February 19th, 2016

Friday Tennis Blog: Americans Rolling at ATP Delray; USTA Court Grants

General News Friday Blog Diversity


Univision-MariaU.S. men’s tennis’ young guns have been firing during the last couple weeks, with Taylor Fritz reaching the Memphis final, and some stunning upsets this week in Delray Beach by players who were only last year competing in junior events. “We have a really big group of young players that have had a lot of success in the juniors, and starting off in the pros have had some nice success,” USTA Head of Men’s Tennis Jay Berger told USTA Florida while supporting U.S. players at the Delray Beach Open this week. “It’s a big group, and that’s what you’re looking for. And they work extremely hard, they have lofty goals.” Berger also elaborated on the new “Team USA – Pro” venture within USTA Professional Development to help fast-track youngsters into the Top 100. “We really value all American players and this mission really represents that,” he said. “We understand how difficult it is, and we want to flood the gates of the Top 100 and move guys from 500 into the Top 230 or 240, get them into qualifying at majors and from there into the Top 100. Andy Brandi will focus on the junior tennis and the players that are moving up, and work with the private sector a lot. The private sector is doing a great job and we’re seeing the fruits of that right now.” Some more potential future stars received attention when the Univision network’s “Despierta America” filmed a feature around the Delray Beach Open Kidz Day event.


36-foot courtsDo your courts need updating? Cracks got you cracking up? Feeling the pain of peeling paint? Consider USTA Facility Assistance Program grants, which also offer logistical and technical support to upgrade, add 36- or 60-foot courts to develop young players, or to refurbish existing courts. Technical assistance is provided, at no cost, from experts with industry-leading experience in tennis court and facility construction. For example, recently the City of Jacksonville was awarded $20,000 for the reconstruction of five public courts, and the conversion of a sixth into four 36-foot courts; Altoona Parks and Recreation in Wisconsin was granted $35,000 to refurbish five courts and build a sixth; and Arlington Parks & Recreation in Texas was awarded $45,000 to build a series of standalone 36-foot courts. Over the past 11 years the USTA Facilities Assistance Program has allocated more than $12 million and has built more than 39,000 tennis courts across the country. To learn more click here.


Taylor Fritz and Memphis Grizzlies head coach Dave Joerger (photo courtesy ATP)

Taylor Fritz and Memphis Grizzlies head coach Dave Joerger (photo courtesy ATP)

Like in their old Davis Cup days, Patrick McEnroe will coach Andy Roddick again after the announcement of a new New York-based World TeamTennis franchise that will play at a former site of the US Open…A year ago ranked No. 937, American Taylor Fritz rose to No. 102 after reaching the ATP Memphis final…Serena Williams has withdrawn from her second consecutive tournament in February, suffering from the flu…Where is Florida’s Reilly Opelka, last year’s Wimbledon junior champ? He won his first match of the year this week at the Plantation Futures stop after returning from a stress fracture…British Fed Cup Captain Judy Murray is fed up with Britain being mired in the lower Europe/Africa Zone after losing to Belgium…Tennis helps priests improve their serve, as well as their service to people, as they try and qualify for the international priests tennis championships…The WTA Dubai tournament entered the record book this week when all eight seeds lost their opening-round matches.

3 American Men, 1 Woman Into Friday Tour Play

American Rajeev Ram

American Rajeev Ram

Three American men lost on Thursday, but three still remain entering the quarterfinals at the Delray Beach Open, which has seen a surge from Americans both and young and veteran this week in Florida.

Yesterday the run of wild card teenager Noah Rubin came to an end after the American was stopped one match away from a meeting with former US Open winner and popular comeback player Juan Martin del Potro. Rubin was beaten 6-4, 6-2 by No. 5 seed Jeremy Chardy.

The other damage was all American-on-American Thursday as wild card Tim Smyczek upset No. 7 seed Donald Young 1-6, 7-6(2), 6-2, and Sam Querrey beat former NCAA doubles champ Austin Krajicek 6-4, 6-3.

“I was trying to figure out how to disrupt what he was doing,” said Smyczek, who lost the first set 6-1. “My game plan wasn’t bothering [Young] so I had to do something different. I stopped being so offensive. He does very well when he’s under pressure so I had to turn the tables a bit.”

In the Friday quarterfinals Querrey and Smyczek will square off, and veteran American Rajeev Ram is also in the mix, facing unseeded German Benjamin Becker. The other quarterfinal meetings will be Del Potro vs. Chardy, and No. 4 seed Grigor Dimitrov vs. No. 8 Adrian Mannarino.

At the Rio Open in Rio de Janeiro, unseeded American Shelby Rogers is into the quarterfinals after a first-round upset over No. 8 seed Andread Mitu, and a second-round win over Paraguay’s Veronica Cepede Roig. In the Friday quarters she will meet Brazilian qualifier Paula Cristina Goncalves.

Coco Vandeweghe and Madison Brengle both lost tight ones on Thursday at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships. The last two Americans exited the tournament in the quarterfinals when Vandeweghe fell to the Ukraine’s Elina Svitolina 6-4, 1-6, 6-2, and Brengle was edged by Italian veteran Sara Errani 4-6, 6-1, 6-4.

They Said It

Del-Potro-2016-Delray“I don’t know him. I’ve been at home on the couch watching The Simpsons for two years.”
Juan Martin del Potro at the Delray Beach Open when asked about his next opponent, Australian qualifier John-Patrick Smith

“If I were not his uncle probably he would have substituted me…I didn’t [bring the best out of] Rafael, he only did it. In tennis, it’s the player who makes the coach and not vice versa.”
— Coach Toni Nadal on his nephew Rafa and his recent struggles, speaking to Marca

“I think I’m not really ready to compete. I think I just need to start from zero again and kind of forget these couple of tournaments, I guess.”
— No. 5-ranked Garbine Muguruza, who is dealing with a foot injury and has failed to advance past the second round at a tournament this year

Tennis on TV This Weekend

(EST, times subject to change)

8am-8pm — Coverage of ATP/WTA stops in Marseille, Rio de Janeiro, Delray Beach, Dubai (live), Tennis Channel
8-10pm — ATP Delray Beach (live), Tennis Channel

9am-8pm — Coverage of ATP/WTA stops in Marseille, Rio de Janeiro, Delray Beach, Dubai (live), Tennis Channel
8-10pm — ATP Delray Beach (live), Tennis Channel

3-6am — ATP/WTA Dubai, Doha (live), Tennis Channel
9-11am — ATP Marseille (live), Tennis Channel
1-4:30pm — ATP Delray Beach (live), Tennis Channel
4:30-6:30pm — ATP Rio de Janeiro (live), Tennis Channel