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Gigi Salmon column: Mother's Day tribute, Raducanu and Norrie going strong and Simona Halep's return

Sky Sports Tennis host Gigi Salmon takes us through the Indian Wells tournament so far and talks about concerns for Elena Rybakina, Simona Halep's return and Break Point; watch over 80 tournaments a year, including the US Open, exclusively live on Sky Sports Tennis

Gigi Salmon column

I want to start by saying a Happy Mother's Day, to all the mum's out there. Mine started with me being told to stay in bed and not move, before some slightly crispy toast appeared, with a glass of orange juice, an apple, and some lovely homemade cards.

I think I had about five minutes to eat it before being asked what I was making everyone for breakfast!

I did take a quick look at the rankings and apologies to anyone I have missed, but I counted 13 active mums on the tour, five in the Top 100 with Elina Svitolina the highest ranked at No 17.

Famously there was Serena Williams who would win what would turn out to be her final Grand Slam singles title at the Australian Open in 2017 while in the early stages of her pregnancy with daughter Olympia.

There are also a couple of players with decisions to make about their tennis futures, with two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova and the current Olympic champion Belinda Bencic announcing that they would become mums in 2024.

I remember when I was pregnant with the twins and was asked to work on the Rio Paralympics. I didn't want to give an answer either way until they were born, and I knew how they were and how I was as there are so many unknowns. The boys ended up coming a month early, all was well and I headed out to Rio the following year.

Indian Wells is back

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Emma Raducanu hit her signature drop shot to put her ahead against Dayana Yastremska at the Indian Wells.

Indian Wells, the first joint 1000 event of the year is in full swing, the first part of the Sunshine Double and as I write this, we still have two Brits going strong in the singles in Emma Raducanu and Cam Norrie.

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From having arrived early in the desert to prepare, it was sad to see the withdrawal of Rafa Nadal before his first match, saying that he didn't feel ready to play at the highest level at such an important event. Las Vegas exhibition aside he hasn't played since his quarter-final loss in Brisbane at the start of the year and time is running out to get the matches in before Roland Garros in May.

And it's a bit of a worry about defending Indian Wells champion Elena Rybakina who withdrew ahead of her first match citing gastrointestinal issues, her second withdrawal due to illness in 16 days after handing Jasmine Paolini a walkover into the Dubai semi-finals. She will be hoping to recover in time for Miami, which is up next and where she has final points to defend.

Halep: Miami Open's wildcard

FILE - Simona Halep, of Romania, returns a shot to Daria Snigur, of Ukraine, during the first round of the U.S. Open tennis championships Aug. 29, 2022, in New York. Two-time Grand Slam champion Simona Halep has asked the Court of Arbitration for Sport to overturn the four-year ban she received for doping violations. The court said Tuesday, Oct. 24, 20234 it has registered Halep's appeal of the International Tennis Integrity Agency's decision in September. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)
Image: Simona Halep will return as a wild card at the Miami Open.

Someone we know we will be seeing in Miami is former world No 1 and Grand Slam champion Simona Halep who has been given a wildcard after the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) reduced her four-year doping ban on appeal to nine months, stating that 'on the balance of probabilities' she hadn't intentionally taken the banned substance Roxadustat.

The ruling left Halep free to return to action, having not played competitively since the 2022 US Open where she failed a doping test. It will be interesting to see how the Romanian, who is now 32 years old, will cope with the tour and how the tour will react to her return, with the lack of congratulatory voices from the players on social media following her appeal victory very apparent.

Break Point missed key storylines

One thing we know for certain is that Halep won't be featuring in the Netflix tennis documentary series Break Point after it was reported in The Times this week that production had stopped after just two seasons with poor viewing figures and a lack of access seemingly at the heart of their decision.

I watched some of season one but felt early on that it wasn't meant for people who worked in tennis but more for those who were new to the sport, to try and bring them in. The trouble was not only did it fail to convince the biggest names in the sport to take part but it also glossed over or missed out altogether on some of the biggest storylines.

In some ways it does feel like a missed opportunity for tennis especially seeing the success of Drive to Survive which is six seasons in.

This week has been great in the studio with Tim and Laura but now it's time to pack with Laura and I flying out on Monday morning to reunite with Tim in Palm Springs to pick up coverage on Sky Sports Tennis.

So far, I think a couple of early morning mountain hikes have been planned, although if it's the mountain I think it is there's every chance I won't make it back for the start of play!

How to watch play on Sky Sports Tennis

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