August 5th, 2016

Friday Blog: Olympic Tennis, Draws, and Where to Watch; Video Blog; More

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US mens tennis in Rio

The U.S. men’s yachting team…actually the tennis team.

It’s been a crazy week of Olympic tennis news. While the U.S. women front a power-packed historic team, the U.S. men are without their No. 1 player John Isner, and as of this week without their No. 1 doubles team as the Bryan brothers withdrew citing health concerns in Rio. Former world No. 1 Roger Federer’s withdrawal was followed by an injury withdrawal of Stan Wawrinka, leaving the Swiss team without their top firepower. The Bryans withdrawal means Rajeev Ram is going to Rio, and will pair in doubles with Brian Baker for the U.S. On the plus side for the field as a whole, Rafael Nadal says his wrist has rehabbed to the point where he will play singles and doubles, and world No. 1 Novak Djokovic remains pumped. “I wasn’t expecting to see so many players at the top of the tennis world pull out but each one of them had their own reason and you gotta respect that,” Djokovic told Reuters. “It would mean the world to me (to win gold). It would rank as one of the highest achievements in my career.” Who else reveres Olympic tennis? Revisit Andre Agassi’s unlikely journey to a gold medal.



Serena and Venus in RioAndy Murray is working out the kinks of handling the British flag ahead of tonight’s Rio Olympics opening ceremonies where he will be the flag bearer…Credit the Rio Olympics for building toward the future — many of the stadiums erected for the games will be re-purposed via their modular construction into new schools, community centers, school dorms, public parks and private development…Rio may have its problems, but it will be hard-pressed to crack the Top 5 all-time worst Olympic Games…How often does an athlete get a chance to give up a gold medal to save a life?John McEnroe wouldn’t give himself an A+ for helping coach Milos Raonic to the Wimbledon final…Can you name the tennis player appearing in his record seventh Olympics?…Former ATP player Ryler DeHeart has returned to Florida as the men’s tennis associate head coach at Florida State University…John McEnroe crushed the ceremonial first pitch at a Mets game…Skateboarding and Climbing are among five sports that were just approved for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics — what, no Pokemon Go?…A favorite of our social media dept., here’s Serena Williams teaching you to twerk…Released this week was some cool video on the unveiling of the new roof over Arthur Ashe Stadium at the US Open…Condolences from USTA Florida to the family of Tallahassee player and USTA member Darlene Horton who was killed Wednesday in the knife attack on multiple tourists in London.


Rio Olympics Tennis — U.S. Women’s, Men’s Draws

Brian Baker

Brian Baker

The top seeds don’t have it easy in Rio as world No. 1 Novak Djokovic starts against former US Open winner Juan Martin del Potro, and No. 2 Andy Murray against Serb veteran Viktor Troicki.

Here are the U.S. men’s and women’s first round match-ups (seeds in parenthesis):

Women’s Singles:

(1) Serena Williams (USA) vs. Daria Gavrilova (AUS)
(5) Venus Williams (USA) vs. Kirsten Flipkens (BEL)
(7) Madison Keys (USA) vs. Danka Kovinic (MNE)
Sloane Stephens (USA) vs. Eugenie Bouchard (CAN)

Women’s Doubles:

(1) Serena/Venus Williams (USA) vs. Lucie Safarova/Barbora Strycova (CZE)
Bethanie Mattek-Sands/CoCo Vandeweghe (USA) vs. Anabel Medina Garrigues/Arantxa Parra-Santonja (ESP)

Men’s Singles:

(12) Steve Johnson (USA) vs. Darian King (BAR)
(14) Jack Sock (USA) vs. Taro Daniel (JPN)
Brian Baker (USA) vs. Yuichi Sugita (JPN)
Denis Kudla (USA) vs. Andrej Martin (SVK)

Men’s Doubles:

Steve Johnson/Jack Sock (USA) vs. Julio Peralta/Hans Podlipnik-Castillo (CHI)
Brian Baker/Rajeev Ram (USA) vs. (4) Gael Monfils/Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA)

They Said It

The Bryan brothers speak to another pair of twins at the USTA Florida Kids Day at the Miami Open

The Bryan brothers speak to another pair of twins at the USTA Florida Kids Day at the Miami Open

“We don’t want to limp out of our careers. We want to blast our way out as champions. We are working just as hard now as we ever have. We are not saying this is the last year, we are still going hard.”
— The 38-year-old Bob Bryan speaking to Sports Illustrated. The US Open will be the two-year anniversary of their last Grand Slam title.

“I was in a hug myself, so I couldn’t really look at the whole stadium. I did feel that it was just the right moment for me to ask…We are all here for the same thing. We are all here to connect through tennis, through passion for the sport.”
Novak Djokovic who during the Toronto trophy ceremony asked everyone in the stadium to hug the person next to them

“We weren’t very good. We were basically a bunch of tennis players. We were really fit, we could run longer than teams. But we would most often lose.”
Mardy Fish on the high school basketball team at The Boca Prep International School, which was comprised mostly of the school’s tennis players, including Andy Roddick, speaking to the New Haven Register

Tennis on TV This Weekend

(EST, times subject to change)

Featured_TV graphicFriday
2-6pm — ATP Atlanta (live), ESPN3 streaming
8-10pm — ATP Atlanta (live), ESPN3 streaming

9:30am-10pm — Rio Olympics Tennis (live), Bravo
3-5pm — ATP Atlanta (live), ESPN3 streaming
7-9pm — ATP Atlanta (live), ESPN2

9:30am-10pm — Rio Olympics Tennis (live), Bravo
1-3pm — ATP Atlanta (live), ESPN2