interesting to see the trajectory of her (and her cohorts’) careers.