July 29th, 2016
Friday Tennis Blog: Federer Says He’s Done, Nadal Iffy for Olympics; More
FEDERER DOWN, NOT OUT
Roger Federer shocked the tennis world this week by announcing his year is over. The Swiss former No. 1, who was to contend for a first Olympic gold in singles in Rio, try and win another gold in doubles with Stan Wawrinka, and form an uber-popular mixed team with former No. 1 Martina Hingis, announced he is shutting everything down to fully heal his knee that underwent an arthroscopic procedure earlier this year. Adding to the issue may have been an awkward fall he took on the grass at Wimbledon, afterward calling a trainer to look at his knee. “I don’t slip a lot,” Federer said afterwards. “I don’t ever fall down. It was a different fall for me than I’ve ever had.” The Swiss looks to be back competing in January 2017, and has dispelled retirement rumors. Meanwhile, Spanish media is reporting that Rafael Nadal’s efforts to come back from a wrist injury in time for the Rio Olympics are behind schedule, and he may pull from the singles event and play doubles only.
OLYMPICS — THE RUSSIANS ARE (STILL) COMING
The International Olympic Committee ruled earlier this week that rather than banning all Russians from the Rio Olympics after overwhelming evidence of state-sponsored doping, it would ask the individual sports federations to decide on Russian participation. The International Tennis Federation, citing its stringent testing, immediately cleared all Russian tennis players to participate. In some other sports the Russians are not faring so well. The track and field federation banned the entire Russian team, except one player who was training in the U.S. Weighlifting is among six sports governing bodies yet to rule on Russian athletes. Russia had planned on sending almost 400 athletes, but according to Russian media the total number could now round out to approximately 250.
Jack Sock had fun last week in Washington crashing John Isner’s press conference…Ian Witmer of North Palm Beach, Fla., won the New Balance High School Championships…Wesley Chapel’s Noah Makarome received the Sportsmanship Award at the USTA National 18s-16s Clay Court Championships. “Noah has been an obvious choice for sportsmanship top prize every year he’s played USTA nationals in Delray Beach, since he was in the 12s, but the crown was never officially bestowed,” said Tournament Director John Butler. “I’ll compare it to Lebron James and the NBA League MVP Award.”…With the Olympic games opening Aug. 5, some international delegations are moving their athletes out of the Rio Olympic Village as some are labeling the athlete residences unsafe and uninhabitable…Either Jamie Loeb or Florida’s Sofia Kenin will win the women’s US Open Wild Card Challenge which is concluding this week in Kentucky…Many players at the Rogers Cup are on a flight to Rio after losing as Olympic tennis kicks off next week. According to media reports, approximately 45 percent of participants in the 2016 Olympics will be women, the highest number to date, and four years ago the women on Team USA won almost twice the number of medals as their male counterparts.
Keys Not Lost as 5 of 6 Americans Fall at Rogers Cup
Madison Keys is the last American standing this weekend at the Rogers Cup in Canada after U.S. players on Thursday went 1-for-6 in third round matches.
But there would inevitably be an American winner and loser in Keys’ match as she evened her career record with Venus Williams at 2-2, defeating the former world No. 1 6-1, 6-7(2), 6-3.
“Her first serve was definitely slower than normal,” Keys said of the elder Williams sister, who acknowledged earlier in the tournament she was struggling with an unnamed injury. “But it was funny, her second serve was a lot slower, but because of the court it was bouncing a lot higher than normal. So while her first serve was a little easier to return, her second serve was really tough.”
American Varvara Lepchenko also lost Thursday in Montreal, beaten by No. 15 seed Johanna Konta 6-3, 6-4.
On the men’s side at the Rogers Cup in Toronto, all four Americans lost against Top 5 seeds.
No. 16 Jack Sock lost to No. 2 Stan Wawrinka 7-6(3), 6-2; unseeded Rajeev Ram to No. 3 Kei Nishikori 6-3, 6-4; qualifier Jared Donaldson to No. 4 Milos Raonic 6-2, 6-3; and qualifier Ryan Harrison in three sets to No. 5 Tomas Berdych 6-4, 6-7(2), 6-4.
Keys on Friday in the quarterfinals will face No. 16 seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova of Russia, who is coming off an upset over No. 4 seed Agnieszka Radwanska.
“It’s going to be a tough match,” Keys said. “She’s always tricky because she definitely fights ’til the end and she’s going to hit a lot of winners. I think it will be similar [against Venus], kind of deciding when to just get the ball back in a good, neutral spot, or when to kind of pull the trigger and be a little bit more aggressive.”
They Said It
“I’ve played this game since I was a little kid. Sometimes it beats you up, but other times it’s super rewarding. That’s why you play the game, for the rewarding times, and Rio is one of those.”
— Brian Baker on overcoming injuries and making the U.S. Olympic team, speaking to the Lexington Herald-Leader
“What don’t I miss about [playing pro] tennis? Oh man, the road, the airports, the rain delays, the scheduling, the knots in your stomach, not being able to eat. Things like that…I went to a few events with the guys from the USTA. There were a couple of rain delays and practice court kind of stuff and I was like, ‘Man, I do not miss this at all.'”
— Retired former Top 10 American Mardy Fish
“Due to inflammation in my shoulder, I unfortunately must withdraw from the Rogers Cup. I was looking forward to competing in Montreal and I look forward to returning soon.”
— Serena Williams this week in Montreal
Tennis on TV This Weekend
(EST, times subject to change)
11am-12:30pm — ATP/WTA Rogers Cup (live), Tennis Channel
12:30-4:30pm — ATP/WTA Rogers Cup (live), ESPN2
6:30-8:30pm — ATP/WTA Rogers Cup (live), ESPN2
9-11:30pm — ATP/WTA Rogers Cup (live), Tennis Channel
1-5pm — ATP/WTA Rogers Cup (live), ESPN2
6-10pm — ATP/WTA Rogers Cup (live), ESPN2
1-3pm — ATP/WTA Rogers Cup (live), ESPN2
4-6pm — ATP/WTA Rogers Cup (live), ESPN2