February 2nd, 2018

Friday Tennis Blog: Davis Cup Weekend; Women Players Say ‘Where’s Our Union?’

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Eight-year U.S. Davis Cup veteran Sam Querrey leads the charge today when the U.S. attempts to improve on its 0-2 career record versus Serbia on indoor red clay in Nis.

“We’re 0-2 and we’re here to try to at least get one on the board for the U.S.,” said U.S. Captain Jim Courier, who is without his top player Jack Sock, while the Serbs are without former world No. 1 Novak Djokovic. “We have a great team assembled here, and the guys have had a good week of practice, so we’re ready to go.”

The world No. 12 Querrey will start against No. 88-ranked Laslo Djere, and John Isner will follow against Serbia’s Dusan Lajovic, who he holds a 3-1 career head-to-head win-loss record over. Scheduled for the Saturday doubles is the American tandem of Ryan Harrison/Steve Johnson vs. Serbs Nicola Milojevic/Miljan Zekic. “Going up against Dusan, I’ve played him a few times,” Isner said. “Really not much has separated us, so this team is very good, in my opinion, but I also think we’re a good team as well.” The matches will be broadcast live on Tennis Channel.



Novak Djokovic at a player meeting during the Australian Open voiced his desire to form a player union to represent their interests separate from the ATP World Tour. Now some players on the WTA tour are wondering how they could benefit from a separate player union.

“I’ve been calling for this for 20 years now and it doesn’t happen,” veteran player Mirjana Lucic-Baroni told the New York Times. “The good thing and the problem is that it takes Djokovic to do that. And who’s going to do that for us?”

Could the men’s and women’s leadership merge for a joint union? In the meantime the women are asking themselves, ‘Is there a Billie Jean King among us to lead?



Bernie dressed for the jungle

Controversial Australian player Bernard Tomic isn’t making a lot of news on court, but off court has been in the African jungle as a contestant on the show “I’m A Celebrity..Get Me Out Of Here!” And while he says he wants to play Davis Cup for Australia, he told News Corp Australia Network, “There are many things inside Tennis Australia that are also corrupt that people don’t know which I am yet to speak about,” adding, “Everyone knows down there that they are going to need me to win Davis Cup.” Lleyton Hewitt responded that Tomic shouldn’t hold his breath waiting for that Davis Cup call. Tomic lasted three days in the jungle…Bradenton’s Sebastian Korda became the first American to win the Australian Open boys’ title since Donald Young in 2005, and the win boosted the 17 year old to the world No. 1 junior ranking…Roger Federer has won three of the last five Slams at 36 years of age…The WTA’s new year-end championship deal in China will provide players with $14 million in prize money, compared to the ATP’s $8 million…Tennis Channel has a new app…If you can’t make it to UF vs. FSU on Saturday night at the USTA National Campus in Orlando you can watch it from your couch…When Serena Williams returns to the WTA tour at Indian Wells she will use her protected ranking to get into the main draw, but will not be seeded, making for a surprised first-round opponent. And Serena’s daughter Olympia already has a racquet in hand…The WTA’s Bank of the West Classic, played at Stanford (Calif.) since 1971, will this year move to San Jose and be re-christened the Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic, running from July 30-Aug. 5 and kicking off the US Open Series…A club in Miami Beach has the answer for growing tennis — a free city doubles tournament.


Davis Cup Match-ups; Big WTA Event Next Week

It’s Davis Cup week on the men’s side, while no Americans are in action this week at WTA events in St. Petersburg, Russian, and at the Taiwan Open in Chinese Taipei.

In addition to the U.S. traveling to Serbia in the Davis Cup first round, other countries facing off beginning today are The Netherlands at defending champion France, Italy at Japan, Britain at Spain, Germany at Australia, Switzerland at Kazakhstan, Canada at Croatia, and Hungary at last year’s finalist Belgium.

Next week nine of the Top 10 women will feature at the Qatar Total Open in Doha, while the men have three ATP events in Sofia, Bulgaria; Quito, Ecuador; and Montpellier, France.


They Said It

“It’s an error. It’s not very smart. Sometimes we do things…that aren’t very smart.”
Rafael Nadal upon learning the Grand Slams will change from 32 to 16 seeds in 128-player singles draws in 2019

“Yeah, probably…I don’t love tennis but I like it a lot and it’s something that I need to do and I need to do as best as I can.”
— Australian player Bernard Tomic when asked if he regretted getting into tennis

“A lot of changes happened already thanks to ATP tour and men, because they speak out and they’re not afraid and they go for it. I think that’s why they get a little bit pissed. They’re pulling us. We’re sometimes not as active as they are, and then they say, ‘They’re not doing anything — why should they get the same?'”
— WTA player Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova speaking to the New York Times on prize money and player-related issues


Tennis on TV This Weekend

(EST, times subject to change)

9am — Davis Cup USA vs. SRB (live), Tennis Channel
3:30pm — Davis Cup GBR vs. ESP (delay), Tennis Channel
10pm — Davis Cup AUS vs. GER (live), Tennis Channel

6am — WTA St. Petersburg (live), beIN Sports
9am — Davis Cup USA vs. SRB (live), Tennis Channel
12:30pm — Davis Cup GBR vs. ESP (delay), Tennis Channel
7pm — Florida vs. Florida State men/women (live), Tennis Channel
9:30pm — Davis Cup AUS vs. GER (live), Tennis Channel

8am — Davis Cup USA vs. SRB (live), Tennis Channel
12:30pm — WTA St. Petersburg (live), beIN Sports
2:30pm — Davis Cup GBR vs. ESP (delay), Tennis Channel
8:30pm —  Davis Cup AUS vs. GER, USA vs. SRB  (delay), Tennis Channel