Another XL Open has come and gone marking that summer is just around the corner. This year's tournament had its fair share of drama and rollercoaster like matches.
There was an emerging young crop of potential superstars (you saw them here first) and crafty veterans. The week was topped off with one of the best finals you will ever see, including the Federer/Nadal match that was on TV earlier in the day.
The only real disappointments of the week were the performances of the headline players (or lack there of).
While the casual sports fan would have no idea who Gaston Gaudio or Robby Ginepri are the tennis nuts out there were hoping to see these guys play throughout the week.
Gaston Gaudio, the last man to win the French Open other than Nadal, didn't even make it to Coral Beach.
He had asked for, and was granted a wildcard a month ago, and just didn't turn up.
In the small tennis world this move will not make him popular amongst tournament directors.
Robby Ginepri, who at one point was mentioned as the future of American tennis, did show up to the clay courts of Coral Beach, but didn't look like he was ready for his day at the office. He went through the motions and was bounced out after little over an hour.
The best match of the tournament was more of a boxing fight than a tennis match. Two time double gold Olympic medalist Nicolas Massu defeated Daniel Kollerer in a three set marathon. Kollerer received a lot of bad press this year and last year. He is bar none the most interesting tennis player (maybe athlete) that I have ever seen. Think John McEnroe on his worst day ever.
Kollerer swears in multiple languages, spits, stalls, fakes injuries, and intimidates everyone on the court from the lines people to the Umpires to his opponents. Unlike some players in the draw he scrapped for every point, and can slug it out with anyone.
If pro sports are supposed to be entertainment, then Kollerer should be the one who gets an appearance fee.
The young guns were the story of this years XL Open. American Donald Young is now showing his talent with the big boys after one of the greatest junior careers in tennis history. He has had an incredible amount of pressure put on him and is now starting to live up to the hype.
Latvian Ernest Gulbis (19 years old) was impressive to watch. At 6'3', 175lbs he will get even stronger - though he already has a huge serve and massive forehand.
As an 18-year-old last year he was ranked #46 in the world and has the game to be a top 20 player.
The XL Bermuda Open's winner also has tremendous upside. Teenager Kei Nishikori from Japan (born in 1989) is still relatively slight 5ft 10, 155lbs but he could thump the ball when he had to.
Kei is fast and there was no ball on the court that he didn't have a chance of reaching. As of Monday Kei broke into the top 100 for the first time. In Japan his nickname is Project 45 because the highest ranked Japanese player ever was ranked 46.
In Tokyo he has a hard time walking down the street. Luckily for him he trains at IMG Academy in Florida and can stay away from the limelight in Japan. He was rumoured to have flown out of Bermuda back to Japan to sign a big contract with a well-known Japanese Company.
All in all this years XL Open was another success. Due to 2008 being an Olympic year all ATP events were pushed back a week. What a difference a week made because rain can sometimes be an issue. The weather was good all week and the depth of talent was better than ever.