June 17th, 2016

Friday Tennis Blog: Federer the Photobomb Master; More

Friday Blog


From right: Milos Raonic and John McEnroe

From right: Milos Raonic and John McEnroe

John McEnroe is a favorite of many for his blunt tennis TV commentary and off the cuff how-to-fix-tennis pronouncements (‘Players should call their own lines! Players should be allowed to trash-talk each other! Get rid of warm-ups before matches!), but in the Wimbledon lead-up this month it seems everything out of his mouth is turning to gold.

Earlier this month he said Andy Murray needs a “super-coach” to beat world No. 1 Novak Djokovic, and a week later Murray hires Ivan Lendl on to his team. Now McEnroe is part of Milos Raonic’s team in his first “official” coaching stint to help the Canadian on grass, and Raonic is crushing it this week at the Queen’s Club event. On a side note has anyone ever had more coaches than Raonic? He and his coaching team could fill a doubles court, with McEnroe (who says get ready for some emotion from the players’ box), another former No. 1 in Carlos Moya, and Riccardo Piatti. Raonic says while there are three other cooks in the kitchen, there is only one chef. Or to try a business analogy: “I’m the CEO of the Milos Raonic tennis. That’s it,” Raonic said. “I know everybody I have around me wants to help me to the fullest.”


Venus designed olympic dress

Olympic tennis outfit, dog not included

Venus Williams is getting in the U.S.A. clothing design spirit for the upcoming Rio Olympics…Are young American athletes with future family plans worried about Zika head of the Rio Olympics? Some are thinking of freezing their sperm in case they catch Zika in Rio…Spaniard Feliciano Lopez is saying no to Rio…Apparently world doping authorities have known Russia has been cheating on a massive scale at the Olympics but has done nothing about it.

Currently sidelined with injury, Rafael Nadal’s name is on the Spanish Olympics roster, and while currently sidelined after a positive doping test and two-year ban, Maria Sharapova has petitioned the ITF to throw her ban out in time for the Olympics…Roger Federer, likely playing his last Olympics, and Stan Wawrinka will lead the Swiss teamSerena and Venus enter the Rio Olympics with four Gold Medals each, one medal behind the tennis Olympic record of five medals (1 Gold, 2 Silver, 2 Bronze) held by Brit player Kathleen McKane.


Roger Federer hams it up during a rain delay this week at Halle

Roger Federer hams it up during a rain delay this week at Halle

Sixty-year-old Bjorn Borg, who has been traveling to some national tennis events with his 13-year-old son, says ‘Tennis parents are nuts.’…The top juniors in Florida were determined this week at the USTA Florida “Bobby Curtis” State Junior ChampionshipsAndy Murray won two Slams under coach Ivan Lendl, and is 0-3 in Slams since last splitting with him…In the wake of Maria Sharapova’s two-year doping ban, a sports doctor has received a four-year ban for giving a banned substance to a player…Fans of Maria Sharapova can united with the Russian under a shirt of support (no, it doesn’t say “Free Maria”).

Prospect, “the leading magazine of ideas,” concludes tennis is the best sport. Case closed…Roger Federer says don’t get too excited, but he is feeling his grass court oats after sitting out the French Open…Former world No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki won’t be seeded at Wimbledon after a tough 2016 thus far, but she has No. 1 soccer skills.

Americans Aim for Semis in Birmingham, London

Madison Keys (photo: Jose Medina)

Madison Keys (photo: Jose Medina)

Five Americans remain in action during this rainy grass court week in Halle, London, Birmingham, and Mallorca, Spain.

Three American women are in action at the Aegon Classic in Birmingham, England, led by No. 7 seed Madison Keys who beat the rains and qualifier Tamira Paszek 6-1, 6-3 on Thursday.

“I feel like I’m up against the rain this week. Really happy that we were able to get on the court today,” Keys said. “I was definitely really focused on getting on, playing as efficiently as possible, and hopefully finishing before the rain starts again.”

In the quarterfinals she will face Latvian Jelena Ostapenko, who on Thursday upset former Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova.

Stuck in the second round due to rain are CoCo Vandeweghe and qualifier Christina McHale, who will play each other. Vandeweghe in her opener upset No. 1 seed Aggie Radwanska.

Two American men are in the hunt at the Aegon Championships in London at the Queen’s Club, where unseeded Steve Johnson is into the quarterfinals against No. 5 seed Marin Cilic, and qualifier Donald Young will on Friday finish a delayed match where he trails No. 6 seed Roberto Bautista Agut 6-4. The winner of that match will face No. 3 seed Milos Raonic later in the day.

In second-round play yesterday No. 7-seeded John Isner lost a heartbreaker as he couldn’t capitalize on 10 match points in a 3-6, 7-6(16), 7-6(7) loss to Luxembourg’s Gilles Muller. Isner hit a Queen’s Club record 43 aces during the match.

They Said It

Coco Vandeweghe

Coco Vandeweghe

“I work at a Russian anti-doping agency that actually helps athletes dope. I’m writing to WADA what’s going on, and nothing is happening.”
— Former Russian anti-doping agency worker Vitaly Stepanov, who met with and sent 200 e-mails to the World Anti-Doping Agency to blow the whistle on Russia, but says nothing was done, speaking to the New York Times

“My second-round match against Nao Hibino, honestly I went out there and I was just like, ‘I don’t want to play tennis today.’ It was just like that. I think like everyone they show up to work, and I don’t feel like working today.”
— American CoCo Vandeweghe on her road to winning the Ricoh Open grass court title last week in the Netherlands

“Not that it’s going to open up the floodgates, but people now will think outside the box, and think not just ‘Who is the best male coach available?’ but ‘Who is the best coach available?’ and that would include females.”
Pam Shriver speaking to the New York Times on Amelie Mauresmo’s recently-ended coaching stint with Andy Murray

Tennis on TV This Weekend

(EST, times subject to change)

6am-3:30pm — ATP Halle/London, WTA Birmingham (live), Tennis Channel

6am-3:30pm — ATP Halle/London, WTA Birmingham (live), Tennis Channel

8:30-11am — ATP Halle/London, WTA Birmingham (live), Tennis Channel