July 15th, 2016

Friday Blog: Tennis Balls Banned at Republican Convention?; Davis Cup; More

Friday Blog


John Isner, Jack Sock
and the Bryan brothers will begin their weekend campaign today to move the U.S. Davis Cup team into the semifinals when they face a tough Croatian squad headed by former US Open champ Marin Cilic and rising star Borna Coric in Beaverton, Ore. The American team picked a slower hard court surface reminiscent of what the players see at the Indian Wells ATP event. “We resurfaced to get to the speed we were interested in playing on,” said Derek Fisher, director of team events for the USTA, speaking to the Beaverton Valley Times. “Our guys were interested in playing on a little slower court, similar to the conditions we have at Indian Wells in California.” The 6-foot-10 Isner against the 6-foot-6 Cilic promises to be a serving contest on Sunday. Coverage begins Friday on Tennis Channel at 3 p.m. EST. Also at 10 a.m. EST on Friday go to the USTA Facebook page to see the 12-member 2016 U.S. Olympic Tennis Team unveiled. Find out who will be #serving4gold in Rio.


The $100 million USTA National Campus in the Lake Nona neighborhood or Orlando became populated with USTA national staff this week, and at the same time Lake Nona’s developer, Tavistock Development Co., announced further expansion plans. New homes, offices, athletics field, mixed-use buildings, fitness centers and more are in the works, and Tavistock is planning a resort and spa to accommodate traveling athletes and families. According to Orlando media the facility’s grand opening is still scheduled some time in December, and by that time around 114 employees from New York will have relocated, and 50+ new employees will have been hired or be in-process. “In August, it will be all hands on deck,” said Kurt Kamperman, chief executive of community tennis and the USTA National Campus, speaking to the Orlando Business Journal. “The facility as a whole is not scheduled to open until mid-December.”


US Open Series
Ready for tennis on TV (almost) all day every day? Monday starts coverage of the Emirates US Open Series, five weeks of wall-to-wall coverage leading to the US Open…No. 1 Novak Djokovic still has a commanding rankings lead over Wimbledon champ Andy Murray, but if you look at 2016-only points, Murray could catch Djokovic at the US Open…This year’s US Open will see a 10 percent increase ($4 million) in prize money to a record $46.3 million and $3.5 million each to the singles winners…What is the greatest tennis shot in history, according to John McEnroe? The Serena Williams serveMaria Sharapova’s appeal date for her two-year doping ban won’t come until September, meaning she will officially miss the Rio OlympicsSerena Williams — surprise! — won Best Female Tennis Player at the ESPY Awards, her eighth time raising the trophy…Andy Roddick is excited about Marat Safin’s induction this weekend into the Tennis Hall of Fame…So you can bring a gun to the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, but not a tennis ball? That would be allowed in Florida, which is a tennis ball open-carry state.

Johnson, King, Young Rolling in Newport, Bucharest

Steve Johnson

Steve Johnson

Three Americans are in the mix entering the weekend on Friday at ATP and WTA events, including the final grass court event of the season at the Hall Of Fame Tennis Championships in Newport, R.I.

Top-seeded American Steve Johnson and No. 8-seeded countryman Donald Young will face off in the Newport quarterfinals after Johnson defeated Yuichi Sugita 6-1, 6-4, and Young rolled past 18-year-old American countryman Stefan Kozlov of Pembroke Pines, Fla., 6-0, 6-4.

“There’s still a lot to learn and improve for me on grass, so that’s what I’m here for,” said Johnson, who is 2-1 career against Young, with their first-ever meeting on grass coming today. “I’m here just like everyone else who signed up. There are 28 guys here and you just hope you’re the last one standing.”

Not to be left out, unseeded American Vania King has fought her way to the quarterfinals at the BRD Bucharest Open in Romania, where on Friday she will meet unseeded Frenchwoman Pauline Parmentier.

They Said It

Featured_2015 Arthur Ashe Essay 2-20-15“Generations ago, legends like Jesse Owens, Jackie Robinson, Muhammad Ali, John Carlos and Tommie Smith, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Jim Brown, Billie Jean King, Arthur Ashe and countless others, they set a model for what athletes should stand for. So we choose to follow in their footsteps.”
— NBA player Chris Paul on Wednesday speaking on stage at the ESPYS with Carmelo Anthony, Dwyane Wade and LeBron James, urging fellow athletes to be socially active

“Once I started focusing more on the positives, I realized that I’m pretty good. Then I started playing a little better.”
Serena Williams on putting her recent Grand Slam losses behind her to win at Wimbledon

“Davis Cup succeeds largely in spite of the format, not because of it.”
— U.S. Davis Cup captain Jim Courier, speaking to The Oregonian

Tennis on TV This Weekend

(EST, times subject to change)

Featured_TV graphicFriday
6:30am-3pm — Davis Cup (non-U.S.), ATP Hamburg/Bastad/Newport (live), Tennis Channel
3-9pm — Davis Cup, USA vs. Croatia (live), Tennis Channel

6am-2pm — Davis Cup (non-U.S.), ATP Hamburg/Bastad/Newport (live), Tennis Channel
12:30pm — Tennis Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony (live), Tennis Channel
2-5pm — ATP Newport (live), Tennis Channel
5-8pm — Davis Cup, USA vs. Croatia (live), Tennis Channel

6:30am-3pm — Davis Cup (non-U.S.), ATP Hamburg/Bastad/Newport (live), Tennis Channel
3-9pm — Davis Cup, USA vs. Croatia (live), Tennis Channel