January 5th, 2018

Friday Blog: Serena Out of Aussie Open; Industry ‘Champions of Tennis;’ More

General News Friday Blog Blogs

4 Champions of Tennis Awards to the State of Florida

Three individuals from Florida and the USTA National Campus were honored when Tennis Industry magazine announced its year-ending 2017 Champions of Tennis.

Former USTA Florida employee and current USTA national staff member Rita Gladstone received the Junior Tennis Champion of the Year award; Michele Krause, the Cardio Tennis global education director, received the Tennis industry Service Award; Stan Oley was named Sales Rep. of the Year; and the USTA National Campus received the Public Tennis Facility of the Year Award.

“What I’ve seen here since we opened last January is an incredible energy for the sport,” said USTA National Campus General Manager Tim Cass, who is among approximately 200 employees based on site. “We work together in all areas on a daily basis, and that’s very uplifting, energetic and motivating.” To read the full award write-ups go to www.tennisindustrymag.com/issues/201801/index.php.



On Thursday the USTA National Campus celebrated its one-year anniversary in the Lake Nona region of Orlando with a gathering of celebrities and guests at the “Home of American Tennis.”

In its inaugural year nearly 200,000 players visited the facility, with more than 100 international, national and local tournaments held throughout the year. The celebration included tennis icons Jim Courier and Gigi Fernandez, joined by the City of Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs, USTA Chairman of the Board and President Katrina Adams, USTA Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director Gordon Smith, state and regional partners, as well as ESPN’s Chris McKendry, serving as emcee. Throughout the year, current and former legendary pros that have trained, coached, visited and played at the facility include Madison Keys, CiCi Bellis, Frances Tiafoe, Jack Sock, Bethanie Mattek-Sands, Jennifer Brady, Chris Evert, Jim Courier, James Blake, the Bryan Brothers, Ivan Lendl and many others.
“The USTA National Campus has truly exceeded our expectations and delivered on our vision,” Adams said. “The facility was built to elevate industry standards and expand opportunities. We are excited to see how it will continually thrive and support the next generation of players and providers.” To read more visit www.ustanationalcampus.com.



Serena Williams late Thursday pulled out of the Australian Open, saying her exhibition match last week showed her she is not quite ready to compete at the highest level: “After competing in Abu Dhabi I realized that although I am super close, I’m not where I personally want to be,” Williams said in a statement. “My coach and team always said, ‘Only go to tournaments when you are prepared to go all the way.'”… Brazilian top player Thomaz Bellucci has reportedly been serving a “silent ban” for a doping infraction…Injury Updates: Novak Djokovic withdrew from this week’s ATP Doha event citing elbow pain, and Rafael Nadal (knee) and Andy Murray (hip) withdrew from the ATP Brisbane tournament. Murray subsequently announced he will miss the Australian Open and may have hip surgery. Kei Nishikori is also out of the Australian Open, still healing a tendon in his wrist. In fact the five top-ranked men’s players from a year ago are all battling or coming back from injuryUniversal Tennis this week announced a new CEO and a partnership group purchasing the company comprised of Tennis Channel, Major League Baseball and numerous other entities and individuals. Universal Tennis oversees the Universal Tennis Rating (UTR) system.

3 Americans Enter Weekend Play 

Sonia Kenin

Three Americans remain alive in ATP/WTA play entering the weekend in Australia and New Zealand during the first week of pro tennis action leading to the Australian Open.

Rain cancelled all play on Thursday at the ASB Classic in Auckland where Florida hopefuls Sofia Kenin and Sachia Vickery are vying for semifinal berths. On Friday the wild card Kenin will meet top seed Caroline Wozniacki, and the qualifier Vickery will square off against No. 4 seed Agnieszka Radwanska. The winners of the two matches will later in the day play the semifinal.

“I’ve never seen her play,” Wozniacki said, “but I’m sure my dad will do some research on her…I’ll go out and do my own thing, but I’ll know more about her game by the time I play her tomorrow.”

At the Brisbane International in Australia, unseeded Ryan Harrison moved into the semifinals when opponent Denis Istomin retired trailing 7-6(6), 4-2. In the semis he will face Aussie wild card Alex de Minaur, who defeated American qualifier Michael Mmoh 6-4, 6-0.

Live and delayed coverage will be available on Tennis Channel.


They Said It

“I probably work less, with even more quality. So it gives me more time off. Essentially I’m working half days if you like, because there’s no point for me to put in all the mega-hours anymore.”
— 36-year-old Roger Federer on his 2017 success entering 2018

“I know that when I come back I definitely want to be competing for championships.”
Serena Williams

“Surgery is also an option but the chances of a successful outcome are not as high as I would like which has made this my secondary option and my hope has been to avoid that.”
Andy Murray after announcing his withdrawal from the Australian Open due to a hip injury


Tennis on TV This Weekend

(EST, times subject to change)

4am — ATP Brisbane (live), Tennis Channel
6am — ATP Doha (delay), Tennis Channel
8:30am — ATP Doha (live), Tennis Channel
2:30pm — ATP Brisbane (delay), Tennis Channel
3:30pm — Hopman Cup exhibition BEL vs. CAN (delay), Tennis Channel
9pm — ATP Brisbane (live), Tennis Channel

10am — ATP Doha final (live), Tennis Channel
noon — ATP Brisbane (delay), Tennis Channel
3:30pm — Hopman Cup (delay), Tennis Channel
8pm — ATP Doha final (repeat), Tennis Channel

4am — ATP Brisbane (live), Tennis Channel
6am — ATP Brisbane, Doha, Hopman Cup finals (repeat), Tennis Channel
2pm — ATP Sydney (delay), Tennis Channel
6pm — ATP Auckland (live), Tennis Channel