March 3rd, 2017
Friday Tennis Blog: Big Industry Buy-out | Federer Shocker | Aussie Antics | More
KYRGIOS, TOMIC ANTICS MAKE UPCOMING U.S. DAVIS CUP MUST-WATCH TV
The week after the Miami Open in late March the U.S. Davis Cup team will travel Down Under to Brisbane, Australia, for a tough quarterfinal-round meeting with Aussies Nick Kyrgios and Bernard Tomic — if the pair manage to not get kicked off tour this month.
Tomic, who was accused of tanking an early loss last week in Delray Beach, this week in Acapulco retired after one set against American Donald Young, citing the “unbearable” temperatures in the 80s. He then played doubles later in the day. Tomic has a 2-5 singles win-loss record thus far this year, losing in the first round of his last three events and nearing a slide out of the Top 50 rankings. Kyrgios, who was suspended for the final months of last year, won his opener in Acapulco, but got into it with opponent Dudi Sela of Isreal. Kyrgios between first and second serves told someone in the crowd to “shut the *** up,” then after the match he taunted some fans in the crowd, causing Sela to confront him on the sidelines, and the two were separated by a tour official.
While Tennis Australia wrestles with how to rein in their world tennis ambassadors, Australian tennis columnist Brett Phillips wrote, “It shouldn’t be a monetary fine for these blokes, because money means nothing for them. They are earning millions. It has to be an extended time off the tour. If you’re not giving your best it should be a straight forward process.” Australia and the U.S. will name their players for the April 7-9 tie later this month.
TENNIS CHANNEL OWNER SINCLAIR BROADCASTING NOW OWNS TENNIS MAGAZINE, TENNIS.COM
Sinclair Broadcasting last year paid $350 million for Tennis Channel. This week the group, which owns the most television stations in the U.S., added to their tennis portfolio by acquiring Tennis Media Company, which includes TENNIS magazine and Tennis.com, for $8 million plus an additional $6 million earn-out potential based on contingencies.
Sinclair will now look to leverage the TV, print and online media, and their combined tennis rights and stakeholders, to complement each other and drive-up tennis’ popularity in the U.S. Tennis Channel had 37 million viewing homes when it was acquired by Sinclair last year, and will now reach approximately 60 million homes by the end of 2017.
“Now our ability to translate content across these platforms and elevate awareness for the sport is unprecedented,” said Ken Solomon, Tennis Channel president.
Maria Sharapova has already accepted a handful of tournament wild cards in anticipation of her return to the WTA tour in May. Andy Murray this week opined that players returning from drug suspensions should not get wild cards, and should have to play lower-level events. “I think you should really have to work your way back.,” Murray told The Times newspaper. “However, the majority of tournaments are going to do what they think is best for their event.” But it seems the French Open might agree…Serena Williams surprised two players on a public tennis court with a brief hit, then warned her social media audience, “You never know when I could be coming to a tennis court near you!”…Doug Adler, the ESPN commentator who was fired after a controversy during the Australian Open coverage, has apparently had a heart attack due to stress…American Taylor Fritz and a ball girl weren’t on the same page regarding getting a moth off the court this week in Acapulco…When you have to change your name from Bath & Tennis Club, because a lot of people don’t know what “bath” means…Australian Open champion Roger Federer, playing this week in his first appearance since Melboune, was upset in the second round at Dubai by Russian qualified Evgeny Donskoy. It was Federer’s first loss on a hard court to someone ranked outside the Top 100 in 17 years…A new device utilizing artificial intelligence can make line calls like Hawk-Eye or a PlaySight court, but costs roughly $200.
Americans McHale, Querrey Into Weekend Play at Mexican Open in Acapulco
No. 5-seeded American Christina McHale is into the semifinals at the Abierto Mexicano TELCEL in Acapulco after upsetting No. 4 seed and Olympic gold medalist Monica Puig 6-2, 6-2 on Thursday.
“I knew it was going to be a tough match going in — she’s got a lot of power,” McHale said after the match. “I was just trying to defend well because she’s really tough when she’s in control of the points. I think I served well today, which helped a lot.”
In the Friday semis she will face No. 2-seeded Kristina Mladenovic of France.
Also into the semifinals is unseeded American Sam Querrey, who joined No. 2 seed Rafael Nadal, No. 3 seed Marin Cilic, and No. 6 Nick Kyrgios on Thursday in the final four after a 6-1, 7-5 upset over No. 4 seed Dominic Thiem.
Cilic advanced when unseeded American Steve Johnson was unable to take the court due to a right foot injury.
Querrey in the Friday semifinals will meet Kyrgios, who in his quarterfinal upset top seed Novak Djokovic. It was the first time playing Djokovic for Kyrgios, who also beat Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal the first time he faced them.
“He is a big-serving American,” said Kyrgios, who is 1-0 career against Querrey. “I played him before, and I know what to expect.”
They Said It
“I thought she was ready to check out there for a while. But she’s hung on and she’s found new ways of doing things…She’s a fierce competitor and on the way to becoming the greatest of all time.”
— Roger Federer on Serena Williams, speaking to Sport 360
“The fact that 99.9 percent of the kids coming out of high school, even if they have pro aspirations, are not ready to play professional tennis, emotionally and physically. So we have them going to college.”
— USTA General Manager of Player Development Martin Blackman, speaking to the Tennis Recruiting Network
“I feel, tennis-wise, I’m physically and mentally ready to make that jump. I think my tennis is kind of speaking for myself so far this year.”
— The 24-year-old Jack Sock on moving toward a Top 10 ranking in 2017
Tennis on TV This Weekend
(EST, times subject to change)
1am — WTA Kuala Lumpur (live), BeIN Sports 10
8am — ATP Dubai (live), Tennis Channel
noon — ATP Dubai, Acapulco (delay), Tennis Channel
7pm — ATP Acapulco (live), Tennis Channel
10pm — ATP Brazil (delay), Tennis Channel
11pm — ATP Acapulco (live), Tennis Channel
4am — WTA Kuala Lumpur (live), BeIN Sports 10
10am — ATP Dubai final (live), Tennis Channel
noon — ATP Brasil Open (delay), Tennis Channel
9pm — Tennis Channel Live
10pm — ATP Acapulco final (live), Tennis Channel
12:30am — ATP Sao Paulo final (delay), Tennis Channel
4:30am — WTA Kuala Lumpur final (live), BeIN Sports 10
6am-midnight — ATP Brazil, Sao Paulo, Dubai, Acapulco finals (repeat), Tennis Channel